VOL. 3 ISSUE 9
ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR — SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27-MARCH 5, 2005
$1.00 (INCLUDING HST)
OPINION PAGE 9 AND 19
OPINION PAGE 3
John Crosbie on human rights; Siobhan Coady on ‘dithering’ PM
Ray Guy on all the news not fit to print
‘It will not fly’
UP THE POND
Closure of agriculture station seen as violation of Terms of Union JAMIE BAKER
he federal government’s plan to close the agricultural research station in Mount Pearl may be in violation of the 1949 Terms of Union with Canada, The Independent has learned. Closing the station would make Newfoundland and Labrador the only province in Canada without such a research station. The Terms of Union clearly state the Government of Canada will “make a special effort to collect and make available statistical and scientific data about the natural resources and economy of the province … in order to bring such information up to the standard attained for the other provinces of Canada.” Natural Resources Minister Ed Byrne says the province plans to use the Terms of Union as the “cornerstone” of its argument to keep the agriculture station open. “We’re well aware that the agriculture station was part of the Terms of Union with the Government of Canada,” Byrne says. He adds it’s his understanding the federal government attempted to shut down the station in the late 1970s or early ’80s, at which time the Terms of Union were used to overturn the decision. “This is not the first time Ottawa has attempted to do this … our position is the station will not close. This station must remain open.” Byrne is slated to meet with federal Agriculture Minister Andy Mitchell early this week. He also planned to talk with federal Natural Resources Minister John Efford this past weekend. Efford failed to return numerous messages left by The Independent. Byrne says he spoke with Memorial University president Axel Meisen, who denied discussions had taken place regarding transferring research from the agriculture station to the university. “All our conversations indicate this plan was drawn up on the back of a cigarette package — there was no consultation,” says Byrne. “It will not fly.” See “Mistake,” page 2
QUOTE OF THE WEEK “Where do you fit people in government offices when they’ve worked on a farm?” — Larry Welsh of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the union representing federal government workers at the experimental farm in St. John’s.
Over 80 local books to be released this year SPORTS 25
People still playing hockey — for fun Paper Trail . . . . . . . . . 8 Youth Column . . . . . 15 In Camera . . . . . . . . . 16 Crossword . . . . . . . . 18 Events. . . . . . . . . 21, 24
Ponds on the province’s east coast have been perfect for hockey in recent days. Above, four young men play a game of shinny on Kenny’s Pond in St. John’s. Rhonda Hayward/The Independent
Pulling the plug Chinese company with links to terrorism may be out of running for lower Churchill project JEFF DUCHARME
.S. policy may have taken one player out of the race to develop the lower Churchill hydroelectric project. A senior State Department official says if the province makes a deal with the state-run Chinese company sanctioned by the U.S. for terrorist activities, it could lead to the halting of power imports to the United States from the lower
Churchill project. The China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation is part of the Sino Energy consortium that has expressed interest in developing the lower Churchill and its total 2,824 megawatts of electricity. The province signed a memorandum of understanding with the consortium in 2004. The Chinese state-run company has been sanctioned by the U.S. government for selling components used to make and develop weapons of mass destruction.
“There’d only be an issue if this could possibly be construed as an import into the United States that (the Chinese company) produces,” the State Department official tells The Independent on condition of anonymity. “We’d simply bar the import of that product into the United States.” In a Sept. 25, 2004 interview with The Independent, Premier Danny Williams said the provincial Justice Department would launch an investigation into the Chinese company. “And if, in fact, they have im-
proper connections with terrorists or terrorist countries, well then we will sever ties with that company,” Williams said. “There’s absolutely no doubt.” The Liberal opposition launched a Freedom of Information request in a bid to get details of the Justice Department investigation, which was actually handled by a mainland law firm. The province refused the request, pointing to “solicitor and client privilege” as one of the reasons for See “Grimes,” page 2
‘Heaven knows what’ Theories abound about what happened to St. John’s man who vanished into Calgary night ALISHA MORRISSEY
erry Lewis peers out the living room window of his St. John’s home as if his son will walk up the driveway at any moment. Michael Lewis, a 25-year-old master’s degree student at the University of Calgary, has been missing since Feb. 4. “It’s the first thing on your mind in the morning and the last thing on your mind at night,” Lewis says, elevating his leg on the couch. Recent knee surgery has left him unable to travel to Calgary with his wife, Maria, to search for their son. “There’s no best-case scenario. Maybe he was in an accident somewhere and he’s unconscious or … we don’t know. We have nothing to
go on so right now, we’re just living on hope,” his father says. “The worst nightmare is that he’s dead somewhere. Then again, he was a very spiritual person and if he’s dead, then he’s somewhere
Rhonda Hayward/The Independent
looking down on us and saying ‘Don’t worry about me.’” Lewis describes Michael as an ideal son: honest, reliable, an A student, an athlete and a stable, gentle person.
“He wouldn’t hurt a fly … he’s not depressed, he’s not psychotic — he’s not any of those things. He’s just straight down the line, he’s got an objective and he’s going for it and he was going for it.” The phone rings in the background; Lewis says it’s been ringing since Michael’s disappearance. Lewis says his son’s friends in Calgary are searching for him. “I’d love to have something concrete, but I don’t know what to say. You never know when you let your kids go.” Calgary police are investigating the disappearance, but won’t release details of the case. A detective with the police force tells The Independent there have been several tips and every lead is checked. The detective refused to specuSee “Nothing,”page 2
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
2 • INDEPENDENTNEWS
Grimes wants findings released
‘Nothing found of any evidence whatsoever’
From page 1
From page 1
the non-disclosure. Liberal leader Roger Grimes says government should be “above board” and release the findings. “The premier of the province committed that he was concerned and that he would have an investigation done ... and now they won’t even tell us how much they paid the law firm,” says Grimes. Byrne would only confirm the investigation found proof of sanctions against the company. “If there are issues like that, then obviously we’d have serious reservations.” Byrne says if the U.S. blocked power going into the States, then the province won’t “be doing any business” with the Chinese company. In Sept. 2004, Premier Danny Williams announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding and praised the Sino Energy consortium. “The partners are credible players who believe this option is worth studying,” Williams said when making the announcement. The Chinese firm is one of three companies in the Sino Energy consortium that has signed a memorandum of understanding with the provincial government. The lead player in the consortium is the PCL Construction Group — the firm responsible for the construction of Hibernia’s gravity-based structure. Byrne says the September agreement is not the same as the recent call for expressions of interest in the lower Churchill development, the deadline for which is March 31. “By mere fact that they were interested and we signed an MOU with them in terms of looking at sharing information ... that doesn’t automatically put them in the first round.” Byrne would only say the province will do its own “due diligence piece on every individual that makes it to the second phase.” Williams has said he hopes to have a deal concluded on the lower Churchill project by the end of the year. The China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation has vehemently denied U.S. government allegations that the firm and its sister companies provided
late about the chances of finding Michael alive after three weeks. Andy Hobor, missing persons coordinator for the City of Calgary, says approximately 1,300 missing-persons reports (for adults) are filed each year. He says the majority are found quickly. “Usually in most cases there’s something that twinges … an alcohol problem, gambling, drugs, marital problems. But this kid, nothing. It seems like everything was going for him so it’s really weird.” There was speculation that a paper Michael presented on Israel’s fight against terrorism may be behind his disappearance. He presented the paper at the same conference where he was last seen. John Williamson, a good friend and member of Michael’s church in Calgary, says the paper did cause controversy at the conference. “He was of a certain view and there were other people there that were of other views. Students, and/or others, after a few drinks, could have gotten into striking
missile components to the Pakistan nuclear capable Shaheen1 and Shaeeen-2 missile systems. The company has also been sanctioned for providing expertise and equipment to produce biological and chemical weapons to countries on the American government’s “terrorist list” — in this case Iran. The State Department official says while some of the sanctions have expired, the “non-proliferation” sanctions won’t. “The only time we’ve removed these particular types of sanctions, is when the guy we sanctioned died and so we were very confident in certifying he wouldn’t be engaging in proliferation activity anymore,” says the official.
(up) conversations.” Williamson says there’s another theory. “The police found some footprints leading out from the shore of the Bow River … to an open spot in the ice, where the river hadn’t frozen over, with no footprints leading back from that.” Michael was last seen leaving the conference near the river at 11:30 p.m. “My theory is that he didn’t walk home and that he didn’t fall in the ice — that something’s happened at the conference, in the way of a possible kidnapping or heaven knows what,” Williamson says. Calgary police searched the path beside the river; university security searched the campus. “There’s been nothing found of any evidence whatsoever.” Williamson helped Michael’s mother clean out his apartment this past week, but says he has faith his friend will turn up. “I, and anyone else here that knew him, can’t explain this. He wasn’t an impulsive guy that would just up and leave. So I have to think that something happened to him.”
‘This is a mistake’ From page 1
the provincial government and the farming community didn’t know anything about it — nobody was consulted.”
Larry Welsh of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, representing most of the station’s between 30 and 40 workers, is also investigating challeng- ISSUES WILL NOT DIE ing the issue on Constitutional grounds. Welsh says the issues will not die a “When Newfoundland joined Con- quiet death. federation there was a commitment “There’s going to be an uproar I made by the federal think. This is a mistake government there … we’ll have lots of would always be that people behind this — “Where do you kind of experimental John Efford will hear fit people in presence here.” us.” Contacted by The The closure of the government offices Atlantic Independent, Cool Climate Bonavista-Exploits Crop Research Station, when they’ve MP Scott Simms was located on Brookfield worked on a farm?” Road in St. John’s, is to surprised by the idea. “I was not aware take place by April 1, Larry Welsh that section was in 2007. there (the Terms of “It is difficult to Union) … interestunderstand how the ing,” Simms says. federal government could make this Welsh, for his part, says he’s “dumb- decision in absence of consultation founded” by the decision with our government or with the to close the facility. “Where do you fit provincial agriculture industry,” says people in government offices when Byrne. “In fact, when you look at the industry across the country, it is in they’ve worked on a farm?” He also understands the university Newfoundland and Labrador where had not been consulted. “From the bits there is real growth occurring and real and pieces I picked up, people at MUN, growth forecast for the future.”
