The Mail

The Mail

November 16 1998
The Mail

The Mail

November 16 1998

The Mail

Power and money

To summarize your excerpt from Peter C. Newman’s Titans (Cover, Nov. 2): when the anti-establishment establish themselves they will have re-established the establishment. According to my dictionary, “titan” means a person or thing having enormous strength. It doesn’t say anything about money or living in a house twice the size of Bill Gates’s. You don’t find loaded Brinks trucks outside funeral parlors waiting for the trip to graveside. Titans are made of the right stuff, and you don’t have to look very far for one, because John Glenn appears in the same issue of Maclean’s (“A hero in orbit,” Space). Mr. Newman, your book may be fabulous, but do get a new title. Perhaps Hedonists.

Sean F Hamilton, St. John’s, Nfld.

How sad that Peter Nygard, in the process of creating his personal Valhalla on earth, has so isolated himself that he cannot see the other children who also have neither “choo-choo trains” nor adequate food and clothing. Such obsession with self is obscene, especially when coming from a man who himself professes to have known want.

Chuck Ruttan, London, Ont.

Peter C. Newman’s account of Business Council on National Issues president Tom d’Aquino cornering then-Opposition Leader Jean Chrétien at a dinner party and repeatedly whacking him over the head with some basic tenets of economic reality was most edifying. Some utopian leftists have bemoaned how the BCNI has “dictated” the federal government’s policy agenda. But thank God for d’Aquino’s bullying. Without it we would be dealing with a 45-cent dollar and the destruction of the Canadian middle-class way of life.

Michael Helfinger, Willowdale, Ont.

Public distrust

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney’s fervent desire for rehabilitation should give many politicians a cold shiver (“A different sort of exposé,” From the Managing Editor, Nov. 2). He who behaves poorly, and ignores public perception of character, risks immediate assumption of guilt at the least whiff of scandal. Had Brian Mulroney behaved as a trustworthy gentleman throughout his terms as prime minister, we would not have believed him capable of wrongdoing. Now, he has to fight long and hard to overcome our distrust—regardless of how honorable a man he may be.

James Cass, Stirling, Ont.

Questioning Clark

How clever of Maclean’s to publish in the same issue excerpts from Peter C. Newman’s Titans, about achievers who have earned their place in history, and the interview with Premier Glen Clark, the Pinocchio of British Columbia (“On the offensive,” Canada, Nov. 2). Clark and his free-spending, inept NDP government are an embarrassment to most B.C. voters, who know that our next government will have to make difficult choices to repair the damage and restore the health of a once-vibrant partner in Canada.

Greg Stevens, Sidney, B.C.

Let me understand this: Glen Clark thinks it would be “profoundly problematic” to have a referendum on the proposed Nisga’a treaty, yet he is confident the pro-treaty industry would win. He claims to be asking voters whether this treaty is the way to resolve land claims, yet refuses to take either of the two routes to really hear our voice, a referendum

Power supply

In “The axe falls again” (Business, Nov. 2), you claim that the Canadian National Railway is efficient. It is anything but, with its 19th-century-style track, loose rails and nail spikes, relatively slow speed, and running diesels over the mountains, knowing that they lose power with altitude. The most efficient traction vehicle today is the electric locomotive. It is the only one that can return power to the power supply, a possibility they missed with the suburban Montreal—Deux-Montagnes line, where up to 27 per cent of the power could be saved with the technology known as the regenerative brake.

Ulrich Hertel, Clarenceville, Que.

or a provincial election. He thinks it is dangerous and improper to subject minority rights to the will of the majority, yet he is comfortable subjecting the majority of B.C. voters to the will of his minority. Anyone who wants a reasoned debate on such far-reaching legislation is attacked as either racist or ignorant or both, and we voters bear the expense of a one-sided propaganda campaign run by his government. Have we in British Columbia had enough yet? I know I have.

Dolores Bell, Victoria

Reverberations

Allan Fotheringham (“When you and I were young, Allan,” Nov. 2) says I was the ghostwriter of Boom, Bust & Echo. In fact, I was the co-author, which is why my name appears on the cover and title page. I did not need to take “time out” from The Toronto Star—I had left that newspaper 12 years before David Foot and I decided to collaborate on a book. And while the royalties are substantial, they are not enough to make me a millionaire. The rest of Fotheringham’s sentence about me is accurate.

Daniel Stoffman, Toronto

The plot thickens

Robert Fulford is correct when he says: ‘Those who spend long hours reading stories to their children are clearly on the right track—and so is the child who demands the same story over and over again” (‘The heritage of storytelling,” Essays on the Millennium, Nov. 2). Our two sons read every night, and both have favorite books. As parents, we are tempted to say: “But you read that last night.” Don’t. I can probably name every Franklin, Winnie the Pooh and Robert Munsch book that we have on our bookshelf, but I know my sons can remember the titles and the contents.

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

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Mi rray Dean, Regina

What a pathetic essay. One could berate the baby boomers for being self-indulgent and hypocritical, but their most heinous offence must be recent attempts—illustrated by this piece—to justify their ignorance and intellectual laziness. What is it exactly that “story” has triumphed over? These: artistic endeavor, intellectual exploration, cultural criticism, i.e. the very purposes of literature. Story (the trendy new word for “plot”) is a literary tool, not a literary product. The intellectual malaise that leads to this inane praise of plot is the same sickness that reduces Wuthering Heights to a love story, Jane Austin to an erudite Harlequin Romance writer and every piece of literature with a character who speaks or moves into Hollywood-movie fodder.

Marcus Hadley, Kelowna, B.C.

Progress report

It is not true that the federal government has shelved the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (“Capital Confidential,” Opening Notes, Oct. 12). In fact, it is in recognition of this historic body of work that in January the government announced Gathering Strength—Canada’s Aboriginal Action Plan. This plan acknowledges legacies of the past, as well as the importance of reconciliation and healing, and renewed partnerships. I would like to point to quick fixes and magic solutions, but we all know that real, sustainable change takes time—the royal commission said it would take 20 years. Let me assure you that progress is happening.

Jane Stewart, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa