A newspaper owned and operated in Newfoundland & Labrador
Vol. 2 Issue 24
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Sunday, June 13-19, 2004
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Commons goal Business Marble Mountain Page 15
More women are running for office here than ever before, but barriers still exist By Stephanie Porter The Sunday Independent
N In Camera Fogo Island Page 11
Life & Times Rick Boland Page 20
DP candidate Peg Norman is being interviewed in the “Peg pen,” a former walk-in beer cooler, at the back of her campaign headquarters, when Gerry Rogers bursts in with a letter. “I have to read you this, this just arrived,” says Rogers, Norman’s partner and a full-time volunteer during Norman’s quest to be elected MP for the federal riding of St. John’s South. “Just listen.” She begins to read a letter of support from a Newfoundland student, living in Toronto: I always get a little weepy when I vote. Waiting my turn, I start thinking about not being allowed to vote as a woman — to not count. Native women in Canada couldn’t vote until as late as 1960. When my grandmothers were born, none of their aunts or mothers had franchise. Rots me, that does … “Isn’t that something?” says Rogers. “This woman, doesn’t have much money, but she’s taking the time to write us and send (a donation) … I’m amazed at the women from MUN, the women that come
in here — people say that feminism isn’t alive, that young women aren’t into it, but they’re so into it. It’s great to see them take such an active role.” That might be true in terms of volunteer and campaign work; women might even be getting out to vote in greater numbers than ever before. There certainly are more female community and municipal leaders. But when it comes to women putting themselves forward as candidates for political seats at the federal level, numbers across Canada aren’t generally impressive. In fact, countrywide there are fewer women candidates this year than there were during the 2000 federal election. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the numbers are up. In both 1997 and 2000, three women ran for a federal seat. This year there are seven: Merrill Strachan is running for the Conservatives in Labrador; Lori-Ann Martino, Green Party, Labrador; Wynanne Downer, Conservative, Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte; Holly Pike, NDP, Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte; Janine Piller, NDP, St. John’s North; Siobhan Coady, Liberal, St. John’s South; and Peg Norman, NDP, St. John’s South.
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
A record number of female candidates in Newfoundland and Labrador are running in election 2004. From left: Janine Piller, NDP candidate for St. John’s North, Siobhan Coady, Liberal hopeful for St. John’s South; Peg Norman, NDP, St. John’s South, and Lori-Ann Martino, Green Party candidate for Labrador.
They may represent different parties, but all the women candidates contacted by The Sunday Independent agree: There are still serious barriers to women entering the federal race. But they also say the hard work is worth it because it’s vital that the female perspective — and it is a different perspective — be heard, and included.
Joyce Hancock, president of the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women, is hesitant when the number of female candidates is mentioned. “You know, you’re always glad to see women entering politics and I wouldn’t be doing this work if I didn’t think that,” she begins. “We have 10 women now in
Election candidates call for legalization of marijuana
Quote of the Week “Trying to contact Air Canada is like trying to talk to God.” — St. John’s Mayor Andy Wells responding to concerns the airline may pull out of the airport.
Continued on page 2
Province to take yet another look at Sunday hunting Happy Valley-Goose Bay By Bert Pomeroy The Sunday Independent
By Alisha Morrissey The Sunday Independent
Sports Bob Cole Page 25
women to call upon the liberal PM to tell us what we are going to do about the critical issues … to say we’re coming with an agenda, an agenda to bring equality issues forward. We’re not hearing enough of the social issues.”
Lifting the ban
study released this week by the Fraser Institute, a B.C.-based think tank, recommends that marijuana should not just be decriminalized but legalized and taxed by the Canadian government. Candidates in this province for the June 28th federal election agree with decriminalization. Some even want the drug legalized outright. St. John’s South NDP candidate Peg Norman says pot is no different than alcohol and should be regulated and taxed accordingly. “The (NDP) party policy is as clear as you can get, that it shouldn’t be a crime to smoke a bit of marijuana. It’s not a crime to drink beer,” says Norman, who admits to having smoked a joint or two herself. “To throw people in jail and give them criminal records for simple possession is ridiculous.” The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary dealt with 178 cases of simple possession charges since last year when the hint of decriminalization first wafted through the halls of Parliament. The RCMP, meantime, do not deal with simple pot possession. Rather, the force is focused on large quantity inter-provincial
the House of Assembly (out of 48), good. Am I glad there are four in cabinet? Of course I am. “But we really need to see them bringing the issues that are important to women forward — what are they going to do about the environment, child care, rural communities … Here’s a critical time for
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
RCMP Staff-Sgt. Greg Smith holds a bag of marijuana at police headquarters in St John’s.
drug shipments. Decriminalization legislation that was before the House of Commons died on the order table shortly after Paul Martin took over as prime minister from his predecessor, Jean Chretien. The legislation would have allowed Canadians to possess 15 grams or less for personal use with only a fine and no criminal record. The Sunday Independent was unable to touch base a Liberal candidate in this province regarding their stand on marijuana use. Justin Dollimont, the Green Party candidate for the federal riding of RandomBurin-St. George’s, who also admits to having smoked pot, says his party is in
agreement with the B.C. study. “The Green party wants to legalize marijuana and I guess they agree with the legislation,” he says. “Legalization would probably be the best thing to do.” While the Conservatives have yet to publicly announce their stance on marijuana, Larry Peckford, Dollimont’s adversary in the riding, says he would like to see decriminalization come into effect. At the same time, he says he’s never smoked a spliff. “To be precise I don’t know … the party’s stance on decriminalization,” he told The Independent from the campaign trail. “My own personal opinion tends to be
in favour of modest amounts that are small quantities so that people don’t get criminal records and that kind of stuff.” Back in St. John’s South, Norman says arresting Canadians caught with small amounts of marijuana is “silly.” “It’s ridiculous and it’s making criminals out of people that are not. I’ve known people who are from 20 to 60 and older who are users of marijuana and are still respectable upstanding citizens and you can’t correlate criminality with marijuana use, which is what our current government does,” says the NDP candidate. Continued on page 6
Roman Catholic priest in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is at odds with the area’s legislative member over the issue of Sunday hunting. Father Clarence Levigne says a recent petition presented to the House of Assembly by Lake Melville MHA John Hickey calling for a lifting of the ban on Sunday hunting is unwarranted. “I can’t think of a serious reason to justify lifting the ban,” says Levigne. “There are six other days in the week when people can hunt.” The current regulation, which falls under the province’s Wildlife Act, prohibits the carrying or use of firearms or ammunition on Sundays. The ban has been in place since 1863. The legislation is outdated, says Hickey, and is, among other things, hurting Newfoundland and Labrador’s outfitting and tourism industries. “It is time to review this archaic law,” he says. “Other provinces in Canada allow hunting on Sunday and, therefore, their outfitting and tourism industries have an advantage over ours.” Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are able to shop and buy alcohol on Sunday, adds Hickey, so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to hunt.
“In some cases people are hunting on Sunday anyway,” he says. “This law is making criminals out of innocent people.” With a large number of aboriginal people living in Labrador, adds Hickey, Sunday hunting should be a “non-issue” for all residents in the region. “The aboriginal people can go and hunt on Sunday without fear of repercussions.” Other opponents of lifting the ban — including berry pickers and hikers — have argued that the law allows them safe access to the outdoors without the fear of being shot. That argument, says Hickey, is a weak one, particularly in rural and remote areas of the province like Labrador. “I haven’t seen any berry pickers out in the woods when it’s –40 C. Seriously, how many berry pickers or hikers have been shot during the other six days of the week? It’s not an issue as far as I’m concerned.” A founding member of the Central Labrador Caribou Hunters Association, Hickey has been a long-time advocate of lifting the ban. He says he has plenty of support on this issue from residents throughout Labrador. “It’s a major issue here in Labrador, mainly because of the long distances people have to travel in order to be able to harvest a caribou,” he says. “For people Continued on page 6
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The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
The town that wouldn’t join Little Catalina refused to amalgamate to save its town hall, although there’s still that $1.3 million debt to contend with
By Ryan Cleary The Sunday Independent
he three Trinity Bay towns that decided recently to amalgamate could have had the company of a fourth municipality, but Little Catalina would have no part of it, The Sunday Independent has learned. Residents of the town of just over 500 near the tip of the Bonavista Peninsula feared their town hall would close if the community joined with the other three, a risk they weren’t prepared to take. With the amalgamation, the provincial government decided to write off $1.7 million of the $2million combined debt of Catalina, Port Union and Melrose. Given Little Catalina’s decision
to remain on its own, Municipal Affairs Minister Jack Byrne must now decide whether to forgive that community’s outstanding debt, which stands at an estimated $1.3 million. “You’re asking a really good question there,” Byrne told The Independent. “You’ve got to ask yourself whether it’s fair to the three towns that came together to pay down their debt but then to do the same for a community that decided against it,” the minister says, hinting the province may not forgive Little Catalina’s debt this year. “Again, I’m hoping municipalities will see the benefits of coming together.” The provincial government paid $12,000 in July 2002 for a study to weigh the positives and nega-
tives of amalgamating the four towns. At the time of the report, each of the municipalities was in arrears in terms of debt payments, and had experienced a population decline of at least 20 per cent since the early 1990s when the northern cod fishery was closed. “A rapidly declining population, the depressed economic situation, the high cost of service provision and delivery, a staggering debt load, and the resultant inability to consider even minimal capital expenditures, clearly indicates a need for the towns collectively to address their untenable situation,” read the report. In the end, however, the author of the report did not recommend the inclusion of Little Catalina in the amalgamation, primarily
because of the opposition expressed at a public meeting. Residents had also taken an unofficial referendum on the question of amalgamation. According to the part-time town clerk, of the 176 votes cast, 156 were against. Contacted recently, Mayor Gladys Johnson refused comment, referring to the brief included in the amalgamation report. Incorporated in 1965, the Town of Little Catalina has few businesses, 5.3 kilometres of unpaved road and two part-time workers. The community’s pride and joy is its town hall, which serves as a town office, maintenance building, and fire department. The building also serves as a community centre, hosting church-related events, showers, birthday parties,
and anniversaries. Given the possibility it may close, the community turned thumbs down on amalgamation. “We feel that whether we join together or not, the provincial government has to come to the realization that small towns such as ours cannot continue without their debts being forgiven, as one town alone, or four together,” the mayor wrote in her brief. In its March budget, the province earmarked $9 million for municipal debt relief. Byrne expects the money will help up to 25 towns. Effective Jan. 1, the Towns of Catalina, Port Union and Melrose will be disincorporated to form the new town of Trinity Bay North. The province does not support forced amalgamation. firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Blazing a trail,’ key to attracting women to politics From page 1
that her three children are grown up and her business is doing well that she could consider running for office. “I’ve got my children’s support, and I’m just that frustrated with the way things are going I had to run,” she says. “I’ve learned through my life that, as a woman, you have to look at your problems and deal with them … I’m forging through the barriers.” Then there’s the sheer cost of signs, campaign literature, and travel within a district. “We still make less money than men, which makes it more difficult to take the plunge,” Norman adds. There’s also the fact that, real or perceived, politics can be a nasty game. “Politicians have been rather … what’s the word? … confrontational,” says Coady. “And we women tend not to like that. I don’t.” Lori-Ann Martino, the Green Party’s Labrador candidate, says she’s found it difficult to be taken seriously by some of the people she encounters while touring her riding. “People were somewhat thrown off by the fact that I’m a young woman, a 25-year-old woman wandering around Goose Bay looking
to talk to people,” she says. “It can be disarming, even laughable for some people who aren’t used to seeing women in those roles, particularly young women. “Sometimes we have to work three times as hard to get the point across, to come off as credible. We’re so used to male ways of thinking and listening and sometimes we’re encouraged to adopt those ways instead of following through on our own intuition.” The key to having more women run for office lies in blazing a trail, says Coady. It’s in providing role models, mentors, and an active recruitment program, “to encourage and nurture and engage women in the process.” Hancock urges women — knowing full well it takes time to learn who has power and how the system works — to get out and talk to the people, to find out what people are really talking about, and become familiar with policy. “Women aren’t going to vote for you just because of your gender,” she says. “It’s a lot of work and women and men are going to guide this province. We need stronger voices.”
Martino has another idea to cut across the gender divide. Instead of women learning to act as mouthpieces for the male-dominated party line, she’d like to see some movement in the other direction. “As a woman I’m trying to say … that men could see themselves in what may be traditionally considered a female role, which is relating to care and stewardship and to longterm family thinking,” she says. “I think we have to open the door to men being able to embrace these ideas of care and cooperation — not competition.” But for all the stumbling blocks and frustrations, none of the women candidates expressed any regret at their choice to run. “It’s exhilarating to meet so many people,” says Coady. Martino says she’s encouraged that many she speaks to seem to be open to new ideas. Norman ends by encouraging all to get out and vote. She recalls something one woman said to her on the doorstep: “I’ve had too many women go before me and fight for me to not go out and vote.” email@example.com
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Fresh off a conference call with 16 women’s groups from across the province, Hancock says she’s hearing disillusionment. The issues her colleagues want discussed in depth are not getting much play in the lead-up to this election. Wynanne Downer, a Conservative — the party that seems to have the hardest time attracting women candidates — doesn’t hesitate to admit that her views differ from some of the men in her party. “The issues are different for me,” she says. “The men, they launch attacks on Paul Martin for fiscal mismanagement and the deficit and that seems to be the trend. My concerns, it could be because of my gender, are education and health.” Mentioning she’s got a strong background in policy and community mobilization, Downer says her leadership style of consensus building and cooperation is different from that of most men as well — but common among women leaders. She says one of the most important things the MPs from Newfoundland and Labrador could do is to get their heads together and stop in-fighting. “Look, we’re a very small block,” she says. “Why does Danny Williams need an office in Ottawa to lobby the federal government when we’ve already got seven people there? We just have to get together. “Women’s leadership style, people realize it is a different style. As a collaborative group, we could have more influence and power in Ottawa. Not to say women don’t ever go on the attack … I’ve been in battles, but I find the solution comes much better from a round table than in a sparring match.” “It’s a different perspective being a woman,” says Siobhan Coady,
Liberal and prominent businesswoman. “The mechanisms and ways a man and a woman may govern a country are different. In a maledominated profession you have to learn and understand the rules … and improve upon them,” she adds with a laugh. Peg Norman highlights another viewpoint that she feels she can offer. “I know what it’s like to be discriminated against, to be in the minority group, to be oppressed, and I think that brings something that a lot of upper-middle class white men can’t,” she says. “They can be empathetic to a degree, but it’s a whole different ball game if you’ve been there …” Many women choose not to take a shot at federal politics for purely logistical reasons, Norman points out. Living part- or full-time in Ottawa for a few years isn’t always an option. “Women have the primary role of caregiver within the family, for children, for elderly parents. They may have different priorities,” says Norman. Janine Piller, NDP candidate for St. John’s North, says it’s only now
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The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
Photo by Alisha Morrissey/The Sunday Independent
Stephen Harper was scrummed by reporters in St. John’s recently.