Corrections In the story Self-made town that appeared in the Feb. 20-26th edition of The Independent, Allan Moulton was incorrectly identified as the FPSO union representative. In fact, Moulton is the Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ union representative for the Marystown fish
plant. In another story in the same edition, More dinner times than dinners, it was incorrectly reported that baby bonus cheques post Confederation were “$6 a day per child.” The sentence should have read $6 a month per child.
Main Floor, Terrace on the Square, Churchill Square. Store Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00am to 5:30pm Phone: 754-9497 www.diamonddesign.com
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
INDEPENDENTNEWS • 3
Art of By Jeff Ducharme The Independent
n American food industry analyst says Fishery Products International likely has an agreement in its back pocket with another firm to buy fish from its Newfoundland operations should FPI sell 40 per cent of its U.S. marketing and value-added arm. If that’s indeed the case, such a deal would be an integral part of the sale. If not, Gary Karp, vice-president of the Chicago-based food consultants firm Technomic, says there would be cause for “concern.” FPI hopes to raise $100 million by selling 40 per cent of its American operation. The announcement has put company CEO Derrick Rowe at odds with the provincial government. The federal and provincial governments formed the company in the early 1980s out of the ashes of a number of bankrupt fish processing firms. Even though FPI is a private company, it remains governed by the province’s FPI Act, which limits the amount that any one investor can own, up to 15 per cent. Any supply agreement that may be in the wings would be similar to the supply agreement High Liner struck when it sold its Arnold’s Cove plant last year to Icewater Seafoods, headed by former plant manager Bruce Wareharm. Icewater is facing the same challenges as FPI — a high Canadian dollar and fierce competition from the Chinese. Icewater recently laid off 150 people at the Arnold’s Cove plant. “The thing that typically comes with divestiture or sale of a company or a portion of a company is that there may be a long-term supply agreement that goes along with that which may mitigate (the negative effects) to some extent or at least for a number of years,” Karp tells The Independent while waiting for a plane at the Baltimore/Washington airport. Earlier this year, FPI put a workersupported proposal on the table in a bid to move the deal ahead and force the provincial government’s hand. If the province allows the value-added sale to go ahead, FPI would reopen the Fortune plant for at least a year and create a number of positions in other plants. The Harbour Breton plant was closed last year after FPI concluded that the plant was no longer safe to operate.
Karp says people shouldn’t conclude that FPI is in dire straights because they are trying to sell a portion of its American arm, which markets what’s produced in its eight plants in the province. “At least initially, I would treat it as two mutually exclusive elements,” says Karp, “especially because I would assume they have a supply agreement somewhere behind the scenes on this. I would be concerned if there were no supply agreement.” FPI spokesman Russ Carrigan would only say that the company is still waiting for word from the provincial government. “FPI needs new capital to fuel its growth, pay down debt on its primary operations and expand into new markets,” says Carrigan. “The proposed income trust is an innovative means to do that.” FPI recently announced a $4.4 million profit for 2004 — more than doubling its profits from the year before. Karp ranks Ocean Cuisine — Fishery Products’ value-added division — as one of the top seafood companies in the United States. He says they have done some “very aggressive work” in delivering menu-ready products to clients. “So I think that the management team has done a commendable job,” says Karp. He says there’s no question that Ocean Cuisine is the jewel in the FPI crown and has the “highest” profit margins. “So what it would seem to me is by divesting themselves of the value-added portion of the business, what they appear to be doing is opting for the current cash flow as opposed to the longerterm cash flow.” Most of Fishery Products groundfish quotas are for species such as northern cod, American plaice and witch flounder that are under moratoria. In other words, they can’t be fished. In fact, only 3,676 tonnes of groundfish can actually be harvested. The sale of the marketing and valueadded arm would take the form of an income trust that would allow investors to profit, but not allow them any say in
the deal Industry expert says FPI likely has deal to sell Newfoundland fish should plan proceed to sell portion of U.S. division
how the company is run. “I would think it seems like a pretty good investment unless their’s somebody who would like to have more control,” says Karp. “There’s a lot of money around looking for a nice return right now.” FPI maintains the sale does not run afoul of the act and the provincial government says the legal opinions it has
received are conflicting ones. Provincial Fisheries Minister Trevor Taylor would only say the intention of the FPI Act was for FPI to continue to play a “significant role” in the fishery. “I’ve consistently stated the importance of FPI being a flagship operation and contributing to the growth of our fishing industry” says Taylor. “This must be balanced with FPI’s role as a
key employer in a number of rural communities and the need for overall industry stability.” Liberal opposition leader Roger Grimes says if that’s the case then FPI should just go ahead with the sale and stop “dancing” around the issue. “If the government thinks it’s wrong,” says Grimes, “then the government should stop it.”
“Whatever happened to Pouch Cove couple.” Or it might be Little Billy Kumquat or High school queen. Gone but not forgotten. In time of a news drought, the police could always be called on to report that no further evidence had turned up. The editor saw no need to trouble the missing persons bureau in Fort McMurray.
if you and the ladies are getting your clotheslines ready?” “Yes, ma’m. It’s that time of year again. Will the day after tomorrow be good for you so we can get someone there to take some snaps?” In times past, there was also the advantage of the fishery. “Poor season feared” was as predictable as the tides. Anybody who ever worked in any section of the fishery catching any species in any year since John Cabot could be counted on to fear a poor season. But that’s all old news now and therefore no news at all. All of this applies, of course, to the daily radio, television and newspaper news. These daily newsmongers take vast amounts of journalistic stodge and in the lean times their situation is pitiful. How very different is the situation of the quality weekly newspaper such as you now hold in your erudite hooks! Well-researched, well-considered, well-written articles of consequence and lasting value. And every column a polished gem.
‘Here at The Jellogram’ “I
n fits and starts,” the oldies used to say, “like the devil had the headache.” I put it down largely to television but that’s how it seems we get the news these days. It’s a string of nine-day wonders … or, more likely, 24-hour wonders. Look at the year from here so far. Atlantic Accord! Heaven and hell came together for a fortnight and then, poof, that was that. The future was so bright it hurt Danny Williams’ eyes and we could all sleep easy in our beds. Just when we learned to pronounce tsunami after a two-week intensive course, someone discovered that just as many people as that died in Africa each week and the matter faded out for fear, I suppose, of over-stimulation and possible damage to our charitable instincts. Pope in hospital; Pope out of hospital; Pope in hospital … as news, the shelf-life on that one is getting shorter. So is the best-before-date on that Prince Charles–Ludmilla BurperBowles. Even winter so far seems to have been a two-week wonder, although I wouldn’t bet that one dollar a week in
A poke in the eye five years time that I’m promised in the federal budget. Iraq votes; Bush visits Europe; women’s curling in St. John’s. It’s not the kind of news-you-can-use either in Isle aux Morts or Leading Tickles. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the traffickers in news have invented new “news” categories to fill space between commercials. But it does look fishy. There’s the celebrity trial … adjust your entire life-style for the next six months to follow the amazing court case of Michael Jackson. Or how about the news category, “We’re all going to die!” SARS, West Nile Fever, Patagonian Wry Neck … but what’s going to get us all right now is the hen flu. If there’s any justice in the world it’s time the hens turned the tables after the wicked way we’ve squeezed them
together with hardly the benefit of rooster. Or those pills may have half killed you already or the temperature in Lewisporte this summer may stay above 40C or milk has now been found to be only slightly more healthy than cyanide … I’ve been there. I know what newsmongers suffer in thin times like these. There’s a desperation for news, but at the same time the journalist in time of famine would like to hold on to some shred of his immortal soul. “Small earthquake in Peru; not many killed.” In times of plenty the journalistic rule is that “Dog bites man” is not news, whereas “Man bites dog” is. Need I say more about the evident paucity of local news this past week? I believe some newsman even took it as far as ”why some dogs won’t bite.” There doesn’t seem to be the newsroom skill nowadays to take a relatively small dab of news and spread it over months, rather than weeks. Whatever happened to the “whatever happened to …” news story. In times past, these might go on for years.
TERRIBLY WORTHY CAUSE Still with us, though, is the “crusade,” always a wonderful stocking stuffer when there isn’t enough news to fill the gaps. Cheap too. The newspaper or the radio station cries out to the public on behalf of some terribly worthy cause, the public supplies the money, the medium supplies its name and reaps the glory. It isn’t all desperate. Some newsrooms kept a ledger with “news” stories that came around at the same time every year. It was the practice, provincially, for the women of a community to stretch their clotheslines across the nearest highway to protest the spring potholes in their local roads. April 27. “Hello, Mrs. Peddle. We were wondering, here at The Jellogram,
Ray Guy’s next column appears March 27.
