As a Canadian who first came to this country for college in 1961, I have always marveled at some Americans' ability -- as scripture would put it -- to find the splinter in their neighbor's eye while remaining oblivious to the plank in their own. From my college days, I recall especially alarmist reports of mailbox bombings in Quebec at the same time that entire districts of American cities were burning to the ground.

Thus, please excuse my ho-hum response to the editorial of Sept. 17 "Canada's Time of Troubles." I find it consoling for The Post to register concern about Canadians' problems with native claims. But we could hardly say that natives in the United States do not have an "extensive list of land disputes and ... grievances that the government has never got around to resolving."

The Post somehow sees the election of a "socialist" government in Ontario -- Canada's largest province -- as problematic. The Post is wrong on a lot of counts. The new government-party's name is New Democratic Party (NDP), not "Socialist." The NDP is really liberal democratic. The fact that the party formed a government in British Columbia in the early 1970s means that it has not confined its electoral success to the "prairies" as you would have it.

The precursor to the NDP -- the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation -- ran a strong second in the 1944 Ontario election. Indeed, it formed the Official Opposition in Ontario in 1944. This development sparked a major realignment in the Federal Liberal Party, which controlled the government in Ottawa at the time. This opening to the left resulted in the Liberals embracing a national health insurance system as a key element of their own platform. As we all know, Canada's health system has become the envy of many Americans.

If the more recent NDP victory was so shattering, you might actually have covered the event in a straight news story. I have searched in vain for such an item in The Post.

There are a number of other observations in the editorial that hit somewhat wide of the mark. However, the editorial astounded me most in its dismissive characterization of Brian Mulroney as the prime minister whose popularity has plummeted below Canada's prime rate. I am sorry that you find his leadership "pedestrian." But Canadian leaders have no corner on that market, do they? And the United States has done rather well with Mr. Mulroney -- from the free trade agreement to Canadian participation in the U.S.-led force in the Persian Gulf. The United States would have gotten neither under Lester B. Pearson or Pierre Elliott Trudeau. COLIN CAMPBELL Washington