VOL. 2 ISSUE 38
Due to the holidays, the Dec. 26 edition of The Independent will be available on Friday, Dec.24. The Jan. 2 edition will be available on Dec. 31.
Will private clubs beat smoking ban? Page 15
LIFE & TIMES
The last of the red hot mummer mamas Page 23
INTERNATIONAL Catherine Power soaks up culture in Vienna Page 18
On the many meanings of Christmas
ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19-25, 2004
Big Land, bigger missiles
$1.00 (INCLUDING HST)
‘La la land’
Marine Atlantic review won’t factor in fixed link, Quebec north shore highway
By Stephanie Porter The Independent
Wing Goose Bay on one hand, and condemn the proposed missile defence system on the other. “We can’t turn around and say, ‘Well would you mind bringing your people, your troops, your money up to Goose Bay and train? But we really can’t support you on other things you’re trying to do to protect your country.’” Williams made the comments during a three-day visit earlier this year by U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci. The two visited 5 Wing Goose Bay and potential sites for the lower Churchill dam. Williams’ comments put him at odds with Prime Minister Paul Martin who is still on the fence when it comes to housing any part of the missile defence system in the Canadian north. “It really depends on what kind of voice we’re going to have in it,” Martin said in a year-end interview with CTV. “But I am going to protect our airspace — I am going to protect our sovereignty. But I’m not going to engage in something in which we’re an innocent bystander.” Williams went one step further, saying in the same Independent article that he wouldn’t have a problem with nuclear weapons being placed in Labrador. “It’s my own personal feeling and conviction, and whether it puts me at odds with anybody, quite frankly is not my concern,” said Williams. Contacted this week, a spokesman for the premier’s office said Williams had no further comment. A spokesman with the U.S. Missile Defence Agency says discussions are ongoing with Ottawa, but not with specific communities. “I don’t know of any such talks,” Chris Taylor, an agency spokesman, tells The Independent from Washington.
Paul Daly/The Independent
he man heading a sweeping review of Marine Atlantic says he has no plans to consider the effect a fixed link between Labrador and the island or the completion of Quebec’s north shore highway could have on the Port aux Basques ferry service. “That’s outside our mandate,” Sid Hynes tells The Independent. “Our mandate does not determine the best way to get to Newfoundland, whether it be air, marine or link — our mandate is to take a look at Marine Atlantic in terms of how that company can be stabilized.” It’s a change of tune from three weeks ago, when Hynes, in an interview with The Independent, said he was open to suggestions from stakeholders — and, if substantiated in a brief, would be taken into account by the committee. At the time, he was responding to Tourism Minister Paul Shelley’s statement that the fixed link was something the review committee “could look at.” Burf Ploughman, a member of the 1977 Sullivan commission on transportation in Newfoundland, echoes Shelley’s thought — and goes further. He says it would be “irresponsible” for Hynes’ commission not to consider routes to Newfoundland other than Port aux Basques — particularly when it comes to the completion of highway 138. The road, also known as the north shore highway, hugs the coastline of Quebec along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, ending in a community called Natashquan. It picks up again 300 kilometres later, in Vieux-Fort, near the Labrador border and the ferry between Blanc Sablon, Labrador and St. Barbe, Newfoundland. “In the last election, Jean Charest promised he would complete the highway,” Ploughman tells The Independent. The project would carry an estimated cost of $350 million to $500 million. Should the coastal highway be finished, Ploughman says, it, plus the onehour ferry, could prove an extremely popular way to and from Newfoundland — taking away as much as 50 per cent
Continued on page 2
The Independent lands a one-on-one interview with St. Nick himself during a recent stopover at the Avalon Mall in St. John’s, where the overworked merry man posed for autographs and pictures with admirers, young and old alike.
Continued on page 2
Labrador may play role in U.S. defence system; Americans deny talks have taken place with northern towns such as Happy Valley-Goose Bay By Jeff Ducharme The Independent
ources tell The Independent that officials in Happy Valley-Goose Bay have been contacted concerning the possible installation of infrastructure to support the American government’s controversial missile defence system. U.S. government sources, however, deny such talks have taken place. “It’s been alluded to that the possibilities exist,” Happy Valley-Goose Bay Mayor Leo Abbas tells The Independent. “There’s a company out there that’s looking at a number of different sites.” That company, confirms Abbas, is Raytheon — the military contractor that designed and built the defence system. When contacted, a Raytheon spokesman declined comment and directed all inquiries to the U.S. Defence Department. The infrastructure in question would likely include a radar site — not ballistic missiles. “To the best of my knowledge, none of the people I know here (in the Department of Defence) who work with missile defence policy issues have had formal talks with anyone in Labrador,” says a U.S. defence department source, who asked not to be identified. “That is not to say someone else in the (United States government) has or has not had such talks, formal or informal. I can only speak to missile defence policy folks that I work with.” The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay has been struggling to keep its military base — 5 Wing Goose Bay — alive since the pull out of a handful of NATO countries, including the U.S. Premier Danny Williams told The Independent in August it would be hypocritical to ask the Americans to return to 5
‘Nowhere else to go’
Closure of fish plants in one-industry towns devastating, but days of working for stamps over
By Jeff Ducharme The Independent
“His passion for Labrador was always strong and his determination was solid and steadfast.”
— Labrador Métis Nation president Todd Russell of MP Lawrence O’Brien
Paul Daly/The Independent
Plant workers sort fish at Woodman Sea Products in New Harbour, Trinity Bay.
he issue of too many fish plants and not enough fish has been studied by government committees and royal commissions in Newfoundland and Labrador since the early 1930s. The subject was revisited again in 1980 with the Kirby report and again in 2003 with the Dunne report. With Fishery Products International’s closure of its Harbour Breton plant and layoff of employees at its Fortune operation, the issue is once again fueling fires across the province. The problem, industry experts say, may correct itself as the processing industry is
expected to face a labour shortage within the next 10 years. By 2016, 75 per cent of all plant workers will be over 45 years of age. “…we’ll have rationalization one way or the other,” provincial Fisheries Minister Trevor Taylor tells The Independent. “It’ll either be imposed upon us by external forces or we’ll manage it by ourselves, but either way it’s not going to be easy.” The rising Canadian dollar and stiff competition from China — where labour costs are estimated to be as much as 80 per cent less than here in Canada — are being cited as major hurdles for fish plants in the province. The U.S. market is still the industry’s top seafood customer,
buying 39 per cent of exports. Ironically, the Chinese have moved into second place at 20 per cent — an increase of more than 15 per cent in the last 10 years. There are 122 licensed plants in the province, processing species from groundfish such as cod to crab to shrimp. According to the Dunne report, which was commissioned by the previous Liberal government in a bid to help the fishery adjust to failing stocks and global competition, 15,000 people from 500 communities are employed in fish plants throughout the province. The Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ (FFAW) union, which represents the majority of plant workers in the province, disputes that number, saying the figure is closer to 9,000.
Fred Woodman Jr., a fish plant owner in New Harbour, Trinity Bay, says the decisions facing the industry and its workers will be painful ones. “I think the days of trying to operate just for the sake of creating unemployment insurance stamps, that’s coming to an end,” says Woodman, who began working in his father’s fish plant at the age of 12. After the northern cod moratorium was announced in 1992 and 30,000 people in the province were thrown out of work — the largest layoff in Canadian history — 16,600 plant workers registered for employment insurance. Continued on page 2
‘Vicious’ competition From page 1 By 2002, that number fell to just 8,200. Woodman says plant owners will always be the “villains of Newfoundland” — an easy target for politicians and unions. “It’s difficult because, first of all, it’s always good politics in Newfoundland to beat up on a fish plant.” The Association of Seafood Producers, representing fish plant in the province, has also entered the fray. Officials say more plants will close because there are simply too many plants and not enough fish. “God damn it, we went into the ’90s and everybody acknowledged that plants had to close,” says Woodman. “The only problem we had is none of them could be in a politician’s district.” In the 1980s, 230,000 to 275,000 tonnes of cod a year were taken from waters off the province. By 2002, that number had plunged to 3,500 tonnes. Allan Moulton, FFAW representative for the FPI plant in Marystown and vice-president of the union’s industrial committee, says the province and the federal government are ignoring the human factor. “I mean everybody recognizes the problem, that there’s a shortage of the resource,” says Moulton. “In the meantime, how do you look after the workers and their families that stayed in these communities and worked for these companies for the last 30 or 40 years? “If there’s going to be downsizing, there’s got to be a human way of doing that.” The union is calling for an early retirement program to lessen the pain of downsizing. Taylor doesn’t rule out such a program, which would cost tens of millions of dollars, but he says the province won’t go it alone. “We’re interested in having a discussion with the industry and the feds on this,” says Taylor. “I’ve told the union and the processors … that we think that early retirement can help us through this rationalization piece.”
Taylor says the province is “not prepared to pursue it” if such a retirement program doesn’t permanently reduce the number of plant workers. Woodman, who describes competition for crab as “vicious,” says that species has also begun a downward slide. His company buys four million pounds of crab each year. “The groundfish comes and the groundfish goes and the crab has come and now it looks like the crab is certainly diminishing,” says Woodman. After the cod failed, crab filled the void. It was lucrative and, for the most part, plentiful. Art May, a former federal deputy minister of Fisheries and former president of Memorial University, was just named to a federal committee to examine foreign overfishing. May says all levels of government, processors and the union have to work together to manage impending changes. “You only got to look around to see a trend and the trend is towards movement of the fishery towards the Avalon Peninsula,” says May. “Look across the harbour in St. John’s and look at the number and value of the fishing boats tied up there and then consider that there’s no fish processing capacity in St. John’s.” Woodman agrees. “St. John’s is going to become the ultimate port, but from a geographic distribution and social-economic policy, it’s the worst place in the world,” says Woodman. Moulton says trend or no trend, the feds and the province have to “step up to the plate. “We’re talking about one-industry towns here,” says Moulton. “That’s all they got for survival. There’s nowhere else to go.” Both Woodman and May say that rural areas are facing brutal times, but that they will find a way to survive. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, says Woodman, have always survived the hard times. “I don’t think the world would come to an end if we (only) had five fish plants,” says Woodman. “I think we’re a tougher, more resilient bunch of people than that.”
The Independent, December 19, 2004
‘Much bigger issue for different table’ From page 1 of the traffic on the North Sydney-Port aux Basques route. Capital and operating costs on the Gulf service would likewise decrease. “Our best estimates say it could remove a day of travel between Quebec City and St. John’s,” says Ploughman. “It would have tremendous benefits to the transportation of goods and tourism … and tremendous impact on the Nova Scotia highway. “It’s a mainland link eliminating Port aux Basques uncertainty.” Completion of the highway has been bandied about in Quebec for years — it’s been an election promise of prime ministers as far back as Brian Mulroney, up to and including Paul Martin. Ploughman says the Hynes review is mandated to look at long-term projections for Marine Atlantic, and those should include the possible development of other transportation routes. “It’s irresponsible to … do this study without getting confirmation of whether the road is going through,” he says.
Hynes disagrees. “That’s way beyond what we’re doing,” the former Marine Atlantic CEO says. He gives the example of the Corner Brook ferry service, which was much talked about, he says, five years ago. “I mean, if you were to take that at face value, maybe we’d be getting rid of ferries, well then you’d have no service because that service didn’t materialize. It’s the same thing with roads. You can’t assume because some politician said he was going to build a road, that’s going to happen. “But if a road exists obviously and it’s having impact on Marine Atlantic then we’d have to consider it, wouldn’t we? Because it’s real. But we can’t be off in la la land.” As for the Newfoundland-Labrador fixed link, Ploughman says the finished highway 138 would prove — or disprove — the need for a tunnel or bridge. Hynes simply says “that’s a much bigger issue for a different table.” — with files from Alisha Morrissey
Infrastructure to include radar From page 1 When pushed as to whether talks may happen in the future with northern communities such as Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Taylor’s tone changes. “… no. I don’t know of any discussions with communities like that and now you’re asking me if I have a timeline — all I know is that discussions are ongoing with the (Canadian) government.” The missile defence system was announced in 2004 by U.S. President George W. Bush. The troubled system, which suffered another setback when an intercept missile never left its silo on Dec. 16 during a test
firing, is already heating things up in Ottawa as the New Democratic Party levelled its guns at Martin, accusing him of already agreeing to allow the U.S. to place some of the infrastructure on northern soil. A group of academics also raised fears last week that the system is just the first step in placing weapons in space, the controversial “star wars” system first proposed by the late Ronald Regan. According to Abbas, people need to be “educated.” He says the infrastructure that would be placed in Labrador would be similar to radar facilities that they’ve maintained there for the last 40 years — no different. “We’re not taking anything at all costs.”
