September 29 1997


September 29 1997


Uncharitable findings

Your special report leaves the impression that charities like the Huntington Society of Canada (number 2 on your ranking list of 20 health charities) are unaccountable for their revenue and expenditures (“The charity industry,” Sept. 15). On the contrary, in addition to fulfilling the current Revenue Canada reporting requirements, we report regularly to the people who pay the bills—our donors. There may be some charities that are fraudulent—but they are not likely the ones on your list who are filing with Revenue Canada and fighting some of Canada’s deadliest diseases. The public would have been better served by an article exposing the frauds, not tarring legitimate organizations.

Nancy F. Johnson, Managing director, Huntington Society of Canada, Cambridge, Ont.

Maclean’s decision to ignore information that the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada provided for the article “The charity industry” has resulted in the article painting an unfair and inaccurate picture, and has po-

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tentially done long-term damage to our reputable organization. For the record, in our last fiscal year, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada’s national office, seven divisions and more than 100 chapters spent 81 per cent of funds raised on our charitable program activities (not the 24 per cent reported in the article). These audited figures are available to anyone in our latest annual report, a copy of which was provided to Maclean’s. Maclean’s has done a tremendous disservice to our hardworking volunteers and staff by its incomplete reporting of the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s charitable program expenditures.

Bruce R. Richmond, Chairman,

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Toronto

We read with dismay the article on charities, which conveys to your readers an inaccurate picture of the percentage of annual revenue spent by our organization on its charitable activities. If you had checked your percentage calculation with us, we would have been able to let you know that our charitable expenditures include more than $1.5 million allocated to our clinical program, which provides vital support to cystic fibrosis clinics and transplant centres, Canada-wide. This is a central part of our charitable mission, and is clearly reported in our filing with Revenue Canada—but in a different line from the one cited in your article. In the fiscal year to which your article refers, our organization spent 72 per cent of gross revenues directly on its charitable work, not the 57 per cent you reported—and 87 per cent in the following year—work that, over the past decade, has yielded discoveries bringing international acclaim to Canadian medical science, and has prolonged the lives of young Canadians with cystic fibrosis. We are tremendously proud of our record, and very much regret that your article has misled your readers.

Cathleen Morrison, Executive director, Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Toronto

It is a tribute to Canada’s people that they are willing to contribute such mammoth amounts of money (not to mention volunteer time) to help those in need and to find cures for diseases that plague mankind.

'Troubled world'

The overwhelming sense of fear, grief and bewilderment shown on the Palestinian boy’s face, in your photo of him weeping amid the ruins of his East Jerusalem home—“one of three structures demolished by Israeli authorities who said they were built without permits”—portrays the real losses in this troubled world (“Illegal resident,” World Notes, Sept. 8). Everything this child had known in the world was taken away. His grief surely will turn to anger and hate. Another generation is ruined by racial hatred. The world is transfixed by the death of the wellmeaning and loving Diana, Princess of Wales. Will its mourning make a difference in the day-to-day treatment of that grief-stricken little boy?

Marlene A. Dee, Oshawa, Ont.

That one dollar of this money should be used for personal gain is a slap in the face for all of us. Perhaps we can get academics to do some of the needed research if our universities are provided with the funds needed to support it. I, for one, would gladly contribute to a fund to provide that money—whether or not it is seen as a charity by Revenue Canada.

Stan Hall, Edmonton E

Mother Teresa's due

When I picked up the Sept. 15 edition of Maclean’s and saw on the cover Diana, the Princess of Wales’s picture for the second week in a row, with a little picture of Mother Teresa tucked in the upper righthand corner (“Death of a ‘saint,’ ” World), I found it strangely ironic but truly representative of their lives. The life and death of Diana has certainly touched us all. The connection for me was her vulnerability, her caring for those unloved and unwanted and her attempt to find meaning in a chaotic and confusing world. Mother Teresa carried out her selfless acts of love and caring away from the glitter and glamor of the public eye. The lives of Mother Teresa and Diana should inspire us to reach out to others, in any small way that we can. I believe that in this time of loss of these two extraordinary people, this is what we should be focusing on.

Winnie Shaw-McKee, Moncton, N.B. E

I found it very strange that you did not grace the cover of your Sept. 15 magazine with Mother Teresa’s picture. She was a person who not only spoke out against poverty, but by her humble existence practised what she preached. She fought against the ills of this world. The only word that truly describes her is angel. May her lovely life be an inspiration to us all. Let her unconditional love for humanity be imprinted onto our hearts and minds.

