Required reading

August 8 1994


Required reading

August 8 1994


Required reading

Congratulations for the excellent “Condition critical” cover story (July 25) on the effects of funding cuts in Canada’s healthcare system. In the United States, we are drowning in reports and stories that are slanted to accommodate the political beliefs of the writer or publication. What a relief to see professional journalism with no secret agendas. You simply told it like it was from the human perspective—which is what really counts. Your article should be mandatory reading for everyone in Washington and state capitals. As we learn from Canada, it is important for us to be told the pitfalls as well as the promises of the Canadian health system.

Frederick D. Hunt Jr., President, Society of Professional Benefit Administrators, Chevy Chase, Md.

Your article quotes Eldon Smith, dean of the faculty of medicine, University of Calgary, as saying, “There is no evidence that we can prevent many of the diseases that people think we can, and there is no evidence that prevention is going to be any cheaper than the way we currently do it.” Unfortunately, the concept of prevention is a small part of medical care. There are billions of dollars and potential glory in treatment and virtually none of both in prevention. As long as we continue to spend our billions on a philosophy of health care that is disease-centred, we will continue to have a health-care system that is in crisis.

David J. Ruegg, Newmarket, Ont.

“Condition critical” reveals yet again that many Canadian politicians lack a positive vision of Canada’s potential and are prepared to forfeit our future, knowingly or otherwise. Canada cannot allow its best-trained people to move to the United States in order to further their careers. Instead of closing beds and facilities and putting highly trained people out of work, we should be expanding our medical facilities and marketing them to the United States on a fee-for-service basis. Canadian hospitals should also be required to purchase equipment made in Canada whenever possible. Canadian leaders need to worry at least as much about investing in Canada’s future as reducing the deficit.

Glenn F. Maxwell, Victoria

Conditions are getting critical at Calgary’s Foothills hospital, and Dr. Bill Hall may be “quiet, greying and rumpled,” but he’s one fine and caring family physician and an outstanding teacher of young doctors. The work he does daily in both regards is astonishingly hopeful in an otherwise pretty bleak situation. If America calls, let’s pray Bill and his students hang up.

Dariel Bateman, Calgary

Optimum levels

The immigration department has used a StatsCan report (“A boon or a bust?” Canada, July 25) of dubious logic to try to bolster its pathetic image. However, does anyone up there ever try to gauge the impact on our environment of flooding our country with one million additional people every four years? Such as measuring the amount of our dwindling farmland paved over to house them. Such as calculating the loss to our dwindling oil-and-gas reserves to keep them warm. Such as the pressures created on our dwindling landfill sites to dispose of their garbage. And so on and so on. Rather than working towards the maximum level of population, our government should be working towards the optimum level of population.

George C. Norrie, Hamilton

With regard to the assertion that immigrants are “often better-educated and harder-working,” the Jamaican immigrants involved in the killings of two Canadian citizens in Toronto recently were neither better-educated nor harder-working. Why is it so hard for the liberal-minded in this country to under-

stand that we are having a problem absorbing the high levels of immigration we currently have and it’s time to push back the flow to a manageable level?

Don R. Dagenais, Acton, Ont.

If, as Statistics Canada reports, immigrants are better-educated and more likely to be working than those bom in Canada, why do we need employment equity legislation?

Paul Reid, London, Ont.

Feminist caricature

Has Barbara Amiel run out of real social problems and resorted to inventing them (“The tyranny of modern-day feminism,” Column, July 11)? She fails to recognize that there is no monolithic, universally held concept of feminism, but instead lumps all feminists into one caricatured group of oppressors, whose “reign of terror” against us vulnerable males is comparable to “the horrors of McCarthyism and Nazism.” Amiel might want to learn about feminism some day—instead of just making it up as she goes along.

Tim Conley, North York, Ont.

Finally, an article that makes sense. A man expressing such ideas as Barbara Amiel’s would be condemned by radical feminists, so it is good to see them come from a woman. Feminism in Canada has grown into an uncontrolled monster, with the original idea being lost somewhere in the constant bashing of men. I am all for equal pay for equal work, for universal day care, and against pomography and abuse. But if feminism means manhating, frivolous accusations and complete intolerance, count me out.