The Independent, December 19, 2004
Paul Daly/The Independent
‘A fabulous debate’
Vic Young reflects on his royal commission: it hit the hot spots, but there’s more to be done By Stephanie Porter The Independent
ic Young has a favourite anecdote from his time as head of the Royal Commission on Renewing and Strengthening Our Place in Canada. Though he dealt with many outport residents during his 17 years with FPI, a “five-minute segment” in 2002 profoundly changed the way he thought about rural Newfoundland. It was in an elementary school in Point Leamington, a small town on the northeastern coast of Newfoundland. Young was leading one of the many workshops he and his co-commissioners held during their year of research and public consultation. “I asked the students, ‘If the royal commission could bring something to you or your community, what would it be?’” says Young. “This young man put up his hand, and said, ‘I would like the royal commission to bring a job for my father’ … I thought, that’s very good, I only wish we could.” The student next to him said the same thing, and on around the classroom. Eleven out of 15 students, Young says, wanted jobs for their dads. Young assumed the fathers were unemployed in rural Newfoundland. But then he asked
the children why they gave the answer they did. “This young man said, ‘Because he’s in Alberta. I haven’t seen him for nine months’ … And then, the other 10, they were in exactly the same position. All had fathers in New Brunswick, Ontario, Alberta, working in the tar sands, the woods, wherever. “In one fell swoop these 15 young children in Point Leamington blew the stereotypical impression of the unemployed Newfoundlander out of the water … I was heartbroken but profoundly impacted because you do hear all those myths about the lazy Newfoundlander.” The royal commission was launched in early 2002. Young was chair of the project; his cocommissioners were Sister Elizabeth Davis and Judge James Igloliorte. The final report was delivered July 2, 2003. Young says he hadn’t picked up the report for months, until he sat down last week, highlighter in hand, to reread it. He was hit by more than a few memories — “99.9 per cent positive.” Researching and preparing the document, he continues, was “one of the very best experiences of my entire life.” When released, the report was praised by the governing Liberals for encouraging dialogue and pro-
viding a “factual basis … to the case which the government has been advancing to Ottawa on several fronts,” including the Atlantic Accord, the lower Churchill, and a new relationship with the federal government.
“We just didn’t have enough hard evidence to reach the conclusion we and everyone else wanted us to reach and that became, well why didn’t you have a balance sheet?” — Vic Young There were criticisms of the report, too. Some said the report didn’t offer enough concrete recommendations, others were looking for — and didn’t find — a balance sheet for what Newfoundland gives Canada and vice versa. Recently, there have been media reports accusing the commission’s report of simply sitting, unused, on a shelf. “All of that might bother me if I thought it were true,” says
Young. “But I know it isn’t (collecting dust) … It’s not for us to be defending it or promoting it, we just let the debate go on. I don’t have to prove anything.” Young says the commissioners decided not to use the usual way of listing recommendations by number, believing the issues could not be looked at in isolation. They wanted to provide a “mosaic,” a combination of points that would show a pathway to a better existence in Canada. “Everything is interrelated,” he says. “The passion about the Atlantic Accord today, that’s as much about Churchill Falls as it is about the Atlantic Accord. If you talk about the economy … you can’t talk about St. John’s without talking about the fishery.” Young says his key questions, one-and-a-half years later, are “Did we identify the big issues?” and “Are we as a province moving ahead on those issues?” One of the conclusions the commissioners reached was that it was necessary to change the relationship with the Government of Canada, to “stop battling with them every day … to move into a more realistic relationship,” says Young. And that, he says, is exactly what the Williams government has done —fighting hard, but not “bashing” the feds. Young goes on: the report asks
for changes to healthcare funding, equalization and the fiscal position of the province — all of which, he says, are happening. The centrepiece of the report? “The Atlantic Accord … that’s the big piece,” he says. “We were right on target with all of those issues.” Young addresses another point. Contrary to popular belief, he says, the royal commission did a balance sheet exercise — it was commissioned and completed by the Ontario-based Centre for Spatial Economics. It is a supplement to the final report, but not included in it. “(Those) numbers show, on balance, the federal government is putting in more than they are getting out. “Now we all have the sense that’s just not true. So then you have to go to all those other issues, like Churchill Falls. How much does that really contribute to Canada? It’s just like all the Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are now in mainland Canada and contributing to the country … “We just didn’t have enough hard evidence to reach the conclusion we and everyone else wanted us to reach and that became, well why didn’t you have a balance sheet? Continued on page 7
The Independent, December 19, 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 Reporter Clare-Marie Gosse Production Manager John Andrews Intern Jenny Higgins OPERATIONS General Manager John Moores firstname.lastname@example.org Consultant Wilson Hiscock Manager Sales & Marketing Andrew Best Account Executives Nancy Burt email@example.com Jackie Sparkes-Arnold firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation Representative Brian Elliott Office Manager Rose Genge Graphic Designer Steffanie Keating Reception/Circulation Assistant Stephanie Martin E-MAIL Advertising: email@example.com Production: firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation: email@example.com Newsroom: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Killing us softly
ord has it there’s a plan afoot to shut down all the fish plants around the bay in favour of a super-sized operation on Stavanger Drive, out by Kent’s and the Future Shop. Certain sections of that end of town — the east end, where the old money resides — could become resettlement villages for baymen who aren’t quite ready to surrender their hair nets and filleting knives; to give up their insurable hours of income. Everything else is moving to St. John’s, why not the few plants that are left? If only Logy Bay was closer so the baymen could float their matchbox houses on barrels into the industrial park and tie them down (just like in The Shipping News) by the box stores. Quaint little shanties — fenced in with clotheslines; overturned dories for lawn ornaments. Maybe a photographer could get a modern resettlement shot — a picture of outport kids watching their home drift up Torbay Road on a flatbed. How convenient would it be for the baymen to pick up a crate of molasses in the fall of the year with the Price Club next door? The baymen could drop by the book aisle whenever they get homesick to flip through a coffee table book on the outports. Sure the UI office is only down over the hill in Pleasantville by the pond where the Regatta is held
every August. If the poor baymen miss the taste of the sea they could splash themselves with salt water from the lobster tank at Sobey’s. If they long for the feel of sap on their hands in the winter they could pick up a bag of splits for $3.44 (taxes in) at the Irving station on the corner. Wal-Mart would definitely have fans to blow away the stink of fish in summer when the dump trucks cart in loads of fish from places like Outer Cove or Flatrock where the fishing boats could tie up. The boats could be foreign even; let countries like Spain and Portugal have all the fish they want and give poor old DFO a break from the charade of fighting overfishing. Make no mistake: rural Newfoundland and Labrador is dying before our eyes — slowly, ever so slowly. Why not a mercy killing? Jab a knife in all at once and end the suffering quick; relocate the outports in one swoop instead of continuing with false hopes of better times that may never come. No fish, no sign of fish, equals no future. Truth be told, it’s no fun to poke fun at baymen when there are none around to defend themselves. Indeed, Newfoundland and Labrador’s most passionate leaders
today are senior citizens. They haven’t aged in spirit — not men the likes of Gus Etchegary or John Crosbie — but in years walking the land of their fishermen forefathers. Even Tom Hickey, one of the leaders of the province’s newest political party, is eligible for old-age pension. Where have the young baymen gone that they don’t stand up to be counted? Where are the baymen under 45 and 50 that they don’t save themselves and their children from extinction? Have they all become townies with new homes in Paradise and Foxtrap? Is there no young blood left to lead us? The outports have been depopulated. The best and brightest have left for opportunity elsewhere, because there’s none here at home — certainly not beyond the overpass. What’s most unfortunate is that our leaders today are not worth their salt. MP John Efford is a prime example of a politician failing his people. As a backbench MP, he supported Canada extending custodial management over the Grand Banks. As a member of Paul Martin’s cabinet in a position to do something, he stands back as the rape of the fishing grounds continues. Efford also stood by the PM when he backtracked on his pre-
election promise to grant this province 100 per cent of provincial offshore oil revenues. Not only that, Efford said “take it or leave it.” What a thing for a Newfoundlander to say. A Newfoundlander and Labradorian’s only birthright is his right to call himself one, which is a good thing for Efford, who would lose the honour otherwise. When Efford announced recently he would resign from cabinet over same-sex marriage the immediate reaction was that he was attempting, desperately, to get back in Newfoundland and Labrador’s good books. Even the mainland columnists saw through the man. As one put it this week, “John Efford loves his car and driver too much to leave the government over gays tying the knot.” Let’s see, as a backbencher, Efford voted with an opposition motion on same-sex marriage. He did the same with custodial management. The fishery apparently wasn’t important enough to take a stand on. He’s also said to be giving second thought to resigning over same-sex marriage. More than any other time in our history, this province needs leadership. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are a good people with a fine sense of humour. But the joke has been on us for far too long. Ryan Cleary is managing editor of The Independent. email@example.com
© 2004 The Independent Canada Post Agreement # 40871083
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters to the Editor
‘More than just flatttering’ Dear editor, Thank you for publishing the letter from Mike Madigan (‘Oh my Gawd. Grotesque!’, Dec. 12-18 edition of The Independent) inspired by the bodybuilding photograph published on the front page of the previous week’s edition. Madigan draws our attention to the choices made within the media, of how to portray people in photographs and of which photos to publish from among all of those taken. He reminds us that behind choices made, there can be an
agenda. Madigan draws our attention to the existence of “distortion” in the media, especially with regard to images of people. He identifies distortion in the publications at checkout counters. (“… all the gossip, distorted pictures and two-headed babies or aliens from outer space, etc.”) He suggests that photographers at The Independent may be making “biased political pictorial statements” to serve an agenda, e.g. “to create over sensationalism,” and that photographers may
“deliberately” have taken a picture which Madigan sees as portraying MP Gerry Byrne as a “madman.” Similarly Madigan describes a photo of Premier Danny Williams as “uncomplimentary.” This suggests that distortion to serve an agenda may also be happening at The Independent. Then there is that editor’s note at the bottom of the letter that deals with Madigan’s concerns by claiming that photographers at The Independent “are like news reporters — they show it the way
it is.” Madigan’s letter makes important points that are not adequately answered by the oversimplification that at The Independent reporters and photographers simply reflect reality. A better response would be, I think, that The Independent has agendas too and that they are ones that are missing from the rest of the press, and that The Independent is proud to have photographs of politicians that are more than just flattering. Joan Scott, St. John’s
The Independent, December 19, 2004
So this is Christmas … C
hristmas is a lot of things to a lot of people. I learned years ago there is no one Christmas. There are thousands of different versions of Christmas, all conflicting with one another. They’re everywhere. Frantic retailers try to push any button you have to convince you to celebrate the holidays with their particular product. Pious religious types stoically try to ignore the overwhelming evidence that Christmas is clearly so much more than the observance of a saviour’s birth. Personally, one of my favourite Christmas sights is the bewildered Japanese fishermen who are in St. John’s resupplying this time of year. It is clear they have little to no idea of what’s going on. I bet we freak them out. It is too much. A cacophony of everyone’s idea of what Christmas should be. And in the face of all this we each strive to reinvent a rough approximation of what we think Christmas should be, which can be stressful. Some people are stressed because the holiday season makes them realize their lives aren’t the way they think they
Rant & Reason IVAN MORGAN should be. For others it is just the sheer physical effort involved in preparing for the holiday. Get the turkey, buy the booze, send out the invitations, prepare for the relatives … Some people get stressed trying to provide all the material things that make the season a happy one. With apologies to Dr. Seuss, for most people Christmas does come with ribbons, it does come with tags, it does come with packages, boxes and bags. FAST IDEAS When I was younger I had hard and fast ideas of what had to be done to make Christmas. If they weren’t done, I felt cheated — which meant I often felt cheated. As I get older I have learned to take it as it comes. We all want a happy Christmas; the problem is that life sometimes gets in the way. Trying to make a perfect Christmas is a recipe for
disappointment. All I know is you make it good by making it good. What makes a good Christmas? Ask me New Year’s Day. Decades ago a young woman showed me that Christmas is — in the end — what you make it. At 5:50 p.m., many Christmas Eves ago, I found myself in a panic over a gift I had forgotten to buy. I raced to a nearby pharmacy, getting in minutes before closing. From the crowd of harried folk already there, I realized I was not alone. We were a long line of sorry fools snaking back from the cash, clutching last minute stuff. The queue stretched to the back of the store. The cashier was a young woman. For 40 minutes I waited impatiently in line. One by one, we inched closer to the cash. When I reached the till I was stressed. But I noticed that she too, was not happy. It was clear from the look on her face that this was not where she had planned to be at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve. She was pissed. She pounded the cash keys on the register. She clawed my change out of the till. She rapped it down hard on the
counter. Suddenly embarrassed, I muttered by way of an apology, “I guess saying Merry Christmas right now would not be a good idea?” She glared hard at the machine in front of her. Here it comes, I thought. Then a weary smile came over her face, and she turned and looked me right in the eye and said “Ah, what the f—k. Merry Christmas!”
I have always remembered that little moment. In spite of all the aggravation, all the stress, and the car wreck that occurs when expectations meet reality, this young woman — forced to work late Christmas Eve — still felt that Christmas meant something I have always remembered that little moment. In spite of all the aggravation, all the stress, and
the car wreck that occurs when expectations meet reality, this young woman — forced to work late Christmas Eve — still felt that Christmas meant something. That has stayed with me through the decades. WHAT YOU MAKE IT That young woman, in that tatty little pharmacy all those years ago, remains my idea of what Christmas is. Like anything else, Christmas is what you make it. My advice for this season is to make of it what you can, no matter what your circumstance — because you, and you alone, are Christmas. Despite all the aggravations, it is still a special time, but only because we make it so. And sometimes that can be hard to do. Appreciate those around you while you have them. To paraphrase my favourite Christmas song, you should really try, through the years, to be together. You will be surprised what the fates won’t allow. Ivan Morgan can be reached at email@example.com
Letters to the Editor
‘Pictures do not lie’ Dear editor, I, too, noticed the front page of your Dec.5-11 edition, but unlike letter writer Mike Madigan I thought the picture showed an insight into the sport. After all, the men pictured were bodybuilders. As far as making Gerry (Byrne) look like a madman (Mr. Madigan’s words), pictures do not lie. I have been reading this paper since it first came out and I find it does exactly as an independent, forward-thinking paper is supposed to — don’t worry about offending people as long as what you are saying is true. I did a little check on Daly’s background as a photographer: Sunday Times (circulation 1.3 million); Financial Times (circulation 425,000); The Observer (circulation) 451,000; The Guardian (circulation 377,000). As you can see Mr. Madigan, these are rather large papers that Daly has had his work published in. Now these are all UK papers and they may not be up to the standard that you are used to reading, Mr. Madigan, but I have also seen his credits in The Telegram, Globe and Mail and
Maclean's. Now I do not know if he has anything in those distorted publications or not, but by the looks of the work that he has shown here I doubt it very much. Joe Chase, Paradise P.S. Daly has also taken photos of some rock band called U2.
