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VOL. 2 ISSUE 50

ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12-18, 2004

WWW.THEINDEPENDENT.CA

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Tired of talk Conservationist Paul Watson will sail to Grand Banks to lay down net rippers to thwart foreign trawlers on high seas

By Jenny Higgins For The Independent

LIFE & TIMES

Noreen Golfman writes a Christmas list Page 23

INTERNATIONAL Will democracy win in Ukraine

Page 19

IN CAMERA

Handel’s Messiah at the St. John’s Basilica

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onservationist Paul Watson, known for his relentless attempts to end the East Coast seal fishery, intends to follow through on plans to set net rippers — railway rails welded together into Xs — on the floor of the Grand Banks. In an interview with The Independent, Watson says he will return to the province in the early new year to obstruct foreign trawlers fishing outside the 200-mile limit. “If a net runs over them, it digs into the ground and rips them open,” says Watson, who first informed The Independent of his intentions in late August. When contacted again recently by The Independent, Watson was aboard his ship, the Farley Mowatt, travelling to Bermuda, communicating by satellite phone. Watson plans to stay in Bermuda for about a month and a half before setting sail for Sydney, N.S., to “bring on devices that we want to drop on the Banks,” he says. “(Bermuda) is only three days from the Grand Banks and it gives us an opportunity to prepare the vessel without having the crew freeze to death. We’ll be in Sydney on schedule around the end of January.” Watson, a co-founder of Greenpeace and current head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based marine mammal conserva-

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tion and protection organization, says he’s anticipating some run-ins with the government once he arrives on the Banks. “I fully expect to be in confrontations with the Canadian government over attempts to protect fish out on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks. I’m sure they’ll be there,” says Watson. “Here’s the problem, whatever our intentions are to go against the foreign draggers, I’m sure we’ll be running into the Canadian government. They’ll be more intent upon protecting foreign fisheries than they are on protecting the fish — that’s the way things have been and that’s the way they will be.”

“I fully expect to be in confrontations with the Canadian government over attempts to protect fish out on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks.” — Paul Watson Continued foreign fishing outside the 200-mile limit is blamed for the failure of groundfish stocks such as cod and flatfish to recover in domestic waters, despite a 12-year commercial fishing ban. Scientists have declared species such as northern cod endangered, near commercial extinction. Watson blames the Department of

Fisheries and Oceans for mismanaging the fishery into the ground and says government officials aren’t doing what they should to protect what’s left of the fish stocks. “What they (the DFO) should be doing is protecting the fish, which is something they haven’t actually done since they came into existence,” says Watson. “They’ve done an incredibly inefficient job. From the entire time they’ve been there we’ve seen fish populations on both the East and West Coast decline and they haven’t done anything but perpetuate this bureaucracy that doesn’t do anything but talk about the problem.” Tired of talk, Watson says it’s time to act. “One thing the Canadian government cannot stand are Canadians who actively oppose overfishing,” he says. “DFO thinks they’re the only people who can do it, but of course they don’t do anything. They get extremely jealous if anybody tries to do the job that they’re not doing.” If Watson follows his plan, it won’t be the first time he’s obstructed trawlers on the Grand Banks. In 1993, he interfered with the Cuban trawler, Rio Los Casas. After a court battle that lasted for years, Watson spent time in a St. John’s jail for harassing and obstructing the ship. Watson says he approached Brian Tobin years ago with a similar plan to place net-ripping structures on the ocean floor, but was turned down. Continued on page 2

Nothing ‘to fear’ FPI employees were told in 2001 their jobs were secure. So what’s changed since then? By Jeff Ducharme The Independent

SPORTS

Baby Buds sniper Kyle Wellwood racks up points Page 25

Quote Week OF THE

“When I picked up my copy of your excellent paper my first reaction was, “Oh my Gawd. Grotesque!” — Pasadena resident Mike Madigan’s reaction to last week’s front-page photograph of bodybuilders.

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ishery Products International says it’s been buying an average of 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes of foreign fish a year in a bid to keep plants such as Harbour Breton and Fortune alive. That’s on top of the more than 20,000 tonnes of quotas for groundfish stocks such as cod and flounder it can still fish in East Coast waters, almost 100 per cent in fishing zones off Newfoundland and Labrador. FPI says it can’t compete with a Chinese industry that has access to a cheap labour force and operates within a structure free of government regulations. A high Canadian dollar has made purchasing foreign cod, which it shipped to a number of processing plants across the island, no longer feasible, FPI officials say. Given that the amount of foreign fish processed by FPI plants is much less than their current domestic quotas, questions have been raised why the company’s restructuring plan is so drastic. FPI recently announced it was closing down the Harbour Breton plant and cutting back operations at its Fortune plant — both of which are in Liberal districts. The company’s other two groundfish plants, in Bonavista and Marystown, are in Tory districts.

Derrick Rowe

According to FPI, the company harvests “16,000-17,000 metric tonnes of groundfish” with the company’s own vessels, and “all of it is processed in Newfoundland and Labrador.” Industry sources estimate the amount of fish FPI procures from foreign suppliers would keep a plant such as Fortune, with a staff of 300 people, working for 65 to 80 days. Almost half of FPI is owned by three of its competitors. John Risley, president of Clearwater Fine Foods, is one of the majority share-

AFP PHOTO/Dan Levine

holders, along with Sanford Seafoods of New Zealand and Icelandic Freezer Plants. The three companies own almost 45 per cent of FPI. Risely and Eric Barratt, managing director of Sanford Limited, are both on FPI’s board of directors. According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, FPI has a groundfish quota of just over 20,000 tonnes in waters off the province. The company has a further groundfish quota of approximately 236 tonnes in Maritime waters. In early May of 2001, a letter to thenFisheries minister Gerry Reid from Derrick Rowe — the man who replaced Vic Young as CEO — tried to allay fears over the loss of quotas. “All current and future quotas and resource allocations held by FPI in waters adjacent to Newfoundland and Labrador shall be harvested and processed within Newfoundland and Labrador,” wrote Rowe. The changes to the Fortune plant puts some 300 jobs in jeopardy; approximately 350 jobs will be lost in Harbour Breton. FPI says the Fortune workers can transfer to the Burin and Marystown plants, but union officials contend both those plants have a number of laidoff workers already waiting to return to work. Continued on page 2

Paul Watson, head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a group that has protested the East Coast seal fishery, plans to sail to the Grand Banks early in the new year to place net cutters on the floor of the Grand Banks in a bid to halt foreign overfishing. Continued fishing outside the 200-mile limit is blamed for the failure of stocks to recover in domestic waters.

Winning percentage Atlantic Lotto reduces payouts on video lottery By Jenny Higgins For The Independent

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ideo lotto terminals aren’t paying out as much as they used to because the Atlantic Lottery Corporation decided two years ago to lower the province’s payout percentages, The Independent has learned. The change was made because percentages here were higher than those across the country, says Atlantic Lotto spokesman Robert Bourgeois. “In the end of 2002, some of our games went from having a payout of 95 per cent to having a payout of 93 per cent,” he tells The Independent. “We want the payout of our VLT games to be consistent with the payouts of other games in Canada where they’re either 93 or 92 per cent.” That means that as new games come out, they’re paying out 93 cents, rather

“In the end of 2002, some of our games went from having a payout of 95 per cent to having a payout of 93 per cent.” — Robert Bourgeois, Atlantic Lotto than 95, for every dollar spent over a certain number of spins. “Basically, for every dollar that is put into a VLT and that is bet, the machine over time — I’m not sure what the exact time is, but I think it’s 10 million spins or something like that — the machine will pay back 93

cents,” says Bourgeois. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be cashed back to players, and what I mean by that is when you play, you win and sometimes you’ll take some of those winnings and you’ll bet again.” Bourgeois points out that payout percentages don’t affect the odds of winning, which are often determined by the size of the prize. “Payout percentages and odds are two different things,” he says. “With some games you can have a bigger prize, but prizes less often; other games can have smaller prizes, but prizes more often, so the odds would change. It’s not related to payout percentage.” Karen Kearsey, manager of Lottie’s Place, a bar on George Street in downtown St. John’s, says she’s noticed a decrease in VLT payouts. Continued on page 16


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NEWS

The Independent, December 12, 2004

‘Lost sight’ of social contract From page 1

FPI was buying cod from Russia and Norway to keep the plant in Harbour Breton alive, says Rowe. He says Chinese compeOne of the main architects in the FPI tition has driven the price of raw material up takeover, Risley, has been widely quoted in to the point that the company can no longer the media as saying, “None of the FPI compete. employees have anything to fear. The Independent attempted to talk to a “We are going to do this (expand the number of fisheries consultants concerning company) by investing in the company — FPI, but industry representatives were relucnot by laying people off.” tant to speak on the record. FPI was formed in 1987 from the remReid, who left the Fisheries post after the nants of several seafood companies that Liberals lost the 2003 election, says FPI had collapsed. When cod stocks failed in the may think it’s a business, but that the quoearly 1990s and the moratorium was tas were originally given to the company by announced, FPI closed some 25 processing the federal government to benefit the “peoplants in the province. ple in the rural communities where FPI had Led by Rowe, Icelandic fish plants. Freezing Corp., and Ris“They’ve lost sight of ley, a hostile takeover bid the social part of that con“We are going to do for FPI was launched in tract and now they’re just this (expand the 1999. That bid was closing plants so they can stopped in its tracks by the company) by investing use those quotas to make provincial government profits,” says Reid. in the company — not larger under the FPI Act. In Stock trading company by laying people off.” 2001, a second bid for the ABC Funds, which company resulted in owned FPI stock since — John Risley shareholders voting 82 per 2000, sold its interest in cent in support of Risely 2004, saying the company and Rowe. “is shackled with a 15 per Under the FPI Act, shareholders are lim- cent maximum investor ownership restricited to a maximum 15 per cent ownership in tion.” the company. “Neither FPI Limited nor When contacted, officials at ABC Funds Fishery Products International Limited shall refused comment. sell, lease, exchange or otherwise dispose of In 2001, Fishery Products restructured all or substantially all of its property or busi- its operations and created two divisions — ness which relates to the harvesting, pro- the primary group (processing and harvestcessing and marketing of seafood,” the act ing) and the value-added and marketing reads. group (sales and secondary processing). The act also refers to plants being oper- Earlier this year, the company announced ated without “undue interruption to histori- plans to sell 40 per cent of its value added cal patterns.” and marketing arm — the U.S.-based group Rowe says there’s nothing “historical” that buys foreign fish for processing in this about buying foreign cod and the FPI Act province. can’t force them to keep a plant open. FPI Premier Danny Williams was questioned says it has invested $100 million since 2002 in the House of Assembly on Dec.7 about to update its plants. the proposed sale.

“We presently have an opinion that indicates that they could be in contravention of the act. If they are, they will not be allowed to proceed — as simple as that,” said Williams. The premier also said the “company is now second guessing as to whether they want to proceed with that…” NINE PLANTS FPI currently owns nine plants in the province and employs more than 2,600 people in Atlantic Canada — Harbour Breton (closed), Fortune (cod), Marystown (flounder, sole), Burin (vessel service centre), Bonavista (snow crab, turbot), Triton (snow crab), Port aux Choix (shrimp), Port Union (shrimp) and South Dildo (cold storage). Critics have charged that FPI is moving away from plant processing towards facto-

ry-freezer trawlers, which are said to be cheaper to operate. “It’s more economical to process the fish in a plant than in a boat,” Rowe has said. “The days of the factory-freezer trawlers is just about gone.” But Steve Hughes of Natural Resource Consultants, a Seattle-based fisheries consulting firm that deals mainly in the Alaskan fishery, says factory-freezer trawlers are the most profitable way of doing business. “The highest return on investments are going to come from factory trawlers,” says Hughes. “That’s been a point that people have disagreed (over), or it’s been contentious, over the years, but in the last half a dozen years … everybody has now quit arguing about that and they all know that factory trawlers are the most profitable mode of operation.”


The Independent, December 12, 2004

NEWS

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Paul Daly/The Independent

Premier Danny Williams

‘Sunshine is a good disinfectant’ Experts and politicians question if the public’s right to know financial details of premier’s holdings borders on invasion of privacy By Jeff Ducharme The Independent

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remier Danny Williams’ finances have, at times, dominated the local media, but some experts and politicians wonder if conflict of interest guidelines go too far. Williams has been criticized for not yet having his financial house in order. All MHAs are expected to disclose their financial holdings by April 1 of each year. The premier met that deadline, but more than a year after taking office, he has yet to answer concerns expressed by Wayne Green, the province’s commissioner for members’ interests. “In the case of the premier, there’s a lot of things going on,” Green tells The Independent in reference to the premier’s ongoing battle with Ottawa over the Atlantic Accord. “The public expect, and should (expect) that the people they’re electing do not use their office to further their private interests and that’s fair enough and I think that’s, in principle, a noble objective and one that the public should expect.” According to a national Canadian Press/Leger poll carried out in 2003, conflict of interest guidelines placed fifth on a list of public concerns in terms of political improprieties — behind bribery, drunk driving and sex scandals. Even Opposition Liberal leader Roger Grimes has softened his stance somewhat on the issue. “It will only become an issue if the general public at large finds what’s happening to be offensive,” says Grimes. “My view is that in New-

foundland and Labrador today, even Atlantic from Williams several years though we have one member, who ago before he entered politics. Resignhappens to be the premier, who hasn’t ing from such boards is required under complied and everybody else has com- the legislation. Williams has an investplied, that I don’t get a bunch of calls ment portfolio of numerous compain my office with people being out- nies, including BCE Inc., Torstar raged or incensed by that.” Corp., Gillette Co., and Canadian The premier declined interview Imperial Venture. requests from The Independent. In the Duff Conacher of Democracy past, he’s said he will address all of Watch, an Ottawa-based government Green’s concerns. watchdog, says a blind trust, which the Questions of conflict, or at least the premier has put a number of his finanperception of conflict, have been raised cial holdings in, is not a guarantee in recent months, including whether against conflicts of interest. some of Williams’ “A blind trust is not companies may be enough because you involved in work still know you own the “A blind trust is being carried out for company,” says not enough because Conacher, adding that the province on the feasibility of transmitdivestment is the only you still know you ting power from the true way to avoid conown the company.” Lower Churchill via flicts of interest. — Duff Conacher the island route. Williams is said to Fueling the suspibe worth more than cion is the fact that the $200 million. province won’t name the companies. Jennifer Smith, chair of Dalhousie Currently there is nothing in conflict University’s political science departof interest guidelines to force a Mem- ment in Halifax, says it’s a fine line ber of the House of Assembly to between invasion of privacy and the respond by a certain deadline. In other public’s right to know. words, Green cannot force the issue. “I mean is there anyone in NewGreen, who reports to Speaker of the foundland who hasn’t read some figure House of Assembly, Harvey Hodder, associated with the man’s private says he wants legislation put in place wealth, because it’s in the newspapers that sets firm timelines. here all the time,” says Smith. Green says there’s still one outEven the federal government has standing piece of documentation con- heard concerns from its own watchdog, cerning some of the premier’s invest- ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro, ments, but he says it’s straight forward that federal guidelines may go too far compared to the premier’s other finan- and border on invasion of privacy. cial holdings. Liberal MP Don Boudria heads the Williams has resigned from a num- Standing Committee on Procedure and ber of boards, including Rogers Com- House Affairs that oversees the conflict munications, which bought Cable of interest guidelines governing MPs.

He maintains that while the public has a right to know, there’s no benefit to knowing every detail. “If I voted on a bill that involved Bell Canada and I have two shares, what difference does it make?” Boudria tells The Independent from his Ottawa office. “It doesn’t do anything. It might actually confuse the public. “Quality of assets, but not quantity — quantity, that’s not public business.” In this province, MHAs provide detailed financial information to Green and then he creates a public document that mentions the holdings, but not the financial details. MHAs must inform Green within 60 days if there are any changes to their financial holdings. “My role here is not to get the members in trouble,” says Green. “My role here is to help the members stay out of trouble and work with them, make sure they understand what they can and can’t do.” Conacher says bringing financial details into the “sunshine is a good disinfectant against all sorts of things including corrupt officials. “No one who is ethical and is entering public service to serve the public has anything to fear from very strong ethic rules or enforcement of those rules,” says Conacher. Smith, who calls Williams a “sharp guy,” says conflict of interest rules have to maintain a “sensible” balance. “It’s just a question of achieving the right balance so that you get the public interest served on the one hand, but at the same time you don’t prevent qualified, smart people (from entering politics).”


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NEWS

The Independent, December 12, 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 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

A grander meaning

Reporter Clare-Marie Gosse Production Manager John Andrews OPERATIONS General Manager John Moores john.moores@theindependent.ca Consultant Wilson Hiscock Operations Andrew Best Account Executives Nancy Burt nancy.burt@theindependent.ca Jackie Sparkes-Arnold jackie.arnold@theindependent.ca Circulation Representative Brian Elliott Office Manager Rose Genge Graphic Designer Steffanie Keating Reception/Circulation Assistant Stephanie Martin E-MAIL Advertising: sales@theindependent.ca Production: production@theindependent.ca Circulation: circulation@theindependent.ca Newsroom: editorial@theindependent.ca All material in The Independent is copyrighted and the property of The 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.

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here do columns come from, readers often ask. “Here and there,” is the usual answer, vague but close enough. “Here and there.” Words aren’t hard to come by, most columnists will tell you that. It’s the thought, an original one, that’s challenging to come up with. Reporting the news is one thing, relaying a message coming from someone else. It’s quite another thing to come up with your own idea, growing fresh text to surround the mug shot. Suggestions are always welcome. “Write about mad fish disease,” was one of this week’s offerings. “Write about fish being infected with a brain disease, that may get Canada’s attention. We could have mad fish disease in the East like they have mad cow disease in the West.” Every column could be about the fishery — and it would be, angles are endless when there are wrongs to be righted. But there’s a fear of harping on an issue, to the point that words lose their meaning and copy is glossed over. “What’s Bill Rowe’s job again?” came another suggestion, formed into a question. “Loyola Sullivan

went to Ottawa this week and had to knock on the door of the federal Finance minister to ask for a meeting about the Atlantic Accord.” “Shouldn’t Bill — Danny’s voice in the nation’s capital — have arranged for an appointment at the very least?” Point taken; Rowe said he wouldn’t stay in Ottawa if he couldn’t do some good. The media, which doesn’t forget a promise, is still waiting for word of how that good will manifest itself. There’s always Confederation (this is The Independent, remember) to pick away at. Newfoundland and Labrador is hard done by; the fishery and its mismanagement is one of endless examples to hammer home. But then it’s possible a columnist could be seen as piggybacking on patriotism, refuge of scoundrels and the like — another risk to be aware of. Some suggestions are made with strength and passion. “You are aware of this already, I know, but The Independent should not allow the anniversaries to go unnoticed,” read an e-mail. Dec. 11, Saturday past, is apparently a memorable date in the history of this place. On that date in 1945, it was

RYAN CLEARY

announced in England’s House of Commons that an election would be held in Newfoundland to select delegates to a National Convention to advise Great Britain on “possible forms of future government.” “This was the first step in the move to railroad Newfoundland into what Peter Cashin called ‘the Canadian mousetrap,’” the e-mail went on to say, before mentioning another date — Dec. 11, 1948, the date the Terms of Union were signed. “Wouldn’t it be the ultimate in bitter irony if, on the 11th … (Premier) Williams should settle for some compromise (on the Atlantic Accord), there will be no tomorrow for us.” That’s another point to consider in a column. Will there be another tomorrow? It’s a question you ask yourself after a fright, when a small plane goes down in St. John’s like it did last week. The student pilot, Tyler Sturge, 19, his father’s only son, died at the scene. The instructor, Brendan Cleary, lies in critical condition. His legs shattered, spine cracked — a miracle to survive. Is that too personal for a columnist to write about, the personal pain that comes with life? Columnists are wary to go there, too personal a place. Why do things have to happen the way they do? Will there be another tomorrow? Family is quick to come home

from away when there’s a crisis, when a brother lies broken in a hospital bed. There are trips to St. John’s airport to pick up family from Ottawa and Lloydminster, Alta. The waiting room outside the ICU is full most hours of the day, a lineup for bedside space. It’s good to see family again, even if the reunion has a horribly tragic root. A sister, who’s been living away for half her life, is asked, “Where’s home now?” “Home is here,” she says. “And home is there too.” “I still call myself a Newfoundlander,” another sister says. “My son considers himself an Albertan though,” she says. “He gets offended if you call him a Newfoundlander.” It’s never easy to choose the topic of a column, definitely not on a bad week when faith is tested and mothers cry. Sometimes a column is based on a single thought. More often you search for connections between events, a grander meaning to it all. A column is about life as you see it, dark and light, the good and bad. Where do columns come from? “Here and there.” And everywhere. Ryan Cleary is managing editor of The Independent. ryan.cleary@theindependent.ca

Letters to the Editor

© 2004 The Independent

‘Oh my Gawd. Grotesque!’ LETTERS POLICY The 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 Independent, P.O. Box 5891, Station C, St. John’s, NL, A1C 5X4 or e-mail us at editorial@theindependent.ca

Dear editor, I wonder how Mike Newhook felt about having his physique — and not his face — pictured on the front page of the Dec. 5-11 edition of The Independent? When I went to pick up my copy of your excellent paper my first reaction was, “Oh my Gawd. Grotesque!” I’ve seen bodybuilding magazines on the shelves and I’ve asked nearby women what they think and four out of five say they don’t like what they see (I’m being polite here). Maybe I’m reading too much into your front page, but I must ask these questions. Again, why not Mike’s face? Is it just his body you were trying to show to fascinate your readers?

Were you embarrassed to show his face for some reason? Did he ask you not to show his face? (I doubt that.) I noticed the other two men’s faces were not clearly shown either? Who makes the final decision on pictures published in The Independent? Was this picture the only picture taken from photo editor Paul Daly’s camera? Does Daly take pictures to create over-sensationalism? Take his picture of MP Gerry Byrne in the Nov. 28-Dec. 4 of The Independent, Gerry looks like a madman in that picture. Was that done deliberately? Is that the only picture of Byrne taken that day? And that most uncomplimentary picture of Danny Williams in the ad on page 6 of the same edi-

tion, is Daly responsible for that one too? Is your paper making biased political pictorial statements here? Does Daly have the final say on Jeff Ducharme’s photos? I’m an avid media reader and, of course, even my eyes occasionally glance at the covers of those distorted publications that stare at you at the checkout counters. You know the ones that I mean, the ones with all the gossip, distorted

pictures and two-headed babies or aliens from outer space, etc. I enjoy The Independent; it’s a great informative read on a Sunday. Let’s not reduce it to pictorial sensationalism or degradation. (Can you supply an editor’s note/answer in italics if, and when, you print this letter?) Mike Madigan, Pasadena Editor’s note: Bodybuilding is all about the body; thus the focus of the physiques in the front-page shot. As for the choice of pictures that appear in The Independent, photographers are like news reporters — they show it the way it is.


The Independent, December 12, 2004

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ant to get involved in the exciting world of sports entertainment? Here’s what you have to know: it’s all about bums on seats. You book a venue, bring in an act, charge a price — and hope enough people buy tickets. You pay the act, cover all other expenses and you get to keep whatever’s left. If you make money, you’re a business genius. If you don’t — you’re a putz. So when the Baby Leafs leave town with pockets full of municipal tax dollars, guess what that’s going to make the taxpayers of St. John’s? Now Derm Dobbin has an act and he’s looking for a venue. I’m guessing he doesn’t want to end up a putz. The taxpayers of St. John’s have a venue. They have been shellacked once. They aren’t looking to be shellacked again. In the middle sits a dirty great turkey of a building. About a year ago I wrote a column for another publication where I asked why the taxpayers of St. John’s were forced to pay in the order of $15,000 per game to have the Baby Leafs play at Mile One. To this day I’m none the wiser. As a socialist, I get tired of the business community feeding on tax

NEWS

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Hockey night in town Rant & Reason IVAN MORGAN dollars and then lecturing us about the glories of business. I believe municipal tax dollars should be jealously guarded and spent on snowclearing and piping fresh water to folk and making sure that effluvia doesn’t bob around in public waterways. Not hockey. I was against this stupid millstone of a stadium from the moment it was first suggested. If this stadium was such a good idea, why didn’t business build it? Why didn’t business run it? I think I know why: business is all about making money, and it was a money-losing proposition from the get go. So business just lined up for the profitable parts. I bet the construction company that built it did OK. I bet all the suppliers got paid. We know the Baby Leafs made a fortune. But the rest of us … we got left holding the bag. I suspect if a business had built the stadium, it would have been

built in Donovan’s Industrial Park in Mount Pearl, where land is cheap, where it would have been centrally located for the fans, and where there would have been lots and lots of free parking. It makes me crazy when municipal politicians say there’s plenty of parking downtown. No, there isn’t. Even the name drives me crazy. Mile One? It isn’t either. It should have been Kilometre One, which is not downtown but out by Robin Hood Bay. I know I’m being petty, but I can’t let it go. A number of local columnists have already dealt with this subject — but I believe I have a unique perspective that I can add. I don’t give a rat’s ass about hockey. I didn’t even know there was a hockey strike on. I don’t know what a hockey strike is. My admiration of Don Cherry extends only to his ability to light up morons from coast to coast for fun and profit. Great gig. I would too if I could figure out a way. I have no idea why anyone would waste a precious Friday night and precious money to watch second-rate hockey. From the attendance record of the Baby Leafs, it would appear that the vast majority of taxpayers in St. John’s feel the same way. So

how did it come to pass that they had to pay over $5 million for this? Let’s have a cold hard look at the facts. Could it be that the same business community that Danny Williams is always promising us is

A number of local columnists have already dealt with this subject — but I believe I have a unique perspective that I can add. I don’t give a rat’s ass about hockey. I didn’t even know there was a hockey strike on. I don’t know what a hockey strike is. My admiration of Don Cherry extends only to his ability to light up morons from coast to coast for fun and profit. going to lead us fearlessly into the future was lining up — as they frequently do — to gorge on easy tax dollars? Now we have a businessman,

Derm Dobbin, with the rights to a hockey team, and we are told this is a bad thing. It’s confusing, as I thought business was good. It is hard to keep track. A clever fellow of my acquaintance made a delicious observation (Warning: the irony in the following suggestion could prove lethal to some of the more senior of our subscriber.) He said Derm Dobbin should buy back Memorial Stadium and make a bundle having his hockey games there. Personally, I wish Dobbin the very best of success. I might not like hockey, but I have family members who do, so I might even find myself sitting in the crowd some night, reading the paper — if the price is right. And that’s what it is all about — getting the right price. Wherever he gets his team to play, Dobbin is going to have to do it without the help of the taxpayer. No more government subsidized hockey. My advice to council is to get out of it all together. Sell the stupid arena, leave the entertainment business to the private sector, and get back to doing what we elected them to do — argue in public. Ivan Morgan can be reached at ivan.morgan@gmail.com

Letters to the Editor

Pornography and the classroom Dear editor, I am shocked and appalled that the province’s school districts — in particular the eastern school district — seem to prefer dollars over decency, money over morals, cash over children. It is outrageous that the school districts are taking only nominal steps to safeguard children from online pornography in classrooms. Pornography is exploitation and a scourge upon society that does grave injury to the human dignity of its participants, vendors, viewers, the public, etc. All measures should be taken to prevent its availability — especially to children. According to a recent news report, the director of the eastern school district said some measures have been taken to protect children from online pornography. The measures include pop-up blocking programs and teacher supervision of primary elementary children while online. Current measures apparently aren’t good enough since a child reportedly had access to online pornography while in school. Children can still view pornography if it unexpectedly shows up outside of pop-ups — even if a teacher is standing over the child’s shoulder. High school children are even more at risk since teachers do not

necessarily have to monitor them as they use the Internet. As well, I don’t think it is possible for a teacher to monitor every mouse click made when multiple children are using multiple computers at the same time while in their care. No parental control filter is totally perfect, but one of these filters used in conjunction with teacher supervision will further limit the ability of students to view pornography or become lured into potentially dangerous chat rooms. Having any parental control filter is better than having no filter at all. The news report went on to say that the primary reason the school districts did not install such filters is to curb spending. That’s a poor excuse for placing children at risk of viewing pornography. In its wisdom, public libraries in this province saw the benefits of investing a few thousand dollars to install filters. School districts should follow suit and install parental control filters on all computers. The provincial government should financially assist them to do this. I ask the school districts and the provincial government what is more important — dollars or decency, money or morals, cash or children? Patrick Hanlon, St. John’s


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NEWS

The Independent, December 12, 2004

Get your motor running, head out on the hallway

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his is the time of year when motorcycle riders begin to suffer withdrawal. Summer riding is but a dream. A few years ago, while living in Corner Brook and after some liquid inspiration, my friends and I decided the best course of action would be to store my motorcycle in my apartment — it’s not like that hasn’t been done before. On the other side of town, there was a Harley-Davidson owner who, it was said, would disassemble the doorframes in his house (Harelys are wide bikes) to bring his hog into the warmth of his living room. What made my situation unique were the two very steep flights of stairs that we had to carry the bike up. It took four hefty fellas a lot of grunting, moaning and swearing. The exercise taught us all one important lesson: there’s no such thing as gratuitous profanity when you’re carrying a motorcycle up two flights of stairs and you can actually feel your spine imploding. After thanking the boys and apologizing for causing them to walk less upright than they did even on their best days, the bike was positioned head-on to the TV and the fan was placed on top of the boob tube. As winter began to pick up its pace and start its yearly frontal assault on Corner Brook, I’d sit on the bike, watch motorcycling shows on TV, crank up Born to be wild and Born to run on the stereo, make “vroom-vroom” noises and use the fan to simulate wind in my face. Bizarre, yes, but it was good therapy that didn’t involve any sort of electroshock or having to buy expensive lighting units to mimic the rays of the sun. Not long after we’d hauled the

