The media frenzy surrounding the mercury amalgam issue ("The furor over fillings,” Backpack, March 18) is just one of the many sensitive issues confronting the dental profession. Amalgam use for 150 years and billions of fillings placed does not by itself justify amalgam’s safety. If nothing else, from an environmental standpoint, we should consider following the example of industrialized countries such as Germany, Austria and Sweden, which have limited use of the material. The truth of the matter is that the average dentist in Canada does not have the skills to place alternative “plastic” filling materials. Money, effort and research should be directed to find a safe, inexpensive and easy-to-use alternative filling material.
Conrad B. Sonntag, D.D.S., Redcliff Alta.
The current campaign against the use of silver amalgam fillings to restore broken and decayed teeth is reminiscent of the much more intense battle waged in the 1950s and ’60s by the opponents of the use of minute amounts of fluoride compounds to combat the epidemic effects of tooth decay. Both the anti-fluoridationists and the anti-amalgamists were and are led by small, well-organized special-interest groups who rely on unscientific anecdotal evidence and studies that raise public fear of a threat to health that, except in the case of rare specific sensitivity, have never been proved valid. The great irony of the debate is that because of the proven positive effect of fluoridation over the past several decades, dental decay has virtually ceased to exist as a serious public health problem thus profoundly reducing the necessity to use any type of dental restorative material, particularly in young people.
Daniel A. Nelson, D.D.S. St. Catharines, Ont.
I recently read the article of March 11 entitled “Mutant menace” (Health), concerning the bacteria Vancomycin-resistant enterococci. The rapidly increasing problem of mutating bacteria, resulting in hardy strains that are resistant to all forms of antibiotics, is quite terrifying. Yet our society is actually contributing to this problem, including medical professionals themselves. North Americans have come to rely on antibiotics as cures for many forms of illness. When antibiotics such as penicillin
and Vancomycin were discovered, it was thought that these drugs could kill all forms of bacteria, so development of new antibiotics virtually stopped. If we do not cease our rampant use of antibiotics, we could have some very deadly bacteria to deal with.
Teisha Gaylard, Kanata, Ont.
True profit picture
There was an error regarding Molson in your Business Notes column of March 18 (“Molson slashes jobs,”), which said: “Hoping to boost profits, money-losing Molson Breweries has cut 250 jobs in Montreal.” Molson Breweries is not mon-
ey losing. In our third quarter results re ported on Feb. 7, Molson Breweries pro its were $154.9 million.
Many Muskokans get very annoye when outsiders refer to the are where we live as the Muskokas, which yc mention in two different articles (“A mov set too hot to handle,” Opening Note “The ADD dilemma,” Life, March 11 There is no such place. There is A District of Muskoka only.
Denilde Gudi Bracebridge, 0)
Jobs and budgets
The “Jobs” issue (Cover, March 11) w;
timely. Surely it is time we had a Jol First culture. Governments and corpor fions should not be judged by the absui standard of how many fellow Canadiai they can throw out of work while they i organize. That’s old hat and destructiv
Investors and real people
Congratulations to Peter C. Newman for his column “Memo to Paul Martin: It’s jobs, jobs, jobs!” (The Nation’s Business, March 18). Once again, Newman has pointed out something that others barely acknowl-
edge: that “new jobs don’t any longer follow” deficit reduction. By an interesting juxtaposition, the preceding page of that issue contained a report about the sudden drop in the stock markets following the release of
news about an increase in job creation (“Signs of growth trigger a sell-off,” Business Notes). Few things, it seems to me, could illustrate more clearly that the world of investors and stockbrokers is far removed from the world of workers (read: ordinary people). Shortly before the stock market “correction,” Finance Minister Martin introduced his new budget. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was quoted afterward expressing pleasure that the stock market reacted positively to the budget. If the stock market liked it, does that mean it will be good news for us ordinary folk, or bad? I’m not encouraged.
Paul Sodtke, Toronto
Now, it’s time for something novel. The ability of management should be judged on the basis of how many jobs they can save and create when they reorganize. In the long run, it’s not only socially responsible and good for national unity, but good for business as it boosts demand for goods and services. An area that needs this kind of attention is the civil sector.
L Andrew Cardozo, Ottawa
One point missing in your “Jobs” articles is what the tax system is for. How about introducing a factor to the corporate income tax based on profit per employee (PPE)? The tax rate should be lower for a low PPE and higher for a high PPE. Those who have worked throughout a fiscal year would qualify for PPE calculation. That would provide an incentive to create and maintain steady jobs.
W.Y.Lee, Kitimat, B. C.
'The root of all evil?'
Three cheers for Deirdre McMurdy and her implicit defence of the businessman (“Villains in pinstripes,” The Bottom Line, March 11). By exposing the “conga line” of business bashing by both liberals and conservatives—whether Canadian or American—she demonstrates a rare grasp of the similarities among today’s economic and political mentalities. But I must disagree with one thing: politicians of every persuasion are not merely “goading the backlash” and pandering to economic ignorance and acrimony against businessmen. They truly believe in their vitriol against business. But of course politicians couldn’t be tainted by the dogma that money and self-interest are the root of all evil, could they?
Stephan Weaver, Vancouver
Who is Deirdre McMurdy and why does she jump through such hoops and use such twisted logic to try to fashion a col-
umn. First of all, upon even a moment’s reflection it quickly becomes apparent that those factors that McMurdy cites as the “real” reasons for widespread discontent— global markets, free trade and advanced technology—are all promoted and sustained most significantly by business as
part of the corporate agenda. Second, when McMurdy says that “without a recovery in corporate profits, the prospects for employment and consumer spending would be even bleaker than they are now,” what does she mean? As McMurdy should know, now business lays off large portions
of its workforce in order to achieve higher profits. I wonder how that will lead to the increased consumer spending that she refers to?
Pierre Sadik, Etobicoke, Ont.
The Canadian Forces have been “pursemugged” for the third year running (“The boomer budget,” Canada, March 18). Too bad you failed to point out the government’s folly using defence as the quick fix for the national debt problem. Neglecting to maintain a realistic level of military capability in today’s climate of long-term instability is not only imprudent, but also in reckless disregard of reality.
J. Cecil Berezowski, Brentwood Bay, B. C.
No control over ADD
I am a mother whose child is on Ritalin, as well as a family physician who has several young patients on the medication, so I read your recent article “The ADD dilemma” (Life, March 11) with particular interest. I would dearly welcome an alternative to giving my daughter drugs. In fact, my husband and I spent three years with her going through play therapy, behavior counselling, pediatric consultations and tutoring. And at the end of all that, we still had an unhappy kid who was going to fail Grade 1. So I had her seen by a specialist, who prescribed Ritalin. We worked very hard to give her the best start in life. So why do I feel so guilty?
Dr. Val Bayley, St. Catharines, Ont.
Your recent article on ADD fails to mention that many people suffer from attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity My daughter, 19, was recently diagnosed with ADD and she has never been hyper active. Those same frustrations and diffi cuides resulting from ADD also affee those with the disorder who have no hy peractivity and whose inability to focus is mainly first observed through excessivf and uncontrollable daydreaming. The bur den they carry is just as great if no greater than hyperactive children becaust they are less likely to be identified.
Chris Holdham 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.,
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.