Harping on the issues Conservative leader has calmed the seas in Atlantic Canada, and may be on the verge of turning the Liberal tide By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent
fter travelling thousands of miles, shaking even more hands and hitting the peak of his popularity, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s voice betrays him. While his tone may reflect a man who’s simply bone tired, his voice rings hollow. The miles and speeches seem to have dampened the passion in his voice, which is ironic since Harper is staring the most powerful job in Canada straight in the face. It’s so close he can taste every nuance that comes with being leader of the country. The big blue political machine may very well spit Liberal red when the ballots are counted on June 28. Having a passion for politics, almost an addiction, is something that can’t be taken away from Harper. As a young man in the 1980s, Harper would regularly take his girlfriend to political meetings instead of restaurants or movies. Harper’s sitting in the campaign bus and preparing for a number of whistlestops in Toronto. His press secretary hands the phone to the leader. “Hello Mr. Harper, how are you today?” asks The Sunday Independent in an exclusive interview. “Good,” he says like a man whose tie is far too tight. The interview starts immediately.
There’s no time for niceties or comparing the weather in St. John’s with Canada’s centre of the universe — Toronto. Struggling to repair a right-wing agenda that he and his party have been saddled with since he first spoke those infamous words “culture of defeatism,” Atlantic Canadians are still wary of Harper’s piecing blue eyes and western ideals. “I’ve said that what we really need in Atlantic Canada, in Newfoundland and Labrador particularly, is the development of long-term employment opportunities,” says Harper of Employment Insurance. EI is Atlantic Canada’s Shroud of Turin — look but don’t touch. “Obviously I don’t agree with some of the business subsidies that pick winners and losers, but I think, when it comes to programs that ordinary people depend on, like EI, we have to be very careful with what we do. You know, blame people for not having jobs that don’t exist.” But Harper has said that his $37 billion in tax cuts — almost twice the cuts the Liberals are dangling in front of the electorate — will be partly financed by the billions of dollars he sees as EI overpayments. Prior to the election the federal Liberals proposed changes to the EI system, making it easier for seasonal workers to qualify for benefits. “Rather than tinker with EI, the real key is to engage in a strategy of long-term job creation. I’m always open to looking at how we can improve the system, but I’m
not planning to make any kind of overhaul of EI,” says Harper. Harper excuses himself for a moment to answer a question from one of the politicos who surround him, directing his every move. Days before the election call, The Independent reported that the Liberal government was preparing to commit more than $100 million to fight foreign overfishing on the Grand Banks. “I haven’t put it (fisheries enforcement) in terms of dollars,” says Harper. “Obviously it’s part of our plan to rebuild our defensive security and wanting to put some money into coast guard operations, but I haven’t put a specific figure on that particular exercise.” Enforcement costs to battle overfishing, maintains Harper, will be part of “our total security budget.” Harper says if the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organziation (NAFO), which monitors fishing outside Canada’s 200-mile limit, doesn’t do its job a Conservative government will move in and take custodial management of the continental shelf. “But to be honest, there will have to be some considerable investment for Canada to be able to do these things and I don’t think today we really have that capability.” St. John’s South MP Loyola Hearn is being touted as a logical choice to be the next Fisheries minister should the Conservatives form the next government and Hearn win his seat.
“… we’re not quite measuring the drapes at 24 Sussex yet and not quite handing out portfolios yet,” says Harper. “Obviously Loyola has been a pretty important part of our team and I’ll just leave it at that.” During campaign stops in Toronto recently, Harper used the words “majority government” in a number of speeches for the first time. In Atlantic Canada, the Conservatives have pulled in behind the Liberals and trail by just two points. Harper’s commitment to change equalization payments and enforce the Atlantic Accord may have given the Conservatives the push they need. “This was the intention of the Atlantic Accord that was signed by the last Conservative government and it’s my intention to ensure that we implement equalization in a way that makes Newfoundland the primary beneficiary of its development.” Harper doesn’t trip much during the interview, but stumbles when asked if Newfoundland is a distinct society. “I, yeah, probably sociologically it is, but I’m not going to get into a constitutional debate about who’s more distinct than the next guy. I just want to make sure that all provinces have respect for the powers and resources of all provinces so they can develop their own distinct characteristics.” firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
An independent voice for Newfoundland & Labrador
P.O. Box 5891, Stn.C St. John’s, Newfoundland A1C 5X4 Tel: 709-726-4639 Fax: 709-726-8499 www.theindependent.ca The Sunday Independent is published by The Sunday Independent, Inc. in St. John’s. It is an independent newspaper covering the news, issues and current affairs that affect the people of Newfoundland & Labrador.
NEWSROOM Managing Editor Ryan Cleary Senior Editor Stephanie Porter Picture Editor Paul Daly Senior Writer Jeff Ducharme Reporter Alisha Morrissey
Nursing the wounds
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LETTERS POLICY The Sunday Independent welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must be 300 words in length or less and include full name, mailing address and daytime contact numbers. Letters may be edited for length, content and legal considerations. Send your letters in care of The Sunday Independent, P.O. Box 5891, Station C, St. John’s, NL, A1C 5X4 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
urses are cute, give them that. Not just in looks and caring way, but in careful step and thoughtful gaze. Debbie Forward may not be as intimidating as Leo Puddister, but the leader of the 5,000-strong nurses’ union knows, without a doubt, she can’t beat the political machine that pounded NAPE’s much more impressive muscle. She’s quick, though. Smart enough to know Danny Williams will be coming after nurses, sure as shootin’, for sick leave. The secretaries and snow plow operators, clerks and custodians would lose their minds if nurses didn’t get the same sad contract that’s been rammed down their throats with the unstoppable force of legislation. It’s called pattern bargaining: One union gets the same as another; no union deserves any more than another; all work is equal under God. Communism could be another word for it, but that’s cruel. Give our politicians a break; they have a hard time explaining why one comrade should be paid any more than another comrade. It’s an argument that’s impossible for most MHAs, who aren’t half as cute as nurses, to win. “They have a job, isn’t that enough?” Newfoundlanders bawl at their television sets during the evening news as the boats rot by
the side of the stage and the phone rings off the hook. (The kids in Alberta or B.C. should know better than to call home during the news.) “Why isn’t full-time work good enough for them rich nurses and office workers? Who are they to think they’re so special?” Nurses are destined for the same concessions, but they found a loophole that allows them to delay the start of contract negotiations until next June. There’s not a damn thing Danny Williams can do but wait to use his contract snippers. In The Sunday Independent’s May 23rd edition Forward stated nurses, whose contract is set to expire June 30, would be holding off on talks with the province until the fall to give the Williams’ government a break after the monthlong strike it suffered through. Quote: We want to make sure when we’re at the table we have government’s full attention. Way to throw Williams off, Debbie. Forward was cute enough to know not to tell the media about the loophole the union had found to stave off concessions for another year. The loophole means nurses hired in 2005 will still be eligible for 24 sick days a year like the nurses hired before them; unlike the new government clerk, who will only be eligible for 12.
For sure nurses are only delaying the inevitable. NAPE and CUPE members were accused, in a round about way, of abusing sick leave, averaging 16 days each a year. Nurses average 15.6 days a year. Government’s scalpel is sure to be bloodied again. As for the twoyear wage freeze, technically, there will only be a one-year freeze for nurses given the year delay they managed to get. What a Newfie coup that was. In the end, government won’t win by battling nurses, who can always find work somewhere else if this place turns nasty. Nurses aren’t doing too bad at this point in terms of pay compared to the Maritimes, but a two-year wage freeze will eventually put them behind. Competition for nurses is heating up; seniors are more and more common across the land, their delicate health needs looking after. In the end, there’s little money; no cash for new ferries or museums or health care. These days, public sector contracts aren’t about getting ahead, but holding ground, stopping concessions from dragging them backwards. The teachers’ contract is due to expire at the end of August and the union has already begun to run television ads aimed — not at convincing the public why they should get more of anything — but informing John Q
what teacher cuts will mean to their children’s education. Provincial government fiscal restraint is having an impact on every aspect of our lives. From a rise in the cost of beer to a 10 per cent hike in power rates (although there’s also the cost of fuel in that equation), it’s getting harder and harder to live here. Doctors are a rare thing around the bay. Roads have more potholes; towns have fewer hospitals. The two constants are long-distance bills and line-ups for hip replacements. Thank God for federal elections and the off chance that Ottawa may take notice of the shape we’re in. The leaders we choose to send upalong will also be charged with pointing out to Canada how and why we’re hurting. Too bad there’s not a nurse in the bunch. Ryan Cleary is managing editor of The Sunday Independent. email@example.com
Letters to the Editor
‘Compromised her own sense of honesty’ Dear editor, I found it so hard to comprehend her thinking that I had to read Noreen Golfman’s “Sacred Art” article (The Independent, May 30June 5 edition) several times just to try get a grip on the thought process. The stretch from an “abrasive, offensive and heretical” individual, Peter Walker — at least according to Peter Bell in 1984 — to her fawning admiration of Michael Moore’s despicable award-winning Fahrenheit 9/11,
blows the proverbial mind. I know Peter Walker from squat! Never even heard of him or Noreen, for that matter, until I read Golfman’s screed in your publication. Google gave me the essence. Walker is a legend in his own mind. Twenty years ago he stirred up the proverbial here and now. He is, for all intents and purposes, unknown. Fast forward to Moore’s scatological debris. Noreen says,”To disclose for a moment … I thought his much
vaunted documentary on those troubling high school murders in Colorado, Bowling for Columbine, was an unmitigated fraud.” She has it right. Good analysis and an accurate assessment of the twit. Now comes the fun part, having identified the leopard she then espouses his accuracy in Fahrenheit 9/11. I haven’t seen such blatant hypocrisy since Bill Clinton said, “I never had sex with that woman.” Ms. Golfman’s animus for President Bush is so vicious that she has compromised her own
sense of honesty. I find the article speaks volumes about her unbridled hatred of the truth to such a degree that “art” can and will be corrupted to aid ones political agenda; this from a professor of literature. Pathetic! I feel sad for our students and I suggest we all pay closer attention to who we allow into this province to corrupt/ teach our children especially since she has been or is on a committee to vet new staff. Scary thought. Capt. Craig Furlong Kelligrews
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
by Frank Carroll
Spending the windfall C
all me a fool, but I’ve already begun to imagine how we should spend the money that Paul, Stephen and Jack have promised us. I know it’s not in vogue these days to bank on election promises, but let’s put aside the skepticism and assume the Liberal, Conservative and NDP leaders are sincere in saying they would allow Newfoundland and Labrador to keep 100 per cent of offshore oil royalties. class research facilities, particuUnder the terms of the Atlantic larly in the marine sciences, but Accord, Newfoundland has been we’re only scratching the surreceiving only about 14 per cent face. of the lucrative offshore oil revResearch and development enues. What’s worse is that as services can be a direct source of more money comes into the revenue as it can attract corpoprovincial coffers, a correspond- rate and public-sector clients ing amount is clawed back in the from around the world. More form of reduced equalization importantly, R and D in new payments. fields could be part of a greater In the midst of the federal economic engine for Newfoundelection campaign, all three land and Labrador. major parties have In particular, I’m promised that the thinking of energy province can keep research and devHow should the all royalties withelopment. We’ve Danny Williams out being punbeen banging our ished with an government spend heads against the equalization clawthese new riches? wall for decades back. Ultimately, it’s their on ways to develEstimates vary, op the Lower prerogative but I but the proposals Churchill. Why could mean an hope they’re open not investigate the extra $700 million viability of harto suggestions. to almost $1 bilnessing that hydrolion over the next electric power to four years alone. By 2010, that produce hydrogen cells? figure could swell to $500 milIceland, with the cooperation lion per year. of such industrial giants as How should the Danny DaimlerChrysler and Shell InterWilliams government spend national, is already well on its these new riches? Ultimately, it’s way to developing the technolotheir prerogative but I hope gy. Could we not at least estabthey’re open to suggestions. lish a commission of some of our I have a few of my own. finest scientists and economists Invest in health care. On the to investigate the possibility of a surface, it’s a no-brainer. We similar research and developneed to give better financial ment project here? incentives to nurses, doctors and The widespread use of hydrotechnicians so they will stake gen cells is still 25 years away, their careers in this province. but the R and D and the millions, And while we’re at it, we might if not billions of dollars, to be as well throw in an extra MRI or invested in it is very much in the two. present. But it would be folly to throw Establish a Newfoundland all the new money down the and Labrador heritage fund. black hole of health care. Given The government of Alberta wiseour aging population, there ly invested some of its oil wealth would never be enough money in the Alberta Heritage Fund, unless we were willing to sacri- which has earned the province fice other priorities such as edu- $26 billion in returns over the cation, infrastructure and eco- past 27 years. Among other nomic development. things, it has helped the western Balance the books and take province build a health care cena serious chunk out of our tre and establish a scholarship debt. This tiny province of program. Newfoundland should considabout 500,000 souls owes a staggering $11.5 billion in debt. er a similar fund. It’s the same Even after you take this year’s principle that applies to a famipublic-sector wage freeze and ly’s finances — you don’t just staff reductions into account, borrow and spend money, you government is still projecting an also lend money by investing in $840-million deficit. There’s no such things as savings bonds greater threat to the long-term and mutual funds. This province viability of our health care and would have much to gain education systems than this through some carefully chosen low- to medium-risk investuntenable situation. If you sensed another but com- ments. The oil will eventually run out, ing, you’re right. We can’t be so obsessed with debt and deficit but the oil money could be workreduction to the point where we ing for us long after the offshore ignore the needs of the elderly reserves are gone. man who needs angioplasty right Frank Carroll is a journalism now or the community that’s struggling to survive in the face instructor at the College of the North Atlantic’s Stephenville of 70 per cent unemployment. Invest more in research and campus. He can be reached at development. We have world- firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Soap boxing Peg Norman, NDP Candidate for St. John's South, stands on her travelling soapbox and addresses a small gathering outside of the Scotia Building on Water Street in St. John's.
Rant and Reason
by Ivan Morgan
Why voters vote the way they do
remember back in my political science days at university studying with professors who would tie themselves up in knots trying to figure out why people vote the way they do. Looking back on those heady undergraduate years, I now realize that the secret to convincing people you have even the slightest idea why people vote the way they do is to speak in an authoritative tone and baffle everyone with a lot of intimidating math. And precious little else. These political science types are only good at shedding some light on why people voted the way they did, which is not much use when the election is in two weeks. The truth is no one really knows why people vote the way they do. Voting makes no sense because it is essentially a human activity. Take my experience as an example. Whenever I have voted in the past I have always felt claustrophobic in the polling booth. I felt the ghosts of my great-grandfather, grandfather and father were peering over my shoulder to see what I did. They were plain men of business who did their best to try and raise me to see the world as they did. The last couple of times I voted, I always imagined, as I stuffed my ballot into the box, my father sadly shaking his head and being comforted by the other two ghosts as they all shuffled off into the hereafter. “Don’t take it so hard, Bob. C’mon, we’ll buy you a scotch.” I don’t know why people vote the way they do. I don’t know why I voted the way I did. I do know there are a few general truths about how we will all vote in the upcoming election, however. It scares me witless. A lot of people will vote for a particular party because they
always have. As in “my father voted …” This is the core support each party can count on. It makes little sense, especially when you look at the parties historically. None of the current parties are who they were 20 years ago. There is no comparing the Martin Liberals to the Trudeau Liberals. There is no comparing the old PCs to this new Reform/ Alliance/Conservative thing. And the New Democrats have morphed from a union-funded, working-class party into some sort of New Age, low-fat, soyabased, undergraduate sorority. Yet many folk dutifully go to the polls and mark their X for these parties because they have always done so.