The Independent, December 19, 2004
All I want for Christmas is … a triple bypass
hristmas. Bah humbug! Christmas: drink your brains out, eat your brains out, shop your brains out. It’s a wonder we even make it through the yuletide season alive. Well, actually, some of us don’t. A recent U.S. study found that almost 50,000 people’s tickers can’t take all that turkey and eggnog. That’s how many people die during the holiday season — because of cardiacs and strokes. The study was done over a 26year period. More people ended up dead on arrival at hospital on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day than any other day of the year. One has to wonder if the attendants in the big city morgues use Christmas gift tags instead of the normal toe tags to identify stiffs during December. Decorating a morgue tastefully has to challenge even the most sensitive of coroners.
Opinions Are Like... JEFF DUCHARME
Jesus in the manger — which she had lovingly built and placed in front of her home — was stolen. Police in the northern Alberta town issued an all-points bulletin and citizens were told that they’d have no problem identifying the babe in swaddling clothes since it had Kohlman’s phone number written on its backside. “I felt really sad,” Kohlman said. “I know it’s some person who doesn’t have any true meaning of Christmas.” In the past, vandals had broken some bulbs and the like, but never had they dared steal the baby Jesus. ALARMING STATS One would have thought that the Besides the obvious stress the three wise men could have helped holidays bring, researchers chalk identify the culprits, but they were up some of the alarming statistics distracted, tied up in a heated to the fact that many people put off debate over the relevance of frankseeking medical attention until incense and myrrh in today’s globafter the holidays. Knowing that al village. the arteries are 98 per cent clogged “I figure those kids need only tends to put a damper on prayer,” Kohlman said. Christmas dinner when you’re Personally, I figure those kids choking down all that turkey and need a good swift kick in the arse. stuffing that’s swimming in a river After going to the media and of gravy. That crackling noise you erecting signs on her lawn that hear isn’t the fireplace; it’s your said, “We’ll be praying for you. arteries hardening God bless,” Kohlwith every swallow. man got her handDecorating a If the holiday seapainted (complete son doesn’t leave morgue tastefully with the fake hair you on a slab in the she glued to the fighas to challenge city morgue, the ure herself) baby even the most stress may drive you Jesus back. to become involved sensitive of coroners. But the baby had a in some rather asinote attached to it nine activities. “Here’s your (expleDenise Kohlman of Grande tive) baby Jesus back.” Prairie, Alta., has fallen victim to In an ironic moment of forethose trying to relieve some holi- shadowing one’s future, so to day stress on more than one occa- speak, Kohlman has nailed the sion. baby Jesus to the nativity scene A couple of years ago, the baby and bolted it to her house.
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
South of the Border in the U.S. of A., an Atlanta sidewalk Santa was arrested for repeatedly bashing a 74-year-old woman over the head with a two by four. Santa got miffed when granny allegedly stole $150 (US) worth of Hershey kisses from the no-longer jolly St. Nick. There’s nothing funny about an elderly lady being attacked, regardless of the reason or the attacker. But, if you will, just picture this for a moment — the world’s most benevolent character, Santa, bashing the world’s second most benevolent character, a grandma, over the head with a piece of wood while screaming something about stolen kisses. In Britain, the Trades Union Congress and the Royal Society
for the Prevention of Accidents released some helpful tips to those attending Christmas office parties: no candles, flaming puddings and cigarettes; careful with the Christmas trees, which injured 1,000 Britons in December 2002; skip the mistletoe. A sexual harassment case is no fun; no dancing on the desks; use paper cups, not glasses; and no indoor fireworks. OK, most of the above advice is self explanatory, though 1,000 Brits injured by Christmas trees — it’s all a lot of fun until somebody loses an eye. “We are not being party poopers,” a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents told the Associated Press in an interview. “Some sensible safety precautions will allow people to
have a great office celebration without having to call in the emergency services.” The most important advice from the two groups involved the misuse of office equipment. “Resist the temptation to photocopy parts of your anatomy — if the copier breaks, you’ll be spending Christmas with glass in some painful places.” Obviously, in Britain, it’s not really a Christmas office party until someone has to call 911 because the building is on fire or there’s a need to have paramedics pull shards of glass from some wingnut’s butt. Jeff Ducharme is The Independent’s senior writer. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Independent, December 19, 2004
‘It was more a morale-boosting exercise’ From page 3 “I mean, let’s say we did do a balance sheet and we did come to the conclusion — what do we do then, go to Canada and ask for our money back? It was more a morale-boosting exercise.” The Independent’s six-part cost-benefit analysis on Confederation did include a balance sheet — which, according to research and estimates, showed that, overall, Newfoundland and Labrador contributes far more to Canada than it receives. Young says he appreciates The Independent’s work. “What a fabulous debate you’re having,” he says. Looking back, Young says the part “we hardly knew what to do with” was the future sustainability of rural Newfoundland. He encourages further debate and discussion on that topic. “You have to get the grassroots consultation,” he says. “I probably wouldn’t have said that four years ago, I had a lot of skepticism about public consultation, but … that report totally changed my mind.” His other disappointment, he says, was the lack of attention the public and media paid to the first section of the report, penned by Elizabeth Davis, called What is this place that holds fast our hearts? The essay attempts to capture the sense of place Newfoundlanders and Labradorians feel, a summary of “all the things that are so special about this place,” why the people of this province are so proud of it; why the people here want to stay, return, and fight for a life here. “No one ever paid any attention to it,” says Young. “It’s all the soft stuff,” but for him it was the most affecting part of the commission — and perhaps the most important. “If you could ever put a number on that sense of belonging, that sense of place, we’d always be way ahead. “That’s why we’re still here.”
Provincial Fisheries Minister Trevor Taylor and federal Fisheries Minister Geoff Regan.
Paul Daly/The Independent
Overfishing panel well compensated By Jeff Ducharme The Independent
he budget for a federal advisory panel on foreign overfishing has been set at $525,000 — approximately $50,000 of which will be split between the three–member panel. Not bad for three months’ work. Federal Fisheries Minister Geoff Regan announced the creation of the advisory panel recently while in St. John’s. Art May, a onetime deputy minister with federal Fisheries, will head the panel. Derrick Rowe, CEO of FPI, and Dawn Russell, dean of the Dalhousie law school, are the other two members. “It’s not a salary,” Rod Forbes, director of policy for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, tells The Independent from Ottawa. “They only get paid for the days that they meet under the kind of arrangements that they have.” Forbes wouldn’t provide specifics on how the $50,000 will be divided between the three panel members, calling it “private information.” The remainder of the budget will be used to
“contract experts” and pay for such expenses as travel. “We’ve asked them to produce a work plan for us,” says Forbes. “They may not need all of that money, but that’s as much as they’ll get. It won’t be in excess of that.” The Advisory Panel on Sustainable Management of Straddling Fish Stocks will advise the federal government on how to reduce foreign overfishing in waters monitored by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) outside Canada’s 200-mile limit. THREE MONTHS TO CONSULT Regan has given the panel three months to consult with industry representatives, other stakeholders and legal experts before compiling a report. Forbes says the report should be released to the public within a month, “at the most,” once it ends up on Regan’s desk. NAFO is generally seen as powerless, unable to enforce the quotas it sets for member nations. Commercial stocks such as northern cod have failed to rebound, despite a 12-
What do you want for Christmas? The spirit is in full swing at …
27 Rowan Street, Churchill Square
Extended Christmas Hours: Monday – Friday: 10am - 9pm Saturday: 10am - 6pm Sunday: 12pm - 5pm
year domestic fishing ban. Continued fishing of migratory stocks such as northern cod by foreign fleets is seen as the main reason why stocks have failed to regenerate. Spain and Portugal are often pointed to as the main offenders when it comes to overfishing on the Grand Banks. While the federal government has stepped up patrols, under NAFO regulations Ottawa is powerless to enforce the citations it hands out. A Portuguese trawler that was issued two citations in early May for illegal fishing on the Grand Banks was cited again Nov. 16 after an illegal net was found on deck — a net that had apparently been used to catch palm-sized redfish. Britain recently released a royal commission report on the state of its fisheries. The report calls for an immediate ban because 90 per cent of the stocks in waters surrounding the United Kingdom are all but wiped out. The report pins part of the failure of British stocks on the “severe overfishing on the Grand Banks cod fishery off Newfoundland, which collapsed in 1992, (that) caused a shift in the ecosystem which means numbers never recover, even when fishing is banned.”
The Independent, December 19, 2004
Prosecutor charged with impaired
‘An ardent and steadfast voice’
Province says good-bye to Labrador MP Lawrence O’Brien Happy Valley-Goose Bay By Bert Pomeroy For The Independent
who knew Lawrence know that he was a man of great morals, credibility and character. His loss will be felt for a long time.” Prime Minister Paul Martin, who will cut uneral services will be held here Mon- short a state visit to Libya to attend Monday’s day to celebrate the life of Lawrence funeral, said last week O’Brien’s loss is diffiO’Brien and the commitment he made cult to accept. to his family and the people of Labrador. “To the visitor, Labrador is a vast, impresThe outspoken MP, who sive land — but to was well known for his Lawrence it was a tightlove of Labrador, passed knit community, a commuaway at a St. John’s hospinity about which he cared tal late Thursday night very deeply,” Martin said after a lengthy battle with in a prepared statement. cancer. He was 53. “He was so closely identiBorn in L’Anse au Loup, fied with his home and the former fisheries workwith the people he served. er, educator, provincial He was so dedicated to liscivil servant and municipal tening to them, to acting politician was first elected for them, to making their to the House of Commons lives better. in a 1996 by-election. He “Parliament has lost an was re-elected in the genardent and steadfast eral elections of June 1997, voice.” November 2000 and June Premier Danny Williams 2004. He is survived by says O’Brien was a strong his wife, Alice, and their Lawrence O’Brian defender and advocate of two children, Michael and Labrador. Amanda. “I think perhaps one of the things for which “People are mourning the loss of a father, a Mr. O’Brien will be best remembered will be husband, politician and a colleague, but for me his instrumental role in having the constituit’s the loss of a friend,” says Paul Snelgrove, tional name change of the province to Newa personal friend of O’Brien. “Politics may foundland and Labrador,” Williams says. have been what brought us together, but we “He was passionate about the contributions quickly developed a close friendship. Those of Labrador to our province, and he represent-
ed the people of Labrador to the very end.” Labrador Métis Nation president Todd Russell was also a close friend of O’Brien. “Lawrence was a good friend of mine, to the Inuit-Metis of Labrador, and indeed all of Labrador,” Russell says. “In the weeks and months leading up to his passing, one could not help but admire the drive and commitment this man had in trying to bring about positive change to the people of Labrador. His passion for Labrador was always strong and his determination was solid and steadfast.” Combined Councils of Labrador president Ford Rumbolt says O’Brien and Labrador were one and the same. “There was never any doubt where he stood on an issue, and he really did put Labrador first and foremost,” Rumbolt says. O’Brien was the first Labrador-born MP to represent the riding. During his federal political career, he served as a member of the House of Commons Fisheries and Oceans committee, as well as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. O’Brien made national news in October when he postponed his cancer treatment and travelled to Ottawa for a non-confidence vote in the House of Commons. “He always felt that he had to do what was right,” Snelgrove says. “He will certainly be missed.”
rown prosecutor Mike Murray has been charged with impaired driving. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department would release little information, other than to say a prosecutor from New Brunswick will be brought in to handle the case, which will be tried in January. “It’s an HR (human resources) issue so it will be dealt with internally, but in terms of the case itself I can’t speak to that and I can’t speak to actually it’s job,” Heather McLean told The Independent. Justice Minister Tom Marshall refused comment. “It was an off-the-job type of thing, it was one of those unfortunate incidents, I would imagine,” McLean says. “To the best of my knowledge it hasn’t happened before, but I know that there’s been situations, for example, with the RNC or other organizations within government where the off-the-job situations have occurred, but I don’t really know too much more than that.” The maximum penalty for a first-time drunk driving charge include a one-year suspension of driving privileges and a fine of no less than $600. — Independent staff
I Like a Company That Goes the Extra Mile. Too me,, Wedgwood d iss aboutt a genuine e commi tmen t too people.. Youu cann feell itt ever ywher e inn the company,, from m the e topp office e down. Theyy knoww me e byy name,, and d I knoww them m byy name,, and d that’s… … a good d feeling!!
It’ss thatt kind d off r eall r espec t that’ss har d too e byy these e days… … c ome bu t Wedgwood d hass it…
The Wedgwood Approach You Can Depend On
We’ve developed a personal approach that covers all the ins and out of creating and understanding insurance policies. We talk to you, build a committed working relationship and determine the risks you need to protect yourself from. In the end, you get an insurance policy made to fit… and that’s something you can depend on.