Opinions Are Like... JEFF DUCHARME bike upstairs and lovingly positioned it in the middle of the living room, my landlord knocked on my door. “There’s a motorcycle in your living room,” he said with a glazed-over look in his eyes. He didn’t even wait for an explanation. He muttered something under his breath, turned around and went back down the stairs, head shaking in disbelief. In St. John’s, two friends of mine who were attending Memorial determined the best way to protect their two-wheeled investments from old man winter was to bring their bikes into a house they were renting. Being that it was a home for students, their biggest concern was knocking over any of the hundreds of empty beer bottles that littered every level inch of the house. Nobody made much of the bikes being stored in the house until one of the lads was visited by his sister. Knowing that the boys probably hadn’t eaten anything that wasn’t delivered by a pimply-faced kid in a beat up sub-compact car or that had come out of a tin can in weeks, she decided to cook them up a good home-style meal. So she bought all the fixings: a nice roast, potatoes, carrots, beets and homemade bread. With the roast ready to go, she went looking for the broiler pan. In fact, there wasn’t a pan big enough to be found anywhere in the house. She tore the kitchen apart looking for

the broiler and was nearly at her wits end when her brother finally arrived home. “Where’s the broiler pan mother gave you?” she asked. A sheepish look crossed her brother’s face as he looked in the direction of where the bikes were parked — the living room. Sure enough, there were both broiler pans resting under the engine of each bike. The boys, not truly understanding the purpose of

the pans, found them to be just the perfect size for catching used oil. There were the two bikes sitting side-by-side directly in front of the TV. The b’ys even had end tables beside the bikes so they would have a place to rest pints or munchies on. They’d spend their winter evenings watching motorcycle races, each taking a turn leading the race. They weren’t total animals. When Christmas finally came,

they decorated the bikes with tinsel, lights and hung their stockings from the handlebars with care, “in hopes that St. Nick soon would be there.” And any gifts they received were placed under the bikes, just like a Christmas tree, right in front of those missing broiler pans. Jeff Ducharme is The Independent’s senior writer. jeff.ducharme@theindepedendent.ca

Watson rallies for ‘traditional’ methods From page 1 “I was actually debating Brian Tobin years ago about this and suggested that Canada could solve the problem simply by putting a lot of structure out there, sunken old ships and automobile bodies and things like that,” he says. “His answer was ‘How would the Canadian dragger fleet ever come back if we did that?’ He missed the point — it’s past the days when we can have draggers, we’ve got to go back to the old traditional method.” Watson says he’ll be pursuing two campaigns while on Canada’s East Coast — one against trawlers and another against sealers. “We’ll be amongst the sealing vessels in March,” he says. “What our strategies are we can’t

say because the Canadian government has a history of making up laws specifically designed to stop whatever our tactics are.” While he won’t say much about his anti-sealing campaign, Watson does say that ending the seal hunt will help increase cod stocks. COD RESTORED “If you ever want to see the cod fish restored, then make sure the seals are protected because only with a healthy seal population are you going to see a healthy cod population,” he says. “The reason for that is harp seals eat the biggest predator of cod, which are other fish — because the largest predator of cod are other fish — so when you disrupt that pattern you create the kind of chaos that we have today.”

Ever yone is an exper t at something.. You knoww yourr business,, I knoww mine.. And d whenn we’re e talking aboutt policiess and d cover age e i t helps too knoww what’ss needed d now.... and d in the e fu tur e.

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The Independent, December 12, 2004

NEWS

Page 7

‘Stolen from us’

Constitution says Canadians own fish in sea; Fisheries management policies say otherwise By Ryan Cleary The Independent

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nder the Constitution, fish that swim in the sea belong to all Canadians — a so-called common property resource. In practice, however, a senior official with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa says it’s impossible to manage stocks that everyone has a right to fish. And so, under current federal policy, commercial quotas can be bought and sold, as was the case this fall when the Newfoundland and Labrador government paid $3.5 million for quotas to process at the fish plant in Arnold’s Cove. Critics of federal Fisheries management say Newfoundland and Labrador may have handed over control of the fisheries to the federal government under the Terms of Union, but it didn’t give Ottawa the right to give the fish away. “This is a resource that has been stolen from us, without the people even knowing,” says Gus Etchegary, a fisheries activist and retired industry executive. “I don’t remember the Constitution being changed. Did it happen and nobody tell us? “I negotiated practically every pound of fish for Fishery Products and Fishery Products International under the enterprise allocation system and at no time was there an understanding that we owned the resource.” Barry Rashotte, associate director general for resource management with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa, confirms for The Independent that under the Constitution fish stocks are “technically” owned by all Canadians. “This is what they call a common property resource, but they also talk about the tragedy of the commons,” Rashotte says. “This is where if it’s everybody’s right to access a common resource then it’s almost impossible to manage.” He argues that although fish stocks are a common property, the federal government has introduced policies and programs — starting

Paul Daly/The Independent

Five Japanese tuna fishing ships were docked in St. John’s harbour to pick up supplies over the weekend.

back in the 1960s with limited entry licencing in certain fisheries — that have created “quasi-property rights.” Since then, the federal government has brought in enterprise allocations, boat quotas, individual quotas and individual transferable quotas — all of which provide fishermen, companies or vessels with specific shares of fish. “Although technically it is a common property resource, I think the management measures that have evolved since the late 1960s have progressively moved it into this fuzzy area in between true property and the common property resource,” Rashotte says. Concern has been raised that treating fish stocks as property to buy and sell could someday lead to outside interests — foreign even — controlling the fish that swim in waters off Newfoundland and Labrador. “That’s a valid concern,” says Rashotte, adding there’s usually a limit on the amount of quota a licence holder can accumulate. In fact, fear of foreign ownership was partly what drove the provincial government, through a Crown corporation, to pay $3.5

million earlier this fall to acquire groundfish quotas associated with the Arnold’s Cove plant from High Liner Foods, a division of National Sea Products. Rashotte, however, says there are restrictions under existing licencing policy “that prevent all of the quota going into the hands

of a few, as well as preventing the licence to be issued to foreign interests.” Most of the quota the province purchased for Arnold’s Cove was for species such as cod and flounder that have been under moratoria for years. Unlike the processing sector,

which sees fish plant licences revert to the province if they’re not used, quotas don’t revert back to the federal government in the event of a fishery shut down. In other words, a company like Fishery Products International, which held a percentage of the offshore quota for northern cod in 1992 when the commercial fishery was closed, will still hold the quota when the fishery reopens — even if that’s not for 20 or 30 years. That raises some interesting questions, including what happens if FPI gets out of the fish business altogether or goes under? Can it keep the quota indefinitely? Does it have a right to sell the quota to the highest bidder? “Those that had access to northern cod before it closed, why shouldn’t they have the same access when and if it opens?” Rashotte asks. “I would think that Newfoundland would go crazy if the minister said ‘I’m taking back all northern cod and I’m sticking it on the shelf and come see me in 10 years and whoever the minister of the day is will decide who gets it.’ “Why would we do that? I don’t think that adds any certainty or stability and just creates more friction between all the players here.”

Shipping News Keeping an eye on the comings and goings of the ships in St. John’s harbour. Information provided by the coast guard traffic centre.

Maersk Chignecto, Canada, from Terra Nova. Vessels departed: Emma, Norway, to Sea; Maersk Chignecto, Canada, to Terra Nova.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 7 Vessels arrived: Maersk Placentia, Canada, Hibernia; Planeta, Russian, from Sea; Atlantic Kingfisher, Canada, from Terra Nova; Cabot, Canada, from Montreal; Maersk Chancellor, Canada, from White Rose Field. Vessels departed: Plantea, Russian, to Flemish Cap.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10 Vessels arrived: Shinei Maru 81, Japan, from Sea; Sumyoshi Maru 10, Japan, from Sea; Maersk Placentia, Canada, from Hibernia. Vessels departed: Maresk Chignecto, Canada, to Terra Nova.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8 Vessels arrived: None Vessels departed: Cabot, Canada, from Montreal; Maersk Chancellor, Canada, from White Rose; Maersk Placentia, Canada, Hibernia; ASL Sanderling, Canada, Corner Brook.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11 Vessels arrived: Wilfred Templeman, Canada, from sea; Seiko Maru 52, Japan, from sea; Sumiyoshi Maru 16, Japan, from sea; Maersk Chancellor, Canada, from White Rose; Atlantic Eagle, Canada, from Terra Nova; Shanook, Canada, from Bonavista. Vessels departed: Shinei Maru 81, Japan, to fishing; Maersk Nascopie, Canada, to Hibernia; Maersk Placentia, Canada, to Hibernia.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9 Vessels arrived: Emma, Norway, from Flemish Cap;

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NEWS

The Independent, December 12, 2004

‘Enough is enough’ Residents of Labrador town must come together to end armed robberies Happy Valley-Goose Bay By Bert Pomeroy For The Independent

some type of control over the lawabiding majority.” Halliday says there are many reasons why convenience stores are the main target for armed robberies, not only in Happy ValleyGoose Bay, but in other communities throughout the province as well.

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olice here are frustrated with the lack of public support in helping to solve a number of armed robberies in the community. “We’re not getting much cooperation from people who have knowledge of the robberies,” RCMP Cpl. Steve Halliday tells The Independent. “The resistance is coming out of fear that they will be the subject of retribution.” There have been seven armed robberies, all at convenience stores, since the middle of August. Police arrested and charged two men in connection with the latest robbery, which occurred on Dec. 4. No charges have been laid in the other incidents. Paul Snelgrove owns several stores in the community, including the one that was robbed Dec. 4. He says he’s fearful somebody will get hurt before the public wakes up and comes forward to offer information. “We’ve had four armed robberies since Sept. 8, and we had two during the summer,” he says. “Most of the time — I’d say 80 per cent of the time — the police know who did it, but they can’t get enough evidence to lay charges. Somebody is going to get seriously hurt if this goes on.” Snelgrove’s stores have been hit by armed robbers carrying an assortment of weapons — knives, pipes, iron bars and baseball bats — many times prior to this summer. He’s spent thousands of dollars on video surveillance equipment in an attempt to deter robbers, but the problem persists. “This past week I spent another $5,000 to upgrade my security cameras — I can now monitor my stores from home,” he says. “I’m

Photo illustration by Leon Farrell/Photocall

not sure whether or not that’s going to make a difference.” While there’s no easy fix, Snelgrove says he believes the courts can play a larger role by handing down stiffer penalties for those found guilty of committing or aiding in an armed robbery. “As far as I’m concerned, the courts are too lenient,” he says. “When a person gets 12 months suspended sentence for committing an armed robbery, then there’s something wrong.” Snelgrove says a police dog stationed in Happy Valley-Goose Bay would also help deter would-be robbers. “I am convinced that if there was a dog here, many of these cases would be solved,” he says, adding the RCMP does not support his claim. “I’m not knocking the RCMP, because I think they are taking this very seriously,” he says. “They’ve been keeping me up to date on their latest investigation (in relation to the robbery on Dec. 4). I

would suspect it is demoralizing for the police.” For the RCMP’s part, Halliday says the community as a whole has to take a tougher stand, to send a strong message that “enough is enough” before somebody gets seriously injured or killed. “When the community comes together, a lot can be accomplished,” Halliday says. “In this case, the minority seems to have

DRUG USE “Drugs is probably one of the main reasons,” he says. “There is an increase in drug use here in this community — all types of drugs — and that certainly plays a role, but it’s not always the reason.” Halliday says many robbers see convenience stores as “easy prey,” particularly during evening hours when traffic is slower. And in a place like Happy Valley-Goose Bay, there’s no shortage of escape routes. “There’s a lot of trails around, and it’s easy to get away.” The stores are usually staffed by a lone clerk — in most cases a woman. Snelgrove says he can’t afford to hire extra clerks — if they were available. “It’s very hard finding staff as it is, and it’s even harder with all of these robberies going on,” he says. “That’s the biggest reason why we have such a high staff turnover.”

One of Snelgrove’s clerks quit last week, just weeks after she was confronted by a robber. “After she was robbed, her husband used to go to work with her during the evenings,” he says. “She just had enough.” Halliday says store owners can also cut down on armed robberies by ensuring their buildings are well lit on the exterior, that windows are not obstructed and that video surveillance equipment is functioning properly. He also cautions clerks not to confront robbers. “They should do whatever they’re asked to do, but be sure to get a good detailed description as to the person’s height, weight, hair and eye colour, clothing that was worn and so on,” he says. “Clerks should not try and take matters into their own hands.” The RCMP is planning to meet with the Labrador North Chamber of Commerce in the next week or so to discuss the issue, and to offer suggestions to business owners on how to prevent armed robberies. “This is a big concern for the chamber, and we’re hoping the RCMP will give us some advice and direction,” says Brian Fowlow, the chamber’s executive director.


The Independent, December 12, 2004

NEWS

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Party explores separatism option By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

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spokesman for the recently launched Newfoundland and Labrador First Party says the membership is leaning towards separation. “You walk a thin line,” Tom Hickey, former provincial Tory politician and vice-president of the new party, tells The Independent. “At our launch we said, ‘No, this is not a separatist party, we want to make the present system work if that’s possible’ – and we’re going to give it every opportunity to. “But at the end of the day, if it’s not going to work and we can’t change the mindset towards this province, then separatism has got to be an option.” He says the on-again-off-again negotiations over the Atlantic Accord are rallying Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to fight for their fair share from the federal government. Hickey points to a recent piece of advice offered to Prime Minister Paul Martin by George Baker, a Senator from central Newfoundland, who told Martin recently to settle the Atlantic Accord or “he

would be fanning the fires of separation.” Hickey says the federal government has the fate of this province in its hands. “If it comes to that, always remember it is not our initiative that brings it about, it’s the cavalier treatment …It will be the federal government who will foist separation on Newfoundland and Labrador.” Acknowledging the province has certainly made mistakes in the past, including during his time spent with the Tories, Hickey maintains that the federal government bears at least 80 per cent of the responsibility for such issues as the collapse of the fishery and Churchill Falls. Between 1966 and 1986, Hickey represented the now defunct district of St. John’s East Extern. With a career in social work behind him, he served most prominently as the minister of social services in the cabinets of premiers Frank Moores and Brian Peckford. After his retirement, Hickey says he told a friend it would take a “small revolution” before he would re-enter politics, but a few years ago, he began noticing a

Tom Hickey

change in the provincial mindset. Hickey says with such a small population living within “the richest province,” in Canada, people shouldn’t be afraid to adopt an independent stand if necessary. “Some people have got too comfortable in what … Pierre Berton, I think, called ‘The Comfortable Pew’ … apathy.” Hickey says he fully supports Premier Danny Williams’ efforts to secure the province a new deal on the Atlantic Accord, but he’s disappointed by the federal stalling.

Paul Daly/The Independent

Williams and provincial Finance Minister Loyola Sullivan have been negotiating with Martin and federal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale on a deal. “There seems to be a certain mindset, in terms of Martin and Goodale – aided and abetted by (MPs) John Efford and Gerry Byrne – that if we stay at this long enough we’ll wear them down. But I say they are chasing a rainbow.” Williams received a number of early-morning phone calls promis-

ing a deal on the Atlantic Accord, but Martin has since changed his tune. “Maybe he shouldn’t be making phone calls that early in the morning,” says Hickey. Despite joking that Martin might just not be a morning person, he says the prime minister should stand by his commitment. Hickey adds the Newfoundland and Labrador First Party is fully prepared to run candidates in the next election and should be taken seriously. “Seven singing from the same hymn book in the House of Commons, even though it’s only seven, is far better.” The party is steadily building its membership and he says they are currently appealing to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living in mainland Canada to contact their area MP and urge support of the province’s push for 100 per cent of its provincial offshore revenues without clawback. Hickey says Martin should take notice of the groundswell of support before the next election because “next time round you might just get the surprise of your life.”

