The Mail

The Mail

December 2 1996
The Mail

The Mail

December 2 1996

The Mail

Home with Gzowski

I am angry. I have stood by and watched all levels of government cut back essential services, thinking, “Well, it will be hard, but they must know what they are doing.” I was wrong. I depend on our national radio for indepth coverage of news, views and music that I cannot get elsewhere. These programs are the touchstones of my life. When I moved to British Columbia from Alberta, I felt adrift and alone. One day, I was idly turning my radio dial when I happened upon the familiar tones of Peter Gzowski. Instantly, I felt relaxed, smiling. I was home. CBC Radio programs do not need tinkering (“Gzowski’s last stand,” Cover, Nov. 18). They are not broken, they keep us whole. To listen to CBC Radio is to be personally connected to my whole country. I know I am not alone in this view, so why is no one listening at the top?

Pam Grover, Surrey, B.C.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters

777 Bay St.,Toronto, Ont. M5W IA7

Fax: (416) 596-7730

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Submissions may appear in Maclean’s electronic sites.

I don’t need more news reporting in my life. I need more of the feeling that all of Canada has been welcomed into my kitchen and Morningside does that for me.

Elizabeth Dolan, Calgary

Peter Gzowski has torn a page from the volumes written by Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky, both of whom came to believe they were bigger than their craft. The fact is these superstars were well paid for their efforts, both in dollars and fame. Gzowski has nothing to gain by taking on his employer, who has every right to call the shots.

Jim Newton, New Dundee, Ont.

In comparing audiences, and by extension, helping to justify the position of those who are fighting the cuts at the CBC, your story compares apples and oranges. While Raif Mair may have only 453,200 listeners in Vancouver, and Charles Adler only 497,600 in Toronto, that is because they are only heard in those markets and should never have been compared with a national show. When Peter Gzowski left late-night television, I was managing CJAD and tried to get him to move to Montreal and private radio, but I am glad he turned me down. Morningside is some of the best radio available and worth every cent. But decades of management, union and talent inbreeding have created a separate species of broadcaster, isolated from a whole set of realities. Where are the fresh ideas that could transform the corporation? If the best alternative is a lot of bitching and complaining, then the end is near.

Ralph Lucas, Toronto

Forests and farms

Diane Francis’s column “The vital industry that is largely ignored” (Nov. 11) is one of the silliest things I’ve read in a long time. Comparing forestry to agriculture because both industries involve plants is like comparing Francis to a cow. Both being mammals, they should serve the same purpose?

Linda Fairfield, St. Norbert, Man.

If we heed the likes of Diane Francis, our forests will go the way of our fish. If we can’t respect our natural heritage, we shall lose it.

Rosalind Orchard, Vancouver

True, the forest industry is not appreciated, but that is because it tries so hard to look like a group of upstanding farmers, but in fact acts like plunderers. The industry insists on cutting ever more old-growth forests, which take hundreds of years to grow—hardly anything like a farmer’s seasonal harvest cycle. Further, until forest companies were pressured into planting clear-cut areas, they routinely practised cut-and-run logging to which thousands of denuded hectares in British Columbia’s west coast still bear witness many decades later. The last thing we need is to “nurture and coddle” the philistine among us.

Walter W. Rudeloff Vancouver

As a retired research director of Agriculture Canada, I have long been frustrated that forestry has not been included under agriculture as it is in most other countries. Trees are just another crop, albeit our most important one, and have the same biological and economic problems as other crops. Separate departments only result in needless duplication of resources and meagre support of tree crops by politicians.

G. A. Mulligan, Ottawa

THE MAIL

Something deeper

In considering personal income tax cuts as a way of creating jobs (“ The world has changed,’ ” Special Report, Oct. 7), the government is so close and yet so far away. The traditional theory behind tax cuts is that consumers would then have more disposable income, which they could spend on goods that require labor to produce. The theory is nice, but it doesn’t work in practice, for three reasons. First, it results in loss of government revenue. Second, because of increasing technological efficiency, more material production does not necessarily mean more jobs. Third, there is something dubious about an economy that depends on inducing people to buy things they apparently don’t need. Instead of seeing tax cuts as a Band-Aid solution, government needs to proceed from a more fundamental insight.

Our present unemployment levels are an inherent structural feature of an economy that seriously underprices natural resources and energy, and the results of their consumption, and simultaneously overprices labor. The problem is something deeper than lack of consumer confidence. It is the fact that we are rewarding business for doing the wrong things. If the government eliminated taxes on income from productive labor, allowing gross wages to fall to the point where workers could continue to take home the same number of dollars, and increased taxes on natural resource and energy consumption, and on pollution, to fully compensate for lost income tax revenues, the result would be a restructured economy containing powerful incentives for business to downsize for longterm sustainability and hire more workers to add value to our remaining resources.

Les Carter, Courtenay, B.C.