Steve Wedgwood Client Since 1996
The Independent, December 19, 2004
Deportation wave More immigrants sent packing these days; immigrant nominee program set to expire By Stephanie Porter The Independent
fter almost four years in Canada, Julia Reich’s immediate family — mother, father, sister and brother — were deported back to Israel last month. Reich, recently married, is allowed to stay in St. John’s for now, because her file has been added to her husband’s. Her husband, Denis Trofimov is also a refugee claimant. “We find some peace here,” the 21-year-old Reich says, in careful English. “I always live with my family … we miss them so much.” The Reich family lived in the Ukraine in the 1990s. Julia’s mother, Anjelica, is Jewish — and didn’t feel safe. The family moved to Israel “to find a peaceful place without persecution.” It didn’t happen. The Reich family name is German, and carries heavy associations with the Holocaust and Second World War. “We just were not in right place with our family name,” says Reich. “It’s not our fault.” The family moved from city to city in Israel for four years. “Sometimes it was very dangerous for us, they throw stones in school … my father was beat by some guys in the gym.” NO HELP “We could not find anyone to help us in Israel. Even the policemen, they see our name and ask ‘What are you doing here? How did you get to Israel?’” Reich refused to serve in the
Julia Reich, Maya Reich and Denis Trofimov are waiting to hear if their application for refugee status will be accepted.
army (she’ll be arrested for this should she ever return) and was not permitted to practice her religion, Orthodox Christianity. The family, desperate for a place to settle, flew to Montreal and applied for refugee status at the airport. Over a year later, they were officially denied. Israel is considered a democratic country, and few, if any, refugees are accepted from there. The Reichs applied for a preremoval risk assessment, hoping they would be able to stay on humanitarian compassionate grounds. Craving a smaller town,
they moved to St. John’s. By then, Reich was mother to a baby girl, Maya. In St. John’s, Reich has become involved in a Christian Orthodox community. “I want to stay here, I met my husband here, made a family here. We were married in a church. It’s impossible in Israel to be married in a church, they won’t even recognize it there.” DOZEN DEPORTED According to Nick Summers, St. John’s legal aid lawyer and president of the Canadian Council for Refugees, there are between 30 and 40 refugee claimants in this province a year — and about a dozen deportations. Right now, he says, there seems to be a wave of deportation orders. “I don’t know of any plans to do deportations around Christmas,
but it does seem to happen,” says Summers. “Or maybe it’s just that we notice them more. “They have been doing deportations all fall … for a variety of reasons we have a larger than usual number coming through the system now.” Summers says because there have been a number of recent changes in immigration rules, some processes have been redone, some claimants were put back into the system — and many were in Newfoundland longer than they would have been otherwise. “…which creates other problems,” says Summers. “It’s that much longer they’ve been here, been established, that many more people who think it’s outrageous that they’re going to be deported after being here for three or four years.
Paul Daly/The Independent
“Even if you accept immigration’s version that they aren’t really refugees and have nothing to fear, many are going back to conditions that are quite intolerable. Myself and (the Refugee Immigrant Advisory Council) and others have been trying to make sure that the people getting deported are getting due process. “We have some concerns about some of the processes.” On a positive note, Summers points to a new provincial nominee program put in place by the Williams government. Through it, the province can nominate up to 400 new applicants and their dependents for settlement in Newfoundland and Labrador — generally people with skills needed in this province. “We’re trying to be creative,” says Summers. “The province has been assisting the best they can. It’s not always a good fit but we’re trying.” THE LOTTERY The nominee program is slated to expire on Dec. 31. Suzanne Strong, communications executive in the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, says the province is currently in discussions with Immigration Canada about continuing the program. “They’ve expressed a willingness to extend the deadline for another year,” Strong says. “I can’t say anymore until all the details are finalized.” She expects a final decision in the first week of January. Reich has spoken to her family since they arrived back in Israel. She says her 11-year-old sister is in shock and plagued with nightmares, and the whole family is just trying to stay indoors and out of sight. They will apply to return to Canada as immigrants, a process which could take a couple of years. Reich and her husband check the status of their application to stay every day on the Internet, fingers crossed. “It may be three months, it may be one year before we know,” she says. “Why they do not recognize our reasons for staying? “We still don’t know how the (system) works, what we need to say to explain, how they decide. Some days, it feels like lottery.”
The Independent, December 19, 2004
Flight into endangerment: Stephenville airport
nyone who has visited Stephenville can easily give you directions to town hall. Just drive around town until you find a building with a vintage American F-102 fighter jet mounted in front. The F-102 is a monument to the town’s airport heritage. With the possible exception of Gander, Stephenville derives its identity from its airport like no other town in this province. After all, the Harmon Air Field built by the American Air Force was this town’s raison d’être for decades. The airport has continued to play an important role in the local economy and psyche ever since. AIRPORT ECLIPSED True, the Abitibi-Consolidated paper mill, the College of the North Atlantic, the hospital and the town’s status as a regional service centre have all eclipsed the airport in economic importance. But to many Stephenville residents, this is still an airport town. For them, it would be unthinkable to let the airport die. But unless the airport’s bottom line improves substantially — and soon — that’s exactly what the town will have to consider.
West Words FRANK CARROLL The airport has been steadily declining since Air Canada pulled out in the late 1980s. The federal government dealt the next major blow when it got out of the airport business in the late 1990s, leaving the job to local airport authorities. Perhaps the federal government should have kept operating airports in small isolated areas, since those airports represent a vital link to the outside world. But that battle was lost long ago. The reality is that all airports are expected to live or die as independent entities — whether they’re for profit or not. Unfortunately, the Stephenville airport just hasn’t been able to cut it. It is losing so much money it cannot afford to keep a sufficient supply of fuel on hand — a must for any airport. It recently suffered a major embarrassment when several airplanes were stranded here because the airport didn’t have enough fuel. How likely is it that the companies operating those flights will be
The 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. MONDAY, DECEMBER 13 Vessels arrived: Funk Island Banner, Canada, from fishing; ASL Sanderling, Canada, from Halifax; Atlantic Eagle, Canada, from Marystown; Nain Banker, Canada, from fishing. Vessels departed: Burin Sea, Canada, to Sea; Koryo Maru #68, Japan, to sea. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14 Vessels arrived: Maersk Chignecto, Canada, from Hibernia; Maersk Chancellor, Canada, from Terra Nova; Cabot, Canada, from Montreal. Vessels departed: ASL Sanderling, Canada, to Corner Brook; Burin Sea, Canada, to Terra Nova.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15 Vessels arrived: Shoshin Maru #38, Japan, from Spain. Vessels departed: Maersk Nascopie, Canada, to Hibernia; Maersk Chignecto, Canada, to White Rose. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16 Vessels arrived: Atlantic Kingfisher, Canada, from Terra Nova; Maersk Placentia, Canada, from Hibernia; Chiyo Maru #8, Japan, from Iceland; Sybil W, Canada, from Long Pond. Vessels departed: Shoshin Maru #38, Japan, to Sea; Atlantic Kingfisher, Canada, to Terra Nova. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 17 Vessels arrived: Teleost, Canada, from sea; Daito Maru # 8, Japan, from sea; Lauzier, Canada, from Long Pond. Vessels departed: Sybil W, Canada, to St. Pierre, Chiyo Maru #8, Japan, to fishing.
willing to take a chance on Stephenville again? Two weeks ago, Air Labrador announced it was pulling out, leaving Provincial Airlines as the only regional airline operating out of the airport. So, for most of the year, the airport will offer two flights to St. John’s each day and one flight to Halifax each week. That’s it, except for a weekly Jetsgo flight to Toronto in the summer. Yet, even with so few flights, the local airport authority must still maintain one of largest runways in the province. The money just isn’t there. Last year, the airport lost around $500,000. Simply put, the airport is on death’s door. Recent media reports have suggested that Mayor Cec Stein wants to put it on life support — that being more taxpayers’ money. Stein said recently that if Stephenville were to take over the airport, it would have to invest $2 million to bring the facility up to par. If that money were repaid over 10 years, the mayor said, it would require the town to raise property taxes by 10 to 15 per cent. Stein has wisely concluded there is no appetite in the town for such a tax hike, in spite of the
townspeople’s attachment to the facility. Despite its problems, the airport is still an important part of the local economy. The airport makes it easier for businesspeople to travel to and from the Bay
The hard truth is that most airlines are not interested in servicing the Bay St. George area. The relatively small customer base in western Newfoundland has been one of the airport’s main challenges.
St. George area. Having an airport here makes the town just that much more attractive to potential investors. The hard truth is that most airlines are not interested in servicing the Bay St. George area. The relatively small customer base in western Newfoundland has been one of the airport’s main challenges. The airport in Deer Lake
seems to have succeeded in becoming the dominant airport in the region. While Stephenville has had trouble retaining airlines and keeping enough fuel in its tanks, Deer Lake has been attracting more passengers and expanding its terminal. Over the five years I’ve been living here, I’ve flown out of Deer Lake more often than Stephenville. There are more flights from which to choose at the Deer Lake airport, especially if you want to travel off the island. Now that Air Labrador is gone, it’s safe to say that more Stephenville residents will use the Deer Lake airport. That isn’t the end of the world for local air travellers. Deer Lake is only 80 minutes away in good weather. It isn’t unusual for someone in Toronto to have to drive 80 minutes through traffic to get to an airport. Many people in this province have to drive further than that to get to an airport in St. John’s or Gander. No, it isn’t the end of the world. But it may be the end of an era. Frank Carroll is a journalism instructor at the Stephenvillecampus of the College of the North Atlantic. email@example.com
December 19, 2004
Memorial archives home to 84 mystery pictures public welcome to identify
here’s a mystery in the basement of Memorial University’s Queen Elizabeth II Library in St. John’s. Eighty-four mysteries, to be precise — each one roughly 100 years old. They’re catalogued and meticulously filed away in a single white box and placed on a shelf in the archives at the Centre for Newfoundland Studies. They are the 84 unidentified photographs of various Newfoundland scenes taken in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by three St. John’s photographers. They belong to a larger collection
of 1,109 black and white photographs called the Geography Collection that was donated to the archives in 1990. While many of the photos in the collection have been identified, there are still a number that continue to baffle archivists and researchers — pictures of churches, houses, landscapes and people from all over the province. There are men dressed in their Sunday best, what looks like a cast of a play in dress rehearsal, women in flowing gowns, and plenty of buildings and houses Bert Riggs, an archivist at the centre, says the
pictures have been posted online so that the public can view and, hopefully, identify them. “There were a number of buildings, communities, landscapes, that just weren’t identified by the time they were turned over to us,” Riggs tells The Independent. “Many of them are of St. John’s because the photographers were based there, but they travelled around, particularly in the summertime. “What we have done is put them up on our website and we’ve had a few people call in. A Continued on page 12
PHOTOS BY ROBERT EDWARD HOLLOWAY, SIMEON HENRY PARSONS AND JAMES VEY / STORY BY JENNY HIGGINS
The Independent, December 19, 2004
‘Remarkable that so many of them survived’ From page 11 couple of times we’ve also run them in the Newfoundland Quarterly as their mystery picture. We got a couple of responses that way, but that only allows us to do four a year. We’re hoping that as more and more people see our website they might come up with some answers for us.” In addition to viewing them online, the public can purchase eight by 10 reproductions of the prints, says Riggs. The photographs were originally taken by three unrelated St. John’s photographers — Robert Edward Holloway, Simeon Henry Parsons and James Vey. Once their photography studios closed, the men donated their negatives — all on glass plates — to the provincial archives in the Colonial Building. And there the negatives sat, unordered and neglected, until John Mannion, a geography professor at Memorial, and Michael Crane, a university cartographer, discovered them and spearheaded a project to restore the plates and develop the photographs. “When I started teaching at Memorial, we used the archives a lot and went back to these glass plates,” says Mannion. “We began to investigate the possibility of having them stored properly because they were in very bad shape. A lot of them were breaking up because they weren’t stored well. Michael Crane and I applied to Ottawa — to what was then called the Canada Council — and got a grant to catalogue, store properly, clean up and develop the plates.” Mannion says he immediately recognized the historical value of the pictures as records of late 19th and early 20th century Newfoundland history. “I’m a geographer and we study landscape and historical photographs as a major source of evidence, as it would be for an historian,” he says. “These were shots of outports 100 years old and we used them in our work. So it’s important to preserve these. They hadn’t been printed; they hadn’t even been stored well. It was just a salvage operation, which we initiated.” Mannion and Crane took the plates out of the Colonial Building and brought them to MUN’s geography department, where the technology existed to clean them and begin the printing process. After Mannion went on sabbatical in 1976, Maurice Scarlett stepped in and continued the work alongside Crane. They recruited some students to help identify the photographs and eventually published their findings in a three-volume, annotated index, released in 1980, 1981 and 1987, entitled The Historic Photographic Collection of the Department of Geography. According to the archives’ website, Crane, who has since moved to the U.S., developed the photographs in the darkroom of the geography department. A print, alongside the original glass negative, was returned to the provincial archives, while the geography department kept a collection of photographs and plastic negatives. Upon his retirement in 1990, Scarlett donated the prints to the centre’s archives, where they now reside. “He was a geography professor at Memorial, and he just transferred (the prints) from the geography department to the archives,” says Riggs, “since he was no longer going to be there to take care of it himself because he was retiring.” Riggs says the archives posted the prints on its website to see if anyone could help identify them, but so far they’ve only received a handful of possible leads. “We decided that it’s just as well to put them (online) and see, because you never know,” Riggs says. “Two or three people have written in with what I think are very accurate identifications of a couple of the images.” The care with which Mannion and his colleagues restored the negatives has paid off. Riggs says one of the most striking things about the Geography Collection is the quality of the negatives and the large number of them that has survived over the years. “This is a wonderful collection,” he says. “What I find most interesting about it is that there are so many good photographs from that time period. On some of (the prints), you will notice that there are lines — those are cracks in the negatives. But that’s rare. “They are remarkable images and when you consider that the negatives for these are glass plate, that’s even more remarkable that so many of them survived.”
