The Mail

The Mail

September 1 1997
The Mail

The Mail

September 1 1997

The Mail

Prolonged suffering

How could you be so insensitive as to put the pictures of Clifford Olson and his victims on the front cover of the Aug. 18 issue (“A killer’s plea”)? The parents and relatives are already suffering as a result of his actions. Now, Olson has the opportunity to face them in his bid to become free of the penitentiary system. Most know that he will not get out, but do you have to splash him all over the cover and give him four pages inside your magazine? We lost a child as a result of foul play many years ago and still think about our loss every day.

Ron and Grace Wells, Coquitlam, B.C.

Shortly after my daughter, Nina, was murdered, I spoke to the mother of Anne-Marie Edward who was murdered by Marc Lépine at Ecole polytechnique in 1989.1 found that although the name of the killer came immediately to mind, I had difficulty remembering the names or faces of his victims. Sadistic killers in this country have become

celebrities while their victims are forgotten. Thank you for recognizing on the cover of your magazine the lives of children who will never age, whose lives were cut short in unspeakable terror. I am, however, heart-sore that you juxtaposed the faces of theses children with the image of their sadistic killer, thereby feeding into his overweening thirst for publicity. During his incarceration for these barbaric crimes, although he was supposed __ to have been banished from socig ety, he continues to overshadow his victims and country alike. Few Canadians can aspire to the honor of being on the cover of Maclean’s. Instead of offering a touching tribute to child victims, your cover demeans a national tragedy.

Priscilla de Villiers, President, Canadians Against Violence Everywhere Advocating its Termination, Burlington, Ont.

By putting Clifford Olson on the cover, you have not only hurt the relatives of his many victims, you have also given Olson exactly what he wants, more notoriety.

Daniel R. McLaren,

Prince George, B. C.

I tore the cover off the Aug. 18 issue of Maclean’s magazine, and put it right where it belongs—the garbage.

Peggy Lee, Surrey, B.C.

I read with disturbed fascination your story on Clifford Olson, including the personal article by Peter Worthington. I feel something is missing from your stories, however. I keep asking myself: ‘What were the forces that created Clifford Olson? Was he born a sociopath or was this monster created by abuse as a child or what?” I want to know how we can prevent the creation of any more like him while they are still children.

Murray D. Lumley, Ancaster, Ont.


should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters

777 Bay St.,Toronto, Ont. M5W IA7

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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.

In response to criminology Prof. Neil Boyd’s commentary regarding his advocacy of Clifford Olson’s legal right to a judicial review for early parole (“He is eligible for this review”): his argument is compelling; the Canadian democratic system and rules of law are in danger of collapse for all citizens if new legislation is applied retroactively. But I would like to ask him a question: why is he,

Questions remain

The article “Murder in Cold Lake” (Justice, Aug. 18) posed more questions than it answered. The relationship described in the article concerned a three-year courtship and a seven-year marriage. A romantic picture was painted, including their “going everywhere together,” eloping, marriage in Las Vegas, Nev., and a return visit to Las Vegas. The article stated that when Carol Meredith broke off her marriage to Barclay MacFie, it came as a shock to their family and friends, who had the impression that “marital harmony" existed between them. What triggered Meredith to end her marriage with MacFie? Was there evidence of emotional, psychological or physical violence?

P. S. Pocock, Pickering, Ont.

as are so many Canadian laws and policies, almost always solely concerned with the rights of convicted criminals while abandoning protection and consideration for the innocent victims of their crimes, victims who sometimes continue to suffer long after the initial assault perpetrated against them?

Toni Kovach, Hamilton

I have heard that news pertaining to sex and violence sells books and magazines, thus enhancing the owner’s bank account. Is this why the last issue was largely devoted to Clifford Olson? I find it revolting that you would place his picture and those of his victims on the cover and devote several pages inside to this depraved animal. Have you no consideration for his victims’ families?

Clifford G. Norris, Sorrento, B. C.

Depressing situation

My mother, Barsa Kelly, was killed on Air India Flight 182 in 1985. The ensuing investigations by the RCMP and the Canadian government could be called farcical if the situation were not so depressing (“A community trauma,” World, Aug. 18). My government has not even acknowledged that a bomb downed Flight 182. To do this would be to admit that the bomb was put on the plane in a B.C. airport and went through another Canadian airport that day. This sends a loud and clear message to those who export terrorism that they will likely get away with doing so in Canada.

Lorna U. Kelly, Guelph, Ont.


Welcome comments

Regarding the belittling of Barbara Amiel’s credentials to comment on world politics (“ ‘Out of touch,’ ” The Mail, July 28): as the president of an apolitical foundation that annually awards a book prize in world politics/inter national relations, I am delighted when Amiel ventures into this vital facet of our lives. Amiel has travelled widely. She is no armchair commentator. If she expresses unconventional views, they are at least informed and stimulating. The goal of our foundation is to encourage intelligent debate. So I say: Bravo to Amiel; boo to your previous correspondent!

Nancy Gelber, President, The Lionel Gelber Foundation,


Good intentions

Thank you for remembering the 10th anniversary of one of the most horrific events to affect Edmontonians (“A twister remembered,” Opening Notes, Aug. 4). But the University of Edmonton you write about does not exist. Dr. Bob Charlton is an associate professor in the department of earth and atmospheric sciences at the University of Alberta, located in Edmonton.

