The Mail

The Mail

June 14 1999
The Mail

The Mail

June 14 1999

The Mail

Working life

Your cover story “The best and worst jobs”

(May 31) found that a healthy work/life balance was the most important factor affecting job satisfaction and employee commitment. Meanwhile, companies are having to work harder to attract and retain talented employees. Clearly, it’s time for companies to ditch any model of “downsize and overwork the survivors.” Not only does it make life miserable for employees, it’s not cost-effective in the long run. Employees get burned out, performance suffers and those who have the chance take their skills elsewhere. Employers should also drop their expectations of long hours and overtime (often unpaid) and instead offer choices such as shorter workweeks, job-sharing, extended parental leaves, sabbaticals and phasedin retirement. This would make the lives of time-crunched workers a lot better. It would also pay off for firms, as a number of cutting-edge employers in Canada and the United States have shown. And the social benefits of allowing more time for parents to participate in the lives of their children would be enormous.

Anders Hayden, Toronto

Letters to the Editor

should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5WIA7 Fax: (416) 596-7730 E-mail: Maclean’s welcomes readers’ views, but letters may be edited for space, style and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Submissions may appear In Maclean’s electronic sites. E-mail queries about subscriptions or delivery problems should be addressed to:

I’m not an indignant stay-at-home mom with an axe to grind. But your story brought home to me once again the sad fact that Canadian society does not believe I’m working because the children I look after seven days a week, 24 hours a day, are my own, yet the woman down the street who looks after other people’s kids and gets paid for it is working. How I would have loved to respond to the poll that asks whether “I have the resources I need to do my job well/My organization satisfies our customers’ needs/My job often is so stressful that I feel burned out.” Macleans missed a golden opportunity to put some value and recognition back into the job of raising the nation’s children.

Jean Mills, Guelph, Ont.

In the past, many people had two lives—a work life and a personal life. Work was often a duty to support the personal, and if you found satisfaction and fulfilment in work, then lucky you. Today, we want it all and are not willing to lead two lives. As a life-purpose and success coach, I know the effort it takes to help people identify what brings fulfilment to their lives—a lot of introspection and effort. On top of their other duties, I sure hope it’s not the manager’s job to create an environment of purposefulness and significance for employees. Each person must take responsibility for finding or creating purpose and fulfilment in his or her own life. We need to recognize what it means to be valued, and to have an impact. Then, together, we can find ways to acknowledge each person’s contribution to what we call work.

Robert Knowlton, Marlbank, Ont.

Globalization fallout

So, let me get this straight: after years of explaining the “inevitability” of globalization to Canadians, columnist Peter C. Newman now wonders aloud how we ever got to feeling so hopeless about changing the future of our country for the better. For some time now, I’ve been reading his column and wondering how someone so well informed about the negative effects of what is commonly referred to as globalization could possibly be so resigned to seeing it become the new constitution of the non-isolated world. In his column of May 31 (“Wisdom in a fortune cookie,” The Nation’s Business), Mr. Newman singles out and scorns the beleaguered RCMP for selling out to Disney, thus “undermining their mandate by making it subservient to foreign image makers.” Welcome, Mr. Newman, to the true meaning of the global economy. The fact of the matter is that the more of our economic and political sovereignty we sacrifice on the altar of “free trade,” the more helpless Canadians feel about having any say on what happens to us anymore. This, too, is part of the globalization agenda, aided and abetted by journalists such as Mr. Newman, who have steadfasdy refused to deviate from the all-party line since the debate began more than a decade ago. In writing about the real or imagined helplessness of Canadians today, and the lack of vision prevalent in the country, he could easily have been writing about himself Terry Schmida, Key West, Fla.

The final battle

My father served in Canada’s merchant navy in the Second World War (“Winning justice for seamen,” Backstage, Anthony Wilson-Smith, May 17). Like the recendy deceased Gordon Olmstead, he could not understand why, as Wilson-Smith writes, it was “so hard to get so little for people who did so much.” As the Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance in the Peace Tower says: “Their supreme sacrifice in both wars ensured the lifeline of men and supplies without which victory could not have been ours and without which we would not now enjoy freedom.” Their wait for compensation is a national disgrace. Sharon Burns, London, Ont.

The right to speak

This is the first time in all the years that I have subscribed to Macleans that I have felt the need to write. In “A lifelong fight for freedom” (May 24), Allan Fotheringham writes about Vancouver columnist Doug Collins as a great hero who escaped from prisoner of war camps 10 times. On the basis of these escapes, Fotheringham states that Collins is entitled to his freedom to “write what he thinks.” I lived for six long years under Hitler. It ruined my childhood and teenage years. It robbed me of my educational opportunities, and of my parents and most of my family. Now, based on the hardship I suffered, which traumatized me for the rest of my life, am I entitled to special privileges? Doug Collins denies the Holocaust. It took me over 50 years to find out what happened to my parents. They did not die from old age. I was brought up to believe that freedom goes hand in hand with responsibility.

Hilda Everall, Vancouver

Fotheringham uses up half his column on the war exploits of discredited bigot journalist Doug Collins, then froths at the “Insane Political Correctness Forces of British Columbia.” But his friends war service is not at issue, and bears no relation whatever to the authorial crime he has committed against human rights. If Fotheringham thinks the great cause Collins fought for at mid-century was for the freedom to vilify others because of their race or creed, then his own moral illness is as extreme.