Deryck Penaud, Burnaby, B. C. S.

There was no need to feature the late Diana on the cover of Maclean’s two weeks in a row, not when the world lost another and, some would say, more valuable human being in the person of Mother Teresa. That she was not deemed important enough to grace the cover of our national magazine leads one to believe that Maclean’s is as guilty as every other form of media in capitalizing on the selling feature of a beautiful face and a sensational story.

Roberta Carey, Edmonton HI

In the years to come, I am sure many people will treasure the small picture of Mother Teresa provided by you on the Sept. 15 cover. It is of excellent quality, is printed on good paper stock and really captures the essence of who the woman was. Its best attribute is the fact that it is just the right size to fit in my daughter’s locket and she can keep Mother Teresa near her heart.

Robert Graham,

Aurora, Ont. HI

Grief over Diana

What utter hypocrisy! Your Aug. 25 issue carried a cover story (“Oh, Diana!”) that garishly emphasized the “Summer of scandal” and “The Dodi affair,” material that is commonly found in the worst of the supermarket tabloids. Two weeks later, after the tragedy of the car crash in Paris on Aug. 31—which took the lives of Diana and her

companion Dodi AÍ Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul—you actually took pride in presenting a 10-page package on Diana (“Diana,” Cover, Sept. 8) in which you claimed that your photo editor examined hundreds of photos. It is obvious that some of the photos you used in both instances were the very photos taken by the paparazzi who were condemned in your article “The paparazzi plague.” Policies such as yours are every bit as much to blame for this tragedy as the much maligned paparazzi.

Peter Hill, Ajax, Ont. HI

As I was looking at your Sept. 15 issue (“Diana forever,” Cover), I stopped at the most sickening sight—a photo of people taking pictures of Diana’s coffin as it was being carted to the chapel. People are blaming the paparazzi as the cause of her death, while holding a camera in their hands—hoping to get a picture? What a strange society we live in.

Leanna Probizanski, Thunder Bay, Ont. HI

We, the masses, don’t expect to be spared from tragedy, but when we see that not even youth, beauty, kindness, fortune and fame, not even these, are spared, then life is indeed very cruel.

Marie-Anne Erki,

Kingston, Ont. HI

As a teenager, I was able to live the fairy-tale life of a princess vicariously through a lady named Diana Spencer. Over the years, my respect for this woman grew. I was impressed by her devotion to her family, her tireless involvement in a variety of charities and causes, and her ability to remain composed and dignified in the public’s eye during her divorce. Her tragic and untimely death has had a sobering effect on me. It has made me recognize that, regardless of fame, status and quality of character, immortality is reserved for no one. Perhaps it is time for me to re-evaluate my own role in life. In memory of Diana, I have decided to follow her lead and devote some time each week to

charity. I hope that others will join me. Perhaps her spirit can live on through those who admired her throughout her life.

Noeline Burk, Toronto

Barbara Amiel has missed the point (“Diana’s tragic choices,” Cover, Sept. 15). Diana reached people around the world because she was one of the people. Why should she be expected to spend her days searching for her next husband when the first was such a source of heartache for her. Diana was interested in people, not their social status, wealth or husband potential. That is why we could identify with her.

Genevieve Harrison, Ottawa HI

It is so true that everyone expresses grief in his or her own way. In the aftermath of Diana’s death, Barbara Amiel writes that “good taste and compassion demand a period of mourning and grief both for her and her two children.” This from the same essay that flags Diana’s poor judgment with men, her flawed intellectual prowess, and contains an urging to resist the “bandwagon for dangerous regulations.” Amiel undoes each touching sentiment as quickly as she writes it. Unfortunately, what’s left after all the antiphony is insufferable namedropping.

Barbara Clarke, Petawawa, Ont. HI

Passing on the credit

While it is the dream of every red-blooded Canadian mother’s son to appear in Canada’s national newsmagazine, the name and face in your article associated with the recent findings surrounding stroke prevention at Apoptogen Inc./University of Ottawa (“Brain protection,” Health Monitor, Sept 15) should not have been mine, but that of George Robertson in whose laboratory this exciting work is taking place.

Alex MacKenzie, Ottawa HI