Churches see Christmas as time of giving By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

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alvation Army donation kettles across the United States might be manned by animated, cardboard cut-outs this Christmas due to a manpower shortage, but a lack of volunteers isn’t a problem for the ministry in Newfoundland and Labrador. Major Loretta Fudge, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army in the province, tells The Independent volunteer numbers are up. “We’ve also adopted a new program this year linked to the kettle called adopt a kettle,” she says, “where we’ve opened it up for businesses and organizations, anybody as a group, who may want to volunteer … to stand by the kettle and do the day, which runs from 12 noon until nine at night.” The Salvation Army kettles have become synonymous with Christmas and can be found at 18 differ-

Model prefinishing hardwood Canadian Made 8 Species 4 Widths 3 Gloss Levels 6 Stains

Wishing You and Yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Cottle’s Island Lumber Co. Cottlesville

ent locations throughout the City of St. John’s. Fudge says donations are down, slightly, to date, but she’s hoping for a surge later in the season. “I don’t think people are carrying quite as much cash, but we seem to be still doing well … some people will drop off donations either by cheque to our office here, if they’re passing a kettle and they don’t have money on them. And we have other ways of making donations, they can be made here at our local office, or they can be made online or they can be made through the telephone as well.” The money raised over the Christmas period is an important part of the Salvation Army’s annual budget. Most of the money raised is directed to family services. “It helps us do the emergency relief during the winter. I keep saying to people, as joyous as Christmas will be … the reality is that once the excitement of Christmas is gone — the Christmas tree is put away, there are still needy people in our community. There are still people who are going to come looking for food for their family, there’s still people who are going

to run into other emergency situations.” Christmas is a financially important time for many church denominations in terms of charity work and general contributions towards operational costs throughout the year. END OF THE YEAR Reverend Bob Rowlands, vicar of the Anglican Cathedral Parish of St. John the Baptist, says it’s the end of the year — more so than Christmas — that is financially significant. “It just happens that Christmas is near the year end and people suddenly become very conscious of how much did they give this year,” he says. “They want to get their third quarter statements and they say, ‘Oh my goodness! Is that all I gave? I better give more.’And of course you’ve got to get it by the year end for the income tax receipt.” He says more people come back to visit the church at Christmas time, but because the ministry can rely on end-of-the-year donations anyway, churches focus on the spiritual benefits for those returning parishioners, rather than the

monetary. Along with some other churches in the area, including the Catholic Basilica, the Cathedral operates a year-round program called the Emmaus Food Bank. Rowlands says the crypt of the cathedral is “taken over” with donations. “That’s where all the food is stored and the hampers are put together. We don’t just get a food hamper; I mean we get a run down on each family. This is a big job.” Archbishop Brendan O’Brien, head of the Catholic Church in the province, agrees that the season is a good time for charitable work and donations, although he says it’s not particularly crucial for church finances. CHRISTMAS COLLECTION “There’s a collection taken up on Christmas and so it would be an extra collection that wouldn’t be there because it’s another day other than Sunday,” he says, “but apart from that I don’t think there’s any special effort made. But people are often very generous at the time of Christmas as well.” Charitable activities at the Pentecostal churches in the province also heat up this time of year, said Pastor Jeffrey Payne of Bethesda Pentecostal church in St. John’s. He

says they’ve been busy accumulating food hampers, including 40 to 50 turkeys. He says the church doesn’t see a gain in financial donations, however. “The membership gives pretty regular throughout the remainder of the year, and it’s pretty much consistent because we believe in tithing — or giving 10 per cent of your earnings — and so pretty much, the membership and people of the church generally tithe to the general fund of the church on a consistent basis.” Fudge says all the Salvation Army funds raised over the Christmas period go to local families within the St. John’s and Bell Island areas. So far 2,409 people have applied for assistance. The ministry has raised $42,000 and is hoping to reach a target amount of $150,000 within the next two weeks, which will go towards 855 food hampers and over 1,300 toy bags, consisting of gifts for younger children and also movie passes for ages 13 and up. The target amount will also help support the church’s yearly work. “I think it’s important to acknowledge a big thank you to the community,” says Fudge. “Waking up on Christmas morning knowing that somewhere there is a smile on some child’s face, because we as the Salvation Army have been able to put a gift under their tree is most rewarding.”


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NEWS

The Independent, December 12, 2004

Clearing the bingo hall air E

very now and then I get the blues. And there’s nothing better for the blues than the blues, so to speak. There’s something especially cathartic about hearing the blues played live. It’s rare to get the same feeling from a recording. So I was excited a few weeks back to see a poster advertising a gig by a local band featuring blues guitarist Neil Bishop. The elation was only momentary, however. The concert was out of the question for my wife and me because we can’t handle cigarette smoke in bars. Then, I really had the blues — the wrong kind. BETTER MOOD My mood is much better now that the provincial government has announced its intention to ban smoking from all public places — including bars and bingo halls. Banning smoking won’t be enough to entice me to dust off the old bingo blotter. But I’m looking forward to going out to dance or hear the blues again. Stephenville has one of the best music scenes in the province. In addition to the

West Words FRANK CARROLL wealth of local talent, young musicians from all over the province come here to study in the music industry and performance program at the local college campus. Throw in the musicians who come here for the Stephenville festival, and you’ve got an interesting mix. You’re likely to hear anything from country to neo-punk to show tunes in this town. Unfortunately, the eclectic menu has been mostly off limits to me — thanks to a quarter of the population who feel it’s their God-given right to pollute the air I breathe. That’s about to change. As is the case with any great social advance, there are those who fear change. In the 1960s, many doctors, of all people, protested the introduction of universal medicare in this country because they felt their autonomy was threatened. Now bar owners are the ones screaming the sky is falling. Bar owners say they will lose

customers. Some will go out of business altogether if smoking is banned in their establishments. It’s said a ban will devastate the bar and pub sector. If that’s true (I don’t think it is), then so be it. It would be the lesser of two evils.

As is the case with any great social advance, there are those who fear change. In the 1960s, many doctors, of all people, protested the introduction of universal Medicare in this country because they felt their autonomy was threatened. Now bar owners are the ones screaming the sky is falling.

I’m not going to quote you the statistics. I don’t have to; we all know second-hand smoke kills. Bar owners must realize it too.

Yet many of them are willing to keep subjecting their employees and the musicians who play in their bars to noxious pollution. There will likely be a period of adjustment. The ban may entice more people out to clubs; it may deter the hard-core smokers who can’t go 15 minutes without lighting up. The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association likes to cite its own stats on what happened in British Columbia after a ban was introduced there in 2000. According to the association, liquor sales dropped by 11 per cent and beer sales dropped by 13 per cent from January 2000 to January 2001. The Government of British Columbia buckled to industry pressure and allowed designated smoking rooms in bars. I would urge our government not to do the same — even if the industry loses money. Again, you have to go with the lesser of two evils. Hopefully, the government will take the same approach to video lottery terminals one of these days. Two features of a smoking ban in Newfoundland and Labrador may mitigate the financial losses that bars might suffer. First, it

would be a provincial ban rather than a municipal or volunteer one. Smokers won’t have the option of switching to a bar in another town to light up. Second, the province did not accede to the industry’s request that it allow smoking designated rooms in clubs. Such a move would have given an unfair advantage to those businesses with the space and money to make the necessary renovations. It’s better to have an across-theboard ban. WRITING ON THE WALL Some bar owners have accepted the writing that has been on the wall for many years now. The ban is inevitable. Some of the more enlightened owners also realize that the ban presents a new opportunity for them to attract customers who normally wouldn’t go out to a club. Personally, I’m looking forward to having the blues again — the good kind. Frank Carroll is a journalism instructor at the Stephenvillecampus of the College of the North Atlantic. frank_carroll_nf@yahoo.ca

No room at the pen; Whitbourne numbers down By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

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he Whitbourne Youth Centre, a closed-custody for young offenders about an hour’s drive west of St. John’s, may have few inmates within its walls at the moment, but the head of the union representing counsellors says he’s concerned youth crime is significantly on the rise. “What’s happening in a lot of cases is the more seasoned criminals are using the youth to do the break-ins for them,” says Leo Puddister of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, “because (youth) know what will happen if they get caught — most likely they’re not going to end up anywhere.” Last year the federal government implemented a new Youth Criminal Justice Act that replaced the previous Young Offenders Act. The new act adopts a more lenient approach, focusing on community rehabilitation and prevention rather than jail time. Since this year’s provincial budget was released in March, two 10bed units have closed at the Whitbourne facility and although capacity currently sits at 60, only 30 inmates are housed there. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the RCMP confirmed recently that crimes such as shoplifting, break-ins and armed robbery are on the rise in the run-up to Christmas. Puddister attributes the increase in youth crimes to such things as drug abuse — Oxycontin being the main cause. He says it’s got little to do with the time of year. “They’re talking about opening a rehabilitation wing up there (in Whitbourne) to treat young offenders for Oxycontin and I believe they should get on with that — and get on with it quickly,” says Puddister, who was a correctional officer before taking a job with the

province’s largest public-sector union. Meantime, numbers at the province’s adult correctional facilities are up by about three per cent, according to Marvin McNutt, director of corrections and community services with the Justice Department. Although numbers at the Bishop’s Falls Correctional Centre and West Coast Correctional Centre are below capacity, the only two institutions that accept prisoners await-

ing sentencing — Her Majesty’s Penitentiary and the Labrador Correctional Centre — are both at maximum capacity. The penitentiary currently has 167 inmates, although capacity is 145; Labrador has 47 with a capacity of 38. Last June, the minimum security Salmonier Correctional Institution was closed down — another provincial budget cut — but McNutt says he doesn’t think the closure has put undue pressure on other provincial correctional facilities. He adds fed-

eral inmates are still being accommodated, and none have been sent to mainland institutions. TRANSFERRING INMATES “What we have been doing, though, is transferring inmates from Her Majesty’s Penitentiary, to Bishop’s Falls and Stephenville,” says McNutt. “We knew at some point we would have to rely on that kind of practice.” The province receives about $3

million a year from Ottawa to house federal inmates. McNutt says there are currently no plans to reduce the number of federal inmates in the province. “That would be part of our contingency plan … if we found that we were becoming overcrowded to the point where it was unsafe. But no, we are still using the same criteria as we were before and we continue to accommodate the federal offenders that we normally would have accommodated.”


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December 12, 2004

Page 11

‘This is Newfoundland music too’ Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra prepares for annual performance of Handel’s Messiah

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he unmistakable strains of the harpsichord are the first sounds to greet anyone stepping through the Basilica doors, here to get a glimpse of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra in rehearsal. The 100-plus members of the orchestra and its philharmonic choir are setting up to practice for this year’s performance of Handel’s Messiah — a 17-year Christmas tradition for players and audience alike. The stage lights have not yet been set up, and the cathedral is dimly lit on this night, as the wind howls and snow swirls around the streets of downtown St. John’s. The players are cozy and relaxed in casual clothing — much more informal than they will be in two day’s time, when concert blacks will be in order, the floodlights turned on, and hundreds fill the pews on the Basilica floor and balconies. Seats all in order — it takes about an hour to set up for rehearsal and performance each night — the players and singers assemble at the front of the church. Soloists sit to the front, flanking the conductor on either side. The group is termed “semi-professional.” Certain members, full-time musicians, are

paid; others are music students on bursaries. Still others are strictly volunteer, talented amateur players from any of a number of professions, from housewives to surgeons. NSO general and artistic director Peter Gardner, before taking to his seat with the other violins, looks over the group assembled in the great space. One year, he remembers, a CBC crew came to film the performance for national broadcast. The Basilica was so massive, the corporation had to bring in lights from across Atlantic Canada to fill it. The annual performance of the Messiah is beloved by many in the St. John’s area, Gardner says, but few realize how much it is a part of local heritage and culture. “People forget that Handel’s Messiah was written and premiered in Dublin,” he says. “Dublin was a cultural centre … this is as much the music of Irish people as anything else. “And it is as much Newfoundland music as what the Irish Descendants play.” Gardner says musicals and operas were performed to packed audiences on Duckworth Street in the mid-1800s through the

1900s. “But people don’t understand that,” he says. “We’ve lost a lot of that over the last 30 to 40 years. There’s this drive to assume the only legitimate Newfoundland music is what everyone else does.” According to this year’s advertising and souvenir programs, the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season. But the birthday is for the organization’s name only — before the NSO was officially incorporated, there was the St. John’s Symphony. Before that, there was the extension service orchestra, the St. John’s Orchestra … “There’s been an orchestra in this town since the middle of the last century,” says Gardner, a fact that’s come to light in recent research. “And if there was, that’s before Montreal and Toronto even thought about it. I’m not surprised, St. John’s is the oldest town on the continent and it is populated by people who would have brought this with them.” In its previous incarnation, the St. John’s Symphony was about 40-strong, all amateur

Photos by Paul Daly / Story by Stephanie Porter

Continued on page 12


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‘This has got to get out’ From page 11 players from a range of backgrounds: painters, dentists, other professionals, housewives, students. The symphony was conducted by Ian Mennie, a physics professor at Memorial. In 1971, the group decided they could go no further without professional help, and set out to find a concertmaster. Gardner — then a freelance performer and teacher in England and Wales — fit the bill, and moved to Newfoundland. Gardner remained in the position for 30 years, only recently passing the honour to Alison Black, a member of the Atlantic String Quartet. “It’s time to hand it over to the next generation,” Gardner says with a smile. On arrival, Gardner took over instruction of the string players, eventually realizing the group badly needed an oboe player — and hired one in 1977. Piece by piece, instrument by instrument, the orchestra grew and settled. He established a youth orchestra in 1982; a professional string quartet was formed in 1986. The Atlantic String Quartet remains “one of only a handful of resident string quartets in the country.” The members of the quartet, who are paid, are core players of the orchestra, leading their sections — as well as performing their own recitals. Other core, paid, players join the quartet in the 16-piece NSO Sinfonia, which also presents a number of concerts annually. “Around that are a lot of recreational, volunteer players,” Gardner says. “And that is what gives the orchestra its character.” Given all the money in the world, Gardner says he’d still like to keep the NSO a mixed orchestra. “There’s a tremendous role in music for really good professional musicians to work with people who are amateurs,” he says. “This is a very fine orchestra, respected from here to Vancouver. What surprises them is that it’s actually done here, at such a level … you won’t find an orchestra that plays as well as this until you go fully professional” Granted, there are constraints. Being so far away from other centres means it’s not easy — or financially possible — to fly in players as last-minute replacements, or for special, larger pieces. “We have flown people in in the past but I make it my job to try and make us totally self-sufficient. That comes with a price, we sometimes have to make compromises, but in the end what you get is right out of this community.” Although Gardner would like to hire a couple more professional musicians, he says that’s not financially possible. The NSO is feeling that all-too-familiar financial pinch. Their total annual operating budget is about $650,000. About $200,000 of that comes from revenue from ticket sales and services. Another $300,000 comes from private donors, sponsors, and through the NSO’s three major fundraising events every year. The remainder comes from municipal ($10,000) and provincial government sources. “Private companies are slowly pulling out,” Gardner says with a sigh. “Seagram was a sponsor but they pulled out. Du Maurier, well the Government of Canada said the arts can’t have any more money from (tobacco companies) … Air Canada went bankrupt so they pulled out. Add that up, that’s $50,000. Who’s going to replace that in this community?” To run the orchestra as he’d like, Gardner says he’d need $800,000 a year, which would put it comparable to orchestras in similar-sized towns. One of the other frustrations, he says, is that the audience doesn’t seem to want to “pay the real price of doing something.” In St. John’s, he points out, the best seats go for $28. In Vancouver, the cheapest ones would be $75. “The people who complain here will go to Toronto and pay $100 for it. I don’t know where that problem comes from.” And the future for the orchestra? “We’re going to play better,” says Gardner without missing a beat. “I’ve always been interested in getting the orchestra to back visiting artists … I’d like to make a liaison with Mile One. I’d like to see the Atlantic String Quartet make a CD.” He looks at the performers at the front of the Basilica. This may be their first rehearsal in the space in a year, but there is no hesitation as the musicians and choir fill the space beautifully. “I’d like to see this put on CD,” Gardner says. “This has got to get out.” Handel’s Messiah was performed Dec. 10 and 11. The Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra’s next event is a tribute to James Taylor, to be held Jan. 21-22 at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre. For more events and information, visit www.nsomusic.com.