The Geography Collection can be viewed online at: www.library.mun.ca/qeii/cns/photos/geogfindaid.php. If you can identify any of the prints reproduced here, please contact either The Independent or the archives at the Centre for Newfoundland Studies. CNS 28.02.008
The Independent, December 19, 2004
The Independent, December 19, 2004
delicately textured and coloured work in front of her. “My etchings are a lot like watercolour because of the type of colour I use.” In fact, the process doesn’t use paint at all. Middleton etches a plate in the design she wants, then applies ink, thick “like boot polish,” and rubs it into the plate with a piece of cardboard. The plate is then run through a press — Middleton has one in her home studio — and the image is printed onto paper. The ink can be reapplied to the plate, and the process continues. “I could never have learned this on my own, just all the equipment, the chemicals, the techniques involved,” she says. “And learning how to paint on large canvasses … art school was the best thing I ever did.” Middleton walks over to a piece on her dining room wall. It’s got the appearance of an old photograph, slightly washed out, with a few careful areas of colour. “I came into a box of old negatives,” she begins. “These are my two great-grandfathers, one of my grandmothers; it’s the occasion of when my grandparents decided to get married, when their parents met on the ferry.” The image from the negative was transferred to copper plate, and developed using chemicals. It’s a tedious process, she says, which took her months of trial and error to master. — Stephanie Porter
Photos by Paul Daly/The Independent
lthough Tessa Middleton’s first love was painting, the responsibility and activity of motherhood led her to focus on a new — and very successful — art: printmaking. Middleton, originally from Scotland, moved to Corner Brook with her husband shortly after the fine arts school opened there at Memorial’s Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. She enrolled, and was introduced to a number of new media to work in. She found printing — although “a very smelly, nasty, messy process” — fit her schedule, and talents, nicely. “When I was going to art school my kids were very small,” Middleton says. “Painting is kind of open-ended, once you start you don’t want to have to go put it away and take the kids to music lessons or whatever. “Something like printing chops up into little packets: you do the drawing, make the plate — and there’s several different processes — and I know how long it’s going to take me to print one image, about 20 to 30 minutes. “So painting can be very frustrating if you have to go and come back … this is much better suited to that kind of life.” Middleton began with images of Scotland, of the landscape around her family cottage in Aberdeen. The work led easily into her current focus on the water and land, old houses and boats, of this province. “People will look at these and call them paintings,” Middleton says, looking at the
The Gallery is a regular feature in The Independent. For further information, or to submit proposals, please call (709) 726-4639, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
BUSINESS & COMMERCE
December 19, 2004
Paul Daly/The Independent
Bridie Molloy’s manager Garry Boland.
Clearing the air Could private clubs sidestep the smoking ban; Health minister says no By Alisha Morrissey The Independent
ridie Molloy’s was built to be a smoking bar. The air conditioning system in the George Street establishment consists of two 35-tonne machines, installed primarily to clear the air of cigarette smoke. But with a total indoor and workplace smoking ban coming into effect as early as next spring as part of a provincial crack down on tobacco products, the machines won’t see much use. There may be a loophole in the legislation, however — one that allows smoking in private clubs. “A private club would probably work,” says Garry Boland, manager of Bridie Molloy’s and a smoker himself. “But you’re just trying to prolong the inevitable if you do that.” He says eventually non-smoking bars will be the norm like many of those he’s seen while travelling on business. In Toronto, he says there are no smoking buildings or hotels left and there’s a seven-foot perimeter around every building that smokers cannot cross. “The only place you can smoke is out in the street and you get run over there,” Boland says laughing and
lighting up. “104 Main, you’re lucky to get Health Minister John Ottenheimer them (patrons) to pay a $3 cover says any legislation that comes into charge once every two months and effect will have as few loopholes as then again not everybody’s a smokpossible. er.” For example, a club that allows Caines says Razoolies and Clansmokers to walk in off the street and cy’s Pub have patios for smokers. He buy a membership will still be con- plans on enclosing Clancy’s deck sidered a public place once the ban is and therefore subject introduced. to the provincial ban. “A few heaters “A private club “That type of loop- would probably work. out there and it hole or exemption, wouldn’t affect the it’s certainly not But you’re just trying temperature in the being anticipated as to prolong the inevitable bar itself and people we move forward could go out there if you do that.” with this process,” and have a draw — — Garry Boland Ottenheimer tells The I think that’s the Independent. “It’s our way around it realanticipation that we ly.” should move aggressively and we’re Caines, a smoker, says he doesn’t not looking for exemptions or loop- think he’ll loose any business holes. I mean we’re doing this because of the ban and has no intenbecause of the health implications … tions of challenging it. it would have on the population of The province is planning a round the province.” of public consultations in the new Claude Caines, owner of three bars year to gather input on the ban. For in Stephenville — 104 Main, Razo- his part, Ottenheimer says the main olies and Clancy’s Pub — says he focus of the eventual ban is mostly to doesn’t think private clubs will work look out for employees — barin a town like his. tenders, waiters and waitresses. “It’s been put to me before about “A major thrust of this legislation, doing that sort of thing — member- which we are proposing, is the proship only — I just don’t see it. I can’t tection of the employee.” see it working,” he says. A private smoking club, he says,
wouldn’t protect employees from the dangers of second-hand smoke. More than 60 municipalities in Canada have smoking bans — including Toronto, Ottawa and Winnipeg. New Brunswick and Manitoba have complete bans on smoking in public places and Prince Edward Island has a partial ban that allows club owners to have ventilated smoking rooms on their premises. Back at Bridie Molloy’s, Boland says he can see how employees could make a case for long-term effects of working at a smoking bar and cites that as another reason to comply with the ban. “One — we all know we shouldn’t be smoking anyways, and two — workers’ comp has a very good case there,” says Boland. A bartender listening in on the conversation says she smokes and doesn’t mind working in a bar where smoking is allowed. “I resent that the government is telling me what I can or cannot do,” she says. “We’re becoming a minority quickly,” says Boland, puffing away. “The horse and buggy went out and once upon a time everybody chewed and they had a spittoon in the middle of the room — and not everybody hit it.”
By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent
wo years ago Lea Moukimo left her home — the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa — to immigrate to Newfoundland and Labrador. Today she stands behind the counter of an African beauty store in downtown St. John’s, the province’s first such shop. It’s a refreshing sight, to walk down Duckworth Street and see Ebony Pride, nestled amongst traditional retailers. “I met somebody who wanted to open a store,” she tells The Independent. “I got the idea — why not open? Because we don’t have African cosmetics in Newfoundland.” Before opening the store, Moukimo says she had to ask friends away to send her products like skin cream and hair accessories and lotions. It was virtually impossible to find anything she needed locally. “These are the kinds of things Newfoundland would not have,” she says. She mentioned the possibility of opening a store to sell beauty products to a friend she had met at her local church, and he decided it would be a good idea. MORE THAN MONEY “I said ‘I don’t have money, I have nothing, you know?’ He said, ‘No, you don’t need to have money. You have more than money because you have an idea.’” With some financial help and Moukimo’s business skills learned from studying economics back in the Congo, as well as working as a
The Independent, December 19, 2004
African beauty New cosmetics store opens in downtown St. John’s
Lea Moukimo in her St. John’s shop, Ebony Pride.
street vendor, Ebony Pride officially opened on Dec. 9. The store is small, but bright, accompanied by a cheerful beat of African music. An array of multicoloured hair extensions and braids decorate the window, and a shelving unit down the centre contains hair-dyes, relaxing creams, and various skin lotions and soaps
— not all African, some are recognizable Canadian brands. When asked if she might consider opening a salon in the back area of the shop one day, Moukimo smiles shyly, saying she’s not sure. She adds that as far as she knows, no hairdressers in the province specialize in services for African hair; most of the people she knows
Paul Daly/The Independent
just do it themselves at home. After leaving her family behind in war-torn Congo in 2002, Moukimo arrived in a part of the world she knew nothing about, assigned to Newfoundland and Labrador by Canadian Immigration. She spoke only her native French, and knew nobody. “It was not easy. It was hard to
make friends because I did not speak English.” With the help of the Association for New Canadians, she gradually settled in and started taking English classes. The association, a non-profit organization, works to support all aspects of integration services for immigrants and refugees. Now Moukimo speaks good English and although she finds her new home cold, she says she’s glad immigration chose this province over a French-speaking part of Canada, because she might never have learned the language otherwise. REGULAR CONTACT Although she admits to missing her family, who have since also moved from the Congo to Benin, a country in West Africa, Moukimo keeps in regular contact and made a trip to visit them earlier this year. She says she has met other African people since arriving in Newfoundland, and thinks there will be enough business to keep Ebony Pride active, not only from the local and province-wide immigrant communities but also from the many international students attending Memorial University. Moukimo adds anyone can use some of the products, like the hair extensions and cosmetics. She also supplies various African art and gift items, as well as offering braiding, weaves and cornrows. Customers can also place special orders for hair and skincare products. St. John’s has taken a cultural step forward. “You no longer have to leave the province to get what you need for your face, skin or hair.”
The Independent, December 19, 2004
Atlantic Accord correspondence not for public release
he federal and provincial governments are refusing to release correspondence between Premier Danny Williams and Paul Martin regarding the prime minister’s pre-election promise to grant the province 100 per cent of its offshore oil revenues. The Independent had officially asked both levels of government — under the provincial Freedom of Information Act and federal Access to Information Act — for “instruction letters” regarding special “implementation teams” that were to be set up to hammer out a new revenue-sharing agreement. The requests were denied. A spokesman for the premier’s office says the five pages —
included in two letters sent to the prime minister’s office by Williams — cannot be released as talks relating to changes to the Atlantic Accord continue. “To meet this objective, it is imperative that our implementation teams begin their work with a clear understanding of our agreement, our expectations as to the implementation process (including the timing of payments to the province) …” Williams wrote in an Aug. 5 letter. A Christmas deadline has been agreed upon by all parties involved to revise the Atlantic Accord. Williams isn’t optimistic that deadline will be met.
Memorial student Laurie Dempster
In motion MUN business student semi-finalist in national entrepreneur competition
— Alisha Morrissey
By Stephanie Porter The Independent
It’s that time of year! The Independent’s advertising deadlines will be changing to accommodate the holidays: Christmas week: Tuesday, Dec. 21, 5 PM New Year’s week: Tuesday, Dec. 28, 5 PM
Paul Daly/The Independent
full-service video production company started by Memorial student Laurie Dempster has caught the eyes of the national business community. Dempster, a fifth-year business student, launched Imagine Motion Films last May. Thanks to the early success of the business — and his ability to balance his dual lives of student and entrepreneur — Dempster has been named one of three semi-finalists from Atlantic Canada in the search for CIBC’s student entrepreneur of the year. Seed capital funding from ACOA allowed the 23-year-old to purchase the technology he needed to set up a home studio earlier this year. With his current setup, Dempster says it’s conceivable he “could do everything, commercials for television, short films, even feature films,” but he’s chosen to specialize in web commercials and DVD production. “There’s such a burgeoning market for it, and it’s not nearly as expensive as commercial television production,” he tells The Independent. “You don’t have to spend as much time on the quality when you work for the web, there’s a huge difference in what things look like on the television and the computer screen. You can produce these cheap, funny or innovative
web commercials that stream right on the website, for not too much money.” Dempster markets to small business and institutions, and works with them from concept to finished product. His first clients have been varied: he’s made a web commercial for a sport technology company; is developing a training DVD for Cathexis Innovations, a technology firm specializing in asset management; and is working on a project to market a local student athlete on the university circuit. ‘LITTLE FILMS’ Dempster made many “little films” when he was a kid. In Grade 12, he attended the National Screen Institute’s movie camp, and was introduced to digital filmmaking. The technology was easy to use, great quality, and compact. Dempster was hooked. “And I was interested to do it as part of a business. I can do what I love and maybe make some money from it.” But he began his time at Memorial as a history student. He soon became involved with a national youth entrepreneur association — Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE). By the time he switched over to the business faculty a couple of years ago, Dempster already knew most of the professors, administrators, and many of the students in the department. But being a business student
wasn’t enough. He was ready to get going on a career. “I knew I wanted to do this, I knew I wanted to be in commercials, advertising, short films,” he says. “The opportunity came up for the seed capital program and I knew I didn’t want to wait too long. “I can always look for a job working for someone else … but once I do that I think it would be a lot harder to remove myself and start my own thing. I was hoping I’d be able to set something up so I’d have a business to walk into when I graduate next year.” He plans to take on a business co-op student after Christmas to help with the work. Dempster admits it’s tough to manage his job and studies, but so far he’s making it work. “It’s hard to know what your priorities are when it’s time to study … or make sure a paper gets finished in time, and you’re a couple of lines away from finishing a proposal. I’ve finished a paper in the evening then stayed up all night finishing a project.” After graduation Dempster wants to expand his business across Atlantic Canada. He says he also has full intentions of directing a feature film someday. Dempster will attend the semifinal competition for student entrepreneur of the year in Moncton in March. If he’s successful, he will continue on to the finals in Toronto in May.
December 19, 2004
Starbucks is a newcomer to the coffeehouse scene in Vienna, Austria. With eight stores plunged in the heart of European coffee culture, the Seattle upstart has forced proud Vienna to improve the quality and range of its product.
