A newspaper owned and operated in Newfoundland & Labrador
Vol. 2 Issue 29
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Sunday, July 18-24, 2004
$1.00 (including HST)
Science of numbers DFO says salmon budget stable, province (and federal scientist) say otherwise
Gallery Margaret Ryall Page 14
First poaching charges to be laid by Williams’ government By Ryan Cleary The Sunday Independent
A International Forbes editor murdered Page 18
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Palm Sunday Life & Times Sealer Jack Troake Page 21
Ilse Lea reads palms at a psychic fair being held at the Holiday Inn in St. John’s this weekend. The native of Germany says her vision helped her cheat death as a child when she refused to cross a particular bridge. See story page 23.
lmost five weeks after the senior salmon scientist with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in St. John’s said the science budget had been cut in half since the closure of the commercial fishery, department officials still can’t say whether Rex Porter was on the money. Porter also told The Sunday Independent in mid-June that stocks of Atlantic salmon are as desperately low today as they were in 1992 when the commercial fishery closed. He said scientists are at a loss to explain why, a mystery fueled by a lack of science. DFO has produced figures that, at first blush, would appear to dispute Porter’s claims. Jan Woodford, DFO’s communications chief in the province, says the department’s direct budget for salmon science has actually increased since 1992, when the commercial salmon fishery was first banned. The science budget that year was just over $460,000, compared to the $765,000 set aside this fiscal year.
Those figures, however, don’t include funds that were available through federal-provincial, cost-shared agreements, which are thought to have increased the overall budgets substantially. Woodford says department officials haven’t calculated those amounts, information The Independent would have to request officially through the federal Access to Information Act. That process can take months, and the media is often charged huge research fees. The health of the province’s salmon stocks returned to the spotlight recently when the provincial government announced it would be directing 20 of its own conservation officers to patrol salmon rivers, a federal responsibility. In mid-June, Porter, who’s been unavailable for an interview since then, said some salmon stocks on the island’s south coast are actually in worse shape than when the moratorium was handed down. Porter said salmon numbers are healthy enough in the river systems, but the fish aren’t returning from sea, a mystery that Continued on page 2
Tourists love the tour-boat show; experts study impact on wildlife By Stephanie Porter The Sunday Independent
I Sports Shamrocks Page 25
Quote of the Week “He (a hunter) arrives at his destination on Friday night and he can’t hunt because it’s dark. He hunts on Saturday, but has no luck, and on Sunday, you can only imagine his disappointment when he sees Mr. Moose and he can’t shoot him.” — MHA John Hickey on Sunday hunting
‘Little piece of the pie’ Labour action slows production across province;
unions, management, fight for ground
By Alisha Morrissey The Sunday Independent
ith dozens of contracts expiring this year in the public and private sectors, 2004 may well be labelled the year of the strike in Newfoundland and Labrador. Economists have differing opinions as to the reason for the labour unrest. Unions and employers continue to butt heads on job security, sick leave, contracting out, seniority, pensions … the list goes on and the chasm widens. Doug May, an economics professor
with Memorial University in St. John’s, says the province is heavily unionized because a large number of employees work in resource-based industries, or as public servants. Both sectors are traditionally union strongholds. May says the economy is coming out of a slump, which may be the reason unions and companies are bargaining harder for new, more lucrative contracts. “It’s a better time to strike than if things are really in a downturn and (in) doldrums where companies are fighting Continued on page 15
t’s a good week in Bay Bulls. “This feels like, what, the third day of summer? About time,” Melissa Angel says, relief visible in her grin as she squints up at the sun. “And the whales — you should see the whales.” Angel is a tour guide for O’Brien’s Whale and Bird Tours, one of at least half a dozen boat tour operations based in the Bay Bulls-Witless Bay area, 20 minutes south of St. John’s. The number of visitors has been a little lower than usual so far this year — as many tourist operations are finding across the island — mainly because, as Angel says, “the weather’s been crappy.” But with this week’s sun and warmth come the people. There are over 50 lined up for this particular weekday afternoon boat trip, all eager to see frolicking whales, and check out some of the millions of seabirds off the coast. There are also two biologists on the boat, graduate students from Memorial University. They’re researching and evaluating the effect of tour boats on wildlife — and the impact of the experience on the people who take the tour. “We’re trying to find out and be aware of, if we’re having a negative impact in our environment,” says Joe O’Brien, who founded the tour compa-
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
It’s humpback season in Witless Bay.
ny with his brother Loyola, and sister, Ann. “Because we were fishermen by trade, and we saw the fishery starting to decline and the writing became evident on the wall that there was going to be major problems … We didn’t want bird watching to go the same way as the fishery.” This is the 20th season of whale watching tours for the O’Briens, who had the first such company in the area. “We didn’t really know this would work until we saw the expression on the
faces of our first guests, we knew this was a shoe-in … until tourists started pointing out the attractions, we didn’t know what we had.” The idea obviously caught on with other entrepreneurs — and a whole lot of tourists, some from just up the road, others from around the world. There are plenty of folks from Ontario on this trip, and at least one couple from New York. The passengers enjoy a smooth ride away from the wharf. Angel’s at the microphone, and gives a quick history of Bay Bulls, then a rundown of what’s
ahead for the two-hour tour. Visitors can expect to see some of the four million seabirds in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, some quick glimpses of the smaller minke whales, and, if all goes well, some serious humpbacks. A careful look out to sea reveals a number of spouts breaking the surface. The sight bodes well for the trip. The rules? Hold on, says Angel, and if the whale’s on your side of the boat, sit down so others can see. The boat reaches the nearest island, part of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. Kittiwakes, murres, puffins and other species line the rocks. Cameras click, and many giggle at the notoriously awkward puffins in flight. After a few minutes, Angel makes the announcement many are waiting for: Time to get close to some whales. Today’s captain, Mike O’Brien (a younger cousin of owner Joe) takes over the mic. As he guides the boat towards some of the spouts, he explains a “code of conduct” the organization has adopted: No closer than 100 metres to the whales (unless the animals choose to come closer), and no more than two boats near a given whale at a time. “We don’t want to fence them in,” he says. Continued on page 11
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
‘Not doing their job,’ Byrne From page 1 remains unsolved because of a lack of science. Natural Resources Minister Ed Byrne, whose department assigned the conservation officers, says DFO isn’t providing enough support to salmon science to try and turn the stocks around. “No they’re definitely not,” he told The Independent. “They’re not doing their job in terms of science … anyone in the industry will tell you that, scientists themselves will tell you that. DFO hasn’t made the investment.” Conservation officers with the province are said to have arrested as many as eight poachers since the stepped-up enforcement began. Porter, too, warned that poaching is a serious problem, likely contributing to the continued collapse of commercial stocks. “The question for DFO is why hasn’t there been a more concentrated effort in terms of enforcement?” Byrne asks. “We could continue to argue that point but the time has come for action to be taken.” Asked how Porter, DFO’s top salmon scientist, could have been so wrong in terms of the science budget, Woodford hesitated. “I don’t want to be put in a position where I dispute what one of our scientists said because I don’t know the context in which he
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
The recreational salmon fishery is in full tilt.
made those comments,” she says. “What I would say is that DFO’s investment in salmon science … has been consistent over the last 10 years. What is different is that access to different funding sources
aren’t there at the same level they were in the past.” At least four salmon counting fences have closed in recent years around the province, but Woodford says scientists aren’t so inter-
ested in counting fish since the commercial fishery closed. “You have to know how many of any fish there are so you know how many fish you can take out.” Asked whether the salmon sci-
ence budget is where it needs to be, Woodford says all departments would welcome more funding. “That’s a fact of human nature,” she says. “It’s up to the scientists and departments to identify research priorities.” In a report released in early June, the Atlantic Salmon Federation said wild Atlantic salmon populations in Eastern Canada and the United States have dropped to historic lows. In the absence of strong domestic and international government action, the report predicted that wild salmon will eventually vanish from North American rivers. For his part, Porter said funding isn’t available for scientists to determine what’s happening to salmon when they leave the province’s river systems for the ocean. “It takes a lot of resources to go out and study what’s happening to salmon at sea and we haven’t been able to do that.” There are 186 licensed salmon rivers in Newfoundland and Labrador with approximately 69 per cent of all Atlantic Salmon caught in Canada coming from these waters. Critics have charged that the number of river guardians hired by DFO has been reduced by a third in recent years, a charge the department denies. While the number of guardians is down, officials say, the number of weeks they work has increased.
Program renewal will roll out over time; more cuts likely By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent
Beautiful flooring begins with us
hile the media often refers to it as a 10 per cent cost-cutting exercise, Human Resources and Employment Minister Joan Burke says government’s ongoing “program renewal” doesn’t have a specific savings target. “It never really was a 10 per cent exercise, but that was our prebudget exercise leading into our first budget,” Burke told The Sunday Independent.
The Tories introduced their first budget in March. In a bid to reduce an $827-million deficit, government announced it would cut 4,000 jobs over four years and launch a socalled program renewal. Burke won’t guarantee the public-service bloodletting is over. “I would think yes, there will be some cuts and some cost-saving measures, but they have to be done not just for the sake of cutting and saving money,” says Burke. “They have to be done because we see a need for change
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and we see a need to update or become more efficient or that we can do business in a more efficient manner.” Burke says her government is not on a job-slashing safari when it comes to the public service. “Our mandate is not to go in and purposely try to reduce the public service …” Burke says there’s no hard and fast timeline when it comes to the program. “Program renewal is going to be an ongoing process and all departments and boards and agencies of government are involved in the
process right now. It’s one that’s going to be fairly time consuming and it will unfold over a number of months. “ … this whole renewal process may take a number of years before it’s completed.” Being “creative” and having “no doors closed” has been part of the mantra, says Burke, adding program renewal isn’t only about saving money. Rather, she says it’s about government becoming more effective and efficient. In a January memo to Prime Minister Paul Martin concerning revenues from the Atlantic
Accord, Premier Danny Williams explained to Martin the steps the province was taking to get its fiscal house in order. “We are also undertaking a comprehensive program review exercise, evaluating every government program and eliminating those that are considered ineffective and inefficient,” Williams wrote in the letter, obtained by The Sunday Independent through the Freedom of Information Act. “We are using certain criteria such as public interest, efficiency, affordability, value for money, and the role of government.”
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
Deadly habits Money alone won’t cure what ails cardiac surgery: Tilley By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent
he number of patients languishing on the waiting list for cardiac surgery in the province won’t decrease so long as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians live the way they do. George Tilley, CEO of the Health Care Corporation of St. John’s, which runs the Health Sciences Centre, the province’s main cardiac care unit, admits cardiac disease is a “major problem.” In responding to accusations of excessive wait times, incompetence and political interference levelled by one of his own surgeons, Tilley told The Sunday Independent money won’t solve all the problems. “What is it that makes us sick in the first place? That’s where we really have to go,” he says. “So lifestyle, our eating habits, getting
physically active … if we don’t deal with it at that level, we will not have enough money in health care in this province.” Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest incidence of heart disease in the country and one of the highest in North America, according to cardiac surgeon Dr. Kevin Melvin, chief of cardiac surgery at the Health Sciences Centre. Melvin slammed the health care corp. in last week’s edition of The Independent, which quoted Melvin in various correspondence obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. He wrote that the corporation deserved a “prize for incompetence,” and that this province has the highest incidence of cardiac illness on “the globe.” Tilley says he understands Melvin’s concerns. “I understand from Dr. Melvin’s comments that he’s frustrated with
some of the obstacles in achieving our overall target of 20 surgical cases per week.” Newfoundland has twice the rate of heart disease compared to Canada’s healthiest province, B.C. The province’s total health care budget stands at $1.2 billion — a third of the government’s overall spending. Currently, there are 15 cardiac surgeries carried out a week, but Melvin contends in his memos that 13-15 new cases are added each week. “The prospects for the summer are pretty dismal in terms of operating time and cancellations unless there is a serious change in attitude towards this service,” Melvin wrote in a May memo. The cardiac wait list currently sits at approximately 300 cases. Almost half of those cases have been waiting for two months. “In fairness to Dr. Melvin, he’s a
very competent, skilled physician who’s given yeoman service to this province,” says Tilley. “He wants to do more because what he’s seeing is a problem growing …” With the challenge of recruiting and retaining health professionals that support departments such as cardiac surgery, Tilley says the problem just compounds itself. “So regardless of whether operating rooms were dedicated solely to the cardiac program, were isolated from any of the bumps, he would still have that problem.” The corporation has taken “unprecedented” steps to decrease the waiting list, including raising the cardiac department’s budget by some 49 per cent over the last four years. In a bid to get a better handle on where resources should be focused, a waiting-list management program has been implemented. “… surgeons will identify the
patients on their list and we will retain that information so we’ll know how many people are actually waiting out there,” says Tilley. “What we obviously want to do is make sure we are getting the most urgent patients (into surgery) whose condition may deteriorate the longer the surgery is put off.” While hospitals across the country have seen their budgets (salaries not included) rise by six to eight per cent over the last couple of years, Tilley says his budget has only increased two per cent. Added to a lean budget is the fact that the Health Sciences is a teaching hospital that requires the latest in technology. “Being a teaching hospital, the other thing you are expected to do is you’ve got (to have) the latest in techniques so you are training your students on today’s and tomorrow’s technology and not on yesterday’s.”
