August 25 1997


August 25 1997


Taking the lead

The Avro Canada C-102 Jetliner (Avro coined the name “Jetliner”) first flew on Aug. 10, 1949, beating the Boeing 707 by eight years. Long before the all-Canadian Bombardier CRJ-700 (“Sky King,” Cover, Aug. 11), the Jetliner was an advanced medium-range, 725 km/h, intercity, 40-seat passenger jet that set records every time it flew, and gained the admiration and interest of several U.S. airliners, the U.S. military and Trans World Airlines owner Howard Hughes. But even with foreign orders for the C-102 pending, the minister of munitions and supply, C. D. Howe, ordered work on the Jetliner stopped in 1951, telling Avro to concentrate solely on production of the CF-100 Canuck fighter needed in the Korean War. Ironically, the CF-100 did not go into operation until April, 1953, when the war was almost over. Howe never did let production of the Jetliner go ahead after the war ended, and its axing effectively killed Canada’s lead in jet transport. Of course, the United States took up the lead in civil jet aviation in North America, and it was not until 1978 that Canada produced another jet passenger plane, the Canadair CL-600 Challenger. Twenty years later, Canada has pro-


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duced the excellent Bombardier CRJ-700 passenger jet, and it is being hailed as a marvel. It is ironic that it has taken Canada approximately 50 years to rebuild some of what it had during the time of Avro Canada. Unfortunately, Canada did not seem to appreciate it then.

Trevor Dailey, Sarnia, Ont.

Geography 101

I am a Canadian citizen with a proud Slovak heritage. I am therefore very upset with the map that accompanied “A deluge of anger” (World, Aug. 11). The map shows central Europe, including the Czech Republic and Slovakia—but identified only as the Czech Republic. Had the former Czechoslovakia only recently separated, I might have allowed you some slack in failing to catch this obvious error on your part.

Dusan Pristach, Toronto

A deeper problem

You have probably already received several corrections for your spelling mistake in “On the water” (Newsroom Notes, Aug. 4). Georgia Straight is a former hippie newspaper, still being published in Vancouver. The Georgia Strait to which you meant to refer is a body of water west of Vancouver. I am suggesting that the problem is deeper than a simple typo. Throughout the ’70s, when the student protesters were readers of the popular Georgia Straight newspaper, this was the most common and frequent misspelling of Georgia Strait in University of British Columbia geography courses. I haven’t seen it in recent years, so I infer that you have a 40ish former hippie from Vancouver on your editorial or proofreading staff. They live on.

J. Lewis Robinson, Professor emeritus of geography, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver

A clean break

Bravo to Dr. Morton Doran for suggesting that Quebec’s separation from Canada need not be bitter and divisive (“Maturity and separation,” The Road Ahead, Aug. 11). My Canada does in fact include

A potent mix

It is almost a cliché to say that there is no place in this world for racism, but U.S. congressman J. C. Watts’s comment that “you can’t solve discrimination with discrimination" should be carved in stone (“Black, proud and Republican,” Dateline, Aug. 11). His assertion that hard work, sacrifice and commitment to a goal transcend color may seem simplistic, but it is nonetheless a potent success formula for people of any race, creed or color. It is sad, however, to see that such comments have unjustly earned him the label of “traitor” by others of his own race. In the United States (and in Canada), artificial barriers to anyone's improvement reside in the politics of class envy and government dependency. Watts seems determined to break down these barriers, reminding people that a sharp focus on skin color is merely narrow vision.

Mike Matheson, Stoney Creek, Ont.

Quebec, but not at any price. If half the province’s population wishes to secede, it is unlikely the separatists will be won over to Confederation. If, as we approach the year 2000, Quebec wants to leave Canada, we should wish its people bon voyage and bonne chance.

Kenneth Scott, Toronto

“Maturity and separation” shows how little some Canadians know their country and the basis of its existence. In his simplistic manner, Dr. Morton Doran is advocating the obliteration of Canada and the elimination of Quebec by sending it to the slaughterhouse that will result if Quebec secedes. Canada cannot exist without Quebec, and Quebec cannot exist without Canada.

Jacques G. Guimond, Longueuil, Que.

Well remembered

Your eulogy for economist Robert Bryce was very good (“A nation builder,” Obituary, Aug. 11). It indicates the lack of men of that calibre in Canada today.