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The Independent, December 12, 2004


The Independent, December 12, 2004

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The Independent, December 12, 2004

Gallery Craft Council Exhibition

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rom textiles to hand-carved boxes, from hand-dyed wool hats to traditional paintings, a little of everything can be found at the annual Christmas art show at the Craft Council Gallery at Devon House in St. John’s. Artists from here and abroad create holiday-themed arts and crafts that are juried and hung for sale during the Christmas season. Anne Manuel, the craft council’s executive director, says the show often has a subject, like angels or Christmas dinner, but this year’s theme is a generic one. “Comfort and Joy is a nice tidy title. It covers all the different faiths, it doesn’t have to be a Santa Clause, it doesn’t have to be religious — it’s just a peaceful holiday celebration,” says Manuel. “If they want to make a nativity scene that’s great, if they want to make funky cats dancing on a New Year’s eve, that’s

great too.” She says a general theme prevents an artist from feeling boxed in. The show features the work of artists and mediums such as Kevin Coates’ carved Santa figures, a fabric collage by Rachel Ryan, water colours by Cathy Driedzic, and a handmade jacket by Doreen Redmond Chisholm. Though the show had no official opening, there are plenty of red “sold” dots around. Manuel says the dots are “especially encouraging. “Usually when we have an opening you get 400 or 500 people coming in through here on a Sunday afternoon … and that’s when we sell a lot,” she says. Comfort and Joy runs until Dec. 15 at the Craft Council Gallery in St. John’s.

The Holy Family and Guests by Trine Schioldan

— Alisha Morrissey Photos by Paul Daly

He Loves Me by Catherine McCausland

Wee Fairy #1 and Wee Fairy #2 by Janet Peter

Elevated Container by Gordon Gosse

Snowy Night by Karlie King and Jay Kimball

Tea with Vincent by Libby Moore

She Provides Comfort by Cara Winsor Hehir

Star of Bethlehem by Doreen Redmond Chisholm

The Gallery is a regular feature in The Independent. For further information, or to submit proposals, please call (709) 726-4639, or e-mail editorial@theindependent.ca


December 12, 2004

BUSINESS & COMMERCE

Christmas tree sellers Bill Quinn, foreground, and Ron Kirby.

Page 15

Paul Daly/The Independent

How lovely are your branches Christmas trees are not all created equal, although Newfoundland trees are cheaper By Alisha Morrissey The Independent

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ill Quinn and Ron Kirby slosh around in the mucky winter weather hauling fir trees from the back of a pick-up, rhyming off famous Newfoundlanders and pointing out which tree they should buy. “That one’s for Danny Williams,” says Quinn. Quinn stops to talk about how old-time Yuletide values are lacking and artificial trees ruin the family tradition of picking out the perfect tree and then spending Christmas around it. Plaza Bowl’s parking lot in St. John’s is six inches under water, but Quinn and Kirby still manage to grin — the pair expect to make almost $900 each from the sale of Christmas trees this season. “The poor farmer’s probably making $3 a tree — hopefully $6 a tree,” says Quinn. He says Nova Scotia trees dominate the Newfoundland market. In fact, Nova Scotia’s Christmas tree growing operation is worth $40 million a year, while Newfoundland and Labrador’s industry is worth only $300,000 a year. David Jennings, spokesman for the province’s Forestry Department, says the industry is a complicated one. He says government is pushing to create a Christmas tree industry in the province. Developing the industry means dealing with competition from the forestry industry — like pulp and paper mills — and the time lag before the first crop reaches the market.

“We need to do it on a farm-type into the woods and cut their own basis … it would be the same as tree can do so without a permit, but developing any other kind of commercial cutters — up to 200 farm,” says Jennings. “The best trees — pay $271 for a permit from way to set up a Christmas tree farm the provincial Forestry Departis to actually go in ment. and plant little “We’d like to seedlings … in “Our trees tend to be head into a bigger seven to eight years industry where cera little bit cheaper, harvest the tree, and tainly our first goal $5 to $10 cheaper, that takes a pretty is to supply our and that’s basically local market … to big investment on the part of the perdo that we need to a transportation son doing it. be 10 times bigger,” thing. The local “What do you do says Jennings. trees should be in that period of The provincial time when you worth more because Natural Resources don’t have anything Department estiit is fresher and it to sell?” mates more than is obviously closer Only 60 to 100 20,000 trees are to the market.” people work in the imported from “cultivated ChristNova Scotia each — David Jennings mas tree industry” year. on 29 farms in the “A lot of those province. trees that were harvested in Nova Jennings says there are up to Scotia were harvested in late Octo4,000 Newfoundland cultivated ber. So you’re looking at a tree that trees that reach the market each has been sitting around for a long year. time,” says Jennings. Those who want to make the trek Back at the tree stand, Quinn

Cutting Christmas trees • Trees can only be cut if more than 102 metres from centre line of a highway. • No trees can be cut in improvement or preservation areas including provincial or national parks, plantation or thinning areas or if marked as no-cutting zones. • Decide on the tree before cutting; it is illegal and wasteful to cut a tree and leave it in the forest. • A vender must have a commercial cutting permit to cut trees for sale.

says buying a local tree means the customer is getting a tree that was cut just weeks or days before, and not one that’s been in storage awaiting shipment. Kirby says there’s also a safety concern when buying a tree that has been cut and then transported in a dry cargo container. “Once the heat hits it…” says Quinn, alluding to the fact that dry trees — trees that are cut months before the holiday season — are a fire hazard. Newfoundland trees are also cheaper than trees that are shipped here from the other side of the Gulf. A Nova Scotia balsam fir starts at $35 for a six-foot tree and rises in price depending on the size. At Quinn and Kirby’s stand, the trees start at $15, which includes home delivery. Jennings says it’s simply a matter of the product being close to its intended market. “Our trees tend to be a little bit cheaper, $5 to $10 cheaper, and that’s basically a transportation thing,” says Jennings. “The local trees should be worth more because it is fresher and it is obviously closer to the market.” Artificial trees range in price from $70 up to $500. According to retailers, an artificial tree has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Jennings says real trees have more of an appeal to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. “Newfoundlanders have always been close to nature and close to the rural aspects of the province, and it’s hard to make an artificial tree smell like a real one.”


Page 16

BUSINESS

The Independent, December 12, 2004

‘It’s mesmerizing’ From page 1

“The amount that you can get out of them is after lowering,” says Kearsey. “The limit, most of them used to be $500 if you were betting max bet and got the top win. Now it’s after going down. I’d say it’s by $100 or so. “Most of the games that are on the machines now have been changed, and I think this is why — they were paying out too much money.” A VLT player in Lottie’s Place, who asked that her name not be used, says payouts have lowered noticeably. “Years ago you got more,” she says. “I’d say there’s been a drop of 60 per cent.” But that drop in payout hasn’t affected the popularity of the games. “A lot more people are playing, but they shouldn’t be,” she says. “I only play $20, $40 at a time, but I’ve seen people put in $500, $1,000 in one sitting. It’s mesmerizing. With the colours and the sounds.” Brian Fushelle, manager of Trapper John’s on George Street, says the VLTs in his bar aren’t only popular, but an important source of income. “For the weeknights, to give an estimate, for every $5 drink that’s bought, there’s about $20 put into them (VLTs),” says Fushelle. “It’s pretty much close to 50/50 between liquor sales and whatever they come out. I don’t know the exact percentage, but I know they’re fairly important. “A lot of bars around the city, I would say they’re one of the main reasons why they’re still open. For us it’s not the most important thing.” In its 2003-04 annual report, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation says video lotto sales were up approximately $29

Business Briefs

Reuters relocates 100 staff LONDON euters Group PLC says it will relocate about 100 of its editorial staffers in a further shakeup of its news organization. The London-based provider of news and financial data said the jobs will be relocated or reallocated as part of the company’s push to centralize some of its operations around regional centres. Reuters will add reporters in China, more photographers globally and increase the number of editorial staff in Bangalore, India. The number of editorial employees will be maintained at 2,300, the company says. Reuters’ cost-cutting program is expected to reap more than $1 billion in savings by 2006. In October, the company said it would triple its staff in India by the end of 2005, turning Bangalore into a hub for its data operations while cutting back on data staff in Britain and the United States. In November, the company said it would relocate 50 mostly editorial jobs from Britain and the United States to offices in Bangalore, Singapore and Toronto. — Associated Press

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The odds have changed for those that choose to gamble on VLTs.

million across the Atlantic provinces last year, with Newfoundland and Labrador’s VLT income jumping to a projected $75 million in 2004 from $70 million in 2003.

“Most of the games that are on the machines now have been changed, and I think this is why — they were paying out too much money.” — Karen Kearsey When asked how much money players put into VLTs, and how much they were paid back in winnings, Bourgeois said Atlantic Lotto doesn’t make that information public.

Paul Daly/The Independent

“For VL we don’t report it that way,” says Bourgeois. “We report net revenue.” The province’s Treasury Board reports the province’s lottery revenues for 200304 at just over $108 million. Officials project over $110 million for 2004-05. Randy Collins, NDP MHA for Labrador West, has called on the province to hold a referendum on the banning of VLTs during the province’s municipal elections next year. He says a lot of lives have been destroyed by gambling addictions. Kearsey says she’d like to see an end to VLTs in her establishment. “I wish they’d take them out,” she says. “They (the players) just sit down. There’s nobody socializing anymore. You’re looking at the back of their heads — they don’t want to talk to anybody.”

Northern Property buys 777 units CALGARY Northern Property Real Estate Investment Trust has struck a deal to buy 777 apartment units in Newfoundland from Omega Investments Ltd. for $35.5 million. Northern Property will finance the purchase with cash and the assumption of approximately $3 million of existing mortgage debt. The trust will also spend $3.8 million to refurbish and upgrade the apartments. Most of the units — 649 — are in St. John’s, and 128 units are in Gander. — Canadian Press


The Independent, December 12, 2004

BUSINESS

Page 17

Stories for all

Business is steady year-round at Granny Bates Books — thanks to children and adults alike By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

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ou don’t have to be a child, or even have children, to read children’s books these days. “The little bookstore on the hill” — also known as Granny Bates Children’s Books — is starting up a book club for adults in January. “We have customers that don’t have children that just love children’s books,” co-owner Nora Flynn tells The Independent. “Especially picture books; I mean the art work in children’s books is beautiful, the quality is extremely high. It’s an incredible art form.” Granny Bates, located in downtown St. John’s, is the province’s only children’s bookstore. Owners Flynn and Margaret McMillan have been running the shop for 18 years. “If you find a really good children’s book then it’s a good book and you can appreciate it for what it is,” says Flynn. “I love reading children’s books and I read lots of adult books as well. I love the picture books, I love the poetry, I love the novels …” When Flynn and McMillan were young, stay-at-home moms, they used to talk about ways to move back into the workplace. The two friends had been teachers before leaving to have children, but they weren’t sure they wanted to return to the classroom. ‘SMATTERING OF BOOKS’ “We both loved books, were both readers and we both had young children,” says Flynn. “We were reading to our children and it was really difficult to get good books for children. There were a couple of bookstores in the city that carried a smattering of books, but at the time I was ordering my books from the children’s bookstore in Toronto … so we thought, gee you know, this is probably

Granny Bates co-owner Nora Flynn. Authors visiting the office are asked to sign the door before they leave.

something that might work.” In a way, Flynn and McMillan still work in the education system. Most of their business comes from supplying books to local schools — for libraries as well as for the curriculum reading lists. Flynn says demand is “pretty much a year round thing.” Christmas is naturally a busy time, and Flynn says a lot of parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles come in looking for gifts. They often stick to buying the classics, books they remember from childhood, like Good Night

It’s that time of year! The Independent’s advertising deadlines will be changing to accommodate the holidays: Christmas week: Tuesday, Dec. 22, 5 PM New Year’s week: Tuesday, Dec. 29, 5 PM

Moon, written by Margaret Wise Brown in 1947, and Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, written in 1868. She says although there are some older children interested in reading classics, “the writing often requires a particular type of attention.” In the last few years she’s noticed a rise in the popularity of contemporary fiction. The demand is met by many local authors, such as Kevin Major, Ed Kavanagh, Susan Chalker Browne and Cathy Simpson. Granny Bates often hosts book signings, and an inside door is covered with the signatures of every author to pass through. Janet McNaughton — one popular award-winning local writer — heads Granny Bates’ monthly book club for older children. A junior book club also runs monthly. Flynn picks up Ann and Seamus, an acclaimed new book by Major. The narrative, in verse,

tells the true story of a shipwreck and rescue mission in 1828 off the coast of Newfoundland. Flynn flicks through the pages and marvels at the blue and grey illustrations by local artist David Blackwood. Surrounded by so much creativity, is Flynn ever tempted to try writing?

“We have customers that don’t have children that just love children’s books.” — Nora Flynn “I think I probably have too much respect for good authors to assume it’s an easy thing to do,” she says. “I’ve thought about it but because I’ve read so much, I really do appreciate how difficult it is.

Paul Daly/The Independent

And some people think that a picture book might be an easy thing to write, but it’s probably like a poem, you know, it’s the hardest thing to write.” She says customers always comment on how lucky she is to run a bookstore; that they would love to do the same. It’s understandable. Just walking inside the cozy shop with its rows of stories, wrapped in glossy jackets, is enough to cheer anyone up on a cold winter’s day. “You know working in a book store is not just about books,” Flynn says with a laugh. “It’s about paperwork and accounts and ordering books and receiving books and sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time. It’s about unpacking boxes, it’s about packing boxes. “There’s lots of very menial work attached to running any business and you know — the books are just the face of the business.”