‘Normal is gone now’ Parents say video game had role in son’s death; medical examiner rules accidental By Alisha Morrissey The Sunday Independent
ary Hodder describes her first visit with a therapist after her son died. She was asked what made her angry about 12-year-old Ryan’s death. Mary told the doctor she accepts the fact she can’t change the what-ifs — What if she had been home? What if she hadn’t let him play the video game? Mary told the doctor the thing that made her mad was that her son died alone. If Ryan had screamed for help, there was no one there to hear. Mary sits beside her husband, Clayton, on the couch in the living room of their Torbay home. The couple maintains their composure; not a single tear falls as they talk about their son’s life, and the way he died. They had left their home for a couple of hours when Ryan dressed in his sister’s wetsuit, similar to the armour worn in a violent video game he had been playing, and went to the basement. Mary and Clayton say their son died imitating a scene found in a video game, one they refuse to name. When they returned home, Mary and Clayton knew immediately something was wrong. The video-game system was on pause, which they don’t allow their four children to do. Clayton went to the basement and found Ryan. Mary stayed upstairs in the kitchen with their daughter to keep her away from the scene, shouting CPR instruc-
Ryan Hodder (above) died June 13, a death ruled an accident. His parents, Mary and Clayton, say a video game may have played a role in the death.
tions to her husband. Mary and Clayton say they’re grateful they found Ryan instead of one of their other three children. Mary says the only other vivid memory she has of that June 13th night is of a man in a blue uniform bypassing a stretcher, scooping her son up in his arms and carrying him out of the house. Dr. Simon Avis, the province’s chief medical examiner, released his report this week into Ryan Hodder’s death, ruling it an accident. “We have determined there was no intent to terminate this individual’s life,” he says. “It was a terrible accident.” Mary shares a birthday with her son, but she swears she’ll never celebrate it again. Clayton constantly corrects himself when talking about his six-person household; it’s five now. Mary says the worst thing is
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
that there’s no one to blame for his death. Still, she blames herself — and the video game. “If I had known the game was that ugly he wouldn’t have been playing it.” Clayton says he watched Ryan play the game, but suspects his son avoided the gruesome parts when he was in the room to avoid it being taken away. Clayton and Mary say parents should familiarize themselves with video-game ratings. They warn parents to take note of their children’s playing times and find out just what they’re playing. They want other parents to learn from their situation. “If we help save one life I’ll be happy,” says Clayton. “If we save two, I’ll be elated.” Ryan was the baby of the Hod-
der family. Memories are all his parents have left. Mary and Clayton describe their son as a generous boy, a smart boy, one who used big words. “Ryan was the type to tell me things, whether I wanted to know them or not,” Mary says, smiling. She says two days before his death, Ryan told her he wanted to learn to play guitar. “He had guitar hands,” Mary says of her son. Mary says Ryan was planning a vacation to his grandmother’s house for the summer and was looking forward to travelling the world in a “peace bus.” Ryan told his parents that when they went to an old-age home he would get the house, because “the youngest always gets the house.” Mary says her son was a nor-
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mal child who loved candy, telling jokes, and giving gifts. Shortly after his death, Mary received one note in particular from his school friends explaining how Ryan would always play with other children who had no one to play with. Ryan and his brother, Alex, shared a room. Alex wants nothing touched or moved, not Ryan’s clothes or toys. She says she can’t leave her children alone now. For the first 24 hours after the tragedy the family was in shock. At first, Clayton says the family lived minute by minute, then hour to hour and finally now, a few weeks later, they’re living day to day. “That normal is gone now — we’ve got to start from scratch,” Clayton says.
We also do repairs on fibreglass tubs and hairline crack blending
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 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.
PUBLISHER Brian Dobbin
NEWSROOM Managing Editor Ryan Cleary Senior Editor Stephanie Porter Picture Editor Paul Daly Senior Writer Jeff Ducharme Reporter Alisha Morrissey
Hacks and flacks
Layout John Andrews OPERATIONS Operations Andrew Best Consultant Wilson Hiscock Account Executive Nancy Burt firstname.lastname@example.org Office Manager Rose Genge
E-MAIL Advertising: email@example.com Production: firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation: email@example.com Newsroom: firstname.lastname@example.org All material in The Sunday Independent is copyrighted and the property of The Sunday Independent or the writers and photographers who produced the material. Any use or reproduction of this material without permission is prohibited under the Canadian Copyright Act. © 2004 The Sunday Independent
or a journalist, public relations is the afterlife. It’s where reporters go when they pass on to the other side. Or so the media joke amongst themselves, knowing, in unspoken terms, it isn’t so funny. Having crossed over, a journalist can never return. Much like death, right down to the Irish wake. PR is all about spin. Not only of the message, but, for a talented few, of the reporter. A good flack, as journalists know them (most say flack like cop; a rare few furious types like pig), directs the media like a traffic light; a bad flack causes accidents — bloody, political ones are the worst. A bad flack fails to clean up a mess before it stains, a good flack catches the food as it falls from his master’s mouth. The best flack regurgitates a message like a bird feeding its young. From the nest looking up, the worst politicians smile, day after day, as they swallow, and like it. As one of our crowd recently put it, “Reporters are nerdily Liberalminded folk. When we say, ‘Does the public trust us?’ we mean, ‘Do they think we’re accurate?’” Accuracy is the essence of the job, but there’s more to it than that. Reporters, good ones, have stan-
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 email@example.com
dards such as balance and objectivity, resourcefulness and energy. Good ones piece together the news as they harvest it; bad ones take what they’re given, and like it. In the end, journalism is a hard life all the way around. Bad looks and bawling outs, pennies and prickly pinches. There aren’t many old reporters (hacks as they’re known) on the beat, a young person’s job. Once the babies need new shoes, it’s time to move on. Public relations is the next natural step, often an encouraged one. Who knows the media better than one of their own? PR salaries are better. Better hours, better benefits, better lunches (excluding the stuff they catch in mid-air), better lives. Maybe not lives. Certainly not in the case of the poor flack in Confederation Building who wrote a press release last fall headlined, “Red Tape Reduction Task Force established.” The flack, really and truly, wrote about a new layer of red tape created by government to investigate the red tape created by government, the pot squealing on its best friend, kettle. “Its mandate is to identify opportunities to reduce, streamline or eliminate the burden of regulatory ‘red tape,’ which can unintentionally act as a barrier to new job cre-
ation and business growth, especially for small business,” the news release read. Take a breath … now continue. “The work of the task force is to be undertaken in a manner that does not compromise the fundamental public policy objectives associated with government’s regulatory actions, such as the protection of the environment or workplace health and safety.” The task force was to present a report, a “comprehensive” one, to the minister of Industry by this past June. The Sunday Independent contacted Industry’s current flack about the status of said report, but an answer wasn’t forthcoming prior to press time. Apparently the red tape is thick to this day. Flacks deserve a break, reporters too. They both have jobs to do, contact is almost daily. The relationship is comparable to the sheep dog and coyote in the Disney cartoon. Carrying lunch pails, the dog and coyote meet in the morning, punch-in at the time clock with pleasantries, try to kill each other, desperately, from 9 to 5, and then punch out together at day’s end when the whistle blows. “See you in the morning, Ralph,” says the sheep dog. “Later Sam,” replies the coyote.
Nothing personal, just a tug of war for the truth. That’s a lesson for the flacks with the federal Fisheries Department. There’s nothing sinister about asking whether the salmon science budget has been cut, although there’s something wrong with refusing to provide an answer after weeks and weeks. So much is wrong with the fishery these days. So much could be fixed if the public was made aware of certain facts. Has a single foreign ship ever been penalized for illegal fishing on the Grand Banks? Is it so wrong to expect an answer? Flacks have a responsibility to look after the lines of communication, not to turn on and off the taps at a whim, depending on how the information makes their master look. There’s a certain greater good that must be kept in mind. In the end, public relations isn’t such a bad place to end up, as long as the flack walks towards the light. Ryan Cleary is managing editor of The Sunday Independent. firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters to the Editor
‘Time to turn it around’ Dear editor, uly 1, 1916 was a defining moment for Newfoundland and Labrador in our history. Our sense of belonging and hope are embodied in the brave spirit of our native sons, many of whom paid the supreme sacrifice at Beaumont Hamel on that day. As a young boy growing up in Gander, I remember being at Memorial Day ceremonies with my father, a Second World War veteran, and mother, on a tarmac near a
hangar. It was a solemn occasion, punctuated by proud dress, wreath laying, a gun salute, silence and a bugle stir. I felt goose bumps. As I grew, I began to understand why I saw a tear on a man’s cheek and a quiver on another’s lips. Of 801 who went over the top from trenches, only 68 made roll call the next morning. Despite the tragedy and the struggle, there was pride in our people and hope for our future. There was belief in the cause to fight for what was right and demo-
cratic. Today, in our place in Canada, we are very much in the trenches. Most of us are accepting of a culture of defeatism (Conservative leader Stephen Harper), a legacy of dependency (Prime Minister Paul Martin) and the status quo that the current Canadian political system is content to place us in. We’re giving up and, pretty soon, if we don’t find another way to get our pride and conviction back, it will be too late. It’s time to turn it around.
The NLFirst party will go over the top in the next federal election. We are forming up and organizing a wonderful array of talent for the right cause. Our aim is not just to put in a showing, but to win all seven ridings in the province, as well as some in other areas in Canada well populated by ex-pats. Canada will hear our message and understand why we feel like we do. Fred Wilcox,
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
Rant and Reason
by Ivan Morgan
Sound of success
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Old sell Derek Holmes, left, and April Norman are part of the crew recreating advertisements that once appeared on historic downtown St. John’s buildings. The program is being paid for by private businesses, many of whom are having their old ads repainted.
hat did Hitler’s invasion of Russia, Paul Martin’s election plan and the Sound Symposium’s harbour symphony have in common? They all looked good on paper. Now before readers lunge for their computers to dash off abusive e-mails, let me just say that I am a huge Sound Symposium fan, supporter and admirer. I was privileged to know the late great Don Wherry, if only slightly, and proud to say I was young enough to take him as I found him. He possessed vast amounts of those most treasured human qualities — talent, modesty and simple human decency. It is only in his huge absence that I realize what a terrific human he was. He left us this event as part of his remarkable legacy. And what an amazing event the Sound Symposium is. It is Don Wherry’s great gift to us all. It was his almost single-handed effort to get us all thinking about music, and about sound. I am a music freak and have a great passion for every possible type of music (with the exception of country music, which is — of course — an abomination in the face of God). The Sound Symposium has always challenged, pushed the envelope, forced me to think outside the box (or whatever cliché you want to use) about my idea of what music is, or can be. Thanks to many years of attending Sound Symposium events I have grown as a music aficionado (that’s Italian for “fan with a dictionary”). A lot of what I listened to I thought was brilliant. Some of it I thought was dreadful noise. That brings me back to the harbour symphony — it is dreadful. I understand marketing. I understand that — on paper — the harbour symphony is a wonderful thing. I know it is intriguing to visitors. I know this because I have had visitors say to me “This sounds intriguing.” I have actually sat with a few poor deluded souls while they smiled and said they liked it. I understand that people actually make the effort to be downtown to hear it. For these reasons, I understand and accept the harbour symphony. But I don’t like it. I work on Water Street in St. John’s. I have for many years. For some of us who
work on Water Street the harbour symphony is a torment, a once-every-second year, week-long, lunch-time pain. It’s horrible. It’s noise. It doesn’t work. It is supremely annoying. Once upon a time, long long ago, in the hidden echelons of Coca-Cola’s corporate headquarters, some idiot closed his briefcase with a decisive thud and, smiling, said “Right. So it’s agreed. We will change the formula and taste of Coke.” In retrospect, not such a hot idea. Neither is the harbour symphony. I don’t know about the people who “compose” for this event but I hope they aren’t spending any more time on it than I do on one of these columns. If you do, I have a message for you: You can’t tell. I am sure it is fun to write. And I am sure it is a grand lark to (and I use this word with some trepidation) perform. But as a working stiff I have to confess the thing is a torment. It’s always a surprise. It always sneaks up on me. More often than not it finds me toiling away, hoping against hope to maybe sneak away early on a warm summer’s afternoon — or at least not have to work too late. It always jumps me. WOOOOOOOOOOOOnnnnnnk. Herp. WUUUUUUUUULLLLLL. Oh. No. Not again. When I was little I once complained, to my extraordinarily wealthy, refined and sophisticated grandmother, that I did not like the smell coming from a nearby fish plant. I remember it as it was the only time she ever struck me. She slapped me hard across the face. “Young man,” sniffed the wife of a Water Street merchant, “Never ever complain about that smell. That is the smell of money.” You can say what you like about Water Street merchants, but the successful ones knew where their bread was buttered. Truer words were rarely ever spoken. So I guess I should just shut up and suffer. With all the tourism and attention the Sound Symposium attracts, and the many remarkable benefits it has brought to our little town, I guess the harbour symphony is just the sound of money. Ivan Morgan can be reached at email@example.com
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The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
Opinions Are Like...
by Jeff Ducharme
Is that a shotgun in your pants or are you stupid
here are certain things you just don’t do, things that only the pathetically stunned attempt. Things such as spitting into the wind or looking down the barrel of a loaded gun, for example. Now stupidity is often fuelled by alcohol or drugs, but, more often than not, thick people often have a predisposition to acts of stupidness. If breathing wasn’t a mostly automatic function, one that they have little control over, they’d forget to breath — under the influence or dead-straight sober. Such was the case in Dinnington, England, when David Walker went on a bender. After quaffing down 15 pints of beer, the 28-yearold got into a brawl with a longtime buddy over who would pay for the ale the two consumed. And while there’s no question it was a worthwhile topic to debate, the price Walker eventually paid was a little high. The British boozehound ran home from the pub in a rage and retrieved his sawed-off shotgun. To avoid the gun being detected, Walker shoved the gun down his pants — important point: Both the gun and he were loaded. And yes, you know what happened next. One should almost be able to hear the skin-scrunching grimaces of the male gender as they read this. Oh the pain of it all. With the shotgun planted firmly in his trousers, this British dunderhead stumbled back to the pub, which had closed by this time. At some point, the gun went off while
still pointing in the direction of you-know-where. In an effort to avoid being popped by the British bobbies, this shot-gun totting drunk hid the gun in a trash bin. Walker then crawled (it’s a miracle the man could even move, let alone remember where he lived) back to his house. Let’s not forget that Walker was still under the influence of some 15 pints. Shortly afterwards, Walker
underwent emergency surgery. Doctors still can’t say whether Walker’s injuries will leave him sterile. One can only hope that Walker’s improper storage of a firearm has left him unable to procreate. We just don’t need people like Walker reproducing at will — we’ve got enough morons spreading their progeny throughout this mudball we live on. This isn’t forced sterilization, but it is fortunate steriliza-
tion. According to his lawyer, he’s still in “quite severe pain.” Really? You’re kidding, right? Walker has been charged with possession of a prohibited firearm. His story to the cops is one of a total memory blank (not to mention a complete and utter lapse of reason). Walker says he was simply too drunk to remember why he returned home, why he got the gun, why he shoved it in his pants
and how the gun went off. Personally, it would be more disturbing if this twit actually did remember why, and how he managed it. The judge in the case, Robert Moore, said in his decision that while there were some mitigating circumstances — Walker’s overwhelming level of stupidity being at the top of the list — he simply couldn’t lessen the mandatory minimum sentence of five years. “The shooting of yourself is plainly an exceptional circumstance which is capable of reducing the sentence,” Moore said. “But in this case, I am quite certain, it does not justify reducing it below the statutory minimum.” Let’s hope that the judge actually meant that if stupidity is to be a mitigating factor in the duration of prison sentences, then the sentence should be increased based on the level of stupidity — and not decreased. There’s no word yet on who paid the disputed bar tab that was responsible for the moment of monumental stupidity in the first place.