Then there is what I call the “Belinda factor.” Personally, I find this the more terrifying of the voting practices. This refers to people who vote for a candidate because they look good or have a lot of money. Then there are the bandwagon types — the ones who want to be on the winning side. The 12 original fans of the Calgary Flames in this province know all about this phenomena. I know nothing about hockey and care even less, but empathize with long-standing Flames fans who were trampled in the onslaught of idiots wearing freshly purchased Flames paraphernalia bellowing the appropriate epithets ( “Woo hoo” and “We’re No. 1” are good examples). There is a widely held men-
tality in the electorate that one should choose who you hope to be the winner so as not to waste your vote. This also makes no sense, which is in keeping with voting behaviour in general. Then there is what I call the “Belinda factor.” Personally, I find this the more terrifying of the voting practices. This refers to people who vote for a candidate because they look good or have a lot of money. This despite the fact that the candidate is clearly an arrogant idiot with absolutely no relevant life experience. Newfoundland still suffers mightily from this terrible affliction. Believe it or not, there is still a significant segment of our society with a feudal mentality towards their politicians. This we need to get over. The one segment of the electorate all politicians fear is the swing vote. Swing voters are the faceless souls who do not consistently vote one way or the other. My particular delusion is that they represent the intelligent, savvy segment of the electorate to whom we all owe a debt that can never be repaid. I have no scientific evidence to back my suspicions. I hope they think very, very carefully before they go to the polls this time. Please do not read this and think that I am the paragon of intellectual detachment who weighs the candidate’s personalities, accomplishments and utterances in conjunction with the platforms of their respective parties to make an informed decision on the future of my country. Looking at the slate of losers I have to face on the 28th, I am seriously considering standing in the booth and quietly thinking “Eeenie meenie mienie moe . . . “ Ivan Morgan can be reached at email@example.com
Opinions Are Like...
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
by Jeff Ducharme
Pray for an open bar
not get away with it the second time. Letters used to be marked with the tears of forlorn lovers or the doodles of frustrated artists, now they are just perfectly shaped letters on glowing computer screens. The emotion is gone. The depth is gone. The Internet is a mile wide and a foot deep. I’m just as guilty as the next person and can barely recall the last time I put pen to paper and wrote an actual letter. My letterwriting skills were seriously impeded by the nuns at Catholic elementary school. The penguins felt my printed alphabet just didn’t cut it, didn’t fit neatly enough between the lines of the paper, and more than once brought that yellow-tipped pointer crashing down on my hand. Just picking up a pencil brings back nightmares and causes my fingers to throb in pain. While most kids who visit a zoo think penguins are cute, my visits to the penguin exhibit at zoos is often far more traumatic. Try explaining to zoo security guards why you are standing at the fence of the penguin exhibit and hurling insults at the little creatures while ranting and raving about poor penmanship. Penguins and trauma aside, maybe I’m just an old man pining for days gone by or maybe I am truly a luddite (a group of British workers who between 1811 and 1816 rioted and destroyed laboursaving textile machinery in the belief that such machinery would diminish employment), but the cost of technology often goes far beyond research and development or the cost of the new-fangled machinery. Regardless of how that invitation arrived, the plan is to go to that wedding, hope for a good feed of roast beef and pray for an open bar. Jeff Ducharme is The Sunday Independent’s senior writer. firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekend only time to hunt From page 1 who work during the week, the weekend is the only time they have a chance to hunt, and it might be Sunday before they can get a chance to take an animal. When you take into consideration the time involved, as well as the cost of fuel and so on, the argument for lifting the ban becomes much stronger.” Tourism Minister Paul Shelley indicated earlier this year (while he was still the minister responsible for wildlife) that the government would hold internal and public consultations sometime this year, focusing on issues of public safety. Hickey says he welcomes the consultations, although he admits it may be difficult getting the full support of the provincial cabinet and his fellow Conservative caucus members.
“I don’t know how much support there is, but I will certainly be championing this issue within and outside of government,” he says. Environment Minister Tom Osborne, who’s now responsible for wildlife, hasn’t made any public statements on the Sunday issue, according to a spokesperson in his department. Hickey says he will be lobbying Osborne, as well as Shelley and other ministers, to have the issue dealt with as soon as possible. “I will also be asking that this be brought to cabinet so that we can have a decision and bring it back for review,” he says. “This is an issue that is very important, especially for rural Newfoundland and Labrador, and it needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.” George Rodgers, chair of the caribou hunters association, says
he understands why there may be some concerns about lifting the ban in the more densely populated areas of the province, but questions why it would be an issue in areas like Labrador. “If we’re talking about hunter safety, then it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is — you still have to practice safe hunting,” he says. “ I could see more of a concern on the Avalon Peninsula where you have more berry pickers and so on, but having the ban in Labrador doesn’t make a lot of sense because most of the hunting that takes place here is in remote areas.” Despite all the arguments favouring Sunday hunting, Levigne says he’s not convinced it’s a major issue in Labrador. “I have never seen this as a serious issue,” he says. “I don’t think anybody’s livelihood depends on it.”
Officer opposes changes to pot laws From page 1 It’s been estimated that 600,000 Canadians have criminal records for marijuana possession. Sgt. Paul Hurlihy of the Constabulary’s street crime unit says the number of arrests for small quantities of marijuana use have not dropped — despite the possibility of a new law. “It’s business as usual for possession,” he answered in an e-mail interview with The Independent.
“It still gives you a criminal conviction if found guilty.” Over the past year, he says there have been approximately 50 charges and convictions in St. John’s for “simple possession,” which is currently capped at less than 30 grams. The average fine for such a conviction is $150. While the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has publicly stated it’s an advocate of new marijuana legislation, Staff Sgt. Greg Smith of the RCMP drug section is
personally opposed. While he says he understands the association’s stand, Smith opposes changes to the marijuana laws. “It’s the criminal activity that marijuana brings with it. If it could remain the simple possession aspect of somebody sitting back and smoking a bit of pot … but it’s not going to.” To get a “little bit of pot,” says Smith, there must be a supplier. email@example.com
authorized by agent
hat is the world coming to? I ain’t no ludddite, but technology has robbed us of some of life’s simpler pleasures — hand-written letters being one. Christmas cards don’t count. This week a wedding invitation appeared on my e-mail. I was flattered to be invited to the blessed nuptials of two very special people. But what left me scratching the old chin was the fact that the invitation had been scanned and attached to the email. It was a lovely invitation, very tastefully done, but it was an electronic image, a reasonable facsimile and, for some reason, I would have rather found it in my mailbox. The convenience of email will never equal the excitement of finding an envelope in your mailbox, looking at the return address and then tearing it open in anticipation of what words, what thoughts dwell inside. From a cost point of view, there’s little doubt it saved the couple money and was fiscally prudent considering that the average wedding costs five figures. Let’s hope my friends are taking those savings and putting them towards an open bar. While we’re on the topic of open bars at weddings, what ever happened to that welcomed tradition? Well, that’s a topic for another day. Technology has taken humanity to the moon and made living to the century mark an everyday occurrence, but it has also robbed us of many simple pleasures that we take for granted. Letters just aren’t penned anymore. Letter writing has become a lost art, though, many argue that more letters are being written today than ever before with the advent of e-mail and the Internet. But that’s not a letter — it’s a message. Letters are written on paper and by one’s own hand and not on a keyboard that’s spell checked by a computer program that has no idea of the context of the words. More than one friendship or relationship has been jeopardized after the wrong word was chosen from the spell check alternative. When e-mailing the love of your life, spelling dear correctly and not referring to her as a four-legged (deer) creature or a farm tractor (deere) is often good advice. The first time you make such a gaff, it might be considered cute, but you’ll likely
Peg Norman St. John’s South
Peg sees the big picture...
Photo: L.W. Reimer
606 Water St. 722.5310
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
‘I’m not aware that it’s happening’ Plants may be processing foreign fish, but FFAW doesn’t know about it
By Alisha Morrissey The Sunday Independent
he head of Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishermen’s union says he doesn’t know of any local plants that may be processing fish caught by foreign trawlers on the Grand Banks outside Canada’s 200-mile limit. The Sunday Independent reported May 23 that foreign-caught fish is being processed in fish plants within the province. The province’s Fisheries department later confirmed the practice is taking place. However, government officials refused to release details, saying they were bound to confidentiality under the province’s Fisheries Act. Critics say the processing of foreigncaught fish undermines attempts to end foreign fishing in international waters, which is said to be preventing the recovery of endangered groundfish stocks such as cod in domestic waters. “I’m not aware of any situations where our plants are being used to process foreign fish in terms of fish that’s caught out there,” says Earle McCurdy, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ (FFAW) union. “There are companies that import frozen-at-sea product to create work in the plant and that’s a different matter all together. I’m not aware of any of the
plants, certainly that we’re involved in, that have received any foreign cod.” McCurdy was wary of the report published in The Independent, accusing the media of often overlooking facts and providing speculative information to the public concerning fishery issues. “If there is substance to it I don’t think we should be having those foreign boats landing cod. We’re under moratorium and they should be too and that’s very clear.” McCurdy says Ottawa should withhold access to local ports by countries that refuse to abide by the rules. “And they should only (be allowed) back when they have spent some time in the penalty box and if there’s a clear demonstration of efforts on their part to crack down,” says McCurdy of countries that fail to penalize fishing vessels caught illegally fishing. As it stands, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has never provided information to show that a single foreign trawler has been penalized for illegal fishing. Under rules of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), which monitors fishing outside the 200-mile limit, it’s up to the home country of a foreign vessel to follow through on prosecution. Using the Portuguese vessels as an example, McCurdy says trawlers that choose to ignore the rules should be put
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Portuguese fishermen repair their nets.
on a “black list.” At least two Portuguese vessels have been cited recently for illegal fishing. Foreign trawlers routinely refuse to allow Canadian enforcement officers on board. “(They) shouldn’t be allowed to use our ports,” says McCurdy. “Unfortunately, in the case of the Portuguese, they don’t (use
local ports) anyway so none of this transshipping includes the worst offenders. The countries that do use our ports are the shrimp fishing countries like the Scandinavians and the Baltics primarily.” Gus Etchegary, a fishing industry activist, has said the processing of foreign fish in the province undermines any efforts to curb foreign overfishing. “How in hell’s name can foreign trawlers land fish in this province for processing and no one be officially aware of it,” says Etchegary. McCurdy says if there are plants processing illegal foreign fish it should stop immediately. “If people have got moratorium species then we shouldn’t be encouraging that in any way shape or form, including using the product.” According to DFO figures an estimated 43,000 tonnes of fish caught by foreign factory freezer trawlers just outside the 200-mile limit was landed in Newfoundland ports over a 12-month period ending October 2003. The landings included 25,000 tonnes of shrimp and 13,000 tonnes of groundfish species such as turbot and redfish. Most of the product was landed in local ports for shipment to markets around the world. firstname.lastname@example.org
Harbour Breton calls emergency meeting to discuss plant’s future; FPI officials say it’s secure By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent
he community of Harbour Breton was slated to hold a town meeting today (June 13) to address rumours that the Fishery Products International Plant there will close, The Sunday Independent has learned. “When you’re dealing with the fisheries and I guess a particular fishery like we’re into right now,
at the present time it’s always worrisome and I think we need to keep focused and keep on top of things,” Eric Davis told the Independent from his home in Harbour Breton. Davis is the Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ Union representative at the plant. “It’s not confirmed to the town nor me that we’re going to be closed or we’re going to remain open, but I mean all we’ve been told is that we will be open again
in the fall and we can take their word for that, I guess.” The plant employs 306 fulltime unionized employees and 50 to 60 casual workers. It was opened earlier this year to process groundfish and is slated to reopen again this fall. “Talk goes pretty fast when you’re in a community of a couple thousand people and you are sort of at the end of the road and talk starts to circulate pretty fast.”
