Republic of Canada

November 14 1994

Republic of Canada

November 14 1994

Republic of Canada


Can Charles still be king? (Cover, Oct. 31).

Who cares? Surely, the time has come for Canadians to come to our senses about our misguided and expensive loyalty to tradition. There is no time like the present constitutional environment to dump the monarchy.

Goldy Hyder, Calgary

Prince Philip says republicanism would be a “perfectly reasonable alternative” if that was what the British people wanted. Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica are already laying the foundation for their future as republics; it is time that Canada did so as well.

Kevin McDougald, Winnipeg

To me, the British people treat their Royal Family with cruelty and hypocrisy. To treat anyone the way they are treated is a disgrace.

Hugh Thomas, Toronto

Emperor’s clothes?

People involved in producing or selling pornography oppose censorship by wrapping themselves in the cloak of civil liberties (“The battle over censorship,” Cover, Oct. 24). However, if one removes the cloak, the

real motivation is revealed: profits. Canada needs a charter of responsibilities as well as a charter of rights.

Gavin F. Richardson, Charlottetown

Is it possible that Maclean ’s could be exercising censorship by printing photographs of Pierre Berton, June Callwood and Nino Ricci beside their vested-interest views against censorship while not giving us a look at those who had opposing views?

Bill Bothwell, Calgary

The debate over censorship is obsolete. Pornography is an intimate concern rather than a public one—so why connect it with public morality? Leave it to private choice. Of

course, child pornography or other depictions of cruelty are exceptions and deserve banning.

L. S. Cattarini, Toronto


There are two aspects of your article on Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams’s visit to Canada (“The charm offensive,” Canada, Oct. 24) that are misleading. First, comparisons between Catholics in Northern Ireland and blacks in South Africa are quite irrelevant; unlike South African blacks, Catholics (and republicans) in Northern Ireland have always had democratic means open to them. Secondly, for the perpetrators of terrorist bombings to be described as “political prisoners” is a serious misuse of the term.

George Robertson, Oxford, England

Deadly music

Regarding your recent article on the deaths of three youths connected with rock star Kurt Cobain’s despicable legacy of suicide (“The last trip,” Canada, Oct. 31), my family has been attempting to warn Canadians about the dangers of youth suicide since my 18-year-old son’s Cobain-related suicide in our home on July 3,1994. Our campaign focus is to initiate and eventually legislate against lyrics that promote suicide. Freedom of expression should be firmly attached to a responsibility that would protect our youth from this uncontrolled, irresponsible, totally commercial virus.

Robert L. E. Steele, Edmonton

Seeking the Light

With compassion and incredulity, I read your cover story on the mainstream North American search for “The new spirituality” (Oct. 10). You have rendered a major service with your unbiased reporting. But one can only be saddened that these people have not found what they were looking for in established Western religions—it has been there for nigh on 2,000 years.

F. Ft. Kim Krenz, Lakefield, Ont.

It is ironic your story “The new spirituality” appeared the week the Solar Temple tragedy happened with the loss of at least 53 lives in Switzerland and Quebec. New Age sounds like Old Age to me. And Hanne Strong wants to bring the world’s religions together. Haven’t they done enough harm to humanity dispersed throughout the world—the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Jonestown massacre?

Philip McLean, Halifax


I am an avid reader of your magazine, as it is the best source for Canadian news available in the United States. As an American citizen, however, I am disgusted by your recurring put-downs of America and Americans. Here is just one example, in a letter to the editor about Quebecers: “I realized how many things we had in common—politics, hockey, annoyance at

Americans” (“Separatist coverage,” Sept. 26). Would you ever publish such a letter if it substituted blacks, gays, Jews or Orientals for Americans?

David W. Jones, North Canton, Ohio

Different opinions

In your snide review of Shyam Selvadurai’s novel Funny Boy (“Civil war within,” Books, Oct. 24), more is illuminated about your attitude towards certain issues than is revealed about the book at hand. You did not provide any description of the six stories in the novel, and if you had noted that the main character is seven years old when the book

opens, and 14 on page 258—where, you say, he “finally acts on his longings”—the reader might have realized that the evolution of the boy’s awakening as a homosexual was the point, not creating an element of surprise as you oddly suggest. Equally strange is your expectation that the child in the story would be a mouthpiece for the explanation of complex political issues. Further, the fact that you relate so-called political correctness to Selvadurai’s literary success is without foundation, not to mention shameful in its inappropriateness. You are entitled to your opinions. So are the considerable number of others who recognize and believe in the literary merits of Funny Boy entitled to theirs.