Walter Wolfson, Winnipeg

Robert Bryce’s 40 years of influence on government policies has left us with an employment insurance and welfare system that encourages people not to work, an unaffordable medicare system, old age pensions we cannot afford and a horrendous national debt that our children and grandchildren can probably never pay back. Some nation builder. I think the label “nation wrecker” would be more appropriate. Why did anyone ever take this misguided visionary seriously?


Herman Dost, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Available options

People may not agree with some of British Columbia Premier Glen Clark’s tactics in the fisheries dispute, but at least we have a leader who leads (“Darn Yankees!” Cover, Aug. 4). There are not many options available when confronting a giant who is holding a large club. You can stand toe to toe, and if he uses the club everyone will say that was the wrong approach. Or you can try appeasement, and approach him with hat in hand. A chap by the name of Neville Chamberlain tried that with Germany and the results were disastrous. The one question that comes to my mind is: where in hell is the leader of the Opposition during this provincial crisis?

Robert H. Thompson, Victoria IS

Exposed scars

Thank you for your wonderful article on the first World Breast Conference (“Radical responses,” Health, July 28). It certainly captured the spirit of this amazing gathering of people who are concerned with the link between pollution and cancer. As one of the speakers and an artist who has chosen to reveal to the public what a mastectomy looks like, I wish to make a correction regarding a powerful—and often alienating—word used to describe my actions: “Matuschka angrily refused to hide her scars.” A better way to put it is that I “freely chose to show my scars.” Women who are

assertive and try to bring about change through such actions are often labelled as angry. If so, anger is a healthy reaction to a toxic or oppressive situation. Many women who were at the conference want to help make the future better than the present. They want to see more industry with integrity, more science with humanity, more business with morality. As for the take-home tote bags that participants received referred to at the end of the article, which are made of “environmentally suspect” polyvinyl chloride, we are avidly searching for a company to donate chlorine-free cotton bags for the next conference, to be held in 1999. Perhaps by then, more manufacturers will have gotten the message.

Matuschka, New York City

Shared shame

Most of the time, I find anything Barbara Amiel writes starchy, pretentious, even offensive. Her narrow-minded conservatism is just too much for any fair-minded person to endure. However, in her refreshingly apolitical Aug. 11 column (“Were the Swiss banks really so different?”), she hit the proverbial nail on the head. Human beings are basically all the same. Under similar circumstances, many of us would probably have behaved as some of the Swiss did back then, and for the same reasons. Besides, as Amiel points out, we today have a lot to be ashamed of. History does not repeat itself; human beings do because they can’t or won’t learn from history.

Arthur L. Quesnel, Sudbury, Ont.

I think that Barbara Amiel makes a very poignant observation in that neither Canada, nor any other member of the United Nations can claim to be “holier-than-thou” in light of the perpetual “indifference” to China’s atrocities in Tibet. Why cannot Canada and the United Nations demand humanitar-

ian behavior from China over the recent accounts of Tibetan “programming” and compulsory renunciation of the Dalai Lama? This deplorable example of the abuse of human rights (especially given Tibet’s record of nonviolence) should not be ignored by the global community.

Paul Nash, West Vancouver, B.C. Jll

In her column, Barbara Amiel astutely points out that many countries other than Switzerland laundered Nazi money, and she describes continuing atrocities of mass murder since the Holocaust. However, when she states that the “primitive brutality” used to slaughter Nigerian Ibos “makes the gas chambers look merciful,” she commits the abhorrent act of creating a hierarchy of human suffering. Such a comparison obscures universal suffering and callously minimizes inhumane acts of mammoth dimensions. Whether high technology or low, all methods used to annihilate groups of human beings are primitive. To suggest that the gas chambers were in any way less bestial than other forms of wanton carnage is a travesty and an affront not only to those who perished but also to the survivors of the Nazi murder camps who bore witness to this inexpressible cruelty and suffering.

Barbara Pressman, Chairwoman, Waterloo County Holocaust Education Committee, Kitchener, Ont.

The wrong song

The phrase “from sea to shining sea” that appears in “Passport to profit” (Business, July 28) is from a grandiose American patriotic song, America the Beautiful. It is not Canadian. It does not refer to Canada. There may be increasing similarities between the two countries and we may have equally shining seas, but there is still a fundamental and most welcome difference. Vive la différence.

J. H. McEwan, Vancouver