Still tall in the saddle

December 12 1977

Still tall in the saddle

December 12 1977

Still tall in the saddle


More of us should speak up and voice our continuing respect for “the Force” despite such stories as, The Gang That Couldn’t Spook Straight (November 14). I came as a small boy to a prairie homestead when it was still in the North West Territories. My first sight of the uniform was that of a corporal of the RNWMP who came into our yard to check our most valuable asset, the farm horses, for “glanders,” a disease which was then an epidemic. He had veterinarian training and was empowered to examine and destroy infected animals. Two score years as a prairie doctor have provided me with continuing evidence of the calibre and contribution of these men—far beyond the general concept of police duty. My professional life provided repeated emergency situations where I needed help and needed it quickly. My first reaction was always to call on the RCMP and I was never let down.


Lies and chicanery, break and enter, theft and arson, breaches of the Income Tax Act and the Post Office Act and regulations, and collusion to obstruct justice—what next? It alarms me that bureaucrats, in and out of uniform, can make a decision to perpetrate all of these acts with no apparent accountability. There is a line and when that line is crossed it is then a matter of someone’s judgment as to how far across that line a policeman or official is to go. That line is called law. Some closet paranoid may consider murder is necessary. The ultra nationalistic feelings of the terrorists who hijack airplanes etc. may consider themselves to be right in their fight against “wrong.” What is to stop eager in-

dividuals in our police forces from somewhat the same operation “in the interests of national security?” It is not as farfetched as it may sound. In this real world of “bad guys” it may be necessary for Canada to have a counterespionage element. But in my opinion, it must be completely divorced from any civil police force.


It’s not just God who knows why

I noticed with sadness Walter Stewart’s review of The Tumultuous Years (October 17). He claims that he remembers the final Diefenbaker years and finds them unrecognizable in the book. Of course what he ■ remembers is a slanted media account of those years. He finds outrageous the suggestion that “most of the press and the entire United States ... all hated (Diefenbaker)—God only knows (why).” I quote from George Grant’s Lament For A Nation: “The election of 1963 was the first time in our history that a strongly nationalist campaign did not succeed and that a

(Canadian) government was brought down for standing up to the Americans ... Can it be denied that the actions of the Kennedy administration were directed towards removing an unreliable government in Ottawa.” Under attack Diefenbaker stood by his minister for foreign affairs. Moreover, he “succeeded in antagonizing the citadels of corporate power.” Meanwhile Nobel Peace Prize winner Lester Pearson sold his soul for nuclear tipped Bomarc missiles in order to gain American and media support for the prime ministership—shocking!


Moving along at a fine rate

If CTV president Murray Chercover thinks that CTV news is beating CBC, as he states in See How They Run (November 28), he must be getting his figures from Lloyd Robertson’s mother. Or perhaps he’s basking in the glow of summer’s ratings. When The National was taking a regular battering of delays, disruptions and even cancellations because of sports programming, we did lose huge chunks of our audience. But when baseball ended and the CBC put The National back on the air, our figures began to climb again. The Nielsens for late October show The National attracting about 400,000 more viewers than ctv—a dominance that can’t honestly be explained by the fact that we have a transmitter in Old Crow and they haven’t. Also, I did not say that Peter Kent doesn’t care about anything. 1 said he doesn’t care about the money and the fame that go with his job. TRINA MCQUEEN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, NATIONAL TELEVISION NEWS, CBC, TORONTO

The all-or-nothing principle

Morris Shumiatcher’s contribution to The Referendum Debate (October 17) was well considered and, I am sure, reflected the thoughts of many Canadians. The matters of unity, fairness and logic are indeed controversial but they must be faced. It is not a one-way street and no matter what the rest of Canada does, Quebec will not be happy—short of all of Canada becoming francophone.


Thank you Morris Shumiatcher for a very nicely written article on Quebec—it certainly reflects my opinion. I am one who belongs to multi-cultural Canada.


The eye is quicker than the hand

For some time I wondered whether Maclean’s was financed generously by the federal Liberal Party. After reading Will Ready’s All Is Not Lost! There’s Still Pierre 1 begin to doubt my earlier suspicions. Suggesting that wizardry and hocus pocus rather than sound judgment and honest leadership are what Canadians must depend on if they have Pierre Trudeau as Prime Minister is not, surely, likely to encourage confidence in the present leadership of the country.


The Prime Minister may be the Merlin of Will Ready’s new Camelot (The Referendum Debate, November 14) and I can visualize it already. It may not rain between sunrise and sunset but you needn’t be happy about that as you have neither a job nor the money to enjoy it. However, to take our minds off our troubles, we will be entertained in the “Cathedral” by the Knights RCMP of the round table playing their magnificent opus—Operation 300. Further activities of enlightenment and education will be provided by the new Arthur and his witty profundities (“inflation is beaten in Canada,” circa 1970) and by the efforts of various federal departments outdoing each other in Skyshops, Harborgates and Bonaventures. Arthur and Camelot were destroyed as Ready well knows. I note you mention he has done a study of J. R. R. Tolkien—methinks that Saruman has cast a spell on him and that he hath acquired bad “hobbits.”