Catherine Power of Happy Valley-Goose Bay enjoys sipping coffee while soaking up the culture in Vienna; her job with the International Press Institute is an added bonus Voice From Away Catherine Power Vienna, Austria
By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent
ince graduating in 2002 with a journalism degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, Catherine Power of Happy Valley-Goose Bay has taught English in Poland, studied for her black belt in taekwondo in Korea and is now working at the International Press Institute in Vienna. The 24-year-old has travelled to London, Prague and Bosnia, and is getting ready for a Christmas break in Rome, before moving on to West Africa in March. Over the last two years, Power has only made it back to Newfoundland and Labrador for fleeting visits between destinations. She says she’s currently dreaming of her return to the province in May, calling it her “most adventurous and exotic destination yet.” Power sounds wistful, talking on the phone from her office in the stunning city of Vienna, as she mentions returning home. Power’s family currently lives in St. John’s. “My little part of Newfoundland is probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen,” she tells The Independent. “I’m really excited about going back … I’ve spent like a month here or a month there in St. John’s, but I love it. I just think it’s a city that has so much energy and is so wonderful and has a great arts scene.” Since August of this year, Power has been interning as a press freedom advisor with the Internation-
al Press Institute, supporting its mission to monitor violations against members of the press throughout the world. Any time a journalist is killed, threatened or in danger as a result of their profession, the institute gets involved, writing protests, contacting heads of states and raising international support. “I really have met and had the chance to interview and read about cases of journalists who are so phenomenally brave … probably the most memorable case for me was a journalist I interviewed — he’s in jail in Sierra Leone, and my organization was trying to rally international support around him. “He’s had everything happen to him, his newspaper has been burned down, his family has been threatened, but he still really feels as though he needs to write about the wrong-doings of his government and he continues to do it. This is the third time he’s been put in jail and yet he keeps doing it because he really feels that connection to his country. It’s amazing.” DESIRE TO GLOBE-TROT Power’s road to Vienna has been an eventful one. She says she always knew she wanted to travel, but decided to complete her studies first. She chose journalism because it covered a wide range of her personal interests, including human rights, and says her desire to globe-trot came from her mother, who died of cancer a few years ago. “I think it’s my Mum’s bravery and kind of longing for adventure that allows me to do all this, she kind of passed that on to me.” Despite once vowing she would
never work as a teacher after seeing how hard her two parents worked in that profession, Power says teaching English abroad became a “magical idea” towards the end of her degree, because it would mean she could afford to travel. Most people tend to go to Asia to teach English because the salaries are good, but Power says she wanted to try something different. To teach in western Europe meant she would need a European Union passport, so she went to eastern Europe instead. “I went to Poland first, and lived just south of Krakow, in the smallest little town in the world — probably the place in my life that I’ve felt the most foreign, although physically I was the same as everybody else. “I stayed there for six months and I took a few months to travel through Bosnia, and Hungary and all of southeast Europe.” Eventually she decided to jump
on the English-teaching band wagon, and headed for the completely different culture in Korea. She laughs at her original determination to work outside of Asia. “I’ve since spent a year and a half there and it’s like, where my heart is I think … Korea, was just the most peaceful, beautiful place I’ve ever been, and I felt very at home there and really connected.” While teaching, she also picked up a few local skills. “I arrived on a Monday and I started taekwondo on a Friday and did taekwondo every single day actually — well six days a week — while I lived there and then in my final month I was training twice a day … I did my black belt, amongst 400 other Koreans, and I felt like a celebrity. They were so excited to have this Canadian foreigner amongst them.” Power wrapped up her stay in Korea with a tour of southeast Asia, accompanied by one of her two sisters, who came to visit her. It was during that trip that she found out her application to the young professionals international program, offered through the Foreign Affairs Department, had resulted in an internship offer from the National Press Institute in Vienna. Power still takes taekwondo lessons, although she says she finds the Austrian language barrier difficult. She works in an English-speaking office, but she says in the outside world, the locals are generally less patient compared to Newfoundlanders and Koreans. “In Korea, people would be more than happy to listen to me try to blubber out my first Korean sentences whereas here, it’s much more of a fast-paced environment.”
Coming from a family of “history buffs,” Power says she enjoys that element of Vienna, adding it’s one of the most esthetically striking cities she’s ever seen. Something not quite as “esthetically striking” is her current living space. “I live in the granny flat actually,” she laughs. “I write mass emails to my friends once a week — diaries from the granny flat. I live in a flat that a 92-year-old great aunt of one of my student colleagues is renting to me — 1960s shag carpeting décor… but it’s mine and I don’t have to share it.” SOAKING UP THE CULTURE She says Vienna has a “café culture,” people enjoy sipping coffee while soaking up the atmosphere. “You really walk down the street feeling as though you’re walking through a movie set, from one castle after another, and the streets are full of people who look as if they just stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine, it’s almost other worldly in that sense.” Power looks forward now to spending Christmas with friends in Rome. Before she heads to Africa, she and her father are planning a trip around Europe in February. “My fabulous Dad is finally going to travel to somewhere that’s not Ireland and come to visit me.” Does Power find her lifestyle as exciting as it sounds? “It does feel that way, but sometimes I can tell you it really doesn’t — when I’m kind of standing in line at the grocery store, completely incapable of communicating to somebody that ‘I just want some cheese, please.’”
The Independent, December 19, 2004
It’s time to stop being hit
t is no surprise the Republicans are sore winners. They have spent the better part of the past month beating their chests, threatening to send to Siberia any Republican who doesn’t toe the line (poor Arlen Specter), and promising everything short of martial law if the Democrats don’t do what they are told. What’s worse is the pathetic sight of the DLC (the conservative, pro-corporate group of Democrats) apologizing for being Democrats and promising to “purge” the party of the likes of, well, all of us. Their comments are so hilarious and really not even worth recognizing but the media is paying so much attention to them, I thought it might be worth doing a little reality check. The most people the DLC is able to get out to an event of theirs
is about 200 at their annual dinner (where you have to pay thousands of dollars to get in). Contrast this with the following: • members of Move On: more than two million. • attendance at Vote for Change concerts: estimated 280,000. • union members in U.S.: around 16 million. • number of people who have seen Fahrenheit 9/11: over 50 million. • number reading this: perhaps 10 million or more. MANIPULATED WITH FEAR The days of trying to move the Democratic Party to the right are over. We lost a very close election (a one-state difference) by running the No. 1 liberal in the Senate. Not bad. The country is shifting in our direction, not to the right. But the
country was attacked and people were scared. They were manipulated with fear. And America has never thrown a sitting president out during wartime. That’s the facts. Oh, and our candidate could have run a better campaign (but we’ll have that discussion another day). While we reflect on what went wrong, I would like to pass on to you an essay written by a woman who has spent years working as an advocate for victims of domestic abuse. She sees many parallels between her work and the reaction of many Democrats to last month’s election. Her name is Mel Giles and here is what she had to say … “Watch Dan Rather apologize for not getting his facts straight, humiliated before the eyes of America, voluntarily undermining his credibility and career of over
30 years. Listen as Donna and answer is quite simple. Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles “First, you must admit you are a Schumer take to the airwaves say- victim. Then, you must declare the ing that they have to go back to the state of affairs unacceptable. Next, drawing board and learn from their you must promise to protect yourmistakes and try to be self and everyone around better, more likable, you that is being victimmore appealing, have a ized. You don’t do this by stronger message, speak responding to their to morality. Watch them demands, or becoming awkwardly quote the more like them, or bible, trying to speak engaging in logical conthe “new” language of versation, or trying to America. persuade them that you “Surf the blogs, and MICHAEL are right. You also don’t read the comments of do this by going catatonMOORE ic and resigned, by closdismayed, discombobulated, confused individing up your ears and uals trying to figure out what they eyes. did wrong. Hear the cacophony of “Instead, you walk away. You voices, crying out, ‘Why did they find other folks like yourself, 57 beat me?’ million of them, who are hurting, “And then ask anyone who has broken, and beating themselves up. ever worked in a domestic vio- You tell them what you’ve learned, lence shelter if they have heard this and that you aren’t going to take it before. anymore. Then you walk out the “They will tell you: ‘Every sin- door, taking the kids and gays and gle day.’ minorities with you, and you start “The answer is quite simple. a new life. They beat us because they are “We have a mandate to be as abusers. We can call it hate. We radical and liberal and steadfast as can call it fear. We can say it is we need to be. The progressive unfair. But we are looped into the beliefs and social justice we stand cycle of violence, and we need to for, our core, must not be altered. start calling the dominating side “Any battered woman in Amerwhat they are: abusive. And we ica, any oppressed person around need to recognize that we are the the globe who has defied her victims of verbal, mental, and oppressor will tell you this: there even, in the case of Iraq, physical is nothing wrong with you. You are violence. in good company. You are strong. “As victims we can’t stop asking You must change only one thing: ourselves what we did wrong. We stop responding to the abuser. can’t seem to grasp that they will “Even if you do everything keep hitting us and beating us as right, they’ll hit you anyway. Look long as we keep sticking around at the poor souls who voted for this and asking ourselves what we are nonsense. They are working for doing to deserve the beating. six dollars an hour if they are “Listen to George Bush say that working at all, their children are the will of God excuses his behav- dying overseas and suffering from ior. Listen, as he refuses to take lack of health care and a depleted responsibility, or express remorse, environment and a shoddy educaor even once, admit a mistake. tion. Watch him strut, and tell us that he “And they don’t even know they will only work with those who are being hit.” agree with him. “And watch the Democratic How true. And that is our chalParty leadership walk on eggshells, lenge over the next couple of try to meet him, please him, dis- years; to hold out our hand to those tance themselves from gays and being hit the hardest and help them civil rights. See the Democrats cry leave behind a party that only for the attention and affection and seeks to keep beating them, their approval of the President and his children, and the kid next door followers. Watch us squirm. who’s on his way to Iraq. “How to break free? Again, the www.michaelmoore.com
December 19, 2004
Paul Daly/The Independent
Santa Claus on a early visit to the Avalon Mall in St. John’s.
Santa unwrapped Claus prepares for Christmas trip to town — checks list twice By Jenny Higgins For The Independent
umour has it there’s a man — a well-travelled man with a penchant for red — who’s writing a list, checking it twice and coming to town. But this man is not a light packer. He needs a giant sleigh and a crew of reindeer to carry all his bags. The man in question is Kris Kringle, a.k.a. St. Nick, a.k.a. Santa Claus. Sources reveal he won’t officially visit the province until sometime during the night of the 24th, but The Independent managed to catch up with the elusive Claus recently at the Avalon Mall in St. John’s. He was running surveillance tests on local children, to see if they were naughty or nice, and gathering information on which gifts to manufacture in his North Pole toy factory. BUSY YEAR This year is shaping up to be a busy one for the toy factory elves because Claus says he’s pleased to see so many well-behaved children. He also points out that all children benefit from the help of role models, like parents and teachers. “Now, generally boys and girls are very good,” Claus says. “Occasionally you’ll get the odd boy or girl who’s sort of heading in the wrong direction, but with the help of parents and teachers, well they get them back on track again.” With so many children making the cut to the nice list, Claus won’t
be packing many lumps of coal this Christmas — something the reindeer will be happy to hear, since coal can make their load an especially heavy one. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Claus says his reindeer follow an intense exercise regime to prepare for their flight around the planet. “Well, we’re watching their diet and making sure they’re eating the right things,” says Claus. “We give them a little runabout, just preparing them for the long journey. “But they’re very used to this and, you know, there’s something about the animal kingdom and the creatures — I think they know when the time is near and they’re getting excited also.” The average human might miss a house or two if they had to travel around the world in one night, but not Claus, who says he leaves no chimney unvisited. “Well, if I weren’t so magical, my, it would be such a tiring task,” he says. “But of course, you know, Santa is magical and he doesn’t miss a house — or an apartment, or a condo. He makes it to every one. “And Santa is so good at geography, well he knows every country
and every city on every continent. Oh, yes.” Claus is a resourceful gift-giver, who assures The Independent he can find his way into homes that don’t have chimneys — or those that accidentally leave fires burning in the fireplace. “Well, there’s always other ways where I bring my magic to work,” he says with a twinkle in his eye. “The main thing is to find myself inside and not only to leave things, but hopefully there will be something for me. Maybe a cookie, milk, because it’s such a long journey and I get so tired and hungry.” Although toys have grown more technologically complex over the years, Claus says his toy factory elves make it a priority to keep up with the times. “Everybody has to keep up with technology because if you don’t you just miss the train, don’t you?” But it’s not only the children who will be getting gifts from Claus — he also has something put aside for his wife, Mrs. Claus. While he doesn’t want to give away the details and ruin the surprise, he does reveal a small hint. “Well, you know, jewelry is always welcome for the ladies,”
“Well, if I weren’t so magical, my, it would be such a tiring task. But of course, you know, Santa is magical and he doesn’t miss a house — or an apartment, or a condo. He makes it to every one.” — Santa Claus
says Claus with a wink. As for the jolly man himself — who confesses to be a bit of a bookworm when not making Christmas preparations — Claus says he’d like to find a book waiting for him under the tree on Christmas morning. “Oh, well Santa likes to read and so if we can get a book or two from the bestseller list, well, Santa would be very happy,” he says. “Maybe something a little thrilling. You know, the nights get so long up north and reading is a very pleasant pastime, oh yes.” TAKING ON SCROOGE While Christmas is generally considered a time of good-cheer, there are some people, like Ebenezer Scrooge, who say “bah-humbug!” to the season. Claus, however, is unphased by Scrooge’s attitude and says if given the chance, he’d change Scrooge’s tune. “Well, I’d sit us both down and have a nice long chat,” says Claus, adopting a gutsy, hands-on approach. “Oh, and I think I’d win him over, oh I really would. I’m not a politician, of course, but I think that I could talk him over to my side and get him to change his mind about some things.” Claus suddenly notices a small child looking shyly on and decides to go spread a little Christmas cheer, but not before delivering a few parting words. “I’d like to wish everybody a very merry Christmas and remember, it’s a time of joy. Ho, ho, ho!”