Where have all the alumni gone? Memorial University students, for the most part, are right here at home By Alisha Morrissey The Sunday Independent
Photo by Jeff Ducharme/The Sunday Independent
West coast chrome Hundreds flocked to a car show recently in Stephenville. Dozens of cars and motorcycles came from as far away as St. John’s to take part in the show that was organized by the Western Newfoundland Antique and Unique Auto Club. The show, usually held on Main Street, had to be moved into the Stephenville Dome because of rain.
ince Memorial University got up and running in 1949 over 74,000 degrees have been granted to more than 50,000 students. Of the total graduates, an estimated 72 per cent are currently living right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Axel Misen, Memorial’s president, says that’s “pretty good,” similar to the statistics for other Canadian universities. “I don’t think we should expect 90 or 100 per cent … and I think one can expect and should expect some mobility,” Misen told The Sunday Independent. “Seventy per cent are staying and 30 per cent are leaving, as opposed to 70 per cent are leaving and 30 per cent are staying.” Simply better rates Simply better service
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The program most demanded by students is medicine. Misen says there are 10 applications for every seat in the faculty. Pharmacy, engineering and business are also popular courses of study. Misen says students who come from smaller communities around the province generally don’t return to those small communities, although there are no definite statistics to back that up. “I think the prominent number are staying on the Avalon Peninsula,” he says. When it comes to employment rates after graduation, there’s no geographical breakdown. However, there is a 70 to 80 per cent rate of employment for graduates of Memorial, Atlantic Canada’s largest university. Memorial turns out 2,000 fresh graduates a year.
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
Labrador Tory MHA disappointed with decision not to review Sunday hunting issue Happy Valley-Goose Bay By Bert Pomeroy The Sunday Independent
abrador’s lone conservative MHA is at odds with Environment Minister Tom Osborne over the issue of Sunday hunting. John Hickey says he is disappointed with the minister’s decision not to hold public hearings on the issue this year. “The minister is very much aware of my views,” says Hickey, an avid hunter and strong advocate for lifting the ban that has been in place since 1863. “I’ve expressed my thoughts to other ministers, to the premier’s office and to the rest of caucus. This is an issue that has to be reviewed.” The previous minister responsible for wildlife, Paul Shelley, announced six months ago that public consultations would be held on the issue sometime this year. Osborne, however, stated recently that
government is not prepared to rush into the issue at this time. “This makes absolutely no sense,” says Hickey. “Sunday hunting may not be for areas like St. John’s, but it is for rural areas of Newfoundland and Labrador.” Hickey is calling on all supporters of lifting the ban to lobby their MHAs to “bring the issue back on track.” Lifting the ban, says Hickey, would boost the province’s outfitting industry and bring it in line with other jurisdictions. “We have an American hunter planning a trip and he’s considering on coming to Labrador, but when he finds out that he can’t hunt on Sunday he looks elsewhere,” Hickey says. “This is an archaic law, and it’s time we got with the times.” In recent years the government has lifted bans on shopping and selling beer at retail outlets on Sunday to boost provincial revenues. He says lifting the ban on hunting would do the same. “Hunters put a lot of money into the
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“This past winter we had aboriginal hunters from Quebec come in to Labrador and take caribou on Sunday, yet a person who lives in Labrador year-round will be prosecuted if he does the same.” — MHA John Hickey economy and they would put a lot more in if they could hunt on Sunday,” he says. “Right now, a hunter spends hundreds of dollars on fuel, food and ammunition and travels many miles to hunt. He arrives at his destination on Friday night and he can’t hunt because it’s dark. He hunts on Saturday but has no luck, and on Sunday, you can only imagine his disappointment when he sees Mr. Moose and he can’t shoot him.” Although he would like to see the ban lifted throughout the province, Hickey suggests the government should look at first doing it in Labrador. “I believe we can have some compromises,” he says. “Sunday hunting should be allowed in remote areas of the province like Labrador. I’d have no problem if government wanted to lift the ban in Labrador as a pilot project. I am sure it would be well received.” Hickey says he doesn’t buy arguments that the ban should remain in place for religious reasons or to protect other outdoor enthusiasts who head out to the country on Sunday. “I have never heard of a berry picker
Photo by Bert Pomeroy/For The Sunday Independent
being shot in the wilds in December or January or any other time of the year,” he says. “If you don’t want to hunt on Sunday because of your religious beliefs, then why condemn those who do?” Aboriginal people are permitted to hunt on Sunday, Hickey adds, even if they are not from this province. “This past winter we had aboriginal hunters from Quebec come in to Labrador and take caribou on Sunday, yet a person who lives in Labrador year-round will be prosecuted if he does the same.” The ban, adds Hickey, has also made honest people criminals. “The truth of the matter is that there are people out there hunting on Sunday. They should not be in a position of choosing whether or not to break the law. “This regulation is senseless and it has to be reviewed.” Minister Osborne did not return calls for an interview.
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
Water not fit
‘Wouldn’t give it to an animal to drink,’ Efford says By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent
ohn Efford’s month on the federal election trail left him with a bad taste in his mouth. The federal minister of Natural Resources is fuming and says he’s just the man to clear the waters. “You’re talking to the champion now,” Efford told The Sunday Independent when asked if he was going to champion the cause of cleaning up the province’s water supplies. After a month on the hustings, Efford says what he saw come out of the taps in communities throughout his riding of Avalon was simply unacceptable. The quality of the water in the Bellevue area and St. Brides on the Southern Shore finally sent Efford over the edge.
“The water down there, you wouldn’t even give it to an animal to drink let alone expect a human to drink it,” says Efford. “They cannot drink the water, I don’t even know so much if they could shower into it.” There are approximately 80 communities across the province that don’t meet federal water quality standards. An equal number still exceed acceptable levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) — a known carcinogen. “I don’t know how serious it is and how much damage it’s doing to people, but I know one thing: I wouldn’t drink the water during the election and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to drink it.” Efford says he intends to meet with the province in an effort to clear the waters for Newfoundlan-
ders and Labradorians. “It’s a federal, provincial problem,” says Efford. “It’s not the point of laying responsibility on any one person or any one organization or any one town or any one government — municipal, federal or provincial.” Provincial Environment Minister Tom Osborne says he welcomes Efford’s comments and echoes his concerns. “We’ve taken the issue of water (quality) very seriously and it was an issue for our leader Premier (Danny) Williams when he became leader of our party and premier of the province. It was a top priority for him as leader and for myself as minister.” Osborne says his department has launched an aggressive strategy to train municipalities in water disin-
fection. When chlorine is used to disinfect water, it reacts with organic matter and creates THMs. “ … first and foremost we focus on disinfection of water, that is the safest thing you can do with water. If we are not able to properly disinfect the water, then we look to (a) boil order which will ensure from a bacteriological perspective, the water is safe to drink.” According to government’s own figures, 17 per cent of communities in the province have no chlorination system or ones that aren’t operating. Environment will spend $1.3 million on water quality this year, which will include a number of mobile-training units. The units will criss-cross the province and train municipal employees responsible for chlori-
nating water supplies. Municipal Affairs will spend an additional $250 million on municipal infrastructure — much of it on water systems. Efford says there is $69 million sitting in the federal/provincial infrastructure fund and he wants to see that money directed towards fixing water quality in this province. The program is cost shared 50/50 between the province and the feds. “I mean this is the year 2004,” says Efford. “With all the technology and all the money that’s being spent in Newfoundland and Labrador on many other things other than clean drinking water, maybe it’s time we started concentrating on the most serious problem first and deal with others afterwards.”
Homeless by choice Increasing number of ‘adventure tourists’ living on the streets of St. John’s By Alisha Morrissey The Sunday Independent
wo shaggy, 20-something men sit at the mouth of McMurdo’s Ally, facing Water Street in downtown St. John’s. A modest cardboard sign — one that’s travelled from Ontario with the Peterborough natives — lays on the sidewalk in front of them, announcing they are travelling and in need of money for food. Greg Hebdron and Jeff Cart thank passers-by, lawyers and bankers and other well-to-dos, who place little mounds of quarters, dimes and even pennies in their outstretched hands and on the sign. Mike Caine is another homeless-by-choice traveller. Like Hebdron and Cart, he decided to travel the country before “growing up” and “settling down.” Caine says it took him two weeks and seven rides to get to St. John’s from British Columbia — just him and his tent. The men sleep under the stars in places like Bannerman and Victoria parks. They move to homeless shelters (or any available couch) when the weather’s bad. Figures aren’t available to show the number of homeless in the city. It’s generally believed the homeless population rises in the summer. For these people there are shelters, temporary or emergency housing for relief from the elements. For random travellers, however, there’s no hostel — a place for backpackers to sleep and get a meal for a cheaper price than a motel. Jim Crockwell of Choices For Youth, a non-profit shelter in St.
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Greg Hebdron and Jeff Cart form Peterborough, Ontario.
John’s for young men, had to turn away Hebdron and Cart recently because all the beds at the shelter were full. He says he sent them to the Wiseman Centre, another emergency shelter. The Choices For Youth centre has only been open since May and already Crockwell has had five (or six) travellers. He says there’s a trend developing. “They’re going cross country and then they end up in St. John’s and they’re looking for the hostel situation down here,” Crockwell says. “There probably needs to be one opened here in the summer months.” Crockwell says the homeless travellers haven’t been an inconvenience.
“As much as we’re not a hostel, the guys that we’ve housed have been very low maintenance, they come and they do their thing, they’re never much trouble.” He says the shelter staff and clients are entertained by the stories of the travellers. The facility has only nine beds, however, and Crockwell doesn’t know how long the facility can continue to provide non-emergency services to the homelessby-choice. On a recent weekday night, Cart and Hebdron say they’re staying at the Wiseman Centre, knowing there will be a hot meal and soft bed for them there until someone in greater need comes calling. Caine says a hostel would be good for others but he’s indepen-
dent and avoids homeless shelters. He chooses to sleep in his tent or on any floor that’s offered. He says it’s the St. John’s hospitality that keeps him here. He can
make $60 a day on the street and has three friendly homes to visit for a meal or shower when he needs it. Hebdron and Cart say there’s little money to be made in the city but don’t complain as they have enough to eat. They say the most they have made in a day is $50, whereas in Montreal they could make upwards of $200 a day. “Squeegee is looked down upon here,” says Cart, explaining that plenty of money can be made on the streets of big cities cleaning car windows.” Caine points at his sign that reads, “Travelling and hungry, anything helps.” He says he’d rather someone buy him a coffee or a meal and have a chat with him. He never directly asks for change — choosing “Nice day, eh?” or “Smiling really does make your day go better” — as invitations for donations. It’s too bad Caine, Cart and Hebdron didn’t keep journals of their travels — it would mak a great book and an even better bedtime story for their children when they finally do “grow up” and “settle down.”
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
‘Mother nature’s behemoth’ Don’t expect many more icebergs to float by the province’s shores, the season’s almost done By Clare-Marie Gosse For The Sunday Independent
ewfoundland and Labrador’s famous floating icons are on their way out for another year, melting away fast to memory. Luc Desjardins, an iceberg forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service, says although iceberg numbers are still extensive along the Labrador coast, they’re “melting quite nicely.” There are currently only 10 bergs off the island’s east coast. Desjardins says iceberg numbers have been fairly high this year, which isn’t out of the ordinary considering numbers vary from year to year. “Definitely, at the beginning of June we had a tremendous amount of population off the coast and that lasted pretty well until the end of June,” he says. “By the third week the bergs had already started melting quite rapidly, so we were seeing a natural attrition.” Over his career, Desjardins says management of the unpredictable icebergs has been efficient enough to avert any serious disasters. This year is no exception, although there have been some unofficial reports of damage incurred by ships colliding with bergs. The main concerns of Canadian Ice Services, he says, have centered around oil platforms on the
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Grand Banks. “We had some ice island fragment that showed up again towards the early part of the spring and it did cause a bit of concern for the offshore oil industries,” Desjardins admits. Fortunately, the island broke up into various manageable pieces, which stayed out of the immediate path of the platforms, meaning they didn’t have to be moved and the oil flows remained intact.
Desjardins does mention one significantly unusual iceberg incident that occurred just over 10 years ago, when the Queen Elizabeth II reported a surprising encounter. “I remember a huge iceberg sighted in the middle of the ocean, halfway between here and England, it was reported by the Queen Elizabeth II, and that piece was humongous … six kilometres by five kilometres by 400 metres high.” He says it was “very strange”
because such a huge berg should have been detected before it reached “halfway across Europe,” leading many people to question the validity of the sighting. The incident was never confirmed because the original report to Canadian Ice Services inexplicably vanished, and the QEII’s company in England oddly refused to disclose its log. Marketing specialist Sandy Hickman says the beauty and
unpredictability of icebergs gives tourism in the province good marketing fodder. “They are mother nature’s behemoth,” he says. “The only place you can see them is here, and if you combine that with the humpback whales … well that’s a big thing for us, there’s no question about it.” Hickman says the local tourism industry doesn’t keep official track of how much money icebergs generate, but that it’s definitely significant. He says the further north you go, the better the iceberg sightings are. Popular places for tourists include St Anthony, Twillingate, and the Viking site of L’Anse aux Meadows. Iceberg expert Stephen Bruneau recently released an updated fifth edition of his book Icebergs of Newfoundland and Labrador, published by Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism. The small book serves up a wealth of information, citing historical memoirs of first encounters, displays of photographs, maps and charts, and some little known snippets of trivia. “The average iceberg weight for the Grand Banks area is one to two hundred thousand tonnes, which is an iceberg about the size of a cubic 15-storey building,” the book reads. As for the average age of an iceberg, try 15,000 years.
