THE MAIL

THE MAIL

‘We are in no way disappearing or have the desire to. This is my home, along with many others, and no one is going to take it away.'

July 29 2002
THE MAIL

THE MAIL

‘We are in no way disappearing or have the desire to. This is my home, along with many others, and no one is going to take it away.'

July 29 2002

THE MAIL

‘We are in no way disappearing or have the desire to. This is my home, along with many others, and no one is going to take it away.'

Pride of province

As a Saskatchewan export who grew up on a prairie homestead, I could have been depressed by the cover feature on its “disappearing” attributes (“Disappearing Saskatchewan,” July 15). But the issues were sensitively handled and your editorial paid fitting tribute to an enduring agrarian legacy.

Gerald Schmitz, Ottawa

You have to be tough to live in Saskatchewan and survive the searing heat of summer and the bone-chilling cold of winter. And you have to be an inveterate gambler if you work the soil for a living. But if you were lucky enough to grow up in Saskatchewan you will forever remember the beauty of its four distinctive seasons, the majesty of those towering grain elevators, the wonder of the unbroken skyline, and the grandeur of that vast, blue prairie sky. Saskatchewan has to be the best place in Canada to be from.

Bob Thompson, Victoria

If it wasn’t so predictable, it would truly make the blood boil. Anyone whose knowledge of Saskatchewan is deeper than a cursory reading of W.O. Mitchell’s Who Has Seen the Wind understands that rather than “disappearing,” we are a vibrant province populated by people who are meeting the challenges of change through innovation and determination. A person reading this one-dimensional article wouldn’t know about the many fascinating layers of this exciting province. In fact, a person who read “Disappearing Saskatchewan” wouldn’t know this province at all. Pity.

Marcus Davies, Saskatoon

Why is it that you feel compelled to give the impression in your stark black and white photographs that Saskatchewan and its people are an underprivileged society?

Claude-Jean Harel, Regina

As I travel around rural Saskatchewan, I see many scenes similar to your cover picture. The agricultural economy is a wreck. People are losing farms and businesses as well as value in their homes. I note that the Regina Leader-Post has criticized your report, but Regina has always been a bit myopic about the world outside its city limits. We are on the edge of losing a critical culture in rural Saskatchewan, and it breaks my heart.

Rev. Bob Langdon, Assiniboia, Sask.

I grew up in Leipzig, Sask., where in the 1960s my parents bought the hotel for $20,000. We lived there for 12 years and

DONT DISMISS SASKATCHEWAN AS NOTHING MORE THAN ITS TROUBLED RURAL COMMUNITIES, readers told us. “The July 15 editorial and cover story are not about the rural Saskatchewan where I live and work,” wrote AI Scholz of Saskatoon. While many appreciated our recognition of a disappearing way of life, others said they would prefer a forwardlooking article focussed on such Saskatchewan successes as the massive synchrotron research project, which we featured in our Jan. 21 issue.

sold the hotel for $12,000. The people who bought it from us just walked away from it a few years later. The population that hovered around 35 when we lived there is now zero. The entire main street is gone. The railway tracks, three grain elevators, the curling rink, the Co-op store, half a dozen houses and, yes, our hotel, are now a field of grain. I can’t seem to get over the sadness.

Stu Harrison, Peterborough, Ont.

Rural rhapsody

Thank you, Anthony Wilson-Smith, for your editorial reminding us of the importance of our rural communities in Canada (“Small towns, big value,” July 15). Our farming population has decreased, but rural and country life still go on with the good-neighbour atmosphere and spirit that reaches out to help others.

Dorothy and Wilson Thornton, Bluevale, Ont.

Distinct divide

Thanks to Neil Bissoondath for speaking out on behalf of “oppressed” Quebec Anglos (“Spare me the Sympathy,” The Back Page, July 15). I, too, am always amazed at how negatively my friends from other provinces view Quebec. They all seem to think that I’m living in a fascist state, harassed by language police every time I say “hello” instead of “bonjour.” Those of us who live here know the truth—that this is a wonderful province full of wonderful people who, with a few extreme exceptions (which get all the press coverage), get along great and respect each other’s differences.

Andrew Prévost, Montreal

As a native of Quebec who lived there for 21 years and (like so many others) now calls Ontario his home, all I can say to Neil Bissoondath is, good luck. Those tales of racism he talks about are not fictional. There is a reason so many leave Quebec in droves: they feel more comfortable somewhere else.

Richard Parfett, Ottawa

Triple whammy

Why would Scorecard (The Week, July 15) give Gordon Campbell a plus for a “dubious tactic” in a referendum that gave him “the result he wanted”? It wasn’t the result most British Columbians wanted.

The highest approval rating was only 34 per cent of all eligible voters. Aren’t our political leaders supposed to represent more than a third of the voters? Personally, I give Campbell a triple minus—for holding the referendum, for the manipulative questions and for calling the results overwhelming support.

