The Mail

The Mail

July 6 1998
The Mail

The Mail

July 6 1998

The Mail

Canadian talent

I am writing in response to your June 22 cover story (“America by Canadians”). It is unfortunate that most of our great talent, whether it be actors, comedians or news anchors, are forced to go south of the border in order to better their careers and wages. However, the people in your article should make Canadians proud because they are great representatives of our country. I am so proud of my country; it is the best place to live and it is great when others acknowledge this.

Melanie Ormond, Calgary

In the June 22 cover story titled “The Canadian wave,” you write: ‘With a total of 23 years anchoring national newscasts, [Peter] Jennings has done so longer than anyone— even the venerable Walter Cronkite.” For your information, CTV’s Lloyd Robertson, chief anchor and senior news editor of CTV News, has a total of 28 years as a national news anchor, with 22 years at CTVNews and


should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters

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Fax: (416) 596-7730


Maclean’s welcomes readers' views, but letters may

be edited for space and clarity. Please supply name,

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Submissions may appear in Maclean’s electronic sites. six years at the CBC’s The National. Robertson has been in broadcasting for more than 46 years and anchors Canada’s most-watched national news, C7Y News.

Thomas Curzon, Vice-president, communications, CTV, Toronto

I’ve often thought that our country must have the highest per capita incidence of talent in the world. With a population of fewer than 30 million people, we’ve produced so many writers, actors, dancers, entertainers, musicians, poets, artists and whatever other category fits into the definition of creativity. Is such endeavor fuelled by the long winter nights?

Donna MacHutchin, Montreal

It is always fascinating to watch Canadians going gaga whenever one of their compatriots “makes it” in the United States. Beneath a veneer of smug and selfrighteous nationalism, we really crave to be accepted by Americans. My guess is that if Old Glory is ever hoisted up the Peace Tower, a majority of Canadians will greet the spectacle with a massive sigh of relief.

Michael Helfinger, Toronto

Learning disabilities

My heart goes out to those parents fighting for a decent education for their kids (“Battling the system,” Education, June 22). Been there, done it. My daughter stopped playing “the alphabet game” in kindergarten. At first I was asked if my husband and I were having marital problems. Then I was asked, by members of my own family, if she was retarded because she couldn’t differentiate between the two white cats at her grandmother’s. Then, we discovered that she couldn’t tell the difference between the words “sit, sat and set.” Was she deaf? Oh, no. The doctor told me that I was neurotic, that I should leave this lovely little person alone, that I was making her crazy. Back to the drawing board: tests at the speech therapist, argument with same—I’m crazy, and yet teachers at school were telling an eight-year-old that she was stupid, and lying about doing her homework; tears at night, both hers and mine. We finally got lucky, and when I reflect, it was just sheer luck. This little itty-bitty school in North-

'Godspeed, Dr. Foth'

The absence of Allan Fotheringham’s column will be surely missed by this subscriber for the next few weeks (“Foth and the doctor,” Newsroom Notes, June 22). Having been diagnosed and treated for benign prostatic hypertrophy three years ago, I can only imagine what it must be like to be informed that cancer has developed in the prostate. Godspeed, Dr. Foth. Your devoted fans look forward to reading your words of wisdom in the very near future.

Gary L. Cook, Toronto

western Ontario had one of the most compassionate people I had ever run into. Guess what? Her daughter is also learning disabled. We discovered that my daughter, Anni’s, test results differed wildly from morning to afternoon, that she had patterning problems and a host of others that translate into an inability to grasp certain abstract ideas, and a coping mechanism that is just short of brilliant. Now, she has, in fact, been accepted to college, into the early childhood education program. Imagine the talents we would lose if these children do not get the help that they deserve.

Ingrid Kolbe, Hawkestone, Ont

Your article on children with learning disabilities was excellent. My five-year-old son has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. His first year of school has been a long one for both him and me, filled with meetings and appointments. I know now that I will have to fight for everything he needs. All children are special and each one deserves the best education we can provide. It is going to be a long battle, but it will be one that my son will win.

Lisa Liedtke, Stratford, Ont.