Page 18

BUSINESS

Public urged to use Internet for licence renewal

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otor Vehicle Registration offices across the province have returned to regular operations since clearing their backlog in October. As a way to maintain efficiency, Tom Beckett, the province’s deputyregistrar, urges the general public to use the Internet for licence renewals. “On the Internet, we’re probably getting about 300 (renewals) per day...which gets us up to about 8,000 to 9,000 per month, which is a very easy process for us,” he tells The Independent. “It’s a matter of matching the new registration — which is automatically created by the Internet program — and putting a sticker on it and putting it in the mail.” Beckett says online vehicle registration has been publicly accessible for the last 18 months, and his department has been actively promoting the practice, which is gaining in popularity, and accounts for almost 30 per cent of total renewals.

Motor vehicle registration offices suffered serious backlogs as a result of last spring’s publicsector strike. Staffing issues ranging from death to maternity leave also added to delays. “We were given some replacements for staff … and between them and I guess, our permanent staff — a good number of them put in long hours to catch up.” Beckett says summer is a particularly busy time of year for renewals because that’s when most people purchase new cars, so the department has been looking into staggering the workload by extending dates to later, less busy months. “What that’s done is it’s taken that bump out of our renewals. The other thing we did is we recognized our staff generally want holidays in July andAugust, so we took a further bite out of July and August and spread them through the rest of the year.”

The Independent, December 12, 2004

N.S. coal mining on deck HALIFAX

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ecord prices triggered by insatiable demand in China are fuelling a plan that just a few years ago seemed unthinkable: the possible rebirth of Cape Breton coal mining. Allen Wright, executive director of the Coal Association of Canada, says a tonne of metallurgical coal that sold for $40 US a few years ago is now trading for almost $125 US. “I’ve talked to people who are absolutely staggered by this market,” Wright said from his Calgary office. “They’ve never seen anything like it.” The Nova Scotia government announced last week it will call for proposals from a number of companies that have expressed interest in opening the Donkin mine, an undeveloped pit with massive

reserves. There have been no underground collieries in the province since the Cape Breton Development Corp., or Devco, closed its money-losing pits in 2001. In the early 1980s, the former federal Crown corporation spent $100 million to dig two exploratory tunnels at Donkin. But production was put off as the price of coal fell and markets for Cape Breton’s high-sulphur coal failed to materialize. The Donkin tunnels, one of which is four kilometres long, were left to flood and experts estimate it would cost at least $200 million to prepare them for production. The province’s Natural Resources Minister, Richard Hurlburt, insists the province won’t put any money into Donkin. Given the worldwide demand for coal and the record prices, Wright

said government subsidies wouldn’t be needed. “There are mines being opened all over the place,” he said. “Financing is easier today than it was two, three years ago because of prices and because China is leading the charge for this.” China currently produces almost a quarter of the world’s steel and its appetite for coal has grown with the rise of consumerism among its one billion residents. News of Donkin’s possible rebirth is being welcomed across Cape Breton, an island saddled with chronically high unemployment. Bob Burchell of the United Mine Workers said miners who left the province after the demise of Devco “would move back tomorrow” if Donkin opens. — Canadian Press

— Clare-Marie Gosse

Literature to Listen to ~ Audio and MP3 CDs

Donovan’s Station A novel by Robin McGrath Read by Janis Spence with Janet Russell, Andy Jones, Elizabeth Pickard and Merrill Francis

Originally published in 2002 by Killick Press ISBN 0-9734223-2-7 Unabridged Fiction A single MP3 CD Approximately 6 1/2 hours Retail Price: $34.95

on the beach in spanish room written and read by Janis Spence First publication ISBN 0-9734223-0-0

A collection of short fiction A single MP3 CD Approximately 4 hours Retail Price: $34.95

Hard Light by Michael Crummey Read by Ron Hynes, Deidre Gillard-Rowlings and the author Originally published in 1998 by Brick Books

ISBN 0-9734223-3-5 Poetry A single audio CD 80 minutes Retail Price: $19.95

In The Old Country Of My Heart Poems written and read by Agnes Walsh With pump organ music by George Morgan and unaccompanied ballads sung by Simone Savard-Walsh

Originally published in 1996 by Killick Press ISBN 0-9734223-1-9 Poetry – A single audio CD 58 minutes Retail Price: $19.95

Rattling Books • Tors Cove • Newfoundland and Labrador • Canada • A0A 4A0 • Phone: (709) 334-3911 • www.rattlingbooks.com Rattling Books are available at Fred’s Records, Bennington Gate and online at www.anansi.ca


INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

December 12, 2004

Page 19

AFP photo/Genya Savilov

Supporters of pro-West opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko take in the fireworks at downtown Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence square) recently in Kiev. Ukraine's parliament overwhelmingly passed a bill to weaken presidential powers and change electoral law, breaking an impasse between outgoing President Leonid Kuchma and the opposition.

Will democracy win in Ukraine It has a chance, but West must provide more economic and political assistance NEW YORK

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fter 14 years of hiding in the shadow of Russia’s democratic revolution, Ukraine has finally stepped onto the world stage with a genuine insurrection of its own. The sight of thousands of people — mostly young — massed in the chilly main square of Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, calls up memories of similar protests at the dawn of the post-communist era in Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Russia and even Ukraine itself.

WON THE FIRST ROUND The protesters have won the first round. Last week the Ukrainian Supreme Court nullified the outcome of the Nov. 21 presidential election run off in the face of widespread evidence of fraud, and called a new election for Dec. 26. That gives the protesters’ favourite, Viktor Yuschenko, whom most international observers believe would have won if the votes had been honestly counted, the inside track to become Ukraine’s next president. But will democracy win at last in Ukraine? It may not be that simple. Politics is a more complex game in the former Soviet sphere than it was in the heady days of 1991, when Ukraine (along with Belarus and Russia) declared an end to the Soviet Union. For the past decade, Ukraine has been largely ignored by the West. That was a case of willful blindness: in Washington and other capitals, policymakers were reluctant to aggravate Moscow, where even reformers were uncomfortable with

the “loss” of what they considered heroes of the Kiev crowd were part one of Russia’s founding peoples. of the discredited regime, and sevThis allowed a resource-rich eral have murky ties to Ukraine’s nation as large as France, with 48 corrupt oligarchy. million people, at the centre of the Moreover, unlike the naïve days old divide between eastern of the dissident moveand western Europe, to fall ments across central into a black hole. Europe, Ukrainian Ukraine subsided into a democrats will also need stolid, corrupt state under to be shrewd regional the benevolent (at first) strategists. Russia domiauthoritarianism of Presinates the country’s econodent Leonid Kuchma. The my and will always democratic energy fueled remain central to its politduring Ukraine’s lunge ical future. into independence in 1991 Russian President STEPHEN Vladimir dissipated. Putin blundered Ironically, however, it HANDELMAN by openly throwing his also allowed Ukraine to support behind the candiavoid the backlash against “wild date of the current regime — Vikwest” capitalism that afflicted Rus- tor Yanukovich — and made things sia and other former Soviet states in worse by appearing to support septhe 1990s — and aratist threats in instead to quietly Ukraine’s industrial develop the instituheartland, where The Western tions, such as an backing for energetic parliament diplomatic strategy Yanukovich and Rusand judiciary, which sia is greatest. should be to do have now come to its everything possible But it would be rescue. wishful thinking to Thanks to a “grow- to give Ukraine the write Russia out of breathing room it this new game. Putin ing sense of civic entitlement and gen- needs to continue the has built widespread uine empowerment,” popular support at process of reform home for his ambition writes Alexander without fostering Motyl, a specialist on of strengthening RussUkraine and central tensions that could ian influence beyond Europe at Rutgers its post-1991 borders, push the region University in New and he isn’t likely to into instability. Jersey. “Ukraine’s relinquish his selfpeople progressively appointed role as became citizens.” power broker — even All the same, Ukraine’s progress if the Dec. 26 election brings protowards a genuine democratic Western reformers to power in rebirth is hampered by the muddy Kiev. webbing of recent history. The selfAnd that means the West must declared reformers who are now the do more this time than simply pay

lip service to another “pro-democracy” movement. The Western diplomatic strategy should be to do everything possible to give Ukraine the breathing room it needs to continue the process of reform without fostering tensions that could push the region into instability. How? One way is to provide the economic and political assistance that has been missing the past decade. For example: by supporting a democratic Ukraine’s membership in the European Union, and helping to integrate the country into global trade networks. POST-ELECTION BARGAINING It also means playing a direct role in post-election bargaining between Kiev and Moscow, by persuading Russia that its hopes of taking its rightful place in global politics will depend on the treatment of its neighbour. Moscow’s interest in a stable friendly government on its western border will have to be acknowledged. But ultimately, a successful Ukrainian renaissance will provide new impetus for thwarted democratic dreams across the region — from Belarus to Russia itself. The West backed away from the challenge in 1991. Now, even if it means colliding with the restless neo-imperialists in the Kremlin, it can’t do so again. Stephen Handelman is a columnist for TIME Canada based in New York. He can be reached at shandel@ix.netcom.com. His next column for The Independent will appear Sunday, Dec. 26


Page 20

INTERNATIONAL

The Independent, December 12, 2004

A pool shaped like India Newfoundland native SheriLynn Barrett’s favourite activity in India is volunteer work: teaching blind children to swim

Voice from Away SheriLynn Barrett In Mubai, India

T

he hot Indian sun beats down on my head as I slip into the cool, refreshing water. At the outer edge of the pool the murky waters of the Arabian Sea lap gently against the breakwater — today. During monsoon the waves crash over the wall and the dirty water quickly mixes with the crystal blue of the pool. We don’t swim on those days. Today, however, it’s December and the monsoon rain and wind will not return until June. Coming from Newfoundland, the idea of having eight months without rain is a little foreign. When I first arrived in India two years ago it was three months before I stopped looking out the window every morning to check the weather before deciding what to wear. In Mumbai, from October to June, you can count on it being hot and sunny. My definition of hot and cold have changed a little, I’m now comfortable wearing jeans at 35 C and I dig out my sweater when the temperature dips down to 21 C at night during the winter. Not much sympathy from home for that, though. Back to the pool. It is Monday afternoon and I have battled Mumbai traffic to get to my weekly session of swimming lessons with boys from the local school for the blind. The children have varying degrees of vision impairment but they all have one thing in common — they love coming to the pool. Their school life is very strict, it is not often these boys get to run riot. They certainly never get to run and jump without fear like they can in the water here. Nothing brings a smile to my face quicker then listening to their screams of delight as they take turns leaping into the pool. Before moving to India I had never worked with children who could not see. The first day I stood in the water trying to work out how to pass on a skill I had learned visually — I watched and I

AFP photo/Rob Elliott

Indian street children take to the water doing back flips, as they seek relief from extreme hot weather conditions in Bombay near one of India's famous landmarks, the Gateway to India. copied. I could not even explain what I wanted them to do because my Hindi stretched to giving directions to taxi drivers and getting vegetables in the market — “Close your mouth” and “hold your breath” were nowhere to be found in my “Helpful Hindi Phrases” handbook. Finally I did the only thing I could do — I held them by the hand as they got in the water, started floating on my back and let them feel me floating. It worked! It didn’t hurt that their English was better then my Hindi either. Getting them to float involved a lot more splashing and spluttering, but there is nothing like the feeling you get when you watch a child take a deep breath, throw himself backward in the water and surface in a starfish pose with a huge smile

on his face. Imagine a game of Marco Polo. Not familiar with it? The rules are simple: stand in a pool in the middle of a circle of people. Close your eyes. Shout out “Marco.” The other players, swimming away, answer “Polo.” You now have to catch one of your fleeing friends, he or she becomes Marco and the game starts all over again. Sounds like a simple game for a group of children who can’t see, right? Wrong. The game was too easy for them so they adapted it. Marco would choose a specific person and then by listening to each shout of “Polo” he would track and catch the person he named initially. They loved it. Almost every game gets turned into a game of cricket though, these kids are cricket mad. The

boys who have not learned to float have water wings and by the end of each session, the bright orange floats are flung through the air, batted and caught. Children who would not dream of putting their face in the water to learn to swim will scream and dive for a float if they think they are near it and might catch the batter out. I moved up greatly in their estimation when the Canadian cricket team scored the fastest century ever during a tournament last year. Not a cricket fan, I didn’t even know we had a team until I moved here. The pool we use is shaped like India and there is an island in the center and swimming to it has become a right of passage. At first I decided who was strong enough to make the trip, now they climb

over each other to show me they have learned enough, that they can tread water to take a breath or, even better, that they have mastered freestyle and can combine swimming and breathing. I swim next to them until they reach the island where they climb the ladder, hold the rail, pace out the distance to the edge, run and jump into water far over their head. They have faith I will catch them. Lucky for me, the water we swim in is salty. The other volunteers would laugh if I cried every time one of the boys made the leap. SheriLynn Barrett, from Sandy Point, Newfoundland, is currently living in Mumbai, India. Do you know a Newfoundlander of Labradorian living in another country? Please e-mail editorial@theindependent.ca


LIFE &TIMES

December 12, 2004

Page 21

Paul Daly/The Independent

Marnie Parsons

Beauty books and the

Local bookmaker uses new printing press to make each book into piece of art By Jenny Higgins For The Independent

N

ot many people keep an 800-pound printing press in their basement, but Marnie Parsons does. And this week she plans to break it in by printing the ultimate homemade Christmas card for her family and friends. Parsons is a St. John’s-based letterpress printer who creates handmade, limited editions of books, chapbooks (small collections of poetry or fiction) and broadsides (single pages) by local writers. Her company, Running the Goat, Books and Broadsides — named after a traditional dance from Great Harbour Deep — opened in 2000 when she printed a broadside of poetry by local writer Agnes Walsh. AWARD-WINNING Since then, Parsons has printed 11 more publications, including the award-winning Newfoundland folktale, Peg Bearskin. Until now, however, she’s always had to borrow a printing press that belonged to her friend and fellow letterpress printer, Tara Bryan. “I don’t have a car, and my friend’s press is an hour away in terms of buses, so in the past it has taken me a long time,” says Parsons. Now that she can work from home, Parsons says she hopes to print more often. She’s converting her basement into a studio to accommodate the printing press, which she says came with a price tag of about $3,500. “It was not a small investment,” says Parsons. “I’ve had support from the craft council, they gave me some money to help pay for the studio and help me buy the press.” While much of her time right now is taken up

with getting things organized, Parsons plans to begin printing her next project this Christmas and have it ready by March. “The next thing I’ll be doing is called Three Servings — that’s its working title. It’s three different takes on boiled dinner,” says Parsons. “It’ll include Michael Crummey’s poem Jigg’s Dinner from Hard Light; A Recipe and Remembrance of Boiled Dinner by Mary-Lynn Bernard, a St. John’s actor; and Andy Jones’ monologue Boiled Dinner, which is just screamingly funny.” The book will also include artwork by Tara Bryan, who Parsons says taught her how to use the press. “She taught me everything I know.” Besides Bryan’s influence, Parsons says she became interested in printing because of her growing dissatisfaction with the physical quality of books mass produced by publishing houses.