The Independent, December 19, 2004
LIFE & TIMES
Gros Morne is alive with the sound of music Concert organized to raise money for west coast music camp
By Stephanie Porter The Independent
hen Eric West returned from university in Ottawa in 1978, he began his career as a folk song collector in Placentia Bay. Three months later, he says he felt he was seeing “the end of a tradition, that Newfoundland music was in peril.” Today, West — still a song collector and publisher, but also an educator, performer, children’s entertainer and director of the Vinland music camp — doesn’t have those same fears. “There are terrific songs being written all the time,” he says from his home in Ladle Cove on the island’s northeast coast. “And no one knows better than me. This is what I do for a living, I search out great songs for my songbooks.” He’s especially heartened, he says, by the enthusiasm of youth — and the commitment of adults to pass along their knowledge. West says he and accomplished folk musician Jean Hewson had long talked about trying to open a music school in St. John’s. That hasn’t happened yet, but his weeklong music camp, headed for its fifth summer in Gros Morne, is a way of filling that need. The camp is thriving, driven by the teachers, students, and parents — two of whom have started a special fund to enable youth from around the island to make the trek to the park. “One of the most popular things at the camp is the songwriting. At the closing concert, the kids sing their songs and they’re about every conceivable subject … amazing,” he says. “It’s one of the things that gives me optimism that traditional music, Newfoundland music, will survive … it’ll have to change and adapt, but we realize it’ll be in good hands. “On the other hand, it’s good to be aware of the rich tradition that
Paul Daly/The Independent
Eric West, director of the Vinland music camp, will perform tonight with The Potluck Singers at the Gower St. United Church in St. John’s.
came before us, to draw on the well of core material.” Kathleen Parewick and her daughter travelled from St. John’s to the camp for the first time in 2002. The experience inspired Parewick and another mother, Tina Ricketts, to begin a youth education fund, affiliated with the Folk Arts Council. “We came back from (Vinland camp) thinking, gee whiz, everybody should be able to do this,” Parewick says. By the next summer, the initiative had $1,600 earmarked to help kids attend the camp — directly benefiting a dozen youth from around the island. “I think the Vinland camp has
been a nice rallying point … a lot of people, particularly the instructors, have become galvanized by watching the transformation of a group of kids given the opportunity to interact with one another in this folk music environment.” Ten-year-old Jenna Kelly from Marystown attended the camp with her father last summer (although most of the 40 or so campers are youth, anyone over the age of nine is welcome to register). Jenna likes all kinds of music — she plays guitar, piano, fiddle, tin whistle and harp — but “Newfoundland music I find really teaches you about the culture around Newfoundland and it’s a pleasure to listen to as well.
“Maybe later on, if you have children, you’ll be able to teach them about Newfoundland culture, and if they get into Newfoundland music, then we’ll all learn even more.” Her dad, Joe, is delighted — though surprised — his daughter has taken the interest she has in the music and musicians. “To play with kids from different parts of Newfoundland, how their dialect is different … all these kids from different walks of life and come together and play.” West says he’s “gone out of the way to keep fees down” and tuition at the camp is $22 a day ($35 for adults). The provincial arts council gave him small grants to get up and running, but he figures he won’t need one in 2005. From 12 attendees the first time around, to 40 last year, interest seems to show no sign of slowing down. Given the growth, West and his
colleagues are considering launching an adult camp, perhaps in the fall. He has also been asked to organize a camp for seniors. And another youth camp? West hesitates. “It’s very exhausting, with classes all day, concerts, dancing and bonfires at night. It would be difficult to do two camps back to back.” But, he adds, if more young students from around the province were looking to take part, he’d work to find a way to make it happen. “One of the main reasons I wanted to have the camp was for people from smaller places who may not have the funds to go to private teachers or the city or other places. The idea was to encourage them to attend.” To raise funds for the youth education initiative, the St. John’s Folk Arts Council is hosting a concert and Christmas tea tonight (Dec. 19). See events on page 24.
LIFE & TIMES
The Independent, December 19, 2004
Broken hearts and rolling stones Local Spins RICK BAILEY Love Hijacker Love Hijacker (Independent, 2004)
ike the return of a former girlfriend, this six-song offering includes the familiar qualities you hold dear and the added spice of years spent apart. Love Hijacker has Steve Edwards back writing the remarkable funkrock he debuted with 2001’s The Eddy Stevens Quartet, a memorable album for its danceable ska and jazz sensibilities. The feelings resurface, but with a rock edge to give the songs a new assertiveness. Edwards’ guitar now takes the forefront, backed ably by a dexterous Mike Dowding on bass and Brad Wheeler on drums. The first song, Back Of My Head, begins with a fast groove that jumps straight into funky bass runs and tell-all lyrics of musical inspiration from a cheating lover. The best of songs have been written through heartbroken pens. A fuzzed breakdown highlights the new sound directions near the end. The fuzz comes back to bring guts to Happy All Day, steady and vigorous with shakers for the refrain: “…and if there’s one thing I have to say/If you like me, just stay away.” A nice solo break here, featuring simple twin harmonies that float easily into a repeated verse-chorus end. A single guitar chord vamps, joined by staggered drums and bass, to open Over And Over. The lively song tells of confusion in life and relations, with a positive message, “Love is the only thing you can sell with a feeling.” I sort of feel good and equally concerned about the context of that statement, but what the hell, treat confusion with confusion. I’m sold. Acoustics at the end of the tune give a light mariachi finish. Grab It deals with love lost in
the most upbeat way, by playful acoustic and electric guitar strumming and hopeful words. This one’s the winner — heartfelt lyrical melody, catchy bass and guitar hooks, and cruises at under two and a half minutes. Next is a slightly reworked version of an early Edwards favourite, APB. It still has that calypso-ska feel with added acoustic guitar flourish for the solo, and stronger vocals from Edwards, doubled in harmony. Lure has quick-paced guitar riffing and tight stops to snag you. “How do I let you do what you do?” is the repeated line and fits right in with the theme of troubled relationships. Love Hijacker is a small sampling of bittersweet morsels to keep you moving for days, maybe moving from one love to another. Edwards’ production values are getting keener with time, too, with reverbs and pans well blended. And the rock leanings really set it off. Bouncy funk-rock should pick up anyone’s broken heart. Wayne Norman A Songwriter’s Journey: Volume Five, Roll That Stone (Independent, 2004) Often a handsome package will give you an indication of how an album will sound. This isn’t the case with Wayne Norman’s disc, Roll That Stone, because I expected more. While the photos and gloss were gleaming, the songs fell flat for me. The jangly title track tells you to “Roll that stone on up the hill” when Monday mornings, family, and a world of ’gators get you down. It’s got a classic country feel, with accordion and “studio percussion mix,” which unfortunately means there’s not a real drum found on the album. The next song, This Is My Rock, begins beautifully with keyboard, mandolin, and guitar. Norman muses of hearing valley winds and
loon cries, with background harmonica and a flute solo, and a chant of “love lifted me” to fade out at the end. It’s a nice, mellow tune, even if Norman sounds like he’s singing from inside a box. More of the same style of waltztime country on Now We Know, which compares a leaving love to two ships on a stormy ocean. I’m not sure if Wayne’s near-drawl fits in a duet with Crystal Ali’s high vibrato, though. Music Of The Heart is a tradi-
tional track with banjo, mandolin, accordion, hamonica and Norman’s guitar. Eighty-three year-old Rita Blundon speaks the title to start and finish this song about passing down centuries of song. “It’s flown since we first beat the drum” — the synthetic one, as is the case with this album. The rest of the album continues in this fashion, fusing simple melodies and flowery lyrics with
ample instrumentation on nearcountry tunes. From Fly On, Fly On (tribute to Waylon), to other tributes with Happy Birthday Dear Sister or a version of Townes Van Zant’s Be Here To Love Me, these songs don’t vary too much. There’s even a song about Norman hardly recognizing himself in photos on Rostotski Blues. It’s easy to write a few words about mostly anything, but this takes the cake. Although the studio quality of the songs is very good, the songs don’t sustain my interest. If anyone’s interested in mild country tunes without expert singing, be my guest. Maybe the first four volumes in the set are a different journey. Rick Bailey is a musician and radio DJ. His next column appears Dec. 31.
The Independent, December 19, 2004
LIFE & TIMES
By Alisha Morrissey The Independent
ummers, roast beef for Christmas dinner, homemade ornaments and presents, and 12 days off made the traditional Newfoundland and Labrador Christmas what it was — a truly special time of year. Pat Byrne, professor of Newfoundland studies at Memorial University, says he remembers many customs that have faded over the years. “I think perhaps one of the simplest things was … people took the whole 12 days off Christmas, it was the one time in the whole calendar year in Newfoundland where people only did the very necessary things,” Byrne tells The Independent. The custom, he adds, wasn’t followed so closely in St. John’s. Mummers — also known as jannies or darbies — are, to this day, one of the province’s bestknown traditions. Mummering came from England and Ireland, but was banned here in 1861 — 143 years later and the law remains on the books. A mummer can still end up spending seven days in jail and a fine of 20 shillings. “It was banned basically because in any large population centre, when you got a whole bunch of people tearing around, half liquored up … (mummering) allows them to take a great deal of liberties that they wouldn’t take if they never had their face covered,” Byrne says. “I think the biggest blow to mummering was centralization … people didn’t feel comfortable mummering anymore in what was a strange place, even though the strange place might have been only 10 miles down the shore.” Christmas trees were uncommon in many households in the province, but those who did cut a tree made it a family event. Byrne says a tree would be decorated with candles, paper ornaments, fruit and tinfoil from old tea boxes. Frank Galgay, author, historian and St. John’s city councillor, says his favourite traditions included visiting the church’s nativity scene and going door to door to look at people’s Christmas trees. “You’d knock on the door and say ‘Ma’am or sir can I see your Christmas tree’ … we had another motive too, we wanted something to eat or something to drink.” Galgay says there was always a piece of cake and Purity Syrup ready for those who stopped by.
‘Charles frickin’ Dickens bit of attitude’ Christmases of old have changed, but the season is what you make of it
He recalls the pride that was baked into every cake or meal, the carols being sung all over the city by the Salvation Army and roast beef dinner on Christmas day. Turkey is a modern tradition —
most people in the province ate wild game with their Christmas dinner. Ray Guy, a monthly columnist with The Independent who’s known for his satirical writings,
says his editors would always request an article about an oldtime Christmas when the holidays came up. “I don’t know why — there’s a bit of nostalgia there or something.
A Charles frickin’ Dickens bit of attitude,” says Guy, who adds Christmas traditions — and everything else — changed quickly. Electricity and roads changed everything, he says. Guy grew up in isolated communities where farming and fishing went hand in hand with survival and remembers that the community always came together during the holiday season. “If you were lucky, clergy couldn’t get around, you know, because of bad weather, or they picked the bigger places,” says Guy. “The various little organizations, the church and the school and whoever else, had these socials and dances or concerts or one thing or another.” As for the presents, the quantity and quality have changed over the years as well. Byrne remembers his favourite Christmas gift — a plastic fire truck with an “anemic siren” that had to be wound up with a key. Fresh fruit — either apples or oranges — were also common gifts. He says clothes were popular gifts, but with large families children often got only one gift and a toy each. Guy remembers getting oranges for Christmas that cost 50 cents each, but can’t recall what his favourite Christmas gift was. “I remember one Christmas we got a toboggan — that was pretty good — half the crew could jump aboard it.” says Guy. A bit of a grinch this year, Guy says he’ll celebrate with a bonfire on Dec. 21. He says he won’t have a tree in his house — he’s going “purely pagan. “We have a dehydrator for the fruits and vegetables and stuff like that,” says Guy. “I like the smell so I might put a few of the (pine) branches in the dryer and stink out the house that way.” Guy says everything about Christmas has lost its charm. “Christmas carols seem to have the last living drop of anything squeezed out of them long, long ago. I find it torture to go into any of the shops now or malls and this Christmas stuff is run out for a month or so on the loud speakers.” Byrne agrees. “That’s the other thing I hate about Christmas now … now the stores take down the Halloween stuff one day and put up the Christmas decorations the next. So you’re sick of Christmas — at least I am — long before it gets here.” He says all he wants under the tree is an old-time Christmas. “Bah humbug,” says Guy. Paul Daly photos/The Independent
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
LIFE & TIMES
Events DECEMBER 19 • Best Little Christmas Pageant Ever dinner theatre. The Majestic, 390 Duckworth St. 6:30 p.m., $45, 579-3023. • The St. John’s Folk Arts Council presents the Second Annual Concert and Christmas Tea 7 p.m. Gower St. United Church. Featuring: the Potluck Singers, Amber Christmas with Pamela Morgan and Anita Best, Crooked Stovepipe, The Brother Rice Celtic Choir. Hosted by Pete Soucy. $10 adults, $7 youth. • Sing We Joyous All Together: 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 St. United Church. $12, $10 student/senior. • Christmas In Pippy Park, Rainbow Riders riding circle on Mt. Scio Rd., 3 p.m. Christmas crèche, children, horses, Christmas carol sing-a-long, hot chocolate and doughnuts. DECEMBER 20 • Best Little Christmas Pageant Ever dinner theatre. The Majestic, 390 Duckworth St., 6:30 p.m., $45, 579-3023.
The Independent, December 19, 2004
Sense of loss
Delta Hotel. • Buffet Jazz Luncheon, Spirit of Newfoundland Productions, 12-2 p.m. Majestic Theatre. • Book Signing: Elliot Leyton Dying Hard. Downhomer Shoppe and Gallery, 303 Water St., 7 p.m.–8:30 p.m. IN THE GALLERIES • Christmas from the Art, Cynthia Noel Art Gallery, 121 Long’s Hill. On display until Dec. 24. Mon-Sat, 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. 754-5560. • Christmas at the Gallery, Red Ochre Gallery, by gallery artists such as Bendza, Boykov, Charopova, Davis, Feltham, Hughes, Lapointe, McClellan, Popova, Ritchie, Squires and Tian. Tues-Sat, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. On display until Dec. 24, 726-6422. • Art Exhibit: Dead Soldiers, Eastern Edge Gallery, 72 Harbour Drive. Craig Francis Power, a formal and conceptual framework of the installation Dead Soldiers, first time shown in a public gallery. On display until Dec. 31. 739-1882.