D.J. Stewart, North Vancouver

Kudos to Premier Gordon Campbell and the B.C. Liberal government for asking the paying people for their thoughts concerning negotiating principles regarding native land claims.

Gord Weitzel, Surrey, B.C.

Give Findley his due

Too bad author Timothy Findley passed away at the same time Maclean’s was producing its 2002 Ffonour Roll double issue, thus relegating his death to a belated tribute in the rear pages of the July 15 issue (“Saying ‘yes’ in the darkness”). Maclean’s saturated two of its issues with celebrations of the life of Mordecai Richler. Findley, too, should be considered “a Canadian literary icon.”

Tom Reynolds, Toronto

Loyalist in rogue’s clothing?

Peter C. Newman’s theory that Liberals always go for an outsider fails miserably in the end (“Why Martin can’t lose,” July 15). Certainly Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau were outsiders, but to suggest Chrétien was hardly holds. Chrétien was at Trudeau’s knee (or a little more to the posterior) for 25 years. Martin qualifies even less. The son of a prominent cabinet minister, Paul Jr. has been the epitome of the Liberal insider since 1993. The true outsider, and the next prime minister of Canada, is John Manley.

Allen Wrigley, Barrie, Ont.

I want my Canuck TV

Your interview with CRTC chairman Charles Dalfen (“Wanted: More TV Drama,” Q&A, July 15) gave me a small measure of hope. The relative lack of popular Canadian drama and comedy series on television has long been a sore point with me. The CBC at least tries, in spite of being the victim of repeated, murderous cutbacks of its funding. The private networks are another matter. My hope is

that Dalfen will finally put some backbone into that organization and insist that the renewal of the private broadcasters’ licences be contingent on their putting money into creating high quality, identifiably Canadian drama and comedy series. Vincent Helwig, Toronto

The edible convert

I just finished reading “The Convert’s Tale” (Over to You, July 15). As a Mormon, a woman and an avid Margaret Atwood reader, I feel angered by this woman’s interpretation of something I hold very sacred and dear to my heart. I am sorry she had such a horrible experience with my church, that she felt obligated to a man who did not treat her properly. But to assume that all men involved with the Mormon church are like this, to relate all women to those in The Handmaid’s Tale, is offensive, close-minded and untrue. We do not lie down so that our husbands can walk all over us; we stand beside them. Abuse is not tolerated.

Jamie Popowich, Calgary

Reading by gender

So, Craig Gilbert dislikes the “loud and abrasive type” on the July 1 issue because it “had the look of a women’s magazine” (The Mail, July 15). Is a women’s magazine such as Chatelaine or Elle more loud and abrasive than Sports Illustrated or Car and Driver? Is Mr. Gilbert asserting that women’s magazines are so low on the social and intelligence scales that Maclean’s dare not look like one lest a superior male readership abandon it?

Janet Brush, Halifax

Vintage 1952

Robert Sheppard’s depiction of events during the past half century as seen from the perspective of a ’52er is spot on (“The Age of Rob,” July 15). The impact of these events on all of us of that age makes turn-

ing 50 a special event. One more memory stands out: the sight of Pierre Trudeau campaigning at Place Ville Marie in Montreal as I turned 16 changed my view of politics and of Canada forever.

Eduardo del Buey, Washington, D.c.

I would like to add one more, though lesser known, event to the amazingly long list of achievements from 1952. The Ottawa Valley Chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Cool. Gabriel P. Laszlo, Ottawa

So noted

I frequently wonder why performers who were in their prime 20 to 30 years ago rate so much space in the Canadian media. Stompin’ Tom Connors (“Q&A,” Closing Notes, July 15) may have been an interesting novelty act 20 years ago, but some fabulous music being produced in this country right now rarely gets the attention it deserves. Give us some articles about newer, younger bands.

Liz Anderson, Acton, Ont.

It puzzles me that Maclean’s devotes a modest amount of space to interviewing English Canada’s most original folk artist, Stompin’ Tom Connors, yet devotes pages to heap padded hyperbole on a limp clone (Blue Rodeo) of Bob Dylan’s former backup band known as The Band (“More blue, less rodeo,” Music, July 15).

Mendelson Joe, Emsdale, Ont.

Although Jonathon Gatehouse claims that “Blue Rodeo has never had much teen appeal,” the band was much beloved among my group of friends in high school. Lost Together (1992), released at the end of our Grade 11 year, spelled out a new era in both music and life for us.

Jill Garrett, Edmonton

Not a day under 75

Unfortunately in your article about the Follows family (“Continuing with the Follows family tradition,” Theatre, July 15), you lied about my age, something I stopped doing years ago. Seventy-three seems like yesterday, but in fact I am 75, shortly to be 76.

Ted Follows, Gravenhurst, Ont.