Walk-in health care Idea of “fast tracking” children through Janeway ER put on hold By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent
Rev. Douglas L. Best Oct. 23, 1920 – Jul. 16, 2004
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23 “His life on earth was a personification of his love for God, his family, friends and parishioners. In turn he will be forever remembered and ever loved” Until we meet again.
plan to introduce a walkin clinic at the Janeway emergency department has been put on the back burner. “(It) has been unusual to have these extremely long waits, so we’ve not progressed with it because the need from our view has not been there on a frequent basis enough to warrant it,” Dr. Wayne Andrews told The Sunday Independent. In documents obtained under the province’s Freedom of Information act, Andrews, co-clinical chief of the child health program, wrote, “We need a clinic where these patients can be seen — (it) would increase the standard of care.” But Andrews says things have changed since last October, when the memo was written, and the Janeway rarely sees patients waiting for more than two hours, a period of time deemed acceptable by the Health Care Corporation of St. John’s, which runs the hospital. Peak emergency hours at the Janeway are 7 to 9 p.m. The intent of the clinic would be to deal with less serious health problems. According to a recent Statistics Canada study, 3.6 million Canadians don’t have a family doctor and many are forced to rely on hospital emergency rooms for health care. “I started this two years ago when we did have, at one point during the wintertime, you know, four- or five- or six-hour waits, but that does not seem to be the issue right now,” Andrews said in the interview. In another December 2003 memo, Andrews discussed the
issue with the Janeway’s director of emergency, Dr. Carlos Enriquez. “Some weeks ago I believe I sent you an e-mail asking you to consider how we can have additional coverage in the ER of the Janeway when it is extremely busy or how we can develop a walk-in clinic,” wrote Andrews. In response, Enriquez said it was simply a matter of not having the resources.
“There (have) been numerous meetings trying to deal with this problem and possible solutions have been discussed, but the fact is nothing has been done because the bottom line is that requires money to resolve it.” — Dr. Carlos Enriquez “There (have) been numerous meetings trying to deal with this problem and possible solutions have been discussed, but the fact is nothing has been done because the bottom line is that requires money to resolve it,” wrote Enriquez Andrews says it’s not only a matter of money, but who will staff the clinic. “It becomes a very logistical issue of getting the persons to do (it) within what period of time, who’s going to fund it, because funding is often an issue.” While wait times at the Janeway may currently be acceptable and a
bright spot in the province’s health care system, Andrews knows that a parent with a sick child in their arms doesn’t see it that way (patients are graded on a sliding scale of one to five, one being the most serious). “In fact, someone who is a one, they’re in a life threatening position and five could be a sore toe. It could be a cold, I mean things that are important to the family, but in the scheme of things are way down on the list of priorities,” says Andrews. In 2003, Janeway ER staff reported 15 to 20 people per day walk out due to excessive wait times. According to Enriquez, bringing in more pediatricians during peak hours would reduce wait times, although the cost could reach $200,000 a year. “Those are the most reasonable solutions, but again, do we have the money?” Enriquez asked in a memo to Andrews. “If we (had) the money, as it is, we do not have the manpower so (we’ll) need to recruit more physicians.” Enriquez even suggested doctors who don’t specialize in pediatrics help out during peak times. Pediatricians at the Janeway gave the plan a thumbs down. Andrews says if wait times do increase again, they have a number of options waiting in the wings. “There are all sorts of options when trying to reduce wait times: More doctors in the emergency department, nurse practitioners, which is an effective way of seeing the lower grades of illnesses, walkin clinics or fast-track clinics or having GPs (general practitioners) open clinics in the hospital.”
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
by Frank Carroll
Secrets of a Fisheries minister’s soul
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Keeping an eye on the comings and goings of the ships in St. John’s harbour. Information provided by the Coast Guard Traffic Centre. MONDAY, JULY 12 Vessels arrived: Turaq, Canada, from Iqualiut; Stena Forteller, Sweden, from Halifax; Maersk Chignito, Canada, from Hibernia; Atlantic Kingfisher, Canada, from Terra Nova; Alex Gordon, Canada, from White Rose. Vessels departed: Maersk Placentia, Canada, to Hibernia; Cabot, Canada, to Montreal; L.E.Niahm, Ireland, to sea; Maersk Chignecto, Canada, to Hibernia; Shamook, Canada, to Hearts Content; Marine Eagle, Canada, to Harbour Grace; Marine Voyager, Canada, to Harbour Grace. TUESDAY, JULY 13 Vessels arrived: Alex Gordon, Canada, from sea; Rotterdam, Netherlands, from New York; Dove, Canada, from Wiffin Head. Vessels departed: Atlantic Osprey, Canada, to Glomar Grand Banks; Stena Foreteller, Sweden, to Corner Brook; CSO Constructor, Bahamas, to White Rose; Atlantic Hawk, Canada, to Bay Bulls; Rot-
terdam, Netherlands, to Greenland. WEDNESDAY, JULY 14 Vessels arrived: Akademik Ioffe, Russian, from St. Pierre. Vessels departed: Atlantic Beech, Canada, to Bay Bulls. THURSDAY, JULY 15 Vessels arrived: Atlantic Osprey, Canada, from White Rose; Maersk Chancellor, Canada, from White Rose; Cicero, Canada, from Montreal; Atlantic Beech, Canada, from Bay Bulls. Vessels departed: Atlantic Kingfisher, Canada, to Terra Nova Oil Field; Akademik Ioffe, Russia, to Iqualiut; Dove, American, to White Rose. FRIDAY, JULY 16 Vessels arrived: None Vessels departed: Maersk Chancellor, Canada to Grand Banks; Atlantic Beech, Canada, to Couteau Bay; Hudson Bay Explorer, Canada, to Bay Bulls; Tuvaq, Canada, to Montreal.
hen it comes to the fishery, I feel a bit like one of those washed up actors hawking snake oil on the boob tube. “I’m not a doctor, but I used to play one on TV,” the old line goes. Well, I’m not a fisherman or a marine biologist, but, as a reporter, I used to cover fishery stories. I realize fishermen hold a far greater stake in the industry than I do. Still, I’ve always been a bit wary of the notion among some of them that the fishery is an exclusive club that won’t tolerate scrutiny from lay people. I recall one Bay of Islands’ fisherman complaining to me that a taxi driver, for example, has no right to comment on the intricacies of the fishery. Well, I feel that a cabbie possesses one essential quality that many fishermen and politicians sometimes lack — detachment. A taxi driver’s income or political future does not hinge on whether she’s allowed to chase down the last few cod that remain off our shores. While the taxi driver may lack expertise and experience, she can at least provide some observation. At no time was the need for detachment more evident than in the debate over whether to reopen the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence cod fishery this year. Gulf cod are not quite on death’s doorstep, but they have been beating a path toward it for many years. Northern cod are considered an endangered species; Gulf cod have been classified as threatened. (A few steps away from extinction.) Last year, former federal Fisheries Minister Robert Thibault was so alarmed at the state of the Gulf cod fishery that he decided to close it — despite an outcry from East Coast fishermen and politicians.
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“Our scientific assessment paints a very grim picture of the future of these stocks if fishing is to continue,” Thibault said in April 2003. Today, a little more than a year later, and the picture supposedly isn’t so grim anymore. Current Fisheries minister, Geoff Regan, announced in May of this year a 3,500-tonne quota for the northern Gulf cod fishery and a 3,000-tonne quota for the southern Gulf. Critics accused Regan of playing politics with a threatened species on the eve of a federal election campaign. The minister responded by saying last year’s conservation measures had helped the stock rebound to the point where a small fishery could be justified. I don’t pretend to be God. I can’t see inside Mr. Regan’s soul to determine whether he is sincere. However, the fact remains that credible organizations such as the federal government’s own Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) still regard northern Gulf cod threatened. COSEWIC designated the species as such in May 2003, and the scientific data collected since then has not convinced the committee to change its mind. Regan based his decision on the recommendations of the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council — a group made up of DFO scientists and industry stakeholders. This same group recommended opening the fishery last year as well, but Thibault chose to close it down anyway. Regan would be remiss in his duties if he did not consult with the industry. Input from the major players is essential; they have the most at stake and should have considerable say. But are they detached enough to look beyond surviving this year?
The Gulf cod fishery means a great deal to communities on the southwest coast and Northern Peninsula. While some experts insist the fishery should be suspended for another eight or nine years, many people on the west coast legitimately wonder how they could hold out that long. So, Regan had a difficult choice to make between what the scientists were telling him and what the fishermen were demanding. He chose to give the northern Gulf fishermen a 3,500-tonne quota, which includes fish caught in the sentinel fishery and bycatches from other fisheries. Compared to past quotas, that’s not a lot of fish. Then again, there aren’t as many fish around anymore. The season is starting late because fishermen couldn’t agree on whether to limit the fishery to hook-and-line or to allow gill nets. Such nets, when they’re lost at sea, continue killing fish for years. Nonetheless, Regan decided to allow them. Somewhere in downtown Corner Brook a cabbie rolled her eyes when she heard the news. But what do people like us know? We’re only hacks, and hack drivers. Frank Carroll is a journalism instructor at the College of the North Atlantic’s Stephenville campus. He can be reached at email@example.com
July 18, 2004
The Sunday Independent
‘Everybody likes whales’ Photos by Paul Daly/Story by Stephanie Porter
Code of conduct From page 1 Eyes widen, mouths open and fingers start to point as a humpback surfaces nearby, flashing his dorsal fin and curved back. Another. And again. It’s a few minutes coming, but finally, the money shot: A whale dives, flicking his tail sideways towards the boat. The passengers applaud — and hold on tightly to the railings as the swells suddenly grow and the boat dips sharply. It’s time to move on to calmer waters, into Witless Bay, where the captain has spotted a couple more whales. An even better show: A mother humpback and her calf, at play. The youngster rolls, flaps his pectoral (side) flippers, and even breaches out of the water, while the mom sticks close, pulling off a few tricks of her own. “That’s an example of how comfortable the mother is with us being here,” the captain points out. “She’s just letting her calf play as he’d like.” Jon Lien, an honourary professor of research at Memorial and renowned whale expert, also of the St. John’sbased Whale Research Group, has been involved in the study of wildlife/tour boat interaction, both in this area and in St. Anthony. “The study is not yet complete,” he says. “But it looks as though, if practices in the code of conduct are adopted by the operators, it does minimize the impact of the boat’s presence on the whales. “Basically, if the boat allows the animal to control the interaction, it can approach the boat as closely as it likes. And they do this for inexplicable reasons. But if the boats chase and pursue the animal it does affect their behaviour.” Lien says Witless Bay is a critical habitat for whales, offering an ideal place to care for their calves, feed after a winter of fasting, and rest. As such, the area must be preserved. To date, he says long-term studies on the effects tour operations may have on the animals haven’t been carried out. As for the impact on the whale watchers, Lien says preliminary studies show that little real education occurs on the boats — although those aboard generally describe the experience as educational. “Whale watching is popular and combines the experiences, novel for many, of being out on the ocean, seeing the bird islands and birds … unfortunately, there are very few studies that demonstrate gains in conservation attitudes and conserving behaviours.” Lien makes another key point, certainly not lost on the O’Briens, who continue to provide funding for some of the research. “As people really like whales and don’t want them harmed, the code (of conduct) is really a marketing tool for the operators. “Because the customers are concerned about impacting animals, they also are the best means to ensure compliance with proper boat behaviour.” As Joe O’Brien puts it, “We need to do everything we can do to make the research credible so that we can assure everyone that we’re not having a negative impact — because everybody worries, ‘Am I doing something wrong?’” O’Brien reflects on the changes to the area since tourism picked up, remembering when, not even two decades ago, visitors could barely find a place to buy a cup of coffee south of St. John’s. And he never imagined how his own family business could grow. “Looking back, no, 20 years ago I had no idea that I’d have a cocktail cruise built on a beach and a dinner show and 10 actors coming out from the city to create a murder mystery show. “No, I never thought we’d have people from Seattle want to experience the Newfoundland experience … but times change and you’ve got to change with the times.” The two-hour tour has stretched to two-and-a-half hours. As the boat makes its trip back to Bay Bulls, Angel provides a little more entertainment with a lively Screech-in. Sun-kissed and smiling, everyone on board appears happy with the trip, looking back through digital pictures, already reminiscing about what they saw. “A whale in the water with his tail stuck up to tourists, you can’t buy it,” says O’Brien. “Everybody likes a whale.” firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
Gallery Margaret Ryall Visual Artist
argaret Ryall says she’s coming full circle. She’s about to open an art exhibition that will “bridge a 30-year interruption in art making” — and she’s holding it in Duntara, the small Bonavista Bay community where she was born. The title of the show — and the theme each of the 24 pieces in it addresses — is Transitions. Her first solo exhibition comes as she’s settling into her second career. “It’s definitely a transition in life,” she says. “I’m going from a very structured career, to breaking out and trying to do what I probably should have done in my 20s.” Ryall was always interested in art and design as a child. She designed hooked rugs, designed and sewed her own clothes, and redid her bedroom as many times as her mother would allow. As a teenager, she wanted to become a fashion designer, but received little encouragement from her family and the community. She turned, instead, to education — and says she had a fulfilling and rewarding career as a teacher, education administrator, and curriculum specialist. She still does some teaching at Memorial University (“I can’t let go,” she says). When Ryall retired from her position with the Avalon East School Board three years ago, she gave herself a gift: A threeweek painting vacation in France with some friends. “Standing in the fields in France, I decided I had what it took,” she says. “I don’t do anything in half measures … this is not a hobby.” Since then, Ryall has taken more art classes, done her own research, and become familiar with a variety of media, including acrylics, collage, and oil pastel. “I still don’t know where I’m going,” she says, “but I had to create a lot of experiences. I’m equally comfortable in any medium; very often I choose the medium to match what I want the piece to say.” The floral pieces in Transitions come from the artist’s observations and reflections on growth and change in the natural world — and how it relates to the changes in her own environment. She says mounting the exhibit in her studio by the sea felt natural, the appropriate backdrop for her work. Ryall sounds relaxed. She speaks like someone who is at ease with herself and where she is. She agrees with the assessment. “I had no idea what was in my mind,” she says. “I had a very busy job, I didn’t know how much of my personal being was consumed by my work. “Now my mind is decluttered, and I see things I’ve never noticed before.” She appreciates the gifts of time and flexibility retirement offers her. “I’ve only just begun,” she says. “I’m already planning a second exhibition. After two years of painting any and every old thing in any and every way possible, I’m finally finding direction, and generating a lot of ideas.” Transitions opens at Ryall’s Seaside Studio in Duntara, Trinity Bay, on July 25. It runs until Aug. 22. “If you can find Duntara on the map you will find me,” Ryall laughs. “We’re the last house on the point.”
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July 18, 2004
The Sunday Independent
BUSINESS & COMMERCE
Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
John Cabot stands with the strikers during this spring’s public-sector strike.