“I used to do a fair amount of book reviewing, and I got really tired of looking at books. That sounds really terrible, but I would see these beautiful poems and I would think publishers don’t put that much thought into how they present this poetry.” — Marnie Parsons “I used to do a fair amount of book reviewing, and I got really tired of looking at books,” she says. “That sounds really terrible, but I would see these beautiful poems and I would think publishers don’t put that much thought into how they present this poetry.” There’s plenty of thought and care put into Parsons’ books, which are handmade and produced

on a small scale, typically up to 150 copies. Parsons sets each letter on the printing press by hand and says preparing a single, 20-line poem can take about 45 minutes, depending on the length of each line. “It is very much a labour-intensive, hands-on thing,” says Parsons. “The type is generally set by hand, and every page goes through by hand and often the paper is torn by hand.” Parsons says production time may also be lengthened by unexpected mishaps, including missing letters. ORDERING QS “I remember once working on a little poem for Carmelita McGrath and I needed two Qs in one line, but we could only find one,” says Parsons, laughing. “And the guy who made the type for her lived in South Carolina. So I had to order a Q from South Carolina before I could finish the line. There are just all these weird, quirky things you wouldn’t anticipate.” Parsons’ books and broadsides can range in price from $8 to $150, depending on the materials used and the degree of labour required. While the market for these specialty items is limited, Parsons says her business is growing and she plans to focus more on marketing once her studio is organized. Despite the high quality of Parsons’ work — each book is a piece of art in its own right — she’s surprisingly modest. “I don’t want to publicize myself because it’s always about the book and the story and the work of other people,” she says. “I feel like I’m the least important element of it. What matters is finding a way to present stories and poems and pictures in a way that’s worthy of them. “That’s really important to me: showing the beauty of the text.”


Page 22

LIFE & TIMES

The Independent, December 12, 2004

Sally Chaytor had a pig and he was double jointed… Nursery Rhymes of Newfoundland and Labrador Robin McGrath, Ed. Boulder Publications, 2004

I

n her preface to Nursery Rhymes of Newfoundland and Labrador, Robin McGrath states that “nursery rhymes are not written by or for children — they are generally part of the adult world and are co-opted by children who appreciate their simplicity or are merely fascinated by the enigmatic sound of the words.” Whatever their provenance or intended audience, nursery rhymes share certain obvious characteristics that we’ll look at briefly. They are simple in form (generally no longer than a dozen or so lines and usually shorter) and rely on rhyme not only as a mnemonic device, but also as a source of comic relief. Relationships between rhyming words may often provoke laughter through their patterned tensions and resolutions. Sometimes these rhyming words come naturally and obviously and sometimes they do not, drawing attention to a relationship that is unexpected, as in this one-liner from the book: “I’d rather have a touten, than do without ’en.” Rhythm is another important facet of the nursery rhyme. Of course, rhythm is a necessary quality in any form of text or speech (it is what words do naturally when left to their own devices) so I should say that what I mean in this case is regular rhythm, or a recurring pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. Just think of the jouncing rhythm heaved out of “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water…” and how that rhythm is mirrored in the rhymes’ resolution. WORDPLAY A final feature of nursery rhymes that I might mention is wordplay — which I’ll narrowly define here as the intentional employment of ambiguity in phrasings, usually to comic effect. Here’s a charming example from McGrath’s book: Dr. Bell fell down the well And broke his collar bone, Doctors should attend the sick And leave the well alone. The humour here is derived from multiple meanings, in that

On The Shelf MARK CALLANAN one context of the last line, of the word well. Generally speaking, the editor has been a bit generous in her definition of nursery rhyme, but more to the book’s benefit than its detriment. There are political chants, commercial slogans, riddles, sport or school chants and cues for maritime navigation between the covers of this volume. Though I wouldn’t have originally considered the phrase in the context McGrath’s book assigns, I can well remember my younger brother, nine years old at the time, stomping around the house and chanting “Clyde lied!” with obvious glee. So if repeatability is an important quality in the process of selection, then this one is a shoein.

Rhymes of Newfoundland and Labrador is a wonderful addition to Newfoundland literature, as much for the collector of local books as for the children of our province. Both, I’m sure, will be delighted with her compilation. The short section of endnotes explaining particular references within rhymes and the decorative cast cut illustrations (more joyously labelled dingbats) of various characters from fish to farm implements are both welcome additions. This is a book that deserves a spot on any shelf, probably in between the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes and Where the Sidewalk Ends. It would be comfortable in the company of either. Mark Callanan is a writer and reviewer living in Rocky Harbour. His next column appears Dec. 24.

WEATHER LORE There are many rhymes in this book to do with weather lore, of the “red sky at night” variety, and more broadly speaking, that evince some manner or other of folk belief. “Buy a broom in May/Sweep your family away” is one I know well, included here in McGrath’s selection. There are others that similarly purvey bits of folk wisdom. Nor is the occasionally bawdy censored from the collection. “Children are quite capable,” McGrath prefaces, “of learning dirty rhymes without any help from me.” This child’s absolute favourite (mine, not McGrath’s) appears as follows: Oh, I wish I had a few more bricks To build my chimney higher, The cat got up on my old roof And pissed down in the fire. So why are we so enamoured of nursery rhymes long after we’ve grown up? Despite our mature assertions that nursery rhymes are things we leave behind with childhood, we remain consistently amazed by their capacity to mimic and sing and laugh and tumble all around us. And no, it doesn’t hurt that some of them are dirty either. Robin McGrath’s Nursery

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The Independent, December 12, 2004

LIFE & TIMES

Page 23

Books and Botox, a Christmas list Standing Room Only NOREEN GOLFMAN

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his column is devoted to the dozen dizzy days left for shopping. Typical of this period of frenzied annual ritual consumption, most holiday ads are aggressively appealing to our need for better, smaller, sleeker technologies or painless ways of improving our bodies. So it is that flat screen plasma television sets and pencil-thin cell phones compete for our attention with Botox injections and elaborate facials. Time to think outside the ribboned box. If you read this newspaper regularly you are probably willing to shop for homegrown products even if you normally don’t. Consider resisting the multinationals this season: turn away from products made in sweatshops or Third-World factories and do your part for the local economy. Fish can be wrapped attractively in newspaper but it has to be eaten immediately or else strange odours will emanate from under the Christmas tree. Only one category of goods offers the widest selection, the most tasteful of choices, and the most tangible of objects: art, from music to movies. None of it will smell. All of it will be appreciated. Adhering to the maxim that one shouldn’t give a gift she didn’t want to receive, here are 10 attractive and odourless suggestions.

1. BOOKS Everyone needs a beautiful hardbound object for tasteful giving and easy wrapping. There are at least a dozen fresh and excellent literary works to choose from at the moment, but you will be especially discerning if you give Ed Riche’s Nine Planets. The Globe and Mail just listed the book first in its impressively long list of fiction suggestions. They know what they’re talking about. The novel was conceived and written right here at home, in the funny, big brain of author-screenwriter Ed Riche. Give his words. Make someone laugh. 2. FRAMED IMAGES Paintings or prints or photographs. Avoid the malls and serenely browse the collections of our richly stocked St. John’s art houses: Christina Parker Gallery, Emma Butler Gallery, Red Ochre, Leyton Gallery, St. Michael’s Print Shop, James Baird Gallery. If you’re in Corner Brook drop into the Ewing or Franklin Galleries. If you

Paul Daly/The Independent

Fred’s Records in downtown St. John’s.

can’t find something beautiful and affordable at any one of these visual emporia then move on to the next until you find what you want. Someone will love you for it. 3. MEMBERSHIP IN THE ARTS COMMUNITY Sign someone up for the Resource Center for the Arts (the community-run LSPU Hall) or Eastern Edge (the efficiently run, artist-run gallery). Both places need donations like plants need light. The lucky recipient will get lively newsletters and a proud sense of belonging to the creative hub of the province. It’s like giving to charity, but more arty. 4. MUSIC Drop into locally owned Fred’s andscanthelargeimpressivewallof Newfoundland music. You can’t go wrong with any one of Ron Hynes’ CDs but notice both the latest eclectic jazz collection from scarily talented Duane Andrews or the husky, bluesy tunes from the preternaturally gifted Janet Cull and her band. Two CDs make a nice sizable gift. Splurge a little. Buy Rock Can Roll Compilation: Volume One, the first issue of the Independent Artists Cooperative, for yourself.

5. MORE MUSIC The Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra has come marvelously far in the last few years. A live concert is now a deep bath of good sound and a wonderful occasion for social schmoozing. Give some tickets to one of two special January 2005 concerts, when the NSO and the Ed Goff Band offer an evening in tribute to James Taylor, ageing babyboomer crooner and sing-a-long ex junkie. A bonus: the NSO will also be playing familiar scores from your favourite movies. When high and low music mix the people love it. 6. MOVIES/TAPES: Go to the National Film Board web site and purchase a copy of Secret Nation, one of the finest feature films in our short, but stellar film industry’s repertoire. Directed with brio in 1992 by Mike Jones, this drama is the perfect companion to The Independent’s recent six-part series on the cost of doing business with Canada. Reread the series, then watch the film while sipping rum and you’ll have the whole sociopolitical landscape covered. The NFB will also ship out Rain, Drizzle and Fog, Rosemary House’s ode to this notoriously inclement place, as well as the perennially hilarious

Tommy, Mary Sexton and Nigel Markham’s excellent tribute to the genius of Tommy Sexton. Order now. You need time to wrap. 7. ART AND CRAFTS Visit Devon House, home of the Newfoundland Craft Council. Rub yourself up against the silver, caress the pottery, and admire the wooly things. Lovely framed prints share elegant space on the walls with elaborate silks. If you can’t find something suitable here you can’t find it anywhere. 8. ANDY JONES He really is in a class by himself. It’s an early gift but worth breaking a little with tradition. After all, he does. You have until Dec. 19 to take someone to the King O’ Fun, Andy’s current oneman performance at the LSPU Hall. Like all of Andy’s shows, it will change you in some way forever. ’Tis the season of transformation. Experience it. 9. THEATRE Reserve your tickets for January for a much-anticipated production of a co-production called Chekhov Longs – In the Ravine. The much acclaimed mainland troupe of The-

atre Smith Gilmour will join up with our own saucily named Artistic Fraud to put on one fine spectacle of a drama. Founding director Jillian Keiley just won the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize and so now is your chance to see what all the fuss is about. Buy yourself a ticket and give someone you like — or, better still, who likes you — the seat next to you. 10. FINALLY, DO UP A GENEROUS ARTS BASKET Give someone a selection of all or some of the above, and wrap it all up in book jackets, art posters, theater programs, and gallery brochures. Some of these suggestions work especially well for Newfoundlanders living abroad, but almost all work at home, too. Let’s be honest: for how many years can one keep tying up the jam bottles and packaging the blueberry soap or those moose dropping candies? The really obvious choice of the discriminating gift giver is art, as alive as the culture that inspired it. Noreen Golfman is a professor of women’s studies and literature at Memorial University. Her next column appears Dec. 24.


Page 24

LIFE & TIMES

The Independent, December 12, 2004

‘Rooms readiness’ Opening date of The Rooms to be handed down soon; concern expressed over staffing levels By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

O

n Monday, Dec. 13, the provincial government will give its most recent official update on the future of The Rooms. The date marks five years to the day since then-premier Brian Tobin announced the $40-million plan to build a cultural facility in St. John’s to house the provincial archives, museum and art gallery. “We did commit to The Rooms opening in 2005,” Tourism Minister Paul Shelly tells The Independent. “I’m holding to that commitment. I can tell you that a date has been chosen and … on the 13th we’ll give you a good indication of the actual date.” The official opening of The Rooms has been a hot topic since the controversial one-year postponement announced in March. Originally slated to begin operations in June, the province’s cultural sector was shocked to hear of the fiscally motivated delay. At the time, Shelly said the decision was unavoidable and would save the government $2 million. Extra staff members were hired at the museum, archives and gallery after the original 1999 announcement to allow for preparations for the move to the Fort Townshend site. Despite the deferral, the provincial museum has continued to operate on Duckworth Street and chief curator Penny Houlden says rumours of staff packing and unpacking — only to have to pack again — are untrue. “That would have been too painful for all of us, and so in fact we didn’t do it.” Houlden adds that the museum wasn’t completely packed up when the postponement announcement was made, but the material that was packed, stayed packed. Over August and September the museum decided to transfer the material as originally planned, and some now sits in The

Rooms, as well as in off-site storage facilities. She says they took the opportunity to relocate 90 per cent of the exhibits, and in so doing made time and space to re-decorate the Duckworth site for some new exhibits that were originally slated to showcase at The Rooms. ‘WONDERFUL EXHIBIT’ “In the summertime we showed a wonderful exhibit of French archival material … and two weeks ago we took that exhibit down and we’ve opened up a new exhibit by the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, about the Mi’kmaq.” Houlden says she was grateful for the extra hands employed during “Rooms readiness” preparations, but doesn’t know what the staff requirements might be for the museum once the collections finally

INDEPENDENT CROSSWORD ACROSS 1 Volcano emission 5 Believer: suffix 8 Streetcar 12 West Indian belief involving sorcery 17 Was indebted to 18 Eastern way 19 ___-in-one 20 Oil: comb. form 21 Tuber made into poi 22 Like areas surrounding cities 24 “___ words were never spoken.” 25 Move slyly 27 Furniture “skin” 28 Bright golden brown 29 Walk with heels up 31 Colette’s case 32 A lot 33 Whole: comb. form 34 ___ tongues (Nfld. delicacy) 35 Class 36 Nov. and Dec. 39 Riddle 43 Ultraviolet rad. of a kind 44 “Haste makes waste,” e.g. 46 Responsibility 47 Old CBC Radio program with Acadian Male Quartet: “___ Harbour” 49 Southern girl 50 Wager 51 Bird that meows 52 Contagious skin disease 54 Writing-on-___ Prov. Park, Alta.

materials are still met, but generally take longer to carry out. ‘REALLY CONCERNED’ “We’re really, really concerned about the staffing … I worked in Nova Scotia when they opened a new provincial archives there, and the usership just tripled and quadrupled … and what’s going to happen when they open The Rooms? Everybody’s going to go to have a look and they’re going to discover things are much more accessible there for all the institutions.” Shelly says no fixed plans have been made for the use of either the museum building or the Colonial Building just yet, but that they will both automatically become the responsibility of the Department of Works, Services and Transportation once operations are shifted to The Rooms.