The 10-year-old plant is said to need millions in work to bring the operation up to speed. The main species at the plant is foreigncaught cod. “When you’re dealing with H and G (head on and gutted) cod, ya know, I mean you’re dealing with foreign fish and I guess you sort of bid on it and if somebody comes in with a higher bid I guess you could be jeopardized there and just lose it and you won’t be
working,” says Day, who has been working at the plant for 35 years. When contacted by the Independent, an FPI spokesman said that the residents’ fears were unfounded. “There is absolutely no substance to these rumours and FPI anticipates that we’ll be operating in Harbour Breton again this fall and therefore, there’s nothing new that I can tell you now,” says FPI spokesman Russ Carrigan. FPI is reportedly working on a plan to sell 40 per cent of its American operation, which is responsible for all of its marketing and value-added work. Neither the province nor the company would comment on the future of the Harbour Breton plant, citing confidentiality concerns. Provincial Fisheries Minister Trevor Taylor says he’s addressed the workers’ concerns in a discussion with FPI CEO Derrick Rowe. “I spoke with Derrick Rowe of FPI and Mr. Rowe has informed me that the plant was going to be open,” says Taylor. “Rumours are rumours.” Day says the plant operated for 25-30 weeks not too long ago, but as of late they’ve been on a “downslide.” “If we’re lucky, and that’s something I’ve got to talk to FPI about, is if we do get back to work in October the most weeks that I could see there is probably 10 weeks … that will bring us up to Christmas.” If the plant did fall victim to old age and a lack of will to update it, Day says the town would be crushed but it would survive. “If it happened, I tell you this town would be devastated and the workers in particular would be really, really devastated here.” email@example.com
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
by Gus Etchegary
A fishing lesson for Efford I
t’s getting tiresome listening to politicians using superlatives to describe how knowledgeable they are about every subject under the sun, and how dedicated they and their leaders are in dealing with problems in health care, the offshore accord, etc. Somewhere down the list they refer to the troublesome fishery and the need for custodial management. On the subject of our fishery and a recent article with commentary from John Efford, who allegedly has been our voice in the federal cabinet, one has to ask does he really understand the dimension of the problem affecting the lives of thousands of people in Newfoundland and Labrador fishing communities? The article in The Sunday Independent (“Foreign-caught fish processed locally,” May 30 edition) quoting Efford clearly illustrates that he really doesn’t understand the dimension of the fisheries dilemma and, more importantly, the history of fisheries mismanagement. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have replied as he did when the subject of custodial management was raised. John, please understand the governments of the European Union are fully supportive of the 18 foreign nations brutalizing our straddling fish stocks, which are preventing any possible recovery. They not only support it because illegal fish brought back to the flag state helps to solve a major socio-economic problem in the fishing villages of those countries, but by preventing recovery of our fisheries, they automatically eliminate Canadian fisheries competition in the international market. John, the EU fishing countries also subsidize their distant-water fleets, fully aware
they break every regulation in the book. They utilize small-mesh nets, catching small fish. They direct effort on moratoria species, all the time knowing there will be no punitive measures taken against skippers and owners in their home ports. Last year, the EU subsidized Spain to the tune of $831 million Cdn in support of its fishing fleet. Now they are permitting fishermen from the Philippines to crew their vessels in the same manner as Iceland and others are reflagging vessels to employ Baltic Country crews. Their intent is to fish their vessels on our stocks at much lower operating costs. And, by the way, never let us forget the moratorium on the Grand Bank applies only to Canadian fishermen, and not to all those foreign nations that fish, day in and day out, in a totally uncontrolled fashion on the same fish species that migrate back and forth across the 200-mile limit . John, did you know that John Crosbie took a high-powered group of government and industry people to EU countries and Brussels to plead with them to stop overfishing? Did you know the Coalition of Churches sent five people to Brussels and Strasbourg, and met with 35 members of the EU fisheries committee and invited them to send a delegation to the ravished fishing communities in Newfoundland and Labrador just to confirm what we presented to them? Did you know that Gerry Reid, as provincial minister of Fisheries, followed the same routine? Did you know that Premier Danny Williams visited Brussels just two weeks ago, and specifically requested the EU request Portugal, one of the stalwart members of NAFO, to permit inspection of those two rogue trawlers that continually
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
rape the Grand Bank for moratoria fish? If you did know, then why would you, in the face of that history, send the persons named to go to Europe to again ask for their kind consideration in light of past experiences? Why are you wasting taxpayers’ money? And perhaps a better question is why are those appointed people accepting this responsibility when they have, in some cases, contributed to the mess we have on our hands today. On top of all that, we have had in Ottawa since 1971 bureaucrats and diplomats making their positions clear that they will not support, or advise their political leaders to
take action to save our fisheries. In their minds, that would jeopardize international relations with Canada. They are clearly prepared to sacrifice our fishery, our culture and our history. Some of them have retired, but have been replaced by others who hold the same view. Unfortunately, there are a few former federal bureaucrats in this province who support this point of view, and are now included in the list of experts who are expected to lead us out of the wilderness of fisheries mismanagement that they themselves helped to create and perpetuate. John, there is a way to approach and solve this problem. The prime minister of Canada must make a dedicated commitment to lead a delegation to the EU and then to the UN, including Premier Williams and an assembled group of appropriate personnel from fisheries science, management and knowledgeable industry people. His message must be clear: Canada is no longer prepared to sacrifice its fishery resources to appease irresponsible individuals who continue to undermine the recovery of one of the great natural resources on this planet. He must demand responsible action from the leaders of the EU and the UN. He must be prepared to protect this resource that Newfoundland brought into Confederation. Please don’t for a moment think you are going to use this issue to guarantee your reelection. This industry and its participants are at a crossroads in our history, and neither you nor any other politician will get away with making fools of us once again. Gus Etchegary Fisheries Crisis’ Alliance
Some election candidates have money to burn, others smoulder By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent
t’s obvious just how tight the budget is for NDP candidate Holly Pike — she answers her own phone at the Corner Brook campaign office. The candidate for the federal riding of Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte has to make every penny count. “It’s always a challenge to get enough money to run a campaign,” says Pike. “One thousand (campaign) signs is going to cost you $3,000, just for little signs. “If you try to blanket the riding at all, you are talking serious money.” The riding, Pike says, has approximately 55,000 constituents. According to new Election Canada regulations, candidates can spend 70 cents per registered voter. “Not even close,” says Pike when asked if her campaign will reach the spending limit.
The NDP candidate is running her campaign on a shoestring budget and expects to spend no more than $5,000. That’s a pittance considering that Pike is up against one of the Liberal’s star candidates, incumbent Gerry Byrne. “I know that I’m not going to make direct contact (with voters) as much as he does,” says Pike. “I have plenty of volunteers helping me here, (but) that doesn’t mean that I have the money to put something in the hands of every voter in the district, I just can’t do that.” By working the phones as much as possible and getting the issues out to the public in brochures, Pike hopes that will fill the void. “With our feet basically and on the phone. That’s about all we can do.” Just across the riding boundary are the husting grounds of Conservative incumbent Rex Barnes — Gander-Exploits. “The thing about it is if you’ve
got good credit, then of course you can go to your banker and make sure things are OK if things run short, says Barnes. “All candidates do that to a certain degree.” When Barnes went after the Liberal nomination for the federal byelection in 2002, he mortgaged his home to win the nomination for the Grits. It paid off as he won the nomination and then won the seat. “I was only there (in the House of Commons) for two years and there was no big opportunity to fundraise for my campaign because there was a provincial election. After the election is over — I feel that I’m going to be successful — what I’m going to do is I’m going to start raising money for my next campaign. I’ve got fours years to do it.” Barnes expects to spend between $75,000 and $80,000 to keep his seat in the Commons. “Most people who are in the business of doing political signs and stuff like that they don’t
mind waiting until the money gets fixed up, because they know the money is coming. The only ones who don’t like to have the money charged is the advertising group.” The media see candidates coming and charge full rates for newspaper, radio and television spots. There are no discount ads during election campaigns. Individuals are limited to a maximum contribution of $5,000 and trade unions, as well as Canadian corporations, have been limited to $1,000 per candidate. A candidate must receive at least 10 per cent of the vote in their riding, lowered from the previous mark of 15 per cent, to
be reimbursed for their election expenses by the federal government. Expenses are now covered at a rate of 60 per cent compared to the previous mark of 50. In the riding of St. John’s South, Liberal candidate Siobhan Coady says every cent must be accounted for and directed to where it gets maximum bang for the buck. “The money has to be well planned,” says Coady, who expects to spend every penny of the 70 cents per electorate. But advertising isn’t the only expense; travel and office expenses also take a huge chunk. “With these news rules … the fundraising is more challenging.”
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The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
Labrador’s selection Full slate of candidates running in federal riding; issues range from suicide rates to 5 Wing Goose By Clare-Marie Gosse For The Sunday Independent
ith five high-profile candidates running in the federal riding of Labrador, voters in the Big Land face some big decisions. In the 55 years since Confederation, the Liberal party’s monopoly of the riding has only been toppled once, and that was in the 1950s. More recently, Liberal incumbent Lawrence O’Brien has effectively defended his position through two elections since winning a 1996 byelection. Conservative contender Merrill Strachan admits friends have asked her “why on earth” she’s running. The former welfare officer and member of the school board moved from the United Kingdom to live in Labrador 35 years ago. She’s concerned about the status of Labrador and says the people deserve alternatives. “This is a solid, solid Liberal district and it seemed in this region that there wouldn’t be an option (for change). Now as it happens, there’s a great deal of choice.” The other candidates to choose from include Shawn Crann for the NDP, Lori-Ann Martino for the Green Party, and independent contender Ern Condon. Condon is better known to Labradorians as leader of the provincial Labrador Party, a
Labrador-first party that ran four candidates in last October’s provincial election. Now as a federal candidate, Condon represents the independent voice in the riding, and he’s insistent that people should not mistake his participation as simply “a token on the ballot.” In the October election, the Labrador Party proved to be a viable contender. Condon says the Liberal vote in Labrador “collapsed significantly.” “The Labradorians showed that they were not supportive of the mainline political parties. The PCs got a little over 4,000 (votes), the Liberal’s had 3,997, the NDP had 2,835 and the Labrador Party had 2,392. And we had that on a shoestring budget.” Condon says many former Progressive Conservatives have felt “snubbed” by the merger with the Canadian Alliance, and have concerns that the party is too right wing. Added to that, Condon says there’s a feeling within the Liberal government that deception and cover-ups are the “order of the day.” “Lawrence (O’Brien) is a very nice gentleman,” says Condon. “But the election is not about Lawrence, it’s really and truly about the Liberal government. A Liberal vote now is a vote to reward scandal and corruption. I want to offer Labradorians a chance to say ‘no’.”
A new voice for the NDP in Labrador is Shawn Crann, a local funeral director who moved to Happy Valley-Goose Bay two years ago from Clarenville. “I think I’ve got a good chance,” he says. “The provincial riding of Labrador West is NDP.” He expresses concern over the issues facing Labrador such as exploited resources, transportation problems, the possible closure of 5 Wing Goose Bay, and a general lack of hope felt by many residents. “Another issue is the suicide rate,” says Crann. “The suicide rate is astronomical.” As a funeral director himself, Crann has firsthand knowledge. “I did 20 here last year. That’s the highest rate in the last 12 years, and it’s young people, 13, 14, 15 years old.” Conservative runner Merrill Strachan is particularly concerned over the future of 5 Wing Goose Bay, the area’s largest employer. Ottawa is considering closing the base in order to cut costs, which could potentially happen as soon as 2006. She says that although O’Brien has long been aware of the situation, he has only just begun to address it. “It seems to me a little shameful that it wasn’t tackled publicly, openly. Here we are, it’s getting close to 2006, and we don’t know what the future is.” All the candidates speak strongly about the exploited exportation
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Ern Conden, of the provincial Labrador Party, is running as an independent candidate tin this election.
of Labrador’s natural resources, and how the island often benefits. Green party candidate and St. John’s resident Lori-Ann Martino admits there’s a general “feeling of resentment towards Newfoundland.” She says that predominant in her campaign is “the question of political representation, cultural representation, and the ability (for local communities) to be consulted, particularly surrounding the resources of Labrador.” O’Brien, the incumbent, who’s been vigorously “out and about” promoting his re-election campaign, is continuing to focus on Labrador’s “social, economic and infrastructure needs.” He says that after eight years in office, he’s only just “starting to get a feel for how government works and how (he) can get things done.” Still, he’s working the current election campaign as “hard as the first one.” He mentions his first year in office as being the high point of
his career, as well as “starting the highway from Red Bay to Cartwright,” which is responsible for drastically improving transportation access for local residents. He confesses that the project is still ongoing, and says that other unfinished business in his riding adds to his determination to be re-elected. “The base in Goose Bay, the issue of transportation, the issues of fisheries, of land claims — that’s all ongoing, and I feel I’ve just got my mind around some of them.” When questioned about the other running candidates, O’Brien says he welcomes the competition, although he admits he has no idea who might pose the greatest threat to his seat. He says he’s just counting on the continued support of his constituents. The other four contenders are also counting on the residents of the Big Land. They’re counting on the possibility of a big change.
Liberal contender denies forcing PM’s hand By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent
o one will say how much, but a courtesy call to Prime Minister Paul Martin’s campaign bus in St. John’s June 4 may have been pivotal in getting Newfoundland and Labrador a better share of offshore royalties. A last-minute meeting between Martin
and Siobhan Coady, Liberal candidate in the federal riding of St. John’s South, was a factor, but no one is saying just how much of a factor. “I was invited, I didn’t storm (on the bus),” says Coady in an interview with The Sunday Independent. Moments after Coady’s head-to-head with her party’s leader, Martin changed his tune from what it was when he left Halifax
enroute to St. John’s. On the other side of the Gulf, Martin would only say that the feds and the province would continue talking on a new offshore royalty regime once the election was done. Martin’s position only added fuel to a simmering anti-Liberal sentiment that began to bubble after John Efford, minister of Natural Resources and incumbent in the riding of Avalon, said that offshore royalties
wouldn’t be part of any election goodies offered to the province’s voters. While insiders are crediting Coady with forcing Martin’s hand, she hedges when asked if her discussion with the prime minister was the one that pushed him to make the last-minute, unplanned announcement. “It would be really good if I owned up to this, I could be a hero... I’m not one to make idol threats or have little tantrums.”
In the last two sessions of parliament Loyola Hearn stood to speak before the House of Commons 449 times. Compare that to the combined total of 110 that Newfoundland and Labrador’s Liberal MP’s stood in that same time. Loyola Hearn stood up consistently for the issues that matter most to the people of St. John’s South. On Election Day, June 28, you have an opportunity to stand with Loyola Hearn by re-electing him as the Member of Parliament for St. John’s South. HEARN CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS — 835 TOPSAIL ROAD, SUITE 207, MOUNT PEARL TEL: 364-8288 FAX: 364-8282 — EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org Authorized by the official Agent for Loyola Hearn
The Sunday Independent, , 2004
by Jeff Ducharme
Last week in the House Editor’s note: The following are excerpts from hansard, the official transcript of the House of Assembly, for June 7 and 8. While Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are familiar with comments from the daily, 30-minute question period, Glass Houses takes a look at the less glamourous debates that occur in the House each day. Jeff Ducharme, The Independent’s senior writer, also adds his twocents worth.
exchange over the proposed shrimp auction as a way of setting prices and stabilizing the industry. Poor Mount Pearl, but then again, strip malls don’t float and housing developments don’t trawl. The bill was passed.
une 8 marked the end of the first session of the 45th General Assembly. The House of Assembly sat for 43 days (the longest in 10 years), 33 bills were passed, and 700 questions were asked during question period. The House will reopen in the fall. GERRY REID (Liberal, Twillingate-Fogo): “Sure you are. Yes, the member for Mount Pearl says that he is supporting him. He is supporting him blindly, because I cannot remember the last time I saw a crab processing plant in Mount Pearl, or a boat docked in there.” Reid slam dunked Dave Denine (PC, Mount Pearl) after an
Memorial students doing well
he marks are out, and undergraduate students at Memorial University are apparently doing better than ever. Of the roughly 12,200 undergraduate students registered at Atlantic Canada’s largest university this past year, 94.7 achieved clear standing. Only 2.5 per cent, or 304 students, were given an academic warning, meaning if their marks don’t pick up next semester they may be asked to leave the university for two semesters. The performance of another 2.8 per cent, or 344 students, who had already been on academic warning, was such that they were, in fact, asked to leave the university. Combined, the 5.3 per cent of undergraduate students this year who were either placed on academic warning or asked to leave the university is down from last year, when the figure stood at six per cent. The 2002 figure stood at 6.5 per cent. Glenn Collins, registrar with Memorial University in St. John’s, says more and more university students are doing well with their studies. Parents are pushing their kids harder, he says. Other factors include the introduction of a 70 per cent entrance standard in the late 1990s, and the re-introduction of public exams. “A combination of those factors means students are better prepared,” says Collins, adding student aid incentives also give students a break on their loans if they do well. Collins says figures aren’t available to compare Memorial with other universities. “It’s really difficult to compare because each university sets its own standards with respect to admission and I don’t know if any numbers are published anyway.”
TREVOR TAYLOR: “Mr. chairman (Roger Fitzgerald), could you quiet down the members opposite?” Taylor was asking the chairman to muzzle a number of members, but he was primarily directing his request at Eddie Joyce (Liberal, Bay of Islands). Joyce was one of the biggest offenders during this session of the House, but so was Taylor. The two of them remind me of Heckle and Jeckle — a pair of mischevious cartoon crows.