‘Ripples through the entire economy’ From page 1 for their survival, when profits aren’t fat. Well now that you see that there are larger profits you’re probably not only more inclined to strike, but to bargain a little bit harder because you know the companies are able to bargain too,” says May. “You want to get a little piece of the pie.” In a recent statement, Employment Minister Joan Burke said the number of collective agreements expiring this year is up by as much as 30 per cent compared to previous years, “making 2004 a busy time for the province’s labour relations agency.” To date, Burke says, the agency has successfully negotiated 45 contracts. Those contracts don’t get the publicity, however, not like a 28-day public-sector strike or three months of job action by Aliant employees. Reg Anstey, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, has another theory as to why unions and employers are clashing across picket lines and bargaining tables: The provincial government’s successful, hard-line stance with NAPE and CUPE. “In bargaining, there’s a pendulum that sort of swings back and forth,” Anstey told The Sunday Independent. “You got a period of time when things go fairly easily at the bargaining table and then you get into much more difficult times like now … when you’ve got governments taking that kind of approach on collective bargaining that spreads into the private sector as well,” Finance Minister Loyola Sullivan disagrees with the Anstey’s line of thinking, claiming the province has nothing to do with private businesses and their collective
bargaining. “The business sector doesn’t always have to go hand in hand with the government sector,” Sullivan says. Businesses operate to make a profit, he says, whereas the government just wants a balanced budget. Wade Locke, another economist at Memorial, makes the point that labour unrest often causes a negative perception
when trying to attract business to the province. “If you get a reputation as being in an area where there’s a lot of militancy and a lot of strikes and a lot of downtime, that is not good in the overall scheme of things,” says Locke. “It’s a piece of information that may have implications for them (business owners) and they process it whatever way they process it,” he says, adding investors
This year’s job action Government of Newfoundland and Labrador: Newfoundland Association of Public and Private Employees and the Canadian Union of Public Employees — Legislated back to work after 28-day strike The Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association — deferred negotiations and will continue under previous contract. Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses Association — deferred negotiations and will continue under previous contract. Association of Allied Health Professionals — deferred negotiations and will continue under previous contract. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association — extended negotiations to avoid binding arbitration. Abitibi-Consolidated Communications, Energy and Paperworkers’ Union — Ratified agreement on Friday night Iron Ore Company of Canada United Steelworkers of America — Currently in negotiations Aliant Communications energy and Paperworkers’ Union — Talks broke off Friday and four-month old strike continues. Wabush Mines United Steelworkers of America — On strike since July 12. Corner Brook paper mill, Kruger International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers — Work-to-rule strategy currently in place. Canadian government — Parks Canada Public Service Alliance of Canada — Currently in negotiations and in legal strike position Aug. 2.
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may walk away from the province because of the labour unrest. Sullivan, May and Anstey disagree with Locke’s theory, saying any business person with any sense would look at the track record and make an informed decision before making any long-term investment. “My experience with people of capital who want to invest is that they’re not entirely stupid and they can kind of read and they can read a little bit of history and, in fact, if you were to look at last year we had the best (least amount of strikes) record in Canada,” says Anstey. May says the positive aspects that unionized work brings to the province far outweighs the temporary slowdowns in production. “Unions don’t necessarily lower productivity as many people think,” says May. “They do increase wages and benefits and they do, in fact, reduce wage disparities based on gender and race.” May says there are negative factors too. “The workers aren’t earning the same income (when on strike) and we saw this in spades with the public-sector strike … that this just ripples right through the entire economy. The workers aren’t getting their pay cheques, they aren’t out there buying automobiles, they’re not spending the same amount on fast food — so those groups lay off workers and this is what the economists refer to lovingly as the multiplier effect.” Anstey says unionized workers will always compete with non-unionized employees who often work at cheaper wages and without benefits. “We’re not going to put in jeopardy all those things we stood on picket lines for, to bid lower in order to retain our work.”
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The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
Home at last
Premier wants direct connection to luck of the Irish
remier Danny Williams says he wants to strengthen the relationship between Ireland and the province, but not through Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Since his recent trip to ink business and cultural agreements with Ireland, the premier has been pushing for a direct air link back and forth across the pond to the Emerald Isle. In a meeting with the Taoiseach, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of Ireland, Williams discussed the flight plan. “I’ve also raised an issue with him on the possible air link between Ireland and Newfoundland and Labrador,” the premier told The Sunday Independent just hours after landing in St. John’s via the Toronto hub.
According to Williams, visitors have to fly through England to travel to Newfoundland. An Air Canada spokeswoman told The Independent there is a flight from Toronto to Dublin that continues to Shannon, Ireland, and back to Toronto. “Air Canada currently has no plans to service that route,” she says. Michael Ahern, the Irish minister for international trade, also promoted the concept of a direct flight during a recent visit. “That would establish a real direct presence,” says Williams. Recently, Continental Airlines established a direct flight from St. John’s to Newark Airport in New York. — The Sunday Independent
Air Canada flying high?
ir Canada’s creditors are in line for potentially lucrative equity stakes in the new company, say analysts expecting them to vote next month in favour of the airline’s plan to return to profitability. The last of Air Canada’s unions ratified a costcutting agreement with the airline this week, leaving an Aug. 17 creditors vote in Montreal on the airline’s proposed restructuring plan the remaining hurdle before it can fly out of court protection before its Sept. 30 target date. At first glance, the plan would appear unpalatable to creditors, who claimed to be owed billions at the start of the restructuring process in April
2003 and are in line to receive as little as six cents for every dollar they were owed. But in exchange, they’ll get a nearly 46 per cent stake in the new airline and the right to purchase an additional 42 per cent stake that will be underwritten by Germany’s Deutsche Bank. That stake could be worth plenty if Air Canada’s business plan succeeds — and some industry observers are betting that it will. “I see plenty of upside — no debt and a 30 per cent (reduction) on costs, and really no international competition,’’ says Rick Erickson, an independent airline analyst based in Calgary. — Canadian Press
Myles-Leger bankrupt, but first-time home buyer finally moving in By Stephanie Porter The Sunday Independent
oanne Fennelly finally got her home. Fennelly, who had planned to move into her first house May 20, has been in limbo ever since: Before the deal could close, Myles-Leger — the developers of her future property on the former Belvedere Orphanage land in St. John’s — filed for protection from its creditors. Between late May and now, she says she had very little idea what was going on, only that she had to put her belongings in storage, move back in with her folks, and wait. A meeting of Myles-Leger creditors was held in St. John’s on July 15. During the proceedings, the creditors defeated the company’s repayment proposal, meaning the company is considered bankrupt and its assets will be sold off by the receiver to pay its debts. Secured creditors will be the first to be repaid.
Fennelly signed the closing papers on her home the very next day. “I think they started the process (Thursday),” she says. “That was the date on the documents … There are three of us that will be moving in on my side of the street now.” There are others, considered unsecured creditors — including a couple on the other side of the street, where the homes are not as near completion — that aren’t so lucky, and may not even have their entire deposit returned to them. Fennelly is, of course, pleased the whole thing is over with. But having been through the ordeal of the last two months, she’s still a little hesitant. “Now I haven’t got the keys yet. I’m waiting until I hear from my real estate agent again and I get them to really celebrate,” she says. “But I’m pretty sure I’ll be moving in this weekend … It’s about time.”
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The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
Off the shelves
Liquor corporation pulls magazine off racks; ad mistakes Newfoundland for Cape Breton By Alisha Morrissey The Sunday Independent
ad,” she says. “The message of the ad was understandable and fine however, there was a graphic error that we picked up on.”
ewfoundland looks an awful lot like Cape Breton in the latest ads promoting the province’s bestknown rum — Screech, an ad campaign created by an American firm hired by the liquor corporation. A misprint in the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation’s publication Enjoy shows a dotted line from Jamaica, where the liquor is made, to the province, where its bottled. Only the dotted line points directly at Cape Breton, with Newfoundland printed over it. The liquor corporation has pulled copies of Enjoy off store shelves, although 60 per cent of copies are already in circulation. Melissa Watton, spokeswoman for the corporation, says a draft copy of the ad was printed in the summer edition of the magazine. “In June we became aware that the current edition inadvertently featured a draft ad on the back cover instead of the final proofed
The Newfoundland Liquor Corporation’s publication Enjoy shows a dotted line from Jamaica, where the liquor is made, to the province, where its bottled. Only the dotted line points directly at Cape Breton, with Newfoundland printed over it.
The offending Screech ad, in which Cape Breton is labeled as Newfoundland.
On May 28, The Sunday Independent reported that the new Screech ad campaign cost $55,000 Cdn, a design contract that was awarded to Swardlick Marketing Group based in Port-
Changes at workers’ comp By Alisha Morrissey The Sunday Independent
program to rehabilitate injured workers at the Miller Centre in St. John’s closed July 9, but a similar service, offered by a private company, should be up and running by month’s end. Injured workers have been treated at the Leonard A. Miller Centre for more than a decade, but when the Workers’Assessment and Diagnostic Centre shut down there was confusion as to whether workers’ compensation was privatizing its services. George Tilley, CEO of the Health Care Corporation of St. John’s, which runs city hospitals, says when workers’ comp gave notice of a public tender early in 2004 the health care corp. decided not to bid. Valerie Royle, executive director of workers compensation (formally known as the Workers’ Health, Safety Compensation Commission), says the changes are not a “privatization.” She says the service was always private.
It just so happened that the private service was run by a public institution, namely the health care corporation. Royle says the public tender process ensures a fair playing field.
“If there are services in the private sector that can respond to it then let the private sector take over.” — George Tilley
Tilley says there won’t be any layoffs as a result of the service changing hands, although one employee (a kinesiologist — a person who studies the movements of the human body) has chosen to move on. Royle wouldn’t release the name of the company that will be taking over the rehabilitation program, saying the contract has
yet to be officially signed. The health care corporation will continue to focus on the services the Miller Centre is known for. “What we’re doing is just regrouping now and making sure that we use the staff that we have in the areas where there’s (the) greatest need,” says Tilley. “If there are services in the private sector that can respond to it then let the private sector take over because it’s not a publiclyfunded service.” Royal says the cost per year for a multidisciplinary rehabilitation program, similar to that provided by the Miller Centre, could cost between $750,000 and $1.2 million, depending on the number of clients referred. Still, she says the cost of providing the service through the private sector should be cheaper than what was spent at the Miller Centre. “That’s not necessarily our driving force, but it’s certainly a nice thing to have if it’s more efficient.”
land, Oregon. At the time, Watton said the American firm was hired because the corporation was trying to launch Screech in new markets outside the province. Ryan Research and Communications, a St. John’s-based company, was contracted to conduct market research in the province, Nova Scotia and Ontario. “It’s unfortunate that the draft was published but steps have been taken to ensure the proper ad is placed in all future publications,” Watton says, adding the corporation would not be reprinting the magazine (or at least the particular Screech ad) because of the high cost. According to Watton, there hasn’t been any reaction one way or the other to the misprint. The new label created in the States includes a picture of old St. John’s with fishing schooners moored in the harbour. A compass design is inlaid over the picture “Famous Newfoundland Screech” across the top. firstname.lastname@example.org
Company charged up Blue Line Innovations of St. John’s will be part of an energy management program in Ontario. The program will be run by Hydro One, Ontario’s largest electricity distributor, and use Blue Line’s real-time monitoring device that will give customers the ability to track how much electricity they use and what it’s costing them. Blue Line has developed a unit called The PowerCost Monitor that will be installed in 500 Ontario homes including the cities of Timmins, Peterborough, and Brampton. “Our smart technology will put electricity users in control of their consumption by providing a real-time price signal,” said Blue Line president Maurice Tuff in a press release. “We are well positioned for further growth as Ontario moves to adopt smart technologies that will inform people about their consumption and their savings possibilities.”
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July 18, 2004
The Sunday Independent
Photo by Savintsev Fyodor/Itar-Tass Photos
The funeral for the editor of the Russian version of Forbes magazine, Pavel Khlebnikov, took place in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Moscow, on July 14.
Russia ‘soured’ on democracy ‘If the murders of journalists mean anything, it’s that they have been doing their job well’ NEW YORK By Stephen Handelman
hen Paul K l e b n i k o v arrived in Moscow as a young American reporter in 1993, he found himself in a front-row seat to a mob war. “I often found my protagonists being killed before I could interview them,” he wrote in the book he later published about the “bandit capitalism” that plagued post-Communist Russia in the 1990s. In May 2004, 11 years later, he had a happier story to tell. Inaugurating the Russian-language edition of Forbes Magazine, for which he had become editor, Klebnikov announced at a Moscow press conference that the murderous era of Russian free enterprise was “already in the past.” He may have been tragically premature. On July 9, at about 10 p.m., he was gunned down as he walked from his Moscow office. Klebnikov, 41, died in the ambulance taking him to hospital. He left behind a wife and three young children. As the post-mortems begin, the outrage over what appears to be the first contract killing of a Western journalist in Russia is already morphing into a campaign that has turned Klebnikov into a symbol of the crippled state of Russian democracy. Klebnikov was too self-effacing to ever con-
sider himself a symbol. When I last met him a few years ago, he had few illusions about journalists’ ability to stand for anything but themselves. But he believed that getting facts on the public record made it possible for even troubled societies to make honest choices. We talked then about how Russian journalists were paying a heavy price for seeking out those facts. Dozens of reporters, broadcasters and editors from Russia and other former Soviet states had been killed since 1991. Many of them were conducting investigations into organized crime or government corruption. Dozens more have been savagely beaten. Since 2000 alone, at least 13 journalists have been murdered. In an ironic touch, the Public Broadcasting Service in the U.S. aired a BBC documentary asking “Who is Killing the Journalists of Russia?” the night before Klebnikov was shot. In most of the cases, the murderers have never been identified, much less prosecuted. “This shameful record of impunity is one of the reasons these murders continue to happen,” says Ann Cooper, executive director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. “It sends a chilling message to Russian journalists, and a terrible message to the rest of the world about the Kremlin’s indifference to press freedom.”
