October 1 1979


October 1 1979


One man’s heat, another’s poison

I read with interest Nuclear Power: Debate for the '80s (Aug. 20) and the accompanying editorial by Peter Newman. Both link the accident which occurred at Chalk River, Ontario, in 1952, to the recent “Three Mile Island nightmare.” Not clear from their comments, however, was the fact that the Chalk River accident occurred at an early stage in the development of nuclear reactors during an experiment which required temporary changes to the cooling system. This limited the cooling capacity and increased the reactor’s vulnerability to accident. In contrast, the accident at Three Mile Island involved a commercial power-production reactor of different design, presumably set up and operated according to U.S. standards. While it is possible to conclude that the Chalk River accident shows the same thing could happen here, it is also possible, given the good safety record of Canadian reactors, to conclude that Canadians learned their early nuclear safety lessons better. Or are we still reluctant to believe that Canadians can do first-class work in advanced technical fields?


Your feature article on nuclear power impressed me by its incredible bias. I don’t know who or what Warren Gerard is, but obviously he is clearly committed to the “against” side of the debate. Let’s look at some comparisons. How many people were killed in aircraft accidents in the first quarter century after the Wright brothers’ first flight in 1903? How many people have been killed in automobile accidents over the years? Of course there will be a major nuclear

accident in the future. Undoubtedly hundreds of thousands will die. As for me and my family, I am happy to take my chances. Sure I want reasonable precautions to be taken, but no more than when I board an aircraft. I don’t want or intend to give up my present way of life. I believe I am no different from the majority who rarely speak out but who are prepared to take the inherent risks that we all must accept to maintain our very comfortable standard of living. If nuclear fission will help to solve our current energy problems, then let us use it to its full potential while seeking a better solution. We, the usually silent majority, are aware of and accept the risk.


Wanna buy a duck?

Your article Out of the Bog a Nest to Last (Aug. 13) was rather interesting, but it is worth remembering, however, that in this day and age retaining some fragments of relatively natural environments often involves numerous trade-offs, some of which may be distasteful. Bob Waldon conveniently forgot that until recently duck hunters were among the few who put their money where their mouths were when it came down to realistically supporting habitat management programs. When waterfowl are “produced,” whether for consumptive or non-consumptive uses, most marsh inhabitants benefit. Waldon’s remarks quoted in the article can only be dismissed as poorly thought out, or at best naïve. There are many of us on the Prairies who appreciate both the bird watching and the waterfowling that these magnificent marshes provide.


A win of omission

Your issue of Aug. 27 was one of the best in weeks because of an omission: Allan Fotheringham’s often brutish and tasteless column. Any chance of this omission becoming a regular feature?


I have been a subscriber to Maclean's magazine since 1930 and I wish to say that I found Allan Fotheringham’s column Here Comes Hunkie Power! For Joe Clark, Suddenly the Tongue Is on the Other Foot (June 4) absolutely disgusting!


Unions in the stew

I am in total agreement with Morley Torgov’s opinion regarding the sliding scale of fees as stated in The Typewriting on the Wall: Rights on a Sliding Scale (Aug. 27). As a free-lancer I know I would have been dead many years ago if I had depended on living solely from writing. Of course Pierre Berton agrees with the scale; however, he does not appreciate the cut-price American editions of Canadian books which were dumped in Canadian bookstores. Perhaps he is now looking for the opportunity to become the head of an organized labor writers’ union. After all, Pierre knows a good thing when he sees it. I can see merit in a writers’ union but an organized labor writers’ union, NEVHJR!


Subscribers’ Moving Notice Send correspondence to: Maclean’s, Box 1600, Station A, Toronto, Ontario M5W 2B8 Name My moving date is New Address My old address label is attached. City Prov. My new address is on this coupon. Postal code □ I wish to subscribe to Maclean's. Send me 52 issues for only $19.50 (in Canada only). Elsewhere $30.00 ATTACH OLD ADDRESS LABEL HERE except U.S., $26.00 AND MAIL IMMEDIATELY! I I Bill me | I enclose $. I also subscribe to ( ) Chatelaine and/or ( ) FLARE and enclose old address labels from those magazines as well.

Once more, with feeling

In your article Barking Dogs and Embittered Words (July 2), you quote Ronald Keating, president of Litton Systems (Canada) Ltd. of Toronto, saying that he nearly sent a Telex to Joe Clark worded: “I felt like saying, ‘You’re an ass,’ but I didn’t.” This happened after Clark’s colossal ignorance of world affairs in insisting on moving the Canadian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. My question to Ronald Keating is, “Why didn’t you say it? We should always tell the truth.”


Floruit MacDonald

Your editorial and cover story The Honorable Flora (Sept. 3) have introduced me to a delightful lady. This is one of the most wholesomely written characterizations of a fine lady that I have read in a long time. I appreciate your too modest description of her as a “helpful fixer” to the world — echoes of another great “helpful fixer,” the late Lester B. Pearson.


Head over hills in love

If your article A Little Something for the Boy (Aug. 13) was intended to be provocative or catalytic, you may be interested to know that it was very much so. It was difficult to know whether you were aware of, or even interested in, the consideration that the Gatineau setting for the $25-million “mammoth undertaking” of Baron von Wendt and his associated developers is part of a smallscale, but well-known, much loved and very beautiful range of hills. Your article described nothing of the present character of these hills. The proposed site is scarcely one mile across, bordered on one side by road access to existing ski hills and adjacent residential development, and on the other side by the Gatineau River. The Baron’s proposal represents an imposition of a high-density enterprise. The impact of the density alone would drastically change the present environment. I am writing this letter because I am one of many who believe that the operation proposed is incompatible and completely out of scale with the landscape and surrounding settlement. To this issue the community has initiated a group called Conservation Gatineau, its obvious purpose being to preserve the integrity of an irreplaceable God-given environment for this and future generations.