All in the same (sinking) boat

The Expendable Canadians (November 14) about Sudbury and the Inco layoffs, brings to light some understanding that perhaps may have gone unnoticed. All we’ve heard in the past year or so is how Canadians don’t understand each other’s problems; now they do. Here in the Maritimes we understand perfectly the feeling floating around Sudbury. We hope the experience will make some people up there

know the very deserted feelings we get when there are more layoffs here.


The joker is wild

I did not, as you suggested in Laugh And The World Laughs With You . .. (October 17), say that Canadians should be grateful for the fact that we have no stand-up comedians in this country. What I said in my Saturday Night TV column is that, unlike American “talk” shows, what we were getting on the Gzowski show wasn’t stand-up comics doing shtick, but funny people, like W. O. Mitchell. Mark Breslin of the YukYuk Komedy Kabaret then wrote a letter to Saturday Night stating that not only are there stand-up comics in Canada but that if I failed “to see that the ability to weave a long series of related and unrelated jokes and stories into a coherent, pointed monologue is indeed an art of the highest order, (I) should be punched in the face.” I found Breslin’s comments useful (except for the punch line) and I plan to visit the Yuk-Yuk Komedy Kabaret soon—in disguise.


Deviating from the Norm

Somebody passed on the issue to me with Sandra Martin’s How Vast Can A Wasteland Get? . . . (October 3). I was bowled over. To finally see in print the awareness of the disturbing phenomenon of Norman Lear makes me want to shout with joy. Thousands of us had about given up television but it’s possible with Martin writing as she does that we could be in the beginning of the end of a down spiral.


Something for everybody

In An Act Of Templeton (October 3) Barbara Amiel states: “But religion is generally the preserve of the little educated or the supremely erudite. It’s the in-betweens who end up as dropouts.” It’s either the supremely arrogant or completely misinformed who make statements of this kind. If Amiel has a thesis, she ought not to bend the facts to make them fit. The majority of churchgoers in churches I have served are the “in-betweens.”


It seems that upon reading An Act Of Templeton that the cry of “sour grapes” is being heaped on the heads of any person, columnist or dissenter in general, who dares to criticize either the erstwhile evangelist Charles Templeton or his book Act Of God. Actually the article makes Templeton himself sound like God. It is quite obvious that Barbara Amiel is so prejudiced in his favor that her objectivity as a writer is clouded by her ardent hero worship.


Kill if necessary; not necessarily kill

As a German citizen who witnessed the terror this country has experienced in the past months and finally the hijacking of a Lufthansa plane with innocent people aboard, I felt a deep relief after the successful rescue operation at Mogadishu. While I fully agree with the essence of Seven Minutes That Shook The World (October 31), please let me state one thing very clearly: our GSG 9 is by no means a “death squad” as you called it. It is a highly skilled special unit of our federal frontier guard, specially trained in anti-terror struggle. The GSG 9 was formed after the Munich Olympic massacre in 1972 when it became painfully obvious that conventional police actions could not cope with this new kind of merciless crime.


All according to the plan

When Paul LeBlanc states in Did Somebody Stumble Into The Wrong Church ( Letters, October 31 ) that “the Church has always been for family planning,” I have to point out that it was always for the most populous planning! I can still remember the beginning of this century in Quebec when under threats of a burning hell priests were commending women to breed. This was regardless of the women’s health. Many families did number well over 10 children and some of them went as far as

having 18 and 19 children. At the time the Church was still collecting “tithe,” the one tenth of each and every farmer’s grain crops. So the more children in the family.

the larger the crop. I remember a case where two young priests nearly got into a fistfight over who was to get the most populated of two parishes.


The truth may make you free. But...

Congratulations to Arturo Gonzalez on his enlightenment of Maclean's readers about the Ulster peace movement in The Quiet Man (October 31). The work of Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan has given hope to people all over the world. Now Gonzalez, with fashionable cynicism, has unveiled the materialistic machinery behind the facade of two women committed to their cause. I don’t know if Gonzalez’ statements are accurate but I do think it is futile to shatter the hope these women have inspired throughout the world.


The glory that isn’t Rome

Bloody Italy (October 31) set into motion the final death throes of a dream. Some 20 years ago my big dream was to visit beautiful romantic Italy. After reading about Italy’s present woeful condition I now know the dream cannot come true because the very things that attracted me to Italy are no longer in existence. I feel brokenhearted.