It took Klebnikov’s murder to alert the Kremlin to the fact that it has a public relations problem. Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov has announced he will personally take charge of the Klebnikov investigation. That’s helpful, but here’s the bitter irony: Things are worse for journalists than in the final years of the Soviet era. By the late 1980s, Russia’s press was energetically probing the dark corners of Soviet life and history. So-called “glasnost” (openness) created the climate for the civic activism that helped end the Soviet empire. Earlier this year, Cooper went to Togliatti, an auto-industry town 1,100 kilometers east of Moscow, where the crusading editors of a newspaper that exposed links between the local government and criminal interests had been assassinated 18 months apart. “When I got there,” she recalls, “the reporters were already so depressed they didn’t believe anything would ever change.” Glasnost was a fading memory even before Klebnikov died. On the night of his murder, one of Moscow’s most popular TV talk shows — “Freedom of Speech” — aired for the last time, the latest victim of political pressure on the Russian media. But it would be wrong to perceive Klebnikov’s murder as the final proof that press freedom — and with it democracy — have entered a black hole in Russia.
There’s no doubt that Russians have soured on their experience with democracy so far. Polls consistently show Russians favour order over the free-wheeling chaos they lived through over the past decade. But the freedom to make the powerful squirm isn’t easily surrendered once it is won. If the murders of journalists mean anything, it is that they have been doing their job well. Klebnikov may have touched a sensitive nerve. The Forbes’ Russian edition, which he introduced at his May press conference, named 36 Russian billionaire entrepreneurs — representing one of the world’s highest concentrations of wealth. “Journalists and people involved in media have reason to fear for their life when someone else’s money is talked or written about,” observed Moscow-based commentator Peter Lavelle. We may never know who was angry enough at Klebnikov to kill him. All we know is that, like the Russian journalists who preceded him, he lost his battle. But as long as there are people who refuse to let these deaths pass in silence, the war is far from over. Stephen Handelman, a columnist for TIME Canada based in New York, is the author of Comrade Criminal: Russia’s New Mafiya. He can be reached at email@example.com. His next column for The Independent will appear Sunday Aug. 1.
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The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
‘Everything is bigger in Texas’ Great weather and sports keep Andrew Scott happy in the second most obese city on the continent Voice From Away Andrew Scott In Houston, Texas By Stephanie Porter The Sunday Independent
or a guy who lists his regular evening activities as weight training, soccer, golf, softball and swimming, a move to the one of the most obese cities on the continent (second place, according to the latest poll) took some getting used to. Andrew Scott, originally from Upper Gullies, Conception Bay South, now lives and works in Houston, Texas. “The fact that you can play golf and soccer all year round is magic,” he says when asked what he likes most about his current home. But is it tough to be around so many unhealthy people? “It’s fine … the gyms aren’t that crowded,” he says with a laugh. “The city is trying to kick-start a health trend, but there’s so much greasy, fatty food — brisket, grits, white gravy, etc. … and that’s besides all the Mexican food — that I really can’t see it ever changing. “The saying ‘everything is bigger in Texas’ certainly applies to the food portions here … There are an awful lot of gyms and fitness centers, but people just do not walk. A lot of streets don’t have sidewalks, and people drive everywhere.” Scott, a graduate of Memorial University’s faculty of commerce, now works for Technip Offshore, in the contracts department. The job involves risk and contract management and analysis. “It’s difficult to describe … I spend a lot of time trying to see the big picture and trying to be creative.” Scott says one of his goals was always to see the world, and do it by working in different places. It was a co-op placement in 2001 in Paris, France that led to his current position. “After I graduated, my contacts in France had all relocated to Houston, Texas so I decided to move to there for the same company, after several name changes.” He finds the pace of life is more leisurely in Houston than Paris, though he’d like return to France soon. He enjoyed the buzz of activity there, the atmosphere, the proximity to so many other countries and cities. “Even sitting in a café watching people go by is more exciting there … I thought it was great, and the
Photo by Richard Stockton/Index Stock Imagery
Houston is “literally a series of 10-lane highways,” says Andrew Scott — but he found that it is possible to get used to the chaos.
bars don’t close,” he says, reflecting on his time in Europe. “The work there is a lot more concentrated. You work less hours, but there’s also a lot less time to socialize during the day.” But Texas — which surprised Scott with a blast of 30C heat at 9 p.m. as he walked off the plane that first day — has won a place in his heart, too. “My first impressions were that my stay there was only temporary and I would move back to Canada as soon as possible … the chaos of the highways was almost too much to bear, but the weather gets a hold of you and you end up staying,” he says. Scott’s workday is long, officially from 7:30 a.m. until at least 5:30 p.m. But whatever he finds strange, he’s certainly not alone. He says there are at least 10 other Newfoundlanders working for the company. Houston is a transient city, he adds, and he meets many people
from Canada who are there for the short term. While he says the standard of living is quite high — and Texans
“The saying ‘everything is bigger in Texas’ certainly applies to the food portions here … There are an awful lot of gyms and fitness centers here, but people just do not walk. A lot of streets don’t have sidewalks, and people drive everywhere.” — Andrew Scott love to show off their affluence in the most materialistic ways — Scott finds the biggest cultural difference between where he is now
and his home province is consciousness. “I think, as a whole, Newfoundlanders are a lot more aware of what’s happening in the province, even the country,” he says. “All Newfie jokes aside, we’re a fairly switched-on population. Houstonians don’t know what’s happening in Dallas, let alone the rest of the U.S.” And then, he says, the people just aren’t as friendly. “Let me qualify that, the people here are very friendly, but not everyone would go out of their way to help you out if you were in a bind. It’s strange, but I’ve travelled quite a bit, and the Rock is still the friendliest place to visit. “Probably not the most objective opinion, I know.” Scott says the majority of his friends in Houston are British, because he finds they have a similar sense of humour. While the live music scene isn’t much good, the sports — at both the profes-
sional and local levels — are great. “Oh, and you learn very quickly not to discuss religion or politics with a Texan,” he says, adding that the pros of the Texas city, in his mind, vastly outweigh the cons — especially since he can’t stand cold weather. Although he misses the family, friends, and safe environment back in Newfoundland, he doesn’t see himself moving back soon. “I am used to the chaos, actually,” he says. “It takes a while, but I finally got used to it. My parents were quite surprised when they came here, because the city is literally a series of 10-lane highways, without a lot of scenery. “I’ve yet to buy a 10-gallon hat or cowboy boots, so I haven’t been fully assimilated into the Texan way of life, but I’m getting there.” Do you know a Newfoundlander or Labradorian living away? Contact us at email@example.com
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
Celtic tiger economy increasingly makes Ireland land of princes and paupers: UN DUBLIN, Ireland The Associated Press
rom millionaire-row mansions to heroin-hit welfare projects, Ireland is now one of the most prosperous but unequal societies on Earth, the United Nations suggests. The annual UN Human Development Report for the first time placed Ireland among the top 10 developed countries in an annual list based on each country’s average income, educational levels and life expectancy. But a parallel finding, measuring the level of poverty in the world’s 17 most highly developed countries, placed Ireland second from the bottom — just above its primary economic role model, the United States. “Ireland has a long way to go before it’s a place where everybody is respected and has enough to live life with dignity,” says Rev. Sean Healy, who directs the justice commission of the Conference of Religious in Ireland, an association of 12,000 Catholic priests and nuns. The UN Poverty Index has consistently rated Ireland as having the highest percentage of poor people in Western Europe, some 15.3 per cent of the country’s 3.9 million residents. The United States came in at 15.8 per cent. The Irish government, which takes pride in Ireland’s Europeleading rate of economic growth over the last decade, accused the United Nations of relying on outdated statistics and on measuring “relative,” rather than “absolute,” poverty. Relative measures define poverty in relation to the average wage, no matter how high, whereas the absolute poverty method uses more fixed tests for determining poverty, such as the ability to pay for home heat and to eat a balanced diet. The Irish Times, Ireland’s newspaper of record, rejected the government line in its lead editorial. “It is not good enough to reject these findings by quoting different indices of poverty. ... Ireland is an unequal society in which many remain socially excluded,”
Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland!
Young traveller children at a halting site in Blanchardstown in Dublin.
it read. Dan McLaughlin, chief economist at the Bank of Ireland, said he agrees with the government’s view that real poverty in Ireland today is at a historic low of around five per cent. “I’ve never understood the poverty thing coming from the UN and other sources,” McLaughlin says. “They say poverty when they mean relative incomes, and, of course, the relative gap between the richest and poorest is growing. But by their logic, in a land where the average wage-earner is a millionaire, then somebody on 500,000 a year would supposedly be poor.” McLaughlin contends that the Celtic Tiger economic boom in Ireland since the mid-1990s has improved virtually everybody’s opportunities and standard of living. The rapid infusion of employment from multinationals wooed to Ireland by its EU-low corporate
tax rates has reversed Ireland’s traditional emigration and cut unemployment by a third to just 4.3 per cent.
“I’ve never understood the poverty thing coming from the UN and other sources.... But by their logic, in a land where the average wage-earner is a millionaire, then somebody on 500,000 a year would supposedly be poor.” — Dan McLaughlin, Bank of Ireland Economist He concedes, however, that Ireland’s growth statistics can mislead. A major component of the
Naked Protest GAUHATI, India In a highly unusual protest, some 40 women stripped naked and staged an angry demonstration at a paramilitary base in northeastern India to protest the death of a 32-year-old woman who they say was killed in custody. With nothing but banners to cover their bodies, the women stood in front of the Assam Rifles headquarters in Imphal, capital of Manipur state, and demanded the culprits be punished. Some of the banners read, “Indian Army rape us” and “Indian Army take our flesh.” The women alleged that soldiers of Assam Rifles raped, tortured and then killed Thangjam Manorama. Assam Rifles is the main
paramilitary force fighting separatist insurgents in India’s northeast. Manipur, which shares a porous border with Myanmar, has 17 insurgent groups, most of them fighting for independence from India. — Associated Press
No colour coding WASHINGTON The United States has dumped plans to colour-code air travellers according to their perceived terrorist threat level in favour of a voluntary system of sharing personal information. And many observers are hoping the contentious idea for screening domestic and international passengers won’t regain favour after the U.S. election this fall.
Plagued for months by logistical problems and criticism from privacy advocates, airlines and some legislators, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge decided to pull the plug this week on the $100-million US project. It would have collected passenger names, addresses, telephone numbers, birthdates and itineraries from airlines and reservations companies, then checked the data against crime and commercial databases. Suspected terrorists and violent criminals would be coded red and forbidden to fly. Yellow would indicate the need for a search and questioning, and green would mean standard screening. “I’m sure the election played some role in this,’’ said Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union in New York. — Canadian Press
Irish gross domestic product includes multinationals’ profits, which are largely taken out of the country. This distorts the per-capita figure for Irish incomes. “There’s also a big difference between personal incomes, which have soared in Ireland, and national wealth, which still has a lot of catch-up to do,” McLaughlin says. “I doubt anybody driving through France or Germany, and observing all their developed infrastructure built up over decades, and then coming to Ireland would conclude that Ireland was the wealthier nation.” For many Irish people, the Celtic Tiger has meant having the right to work in their homeland — but in a country where the cost of most things has soared, particularly property. Many first-time buyers now must borrow more than five times their annual salary and seek a loan from their parents to claim a mortgage.
Healy, the Catholic priest and poverty activist, says most of those living under the poverty line in Ireland today are in households led by people who are elderly, disabled, too ill to work, or in unpaid work as caregivers. Such households — representing more than 700,000 people — don’t benefit from Ireland’s buoyant job market and require decent welfare support, but benefits haven’t kept pace with the economy, he says. The average single person’s welfare cheque is the equivalent of $220 Cdn weekly, whereas the poverty line is $293 Cdn. “Ireland has not succeeded in balancing the social with the economic. We have focused primarily on boosting the economy and failed to tackle poverty,” Healy says. “But for the first time in our nation’s history, we actually have sufficient wealth to eliminate poverty — if we have the political will.”
July 18, 2004
The Sunday Independent
LIFE & TIMES
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
‘A good living’ Jack Troake, (almost) retired sealer, reflects on the ups and downs of a life at sea Twillingate By Stephanie Porter The Sunday Independent
o find Jack Troake, one only has to ask. A waitress at the Harbourview Restaurant in Twillingate scrawls down the phone number, no explanation required. Another describes how to find his home — accurate directions, but a little difficult to follow for someone not from the area. Another question, this time to a woman walking a small dog along the twisting road. “Sure, I know where he is,” she says with a grin. “I’m his daughter. I live right here, and he’s right there, behind his house, probably still out in the garden.” She points next door. “We all live around here.” Troake’s yellow home is directly across the road from the water, with a clear view of the other side
of Twillingate, population 5,000. It’s the house he was born and grew up in — and he never had far to walk to work in the morning. Troake is a veteran sealer and fisherman, work that remains in his blood and in his family to this day. “I half-retired four years ago,” says Troake, nearing 70 years of age. “Now I go around the garden, do all the maintenance on the vessel … change the oil, keep an eye on the tanks. I’ve been running that for 33 years, you know exactly how everything is.” His son now operates the boat, but Troake’s been out in it more than once this year, fishing crab or hunting seals. Troake still listens to CBC Radio’s Fisheries Broadcast every night (he’s been interviewed more than a few times by the show’s reporters), still keeps on top of the industry that’s been his life. And
he’s still outspoken. “Fishing – you make a good living,” he says. “But the way it’s got now, you’ve got so many regulations, so many people telling you what you’ve got to do … most of the senior bureaucrats are in appointed positions and nobody gives a damn what they know or what they’ve got to deal with. “They bring up these stupid regulations they use it in the name of conservation. I doubt there’s many people in the White Hills (St. John’s headquarters of the federal Fisheries Department) that knows much about conservation by the stupid things they do.” He picks an example, one grating on his mind today. The crab fishery, which had been closed in the area for the past few weeks, is about reopen — on a Saturday at 11 p.m. “Who in the hell opens up a fishery 11 o’clock at night?” he
says. “You laugh at it … then you gets pissed off.” Even so, Troake will head out on the boat Saturday afternoon, filling in for his son, who’s taking his son to a hockey camp. The crab fishing trip, the last of the season, will run five or six days. “I don’t look forward to going out for these trips, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do — you get a few days of good weather, you’ve got to grab it.” In spite of the talk about politics, Troake appears content in his current stage of life. He gives a tour of his backyard garden. “I’m a retired fisherman turned amateur gardener,” he says. He points to the onions, beets, parsnips and carrots he’s planted. The soil is shallow, so he’s used fish pans as planters, filling each with topsoil and careful rows of seeds. Keeps him busy, he says.