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FEBRUARY 27, 2005
4 • INDEPENDENTNEWS
Chasing the Newfie Bullet Dogsledder’s goal is to see 1,094-mile Ghost Train Run on T’Railway become longest race in North America By Jamie Baker The Independent
and drifts that often impeded the path of the Newfie Bullet. Running across a major washout early one morning, White was forced to wade through kneedeep water to get his sled and dogs across. The two teams, wet and tired from the experience, didn’t make it to Howley until 12 hours later. “The Gaff was an experience — anytime you hear stories about the Newfie Bullet, there’s always stories about the train being stuck on the Gaff anywhere from a couple of days to a week.”
or Bell Island-native Paul White and his team of Siberian Huskies, the Ghost Train Run from St. John’s to Port aux Basques and back is more than just another dogsled trip. White, who lives in Crystal Beach, Ontario, is making his way through the wilds of Newfoundland along the T’Railway, experiencing a once-ina-lifetime adventure. Considering the T’Railway is the stomping grounds of the famous Newfie Bullet, the name of the passenger trains that were pulled from service in 1967, he feels he’s also “chasing a legend.” HOOKED ON DOG SLEDDING White’s passion for dog sledding began when he visited Yukon in 1989 and purchased his first Siberian. He was hooked on dog sledding soon after. By 1999, White started thinking seriously about trekking across his home province on the T’Railway. After making the run on a dirt bike, White made up his mind to complete the trip by dogsled. The fact that the trail has a history all its own only intensified his desire. “The whole theme of this run is that you’re chasing the ghost of a legend — the Ghost Train Run,” White tells The Independent. “I’ve never been on a train in my life, but I was intrigued with the whole idea — the trains are gone, the tracks are gone, but the trail is still there.” So far, the journey for White and sledding partner Don Smidt of Van Dyne, Wis. has been “just awesome. “The people have been great, the trails have
The Ghost Train makes its way across the province’s T’Railway.
been great … people have been taking us in and feeding us, giving us a place to sleep. We’re eating lots of moose, caribou and fish — Don never ate none of it until he came here.” As much fun as the journey has been, White says it’s also been a lot of work. Just getting the dogs ready each day and settled away each night eats up three to four hours, including “feeding, harnessing and unharnessing, putting salve on
their feet to keep them conditioned for the terrain and things like that.” Besides the weather and work, a few other challenges gave White a first-hand feel for some of the difficulties that were likely faced “back in the day” when trains still ran across the province. At one point in the journey, he ran into the infamous Gaff Topsails region between Millertown Junction and Howley, known for the snow squalls
ONLY THE BEGINNING If White has his way, his current trip across the province would only be the beginning. Following in the tradition of world-renowned dog races, such as the 1,049-mile Iditarod Race in Alaska and the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest, White’s ultimate goal is to see the Ghost Train Run, at 1,094 miles, become the longest purebred dog-team race in North America. “What better place to put off a race than Newfoundland? There’s 547 miles each way of track, there’s little communities in between, you’ve got wilderness — it’s the perfect trail.” Such a race would bring huge tourism benefits with massive international exposure, he says, noting the Iditarod race generates millions of dollars in a three-week period. “This could bring big bucks to Newfoundland tourism. If this was done properly, it could be bigger than the Iditarod,” says White. “When it comes to dog-sledding, it’s not only the people that come to compete, but the media and the people who come from all over the world just to be a part of it.” White is expected to complete his crossprovince trek early this week.
Calling all cars
Constabulary response time varies depending on nature of emergency By Alisha Morrissey The Independent
he Royal Newfoundland Constabulary responds to most calls in less than 25 minutes, depending on the nature of the call. Of all the calls for various types of assistance — from suicide and drugs to mischief and pornography — trespassing registered the quickest response time at less than five minutes. Between November 2003 and the same month last year, the Constabulary categorized calls in 700 separate headings. From there, police condensed calls into 40 categories. The response times for those categories were forwarded to The Independent through the Freedom of Information Act. The longest average wait times for police to respond to a call was for fed-
eral crimes (fishing violations, for example), pegged at 45 minutes. There was a 23-minute wait for a call about a missing person and it took the Constabu1ary 19 minutes to respond to a pornography complaint. Calls to the Constabulary regarding found property or a suicide attempt averaged 17 minutes wait time. Paula Walsh, RNC spokeswoman, says assumptions can’t be made about the statistics without first understanding them. “With respect to a suicide attempt, it’s quite likely, more often than not, that in situations like that … there are other emergency resources, such as an ambulance that may have responded prior to police arrival,” Walsh tells The Independent. The shortest wait times included calls requesting community services
(an escort at a public event like a parade or marathon) and extra patrols, which, on average, took six minutes for police to respond to. Calls about an abandoned child, a disturbance or a liquor
There was an average wait of 16 minutes for responding to a thrown rock or snowball … control violation were each responded to in an average of seven minutes. There was an average wait of 16 minutes for responding to a thrown rock or snowball and 12 minutes for a chemical spill. The information forwarded to The
Williams satisfies conflict concerns
remier Danny Williams has finally met conflict of interest guidelines after more than a year of negotiations with the province’s Commissioner of Members’ Interests, Wayne Green. The premier has resigned as director of a holding company that managed his investments in a number of natural resource firms. Green says it was the last piece of the
puzzle. “That was the big piece because, of course, any investments in resources obviously, in a resource-rich province, those are the ones that the greatest opportunity exists for furthering private interests,” Green tells The Independent. He says the premier has now met conflict of interest guidelines. “It marks the end of the formal legal documentation that I had asked for in
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terms of having others look after his business affairs.” Green will also attend any meetings held by trustees that Williams has appointed to manage his investments. “... so I can satisfy myself that there is no discussion taking place with respect to giving direction or changing mandates,” says Green. Before entering politics, Williams, a lawyer by trade, sold his company Cable Atlantic to Rogers Cable for $232 million. The premier met the original April 1, 2004 deadline, but Green had further concerns, and asked that certain holdings be put in blind trusts and administered by trustees. Green will begin sending out 2005 financial disclosure statements in the coming weeks. Every MHA is required to return the document by April 1. Williams has already sold his interest in his law firm (he remains a creditor) and a number of other companies. Both golf courses — The Wilds and The Willlows — are in a blind trust, as are his realty holding companies. The premier lists New Island Resources, BCE Inc., TransCanada Corp., Torstar Corp., Teck Cominco Ltd. and Pfizer Inc. as part of his substantial holdings. The blind trusts allow the premier to maintain his vast financial empire, but no input is allowed from Williams. Williams’ disclosure statement is available for public viewing at Green’s office. — Jeff Ducharme
Independent was not complete. A letter of response signed by Constabulary Chief Richard Deering included a paragraph outlining why police response times for business and residential alarm calls, break and entries in progress and armed robberies were not included in the information package. “Information about our average response time could be interpreted by would-be criminals as the amount of time they potentially have available to them to commit their crime,” Deering wrote. “Such data may also provide to the criminal element various pieces of information that could potentially assist them in the planning of their criminal activities,” Walsh says, adding the information was withheld with the “best interest of the public in mind.”
Walsh couldn’t say whether the average response times were on par with other Canadian police forces, or whether the times are acceptable to Constabulary officials. “Every call received by a policing agency is unique, usually, in and of itself and the particulars in relation to that call is also quite often very unique.” Walsh says in a break and entry situation the priority of the call would depend on whether the suspect was still on the premises or if the robbery was committed weeks before while a homeowner was away on vacation. “While they’re both the same type of call — the case type would be the same — the demand for response would certainly change,” she says. “There’s a much bigger picture in each of those numbers.”
Rhonda Hayward/The Independent
he comings and goings of the ships in St. John’s harbour. Information provided by the coast guard traffic centre.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21 Vessels arrived: Asl Sanderling, Canada, from Halifax. Vessels departed:none TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22 Vessels arrived: Emma, Norway, from Sea. Vessels departed: Asl Sanderling, Canada, to Corner Brook; Emma, Norway, to Sea. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23 Vessels arrived: Terra Nova, Canada, from Hermitage; Atlantic Eagle, Canada, from Bull Arm; Jim Kilabuk, Canada, from Bull Arm; Maersk Noresman, Canada, from Hibernia;
Jean Charcot, Britian, from Sea. Vessels departed: Atlantic Eagle, Canada, to Terra Nova; Cygnus, Canada, to Sea; Jim Kilabuk, Canada, to Halifax; Wilfred Templeman, Canada, to Hr. Grace; Maersk Noresman, Canada, to Hibernia. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24 Vessels arrived: Tynda, Russian, from Sea; Burin Sea, Canada, from Terra Nova. Vessels departed none: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25 Vessels arrived: Maersk Chancellor, Canada, Terra Nova Field; Atlantic Kingfisher, Canada, Bull Arm; Cabot, Canada, Montreal. Vessels departed: Tynda, Russia, to sea; Cygnus, Canada, to sea; Burin Sea, Canada, Terra Nova; Maersk Chancellor, Canada, White Rose.
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
INDEPENDENTNEWS • 5
Conservationist Paul Watson gearing up for another seal protest; research begins for film biography starring Sean Penn By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent
B Dr. Jackie Elliott, a resident at the Health Sciences.
Rhonda Hayward/The Independent
‘Die-hard’ Newfoundland doctors More medical residents willing to stay in province after graduation; active recruitment and better salaries By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent
Originally from Cormack on the west coast, Elliott and her family live in St. John’s and she has a position waiting for her at a clinic in the city’s east end. She says the number of rest’s not unusual for residents finishing their medical train- idents choosing to stay in the province is definitely more ing at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s to find noticeable. themselves lured away by high salaries on the mainland, Marc Nicholson, president of the Professional Association but the trend seems to be decreasing of late. of Internes and Residents of Newfoundland, says to secure a Scarlet Hann, physician recruitment co-ordinator for the job at a large, teaching hospital like the Health Sciences, resprovincial government, tells The Independent active local idents finishing up in specialty areas such as internal medirecruiting, as well as increased salaries are helping to keep cine, will have to go away and do extra fellowship training to more new doctors in the province. make them more hirable. “It’s our intent — to be part of the whole medical school “A lot of people who are from here and who have trained experience, and then as they move on here are perhaps even more inclined to we’ve got these relationships built.” do the fellowship for the purposes of Hann’s job is to act as liaison between “If it was just for the money staying here.” the training doctors and the various Depending on a resident’s chosen health boards. She knows when a new I’m sure that nobody would specialty — such as physiotherapy, for physician is needed, and which resi- work in Newfoundland but a example — Hann says doctors have no dents might be interested. other choice but to travel to another Of the 51 residents finishing up this lot of us feel this is home.” school to train. She adds in such cases year, around half are expected to stay she keeps in close contact with the resiand practice in the province. Some plan dent who will often be given a travelling — Steve Parsons to continue their studies at other univerfellowship, on the understanding they sities with the intention of returning will return and fill a certain position later as qualified specialists. Ten of the 51 are from New here after finishing. Brunswick and are more likely to practice on the mainland. Steve Parsons is from Gambo and is planning to move to a Roughly 20 of the 51 are going into family practice, which position in central Newfoundland when he finishes up his means in most cases they won’t go on to specialize in any residency this year as a specialist in obstetrics gynecology. other area. Hann says last year 16 of the 18 family medicine He says the health board in Grand Falls is a great example of residents stayed in Newfoundland and Labrador. proactive recruitment in the province. Jackie Elliott is one of the family medicine residents finDespite an increase in doctors’ wages since negotiations ishing up this year. She calls herself a “die-hard last year, he says it’s still tough to expect people to stay and Newfoundlander” and with a husband and three school-aged practice in this province given their often enormous debt children, the decision to stay and practice locally wasn’t a load. hard one — although she admits mainland salaries are “If it was just for the money I’m sure that nobody would tempting. work in Newfoundland, but a lot of us feel this is home and “I did get an e-mail just recently from someone who’s we feel there are many reasons why you’d want to stay and recruiting for Ontario, for a clinic there and it offers work. $188,000 as the base line ($100,000 is common here). Then “Plenty of people leave residency still owing over you add on if you do emergency, if you do obstetrics — you $100,000 and that’s daunting to look at paying back with the add on each thing.” lowest remuneration on the continent.”