KELVIN PARSONS (Liberal, Burgeo LaPoile): “They implore the minister, in making decisions about health care delivery in rural Newfoundland, for God’s sake, consider people, consider their needs, consider the fact that because a lot of these areas are in rural, isolated areas and do not have access easily to regional type facilities, that the clinics that might be on the chopping block would be given every consideration and ought to stay, because that is these people’s first line of approach when it comes to a health care need in rural Newfoundland. Simply to shut them down because it may be a financial burden, albeit not a big one in many of these cases where there is bi-weekly or sometimes monthly visits, does not justify the anguish and the agony that it places on these people who need these services.” Parsons was presenting a petition from residents of Rose Blanche, Grand Bruit, LaPoile and Codroy calling for government to protect what health services they have left. Out of the approximately 15,000 residents in the area, 8,200 signed the petition.
Maybe, just maybe, if the electorate of this country voted in the numbers that people signed this petition, governments — federal and provincial — would listen. ANNA THISTLE (Liberal, Grand Falls-Buchans): “My only regret is that today the House is closing. As usual, my only regret is that today the House is closing. I would say, as the Speaker just indicated, there has been no point of order made by the government House leader. He knows full well that every member on the board of directors for the Public Utilities Board has an expiration term. Are you telling me now that the people appointed in future will not be done politically? Do you believe in Santa?” Quick, someone please hold me. Is Thistle saying that Santa doesn’t exist? Then who left that Tickle Me Elmo doll under my tree last Christmas? Thistle was attacking the government over its firing of Petroleum Pricing commissioner George Saunders. With the passing of Bill 32, the commission is now part of the Public Utilities Board.
ED BYRNE (PC, Kilbride): “Just a few direct personal wishes. I am going to ask my colleague, the minister of Transportation and Works, if we could get a public exemption, or exemption to the Public Tender Act, so we could get that member’s desk cleaned off a little bit.” Byrne was taking a goodnatured shot at NDP leader Jack Harris. With piles of papers that resemble the Tablelands, his desk is by far and away the most chaotic looking in the House. There’s some doubt that government has enough money in the budget to properly clean off Harris’s desk.
Memorial finds savings; student wary of ways By Alisha Morrissey The Sunday Independent
emorial University’s Board of Regents has found $2 million in savings as requested by the province in its March budget. University officials say few details of exactly where the savings were found will be released to the public until late July. They do confirm, however, that the money was found by trimming fat from every department and, in the end, the university’s budget was balanced. University president Axel Misen wasn’t available for comment, but he did release a statement to The Sunday Independent describing the budget of each department as an envelope. “For example, there is an acad-
emic envelope, an envelope for administration and finance and for research. Each envelope has an allocation and we are determined that it is possible to live within these allocations,” the statement read. In an interview with The Sunday Independent in April, Misen said he assumed the cuts would come in the form of “further efficiencies.” Luke Gaulton, vice-president of external relations with Memorial’s student union, says he’s concerned about what impact, if any, the cuts will have on students. “I’m skeptical that there will be no cuts to programs and no cuts to faculty and that things will simply be run more efficiently,” he says. Some of the “efficiencies” listed by Misen include better energy consumption by staff and students,
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the combination of some courses, the cutting of other non-necessities and a more efficient delivery of student services. “You can’t cut programs, make them smaller and not notice it at all,” says Gaulton. Though there’s a balanced budget, he says the money is still gone and that may be a reason to raise tuition. “Our biggest concern is that it will be a justification to raise tuition … my worry is that we have been set up to have a tuition increase.” The university admits it’s handcuffed by a provincial government-imposed tuition freeze and an increasing number of student enrollments. “One of the things that surprised me about this … the university president never really seemed that concerned about it,” says Gaulton.
Memorial’s 2004 budget has been set at $157 million, up from $149 million last fiscal year. Memorial stresses that while there may be some impact on the quantity and diversity of programs they say the quality of education will not be impacted. “I don’t think that there are any two departments that they could ever combine but the students will suffer for that,” Gaulton says. The various departments on campus will have until July 14 to review their respective budgets and submit a report to the Board of Regents. The College of the North Atlantic, which was also asked to find $2 million in savings, was forced to lay off 35 employees and cut several programs with low enrollment this past spring to balance its budget.
Founded by Peter Gzowski, PGI tounaments are held across Canada each year to raise funds to teach people to read and write and to inspire Canadians to celebrate literacy. To date, the tournaments have generated more than $7.6 million to support literacy objectives.
June 13, 2004
The Sunday Independent
Tilting towards tradition Fogo Island residents hold on to the past, but slowly change to meet today’s economic and social realities
ita Reardon and Phillip Foley sit on the doorstep of Rita’s Convenience in Tilting, Fogo Island, overlooking immaculate homes, small fenced-in gardens, restored stages, and the small inlet the town is built around. There are a handful of pastures of sheep to one side; a Newfoundland pony grazes in a yard not far away. There are virtually no boarded-up houses or litter to be seen. On the other side of the community is a fish plant, quiet these days. Beyond the plant’s roof, the horizon is dotted with icebergs — 38, according to Foley. The community, declared a designated heritage district in 2003 — the first in the province — has changed in the past few years, undergoing a renaissance of sorts with the helping hands of federal funding, increased awareness of tourism potential, and community pride. Reardon points to a notice on the wall beside the door of the shop. Heritage workshops are offered regularly, giving hints to residents on how to renovate or repair, according to agreed-upon standards. Stages and wharves are being rebuilt and repainted; signs featuring historical notes have been put up around town. There’s a new museum; the community’s first bed and breakfast is scheduled to open this summer.
Since architect Robert Mellin’s book, Tilting — a non-fiction account of the architecture and people of Tilting — was published a year ago, and took this year’s Winterset Award, Tilting has been receiving even more attention on the provincial and national scene. Foley, providing a constant stream of facts and anecdotes and plans for the future, gives a tour up to a nearby graveyard, fixed up a couple of years ago. Many of the headstones are 150 years or more — cracked and wind-worn, but legible. The view from the small cemetery is spectacular — there’s a herd of caribou visible on the barrens. Rocks lap into deep blue water; grass pokes skyward near shards of snow. Foley, walking from headstone to headstone, speaks about a reporter-photographer who came to live in Tilting for a full month last summer. He runs into his nearby house to fetch a copy of the magazine featuring the resulting story. Tilting, unlike other communities on the island, is an Irish-Catholic settlement — the visiting journalist couldn’t believe how much it reminded him of home. This town of a few hundred may be under the tourism spotlight a bit these days, but there is a handful of other communities on
the island, each with their own history, attractions and, in some cases, dialect. The small fishing towns weren’t connected by roads until the 1960s — about the same time electricity was brought to the island — which enabled them to keep their personalities, even today. Fogo island, off Newfoundland’s northeast coast, is 25 kilometre long and 14 km wide. It’s only accessible by ferry, a 40minute run scheduled a few times a day. Once inhabited by Beothuks, the island was settled by Europeans around 1700. The story of modern-day Fogo Island is similar to that of many outports in Newfoundland. It was, and is, a group of communities that live from the sea. Cod was always abundant off the coast, and the island maintained a decent standard of living. In the 1960s, islanders were given the option to follow Joey Smallwood’s provincial resettlement program and move to larger centres in Newfoundland. Residents today credit deep roots and pride for their refusal to let go of their homes. Like so much of Newfoundland and Labrador, everything changed with the destruction of the cod stocks. The dark days of the early ’90s have been slowly brightening, thanks to a substantial crab fishery, a
Story by Stephanie Porter / Photos by Paul Daly
new focus on tourism, and the sheer determination of those who decide, every year, to hold on. “There’s no doubt, still, the fishery is outport Newfoundland, it is Fogo,” says Andrew Shea, mayor of the Town of Fogo. “You know, at least when the economy was bleak in the ’70s and ’80s, we still had the raw materials to work with. If the crab fishery does taper off, there’s not much left for us to turn to.” Ron Johnson is the new general manager of the Fogo Island Co-operative Society. Incorporated in 1967, the co-op is still strong on the island, with about 1,150 members — half fishermen, half plant workers. The importance of the co-op is obvious, considering the population of Fogo Island now hovers somewhere below 5,000 — about a fifth of the population are members of the organization. “The future of the co-op, and indeed Fogo Island, hinges on the availability of the resources,” Johnson says, agreeing with Shea’s statement. “Crab is the mainstay at this time, and keeping the island alive will depend heavily on all residents, especially fishers and plant workers, pulling together in Turn to page 12
‘Trying to get ahead of the game’ From page 11 support of the co-operative.” There are currently three primary processing facilities on Fogo: Crab, groundfish and shrimp. Johnson says the co-op is also “on the verge of getting into value-added processing of ready-to-eat seafood dishes.” It’s the second year processing sea cucumber for a Chinese market. But there are rumblings around Fogo that the crab fishery isn’t what it was a couple of years ago. Many of the shellfish pulled on board boats have to be returned to the sea. That’s got a lot of people worried. Shea, a schoolteacher, calls his town council “aggressive.” “We’re always looking, trying to get ahead of the game,” he says. “Tourism could be another big industry. The tourism industry is not going to save Fogo … it’ll supplement it. The key is to find some people to invest in things like boat tours, bed and breakfasts …” Shea says each community on the island is searching for its own way to survive. “We’re not so into our stages and stores, for example,” he says. “Not that we want them to fall down, but that’s kind of Tilting’s thing, and they’re getting a lot of federal funding to do that.” He says his council is trying to diversify as much as possible. They’re looking for options for the old hospital building — he’s been talking to call centres, to the government about setting up a fisheries research centre. Nothing may come of the efforts, he admits, but at least they’ll have tried. Most of the current work, he admits, is geared towards tourists: Developing hiking trails, entering the Tidy Towns contest, promoting Brimstone Head (designated by the Flat Earth Society as one of the four corners of the world). Last year, the community restored the 1877 United Church; they’re now looking to build
a site to mark Marconi’s work in the area. “We’re at all kinds of different things,” Shea says. “Sometimes I don’t know if we’re on the right track, but we’re trying. Even things that I think normal councils aren’t at, like we’ve got permission to introduce grouse to the island. “Grouse are not going to do much for our economy or anything else. But I think it shows something, you’re not just sitting here, thinking what’s here is good enough. I think it’ll add to the whole scheme of things.” Shea sighs. For all the island’s natural beauty and for all the council’s efforts, Fogo’s population is dwindling. “We seem to be doing everything right, but still the people are not holding. I guess peoples’ idea of quality of life have changed.” There’s only one school on the island now, with fewer and fewer programs. The island’s arena is pretty much empty save the over-35 men’s hockey team. The cost of the ferry service is going up 27 per cent in the next three years. He guesses that by the end of the year, all the communities, save the Town of Fogo, will be on the road to amalgamating as one. (A report on the matter is due this fall.) Shea hesitates a moment, then offers an opinion born out of frustration. “It feels like the provincial government is trying to shut the island down. “Places close up naturally. There’s seven or eight communities now on the island. One time, there were 15 to 20. It’s a natural thing, some communities die naturally, when it’s time. But I think taking away services and speeding up the process, I don’t think that’s necessary. It’s very significant, it’s closing up our history. Shea pauses. He knows he, and the other proud residents of Fogo, aren’t giving up on their Island so easily. “We’ve got to stick to the rock.”
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
At Hazelwood Elementary
lthough it’s after 3 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, the gymnasium of Hazelwood Elementary in St. John’s is full of life. Teachers, students and a few parents tour the temporary art gallery. There’s an abundance of proud smiles. Hazelwood has participated in ArtsSmarts, the largest arts education initiative program in Canada, for the past three years. The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council is the provincial partner. The 2003-04 project was the school’s most ambitious. And the work isn’t done yet. “Since we’ve done this in previous years, we feel we’re ready to go a bit further,” says Lori Lane, a teacher at the school and one of the co-ordinators of Hazelwood’s program. “We’re building on the skills we’ve worked on over the years … we feel we’re ready to do different pieces of art work and put it in a book.” The students will work with Lane and another teacher in the writing, editing and design of the final product. Creative Publishers has agreed to publish the work, which is scheduled to be ready this time next year. During this school year, each of the classes at the elementary school was paired with a local artist working in a different medium: The kindergarten class did plastescine sculpting with Penny Wooding; Grade 1 learned quilting with Jackie Ryan; Grade 2, paper collage with Undrea Norris;
Grade 3 did water colour painting with Pat Ryan; Grade 4, rug hooking with Elizabeth Tucker; Grade 5, Acrylic painting with Elayne Greeley; and Sheilagh O’Leary did black and white photography with Grade 6. Michael Boyle provided guided tours of historical St. John’s. One theme links all the classroom projects: Places to visit in St. John’s. “As teachers, we found there wasn’t very much out there about the community of St. John’s, there’s so little to use to teach children, especially primary children, about their own town,” Lane says. “We want this to be a book that can be used within the community, and bought by tourists.” The students and their mentor-artists visited places around town for inspiration for their work, including Quidi Vidi gut, Signal Hill, Bowring Park, Lester’s Farm. The artists then directed the students in workshops. The Grade 6s shot black and white photos of some of the old churches in downtown St. John’s. From their shots, four of each building were selected, and turned into a series of posters. (Mounted versions are on display and for sale at Décor Framing — full profits going back to the school). “Everyone at the school has been involved in some aspect of it,” Lane says, beaming with pride at the quality of the art that’s been produced. “I mean it when I say I can’t sleep at night, I’m so excited to see what’s going to happen next.” Photos by Jim Costello.
The Gallery is a regular feature in The Sunday Independent. For further information, or to submit proposals, please call (709) 726-4639, or e-mail email@example.com
June 13, 2004
The Sunday Independent
BUSINESS & COMMERCE
File photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Skiers and snowboarders enjoy the marvelous runs and breathtaking scenery of Marble Mountain.
Downhill slide leveling out Marble Mountain resort still losing money, but a lot less than before By Ryan Cleary The Sunday Independent
he annual report of the Marble Mountain Development Corporation is out and figures show the west coast ski resort is making more money than ever, although that doesn’t exactly mean it’s in the black. The good news is the corporation’s operating deficit for the 2002-2003 fiscal year came in at more than $51,000, down from an operating deficit one year earlier of $300,000. The decreased losses were the result of increased skier visits and a 15 per cent increase in rates. The bad news is the $51,000 deficit was recorded only after $400,000 in grants were kicked in by the provincial government. Since the development corporation was established in 1988 to develop the ski facility into a year-round, full-service resort, the federal and provincial governments have spent more than $35 million on the hill. Tourism Minister Paul Shelley says the
corporation has managed to turn the resort around. “It’s actually a 120 per cent improvement since 1998 when our new marketing strategy was put in place,” he told The Sunday Independent. “The marketing strategy is really working and the numbers are there to prove it … the proof is in the pudding, it’s improved and it’s steadily growing.” Shelley says the province is still open to selling the resort, “if it’s the best thing to do. That’s the best answer I can give you.” The province is also open to private investment, but, again, only if it’s in the best interest of “the entire province.” “We want the best thing for the province as a whole when it comes to winter tourism and Marble Mountain is a big part of that.” The Marble Mountain Development Corporation employs roughly 70 seasonal workers, although employment figures rise to up to 100 during special events in the winter season. The number of skier season passes in 2002-2003 increased by 13 per cent over the previous fiscal year — 1,861, up from 1,652.
File photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Skier visits to Marble Mountain were up last year by 13 per cent.
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The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
All that Jazz
Airport numbers soar, but Air Canada’s future in St. John’s up in the air By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent
he St. John’s International Airport is flying high as passenger numbers soar, but St. John’s Mayor Andy Wells is still unsure about the airport’s major carrier. “I got this from a good source in the airline industry that Air Canada was going to pull out of St. John’s,” Wells told The Sunday Independent from Montreal where he was away on business. “A couple of weeks ago when I raised it they categorically denied it and, in fact, the (Air Canada) spokesman said that before I go making these outlandish statements, perhaps I would do them the courtesy of checking with Air Canada.” Wells calls the response from Air Canada “snotty” and that trying to contact Air Canada was like “trying to talk to God.” The rumours are nothing new, but have picked up speed as of late. “What are you supposed to believe? Who are we supposed to believe?” asks Wells. Air Canada spokeswoman, Isabelle Arthur, maintains that there are no changes planned this summer. “The first thing I want to make
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
St. John’s International Airport.
clear is that, be it Air Canada or Air Canada Jazz, it really remains the same,” says Arthur. “The only difference is the type of aircraft on the route. “This summer with the type of routes and the type of aircraft that we are doing, it’s all Air Canada, Air Canada flights.” Airport president and CEO, Rex LeDrew, says Air Canada pulling out is news to him.
“If they are they haven’t made any formal announcement,” says LeDrew. “Like I say, it’s totally out of the blue.” LeDrew says it’s even more puzzling since the St. John’sToronto-Montreal route is “one of the best routes Air Canada has.” Traffic at the St. John’s airport is up 17 per cent to date this year. “That’s one of the highest growth rates of any airport in the
country,” says LeDrew. “We’re are on a roll, let me tell you.” Air Canada will be retiring its fleet of BAE 146 jets at the end of the year and replacing them with Bombardier regional jets. Jazz planes carry 100 passengers or less. Air Canada’s traditional service uses Airbus planes and the Boeing 767. According to Arthur, the only difference is the size of the plane — not the routes or the
frequency. “The schedule is always built in relationship to what the demand is,” says Arthur. “We will continue to serve St. John’s as we have done and we are always looking at new market opportunities if they are available … but what that will concretely be this fall we’ll have to see.” Regardless of Air Canada’s plans, LeDrew says the St. John’s airport has already reached the numbers that were projected for 2010. With a new terminal and passenger numbers going sky high, he wonders when things will come back down to earth. “Everyone’s traffic is up, including Air Canada, and fares have gone down drastically. “Surely we can’t sustain this. If we do, it will be great, but it seems like a really high number. At some point it will have to level off based on population alone.” Air Canada currently operates a number of main flights each day to such hubs as Halifax (four flights), England (one), Montreal (one) and Toronto (four). The mayor says the winds of change are blowing, but he’s still not sure if it’s an ill wind or not “I know my source,’ says Wells. “My source knows the airline industry, absolutely knows what’s going on at the highest levels.”
Playing telephone Aliant officials and employees respond to accusations of vandalism endangering life By Alisha Morrissey The Sunday Independent
ike the game telephone, where children pass a message by whispers until it gets twisted and changed, striking Aliant workers are passing tidbits of information from picket line to picket line. At the Aliant Headquarters on Factory Lane in St. John’s, picketers sit down to Styrofoam bowls of lemon meringue pie to discuss the recent cutting of fibre optic cables in Holyrood. The cables were cut on June 9 on the Witless Bay Line, causing most of the Avalon Peninsula to spend a night without internet, data transmission, cell phones or long distance services. Emergency services and Gander’s air
traffic control also went out but back up systems were in place. “It’s only natural they would blame it on us,” says one woman on the picket line, licking meringue off her spoon. Another woman in a nearby lawn chair whispers to her friend, who scoops up more pie. A man and a woman draw diagrams of the cable’s site in the air with their fingers, running through different theories about who could have done the damage. And why. They doubt the cable was cut by an Aliant worker. “I think it was a sympathetic manager,” says one woman. “The company could have sabotaged the wires,” says another. Others pipe up and say they have heard managers say they’re
being treated like cattle — working 12-hour days, six days a week over the course of the seven-week strike. Brenda Reid, spokeswoman for Aliant, says the deliberate act endangered lives. She hopes the culprits will be caught soon. The RCMP are investigating the incident, but charges have yet to be laid. “It was a deliberate act that was meant to bring the network down,” says Reid. “Emergency services were affected and peoples’ lifelines were cut off.” A spokesman for the Canadian Communications, Energy and Paperworkers’ union, representing the majority of 1,100 striking Aliant employees in this province, was unavailable for comment up to press time.
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Striking Aliant workers are not confining their picketing to the traditional work place. They have been receiving information from supporters when Aliant teams are dispatched to residential areas and have been moving their pickets to those locations.
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
Real Estate Trends for 2004
By Debbie Hanlon With another year well underway, homebuyers and sellers across the country are looking ahead and wondering what 2004 holds in store for the real estate market. The following are a few predictions on the year ahead that you may want to consider: • Real estate is — and always will be — a cyclical business, and this year we can expect to see the early beginnings of a new cycle. To a large degree, the pent up demand for housing that backlogged prior to the recent real estate boom has now been satisfied. We’re starting to see more inventory of homes for sale in the market now, and that typically leads to a shift towards a more buyer-friendly environment. There’s more to choose from, and therefore a little less competition for the listings available. While smartly-priced homes in desirable locations will continue to be snapped up quickly, this mature market will probably have less of the frenzied multiple bid scenarios that can accompany a red hot sellers’ market. • More homes to choose from can also tend to extend the length of time that a listing is on the market before it sells. The good news for homeowners is that while it may take a little longer to sell than in the height of the boom, homes are continuing to command good prices and most economic indicators predict another healthy increase in the average home price over the next year. • Interest rates are expected to remain at very low levels throughout the year, which will continue to fuel an already strong real estate market. Even with house prices on the rise, today’s attractive mortgage rates will continue to make home ownership an affordable option for many Canadians. In fact, the overall affordability of buying a home has begun to have an impact on the rental market. So many new homeowners have now entered the market that the vacancy rate for rental properties in major urban centers has now started to increase for the first time in many years. That’s good news for firsttime homebuyers, of course. However, if you’re considering buying a rental property for investment purposes, make sure you research the market thoroughly to determine what rental income you can expect to sustain under current conditions. Debbie Hanlon is the owner of Coldwell Banker Hanlon. She can be reached at Debbie@coldwellbankerhanlon.com
June 13, 2004
The Sunday Independent
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS By Stephanie Porter The Sunday Independent
awrence Butt, born in Corner Brook, chose a career in nursing specifically because he wanted to travel. After graduation, he didn’t waste any time laying his plans. Butt and two classmates spread a map of the U.S. on the floor and asked themselves, “where to?” Butt attended Memorial University and the General Hospital School of Nursing, and completed his training in 1992 at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall, Ont. He remembers staring at that map a decade ago, turning over the options with Chris Sheppard, from Bell Island, and Danny Newbury, from St. Mary’s Bay. “We really had no idea,” Butt says, looking back. “It was Danny who picked a small town just outside Sante Fe, New Mexico where the regional hospital was offering a generous sign on bonus and travel expenses in exchange for a oneyear contract.” The friends packed up a van, and got ready to leave. At the last minute, Valerie Dalton (from Little Catalina) — whom Butt had been dating for three months — decided to quit her own job as a nurse and come along for the adventure. Although the States have much in common with Canada, Butt says he went through major culture shock in his first days in New Mexico. “The town we moved to was over 70 per cent Hispanic, so we didn’t exactly blend in,” he says. “Danny and Chris ventured out to a club a few days after we arrived and witnessed a stabbing before they could finish their first beer. The guy being stabbed literally fell against Chris at the bar. “We eventually found our niche and loved our year in the southwest, emerging unscathed and with fond memories. You meet a lot of people when you work in a hospital, like a little city onto itself. I can think of no better place to make friends and learn about local life. We even got to meet the guy who was stabbed ... in the ICU.” Real Mexican food, breathtaking scenery and perpetually nice weather made the transition a little easier. About the same time Butt and company moved southside, the Baton Rouge General Hospital in Louisiana recruited a large group of graduates from Memorial school of nursing. The group included Dalton’s sister and cousin. After Butt’s contract near Santa Fe was over, he and Dalton decided to move to Baton Rouge to be near other Newfoundlanders. Ten years later, the couple, now married, is still there.
Grits and gravy Lawrence Butt and some friends from nursing school headed to the southern States more than a decade ago … he’s still there
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images
Floats move down the street during the Bacchus parade, as Mardi Gras goers countdown to Fat Tuesday in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday is the primary day of Mardi Gras, a time of celebration before the start of Lent.
Butt still has kind words for his new hometown, listing his family, friends and co-workers among his favourite things. Not to mention “the food, the music, the beautiful gardens, and the seemingly boundless opportunities.” And it’s hard to feel too far from
home when most of your friends are from Newfoundland and Labrador. “We will discover within 24 hours any Newfie that sets foot in Baton Rouge and greet him like a man who has been lost in the woods for days,” Butt says. “Right
now, there are about 25 Newfoundlanders (not including offspring) here in Baton Rouge that comprise our core group of friends. For the most part we never knew each other before moving here. “And we have several Canadi-
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ans who have been welcomed into the fold as well. Funny how a person from Manitoba can seem familiar when you live in the deep south, but it’s true. Americans are under-represented in our group. They come to the parties, a few have even married into the clan, but they seem puzzled and a little frightened by us.” Butt works in an inner-city emergency room. He says American hospitals differ from those in Canada in that they compete for patients — which he says brings the level of service (and cost) up a notch. Other than that, though, he says the standards and practices of medicine and nursing are virtually the same as those back home. “There are no nursing unions in this part of the U.S., but in a nursing shortage the law of supply and demand works in our favour, especially as you gain experience,” he says. “Work is easy to find, and the pay and conditions are generally very good.” Baton Rouge is near New Orleans, a favourite place for Butt to visit (“A conservative, sleepy town,” he says with heavy sarcasm), and four hours away from a beautiful Florida beach. He mentions he gets to see all his favourite bands — even Great Big Sea swung through a couple of months ago. The cultural differences he notices are mostly in restaurants and diners. “As a simple example, just go out for breakfast. You’ll be greeted with a ‘How y’all doing?’ and offered eggs and grits with biscuits smothered in white sausage gravy,” he begins. “You’ll get a napkin and some silverware, don’t ask for a serviette or cutlery. Folks are slurping coffee, not tea. Tea is an iced beverage. Your ketchup bottle has a cap, not a stopper. There’s not a slab of bologna, can of Carnation or jar of molasses in the building. They don’t put vinegar on anything.” Many southerners, Butt adds, are fascinated to learn that Newfoundland is a part of Canada. “They link us geographically with Greenland and Iceland, like some kind of Arctic island chain,” he says. Butt and his wife have no immediate plans to return to their home province to live. They return to Newfoundland every summer for a visit, and play host to friends and family visitng in the off-season to thaw out a little. “Moving home is not an easy thing to imagine because our lives would be different in so many ways,” he says. “It’s been a long time. We’ve taken root.” Do you know a Newfoundlander or Labradorian living away? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (709) 726-8484.
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
China’s panda population has risen
British soldiers stop ethnic Albanians from passing the main bridge of the Northern town of Mitrovica, Kosovo. Five years after NATO troops entered into Kosovo, the Northern town of Mitrovica still remains ethnically divided, into the Serb-dominated northern and the Albanian-dominated southern parts.
Isolation or union with Europe? Election may determine Serbia’s future
BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro The Associated Press
n admirer of Slobodan Milosevic, a pro-Western moderate and a business tycoon are vying for Serbia’s presidency. The election could either nudge the Balkan country closer to the European Union or toward renewed isolation. Leading the polls is Tomislav Nikolic of the hard-line Serbian Radical party, which backed Milosevic and supported his disastrous series of wars until the autocratic leader was ousted in 2000. Nikolic has sought to distance himself from the belligerent policies that led Serbia to isolation and economic ruin. He mostly relies on support from ordinary Serbs disillusioned with proWestern groups that have run the
country in recent years. “I don’t want feuds with the West ... I just want to make Serbia a better place, with jobs and opportunities for everyone,” Nikolic says. In a flash of old loyalties, however, he promises to dedicate any election victory to Milosevic, now on trial at the UN war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands. Second is Boris Tadic, the telegenic, soft-spoken leader of the pro-Western Democratic party. The group spearheaded economic and democratic reforms until losing parliamentary elections in December and handing over government leadership to conservative and centreright groups. The Democrats also are trying to recover from the assassination last year of Zoran Djindjic, who was prime minister. “I can bring Serbia closer to
the European Union, to the world we want to be a part of,” Tadic told voters in pre-election campaigning, urging them “not to opt for the destructiveness of the 1990s.” The governing coalition of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica also has fielded a candidate. Former parliamentary speaker Dragan Marsicanin ranked third in the polls until last week, when billionaire tycoon Bogoljub Karic overtook him, according to some surveys. Karic’s lucrative businesses include a mobile telephone network, a bank, a large construction company and a television station, all cited by his campaign as proof of his ability to revive Serbia’s economy. In the final weeks of campaigning, other candidates also focused on economic issues, as they reached out to an electorate
concerned with low living standards, high unemployment and an average monthly wage of just $400 Cdn a month. Eleven other candidates include Ivica Dacic of Milosevic’s Socialist party and Princess Elizabeth Karadjordjevic, a member of Serbia’s former royal family. The vote will be Serbia’s fourth attempt in nearly two years to elect a president. Three previous ballots failed because of voter apathy among an electorate of 6.5 million. The law was changed to remove the 50 per cent turnout requirement, ensuring that the republic will get a president no matter how many people stay home. The polls, however, indicate that none of the candidates would get an outright majority. That would necessitate a June 27 runoff.
BEIJING The Associated Press The population of endangered giant pandas in the wild in China has jumped by more than 40 per cent to 1,590 since efforts to protect them began in the early 1990s. However, that number is still low and pandas face threats from “human intervention’’ and the isolation of their scattered living areas, said a report released at the start of a news conference by Foreign Ministry officials. The panda, which lives in the mountains of China’s southwest, is one of the world’s rarest animals. Its survival is threatened by heavy cutting of forests where it lives and by hunting for its blackand-white pelt. A survey that ended in 1988 found 1,110 pandas in the wild, the government report said. A new survey this year found 1,590 animals.
Mouse eaters face jail BRISBANE, Australia The Associated Press Two Australian drinkers may land in jail after chewing off the tails of live mice in a pub contest for a $472 Cdn prize. The winner of the mice-eating contest at The Exchange Hotel in the eastern city of Brisbane is being sought for questioning, say officials with the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals. The other competitor has already been interviewed over the April incident. Both men face two years in prison and $71,000 Cdn fines, RSPCA Chief Inspector Byron Hall says. “Chewing a mouse and spitting it out is not entertainment, it is barbaric,” said Queensland state Primary Industries Minister Henry Palaszczuk. “All animals deserve respect. How we treat animals is a measure of how civilized our society is.”