Troake adjusts the faded baseball hat on his head, and pulls a pack of cigarettes from his sunfaded coveralls. He lights up a smoke and sits down on the edge of his garden, motioning to do the same. Troake’s put in a lot of years on the ocean — more than 50, he figures. He’s worked hard, put in the long hours, made his life. He’s seen ups and downs in the sealing industry. This year was an up. “The weather was pretty good. We had a lot of fog, which is sometimes a hindrance, but this time, you find a bunch (of seals), you could stow away and the fog would cover you. “We’ve got an awful lot of vessels at it, so the hiding was good.” Prices were also decent, an average of $55 a pelt. It’s lower Continued on page 23
LIFE & TIMES
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
by Rick Bailey
Sound advice for summer Awakening to the mad variety of the Sound Symposium
had the pleasure of being invited to the 12th International Sound Symposium in St. John’s, and if you’re familiar with the festival, you’ll know it’s an experience like no other. From July 8-18, local and visiting artists from around the world gathered together to demonstrate and explore the broad spectrum we call sound. Not limited to areas of contemporary classical, jazz, improvisation, drumming, world music and more, this event also delves into sound sculptures, dance, experimental instruments and multimedia art. If you want an astonishing journey for your senses, the Symposium will guarantee you that. Here’s a recap of my weekend exploits: On Thursday July 8th, I caught the tail end of a show at the LSPU Hall and saw the Zari Trio — beautiful vocal harmonies and strummed exotic instruments unlike anything I’ve ever heard. The lute-like panduri and complex ancient music from the Georgian Republic, located just below Russia, were simply astounding. I then made my way to the Ship Pub for the first Night Music session, featuring a set by The Black Auks, Newfoundland’s premiere improv group. They had their regular menagerie of devices, from keyboard cacophony, bended guitar, banjo, drums and bits of metal, to bells, horns, saxophone, whistles and squeaky toys. After some lengthy compositions, guests were invited to join the jam. It was the first night, so the reception was initially slow, but entertaining. Saturday evening (July 10) at the arts and culture centre started with The Scruncheons — the Memorial University Percussion Ensemble established by Don Wherry, founder of the Sound Symposium. Their tribute to him encompassed soft ringing sounds from varied parts of the room, converging from the aisles to the stage for the gradual percussive boiling point, with additional crashes from the rafters. I found it difficult to determine which sounds came from where, which is the whole point of the Symposium, if you think about it. Next, Loose Confederacy gave a local multimedia opera of sorts, with large video playback mixed with acting, dancing and song. A Little Place was big on sexy, longing, jealous relations between the principal characters. Fast-moving visuals and bodies, romantic odes and electro-dance beats made it a palatable mix, vague and arty, but
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Paul Panhuysen, a sound artist from the Netherlands, installed his Long Strings sound sculpture from the top of Cabot Tower during this year’s Sound Symposium.
left somehow incomplete as it was an excerpt in development. Rob Power and NSO Strings launched next into Wabana, Gregory Michael Hawco’s concerto for marimba and strings — a darker, odd-timed piece that churned with an almost progressive rock feel. The string orchestra blazed in sections, and I love the sound of marimba, and didn’t realize how large an instrument it is. The show ended with Fine Kwiatkowski and Mechanique(s) — a German improvising dancer with amazing flexibility, moving under a spotlight in jerky, mechanical gestures, backed by a noisier soundtrack from the visiting trio, which included baritone sax, and laptop-manipulated voice and guitar. It was longer than most expected, but still a fascinating and bewildering display. The Discounts at the Ship’s Night Music afterwards was not to be missed. These local guys are a well-known band for their signature fun, funky jams, and visiting Symposium participants unaware of their all-night good vibes left better informed in the morning. The regular outdoor percussion parade led to a short dance party at the back of the building, and the evening was abuzz with guest jammers and the ever-present festive crowd. Good times for all, just forget about the sleep. On Sunday (July 11) afternoon,
with much thanks to Craig Squires and his car, I witnessed Robochorus — a group of robot-like creations, with speaker bodies and open-circuitry heads found in a dark basement room of the arts and culture centre. A motion sensor brought the machines to life, turning on lights and activating a CD of looped sound – thereby allowing personal interaction with the humming chorus. Upstairs in the carpenter shop, a sound art trio, Mannlicher Carcano, used tape playback, spinning metal apparatus, delay effects and other amplified creations to create an eerie ambient soundtrack for the classic film Nanook of the North. Seeing the icy lifestyle in flashing black and white images was enough to keep me there for the duration, with ghostly voices, whistling and gnashing. Visions are equally important in the process of sound. The evening brought me to MUN’s D.F. Cook Recital Hall for James Tenney, performing a mind-boggling piano work, Concord Sonata by Charles Ives, with Michelle Cheramy on flute for a brief moment at the end. What made this truly amazing was that Tenny barely followed the score and played from memory. A pause before people piled in for the next show, which began with George Morgan and Alison Black — executing Morgan’s
active composition, Knockturn #8, for piano and violin. I’ve seen Morgan’s percussion skill several times in the past, but it’s a real treat to see his impassioned fingers fly across the keys. John Power and Phil Yetman were next, and played two vibraphones and a glockenspiel with multiple mallet and bowing techniques in Duane Andrews’ composition, Away. Andrews’ piece attempted electronic tones with the
instrumental ensemble, and a damn fine job, indeed. Neighbours Percussion Trio had veteran musicians John Wyre, Bill Brennan and Rob Power with a wonderful show on Noah bells from India, mbira from Zimbabwe, and the marimba. The Wyre composition, titled Noah’s Bells, was a calming and unique blend of textures. Splendid. Rufus Cappadocia was the show’s highlight, though, in one of the most dazzling displays of talent. The modest and soft-spoken man played his self-designed fivestring cello in a flurry of easternsounding innovative funk, chatting casually with the audience in between. He played with the fervor of a virtuosic rock guitarist, and stunned those in attendance. If your ears need fresh, unconventional sounds to perk them up, the Sound Symposium is your event. Alas, the next opportunity to experience this wonder of local and international sound will be in 2006. Their website (www.soundsymposium.ca) has more from this summer’s fun, if you’re interested or want to find out more. This year awakened my senses, and surely the future will hold much more for the Symposium. Until then, I’m exhausted. Rick Bailey is a radio DJ and musician. His next reviews will appear August 1.
The Sunday Independent is growing and requires friendly, energetic, self-starting individuals to fill several new positions with our company. These people are strong team players who thrive in a fast-paced, changing environment. They rise to a challenge and are eager to take on new responsibilities.
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The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
LIFE & TIMES
Psychic energy The psychic fair provides a wealth of insight — and a glimpse of a tragic past life By Clare-Marie Gosse For the Sunday Independent
alking into the psychic fair at the Holiday Inn this weekend is oddly like walking into a small business convention. You have your stands lined up against the walls and helpful leaflets and signs guide you around. Admittedly the snacks on hand are fortune cookies, but really… Where’s all the flash and panache? It’s all very down to earth and sensible. As someone who has never had their fortune read, was strictly warned against all aspects of the occult as a child, and even feels a bit shifty reading the occasional horoscope, I walk over to the coordinator Keith Atkinson warily. Atkinson is a psychic reader from Toronto and has been reading professionally since 1980. He says he “always knew” he had a psychic talent. “Use it or go nuts,” he says, adding that if he doesn’t practice, the energy turns inwards and he has nightmares. He enjoys helping people though, and says many clients have later contacted him to say he changed their lives. His message is: Pay attention. For instance, Atkinson once predicted winning lottery numbers for someone who didn’t take his advice, and they missed out on a whole pile of cash. I tell him the main reason I’ve never been to a psychic reader is that I’m scared of hearing something bad, and he laughs ruefully. “What’s to be afraid of?” he asks. “There’s no such thing as bad news. But as he hypothetically explains to me that losing a job or a relationship can develop into something positive, I begin to get nervous, wondering if he’s trying to tell me something. Time to move on. Most of the readers at the stands offer a wide range of spiritual mediums, from tea leaf readings, to psychometry (the art of divining meanings from personal objects) and yes, there are some crystal balls as well. One stand advertises Shiatsu and Reiki.
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
Kith Atkinson is the coordinator of the annual psychic fair.
Shiatsu is a form of oriental massage that helps to alleviate stress and physical ailments. Reiki is a Japanese healing technique that involves channelling universal life force energy. Practitioner Debbie Cameron gives me a Reiki demonstration. She instructs me to suspend my hand face down, and draws both her hands over and above. As she strokes the air, I feel a warm sensation across my knuckles and my palm goes cold. She tells me that I am a very hyper person, constantly thinking, and unable to switch off. I’m not sure about this. I have my hyper moments, but I have an awful lot of comatose ones too. On the other hand, I do ponder a lot and I’m happiest when busy. My favourite experience is at psychic Ilse
Lea’s stand. Lea was born in 1939 war-torn Germany and moved to Canada when she was 26. She looks like your favourite aunt, and is very easy to be around. She says her mother and grandmother were both psychically gifted. Wary at first, she was unable to deny her genes for long, and remembers one particular incident that occurred when she was a child. “I wouldn’t go over a bridge. My mother said we have to, to catch our train. I said, ‘I’m not going,’ and I threw myself on the floor. Normally I was a very good child, but I wouldn’t walk over there.” The next moment the bridge exploded. It had been harbouring an un-detonated bomb. As she sits with my palm in her hand, she
tells me what a strong lifeline I have, and says I’m old-fashioned in love and will only be in one major relationship. But best of all, she tells me that in my former life I was a high priestess. Apparently I rebelled after falling in love with a dark-haired man, and we were both executed for our romantic sins. You may discard it as nonsense and ego stroking, but for the record, she told Paul Daly, The Independent’s picture editor (who was a teacher in his past life) something scarily accurate about his younger years. So I’m off to tell as many people as possible about my tragically beautiful past existence. I don’t care if they don’t believe me, because a high priestess is above needing the approval of anyone.
‘The abuse we had to take …’ From page 21 than last year, but higher than he expected. “We’ve still got crab and shrimp, that’s keeping us afloat now, but we’ve got serious problems with our crab, and the shrimp is marginal. “But the seal hunt is a positive thing. Where we are now, from where we were … The struggle we had, and the abuse we had to take …,” he says, alluding to the
long (and on-going) debate with animal rights activists about the worth of the seal hunt. “They’re not telling the truth, manipulating people to make money. They don’t give a damn about the harp seal. “I was talking to a gentleman and his wife there the other day, from California. We got talking about fishing, and you must bring up the harp seal hunt in Eastern Canada, you’ve got to. She didn’t have any problem with (the hunt). “She knows the fight. She said it’ll never go away, but that’s people that were born into plenty and think that’s the real world. They never worked with their hands,
they sweat a bit they go to a doctor. But life is not like that.” The sea has been Troake’s life. It also took his son, Garry, in a sealing accident. “My youngest son died four years ago this October, Thanksgiving Day, it was,” he says, before the question can even be asked. “But that’s life. Like my dad used to say, ‘B’y, grab yourself up by the slack of your pants and dodge along.’ Because all you’re doing by moaning and groaning is making everyone around you uncomfortable.” Troake bristles at the notion that sealing, or the fishery, is a difficult
living. In spite of everything, he appreciates what the industry has given him. “No one’s telling you to get up in the morning and go out on the water,” he says. “That’s up to you. You go out, put in a full day … or you could stay in bed.” He looks around. He likes that most of his family live within a stone’s throw of his own house. He likes that people out his way own their land and homes, built and expanded as they could afford to. What they own, they own, he points out, and at the end of the day, that’s a good feeling. He enjoys the pace of life. “It’s beautiful, beautiful country, a great
place to live and rear your kids,” he says. “There’s not too much trouble they can get in.” Troake stands. The sun is edging closer to the horizon and there’s more to be done in the garden before the day is done. “I don’t know, just plug on I suppose and do the best you can, and hope your old-age pension cheque don’t get cut off.” He offers his hand, dirt from the garden ground into the calluses and crevices. The handshake is firm, accompanied by a warm smile and a parting wish to match. “Be happy and content,” he says. “And the rest will fall into place.”
LIFE & TIMES
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
I’se The Girl
by Deborah Bourden
How not to wear panty hose
almost died. From embarrassment that is, and even today when I think about it I still get that sinking feeling. But then, within seconds, I laugh at the memory of it. Still, for a young aspiring marketing executive it was an hour or so of living hell. I was living and working in downtown Toronto and had just found my way into the world of marketing and communications. We were working on a new fall promotion for a client and I was tasked with meeting their national marketing director to review the details. I was more than pleased at the opportunity, which was scheduled for 9 a.m. on a Monday morning. Sleep was difficult Sunday night. I remember laying in bed going over and over the information in my mind, until finally drifting off into a deep sleep. When I awoke the next morning I immediately knew I was in trouble. My alarm hadn’t gone off. Damn. It was already 8 a.m. and it would take at least 30 to 40 minutes to drive to the meeting. I didn’t have much time or many choices. I grabbed the outfit I had worn
to church the day before — navy pants, light-coloured blouse and navy blazer. It would do just fine. I jumped in my car and flew through the morning traffic.
When I awoke the next morning I immediately knew I was in trouble. My alarm hadn’t gone off. Damn. It was already 8 a.m. and it would take at least 30 to 40 minutes to drive to work. I didn’t have much time or many choices. I pulled into the parking lot at precisely 8:50 a.m. Perfect. I wanted to make a good impression. The receptionist showed me to the marketing director’s office. It was impressive. There was a large mahogany desk and wonderful leather chairs. I made a mental note to have an office like it someday, but we were soon down to business.
