September 26 1994


September 26 1994


Separatist coverage

How could you put a separatist whose main objective is to destroy our wonderful country on the cover of your Sept. 12 edition (‘The private Parizeau”)? I was appalled. Where is your loyalty to our magnificent Canada?

Rena Spooner, Ottawa

Once again, I received my Maclean’s magazine and once again I had to read all about Quebec and its separatist politics. Does nothing newsworthy ever happen outside Quebec? This is a huge country and some of our lives do not revolve around Quebec.

Lesley Huggins, Richmond, B. C.

I would like to point out that it’s not every Quebecer who wants this separation. Some of us are still proud Canadians first.

Stéphane Grimard, Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Que.

The first Quebecer I met was a fellow traveller in Malaysia. We spent a few days together and I realized how many things we had in common—politics, hockey, annoyance at Americans, to name a few. People in Alberta who say that they have more in common with Montana than Quebec have probably never been to Quebec or met a Quebecer. As Allan Fotheringham put it (“Gazing across a great divide,” Sept. 5) : “This peculiar country, in its own diffident way, in fact loves Quebec. That’s why it doesn’t want it to go.”

Jill Chesley, Edmonton

Prophets of doom

I hope that Canadian foreign policy-makers don’t give much credence to Tad HomerDixon’s theory that unchecked population growth in poor countries poses a security threat to the developed world (“Looking for trouble,” Special Report, Sept. 5). Countries have been exploited the world over, stripped of their natural resources and pride by First World nations. Once these countries have nothing left to offer, the colonizing country has no more use for them. To think that these same colonizers can right these wrongs through population control is nothing more than an extension of the imperialism that destroyed many of these countries

in the first place. Population control would likely lead to a further sense of powerlessness, war and bloodshed.

Tim Cooney, Regina

Congratulations to Tad Homer-Dixon and all others who have the courage to state, and act, on what must be done if homo sapiens, not to mention other species, are to survive. The role of religion in this immensely important effort will be crucial, as will that of education. To continue in the current mode is to condemn all of us to oblivion.

J. M. Best, Gabriola, B. C.

Official secrets

Your article “The spy who did too much” (Canada, Sept. 5) on Heritage Front spy Grant Bristow asserts: “For once, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) appears to have targeted a group—-the Heritage Front—which most Canadians could agree warrants surveillance.” Short of taking a public opinion poll, the assertion is unprovable. CSlS’s mandate, laid down precisely to avoid the cowboy antics of the old RCMP, defines threats to national security as foreign-controlled groups, groups involved in sabotage or espionage or groups advocating the violent overthrow of the government. Peaceful political dissent is explicitly outside CSlS’s mandate and so, we believe, is the Heritage Front, however offensive its antics might be.

Legh Jackson, Canadian Association for Free Expression Inc., Etobicoke, Ont.

Five over four

In your summary of the 1994 Commonwealth Games (“All that glitters,” Sports, Sept. 5), you state that gymnast Stella Umeh’s four medals in women’s artistic gymnastics made her Canada’s “biggest winner at the Games.” While Umeh did win two gold and § two silver medals, Camille Martens, an 18-year-old native of Vernon, B.C., won a total of five medals—one gold and four silvers—in rhythmic gymnastics. First, she contributed in a major way to the gold medal in the team competition, then won the silver medal in the individual all-round competition. She finished by adding three more silver medals in the ball, clubs and ribbon apparatus finals.

Raul Sales, Canadian Rhythmic Sportive Gymnastic Federation, Gloucester, Ont.

School days

This being a multicultural country, our school boards should think of giving every student two days off for their own religious holidays (“A holy war over holidays,” Canada, Sept. 12). Giving one religion its holidays and ignoring others is not the solution.

Midu Gulerya, Rexdale, Ont.

Fm shaking my head in disbelief over the pretty pass that pandering to multiculturalism has brought our school system to. If a religious group’s holy day falls on a school day, its kids should stay home that day, plain and simple. Religious beliefs should accommodate the school system, not the other way around.

Meredith Reid, North Vancouver

I am of Eastern Orthodox faith, which is shared by many thousands of Canadians of Eastern European extraction. Most Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas, Easter and other church holidays according to the “old” Julian calendar. We adapted to the circumstances of our new home country and our children simply stayed home on those days with an explanation to the principal.

Mary Liitoja, Don Mills, Ont.

‘Ominous parallels’

Your cover “Bright kids, bright futures?” (Aug. 29) was interesting and disturbing, with some ominous parallels between the Canadian and British educational systems. The British so-called elitist system was done away with in favor of the comprehensive system, with its mixed-ability groups, elimination of academic examinations and so on. There is

no evidence to back up the main argument used to de-stream the U.K. system: that working with bright children will pull along the less bright. To the contrary, the gifted children are held back. No one would ever advocate forcing so-called slow learners to either learn quickly or go elsewhere to learn—why should the opposite be considered acceptable?

Peter J. Green, Surrey, B.C.

Your article left some pressing questions unanswered. If 20 per cent of all students qualify for special gifted programs, should

not the program be integrated in the local class? Surely the percentage chosen by the experts is a politically motivated statistic and not a scientific fact. Why have the gifted programs failed to identify working-class and poor immigrant children? If a technique like brainstorming is good for advanced students, would it not benefit all students? The benefit that my son has reaped from the gifted program has not been from specialized teaching or smaller classes: he gains from being in a peer group. He is lucky that he has many friends from the regular stream, too.

Errol Young,

Trustee, North York Board of Education, North York, Ont.

It’s about the law

Toronto lawyer John Weingust (“Big Brother patrol,” Canada, Aug. 29) is surely missing the point in his proposed fight against photo radar. Speeding kills and is against the law, and I hope my family never encounters this arrogant lawbreaker.

Mary Arntfield, Burlington, Ont.

The whining of speeders caught by photo radar is reminiscent of those who oppose gun control because it requires them to moderate their anarchistic leanings for the common good. Someone built a better mousetrap and the mice don’t like it. Cry me a river.

Bruce Shand, Summerland, B. C.

The privacy debate regarding photo radar just doesn’t cut it. Are we to believe that security surveillance equipment used in banks and comer stores is also a gross invasion of privacy?

Ian McDonald, London, Ont.

No need to know

Your advertising claims that Maclean’s offers the news that Canadians want to know. The average Canadian does not need or want a whole page devoted to Oliver Stone’s latest perversion entitled Natural Born Killers (“Helter-skelter,” Films, Aug. 29). It is ironic that the review of this American film follows closely on the heels of your Aug. 15 cover story, “Kids who kill.”

M. A. Hocquard, Kettleby, 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.