Li ora Gelbart, Vancouver

Time after time

In your search for an explanation of the growing polarization between Quebec and the rest of Canada (“The ties that bind,” Cover, July 1), you fail to see the forest for the trees. The average Canadian living outside of Quebec simply wants a level playing field. Our tolerance has been strained by governments that, time and time again, have put forward policies favoring one region of the

country at the expense of the rest. If you had asked Canadians to prioritize their concerns instead of offering them a narrow selection of questions designed to appeal to their innate sense of patriotism, you would have discovered the simple truth.

John Duncan, Iroquois Falls, Ont.

I am 24 years old, and most of the people I know from my generation have grown up since the 1980 Quebec referendum with parents who were convinced Péquistes. They have become séparatistes, not only by way of heredity but also by pure and simple ignorance. Sadly, they | think that Quebec is the centre z of the world. The vote from my generation in the next referen-

dum will be, to an extent, a vote of ignorance, a vote of provocation for a question that is not truly understood. Quebec separation is supported by spoiled people who lack appreciation and recognition for the truly great country Canada has become. I am from Quebec, I am of French, Irish and Scottish descent, I am Englishand French-speaking. But, above all, I am Canadian and proud to be.

Anick Murray, Sherbrooke, Que.

‘Wrong impression’

Your article on Paul Watson (“Canada’s ‘Earth warrior,’ ” Environment, July 25) could give the wrong impression on three points. One, that Norway catches whales for lucrative export to Japan: the truth is that it is all consumed in Norway—export of whale meat is not allowed. Two, that Watson bought a mini-submarine formerly owned by

the Norwegian navy: the Norwegian navy did not own such a submarine. Three, that Norway catches an endangered species: the minke whale is not endangered. The scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission has estimated the northwest Atlantic minke whale stock to be 86,000 animals. The Norwegian quota for 1994 is 301 animals.

Carl P. Salicath, Chargé d’affaires, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Ottawa

Caring for Earth

In reference to the article “Faded dreams” (Space/Essay, July 25), I found the final statement, “Apollo 11 will remain the closest we will get to a new heaven and a new earth,” sadly ironic considering the condition of our

own planet. We are hardly justified in seeking out a new earth when we have taken such poor care of this one. Instead of spending millions of dollars to conquer new planets, how about investing some of that money in cleaning up our own backyard.

Elaine Anderson, Langley, B. C.

Seen through the cynical, all-knowing rearview mirror of the 1990s, perhaps the American space program does seem to be the stuff of “Faded dreams.” Regardless of what is written about the post-lunar history of the program, my wife and I will always remember our first wedding anniversary celebration 25 years ago. How amazed we were when we could view the Moon from our apartment balcony, while only a few feet away on the television the astronauts were sending us their fun-filled, childlike messages and “home movies.” To be sure, space exploration has steered a different course.

But remaining constant throughout all of this has been the intelligence, adaptability and courage of the men and women striving to reach for the stars—by whatever means.

Doug Nason, Parry Sound, Ont.

Phone bugs

I don’t think the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission went far enough in banning unsolicited sales pitches delivered by computers (“Pulling the plug,” Canada Notes, June 27). Why didn’t they ban all unsolicited calls, be it sales pitches for vacuum cleaners, carpet cleaning, frozen meat orders, stocks and bonds, or organizations begging for money. I think a lot of “bugged” telephone subscribers will agree with me.

B. W. Zimmermann, Windsor, Ont.

Is this meal so bad?

As a dietitian, I am distraught at fellow dietitian Rosie Schwartz’s comment that “people tend to pick what they like from various diets.” She then says someone may choose an unhealthy meal such as steak, potato with sour cream and a glass of wine and think they are eating well (“Pyramid wars,” Opening Notes, July 18). What is wrong with such a meal? Assuming the meat is a lean four-ounce charbroiled steak, I see no problem. Say there is a tablespoon of lowfat sour cream: is that such a faux pas? Add a salad and low-fat dressing and I think we have a balanced and healthy meal.

Elaine Jones-McLean, Brockville, Ont.

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.