I leaned over to collect files from my briefcase when something caught my eye. “Oh my God,” I thought to myself. Hanging from my pants were the panty hose I had worn with the outfit the day before. Oh no. This wasn’t good. I started to sweat and feel a little sick. “Coffee?” “Yes, I’d love a cup.” That might buy me some time, but no such luck. The national marketing director buzzed the receptionist and she brought in the coffee. “Focus,” I told myself, but distracted I was. Then I had a brilliant idea. If I stepped on the end of the panty hose that was sticking out and gently pulled, maybe I could get them out that way. I could then tuck the panty hose into my briefcase and no one would be the wiser. To summarize the situation: I was presenting to a major client, drinking coffee and trying to free panty hose from my pants. It wasn’t my day. The plan seemed simple enough, but the execution was less than flawless. As it happened, the
panty hose were occupying both legs of my pants and freeing them was impossible, no matter how nonchalantly I pulled. I was actually making things worse. I had only succeeded in dragging about six inches more of the panty hose from the pants, hardly the fashion statement I was trying to make. The presentation continued. It went well and the marketing director didn’t seem to be aware of my personal struggle. That was good, because I was only catching every other word and feeling sicker as each moment went by. Time for plan B, stuffing the panty hose further up my pant legs. Yes, that could work. I casually pushed my chair back a little from the desk, exchanging ideas and taking notes as I went. Then I crossed my legs so that I was closer to those damn panty hose. There, I could reach. At that point I was very grateful for the mahogany desk, which was shielding me from total embarrassment. Stuffing the panty hose back into my pants worked better than trying to pull them out and finally there was nothing showing. What
relief, and the meeting was almost over. I slowly put all of my files back into my briefcase and thought about my options. Was there a washroom close by? No. I had no choice but to take slow, deliberate steps toward the exit. The hallway seemed longer on the way out and I walked much slower than normal. Concentrating, I remember feeling the panty hose slipping. I was at the reception desk when I felt them starting to escape. Finally, I was out of the building. The panty hoses were slipping more by then. When I got to the car the panty hose were actually dragging on the ground. I quickly jumped into my car and tugged and tugged until those blasted panty hose were free. Since then, I check the legs of my pants before every presentation. firstname.lastname@example.org
Created for The Sunday Independent by John Andrews
THIS WEEK’S THEME:
SUMMER EVENTS Cooper’s CrissCross is a 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.
Bay _____ Klondyke Days Arnold's Cove ____ Festival Folk Festival in _____ Park Harbour Grace ______ _____ Blueberry Festival Festival of _____, Argentia Peter ____ Festival, Bowring ____ Peace _____ _____ Street Festival Argentia _____ Fest Fox Harbour Summer _____ _____ Pea Festival, Salmon Cove St. John’s Regatta, _____ Vidi Bay De Verde _____ Days
The Sunday Independent
Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent
The Shamrocks go to bat during their July 15th game against the Guards. The Shamrocks won 8-0.
‘Only interested in one thing’ Shamrocks focused on staying atop senior baseball league standings By Darcy MacRae For The Sunday Independent
here hasn’t been a championship hangover for the Shamrocks this season. After capturing the St. John’s Senior Baseball League title in 2003, the Shamrocks have picked up right where they left off, bolting into first place from the first day of the season. The key to the team’s success is simple, says head coach Bas Whelan. “Our biggest asset has been pitching. Our pitchers have been nothing short of great.” Mario Tee has led the way on the mound for the Shamrocks. The savvy right-hander picked up his sixth win of the season July 15 when he limited the Guards to just four hits in seven innings. Whelan says the combination of Tee and fellow pitchers Bob Kent and Chris Whelan give the Shamrocks a starting rotation any senior team would covet. “Mario was the MVP last season and he’s off to another great start. He’s already 6-0,” says Whelan.
“Bob and Chris have also been around .400. Brent is batting second solid. Bob is just two years out of and is also batting close to .400. junior, but he’s pitching the ball Those two are quick on the bases really well. Chris was away taking and have been real table setters for courses, but since coming back he’s us this year,” says the coach. been a wonderful asset.” While Pottle and Power (who The contribution the pitchers both also play for the junior Shamhave made so far this season is not rocks) are offensive sparkplugs, lost on their teamWhelan says vetermates. Third basean hitters such as man Brent Power Sean Gulliver, Kirk “When you’re the says when he and defending champion, Flemming, Andrew the rest of the team Simmons and Billy see a solid pitching everybody is gunning Buckingham help performance it to beat you. Hopefully keep the entire lineinspires them to up focused in key we’ll be up to the pull out all the stops situations. This mixchallenge.” defensively. ture of youthful — Bas Whelan “If our pitchers exuberance and vetare going to give us eran savvy has led an opportunity to to big hits for the win, we want to make all the plays Shamrocks in crucial situations. behind them,” says Power. “We always seem to score runs While the club’s pitching has had when we need them,” says Whelan. a huge role in the Shamrocks’ 10-1 Although several of his players start this season, timely hitting and sport impressive numbers this seasmart base running are also impor- son, the Shamrocks’ bench boss tant to the team’s success. Whelan says batting averages, homeruns says young hitters such as Power and earned-run-averages don’t matand Mike Pottle have helped jump- ter much to the club. Instead, he start the offence thus far. says the team is only interested in “Mike leads off and is batting one thing.
“The team has 10 wins and that’s what is most important to everybody,” says Whelan. “The biggest stat to them is that we’re in first place.” That team-first attitude is exactly what the Shamrocks need in order to repeat as league champions. Whelan knows that despite the great start to the season his team has enjoyed, they will need to continue sacrificing personal goals in order to win a second straight title. “When you’re the defending champion, everybody is gunning to beat you,” Whelan says with a smile. “Hopefully we’ll be up to the challenge.” With 10 wins in their first 11 games, the Shamrocks admit that the possibility of another league championship is already on their minds. As far as their young third baseman is concerned, there would be no better way to end the season. “Anything less than a championship is a disappointment,” says Power. “We came into the season looking for the championship and that’s still our goal.” email@example.com
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Week in Review
The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
by Shaun Drover
Deer Lake’s Devil; Langdon has new home
tem: Darren Langdon has found a new team (and new home) in New Jersey. Comment: He may not be the goal scorer to play alongside Patrick Elias or the defensive forward to help Martin Brodeur backstop the Devils, but that doesn’t matter if you can still fill a void and bring something to the table. Deer Lake-native Darren Langdon, 33, has landed a contract that will see him in a Devils’ uniform this season. After New Jersey lost Turner Stevenson to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Devils found themselves one tough guy short. To help fill the void, they signed Langdon to keep a physical presence in the lineup. Langdon is well aware of his role and is sure to fill it well. It was nice to see Langdon in a Montreal uniform last season, but he moves to a very competitive team that has a legitimate shot at winning a Stanley Cup. Langdon stands six-foot-one, 205 pounds and led the Habs in penalty minutes last season with 135. In 507 career games he has tallied 16 goals and 22 assists to go along with his 1,229 penalty minutes. He’s sure to add to these penalty totals this year with the Devils. Unlike the Canadiens, the Devils are known for their physical toughness and have a host of players who can hold their own. That means Langdon’s role could be focused, seeing him in the penalty box a lot more than on the ice. Item: Pablo Carral caught a souvenir at the Euro 2004 that has proved to be quite the catch. Comment: Remember that outstanding game between England and Portugal at Euro 2004? David Beckham missed his second penalty kick of the tournament, a kick that sailed high above the net. In fact, it sailed straight into the stands and into the hands of Spanish fan, Pablo Carral. After being offered almost $30,000 Cdn from a British news-
paper, Carral decided to post the ball on an Internet auction site to see its true worth. After an opening bid of one Euro, the Adidas ball made in Thailand received almost 150 bids. The ball has managed to attract bids of $16.4 million Cdn, and promises to make Carral a certain millionaire. Carral will have to wait until July 22, when the auction closes, to claim his purse. Although Beckham missed the kick, it was still considered one of the best games of all time, one that involved the world’s biggest sporting star. I’m sure no one would have predicted a $16-million offer, but these things happen. Sports memorabilia can be a gold mine, especially when a star of Beck-
Although Beckham missed the kick, it was still considered one of the best games of all time, one that involved the world’s biggest sporting star. I’m sure no one would have predicted a $16-million offer, but these things happen. ham’s stature is involved. We have seen similar situations with the homerun accomplishments of Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds. Fans fight tooth and nail to get their hands on a piece of greatness. Item: Shaquille O’Neal has been traded from the Los Angles Lakers. Comment: The Lakers shocked the world by trading superstar Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat. The move will bring Shaq back to the state of Florida where he began his career with the Orlando Magic. Going the other way is a load of talent that includes Lamar Odom,
Let the Games begin — and be financed
Brian Grant, Caron Butler, and a first-round draft pick. That’s quite a lot to give up, especially after Miami had a great run in the playoffs. So was the deal a good one for the Lakers? Most people will think the Lakers are crazy, but with a disgruntled Shaq on their hands, they did a good job. A number of superstars are on the rise, including Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and Lebron James, but most players realize Shaq is the still the most dominant player in the NBA. Question is, how long will Shaq last? His huge body takes a beating every time he hits the court. I believe he has at least three great seasons left in him. After that, who knows? History shows us that big men in the NBA tend to have more health problems and shorter careers than other players. One thing’s for sure, Shaq will be respected in Miami where he rejoins an old Lakers teammate, Eddie Jones. In an interview, Jones said he realizes the team will be dumping the ball down to Shaq whenever they can. Shaq’s numbers should soar in Miami where he will have a part in the development of U.S. Olympian Dwayne Wade. Wade runs the point-guard position in Miami and is coming off an incredible rookie campaign.
he provincial government has announced $7,000 in funding for the Northern Peninsula summer games, to be held in Roddickton July 21-22. The central summer games to be held in Botwood has been given a cheque for $5,000. The central summer games will be held Aug. 16-18. Both games are made possible through a sport bi-lateral agreement between the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and Sport Canada. “I am pleased to work in partnership with Sport Canada to provide funding for regional games across the province,” says Tourism Minister Paul Shelley. “Regional games provide a great opportunity for youth in the province to participate in organized sport while acting as a catalyst to get more youth involved in physical activity.” The Northern Peninsula Summer Games are aimed at those ages 8-15. Four sports will be played during the two-day event, including basketball, floor hockey, softball and socROBERTS FOG BANNERMAN REGATTA BRIGUS FLAGS PAN PARK ACHORD GEORGE SQUID FESTIVAL BEACH QUIDI HERITAGE
cer. Approximately 300 athletes, coaches and officials are expected to participate. “This two-day event provides a unique opportunity for youth on the Northern Peninsula to be active, healthy and learn to play non-competitive sports,” says Jennifer Porter, regional games co-ordinator. The Central Newfoundland Summer Games are designed for those athletes 16 years and under. The events include ball hockey, basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball. The games will have participants from four centres, including Botwood, Bishop’s Falls, Grand FallsWindsor and Springdale. Approximately 200 athletes, coaches and officials are expected to participate. “Over the last several years, our Central Newfoundland Summer Games have become the focal point of the summer program,” says Edward Evans, Botwood’s town manager. “Outside of skill development, and fun and enjoyment, friendships are made among young people that last a lifetime.”
Solutions for puzzle on page 24
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The Sunday Independent, July 18, 2004
Events JULY 18 • Open Studio Weekend continues, sponsored by the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador. Sites listed in the Studio Guide, available at visitor information sites, studios, galleries, and at the Devon House Craft Centre. • Family day at Memorial’s Botanical Gardens, St. John’s, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 737-8590. • Sound Symposium presents a family concert featuring Sea Strands, an exploration of Islands with Eric West, Catherine Wright, Alan Ricketts and Leonard Sperry, LSPU Hall, St. John’s, 1 p.m. • The Legacy of Emile Benoit, St. Andrews Church (the Kirk), St. John’s. Presented by Sound Symposium, 7 p.m. • Sound Symposium finale: Improv night at the LSPU Hall, St. John’s, 8:30 p.m. For more, visit www.soundsymposium.com • Shakespeare by the Sea presents As You Like It, Cabot 500 theatre, Bowring Park, St. John’s, 6 p.m., 576-0980.
by Michael Crummey, presented by Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, 8 p.m., Commissariat House, St. John’s, 739-5091. • Folk night with Zari at the Ship Pub, St. John’s. JULY 22 • Seniors’ day at MUN Botanical Garden, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 737-8590. • Salvage: Story of a House, written by Michael Crummey, presented by Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, 8 p.m., Commissariat House, St. John’s, 739-5091. JULY 23 • Iron Skull folk festival, Belleoram, Fortune Bay, 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Continues until July 25, 881-6441. • Free lunchtime concert, Cabernet at the St. John’s City Hall courtyard, noon-12:45. • Dungarvin play at Erin’s Pub, Water Street, St. John’s.
JULY 20 • Live! On the Lawn Theatre, Hawthorne Cottage, Brigus. Plays are performed Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 3 p.m. • Book signing: a new edition of Dr. Elliott Leyton’s Dying Hard: Industrial Carnage in St. Lawrence, Newfoundland is officially launched, LSPU Hall, St. John’s, 5-7 p.m.
JULY 24 • The Cape St. Mary’s Performance Series presents singers Joy Norman and Simone Savard-Walsh, poet Violet Browne, and musicians Lori Heath and Glen Nuotio, 7:30 p.m., Interpretation Centre, Cape St. Mary’s. • My Way: A musical tribute to Frank Sinatra, Stephenville Theatre Festival, 7:30 p.m., Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre, 643-4553. • Town of Placentia’s annual regatta, 727-0978. • North West River beach festival: Folk music for the family on North West River Beach, Labrador, 4973339. • Dungarvin play Erin’s Pub, Water St., St. John’s.
JULY 21 • Salvage: Story of a House, written
OTHER: • Stephenville Theatre Festival pre-
JULY 19 • Weekly healthy garden workshop series, facilitated by Dr. Wilf Nicholls, 737-8590.
sents a dozen different plays throughout July and August — usually two or three a day. For festival schedule and information, visit www.stf.nf.ca or call (709) 643-4553. • Theatre Newfoundland’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival features eight shows this season. For show information or tickets, visit www.theatrenewfoundland.com or call 1-877243-2899. • Seasons in the Bight/The New Founde Land Trinity Pageant: plays, dinner theatre, concerts and the pageant, Trinity. Runs until October 11 (pageant to August 31) 4643847. • Rum, Romance and Rebellion, cultural and literary walking tour of St John’s, Tuesday-Thursday, 6:45 p.m., LSPU Hall, Victoria St., 3646845. • Where once they stood, O’Boyle’s historic walking tours, daily 10 a.m. at the Fairmont Newfoundland Hotel, St. John’s. Reservations required, 364-6845. IN THE GALLERIES: • Travelling Light, with works by Doug Buis, Catherine Kozyra, Ryan Barrett and more, all inspired by the Pouch Cove environment, James Baird Gallery, Water Street, St. John’s, until July 27. • Artist Statement by Stephan Kurr and Bad Ideas for Paradise by Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby, Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John’s. • Annual Members Exhibit, Craft Council Gallery, Devon House, St. John’s, until Sept. 3. • Summer Songs featuring the work of 15 artists at the Leyton Gallery of Fine Art, St. John’s, 3-5 p.m. • MUN Botanical Garden’s 27th annual garden and nature art exhibition, 737-8590. Until August 1.
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