NEWSBRIEFS Got me moose, b’y An estimated 70 per cent of the 26,000 moose-licence holders in Newfoundland and Labrador got their moose last past season, but exact numbers won’t be calculated until early summer when information on the kills is collected and analyzed. “Last year about 69 per cent of hunters got their moose. So there were about 18,000 moose harvested in last year’s hunt,” Environment Minister Tom Osborne tells The Independent. Numbers of moose in the province have declined sharply in certain areas in recent years, leaving hunters with fewer licences to compete for. The 2004 hunting season had 1,000 less licences than the 2003 season. Osborne says government didn’t register a noticeable increase in complaints from hunters who didn’t get their moose. Most of the complaints registered were from central Newfoundland. “That is where we see the population decline as being the sharpest,” he says. “Overall the population of moose in the province is healthy.” Osborne says the province will be conducting big-game monitoring in the spring, especially on the Avalon Peninsula where concerns have been raised over the population of caribou herds. The minister didn’t care to predict the size of next year’s moose quota.
Osborne says the hunt will be based on hunter-return information, science and wildlife observation, calf recruitment and food supply. “Based on those indicators we will make adjustments where needed to the moose quotas for the up-coming season,” Osborne says. There were only two firearm related incidents reported this hunting season. The lowest rate in Canada, says Osborne, crediting the province’s twoday hunting and firearm safety course and annual guide. — Alisha Morrissey
Premier’s commitment to women questioned With yet another influential woman leaving a key government position, Joyce Hancock questions the commitment of the Danny Williams administration to gender equality. Hancock, president of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, raises the concern in the wake of the departure of Treasury Board secretary Florence Delaney, who quit recently amid rumours of a budget-related disagreement with the premier. Delaney’s departure marks the third high-ranking female official to quit Williams’ government in recent months, including former Health minister Elizabeth Marshall (who stayed on as MHA for Topsail) and former deputy
minister of Health, Deborah Fry. “Absolutely I’m disappointed — I remember meeting with some women in Corner Brook when the Health minister resigned and the premier said how that was a ‘best day in office,’” Hancock tells The Independent. “We need to see a whole lot more from this government on what the plan is to ensure women are in key decision-making positions. Hancock says she’s worried about the signal being sent when three key female officials feel they have no choice but to resign. “It’s time for women to speak out and say that makes us very uncomfortable when we see women feel they have to leave — they didn’t leave because they wanted to, they left because they felt they couldn’t work with government.” — Jamie Baker
efore heading to the Grand Banks to plant net-ripping traps later this spring, highprofile conservationist Paul Watson will be spending March in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, resuming his life-long protest against the East Coast seal hunt. He will come armed with “the most powerful weapon ever known” — the camera. As well as documenting a seal’s life from birth to death, film crews will be gathering footage and research for an upcoming movie about Watson starring Sean Penn. “The great thing about motion pictures is it’s the most powerful media in the world so hopefully that will put some significant pressure on whaling and sealing,” he tells The Independent via satellite phone from his 200-foot ship Farley Mowat off Burmuda. Scheduled to begin shooting in early summer, the film — to be directed by Philip Kaufman (Quills, The Right Stuff) — should have plenty of material to work with. A native of New Brunswick, Watson is a cofounder of Greenpeace, and head of a Calif.-based marine mammal conservation and protection organization called the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
MADE FOR TROUBLE He was recently named one of the environmental heroes of the 20th Century by Time Magazine. He also spent time in a St. John’s prison for obstructing and harassing a foreign-fishing trawler on the Grand Banks in 1993. Watson’s plan to place net-ripping devices — or hedgehogs as he calls them — on the ocean bed in May could land him in similar trouble. “We always anticipate trouble; you can’t do anything without attracting trouble and harassment. That’s just the way things are. I’ve been doing it for over 30 years, I’m used to that.” Continued foreign fishing outside the 200-mile limit is blamed for the failure of groundfish stocks such as cod and flatfish. Watson says he’s timing his netdragging protest to coincide with a government-organized meeting in St.
John’s on May 5 to discuss the diminishing fisheries. “It’ll be just more and more conversation, as it has been for the last 25 years. That’s all the Canadian government is good at doing as far as DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) is concerned, let’s talk about the problem for 10 years, then we’ll have another meeting and talk again.” Watson says he’s continuously amazed by fishery officials who try to blame devastated cod stocks on seals. He says cod make up only two to three per cent of a seal’s diet. He says saving the seals will increase cod quotas because the bulk of the mammals’ diet is larger, predatory fish. “The problem is Canada doesn’t see that complex ecosystem; all they see is people, seals, fish.” Despite his antagonistic relationship with the Canadian government, many countries such as Ecuador, Brazil and Senegal have hired Watson to protect their marine life. “It’s getting pretty bad when governments are calling in so-called radical conservation groups to control the problem because their own authorities haven’t been able to do the job.” It doesn’t look like the Canadian government is likely to follow suit. “I don’t expect that’ll happen. I offered (former premier) Clyde Wells our help back in 1992 at the United Nations Conference of the Environment and he actually said at the time that they didn’t have a problem. I think that was just prior to the crash of the cod fishery.”
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
6 • INDEPENDENTNEWS
What else is new? I
t was only in our last edition The Independent printed a front-page story outlining how roughly 1.5 per cent of federal jobs — an estimated 4,400 of 268,000 total positions in the federal civil service — are located right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Make that 4,400, less another 30 or so. As a result of cuts announced in last week’s federal budget, plans are in place to close the Atlantic Cool Climate Crop Research Centre in St. John’s by 2007. Those plans may be thwarted, however, by the 1949 Terms of Union, which clearly outline how the federal government must make “a special effort” to collect scientific data here in the province. The closure of the experimental farm, as it’s known, will leave Newfoundland and Labrador as the only province in Canada without such a research station. Apparently, no one was consulted: not Ed Byrne, the province’s minister of Natural Resources; not Axel Miesen, president of Memorial University, which was said to be prepared to take over the research station’s work; not the union representing federal government
workers; not the agriculture industry. The decision was apparently handed down from Ottawa without a peep of notice. So what else is new? The federal budget was widely described as a budget for everyone. Everyone except for Newfoundland and Labrador, that is. If the reforms to the Employment Insurance program, which are temporary and targeted at seasonal workers, were meant to pacify this province, they failed miserably. EI is not the solution to our problems. If the federal government hasn’t realized that by now, the federation is in question. In his first budget, federal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale announced $12.8 billion in defence spending over five years — the largest increase in 20 years. There was no mention, however, of stationing a single navy ship in this province. According to research carried out last fall as part of The Independent’s cost/benefit analysis of Confederation, the Canadian forces spend 1.1 per cent ($256 per resident) of its total budget in this province, compared to 7.2 per cent in Nova Scotia. Keep in mind this
province rests on the edge of the North Atlantic, closest to the action in terms of the navy. Budget 2005 heralded yet more good news for the Grand Banks fishery. The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been granted an extra $15 million a year to spend on surveillance of foreign fleets operating outside the 200-mile limit. But the money will mean little unless enforcement officers are finally given the power to arrest on the high seas. There’s no sign of that happening anytime soon. The Canadian Coast Guard has been given the green light to build four new ships, but no word on where they will be stationed — or built. Just as well they didn’t come to Newfoundland and Labrador anyway; coast guard ships stationed here spend more time tied up in St. John’s harbour than at sea. Newfoundland and Labrador isn’t treated the same as other provinces in Canada. The federal government has a smaller presence here than in other provinces. It wasn’t long ago the province lost the Gander weather station; other federal positions have also been relocated. We’re the only province
Canadian Finance Minister Ralph Goodale shows off his traditional “budget shoes” after delivering the budget in Ottawa, Feb. 23. REUTERS/Jim Young
without a Crown corporation headquartered here — there are 55 in total, with 22 located in Ontario/Gatineau alone. Not even Marine Atlantic, whose mandate is to provide a water link to this province, has its headquarters on Newfoundland and Labrador soil. How is private industry expected to be attracted here when our own federal government has no taste for this place? To be fair, the federal budget was
clever enough to appease most political parties. Everyone got a little something — from tax breaks to subsidies for home refits to cash for cities and the birth of a national child care program. The federal government must be delivered the message that Newfoundland and Labrador expects more from Canada than what we’ve received to date. If we are to be equal provinces, we must be treated as equals.
