The Mail

August 12 1996

The Mail

August 12 1996

The Mail

Degrees of racism

Like the majority of immigrants to Canada over the years, I have encountered varying degrees of discrimination, both subtle and overt. Giving Donovan Bailey the benefit of the doubt for his claim that he was misquoted when he compared the incidences of racism in Canada with those elsewhere (“Resurrecting the racist row,” Cover, July 29), I would like to offer some observations. Yes, discrimination based on race, religion or nationality does exist here. No, it is not as blatant as it is in most other countries. No, racism is not a mortal sin indulged in only by the

Caucasian race. To those for whom the term racism has become a favorite reaction to valid criticism, I quote the warweary old dogface created by the renowned First World War political cartoonist Sir David Low. When a newly arrived young private complained about the quality of the trenches, he responded: “If yer knows a better ’ole, go to it!”

Anthony Chernushenko, Gloucester, Ont.


should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters 777 Bay St.,Toronto, Ont. M5W IA7 Fax: (416) 596-7730 E E-mail:

or: Maclean’s welcomes readers’ views, but letters may be edited for space and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Submissions may appear in Maclean’s electronic sites.

I was pleased to see an article on Ben Johnson included as part of your Olympic coverage (“Ben Johnson on the record”). As he points out, his 9.79 seconds for the 100 m in Seoul remains the fastest on record. His fall from grace is something for which Canada should be ashamed. He was by no means the only athlete who was using performance-enhancing drugs. He became a scapegoat for all of the other athletes who were unofficially encouraged to break records by using anabolic steroids.

Catherine E. Charles, Willowdale, Ont.

Small-press blues

It is true that Coach House Press has barely broken even over the past six years, but it has always done so. I think someone’s finger slipped between the “b” and the “r” in your article “Literary lights out” (Publishing, July 29), which has us rarely breaking even.

Margaret McClintock, Publisher, Coach House Press, Toronto

After reading your article I realized how much the Canadian publishing industry has touched my life. For years, I managed a typesetting/graphic design house in Montreal, which specialized in the small press. Our company employed six full-time as well as many part-time staff who loved what they did and were dependent on government grants to the small publishers who paid our salaries. The company closed. Talented men and women are now out of work and the small publishers we served—friends—are left scrambling for new typesetters and designers who can afford to wait for the almost non-existent government money to come in. I fear I am a witness to the slow, painful death of an industry that has both supported me and given me authors such as Margaret Atwood and Robertson Davies. My life would be less without their words and it will be still less without the words of the young Canadians who aspire to become published in this unfortunate literary wasteland. Repent you Mike Harrises— repent and support our writers—support our publishers. Without them we are less.

Wayne Menard, Montreal E

The difficulties of small presses are a reflection of changing technology, not the absence of government subsidies. Some 10 years ago, I published my own book, set it

'Good or bad'

When kids do well, parents are the first to say: That’s my son/daughter. We supported him/her; made sure he/she made it to the practice at 5 a.m. But when kids are in trouble, then we blame the neighborhood, the crowd at school, society, anyone, or anything other than ourselves. The Manitoba judge who ruled against parents paying restitution for their children’s shoplifting has sent a message to Canadians—we are not responsible for our kids ("The price of shoplifting,” Business Notes, July 29). All kids push the limits at some point in their lives. It is our responsibility as adults to teach them what those limits are and the consequences of going beyond them. That teaches respect, responsibility and values. We are responsible for our kids and their actions—good or bad.

Bernadette Penney, St. John’s, Nfld.

up on my computer, had it printed inexpensively through competitive bids, hired a distribution agent who took 30 per cent, and I kept 70 per cent of the cover price. A far better deal than the 10 per cent authors get from publishers now. Changing technology has made traditional book publishing too costly. The mainline publishers work in posh offices in expensive cities at exorbitant salaries. The books are bound by binderies in a similar economic stranglehold leading to high prices. No wonder all this takes 90 per cent of the cost. Small presses will survive with change. One can write in Greenland, zip the text to an editor in Bath, England (bypassing customs and other red tape), get bids from presses in Hong Kong or Uruguay by e-mail, and also select a distributor. The archaic part is shipping and stocking books in a store.

Hugh Douglas, Burlington, Vt. E

'Coverup manoeuvre?'

Lt.-Gen. Maurice Baril’s reference to those Canadian soldiers guilty of misconduct in Bosnia as “nothing more than a bunch of drunks and bums” is undoubtedly true. However, what follows—“And I don’t give a damn what anybody says. I don’t want them in my army”—sounds remarkably like too little, too late (“Shamed in Bosnia,” Canada, July 29). The general seems to have forgotten that in light of his 30 years’ service he was definitely one of the architects of this “failure of leadership.” It is most difficult to suggest or recommend a cure when you are, in fact, a part of

the problem. Or is this just a coverup manoeuvre, with the main thrust being the prospect of Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jean Boyle’s early retirement?

Retired chief warrant officer Edward Hansen,


Straight talk

A letter from Ian Coleman in your July 29 issue (“Research funding”) stated: “Now that the blood supply is safe, only gay men and drug addicts are going to get [AIDS].” I would like to inform him that the gay community has been dealing with the issues of AIDS for longer than the general population. Consequently, they have become aware of the problem and learned how to protect themselves. It is attitudes such as his that contribute to the spread of the disease by teaching the straight population that they are untouchable. I find his letter to be an embarrassing display of ignorance.

Laura Rogers, Gloucester, Ont. HI

I was amazed and encouraged by many of the revelations regarding new AIDS treatments and the work of volunteers to help those infected with the deadly virus (“Beating AIDS,” Cover, July 15). I was astonished, however, to read a letter in The Mail section saying that AIDS was already beaten if you weren’t gay or a drug addict. It is this type of comment that throws us right back to the beginning of the fight where we, as a nation, were battling the greatest enemy of all, absolute ignorance. That’s what is going to kill us.

Scott Wenger, Calgary

TWA tragedy

Once again, the media illustrate their anti-Christian slant. For you to assume that the 230 victims of the TWA Flight 800 explosion and crash will end their lives in “eternal darkness” (“Last flight into dark-

ness,” World, July 29) is to deny the Christian view, shared by millions of people worldwide, that those who accept Jesus Christ will live in eternal light.

Michelle Van Zeumeren, Brampton, Ont. Ill

In reference to “Death in the skies,” and previous air crash fatalities, two tragic incidents have been missed: the IranAir jet shot down in the Persian Gulf by a U.S. navy rocket and the Libyan Arab Airlines jet shot down in the Mediterranean by Israeli fighter planes. One wonders if the omission was due to an oversight, or due to the fact that no North American passengers were involved and the perpetrators were friendly forces.

]. P. Roumaniotis, Brampton, Ont.

For love of the game

It was a pleasure to read “Golfing for glory” (Opening Notes, July 29), concerning Winnipeg golfer Rob McMillan and his desire to retain his amateur status despite having the ability to win money playing golf. In past days, it was an honor to be an amateur and should someone have gained monetarily from playing a sport, the person was considered a professional or not playing for the true love of the game. I have found that opening my wallet to attend Canadian Football League or American Hockey League games a much easier task compared with being a paying customer to watch NFL, NHL, NBA or major-league baseball games.

Michael Fraumeni, Hamilton III