Ellen Seligman, Editorial Director, Fiction, McClelland & Stewart, Toronto


In 1858, my great-grandfather left Ireland to seek a better life in the Ottawa Valley. In 1893, his son left the family farm in Cumberland to head west for better opportunities. After travelling to Saskatchewan, the Yukon, Alaska and Siberia, working as he went, he settled 18 years later in Duluth, Minn. His son left Duluth in 1934 to get a better education. After war service and then working in Alabama, he settled in Alexandria, Va. I am his daughter and left Alexandria to attend university and did not hesitate to move to Canada when the opportunity arose. My family history is not unusual. In your article “The fear Down East” (Canada, Oct. 17), some Nova Scotians scoff at the idea “of finding year-round jobs outside the fishery without leaving home.” There has never been a guarantee that there will always be work available at home, and sometimes we need to find employment by leaving home.

Jennifer Minogue Reader, Puslinch, Ont.

Canadian content

Your otherwise excellent article on the Canadian book industry (“Publish and perish,” Special Report, Oct. 17) omits some information: you almost exclude booksellers from the article, and, by implication, from the book industry—book retailing in Canada accounts for roughly $1 billion in sales. You also quote Anna Porter of Key Porter Books as blaming the problems of the publishing business on authors, printers and booksellers. Booksellers do return books to publishers but we do not do so capriciously—we return books that do not sell. How these books find their way into print can be the subject of another article.

Richard King, President,

Canadian Booksellers Association, Toronto

I wish to commend you for your Special Report on Canadian literature and Alice Munro. 1 was also pleased to see that your theatre and film reviews focused on Canadian productions. Canada has an incredible wealth of talent in literature, film, dance and other performing arts. As a university student, I am often dismayed at the lack of Canadian content in the classroom. It is time to recognize,

encourage and preserve Canadian culture and tradition. Thank you for your attempt to do so.

Melanie J. Mallet, Winnipeg

Which way?

It is a sad day for Canada when Dr. Gatheringfroth departs from the weight of reality by more than his customary scruple. People wanting to take in the spectacle of

the Adams River salmon run would be greatly surprised if they took Dr. G’s travel directions (“Telling a great Canadian fish tale,” Allan Fotheringham, Sept. 19). They would find themselves 500 miles up the Fraser River and in the Chilcotin plateau, and not at the Adams River (about 270 miles up the Fraser and Thompson rivers in the Thompson/Shuswap area). Perhaps we now know what happened to millions of those missing salmon—they must be Maclean’s readers!

Francis Barnett, Kamloops, B. C.

Drinking rights

I have been a police officer for 26 years and on June 15, 1990, a drunk driver rammed my cruiser broadside and put me in the hospital with serious damage to my heart. I will never be able to go

back to work. I have seen the results of many tragic accidents involving drunk drivers and have had to tell loved ones that their relatives have been killed by a drunk driver. It is bad enough that peopie get into their vehicles drunk, without regard for human life, and then drive

away and kill someone. Now, the Supreme Court of Canada is making sure that drunk drivers have the right to refuse an immediate breathalyser (“Rights for suspects,” Canada Notes, Oct. 10). Shame on the court for letting the drunks rule the roads.

John Kennedy, Vermilion Bay, Ont.

You cannot imagine my horror after reading that the Supreme Court of Canada said that extreme drunkenness can be a defence against a rape charge. The court should know that nothing ever gives a man the right man’s irresponsibility? Whatever happened to the promises of improved legislation to protect women from violence? I, for one, suddenly do not feel very safe.

Marilyn Knight, Calgary

‘Back to work?

Please, can something—anything—be done to get Barbara Amiel out of the house and back to work? When she stays home and reads trashy magazines, she writes stuff fit (if that’s the word) for trashy magazines (“What makes some men good lovers?” Column, Oct. 3).

Tim Fraser, Glenwood, N.S.

Shame on you, Barbara, for failing to consult the Canadian male on such an all-important subject as “What makes some men good lovers?” and in a Canadian magazine, too. Real men in Canada and elsewhere don’t have to ask: how was it? They know.

Herb Hahn, Ganges, B. C.

Calling all citizens

Disappointing is the only way to describe Peter C. Newman’s treatment of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce chairman AÍ Flood’s recent speech on the dangers of Canada’s debt and deficit (“Generation X plans its revenge on the nerds,” The Nation’s Business, Oct. 3). Rather than being “hysterical” as described by Newman, Flood’s speech pointed to the tremendous growth in Canada’s national debt and the burden it places on individual citizens. Far from the government bashing suggested by Newman, Flood said the responsibility for the national debt and its reduction lies with all Canadians—and that together we should fight it before Canada’s standing in the international financial marketplace erodes. Newman’s decision to publish the concerns of key Canadians about the dangers and potential effect of Canada’s huge debt and deficit should be applauded. His disregard for the true content of Flood’s speech should not.

John D. Ferguson, Senior vice-president, CIBC Corporate Communications, Toronto

Maclean’s welcomes readers’ views, but letters may be edited for space and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Write: Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7. Or fax: (416) 596-7730.