‘Five steps to save the cod’ Dear editor, With all the attention in recent days being directed at a strategy for the recovery of cod, I am tempted to dig out the two-inch thick folder of letters that I have written to the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ (FFAW) union, and provincial Fisheries over the past 30 years to say simply — I told you so! However, this is one instance where I take no pleasure in being right. Given that a dozen years or so have passed since the moratorium was called on northern cod, I wish to pull from my files and paraphrase this one letter I wrote to various officials in January 2002, It is just as relevant now as then, and still just as ignored by the great minds that have been managing the cod fishery for the past number of years. I called it “Five steps to save the cod.” • Immediately outlaw the use of gillnets used of a mesh size larger than five and one half inches. DFO’s decision to permit each fisherman on the northeast coast of Newfoundland to land 2,000 pounds of large mature mother cod during the summer of 2004 from six and one half inch mesh gillnets made about as much sense as a farmer killing his breeding cattle once he has reared them to reproductive age. • Caplin trap doorways should be tied up at night. Juvenile cod, in particular, like to feed on caplin spawn in the very coves where fishermen set their caplin traps. Such movement of small cod into these coves occurs mainly during the night and it is in the first haul of the morning that millions of tiny cod are
killed in caplin traps all around Newfoundland. Simply attaching a buoy to the mouth chain during the last haul of the evening will close off the mouth and prevent juvenile cod and caplin from entering the trap during the night. • Outlaw the use of mackerel hooks in the food fishery. Small hooks target small fish, and four or five mackerel hooks on a line target four or five small cod at a time. Most of these small cod do not survive being taken off the hook and end up as food for gulls. Solution: limit of one cod hook per line. • If tags are deemed appropriate in the food fishery, then use tags that cannot be used over and over again — as was the case in the 2001 fishery. • There are two possible paths to take when it comes to cod science. The federal government can either put a great deal more money and bodies into the science branch, or they can dismantle the present setup and replace it with a panel of five or so retired fishermen representing different areas of Newfoundland and Labrador. Such retired fishermen would have to meet three requirements to serve on the panel: they must be at least 80 years of age and have no more than a Grade 5 education. These first two requirements basically guarantees the third requirement — that of possessing an abundance of common sense, as octogenarians, by definition, grew up in an era when common sense was much more common than today. Reaching only the fifth grade also means they didn’t get their common sense educated out of them. David Boyd, Main Tickle, Twillingate
New Indy columnist has ‘lighthearted way’ Dear editor, Just wanted to comment on Adam Warren’s introduction of himself — Wanna see my tattoos, Feb. 20-26 edition of The Independent. I thought it was great and if his columns will be as good as his introduction, you have a very talented and interesting writer contributing to
your newspaper. He has a way of keeping the reader’s attention to the end, which is not always the case in everyone’s writing abilities: to the point, but in a lighthearted way. Hope he does well with his column. Linda Murray, Mount Pearl
AN INDEPENDENT VOICE FOR NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR
P.O. Box 5891, Stn.C, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, A1C 5X4 Ph: 709-726-4639 • Fax: 709-726-8499 www.theindependent.ca • email@example.com 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.
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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
Separation point G
od forbid, but let’s say Newfoundland and Labrador separated from Canada: would such a move succeed in undoing the undoable upper Churchill contract? Officials may not talk about it, but it’s a question the Danny Williams administration has reportedly asked itself. Williams and his crowd aren’t separatists so much as businessmen (women too, although fewer all the time) who know a bad deal when it smacks them, their parents, their children and their children’s children in the face. Quebec reaps 96 per cent of the benefits (almost $1 billion a year) from the sale of power from Labrador’s upper Churchill River — we make next to nothing (the other four per cent, minus maintenance costs). The 65-year deal doesn’t expire until 2041. Over the next 36 years we’re destined to lose at least $36 billion at today’s rates, which are sure to rise, just as they have ever since Dec. 6, 1971 when first power delivery, on a regular basis, was made to Hydro-Quebec. What would Quebec do if the contract was in our favour — would a single hydro tower be left standing? Think the French would stand with being screwed for a lifetime or two? To rub salt in the wound, how about if Ottawa had urged Quebec to sign the deal for the sake of national unity; to keep upstart and unhappy Newfoundland and Labrador in the family? Would the Quebecois have wrapped themselves a little tighter in the Canadian flag at the thought of helping a down and out sister province? Or would they have burned the Maple Leaf in the streets? (Once they ordered in a batch from the Sears catalogue, of course.) Would they give a second thought to separation if that, indeed, was what it would take to end the incredibly lopsided deal? Are you kidding? Quebec would
Fighting Newfoundlander have been an independent nation before the U.S. market registered a carpet shock. Back in the early 1970s, the Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation produced a book, Heritage of Power, about the $1 billion construction project — at the time, the largest civil construction project in North America, employing more than 25,000. The book is full of odd little facts: Grass being a rare commodity at Churchill Falls, until the townsite was landscaped, a small plot of caribou moss was set up for the traditional sodturning ceremony.
Think the French would stand with being screwed for a lifetime or two? To rub salt in the wound, how about if Ottawa had urged Quebec to sign the deal for the sake of national unity; to keep upstart and unhappy Newfoundland and Labrador in the family? Falling in the did-you-know category: over a four-year period, the small tavern at the construction site — open mornings and evenings to accommodate both the day and night shift — sold some four million bottles of beer. One of the toughest issues tackled by the short-lived Churchill Falls News
was whether lady caribou have antlers. (Yes.) No one thought to ask what would happen if electricity rates went up — given that Newfoundland and Labrador, over the course of the contract, had locked itself into selling power at rock-bottom prices. There have been still more losses. Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, Newfoundland and Labrador spent nearly $700 million on alternative energy sources to make up for not being able to access Churchill Falls power. Heritage of Power, that wonderful window into our not-so-glorious past, put the value of the upper Churchill contract in the early 1970s at $5 billion — talk about undervalue; that’s pocket change today to Quebec-Hydro. So let’s say separation becomes a reality (pulling the flags down certainly worked for the Atlantic Accord) and the hydro contract is ripped up. That’s an extra $1 billion a year in our coffers, although we’d most certainly have to pay to build another power line to mainland markets; Quebec probably wouldn’t be too keen on renting out its towers. Add to that the cash that Ottawa earns from our offshore. The new Accord deal may be sweet, but it’s still less than the federal government’s take. So double our income from offshore oil. Then there’s Voisey’s Bay. Oh, but wait a second, neither the former Liberal government that brought home the deal nor the Williams administration can say how much we, as a province, stand to benefit from one of the richest nickel deposits in the world. Officials can’t even give us a ballpark figure. Could Voisey’s be a giveaway the size of the upper Churchill? God help us, but separation, while it may be an answer to so many of our prayers, isn’t a cure for stupidity. Ryan Cleary is managing editor of The Independent. email@example.com
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
INDEPENDENTNEWS • 7
YOUR VOICE Province missing out on $74 million a year in royalty fees from use of air space Dear editor, Congratulations to Premier Danny Williams and his negotiating team for putting together and executing an Atlantic Accord agreement with the federal government. Now that this offshore oil royalty agreement is behind us, it’s time to bring to the federal table another outstanding issue that Newfoundland and Labrador has had with Ottawa since 1949. That is some 500,000 square kilometers of provincial air space being used by others without formal provincial approval or royalty compensation. Canada, the international commercial and military aircraft traffic users and others, are continually using provincial air space (skies) and the province is not getting one cent of royalty in return for such “privilegeof-use” from these parties. For every commercial aircraft flying through provincial skies — up to 90 kms in height (see 1967 United Nation’s Outer Space Treaty Agreement) — Transport Canada, from 1949 to 1996, and now NAVCAN from 1997 to 2005, is collecting about 70 cents per air km per aircraft to add to their private company’s total annual gross revenues of about $1 billion a year. As mentioned in my detailed report to the Royal Commission on Renewing and Strengthening Our Place in Canada, dated Dec. 2 , 2002 and Feb. 2, 2003, (a copy of which was forwarded to the premier, the ministers of Finance and Justice of
the provincial government and some MPs), the province, since 1949, is losing an average of about $74 million per year in royalty fees, not including annual CPI (Consumer Price Index) changes and monthly interest losses on the unpaid royalty fee balance at about two per cent per month, on such air space property use by these national and international commercial and military aircraft users. Now is the prime time for the provincial negotiating team to bring together some outside professional constitutional legal opinions, and other strategies on this urgent matter of royalty fee re-payment resolution to the province from Ottawa, for the privilege and use of our unlimited natural air space property resources by these national and international sky users. Also, as the team is now fully sensitized to the methods, manners and MOs that can be used by Ottawa in its monetary negotiating tactics, it is perhaps more urgent to act now to endeavour how best the province can recover some, if not all, of the approx. $4.1 billion fee charges (including all outstanding annual CPI and monthly interest adjustments retroactive to 1949), that it has delayed in requesting payment for from Ottawa and NAVCAN, particularly as this legitimate royalty charge relates to Article Nos. 31,33,35 and 36 of the 1949 Terms of Union. David J. Fox, Halifax
Glen Chubbs, a biotechnician, checks cranberry vines in the greenhouse facility at the Atlantic Cool Climate Crop Research Station in Mount Pearl. The station is slated to close in 2007, a cost-saving measure announced in the federal budget. Rhonda Hayward/The Independent
She shoots, she scores Governor general had a good idea — let women’s teams fight for Stanley Cup
love when an idea hits me like a brick in the face. Especially if it’s someone else’s idea — something someone else has thought up. It happened to me this week when I read the Governor General was promoting the idea that women’s hockey teams should play for the Stanley Cup this year. (Who is the anonymous genius who came up with this?) I was floored. Absolutely! Now here is an idea to set the cat amongst the pigeons. There is no real reason why the Stanley Cup cannot be awarded — just this once — to competing women’s teams. It’s an idea that works on so many levels. The reasoning is airtight. The Governor General has said that the cup is “much more than just a sports trophy — it’s a symbol of our great love of hockey.” Amen to that, sister. Not just a cheesy logo to sell beer. Not a symbol of the hopes and dreams of a bunch of corporations and their unionized male