Lucianna Ciccocioppo, Office of Public Affairs, University of Alberta, Edmonton HI

'Perfectly Canadian'

Out of the mouths of babes: my five-yearold daughter looked at the cover of your Aug. 4 edition (“Darn Yankees!”) depicting the salmon war between Canada and the United States. She said: “Mommy, it looks like Canada and this other country are fighting over the fish. Why can’t they just share?”

Jocelyn Richard, Keswick, Ont.

Climbing mountains

In your Aug. 11 item about Marnie McBean, you wrote American Dick Bass was the first to climb the seven tallest summits in the world (“McBean’s high hopes,” Opening Notes). What you meant was Bass was the first to climb the highest peak on each of the seven continents. But that, too, is debatable. Bass thought of Australia as a continent and walked up Mount Kosciusko. Pat Morrow of Canmore, Alta., knew the continent was Australasia and climbed the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia.

Ace Bailey, Banff, Alta. HI

Biting back

In your article “Biting The Apple” (Business, Aug. 18), you state that Apple is “no longer at the cutting edge of technology.” Then please tell me who is. Apple Macs, not PCs, are the fastest laptops; Apple Macs, not PCs, are the fastest desktop computers. Apple’s new System 8 again makes the Macintosh easier to use than anything Microsoft has yet to copy. Apple’s main problem has not been a lack of cutting-edge technology, but rather a lack of cutting-edge reporting by uninformed and biased media that continuously and slanderously slam anything about Apple, eroding the confidence of a misinformed public.

Roger Rayner, Kanata, Ont.

At last, some decent reporting on Apple computer, but you can’t present it without a hysterical headline and a subhead claiming that Microsoft’s Bill Gates “bailed out” Steve Jobs of Apple. How could a $205-million purchase of new stock in a company whose cash reserves are almost $2 billion be called a bailout? When unsubstantiated statements like “it is no longer at the cutting edge of new technology” slip past your editor, is it just because they fit with the customary sad-sack imagery? And as for “biting,” what was the headline when Microsoft completely ate WebTV for almost three times as much money? As an owner of a small business, I wish someone would bite me like that.

Ross Brown, Kanata, Ont.

Decentralist legacy

In an otherwise excellent article (“The legacy of Jean Lesage,” Backstage, Aug. 18), Anthony Wilson-Smith writes that Jean Lesage’s “quest for more provincial powers has been taken up by almost all the provinces.” Lesage did not seek more provincial powers. He fought for the return

of those constitutional powers and revenue sources that Quebec (and all the provinces) had possessed from the time of Confederation, powers that were temporarily ceded to Ottawa for the duration of the Second World War. The fiscal arrangements were enshrined in the Dominion-Provincial Taxation Agreement Act of 1942. At the end of the war, Ottawa simply reneged on the agreement. Without benefit of constitutional reference, Ottawa was changing Canada from a federal system to a centralized state. The legacy of Lesage is that he forced Ottawa to modify its centralizing thrust, to accept the introduction of provincial opting-out from central plans and programs, while handing back the equivalent in tax points. A strong federalist, he knew that a centralized Canada would never work.

Eric Kierans, Halifax

Noise king

Your cover story about Bombardier Inc.

was also obviously about a very smart bunch of people with excellent engineering skills (“Sky King,” Aug. 11). The company pioneered Ski-Doos, then personal watercraft, and now it is taking on the aircraft industry with great success. However, Bombardier is the greatest noise pollution manufacturer this country has ever known. First, it blasted away all peaceful winter afternoons in the country with its snarling offspring and now it is doing the same thing in summer as well. You would think that with all that engineering skill, they could figure out a way to build a vehicle that sounds more like a small car than a chainsaw.

Cort Kortschot, Cambridge, Ont.

An excellent front cover expounded the achievements of Bombardier while the article itself was shrouded in disappointment. Here we have a first-rate Canadian corporation streaking ahead in modern technology

in aerospace, recreational vehicles, rapid transit coaches and a host of other transportation needs. A truly remarkable story: to $4 billion from $500 million in sales. What an excellent opportunity to learn from Bombardier its system of management, methods of quality control, the training and productivity of employees and many other positives that could perhaps be shared with others to encourage manufacturers to reach out into the world trade arena with confidence. Instead, we talk about a minor fault in production, some veiled discussion on subsidies, complaints from competitors and other negatives. It seems that good news is still not regarded as news by the media.

Gordon Crooks, Camlachie, Ont.

A light sentence

I was outraged when I read that Pol Pot received only a sentence of house arrest for life after being tried by Khmer Rouge rivals (“Pol Pot revealed,” World Notes, Aug. 11). Not only should people like him be tried by an international tribunal, but upon conviction they should be sentenced to dig up all the land mines that they planted over the years and that continue to maim and kill people and animals to this day.

Rudy Hoedel, Victoria

The tragic details

Your report on Belfast (“Stilling the guns,” World, Aug. 4) was clearer and more accurate than most of what we get on Northern Ireland here in the United States. However, when Catholic Bernadette Martin took four bullets to the head at four in the morning from Protestant patriots, the 18year-old was not sleeping “beside her Protestant boyfriend.” A guest in the lad’s home, she was sleeping beside his sister. Let’s leave her that much.

Ruth Rosborough-Larocca, Fresno, Calif.