The Mail

The Mail

September 7 1998
The Mail

The Mail

September 7 1998

The Mail

Canadian cooking

How exciting to see your magazine featuring Canadian chefs and the food they create (“Haute Canuck,” Cover, Aug. 24). For too many years, Canadian cuisine and chefs have been in the background of our culture. Canadian chefs have consistently placed well in international competitions, while in our own country they are generally ignored. Cooking is probably the only art form that does not require a Canada Council grant. Chefs, keep up the good work. Larry de Vries, Brandon, Man.

My friends and I are still laughing about “Haute Canuck.” When I married a Saskatchewan farmer in 1977, I began not only raising my own chickens and growing a large organic garden, but milking two cows twice a day and separating the cream. I had only to look out my kitchen window to see the free-range cows and pigs that would be in our freezer come fall. I also baked my own bread. As we were marvelling at the $235per-couple price tag for a meal reported in

your article, my friend had a grand idea. For a mere $150 per person, we will treat you to an authentic Prairie harvest meal—all guaranteed fresh homegrown ingredients—and if you’re really lucky a grasshopper may land on your plate for that extra-special touch. City slickers? City suckers is more like it, if you ask us humble country folk. Sheril R. Dietz, Sceptre, Sask.

How can you write about wines and food and so slight British Columbia (“Grape white north”)? I will grant that our wine production may not be as great as that of the Niagara region, but it has every bit as much quality. The Canadian ice wine industry owes its origin to Walter Hainle of Peachland, B.C., who made the first ice wine in this

country back in the 70s. His son, Tilman, of Hainle Wineries still produces some of the finest available. Arthur E. Gans, Winfield, B. C.

Curtola's credits You seem to have a shortage of knowledgeable boomers on staff if you think that Bobby Curtola was responsible for Oh Donna and Put Your Head on My Shoulder (Opening Notes, Aug. 24). Anyone who’s ever known the joys of Brylcream and penny loafers could tell you Oh Donna was the work of Richie Valens of La Bamba fame, and Put Your Head on My Shoulder was penned and sung by Ottawa’s Paul Anka. Curtola’s hits included Fortune Teller, Hand in Hand with You and Don’t You Sweetheart Me. Roger Currie, Winnipeg 'Unfinished business' I am disappointed that Peter C. Newman is so far off the mark in “A treaty that threatens the national agenda,” (The Nation’s Business, Aug. 10). The Nisga’a agreement is not about restitution for past wrongs or collective guilt. It is about acknowledging that aboriginal people in British Columbia have constitutional rights and that, as the only Canadian province never to have made treaties, we operate in an environment of uncertainty about the land base. The agree-

ment is about completing the unfinished business of the past century, reconciling divided communities and creating a future in which all our children can have equal opportunities. If the treaty was to fail because of a referendum, it would not be left for us to decide a “more modest solution.” The Supreme Court of Canada would act on the clear message it has sent us and settle land claims through a costly adversarial process where everyone stands to lose. There would be no referendum then.

David T. Suzuki, Vancouver

Paying the price

I was surprised to read a graduate student of agricultural economics at my alma mater write that “the decrease in the value of the Canadian dollar is good news” (“Canada’s value,” The Mail, Aug. 24). With that reasoning, think how happy we would be with a 25-centloonie. Has he considered that farmers replacing their equipment will pay in U.S. dollars? The depreciated Canadian dollar is exactly that—depreciated.

W. F. Thomas, West Vancouver

Guaranteed income

William Clegg is living in a leftist dream world (“A guaranteed income for all,” The Road Ahead, Aug. 24). His idea would ensure that Canada, bankrupt now, could never recover. Furthermore, how dare he

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR should be addressed to: Maclean’s Magazine Letters 777 Bay St.,Toronto, Ont. M5W IA7 Fax: (416) 596-7730 E-mail: 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.