Rant & Reason employees. It is supposed to represent the love of hockey. Who is more representative of the notion of love over gold than the women who play hard, passionate hockey for a fraction of the money and attention their male counterparts get? Women, I might add, who seem to accept their level of compensation without public complaint. It’s a great idea because it would be the ultimate revenge of the fan. Doing this will be a big collective raspberry to the men — and it is men — who have decided to hold all their fans hostage over their greed. Pompous statements like “There will be no Stanley Cup this year” will be shown for what they are — arrogant, stupid and wrong. Come on Canada, look those greedy fools
squarely in the eye and ask, “Wanna bet?” The reasons for doing this just keep piling up. Women’s hockey deserves the attention, the respect and the rewards. In fact, it’s long overdue. How powerful an image to our daughters will be the symbol of a woman — bruised, sweaty and smiling — skating around the rink to the thunderous applause of her delirious fans, with the Stanley Cup raised triumphantly over her head? How cool would the names of all those fine young women look etched on one of the rings of that coveted piece of kitchenware? And how fitting for all this to happen while the NHL owners and players — forgotten and irrelevant in the face of all the excitement — sit at home and get the idea that maybe, just maybe, they are not irreplaceable. Guess what, you morons, it’s called “chicken” for a reason. It’s also a great idea because it will open the eyes of a lot of people. The fact is that sexism still exists in
Canadian society. Sure it has been driven underground, but it still exists. And like many underground movements, it is strong in the hearts of those who quietly harbour resentment against women. This debate might serve to drag this out into the sunlight, where it won’t survive. I am not guy bashing. Most guys love and respect the women in their lives. But some don’t. It’s just a fact. And having women compete for the Stanley Cup — besides promising to deliver good hockey — could also be an opportunity to help some men grow. Making them consider having women play for the Stanley Cup might make them grow. Having them watch women play for the Stanley Cup might make them grow. Watching everyone across Canada cheer for their sisters, daughters and wives on the ice might make them grow. And how cool will this be for all our daughters? I have suffered through months of
banner headlines on a subject I couldn’t care less about. Now I care; this I want to see. We have all read way too much blather about “the love of the game” and “our national pastime” and “more than just a sport.” Is it? OK then. Let’s give the women a shot. Does our national pastime include all of us? Or just the guys? This has got to happen. This was the best idea I have heard in years. This is a series that will have it all. Passionate playing, dedicated players, fabulous hockey, less goonery, excited fans, and sweet revenge on the greedy bastards who have shanghaied a national pastime for their personal profit and who were too stupid to recognize when they had it good. Hell, with women playing I might even for once care to watch the post-game coverage in the locker room. All that and, with any luck, no Don Cherry. Sweet! Ivan Morgan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Indy picture ‘unfair and unkind’ exploitation Dear editor, As a resident of Winterton, I read and re-read the various articles in the Feb. 13-19 edition of The Independent and was absolutely appalled by the use of the picture on the front page — using our hard-working residents as freaks to make a point that “makework projects are degrading.” Not all low-income earners and people in the outports who have to apply for these projects agree with your comments. Using pictures of people working under difficult conditions is nothing less than what papers and magazines do in underdeveloped countries to make a point. Surely your paper could have respected these people enough not to exploit them in particular? I feel using the picture may have enflamed the belief of other Newfoundlanders and mainlanders — that, quite possibly, the people of outport Newfoundland don’t want to work full-time jobs. I, for one, have long believed that if the federal government or ACOA would put all the money that has gone into make-work projects into some sustainable industrial employment, the outports would be full in no time with
Do our politicians have ‘the guts’
Paul Daly/The Independent
people who want to work full-time decent jobs — especially the young, who want to remain here but see no other alternative. Why not, for example, create a business of furniture building, or a factory that makes products using wood? These people in the picture, along with all the others in the province who have to lower themselves to maintain their communities and remain in their homes, are proud, hard-working people and being exploited this way is very unfair and unkind. Your paper could have made the very good point that make-work projects are degrading in other ways than by humiliating the ones who are subjected to having to do them! I feel an apology is necessary to those in the picture. Why should these few have to
be an example for the thousands who are forced to do virtually the same thing? One point your paper seemed to have overlooked is the fact that, for the most part, the hours worked are not able to be claimed as insurable earnings towards qualifying for Employment Insurance, so the person on a make-work project is no further ahead once the project ends. I totally agree with the purpose of the article — to make readers and government leaders aware that something more productive and permanent has to be done. But again, the picture of certain individuals having to be paraded in front of all who read your paper wasn’t necessary. Linda Walker, Winterton
Dear editor, After seeing the picture of the people of Winterton picking rocks to repair holes in a nearby wharf (front page photo, Feb. 13-19 edition of The Independent) I searched the Baccalieu Trail Heritage and History website and found this item: “In the 1890s, a petition sent to Government for the construction of a causeway between Bay Roberts and Coley’s Point was turned down. Two Coley’s Point women went door to door with a petition and a public meeting held shortly thereafter resulted in a decision that the residents would build the causeway themselves. Construction began and rock and gravel were carried to the site in hand barrels, by horse and sled, and by hand. When the Labrador fishery faced severe hardships, the Government agreed to pay the men, women and children who worked on the causeway $1 a week to finish the work. Their wage was enough to buy one barrel of flour or one keg of molasses — a welcome relief for people facing a winter of hunger. The causeway was named The Klondike as it was likened to the Gold Rush. In the year 2005 men and women are still picking up rocks in some communities in this province to repair holes in their wharves in government-sponsored make-work projects.
When in the name of God is this degrading and humiliating practice, which you will only find in a ThirdWorld country, going to stop? In managing editor Ryan Cleary’s column, Warts and all, he stated “the decision to use the picture was a damn hard one.” But you did have the guts to print it. It is now time for our politicians to have the guts to deal with the real problems facing rural Newfoundland and Labrador communities today. Do they, for example, have the guts to accept the fact that our fishery can no longer support 30,000 jobs in this province? The resource is just not there to do so. It is only when they accept that fact that we can start to deal with alternative and meaningful solutions to this problem. This could be a good start. Premier Danny Williams gave a very inspiring speech at the Atlantic Accord ceremony when he talked about restoring our pride and self-esteem. It is now time for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to build on this and to deprive the Margaret Wentes of ammunition to downgrade and humiliate us. Keep up the good work of dealing with the real issues of Newfoundland and Labrador. Like your new format. Don’t change a thing. Burford Ploughman, St. John’s
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
8 • INDEPENDENTNEWS
‘She had that quiet spirit’ Claudine Wall of Corner Brook was sorely missed at this year’s Winter Carnival CORNER BROOK By Connie Boland For The Independent
laudine Wall, a long-time supporter of Corner Brook’s annual winter carnival, didn’t attend this year’s 10-day event. During the variety shows, the baked bean suppers and the numerous other activities that marked the festival’s 34th year, her spirit of adventure was sorely missed. Wall was the type of person everyone knew, or knew of. A tireless volunteer, she left her mark on many of the city’s service groups, including the Lioness and Lions clubs, the Royal Purple and the Masonic Lodge. Wall collected for various charities, and served as the volunteer host of a cable talk show for over 25 years. She was commentator for the annual Santa Claus parade through rain, sleet and snowstorms. The list goes on. “She was the kind of person you could call on,” husband Ern Wall says quietly. “She loved to help others. Anyone who was less fortunate she liked to see that they had something.” Claudine passed away at home on Aug. 2, 2004. She was 58. “You don’t realize until something happens all the things she was involved in and the lives she touched,” Ern says. Claudine was a member of the CNIB’s board of directors, and represented her home province on the Air Cadet League of Canada. She received awards for her volunteer work, but took it all in stride. Local residents will remember her cheering them on at Weight Watchers meetings. Claudine also wrote for the weekly newspaper The Humber Log. “She took the time to be with people and she made sure everything was done right,” Ern says of his wife’s years of reporting. “She took pride in what she did.” The 2005 Winter Carnival Committee
paid homage to Claudine in this year’s carnival booklet. Claudine’s portrait is posed among snapshots of the events she enjoyed watching. The caption reads, “Thanks for the memories Claudine …” Gerard Duffney, vice-chair of the winter carnival committee, says the memorial was well deserved. “Claudine was very supportive of winter carnival,” he says. “This is our tribute to her.” Diagnosed with breast cancer eight years before her death, the mother of two spent time with other people fighting the illness that eventually took her life. She counselled them to fight; used her own experiences to urge them on. Duffney remembers chatting with her at various volunteer functions. “She was like a mother hen to everyone,” he chuckles. “When I had to do a little bit of public speaking she would come over and encourage me. She was the kind of person who talked to everyone, it didn’t matter who you were or where you were from. She’s definitely one of a kind. Very hard to forget.”
Ruth Hillier also benefited from Claudine’s easygoing manner. “My very first speech was for the Corner Brook Lions Club and I was very nervous,” Hillier says. “Claudine started talking to me and before I knew it I was down off the podium and done. She had that quiet spirit that just rolled off her and into you.” The women volunteered together with the Children’s Wish Foundation. Claudine helped host a local telethon for 11 years and was a committee member for three. Hillier cherishes the memory of Claudine reading a poignant letter from the mother of a wish child. “None of the hosts could read it without breaking down, but Claudine was determined that the letter be read on the air,” Hillier says. “Her voice was pretty shaky at times, but she held it together with her usual grace and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. ENERGETIC VOLUNTEER “She was a very caring, extremely dedicated, energetic volunteer; the sort of person who could inspire others … It was a big loss for the community the day that Claudine passed away, but I guess our loss is heaven’s gain.” The Wall family received more than 500 cards after Claudine died. Many were from friends and acquaintances who knew how much she loved her life — her cabin, her gardens, and above all else, her family — son Stephen, who resides in Connecticut, and daughter Carolyn, a resident of Corner Brook. The proud grandmother also doted on grandson Ryan, age 4, and 11-monthold Rebecca, taking comfort from them. “That Saturday before she died my sister put Rebecca in bed with her,” Ern quietly remembers. “Claudine put her arms around her and hugged into her. She loved her children and her grandchildren dearly.”