June 13, 2004
The Sunday Independent
LIFE & TIMES
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Actor, director and playwright Rick Boland, outside the LSPU Hall in St. John's.
Political play Rick Boland takes on supporting role in the real world of politics By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent
he day after the June 28th federal election, Rick Boland will be in one of two places. “Either Trinity (with the pageant) or the Waterford,” says Boland, unleashing his distinctive laugh as he sits on a park bench in Victoria Park in the west end of downtown St. John’s. “And what’s the difference? Can you tell the difference? It’s like Liberals and Conservatives.” Boland is the campaign manager for St. John’s South NDP candidate Peg Norman. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians know Boland better for his years as part of Rising Tide Theatre’s annual Revue shows, and numerous other plays he’s starred in, written and directed. The Water Street NDP office is full of theatre people. Norman’s partner, Gerry Rogers, is also an acclaimed director. Past the mid-point of the campaign, the goings on in the office and on the hustings have provided no shortage of material for the next play — election 2004, says Boland, but there’s some dispute as to who will direct. “Gerry would definitely direct and if she wasn’t directing, she’d be directing the director,” says Boland, taking another puff from his cigarette. Jessica, his 17year-old dog, rolls in the grass like a canine half her age. “This is her home,” says Boland, pointing to a house that sits right behind the campaign headquarters. “That’s the house that Finding Mary
March (the play) bought.” “Somehow we lost our whole history, The Trinity Pageant is Boland’s child we lost our sense of who we were, at least that he’s nurtured for more than a decade. my generation had. I thought it was realActors take visitors on tours through the ly important to reinstall that and get peonarrow streets of the town and perform ple thinking about themselves.” historical vignettes. The pageant is proAs one would expect, Boland isn’t seriduced each year by Newfoundland’s the- ous for long. He begins to talk about a atrical matriarch, Donna Butt. computer program that someone gave Boland takes a brief, him for Christmas that but thoughtful pause automatically transcribes when asked who’s easier notes from a digital “If I had $60,000, to handle — Butt or recorder. I could produce this Norman. “It doesn’t recognize play. Theatre has a “They are both very Boland,” he says. “It strong women,” says lot more money than never does. It says ‘Do Boland, putting a theatrimean bland? Do you an election campaign, you cal emphasis on very mean balloon? Do you I can tell you that.” strong. “They both have mean balding?’ All of great passion and they’re the above.” both stubborn and I can This is not Boland’s handle them both,” he says laughing. first campaign. He worked on Tom The lines between politics and theatre Mayo’s bid to become a giant killer and have always been blurred in Boland’s slay Tory John Crosbie in 1974. Mayo world. While studying cultural anthro- finished second in the race, only 2,000 pology at Memorial University in St. votes behind Crosbie. John’s, Boland practiced “agitation pro“It (a political campaign) is not unlike paganda theatre.” He and Jane Dingel directing a play or producing a movie, but would sit at bus stops or wander through there’s a lot of responsibility,” Boland malls and fight about various issues. says, bemoaning the lack of money in the “People would get freaked out all NDP war chest. around us … but they’d hear the issue. “If I had $60,000, I could produce this That’s very much the tradition I came play,” he says with a roar. “Theatre has a from. My root in theatre was looking at lot more money than an election camthis place.” paign, I can tell you that.” Boland, a passionate Newfoundlander, There was one other important differwas tired of watching Newfoundlanders ence, says Boland. “tugging on their forelocks and saying, “I didn’t get to cast,” he says. “The cast ‘We’re sorry that we’re here. We don’t came upon me with the project.” mean to be here and we don’t mean to be The NDP, he says, tends to attract a poor and we don’t mean to be Newfies.’ unique cast of character — the disen-
franchised, marginalized and disenchanted. “You get kind of strange people coming in through the door and I don’t know, but I think part of it is that I’m a personality so they sort of seem to gravitate towards me the same way crazy people gravitate towards me. I don’t know why that is, but I have some sort of antenna that says ‘Oh look, he’ll understand me. I’m crazy, but he’s looking straight at me so I’m going to talk to him.’ “I’m a happy fool and an intelligent fool. I know what I’m doing. I’m Lear’s fool.” But Boland has high praise for all of his staff, particularly the men from the Wiseman Centre that’s just up the road. “There are a couple of people from the Wiseman Centre, fellows who are living at the Wiseman Centre in difficult circumstances, who are down at our place everyday working like dogs, doing great work.” “The theatre is all contrivance, ya know, smoke and mirrors and magic and I’m not getting to use any of those tricks,” Boland laments a like youngster who has been told to turn off the PlayStation II. While there’s still two weeks left before Boland’s current drama completes its run and the ending is written, Boland does have a working title — Peg goes to the Hill. The play, he says, will open on June 29th, the day after. “Admission is just a simple X.” email@example.com
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
LIFE & TIMES
Standing Room Only
by Noreen Golfman
Who stands for your culture? I
t’s hard to concentrate on the arts these days with so much tedious political campaigning going on. Everywhere you turn it’s health care this and offshore resources that. How many weeks of false promises can any self-respecting Canadian citizen endure? Apparently anything can happen and probably will. For the first time in a long time, Peter Mansbridge might not be predicting a victory for anyone until well after midnight on June 28th — mountain time. If it is true, as John Crosbie and Ispsos-Reid keep insisting, that in the television age a campaign depends entirely on the political capital of a party leader, not on the appeal of local candidates, then it is worth examining the serious contenders’ personal tastes in arts and culture. Since we don’t believe a word any of them says about any of the front page social issues why not assess them more objectively? That is, in view of what they have revealed to be their deeply held personal preferences in areas not taken seriously by the fawning media lackeys. Let’s first consider the embarrassingly stammering and increasingly uncertain incumbent. To date, Paul Martin’s campaign is shrinking faster than Alfonso Galliano’s pension plan. It’s fair to say from both what he has said and what we can see that if he were elected ,Prime Minister Martin would (re)decorate the walls of 24 Sussex with the Group of Seven: Big bland iconic landscapes of Ontario. OK, maybe a highly appraised Blackwood for exotic regionalism. Bookshelves would be lined with
historical biographies. The VCR would play golf tapes and a season’s worth of his professed favourite show, Law and Order. Martin likes to boast he hangs with Bono but you can bet his CD player holds light classical (for piano) and the first Diana Krall, not U2. Having admitted his two favourite movies are the sentimental Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the Canadian co-production Sunshine, Martin has most tellingly revealed his centralist position. He prefers both a safe mainstream movie featuring two immature men who are freeze framed into American popular history and a critically acclaimed but much less watched Canadian produced epic about a Hungarian family. Shrewdly aware of public opinion polls, Martin would protect national public arts institutions to a point, particularly the Canada Council, the CBC and the CRTC, and pay lip service to ensuring Canadian content in film and on television, but he would probably please the private broadcasters by softening the foreign ownership rules of the broadcasting system, allowing a lot more American garbage to penetrate our national system. What does all of this add up to? Martin and his Liberals would maintain the status quo but make space for reality-television creep. Scary? Could be worse. To wit: Take Stephen Harper — please. If elected, the oddly big headed prime minister would decorate 24 Sussex with those garishly large textured photographs of fam-
ily members you find lining the escalator at the Mall. His favourite movies are probably The Ten Commandments and American Pie, although the latter’s celebration of masturbation should make him nervous. I wonder if he’s ever seen Triumph of the Will? Word is out and firmly on the record that he’d privatize much of the CBC and trash the CRTC. This fellow doesn’t believe in regulating anything remotely connected with the concept Canadian. It’s unlikely that he appreciates the distinguished history of the NFB or the Canada Council, and we won’t even begin to talk about what he has in mind for regional funding. A guy who thinks Atlantic Canadians are a bunch of “defeatist” welfare wimps surely won’t have time for publicly funded arts programs. He has a list and we’re not on it. “I don’t think Canadian culture coincides neatly with borders,” Harper is alarmingly on record as saying. He wants to join the Americans in Iraq, dissolve the borders, deny women choice, and banish gays back to the 19th century, which is pretty ironic considering that AC/DC is actually one of his favourite bands. His preferred “foods” are cheese
and Coke — which pretty well sums it all up, doesn’t it? In short, a country with Stephen Harper as its leader can kiss good-bye to provocative and indigenous art and artists, and say hello to the 24-hour Fear Factor channel. Loyola, if you have any sense left in you, my son — grab your CD collection and run like the wind. And so it is we turn to the slick impresario, Jack Layton, he of the mustachioed bravado. If, in the unlikely event, he were elected prime minister, Layton would probably decorate the walls of Sussex with a diverse sampling of traditional and experimental art from the Canada Council Art Bank. Bookshelves would be lined with copies of his own publications. His CD player would be obliged to hold the Barenaked Ladies because they launched his party leadership campaign in the first place and have been stumping for him ever since. An outtake of Ed Broadbent rapping for This Hour Has 22 Minutes would hold special favour in his VCR collection, alongside Norma Rae and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Layton managed to buy TV ad time during this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, a sign of appealing to if not exactly a hip market then certainly a widely popular one.
His favourite meals are Chinese. He might not know much about art but he knows he likes artists, cultural sovereignty and Canadian content. He’s no Václav Havel but his party’s priorities are in keeping with sound cultural issues and have at least articulated positions on these. It seems to me that for anyone living east of Quebec City who cares about arts, culture, and heritage there are only two choices: One for the head and one for the heart. Why would anyone living in this province vote for a candidate who threatens to dismantle the very infrastructure that helps make us different, fresh and forward looking? I don’t get it. Noreen Golfman is a professor of literature and women’s studies at Memorial University. Her next column appears June 27.
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278 WATERFORD BRIDGE ROAD ST.JOHN’S
LIFE & TIMES
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
On The Shelf
by Mark Callanan
New wave of Newfoundland literature Down to the Dirt, By Joel Hynes Killick Press, 2004, $17.95
hree quarters of the way through reading Down to the Dirt, Joel Hynes’ Percy Janes award-winning first novel, I had to stop myself. Maybe it was the fact that I’d been reading the book obsessively for most of the day, trying to balance it and flip the pages with one hand as I answered the phone or made lunch, but I got to wondering what Keith Kavanagh, the novel’s central character, a young man fuelled by drugs, alcohol and anger, might make of me. I suspect he wouldn’t like me at all. With a scant few exceptions, Keith doesn’t seem to like anyone. Of course there are plenty of ways of explaining my real-life musings on a fictional character— too much time spent indoors with books as a child being the likeliest excuse — but I prefer to think of it as more of a sign of great achievement in the writing of that character than as evidence of personal neurosis. Keith Kavanagh is more real to me than a lot of flesh and blood people I know. Hynes must be applauded for this accomplishment. Down to the Dirt is composed of 11 episodes with the story told in the first person from multiple viewpoints. Often a great deal of time elapses between sequences (they’re a little too disjointed to be called chapters), making them standalone-narratives in their own right, but each story refers back to and
builds upon the stories past as Keith stumbles and rages his way from his teenage years up the southern shore to adulthood in St. John’s. This episodic structure, as uncommon as it may be within the novel form, proves highly effective. When we tell stories about ourselves we don’t tell them as one
uninterrupted script from the moment of our conception to the present day — it would be nothing short of excruciating for the listener. Instead we pick and choose the incidents in our lives that bear mentioning, that attempt to either entertain or impart meaningful information, depending on the purpose the
teller has in mind. Hynes’ patchwork of narratives shows us Keith Kavanagh from various angles, each rendition another aspect of Kavanagh’s character. According to Keith’s childhood friend and hockey teammate Andy, Keith has the dirtiest name in the whole league. Rather than tryin’ to rack up the points or goals like the rest of us, he’s always in competition with his own penalties-per-minute record … if some guy steps on the ice that poses even a hint of a threat towards the record, you can be guaranteed, before the game is up, Keith’ll be after droppin’his gloves and havin’ a go at him, just to get himself sent off the ice. Keith’s girlfriend Natasha regards him somewhat more tenderly, if a little cynically. “For the most part,” she says, “I figured he just lived from day to day, not carin’ how the world saw him or where he was gonna be in five or six years down the road.” In her view, “Keith’s no angel, but he’s not near as bad as some people makes him out to be.” With Kavanagh, Hynes has created a character much deeper than he first appears; a character that, as vicious as he often is, one can’t help but care about. Down to the Dirt is funny, yes (and in a blackly humorous way, often hilarious), but it is also a dead-serious critique of modern day Newfoundland that bears little in common with the “embroidered mythologies” that, according to Ray Guy’s back cover quotation, “have passed for Newfoundland literature lately.” As the
book’s description suggests, Kavanagh’s situation is analogous to this island’s “indefinite displacement in the world.” Both appear to be adrift in a cold, indifferent ocean. None of this would amount to much, however, were it not for Hynes’ skillful midwifery. His prose style is fluid in its rhythms, yet at the same time, full of broken beer-bottle edges. “See, you gotta let yourself be weak every now and then to be able to measure how strong you’ll have to be when the time comes,” Keith says in the final section of the book. “I decided I was nothing short of a normal human being. I’d drink her away.” Joel Hynes is nothing short of a writer who understands the rhythmic balance of long, meandering and short, blunt lines. Put that beside his appreciation for subtleties of character and there is much in this first novel to be admired. And, if Ray Guy is to be believed, much to look forward to in the future of Newfoundland literature. Mark Callanan is a writer and reviewer living in Rocky Harbour. His next review appears June 27.
Created for The Sunday Independent by John Andrews
THIS WEEK’S THEME:
Cooper’s CrissCross is typical search-a-word puzzle except you must first decipher the word list based on the clues provided before searching. All of the clues will have a Newfoundland and Labrador flavour. Good luck! The word list and Answer grid can be found on page 26.
Proudly available at
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Centre Town Convenience
OUR HISTORY Ferryland Colonist: _______ Book: Lure of the ______ Wild Explorer Giovanni ________ Early surveyor James ______ Earliest explorers: _______ Cabot’s ship: The __________ _____________ The Lucky Hunted by the Basque: _____ Portuguese explorer: _______ Reason for settling: ________ Cabot sailed from: _______ Harbour Grace pirate: ______ French explorer Jacques ____ Cupids colonist ________ Guy
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
LIFE & TIMES
I’se The Girl
re you up for the challenge? Well I thought I was, but I guess I didn’t really know what the challenge was. Does that sound familiar? How many times have you gotten caught thinking something was a piece of cake (cheesecake that is), only to discover, much too late, that you were so very wrong? Admitting I’m wrong isn’t one of my strong suits; to be totally honest, I find it darn right difficult. So when I agreed to hike the Long Range Mountains with a good friend and outdoor enthusiast from Ontario, I had no idea what I was agreeing to and seemingly no interest in knowing the difference. It just sounded like fun and that was all that mattered to me — at least at that moment. I was told to prepare. “Prepare for what?” I thought. Sure I’d hiked many times in my life and wasn’t this my neck of the woods? Plus, it was months before
by Deborah Bourden
Grin and bear it the trek with plenty of time to pull it together. Week after week my friend called to remind me that I needed to practice walking with a backpack. I dragged the backpack out of storage, borrowed supplies from friends, and each time I explained I was going to hike the Long Range Mountains I’d get the same response: “Really?” “Yes,” I’d confidently reply, and head home to my ever-growing stockpile of camping goodies. As the date got closer to the time for my friend to arrive I felt more and more excited. So excited, in fact, I never noticed the tentative way in which person after person responded to my news of hiking the Long Range Mountains. The drive across the island was picture perfect. As we neared Gros Morne National Park, Bev, my friend from away, explained that before beginning the hike we had to check in with the park warden.