Solutions on page 26

56 Indecisive end 57 Inventor of potato digger 58 Decapitates 60 It picnics on pith 62 Shogunate capital 65 Word with double or free 66 Ofra Harnoy 67 Undesirable plant 68 Old tars 69 Intermediate: prefix 70 Lived in 72 Building extension 73 Some cards and tags 74 In addition 75 Atom with a charge 76 “Hey!” 78 Egg: comb. form 79 Grow pale 82 Hamilton steel maker 85 City with least sunshine year-round: ___ Rupert, B.C. 87 Scrabble draws 89 Northern adjective 90 Methodology of teaching 92 Start for legal or medic 93 Swiftly 94 Exploiter 95 German article 96 Embodiment of love 97 Request to a subscriber 98 Sir John A., e.g. 99 Colonizing insect 100 Unit of heredity DOWN 1 House sites

move. After the deferral announcement, the museum reverted back to its usual staff numbers. Shelly says staffing matters will be addressed by The Rooms’ board at the relevant time, submitted to government, and assessed through the budget. Mary Ellen Wright with the Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives says future staffing is their biggest concern. Based inside the Colonial Building, once home of the provincial legislature, Wright says the association is currently shortstaffed, and although operations are still functioning, workers have to run around between storage facilities, The Rooms, and the Colonial Building. “They’re still moving and they’re still handling requests from government and they’re still doing all the things that they always did,” she says, adding requests for

2 Expect 3 Italian opera composer 4 Influential 19th c. educator: Egerton Ryerson 5 Possessive that doesn’t take an apostrophe 6 First woman Governor General: Jeanne ___ 7 Hamlet’s famous first words 8 Needle and ___ 9 Judicial apparel 10 Wing-like 11 Chess pieces 12 Pertaining to the eye 13 Place in a VIA vehicle 14 Small case 15 Sphere 16 Tooter 23 Like undecided voters 26 English public school 28 N.W.T. hamlet, for short 30 Veteran (2 wds.) 32 Provincial rep. 34 Rein in 35 Climbing plant 36 Aboriginal people now in Quebec and N. B. 37 Cop an eyeful 38 Witnesses 39 Corn on the ___ 40 ___ of a kind 41 Concisely: in a ___ 42 Grades 43 Emphasizing 44 Die down 45 Charger’s acquisition 48 Bay window 51 Covers

52 Walking-in-taffeta sound 53 Tall water plant 55 Camper’s quarters 58 Military installation 59 Equal (Fr.) 61 Intellectual faculty 63 River to the Irish Sea 64 Peculiar 66 These (Fr.) 67 Mosquito capital of Canada

69 Alta. summer time 71 Junk, of a kind 73 Equal: prefix 74 Bird enclosure 76 Public square (Fr.) 77 Peter Robertson’s 1908 invention 78 “Peace, ___ and good government” 79 Initiated 80 N.S. municipality with large Acadian population

81 The great blue, for one 82 Box to train 83 Drink to excess 84 Verve 85 Capital of Mexico? 86 Musical epilogue 88 What to enclose with your ms. 90 Place 91 Whitehorse time


SPORTS

December 12, 2004

Kyle Wellwood, St. John’s Maple Leafs No. 97.

Page 25

Paul Daly/The Independent

Only goal that counts Leafs’ sniper Kyle Wellwood may be racking up points, but his objective is home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs By Darcy MacRae For The Independent

K

yle Wellwood is catching some people by surprise. The St. John’s Maple Leafs centre began his second season of pro hockey without much fanfare, mainly due to the club’s off-season additions of NHL players such as Matt Stajan, David Ling and Nathan Perrott. With returning veterans Clark Wilm, Carlo Colaiacovo and St. John’s-native Harold Druken also in the mix, fans of the most high-profile team in the province couldn’t be blamed for overlooking the 5’10”, 190-pound playmaker. But with over a quarter of the season now in the books, followers of the club can’t get enough of Wellwood, seeing that he leads the team in both goals and points. Despite the fact that most hockey observers were predicting that the scoring race would come down to the likes of Stajan, Ling and Druken, the hierarchy of the baby buds is not the least bit taken back by Wellwood’s place in team scoring. “He’s a gifted hockey player. He’s put up numbers everywhere he’s played, so it shouldn’t be a surprise,” says Kevin McClelland, an assistant coach with the St. John’s Leafs. “He sees the ice really well and has great moves, so he’s always going to put up points.” Ever since his days as a junior star in the Ontario Hockey League, Wellwood has been known in hockey circles for his outstanding stick handling,

soft passes and ability to read the play. were up 3-2 at the time and went on to Those qualities helped him make the win by the same score). Instead, Welltransition from junior to pro last sea- wood let loose a quick wrist shot that son and continue to aid in his devel- MacDonald barely got his right pad opment this year. on, generating a collective sigh from “Last year I had a good season too, the 3,489 fans on hand. I actually led the team in scoring for Although Wellwood didn’t score on the bulk of the year,” Wellwood tells the play, his decision to try to beat the The Independent, referring to his 55 Grand Rapids netminder himself is an points as a rookie in St. John’s. “Com- indication of Wellwood’s change in ing into this year, there was a spot philosophy. open to be the No. 1 offensive centre“I’ve been able to beat guys one-onman. I tried to jump on it and hope- one this year and make a play on the fully I can ride it out goalie. That’s been the as long as I can.” biggest difference,” Despite scoring 20 says the 21-year-old. “Once you get a goals last season, Like any well-manWellwood often took nered professional little bit of heat over a perceived hockey player, Wellchemistry on a notion that he didn’t wood insists much of line, the possibilities his success this season shoot the puck are endless.” enough. That doesn’t is due to his linemates seem to be an issue — Kevin McClelland — Ling and Druken. this season, with While such praise is Wellwood firing from often merely a sign of all angels in an political, locker-room attempt to light the lamp. correctness, it really is close to the His effort in a Dec. 7 game versus truth when discussing this trio of forthe Grand Rapids Griffins at Mile One wards. Stadium is an indication of his confiThey are the classic mixture of musdence with the puck. During third- cle and skill. Druken is the line’s period action, Wellwood swooped into sniper, Wellwood the playmaker, and the Grand Rapids corner to pick up a Ling the grinder. Considering Ling loose puck on his backhand before and Druken follow Wellwood in team circling wide around a pair of defend- scoring, it’s no surprise the line is a ers, ending up just a few feet from favourite of Leaf’s head coach Doug Griffins’ goalie Joey MacDonald. Sheddon. With a teammate breaking down the “It’s a line that goes into every game left side, it appeared Wellwood might with the chance of getting a goal or slide a pass across the crease in an two for us,” he says. “They’re three attempt to pad the Leafs’ lead (they skilled guys who create a lot of

chances. They’re all scorers.” The opening period of the Dec. 7 contest versus Grand Rapids gave fans a good look at the trio’s chemistry. Just past the mid-way point of the period, Wellwood, Druken and Ling broke into the Griffins zone on a threeon-two rush. Druken slid a pass across the crease to Ling, only to see the puck deflect behind the net. Ling quickly recovered the puck and sent a pass back out front where Wellwood was waiting to tap in his 14th goal of the season. The play brought a thunderous roar from the stands and a round of applause from the Leafs bench. “Once you get a little bit of chemistry on a line, the possibilities are endless,” says McClelland of the club’s top line. Given the fact that he’s the team’s leading scorer, it would only make sense to assume that Wellwood would be given a serious shot at cracking the Toronto Maple Leafs’ roster should the NHL lockout ever end. But instead of waiting by the phone and hoping to hear that the labour stoppage is about to come to a conclusion, Wellwood insists that his focus is on St. John’s and making the American Hockey League’s final season in Newfoundland and Labrador one fans will remember. “Our goal is to get home-ice advantage for the first round of playoffs,” he says. “The City of St. John’s deserves that.” Darcy_8888@hotmail.com


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Keeping cool on the ice W

ithout sounding like a know-it-all, I was left wondering exactly what might have been running through another coach’s mind during a recent pee wee hockey game in Conception Bay North. The team I was helping coach was up by five or six goals, with roughly six minutes to go in a relatively peaceful game against another team that resides on the Avalon Peninsula. (For the sake of the kids, I’ll leave out the name of the team.) A missed call — not the first, nor the last — apparently ticked off the opposing team’s coach to the point that he took a few strips off the referee. The ref gave the coach the heave-ho, and he left the ice in a huff, kicking the puck down the ice on his way. Play resumed, but quickly halted again when an on-ice scuffle between two opposing kids broke out. I’m not certain what happened to start the scrap, but hey, kids sometimes like to emulate their on-screen idols. From the stands, the ejected coach motioned to his co-coaches and, next thing you know, they all left the bench — players included — and headed for their dressing room. Our team was left to watch the clock tick off the final five minutes from our bench. We were informed that to leave the bench before the game ended could result in a suspension of the entire team. Upon further review of the rulebook, it was my interpretation that the opposing coaches did not act wisely in leaving the ice. Their actions could have resulted in the kids being suspended for potentially one year, or more. I’m not insinuating the coach purposely exposed the players to that risk, but he should have used better judgement. I’m not certain what Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador will do in this case, but I hope it doesn’t mean the kids will suffer. They were just following their coach’s orders. He should have known better. And to blame it all on poor officiating is not going to cut it. No one is going to agree with every call, but we’ve all got to keep our cool.

Mike Blake/Reuters

Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson springs out of the starting block during his 100 metre qualifying race in Barcelona, Spain. Johnson was stripped of his gold medal from the Seoul Olympics after testing positive for steroids.

Especially when our actions/reactions can influence kids so profoundly. PLAYING FOR THE RIGHT REASONS The year was 1988, and I was totally caught up in the euphoria of Ben Johnson’s race to glory in the 100 metres at the Seoul Olympics. One of the greatest moments in Canadian sports history quickly became our most public disgrace when it was discovered Johnson was on steroids. He was a pioneer, blazing a trail

of drug-use in sports that sadly didn’t stop there. It’s either gotten a lot worse, or the folks who work on detecting the abuse have gotten a lot better. Johnson was human, like the rest of us. He made a mistake, but like any athlete, he was just playing up to the competition. Others in that race had taken performance-enhancing drugs, yet they will never be as notorious for their actions as Johnson, who today still draws media attention. ESPN ran a story recently about Johnson’s comments on drug abuse in sports.

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Basically, he said that any athlete who wins gold has to be doing more than just training. Today’s society encourages, even accepts, this type of behaviour, Johnson said. Why haven’t athletes learned from the shame and embarrassment of busted Ben? Why is Major League Baseball, with its ongoing investigation into drug use by players, facing such a critical stage in its existence? If rumours and innuendo of popping pills and injecting juice one day become details and facts, the damage could be irrevocable. Unless, of course, league owners forego morals and old-time athletic virtue and openly allow players to take whatever drugs they want, as long as they show up to play. I get this creepy, unsettling, sickto-my-stomach feeling that one day someone, somewhere, will think it could make money — the root of it all. The perceived profit of victory has wreaked havoc with just about every professional sport, and the damage is perhaps even more severe in the hallowed “amateur” world of the Olympic Games. When you consider the amount of work and research that goes into keeping the drug-testers a step ahead of the users, it would seem the scientists train harder than the

Bob the Bayman BOB WHITE athletes. Does anyone seriously think that during their lifetime they will be able to watch an Olympic Games that isn’t tarnished by some drug scandal? We want winners, and athletes want to oblige — using any means available to them sometimes. In this drive-thru, downloading, weight-loss-in-a-pill, give-it-tome-now world, we have lost our way. I am not implying all athletes fall into these traps, but drugs in sports are indeed a major problem that probably mirrors society’s troubles in general. Other ills of society continue to manifest themselves in the world of professional sports (brawling, disrespect of officials and athletes, a me-first attitude, etc.). And while these perils sometimes trickle down to the grassroots, minor sports level, it’s still refreshing to watch kids hit the ice, court and field and play for all the right reasons. Bob White writes from Carbonear. whitebobby@yahoo.com

Crossword Solutions from page 24


The Independent, December 12, 2004

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Events DECEMBER 12 • A Wreath of Carols Cochrane Street United Church, St. John’s. 3 p.m. Tickets: $10/$7, available at Arts and Culture Centre box office or at the door. • Signals to Santa: the first annual event will be held 1-3 p.m. at Cabot Tower Heritage Shop. Send your message to the North Pole from Signal Hill. Free cookies, hot apple cider, kids’ prizes. Weather permitting, 727-9630. • Best Little Newfoundland Christmas Pageant Ever dinner theatre at the Majestic Theatre, 390 Duckworth St., St. John’s. Doors open 6:30 p.m., 579-3023. Runs until Dec. 18. • King O’Fun, Andy Jones’ one-man show. Running at the LSPU Hall, Victoria Street, until Dec. 19, 753-4531. • Colleen Power Face and Eyes CD launch, Masonic Temple, Cathedral St., St. John’s, 2-5 p.m. Children welcome. DECEMBER 13 • Avalon Mall–VOCM Happy Tree Concert Entertainment, songs and festive fun. A Christmas tradition at the Arts and Culture Centre, St. John’s, 8 p.m. DECEMBER 14 • Creative writers’ workshop, open to novice or seasoned writers. Hot chocolate and coffee provided on site, St. John’s, 754-6020.

DECEMBER 15 • The Spirit of Newfoundland productions presents Christmas Cabaret Dinner Theatre at the Majestic, 390 Duckworth St. 7 p.m. Reservations required, 579-3023. • Folk night at the Ship Pub, St. John’s, with Sara and Kamila, 9 p.m. DECEMBER 16 • The Dance Party of Newfoundland Presents On the Nog: five faithful members Steve Cochrane, Phil Churchill, Aiden Flynn, Jonny Harris, and Dave Sullivan do sketch comedy at Rabbittown Theatre, Merrymeeting Road, St. John’s. Runs to Dec. 18, 9 p.m. • Nursing alumni chapter of Memorial University will hold its first Christmas social in the Medical School Student Lounge on the second floor of the Health Sciences Centre, 777-6530. DECEMBER 17 • The Nutcracker presented by Kittiwake Dance Theatre, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.7:30 p.m. Tickets: $18.00/$15. Evening performance begins 7:30 p.m.; school matinee 10 a.m. DECEMBER 18 • Great Big Sea … The Beautiful Tour, with special guests Jimmy Rankin and Liam Titcomb. Mile One Stadium, 576-7657. • Christmas at the Ship Pub, St. John’s with Lizband and the Jill Porter Band, $6. • The Nutcracker presented by Kittiwake Dance Theatre, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $18.00/$15 evening performance at 7:30 p.m. DECEMBER 19 • Annual Christmas concert, featuring the award-winning Quintessential Vocal Ensemble and Choirs of Holy Heart High School, with Quintelles girls’ choir, directed by Susan Quinn, 3 p.m., Cochrane Street United Church, St. John’s. IN THE GALLERIES • Spirit, the annual members exhibition, Resource Centre for the Arts visual art gallery, LSPU Hall. Opening Dec. 12, 2 p.m., until Jan. 24. • Comfort and Joy, festive group exhibition at the Craft Council Gallery, Devon House, Duckworth St., 753-2749. Until Dec. 15. • Christmas Art by Elizabeth Burry, Linda Coles and Julie Duff. Balance restaurant, 147 LeMarchant Rd., St. John’s, 722-2112. • Christmas from the Art at Cynthia I. Noel Art Gallery, 121 Long’s Hill, St. John’s, 754-5560. • New work by local artist Jason Jenkins and UK artist Vivian Pedley, James Baird Gallery, 221 Duckworth St. Opening reception Dec. 17 5-7 p.m. Show until Jan. 7. • In Sequence members exhibit at the Leyton Gallery of Fine Art, Baird’s Cove, St. John’s.


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