Times change, winter stays the same By Alisha Morrissey The Independent
ne story that newspapers love to report on is the weather, especially here in Newfoundland and Labrador where the month of February isn’t exactly bustling with news. In February1942, Water Street in downtown St. John’s, as well as other parts of the capital city, were flooded when a heavy snowfall was followed by a two-day downpour. (Sound familiar?) The Observer’s Weekly, a city newspaper published from the 1930s to ’60s, reported “The Biggest Flood” on Feb. 3, 1942, when two feet of water — and plenty of debris — covered much of the downtown. “A rather amusing sidelight, which also helps to show what conditions were, was when a man used a raft on Water Street … in order to get people across,” the story read. There were several photographs of cars up to their bumpers in water and virtual rivers flowing over many roads. When the weather is bad, some people choose to take a cab rather than face a mountain of snow at the end of the driveway, but in 1842 taxis were the small boats that operated between communities. Those water taxis often weren’t available in bad weather. In an advertisement carried in the Feb. 20 edition of The Vindicator, another St. John’s newspaper, pub-
Illustration from the May 21, 1948 edition of The Independent.
lished in 1841, James Hodge of KellyGrews (Kelligrews today) offered his services as a taxi driver and mail man. “He has a most safe and commodious BOAT, capable of containing a number of passengers and which he intends running the winter, so long as the weather will permit, between KellyGrews and Port-de-Grave.” The ad went on to say that letters could be dropped off at the home of “Mr. Doyle” and “as soon as wind and weather will allow,” he would take passengers — at a rate of five shillings for each person and one shilling per letter — around the bay. Prior to the 1900s, there was little mention of Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14), although that’s not to say the day wasn’t celebrated.
Dicks and Co. advertised in the Feb.16, 1893 edition of the Daily Tribune — published for only one year in St. John’s — for “love valentines, messengers of love, gold and silver gems,” and “all new designs for the season 1893.” The Valentines were “handsomely embossed” and sold for between one and 50 cents. The common cold was battled in advertisements in the Feb. 3, 1942, edition of The Weekly Observer. Ads for Vicks VapoRub treatment and an ad for a mix of turpentine and linseed oil — both chemicals used to thin paint — guaranteed a cure for the common cold. In 1975, the first official government regulations on snowmobiles came into effect. The Harbour Breton Foghorn, published from 1975-’78, reported Feb. 9, 1975, then-Tourism minister Tom Hickey completed a white paper on snowmobiling and brought in legislation demanding all machines must be registered, insured and used in designated areas — not on highways and public roads. The same edition of the Foghorn reported two men lost in a snowstorm in Fortune Bay. Donald and Leonard Skinner, cousins from St. Jacques went turr hunting and were caught in a blizzard on the water. The pair spotted the shoreline and once there, built a fire and shouted for help for hours. After two days, both men were found unharmed and full-bellied (they had caught three turrs) by the coast guard. email@example.com
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Hunter S. Thompson
Bob Pepping/Contra Costa Times
Hunter S.Thompson would have plugged the idiots
he sound of the front door opening and trailing voices brought me closer to consciousness. For years I’ve slept on my couch. I have a bed — two, in fact, but I never sleep in them unless I have company – platonic or otherwise. The latter is obvious, but the former because no guest wants to wake up in the middle of the night and see my blobbish form splayed out on the couch talking in my sleep, drooling on my pillow (Homer on a bad day and without the yellow tint). Even my plan of putting a TV in the bedroom to lure my form off the couch and into the bed had little affect — the couch is a terrible bitch goddess. Since the couch is right near the front door, I could hear them outside in the lobby. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, trying to figure out if they had turned up the right ’ill and found the right apartment. Bang. Bang. Bang. They beat on my door. I had no idea what time it was, but it was early. Bang. Bang. Bang. They beat on the poor defenseless door again.
NOT AVON CALLING This was not Avon calling. Then again, Avon doesn’t come calling at 4 a.m., though, sometimes I wish they would. “Who is it?” I yelled, propping myself up with one arm. “Who are you?” came the response. “Who am I? I freaking live here — morons,” I thought. “I’m not who you’re looking for,” I bellowed through the door. This must have really thrown them off; you could almost hear the meltdown beginning. They blurted out a name and I told them he lived upstairs. Buddy works the night shift/ Their feet thudded up the one flight of stairs and then the merciless assault on another door began. Bang. Bang. Bang. After the third assault on buddy’s door, his rotwieller woke from its slumber and began to bark — slowly at first, and then with real menace. That’s some alert watchdog, I mused, enjoying a brief moment of cynicism. The more viscous barking sent idiot one and idiot two tearing down the stairs again. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum stood in the lobby and discussed their next move — going to Oz, seeking out the wizard and asking for brains might be a good next step. Bang. Bang. Bang. “Does he have a dog?” comes the voice through my door. “Yes. And it’s a very big one,” I yelled back. Then a thought came to me out of my sleepy haze, what would Hunter S. Thompson do if he had such idiot twins outside his door? Thompson, one of the greatest columnists to ever live and the father of gonzo journalism, had always been one of my heroes — him and Terry Fox. A bizarre combination,
A Savage Journey but it made for good fodder at parties. Most women love one or the other. Hunter, who loved guns and almost always carried a large-calibre handgun, would have shot these idiot twins. He wouldn’t have even opened the door or given any warning. Now he may have missed, but he most certainly would have fired a few shots through the door just to get his point across. Sadly, I don’t own a gun. But I did reach for a three-foot long chrome sculpture I keep by the door for just such occurrences. I knew I could get at least one of them. Eventually, the front door opened and closed, car doors slammed and a car started and then drove off — intelligence is not a prerequisite for a license in this province. It’s funny that Thompson popped into my head. Earlier that Sunday evening I had an almost overwhelming desire to go out and get loaded — strange. Sunday (Feb. 20) evening, Hunter Stockton Thompson, 67, swallowed the barrel of one of his beloved guns. His son found him dead in the kitchen of the family’s Colorado home. Just before Christmas 1996, Thompson asked a number of friends to join him at his home near Aspen to watch him blow up a vintage Cadillac. “If he’s on private property, and there are no ramifications, it should be no problem,” said Sheriff Bob Braudis, a friend of Thompson. “He has blown up a lot of things. His safety record is impeccable.” With irreverence and glee, Thompson left wishes that a church funeral be held and his ashes be shot out of a cannon. PALLBEARER IN-WAITING A defender of unpopular causes, Thompson swaggered through the American Dream cloaked as a drugcrazed drunkard becoming a pallbearer in-waiting; writing his eulogy every chance he got. “If I’d written all the truth I knew for the past 10 years, about 600 people — including me — would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today,” he said. “Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.” Many despise Thompson for the unfiltered truth he penned and his mythical drug abuse that became a critical component of gonzo journalism, but he saw things that few did and wrote about them in a way that only he could. “For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled,” he once lamented. RIP, Hunter. RIP. Jeff Ducharme is The Independent’s senior writer .firstname.lastname@example.org
SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27-MARCH 5, 2005 — PAGE 9
Happier times for the PM: Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Prime Minister Paul Martin and Quebec Premier Jean Charest in high spirits after signing a new health care agreement last September. Jim Young/Reuters
Lonely at the top Martin risks ire of Americans over missiles. But that’s hardly the only flak PM faced this week OTTAWA By Susan Delacourt The Toronto Star
rime Minister Paul Martin is having a tough political week, proving once again that in federal Liberal politics, friends are more trouble than enemies. The man who sought warmer ties with the United States has rebuffed one of President George W. Bush’s most cherished ideas. The Prime Minister who was going to have healthier relationships with the provinces was denounced by no less than Premier Dalton McGuinty in the Liberal-led Ontario Legislature. The politician who vowed to be more in touch with the will of the Commons and the Liberal grassroots stood accused of pre-empting debate of both bodies by abruptly announcing that Canada was saying no to the U.S.-led missile defence plan. A vote in the Commons and discussion at this week’s Liberal policy convention now seem pointless. It’s possible even to take Martin’s friendship conundrum a step farther. The same Liberal government that campaigned hard from the left in the last, tight week of the election campaign, which could be
expected to align with the similarly mind- are suddenly fending off daily assaults ed New Democrats and Bloc Québécois, from Queen’s Park, where they might well has produced a budget rejected by those be expected to enjoy some goodwill from parties and embraced by the fellow Liberals. Conservatives. Martin may well be thinkPrivately, though, the people around the ing this week that that PMO are shrugging off old saw is true: it’s McGuinty’s outbursts as lonely at the top. Martin and his advis- pre-budget posturing at The prime minister Queen’s Park. Realizing ers are at a similar emerged from his they will be producing weekly cabinet session deficit-laden budgloss, at least publicly, another looking almost suret, federal Liberals posit, prised to see that his the Ontario Liberals are to explain why they missile-defence decicasting about for someone are fending off daily sion was provoking so else to blame because citimuch controversy from zens of the province simassaults from media questioners. Inply can’t stomach another deed, Martin appeared round aimed at their Queen’s Park. to imply that everyone Conservative predecesshould have seen it sors. coming. “There’s nothing personal here that we “I have discussed this with president know about,” said one PMO aide. Bush in the past. I have indicated my Immigration Minister Joe Volpe says he reluctance,” Martin said, never really and people around Martin reject the conexplaining what it was that prompted his spiracy theories swirling around the capireluctance. All he and his ministers would tal, which suggest that this barrage of say was that Canada chose “other priori- friendly-fire incidents is a mischievous ties.” prelude to this week’s Liberal national polMartin and his advisers are at a similar icy convention in Ottawa. Though no one loss, at least publicly, to explain why they expects Martin’s leadership to be chal-
lenged in the formal vote, the conspiracy theorists say this is a more underground protest statement. How else to explain why Martin’s old leadership rival, former finance minister John Manley, came out on McGuinty’s side last week? Or that the missile-defence furor was stirred up by overly supportive remarks made by a possible future Liberal leadership contender, now Canada’s U.S.ambassador designate, Frank McKenna? “I don’t see it,” said Volpe, when asked if there was mischief in the air. Some in Ottawa suggest that Martin has been deliberately inviting controversy this week to counter the “Mr. Dithers” label pasted on him in a recent issue of the prestigious Economist. But Martin’s advisers say that while that’s a “compelling” story, it is only a story and that it could be easily argued that if that was the objective, the prime minister would have been better to come out with a highly unpopular decision. His stand on missile defence is backed by his powerful women’s and Quebec caucuses, as well as a good majority of Liberal MPs and partisans overall. What we’re seeing See “Martin,” page 12
PM a hypocrite on human rights Martin’s roar becomes a whimper when he’s outside Canada, Crosbie says
nside Canada, Prime Minister Paul Martin is a passionate, tiger-like supporter of human rights, causing him to give the highest priority to promoting legislation to provide for samesex marriage. When Martin goes abroad, as his recent trip to China shows, he becomes a timid “wee sleekit beastie,” as Robbie Burns had it, in support of real human rights promoters who have suffered hardship and duress for their beliefs and actions. The late Zhao Ziyang, who died at 85 just as Martin’s visit began last month,
The old curmudgeon was premier of China for most of the 1980s and general secretary of the Communist Party in 1989, when he was forced out of power for opposing the military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in which hundreds of young protesters were killed.