Paul Daly/The Independent
St. Mary’s native Meleny Yetman, a fourth year visual arts student at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook, examines the disappearance and stereotypes of rural Newfoundland in her work. “I see it happening through the houses that are left, being demolished on the desolate landscape,” she says. “I’m exploring the issues of my home. I’m just feeling a sense of loss and desolation. How do you deal with that when you go home and there are no children there anymore; it’s not an entertaining place anymore?”
DECEMBER 21 • Best Little Christmas Pageant Ever dinner theatre. The Majestic, 390 Duckworth St., 6:30 p.m., $45, 579-3023. • CBTG’s, George St. Pre-Christmas Rock Show with, A Select Few, After Silence and Palaver, 10:30 p.m. 722-2284. • Ron Hynes in Concert II, LSPU Hall, 3 Victoria St. 8 p.m. $20, 753-4531. • Free Christmas Concert. The Conception Bay South Concert Band, 12 p.m. Lobby of Confederation Building. DECEMBER 22 • Spirit of Newfoundland productions presents Christmas Cabaret Dinner Theatre at The Majestic, 390 Duckworth St., 7 p.m. Reservations required, 579-3023. • Book Signing: Robin McGrath - Nursery Rhymes of Newfoundland. Downhomer Shoppe and Gallery, 303 Water St. 7 p.m. 8:30 p.m. DECEMBER 23 • Billy and the Bruisers in concert 8 p.m.
INDEPENDENT CROSSWORD ACROSS 1 He invented a potato digger 6 Not polite 10 Back on board 13 Chatters 17 Bay window 18 Tied 19 N or S 20 Up to the task 21 Distrustful 22 Sweat 24 Bata ___ Museum (Toronto) 25 Become dim 26 ___ polloi 27 City with most dry days: Medicine ___, Alta. 28 Nudges 30 Strews 33 Get to know 34 “___ is beautiful.” 36 ___ on parle francais 37 Existence 39 Pampering place 40 Poet Margaret ___ (Concrete and Wild Carrot) 42 Mother’s sister 43 Taxi 46 Of the same ancestry 48 ___ and thread 50 Extinct 51 Music not produced by big studio 52 Lonely sort of trip 54 Foofaraw 55 Medieval helmet
Solutions on page 26
56 Disloyal sort 57 Toogood ___, Nfld. 58 Musician’s engagement 59 Salesperson 60 Ways and ___ 62 Him in Paris 63 Waikiki wear 64 ___ and desist! 67 Sask.’s Waskesiu 68 First Lt.-Governor of Upper Canada: John ___ (1752-1806) 70 Wrap with cloths 72 Exist 73 Call a sum a thumb 74 Defeated 76 Mat 77 Tranquillizes 78 Caustic solution 79 More pleasant 81 Hackneyed 83 Time of fun and games 85 Defeated 86 Ask for alms 87 ___ an egg (fail) 88 Meadowlark, e.g. 92 Nay sayer 93 Pillar in the form of a draped female figure 96 Engine 97 French silk 98 Sheep she 99 Care for 100 Accolade for a diva 101 God of love 102 Condensed moisture
103 Nervous 104 Shoelace tip DOWN 1 Never Cry ___ (Mowat) 2 Quarter 3 Bound 4 Canadian diva Stratas 5 Cunning 6 Deal with a root-bound plant 7 Eye inflammation 8 German article 9 Cherish as sacred 10 Mine entrance 11 N.B.’s official tree: balsam ___ 12 More than one-quarter of Canada is north of this 13 Boring prattler 14 Loathe 15 Like some glass 16 Witnesses 23 “Je ne sais ___.” 26 Cut in two 29 Gave a loan 31 Some reds 32 Concerning money movement 34 Do like a dreidel 35 Narcotic plant, once object of superstition 37 Boo, hiss role 38 One who sums up a life 39 Snow runner 41 Pursuit of high principles
43 Companion (SW U.S.) 44 Donkey (Fr.) 45 Wager 47 Author Schoemperlen 49 Watchfulness 50 Avarice 53 Cranky ones 55 Mythical place of pastoral bliss 60 Provincial rep. 61 Organ of equilibrium
65 Pronounce indistinctly 66 Brain test, briefly 68 Muzzled 69 Constrain morally 71 Journalist Mesley 73 Overdue 75 Marketing 77 Brandon and Halifax 80 Human wired to a computer 81 Choir voice
82 Pi, e.g. 83 Whimsical 84 ___-long-legs 85 Headquarters 86 Make ale 89 Emphatic type: abbr. 90 Wander 91 Darn! 94 Electrify 95 Dry flax 96 Mgt. candidate
December 19, 2004
St. John’s Maple Leafs play the Grand Rapids Griffins in a recent game.
Paul Daly/The Independent
Fanning out Leafs may be struggling at the gate, but the hockey has never been better By Darcy MacRae For The Independent
ile One Stadium is often a lonely place this season. With the St. John’s Maple Leafs playing their final season in the downtown arena before moving to Toronto next year, some fans have apparently lost interest in the club. Last season the Baby Buds averaged close to 5,000 spectators a night. This season has been a different story, with 1,000 fewer people in the stands on average per game.
ATTENDENCE DROPPING Although 4,000 fans a game is still a respectable American Hockey League attendance, the drop in paying customers is not easy to hide. Whether it be the high number of empty maroon seats or the lack of noise when the home team scores, it’s not hard to tell fewer fans are flocking to Mile One. “When you’re talking 800 to 1,000 less people, you can certainly notice it in the building,” says Glen Stanford, general manager of Mile One and vicepresident of hockey operations for the Baby Leafs. “We expected a drop, but we didn’t know whether or not we’d pick it up with walk-ups on game night.” Attendance for the Leafs at Mile One this season fluctuates from game to game, often depending on the night of the week that the team is playing — with weekend games often attracting larger crowds. The opposition’s lineup can also affect crowd size. Native Newfoundlanders Jason King of the Manitoba Moose and Ryan Clowe of the Cleveland Barons often have their own cheer-
ing sections at Mile One when they Not only is St. John’s winning, the visit. So while on some nights the club Leafs are doing it in style. is lucky to have 3,000 fans in attenAt their disposal is one of the dance, the building is almost sold out league’s most exciting forward lines in on other nights. Harold Druken, Kyle Wellwood and But with an average of close to 1,000 David Ling (Wellwood and Ling are fewer paying customers per night and a both in the top five in league scoring). 15 to 20 percent decrease in season The team also has perhaps the AHL’s ticket sales, something has to give in the top goaltending tandem in Mikael Telway of finances. lqvist and Jean-Sebastien Aubin and “There’s no question it has affected one of pro hockey’s top rated prospects our budget,” Stanford tells The Inde- in Carlo Colaiacovo. pendent. “With attendance down, that Considering the supporting cast tends to have a domino affect on other includes the likes of Matt Stajan, things such as food and beverage. We’ll Nathan Perrott and Marc Moro, it is not be talking to our board of directors unreasonable to consider this team to be about this shortly.” one of the best St. John’s has iced since Stanford is still unclear at this point entering the AHL in 1991. about what type of For that reason, economic repercusStanford says fans “There’s no question it sions could result who have ignored the from the drop in fan has affected our budget. club thus far might support, but admits With attendance down, want to reconsider. the situation does “The fans are defithat tends to have a warrant a closer nitely missing out on look. At the same a wonderful opportudomino affect on other time, he maintains things such as food and nity,” he says. there’s still hope “You’ve got to give attendance will rise. beverage. We’ll be talking our team credit this “Traditionally, to our board of directors year, especially at attendance has been home. We’ve never about this shortly.” stronger after had such a good — Glen Stanford Christmas than in home record in 13 October to Decemyears. We’ve had ber,” he says. “Our some fantastic games attendance usually goes up drastically at Mile One Stadium this season. We’ve in January, February and March. We had some great finishes like last weekcertainly hope the trend continues.” end.” One thing Stanford says is in the The two games St. John’s played verLeafs’ favour is that the club has sus the Portland Pirates on Dec. 10 and improved. With over a quarter of the 11 both went down to the wire, with the season played, the Baby Buds are in the Dec. 11 game showcasing the team’s hunt for first place in the AHL’s north skill and determination. division, and sport the league’s second Trailing 1-0 with just over two minbest home record with 12 wins and four utes left in the third period, Leafs’ losses. winger Brad Leeb drove to the net with
Portland’s Chris Hajt draped over him like a set of curtains. Despite eventually being hauled to the ice, Leeb managed to flip the puck past Pirates’ netminder Maxime Ouellet from his knees to send the game into overtime. The action continued in the extra frame, as Wellwood brought the crowd to their feet with a beautiful game-winning goal. Those in attendance saw Wellwood turn Portland defenceman Jean-Francois Fortin inside out by slipping the puck between his legs before dancing around him and tucking a quick wrist shot over Ouellet’s shoulder, just under the crossbar. Moves like that may be just the thing to bring the fans back to Mile One. “At the first of the season, I didn’t think I would go to any games because of what they’re doing with the team,” says Baby Buds’ fan Adam Pike regarding the team’s upcoming move to Toronto. “But they’re winning and the games are exciting. I like watching hockey when it’s this good, so I’ll watch a few more games before they leave.” The Baby Buds hope Pike’s sentiments are echoed by other fans, and a look at ticket sales for the months ahead indicates they just may be. The team’s final regular season game on April 16 is almost sold out already, leading Stanford to be optimistic about the team’s future financial situation. “Hopefully we can get the fans to back it up a bit further than the last game of the year,” he says. “We still believe it’s a good night’s entertainment. It’s a good night out for $18.50 a ticket. It’s an even better night’s entertainment this year because of the quality team we have.” Darcy_8888@hotmail.com
The Independent, December 19, 2004
Maple Leaf madness
t’s that time of the year again, and never has the World Junior Championship come at a time when fans have been so starved for hockey. The tournament has provided excellent Christmastime viewing for years, and hopefully this year will be no exception. It’s been four years since this province has had a native son on the team, but Newfoundland and Labrador has made a significant contribution to Team Canada at the world juniors over the years. In fact, one of our finest young men was responsible for one of the most memorable moments this country has had in the world juniors. Who can forget John Slaney’s shot from the point that lifted Team Canada to the 1991 world title in Saskatoon?
BACK OF THE NET It wasn’t exactly a blistering blast, but it found the back of the net nonetheless. When you consider all the great moments our national junior teams have enjoyed over the years, that moment ranks up there with the best. It was the gold-medal game, Slaney scored his only goal of the tournament, late in the third period, giving Canada a 3-2 win over Russia. It happened on Canadian soil, and the media attention was heavy. The pressure was on the Canadian team, and they delivered. Back in 1991, Eric Lindros was still the Big E, and he was the star of the team. In a post-game interview, Lindros was grateful to have, in his words, a “New—-” put the puck in the net and give Canada the win. Too often, the “N” word has been used in a derogatory fashion, but I, for one, was never more proud to hear that word uttered
Slaney again suited up for Canada in 1992, but the team finished 6th. With a seven point total, Slaney holds the record for most points scored by someone from this province in the world championships. on national TV. There have been many unforgettable goals scored by Canada during the senior world championships and Canada Cups, with two of the most enduring being Paul Henderson in 1972 and Mario Lemieux (from Gretsky) in 1987. Slaney’s goal has earned a lofty place in Canadian hockey lore, even though it’s not in the same league as the Henderson or Lemieux markers. But, hey, it was a world championship gold-medal game winner, and it defeated the Russians — the same rivals from 1972 and 1987. Goals don’t get that much more important to Canadian hockey fans. Slaney again suited up for Canada in 1992, but the team finished 6th. With a seven point total, Slaney holds the record for most points scored by someone from this province in the world championships. In fact, Slaney has been our province’s top Canadian junior player. But he wasn’t the first. That honour goes to Keith Brown of Corner Brook, who donned the Maple Leaf in 1979, when Canada placed fifth in Karlstad, Sweden. The year before Slaney’s heroics, Dwayne Norris of St. John’s tied for fourth overall in team scoring (six points in seven
games) as Canada won gold in Helsinki, Finland. Norris was an integral part of that team, and played big when it counted. In 1992, Chad Penney of St. John’s, who also played minor hockey in Labrador, was a teammate of Slaney’s. Penney did not receive much ice time, and did not score during the tournament, but it was nice to see two from this province skate with the world’s best. Seven years later, Harold Druken of Shea Heights took home a silver medal from Winnipeg, where he scored one goal and had an assist in seven games. Canada lost 3-2 to Russia in the gold-medal game.
Crossword Solutions from page 24
In 2000, Bonavista’s Michael Ryder helped Canada to a bronze medal win in a 3-2 overtime shootout win over Team USA. He was the last from this province to play on the national team, and without question, Ryder has carved out the most successful pro resume of all our past junior players. Yes, he has only played one season in the NHL, but what a season! He should have won rookie of the year. Speaking of should-haves, good ol’ Dan Cleary of Riverhead, Harbour Grace has to be given honourable mention when speaking of the national junior squad. Cleary was invited to try out three consecutive years (1995, 1996, 1997) but did not crack the lineup either year. For a guy who enjoyed so much success in junior hockey, it was tough. But he was on the brink three times, while hundreds of junior hockey players never even got a sniff. Well, all of that is in the past. What does the future hold for this province and the world junior team? Are there any players from this province who may get a shot at playing in years to come? Certainly, we have talented players in the Ontario and Quebec junior leagues, and with the new Q team in St. John’s on the horizon, I’d say we’ll have a few more local guys wearing the Maple Leaf down the road. For the record, in the six years that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have been on the team, Canada has brought home four medals (two gold, a silver and a bronze). And who says this province doesn’t make a contribution? Bob White writes from Carbonear. email@example.com
The Independent, December 19, 2004