The title “Battling the system” was aptly chosen. Entering the schools six years ago, I bought into the propaganda of partnerships between school and home, and I believed that teachers would be 1) competent in identifying learning difficulties and 2) forthcoming in reporting them to the parents. From harsh experiences at my children’s expense, I know now that teachers are not necessarily knowledgeable, that the child’s good is not the yardstick of action, that parents are blacklisted, that principals are politicians, ingratiating yet always protective of the system. I’m left with anger at the hurt inflicted on my child because the poor results on a test taken, unknown to us, five years ago were kept from us, even as we were pursuing special needs testing, because someone wrote on the sheet: “Deal delicately with parents.”

Cheryl Schramm, Kanata, Ont.

Apples and oranges?

Barbara Amiel is ethically and morally challenged. Dmitry Shostakovich may or may not have acquiesced to or colluded with Stalinist policies, but to equate him with Kurt Waldheim is ludicrous; a musical genius equated with a bureaucrat (“Lingering questions about a musical giant,” Column, June 22). Moreover, to compare petty compromises for small personal gains with the wilful ignoring of the sufferings of millions goes beyond the ridiculous to the offensive. By such comparisons, Amiel has demeaned the true heroism of countless people who knew the dangers of maintaining principles and thus were martyred.

Hsio-Yen Shih, Toronto

Right and wrong

Allan Fotheringham was on the right track in bashing our brave parliamentarians for banning Ernst Zundel from their precincts (“Government by muzzle on the Hill,” June 15). But he was on the wrong track and issuing cheap shots in his mention of me, his “old” colleague. I was not “brought to court” under the B.C. Human Wrongs Code. Tribunals appointed by the New Democratic Party are not courts and are probably unconstitutional; also, I did not call Schindler’s List Swindler’s List because I am “so old that I needed publicity.” When I wrote that $200,000 piece (the cost to my newspaper for defending it), I saw it as just another column. I was not the one, either, who “wasted a ton of the taxpayers’ dollars by being prosecuted” for it. Blame the stinkweasels of the NDP, who have as little respect for money as Fotheringham does for facts; plus the complainant, the intolerant Canadian Jewish Congress. Foth should be careful about calling me “old.” The human rights gestapos are always on the watch for new business. Discrimination, you know.

Doug Collins, West Vancouver

Eye of the beholder

Your picture of Reform Leader Preston Manning enjoying a good belly laugh was so refreshing (“Reaching across the great divide,” Canada, June 15). When was the last time we saw a politician actually laughing like a normal person would? We are so accustomed to the smirk of Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, the sly grin of Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard, the sarcastic smile of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and the smug teeth of Finance Minister Paul Martin. Thank you.

Sheila Lockrem, Sundre, Alta.

It is disappointing to discover that Maclean’s has no greater aim than to promote the division of Canada by printing the most disrespectful picture available of Reform’s Preston Manning. Shame. Where there is a glimmer of hope for some effort at bringing about reform to our nation, why must you discredit it?

L. Grace Henderson, Ormstown, Que.

Courtesy to the dead

Peter C. Newman even said it himself in his The Nation’s Business column in your June 22 issue (“Falling off a bar stool alerts a wary investor”). The extent of BreX Minerals Ltd. head David Walsh’s involvement in the salting of the gold samples from the Busang mine in Indonesia may never be known. I would have thought that that uncertainty would have given Walsh the benefit of the doubt. Such benefit, if not just simple good manners, should have provided the basic courtesy to Walsh and his family of refraining from telling barroom stories or twisting the words of the attending physician for “literary” effect for at least a couple of weeks after his death, don’t you think?

Paul Stevenson, Dunrobin, Ont.

Quebec benefits

You mention that the Liberal government provokes outrage reminiscent of the Progressive Conservative government’s 1986 decision awarding a $1.8-billion CF-18

contract to a Montreal firm (“Anger over Bombardier,” Canada Notes, June 15). Unmentioned was that this firm was again Bombardier Inc.—owner of Canadair. This contract helped assure the survival of Canadair and helped doom de HavillandBoeing to wither on the vine. Outrageous tax concessions to major pharmaceutical companies locating in Quebec prompted the movement of high-technology industry to

the province. In addition, the transfer of the space research program from Ottawa to Quebec reveals the agendas of the Mulroney and Chrétien governments in propping up the province of Quebec at the expense of the rest of the country. This despite the fact that Quebec has been shooting itself in the foot for the past 30 years.

W J. Wright, Milford Bay, Ont.