February 19 1996


February 19 1996


Shuffling cabinets

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s cabinet shuffle is encouraging news (“Fighting back,” Canada/Cover, Feb. 5). His new ministers have boldly set the tone for any future dealings with Quebec separatists. On the other hand, there is nothing reassuring about Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard’s new headmen. The appointment of Serge Mey nard as minister responsible for Montreal is > particularly unsettling. Inevitably, nationalist 2 ideology will influence his policies and ag| gravate the already dismal economic condi^ tion of this once-great metropolis. There are only two things the demigods in Quebec City can do to reassure me and raise Montreal from the ashes. The first would be to free the region from the chains of Bill 101, and the second, to cease their destructive and divisive separatist rantings. Short of this, partition is the only cure.

Vince Di Clemente, Montreal ®

Two points about your cover story on the Constitution in which I was quoted: first, the accompanying photograph is not me, but Liberal MP George Rideout; second, you quote me as saying the term distinct society “means so many contradictory things across the country that it is not helpful to reconciliation.” I would like to add, however, that national reconciliation does require some constitutional accommodation of the concept of duality as perceived by francophone Quebecers. The most important aspect of this is to make explicit that the Quebec national assembly unambiguously enjoys the power to legislate for the protection and promotion of French within the province.

John Richards, Associate professor of policy and analysis, Faculty of business administration, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B. C.

Teenage tragedy

I am writing to give one psychiatric point of view on the story about the suicide of teenager Douglas Stewart (“Killing the pain,” Special Report, Jan. 29). The subhead, “Nobody, including grieving parents, knows why,” can be questioned. The psychiatric profession, and our culture along with it, is entering a techno-biological dark ages in which we are preoccupied with the brain or, at most, with a behavioral consideration of stress such that patients have no real problems unless they can be seen as having a

brain disorder or presumed “chemical inbalance” for which a drug can be prescribed. This is not to suggest brain disorders are not real and important, only that the compulsion to view human problems biologically is promoting a terrible ignorance of human suffering. It is no accident that young people kill themselves and it is an honest, courageous and responsible thing for parents and professionals to ask: where did we go wrong?

Dr. Howard Taynen, Toronto

Your report on teenage suicide missed a crucial element: sexual orientation. Numerous studies indicate that more than 30 per cent of adolescent male suicides are caused by sexual orientation issues. Until our society recognizes that gay and lesbian kids exist and that they need support not condemnation, this unbelievable statistic will continue.

Ellen Bell and Ann Cioppa, Nepean, Ont. JS

Teens should be more aware that, after every fantastic alcohol high, there is usually a very depressing low. As someone who has experienced both many times, it is very hard to see the difference between what’s real and unreal after a binge.

Brian Mahoney, Toronto

Profit and poverty

Why, why, why, in a country with record-breaking bank profits of more than $4 billion and other examples of extreme wealth, are we sending thousands of people to live on the streets (“Winter of discontent,” Life, Feb. 5)?

David Finnis, Summerland, B.C.

Military service

Respecting ‘To the heart of the matter” (Canada, Feb. 5) about Canada’s military, I can only address two inaccuracies. First, I have not served, though I would have been honored to have done so, with the United Nations in the former republic of Yugoslavia. Second, I am 51, not 52, years of age.

Maj.-Gen. C. J. Addy, Commander, Land Force Western Area,


Television lust

The bottom line here is that Allan Fotheringham’s treatment of Colleen Jones as a sex object was insulting, not only to her and other women, but to meteorologists (“Discovering a friend for all seasons,” Column, Jan. 29). Jones is much more than a pretty face. She is a competent weather and sportscaster, and her enthusisam for her work only adds to her professionalism. What her marital status has to do with the weather is beyond us.

Jennifer Nazareth, Shannon Story, Jacqueline MacVarish, Lucy Dos Santos,


Foth is a dirty old man. I always dress before watching Colleen on CBC Newsworld weather. Colleen, don’t call Allan, call me. I’m younger, better looking and I live in British California where the weather is fabulous.

Brent Rowe, Comox, B. C.

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. Fax: (416) 596-7730.

Ill E-mail: letters@macleans.ca

or: 76702.2247@compuserve.com