Stephen Brodsky, Sidney, B.C.

Sexual morality

About Ann Dowsett Johnston’s column (“Gay-bashing comes out,” May 24) on Winnipeg high-school student Valerie Deacon’s campaign to Fight homophobia in the city’s schools: Ms. Deacon’s brave stand is a model for us all in the fight against bigotry. But not surprisingly, it has roused the ugliest elements of intolerance and hatred in her community. Many people work themselves into a seething knot over what other people do in bed. I think there should be a very simple “golden rule” when it comes to sexual morality: there must be consent, freely given. The exact

nature of the act is irrelevant: consent, good; coercion, bad. The important corollary to this rule is that you can’t have real consent between children and adults. But my point remains—it’s not the sexual activity itself that determines its moral status, it’s the presence or absence of freely given consent.

Derrick Pohl, Vancouver

The Winnipeg School Division No. Is proposed “anti-homophobic education” seems to have much less to do with making children feel safe at school than it does with changing the moral values of the citizens of Winnipeg by re-educating our children. Since the issue of safety and tolerance can be addressed through existing rules and policies, the point of this initiative must be something else. I suspect that it is to further the notion that homosexuality is more than just an alternative lifestyle, it is a normal lifestyle that must not only be tolerated by society but endorsed, supported and encouraged. It is not the role of the public education system to re-engineer social morals. That was clearly determined when as a society we chose to limit the influence of any particular religion in the public system. It is the responsibility of parents to teach morality, most of which is based on religious be-

lief (or lack thereof). Trying to protect the parental right to teach morality is not “gay-bashing.”

Doug Tiffin, Winnipeg

Split-run sellout

Our government has sold us out again (“A run for the money,” Business, June 7). The latest cave-in to the United States on advertising in split-run magazines translates directly into the loss of high-quality jobs in the Canadian publishing industry. Our negotiating position should have been: “Back off or we will close the door on all U.S. publications.” Is Heritage Minister Sheila Copps the only tough negotiator out there? This is about Canadian jobs; this is about our survival as a country.

Brian Cook, Toronto

I find it a bit puzzling that Canada must defend its magazines from the U.S. juggernaut. I have subscribed to Macleans, Time and Newsweek for more than 25 years, and Macleans is far superior to the U.S. publications on topics covered by all three. And, of course, if you have any interest in Canadian news, Macleans is the only way to go.

Jim Geiwitz, Victoria


Canada’s Weekly Newsmagazine

A happy season of recognition

And now, for a little unabashed horn tooting. The 22nd National Magazine Awards gala last Friday night proved to be an exceptionally fine evening for Maclean’s writers and editors, in a happy season of recognition for the magazine. Senior Writer Jane O’Hara took top honours for investigative reporting and the President’s Medal for best overall article for her exposé of a pattern of sexual assaults in the ranks of the Canadian military. Assistant Managing Editor Ann Dowsett Johnston and her team won gold for the university ranking package.

As well, film critic Brian D. Johnson received two honourable mentions for articles in the entertainment category, while Executive Editor Bob Levin, Sports Editor James Deacon and their colleagues were recognized for a special package on the Winter Olympics. We also congratulate the other fine magazines that won awards, including Shift, Saturday Night and our Quebec sister, L’actualité, all of which claimed five golds.

O’Hara’s team, which exposed a string of previously unreported assaults in a series of articles during 1998, included: Senior Writer John Nicol, Researcher-Reporter Shanda Deziel, Ottawa Staff Correspondent John Geddes and Montreal Bureau Chief Brenda Branswell. The series was edited by Assistant Managing Editor Peeter Kopvillem, one of the best practitioners in the country. The investigative efforts, which eventually involved most departments of the magazine, were co-ordinated skilfully by Managing Editor Geoffrey Stevens.

Earlier this year, the Maclean’s series of cover stories on conditions in the military—including one on poor pay and living conditions—received an honourable mention in the Michener Awards at Government House in Ottawa. Experts have credited the military series for bringing about sweeping reforms in the way women are treated in the Canadian


1-888-Macleans (1-888-622-5326), or 416-596-5523,9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. Mail to: Maclean’s Subscriber Services, 777 Bay St. 8th FI., Toronto, ON M5W 1A7

Forces, and for the establishment of a military ombudsman.

The university ranking issue has had an equally profound impact on university campuses. Clearly, more effort now goes into reducing classroom sizes and raising entrance standards, as schools vie for top honours. The team includes Education Editor John Schofield, Assistant Editor Sandra Farran and Contributing Editor Mary Dwyer.

Both special projects are among several noted by the Canadian Journalism

Foundation, which this week is presenting Maclean’s with its annual Excellence in Journalism award. The jury cited the magazine for “devoting major resources to covering important public issues, and for its strong special issues tradition” that includes a twice-yearly rating of health-care delivery and an annual July 1 issue celebrating the country’s history.

The awards would not be possible without the hard work of Art Director Nick Burnett, Associate Art Director Giselle Sabatini, their staff, the library, and unsung members of our production, photo, research and copy departments. It is a small but dedicated staff and we derive much of our passion to excel from an exceptionally loyal audience of 500,000 subscribers. In the end, readers are our most important jury.

ROBERT LEWIS, Editor-In-Chief