Water-bomber pride I have just read “Raging inferno” and feel the reference to the “four-engine American Martin MARS water bombers” needs explanation (Canada, Aug. 24). These aircraft are indeed Americanbuilt, in San Diego, in 1941. In the early 1960s, the five planes—the largest flying boats ever to fly, not counting the famous Spruce Goose Howard Hughes kept as a toy—were purchased by Canadian timber companies and converted into water bombers at Pat Bay Airport near Victoria. Two survive and have been based at Port Alberni’s Sproat Lake for more than 30 years. Port Alberni is very proud of these aircraft and thinks of them as its own. They may have been American-built, but almost every moving part has been replaced over the three decades they have operated out of British Columbia. Gordon Scoffield, Port Alberni, B.C.

lump military pensions in with old age pensions, handicapped pensions, student loans, farm subsidies, employer subsidies, employment insurance, provincial welfare programs and make-work projects? When I left the military two years ago, I was contributing to El (military members can never receive benefits), Canada Pension (mostly clawed back, depending on the amount of military pension) and the military pension scheme each month.

Bruce Hynes, Eastport, Nfld.

Kids today

Jann Flury’s assessment of today’s youth and their problems in ‘Teenagers and depression” (The Road Ahead, Aug. 17) seems rather bleak to this 16-year-old. The slugs who lounge around playing video games all day bear little resemblance to my friends and me. Certainly we take our recreation, but we also work hard at school, have parttime and volunteer jobs, and other responsibilities and pursuits. True, “learn to work cooperatively as a group,” “to discriminate is a crime” and “learn to develop self-esteem” are messages I have heard in school, but they sound like good maxims to me. If the only alternative for Canadian students is “politically correct crap,” then bring it on.

Anthony Collins, Thornhill, Ont.

As an educator, I work hard to instil values, work ethics, responsibility and goals. I try to make sure that my students have reasonable amounts of homework and long-term assignments. However, my students are in school for six hours in a day. During the other 18 hours of the day, they are the responsibility of their parents. It has long been accepted that the most important years of a child’s life are the first five. Parents have the opportunity to have a far greater impact on their children than any educator.

Marilyn E. Jenkins, Nepean, Ont.

Is it time to rein in the IMF?

The Road Ahead

Finally, it’s beginning to look like some North American politicians are challenging the eagerness with which their governments do the bidding of big business. The establishment leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives has delayed consideration of a gigantic funding request for the International Monetary Fund, fearful that it cannot muster the votes for passage. The insatiable IMF—a multilateral institution that lends money to countries when they are unable to pay foreign creditors—is asking for $28 billion from the United States and $4 billion from Canada as part of a $ 140-bill ion proposed expansion.

In an effort to solidify support for IMF corporate welfare, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers are all stepping up their lobbying efforts. In a letter to members of the U.S. Congress, the chamber of commerce even alleged that "continued U.S. economic prosperity may hinge on congressional backing of the IMF.” The basis of the chamber’s argument—and I expect the Canadian Business Council on National Issues has a similar view—is that the IMF helps foreign economies, which in turn buy from the United States, Canada and other industrialized countries.

But the IMF has an abysmal record in promoting growth in countries whose economies it has supervised. In order to receive loans from the IMF, countries have to agree to the fund’s conditions, including sharp budget cuts, increased interest rates, regressive tax increases, currency devalua-

J. W. (Bill) Campbell,


tion and other measures that typically throw poor countries into recession.

No, corporate North America is not backing the IMF for the good of the North American economy. Big business has made IMF expansion a priority because, for it, the IMF is a multi-pronged welfare machine.

First, the IMF bails out big banks and foreign investors when they make bad loans in developing countries—investments that are understood to be risky at the time they were made and earn more as a result. Right now, the IMF is bailing out foreign investors in Russia with an $17-billion package.

Second, the IMF forces poor countries to discard economic policies and regulations that limit the power of domestic and especially foreign corporations. That makes it easier for North American big business interests and other multinational companies to benefit from low wages and other perks—like weak environmental regulations—in much of the developing world.

And finally, the IMF is intent on removing all restrictions on the movement of money in and out of member countries— what the IMF calls “capital account liberalization.” Such assistance would be especially perverse given the fact that, in the event of a troubled economy’s collapse, the IMF provides those investors with free, de facto insurance.

The challenge now is for those U.S. and Canadian politicians who are skeptical of a $140-billion expansion for the IMF to maintain their strength in the face of the big business lobbying blitz to come.

The Road Ahead invites readers to advance specific solutions to Canada's political, social and economic problems. Unpublished submissions may run condensed as regular letters or appear on an electronic bulletin board.