“You have got to be kidding. Whatever for?” Was I in for a surprise. We waited patiently for the warden, who turned out to be a quite pleasant man, although he seemed overly intrigued with Bev and I and our quest. He pulled out a large map and reminded me of something straight out of my Grade 9 geography book. “Can you read a topo map?” Bev replied a quick “yes” and I figured then wasn’t a good time to say anything. The warden explained how a boat on Western Brook Pond would drop us at the dock at the base of a small waterfall. That didn’t seem too bad — a boat, dock and a small water falls. What came next wasn’t as comforting. He suggested that we hike up the left of the falls because there was a moose carcass on the right and bears had been feeding on it. Now
he really had my attention, but before I could say anything he pointed on the map where the first campsite was located. Much better — a campsite. I listened as he explained the locations of several other campsites along the way. I slowly started to relax again, but not for long. We required permits and the hike would probably take three to four days. “Piece of cheesecake,” I thought. He continued on to say that if our permits were not deposited in the box at the end of the trail by day seven, it was only then that a search and rescue team would be dispatched. It took a couple of moments for that to sink in but suddenly a little voice inside whispered, “You’d better start talking now because you just may be in over your head.” Taking my time so as to not appear alarmed or daft, I asked the simple question, “How many people will we meet at the first campsite?”
His reply still rings in my ears. “None. If you complete the hike you’ll be the first to do so this year.” “Really,” I replied. That was one of the few times in my life that I’ve been left speechless — not counting the point when we were issued our permits and sent on our way. “Pride goes before a fall or being eaten by a bear,” was the thought that ran through my head. Still, it was the next morning before I backed down from the Long Range Mountain challenge, although the boat ride back was pleasant. I’m thinking I might be ready for that hike now. “Really?” you ask. Not a chance.
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
While passengers enjoyed some time in St. John's, Holland America crew members apply fresh paint to the hull of the MS Rotterdam.
eeping an eye on the comings and goings of the ships in St. John’s Harbour. Information provided by the Coast Guard Traffic Centre. MONDAY, JUNE 7 Vessels arrived: ASL Sanderling, Canada, from Halifax; Maersk Chancellor, Canada, from White Rose; George P. Pearkes, Canada, from Quebec City. Vessels departed: Atlantic Eagle, Canada, to White Rose.
TUESDAY, JUNE 8 Vessels arrived: Shamook, Canada, from sea; Maersk Placentia, Canada, from Hibernia; Bin Hai 512, Panama, from Freeport. Vessels departed: ASL Sanderling, Canada, to Corner Brook. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11 Vessels arrived: Rotterdam, Dutch, from sea; Jean Charcot, British, from sea. Vessels departed: Rotterdam, Dutch, to Ireland. THURSDAY, JUNE 12 Vessels arrived: Cicero, Canada, from Montreal; Atlantic Kingfisher, Canada, from Hibernia; Atlantic Hawk, Canada, from Bay Bulls. Vessels departed: Maersk Placentia, Canada, to Hibernia; Atlantic Kingfisher, Canada, to Grand Banks; Maersk Bonavista, Canada, to Halifax. FRIDAY, JUNE 13 Vessels arrived: Razna, Liberia, from Riga; Maersk Norseman, Canada, from Hibernia; Atlantic Osprey, Canada, from White Rose.
LIFE & TIMES
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
‘This is my country’ Natacha Lembe came all the way to Newfoundland to join her first African pop band Editor’s note: This is the fourth in The Sunday Independent’s six-part series on The New Newfoundlanders — snapshots of some of the new faces and cultures that now call our province home. By Stephanie Porter The Sunday Independent
ack home in the Republic of Congo, Natacha Lembe only ever sang in a church choir. She would never have guessed that a couple of years later, after moving half way around the world, she would be up on stage, fronting a popular eight-piece band, belting out African music in clubs packed with dancing and appreciative Newfoundlanders. Lembe, hesitant when speaking about her actual immigration, loosens up when asked about the band, Mopaya (literally means “foreigner” in Lingala). “In Newfoundland here you don’t have many African musicians, so it was a good idea,” she says simply, smiling as she remembers their first show at the Ship Pub in St. John’s. The place was full, the audience was bouncing, and when the band moved the show out into the street, on-lookers were surprised — and delighted. Lembe, 24, moved to St. John’s two years ago. Originally from Congo, she and her sister moved to Benin (in west Africa) a couple of years before coming to Canada. “There was a war in my country, people fighting for government,” Lembe says. “We decided to change to a more peaceful country.” Although the war raged primari-
By Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Natacha Lembe, from the Republic of Congo, is now singing to St. John’s.
ly from 1998 through 2002, the Republic of Congo is far from calm just yet — even late last week heavy gunfire and tank shelling blasted in the capital as the government reportedly crushed a coup attempt by a band of renegades. In Benin, Lembe’s sister, Lea Moukimou — her husband is still in Africa — studied economics at the university. Lembe moved on to Cameroon, where she learned about tailoring and textiles. In fact, Lembe was still in
Cameroon when Moukimou got the call. The papers were in order, and the sisters could immigrate to Canada. Moukimou moved to St. John’s in short order; Lembe followed months later. “It was a big change, especially the weather … Today, this sun, this is like my country,” Lembe says, looking out the window. Language is the other big hurdle. The sisters’ native tongue is French — they decided to move to St. John’s instead of Montreal or
another francophone city in order to learn English. Moukimou studied at the Association for New Canadians’ school for a while. Now she’s planning to take classes at Memorial University — and looking forward to the day her husband will join her in St. John’s. Although she enjoyed economics in Africa, she figures she’ll study a program here that will lead quickly to a job. Lembe is still taking English classes and working part-time. “If
my English writing and speaking becomes better, I’d go to the college or university for some courses,” she says. She remembers going to a party not long after arriving in St. John’s. “We met one guy there (Curtis Andrews) who had lived in Africa, in Ghana, and he said he was a musician in Africa. He was friendly to us — because he speaks a little bit of French, he tried to speak to me. Then I couldn’t speak English …” she continues. That night, the two exchanged phone numbers. Lembe, thinking she couldn’t speak enough English, didn’t call. But Andrews did one day, and the two decided to see about getting a group together to play and sing African-style dance and pop. Mopaya’s current lineup features four Newfoundlanders (Duane and Curtis Andrews, Aneirin Thomas, and Luke Power) and four from Africa (main songwriter Jeik Kalonga Loksa, from Angola; his daughter Anna Loksa; Alix Maboussou from Congo; and Lembe). The band may be the first of its kind to ever get together in St. John’s. Mopaya, who plan to record a CD before long, is obviously one of the highlights of Lembe’s move to Canada. “At first, I couldn’t speak, I didn’t understand, and it was very difficult. But now, my English is a little better,” she says, holding her fingers barely a centimetre apart. “I’m happy. “If I can learn more, and go to school, and get a job here, I will stay.” firstname.lastname@example.org
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June 13, 2004
The Sunday Independent
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Bob Cole will have more time to relax now that the Stanley Cup finals are over.
Holy trinity of the broadcast booth Will Cole, Cherry and Neale return next year? All bets are off
ight up until the last second of the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals between the Calgary Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning, hockey fans sat on the edge of their seats. And then Bob Cole rang out the call heard ’round North America, “and the Tampa Bay Lightning have won the Stanley Cup.” Will that be the last call Cole makes on the CBC? We’ll have to wait and see. Starting well before the playoffs, rumours were widespread that changes at Hockey Night in Canada would follow this year’s playoff run. The holy trinity of the broadcast booth, Don Cherry, Harry Neale and Cole, a resident of St. John’s when he’s not calling games, all seemed to have their days numbered. Ron MacLean, who experienced a similar predicament last summer when his contract wasn’t immediately renewed, is the glue that holds it all together and, at least for the near future, appears to be safe. So where is all the speculation coming from? “I believe Don (Cherry) has created a lot of this on his own,” says Chris Zelkovich, a sports columnist for the Toronto Star. He contends that Cherry himself may have created a sense that he was
being forced out because the CBC enigmatic voice in the booth since wanted to cut his salary. Foster Hewitt. What followed was a national Still, it’s been said that Cherry, campaign comparable to the one to Cole and Neale are getting too old for keep MacLean. Evidence can be today’s hockey landscape. found at savedoncherry.com, an The facts, however, are undeniInternet petition designed to bring able, Coaches Corner is the highest awareness to the CBC’s alleged rated segment on the CBC, and intentions. nobody matches the rapport of Cole “I, the underand Neale. signed, wish to add Proof came my name to the between games three growing list of Canaand seven in the “Once the playoffs dians who want CBC Stanley Cup playoffs are over, we will to keep Don Cherry when ABC Televitake a good look at on their network,” sion broadcast the the petition reads. the whole situation.” games. “The Coach’s Corner First, Cherry’s — Nancy Lee, is an essential part of presence is CBC Sports Hockey Night in unmatched by anyCanada and Don one. Secondly, Cole Cherry has been a and Neale bring the loyal employee for game to viewers over 23 years to the network. Keep unlike any other broadcasting duo. Don Cherry on CBC!” “It’s been said that Cole conveys In what appeared to be his own the flow of the game so well that a special way of sending himself off, blind person could follow the action,” Cherry had a production team put Zelkovich wrote in a recent column. together a tribute to his hero, Bobby In Neale’s case, it’s also a money Orr. issue. The CBC wants Neale to drop Cole’s contract negotiations his regional Leafs’ broadcasts and haven’t been nearly as public or con- focus exclusively on the CBC. The troversial. A staple on the network showdown will probably come down since 1969, Cole has become the to where Neale believes he will make flagship voice for Hockey Night in the most money. “My guess is that Canada. There hasn’t been such an Harry will stay with the regional
broadcasts because that’s more money for him,” says Zelkovich. Neale’s interaction with Cole will certainly be missed and will leave a hole for the producers to fill. This summer will be an interesting time for those doing the hiring and firing at the CBC. All three — Cherry, Neale and Cole — have contracts that need to be negotiated and that doesn’t happen till mid-July. When contacted by The Sunday Independent, a spokesman for the CBC would only say “negotiations begin in July and no position has been taken.” The same sentiment was expressed by Nancy Lee, head of CBC Sports, in a recent article in the Ottawa Sun. “Once the playoffs are over, we will take a good look at the whole situation,” Lee wrote. Why the CBC has kept such a tight lip on the situation remains to be seen. Will Cherry be back? Will Cole return to the booth? Will Neale be there to join him? Some question why CBC would want to ruin a good thing, a formula that has worked for years. “I think he’ll be back,” Zelkovich says of Cole. “That’s my hunch, for at least one more year, and I think the CBC will announce it as that, like a send off of sorts.”
The Sunday Independent, June 13, 2004
This Sporting Life
by Shaun Drover
Ryder does the province proud
tem: On June 10, it was announced that Bonavistanative Michael Ryder was a runner-up for the National Hockey League’s rookie of the year. Comment: After a remarkable rookie campaign, Michael Ryder had to watch fellow rookie sensation, Andrew Raycroft, take the stage to accept the Calder Trophy. Although it must have been difficult to watch, Ryder has much to be optimistic about following his first season. Ryder was certainly a front-runner for the award, but it’s extremely difficult to compare two players who play completely opposite positions on the ice. Ryder led all rookies in scoring, tallying 25 goals and 38 assists in 81 games. He also led all rookies with 23 power-play points and 215 shots. That’s a lot of firepower for a rookie. Raycroft, on the other hand, is a netminder, meaning his stats aren’t comparable to Ryder’s. Raycroft backstopped the Boston Bruins to a division title, posting 29 wins and a 2.05 goals against average. Either one of the players could have won the award. I believe the deciding factor was the success of their respective teams. With Boston winning the division and earning a second seed in the conference, it was impossible to give the award to a player on a weaker team. Raycroft stole the show down the stretch to win a division over powerful teams like Toronto and Ottawa. The goalie is the primary position on any team, with an emphasis on playing well each and every night. Goalies can’t have a
Bob Leverone/Sporting News
Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Ryder was named Rookie of the Year by the Sporting News. He lost the Calder Trophy to Andrew Raycroft.
bad game that will go unnoticed. Ryder’s night at the NHL awards was still a success as he was named to the all-rookie team, a prestigious accomplishment that will go well with his Sporting News Rookie of the Year award he earned last month.
Item: The Calgary Flames came up short in the Stanley Cup final, losing to Tampa Bay in seven games. Comment: It was a long journey for the Calgary Flames that ended in bitter defeat. With two chances to close out the series and Tampa
Bay’s season, Calgary’s injuries proved too much of a setback for simple heart and determination to overcome. The Flames have nothing to be upset about as their post-season success was well beyond expectations. After the Stanley Cup was awarded, the heroes’ welcome that the team received back in Calgary was one to remember. Even with a loss in game seven, the fans in Calgary are still prouder and happier than the fans in Tampa Bay will ever be. It was a great accomplishment for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and their players fought through a grueling set of playoffs. Still, their fans don’t know how special it is to take home the Stanley Cup. Sure they’re excited and celebrated the victory, but they have no idea how magical it is to Canadian hockey fans to watch their team make it past some of the top-rated teams in the NHL. That’s especially true when you’re a huge underdog like the Flames. Keep in mind that Tampa Bay was the top-rated seed in the east. We Canadians still know that it was our blood that helped win the cup. Take Prince Edward Islandnative Brad Richards, for example. After being announced to Team Canada’s World Cup roster, Richards proved his worth by taking home the Con Smyth for playoff MVP. Item: The Euro 2004 competition got underway June 12 in Portugal. Comment: This tournament is probably the second biggest international soccer competition behind
the World Cup. It only takes place every four years, so if you enjoy the sport, this is a must-see. Sixteen European teams play a grueling round robin, followed by a single elimination round with the eight remaining squads. France is once again a big favourite for the tournament. They were favourites for the last World Cup, too, but couldn’t manage to get out of their round-robin group. Although the team had trouble scoring in the World Cup, Henry is considered the top scorer in the world and will be a player to watch in the elimination round. The French open up against England in their first match, which should be a difficult match for the English. If they lose to France, they’ll be forced into must-win games in order to advance. Other strong teams to watch for are Germany and Italy. Germany came second to Brazil at the last World Cup. Although Italy plays a defensive strategy, the team will rely on both Vieri and Totti to score their goals and lead them to victory. email@example.com
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