Improper response

I can’t believe my anger after reading Allan Fotheringham’s knocking of Toronto’s selection by Fortune magazine as the best city in the world to live in (“The newest best city in the world,” Nov. 4). The proper reaction for all Canadians should be pride in the fact

that one of our cities was accorded this honor. Instead of listing his tired and ignorant complaints about this great city, he might have noted that Toronto is the third-largest English theatre centre in the world, has one of the best international film festivals, a major jazz festival, theatre and literature festivals, is home to a major orchestra, a ballet company and at least two opera companies, all with well-earned reputations, a major art gallery and two major museums. All the foregoing weighed heavily in Fortune’s selection process. And contrary to the misinformed columnist’s statement, we are all aware of the lake via attendance at the Canadian National Exhibition, Ontario Place, the lush Toronto Islands, attractions at the popular Harbourfront complex or just walking or biking along one of the most extensive waterfront walkways in Canada.

Clint Ward, Toronto IS

Bashing

back

Werner Zuercher asks where else in the world can a minority go unpunished for bashing a majority on a daily basis (“Longsuffering Quebecers,” The Road Ahead, Nov. 4)? How about Quebec for starters. Mr. Zuercher is, understandably, perceiving the issues he addresses from a distinctly Québécois point of view. He calls the James Bay agreement “more than generous,” while referring to the obscenity known as Churchill Falls as only a “legal contract.” To this narrow view, publishing photographs of anti-English graffiti is slander rather than journalism, native Canadians “pawns” instead of citizens voicing their concerns, and the support of Canadian unity becomes “anti-separatism.” Reality is this: the French language and culture are as protected as the people in Quebec want them to be. A third referendum or a 30th, there are enough thinking people in Quebec to realize just where the hate propaganda is coming from.

Michael W McLean, Rexdale, Ont.

“Long-suffering Quebecers” says Quebec anglophones are indulging in Quebec-bashing but fails to mention the bashing began from the Quebec side in the time of former

premier Jacques Parizeau and then-Bloc Québécois Leader Lucien Bouchard. In fact, the best-treated minority in the world are the francophones, by the anglophone majority of Canadians. The letter makes a point of Quebec’s remaining peaceful, while the English lie to them and treat them badly. I remember when they were not so peaceful, when they put dynamite in mailboxes and kidnapped and killed Pierre Laporte. True, these hooligans did not represent the francophone population, but they pretended to speak for them. I agree many French-Canadians in Quebec suffered economically, but much of that was the result of their own leaders, who kept them in ignorance of what was happening in the rest of the world. The solution to the problem is compromise, but how can it happen when the Quebec premier says that nothing Canada can offer him is acceptable unless Quebec attains complete separation?

Max Feldman, Montreal

Inclusive choice

If I had to choose between Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “far-left, statist society” (“Cherchez la femme in the presidential race,” Column, Nov. 4), and the world Barbara Amiel and her husband, Conrad Black, espouse and embody, I’d opt for Clinton’s empathetic, inclusionary impulses any day.

Jan Michael Sherman, Watson Lake, Yukon

Trojan gift horse

How ironic that one week after Diane Francis’s column (“Children suffer while their parents bicker,” Oct. 14), you headline a story “The secret summit.” As Francis correctly points out, the national unity problem is really about provincial sovereignty and division of powers rather than special status for Quebec. The federal government has traditionally addressed this problem by showering Quebec with gifts, thereby casting Quebec as the antagonist, and distracting the public from the real problem, which is structural in nature.

Al Mussell, St. Paul, Minn. IS

Mixed message

As a young person who is still in high school, I am opposed to liquor advertising on television (“The booze tube debate,” Business, Oct. 21). These kinds of messages may seem harmless, but lives are being affected. Alcohol is a drug and should be treated as such.

Christina Lowing, Yellowknife

THE MAIL_

Celtic Canucks

Congratulations are in order to Prof.

Michael Kenneally on his efforts to promote Irish studies in Montreal (“Irish influences,” Opening Notes, Nov. 11). His statement that the history of the Irish in Canada is “certainly not taught to students” is, however, incorrect. For several years, we have been teaching courses on the Irish in Canada as part of our Celtic Studies program at the University of Toronto. Here, at least, the important contribution of the Irish to Canadian history is not neglected.

Ann Dooley,

Co-ordinator, Celtic Studies program, University of Toronto, Toronto

Breakfast at school

oo many hungry kids” (Canada Notes, 1 Nov. 18) reveals that, according to a “leaked Newfoundland governmentcommissioned report, about half of the province’s schoolchildren are likely to underachieve because they are coming to class hungry, and part of the solution lies in more school meal programs.” As one of 12 impoverished children growing up in New Brunswick in the 1950s, I do not remember ever going to school hungry despite the lack of a $5-million school breakfast program. With children having both breakfast and lunch at school, why not throw in a few cots so the parents can get on with their lives without having these pesky nuisances to deal with.

Thelma Dixon, Aurora, Ont.

Honorable mention

I wish to nominate Madelene Aksich for the Maclean’s Honor Roll. Ms. Aksich is founder and director of the Montreal-based International Children’s Institute, an organi-

zation devoted to helping the war-torn lives of the children of Bosnia. She has raised private and federal funds and organized an eminent panel of child professionals with which she has visited schools in areas of conflict over the past several years. This success story is now being extended to inner-city Canadian schools.

Gordon Laurie, Charlottesville, Va. Ill

I nominate Dr. Marion (Manny) Radomski, chief of Defence Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine, an unsung Canadian scientist. As DCIEM’s chief scientist/administrator, he champions research projects to benefit the activities of the armed forces, such as a world-class hypobaric chamber to produce new deep-diving techniques.

Ed Pietros, Toronto