He is one such giant cy and the rule of law. (Zhao Ziyang) is left unhonoured, unacHe was ousted from the knowledged and government one such giant left Chinese unsung by Martin. for actively supporting Zhao was a human unhonoured, unac- human rights and the rights supporter who rule of law and kept knowledged and cared for and improved under house arrest for the lives of poor peo15 years until his death. unsung by Martin. ple, presided over the It is disappointing to early stages of the see Martin, during his 1980 reform programs in China, recent Asian tour, make obvious the believed that the pursuit of economic depths of hypocrisy and humiliation to growth alone without political reform which he was prepared to descend to would not be sustainable and experi- ingratiate himself with leaders with mented with different ideas of democra- deplorable records in human rights but
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who control nations with whom Martin wants to trade. Surely if our objective is, as Martin proclaims, to have Canada once again make a difference to the world, our leader must not act abjectly, dishonourably or hypocritically — since if this is the way he performs, it is better that we not try to make this kind of difference to the world. Martin’s visit coincided with government interference with Zhao’s funeral arrangements. The Chinese government
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See “Canada,” page 10
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
10 • INDEPENDENTWORLD
Shredding the fabric of Confederation Economists question whether ‘side deal’ on Atlantic Accord will jeopardize equalization program By Jeff Ducharme The Independent
Paul Hobson, a professor of economics with Acadia University in Nova Scotia, says the prime minister’s comewfoundland and Labrador’s mitment was “off the cuff” and only $2.6-billion deal to retain 100 time will tell if the federal government per cent of oil revenues may can “spend their way out of this one. have been a victory for the province, “He was in a very political situation but some economists wonder if such and subsequently premiers (John) “side deals” could cause cracks in Hamm and Williams played their politConfederation’s facade. ical cards with him and so it was a very On Jan. 28, Premier Danny Williams politically charged process,” Hobson went to Ottawa and emerged from a 10- tells The Independent. hour marathon bargaining session with Hobson says both provinces have Prime Minister Paul always been getting Martin holding a $2.6 “100 per cent,” but “If in the extreme, like the issue was clawbillion, eight-year deal. Nova Scotia backs. Ottawa the U.S., we had no came out of the negoreduces equalization tiations with $830 to equalization program, payments million over the same Newfoundland and we would be a very period. Labrador by as much The agreement 70 cents for every different federation for as centred on promises dollar earned from Martin made during the offshore. the worse.” the 2004 federal elec“It’s all about the — Paul Hobson tion when the prime clawback, but by minister committed doing it through the to honour the accords they have Atlantic Accord guaranteeing 100 per managed to maintain, for now at least, cent of offshore revenues. The NDP the integrity of the program,” says and Conservatives had made similar Hobson. pre-election promises. But Craig Brett, a tax economist by Newfoundland and Labrador trade and the Canada Research Chair in received almost $800 million in equal- Canadian Public Policy at Mount ization payments in 2004, but that Allison University, says such “side amount is a drop in the fiscal bucket for deals” will “shred at the fabric of a province facing an $840 million cash Confederation. deficit. Equalization money is one of “My view is that they’ve done damthree programs (the others are health age to the underlying principle of and social transfers) that pass on funds equalization and whether that proves to to the provinces. Equalization pay- be a disservice or not is a matter of how ments can be spent as a province sees you trade off the efficiency and incenfit. tive arguments that Nova Scotia and
Premixer Danny Williams and Prime Minister Paul Martin at the signing of the new deal on offshore resources Feb. 14 in St. John’s. Rhonda Hayward/The Independent
Newfoundland and Labrador were providing,” says Brett, who originally hails from Pleasantview. Saskatchewan was the first to jump through the door opened by Williams and Hamm and now even Ontario — which along with Alberta is the only province not to get equalization payments this year — has begun battling to close the $23-billion gap it says exists between what the province pays in and what it gets back from Ottawa. Ontario is the only province never to receive equalization payments. “By entering into these side deals, as it were, the federal government kind of
opened the door to more of a negotiated equalization rather than a formulabased equalization program,” says Brett. Equalization is based on some 30 revenue points, from which Ottawa calculates a national standard and then tops up the provinces that fall below that average with equalization payments. Brett says equalization, first introduced in 1957, was never intended as an economic development program. “It is a fundamental principle of equity that no matter where you are in Canada you should expect access to
education and hospitals and snowplowing and all the things you need from your government without in one place having to pay a 45 per cent tax rate and the other place having to pay a 10 per cent tax rate,” says Brett. In 2004-05, the feds will payout almost $11 billion in equalization payments to the provinces. Ottawa is currently putting together a commission that will review the almost 50-year-old program. Hobson hopes the commission, which will be led by former Alberta deputy-treasurer Al O’Brien, will maintain the program as it was originally intended. “But if the changes come, they’ll come as a result of, we hope, the considered opinion of this panel of experts.” The last major change came in 1982 when the national average was dropped and the average from middle-income provinces — B.C., Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — was adopted. The 1982 Constitution reads: “Parliament and the Government of Canada are committed to the principle of making equalization payments to ensure that provincial governments have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.” The danger, says Hobson, is that radical changes to the program may kill the very federation that the program grew out of. Even one of the world’s largest federations, India, has an equalization program. “Equalization, in one form or another, is a central part of virtually every federation in the world other than the United States,” says Hobson. “If in the extreme, like the U.S., we had no equalization program, we would be a very different federation for the worse.” As other provinces squeeze through the opening created by the recent deals with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, Hobson says “bi-lateral” deals with the provinces shouldn’t be an issue as long as the federal pot runs a surplus. “There is still more money in the pot then is needed to fund the program,” says Hobson. “As long as they have got more money in the pot than the formula would require, you can always top people up on an equal per capita basis.”
Canada needs to toughen up From page 9 had treated Zhao as a non-person after removing him from power, so it reacted to his death by first denying that it mattered and then by trying to keep all funeral activities as quiet and unpublicized as possible. The Zhao family requested a funeral open to the public, but the government made it difficult for anyone to attend. Our PM, a professed champion of human rights, refused to visit the Zhao family home to express condolences on behalf of Canada or to pay respects to Zhao. He first said he could not go because of his tight schedule but later insisted he wanted to respect the family’s request for privacy in mourning. This excuse was revealed to be untrue: Wenran Jiang, of the University of Alberta, did attend the funeral and confirmed that the family made clear they welcomed any foreigner, including politicians, who wanted to pay respects. The honour of Canada was saved only by the decision of Conservative MP Jason Kenney who visited the Zhao home to honour Zhao’s memory and express his sympathies. Incredibly, he was attacked by Martin for doing so. Martin even suggested China had made considerable “progress” in the field of human rights — when every impartial observer reports that progress toward democracy has been extremely limited in China in the last three decades, with no important advance in human rights evident at all. The members of the Falun Gong, now in labour camps, are living testimony to this. Kenney, present in Beijing, was willing to show our respect for a real champion of human rights who sacrificed power and position to attempt to shield young activists from death in 1989. He deserves our thanks and appreciation. If we want to make a difference in the world, we have to rebuild our capacity to take military action, to give humanitarian assistance, and be of real assistance to our allies. To circumnavigate the globe saying nice things about leaders who don’t support human rights or promote or protect them, is not the way for Canada to make a difference in the world. We need desperately a change of government. John Crosbie’s next column will appear March 13.
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
INDEPENDENTWORLD • 11
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FEBRUARY 27, 2005
12 • INDEPENDENTWORLD
VOICE FROM AWAY
‘It’s amazing what happens …’ In spite of mouldy shoes, nosy landlords and raucous ‘Recycling Sisters,’ Hanoi is a grand place to live HANOI, Vietnam By Kirsty Gillies For The Independent
and of course, Trash and Recycling Sisters (a pair of women who come by with a wagon to collect all rubbish and recycling every day, banging the crap out of a piece of metal to alert you of their arrival). Our landlord and his family live behind us and like to keep a close eye on what is going on. He often comes by to tell us to shut our windows, open the doors, explain how to use the tap, or how to turn on the fan. Once the whole family came and watched me eat a salad with chopsticks — enough amusement to last a week. Sometimes David and I are invited for tea at our landlord’s house. Teatime is often hilarious as my Vietnamese is terrible and their English is worse. Incidentally, our landlord fought in Lao during the Vietnam War, so sometimes we all break into Lao, which generally ends up with him counting to 10 in Lao followed by all of us laughing for no apparent reason. It’s amazing what happens when there is no common language. Last month our landlord invited David and I to come and see his prize cockerel battle the other cockerels of the neighbourhood. Half an hour into the fight, I had gotten over my disgust and was actually quite enjoying myself. I am thinking about starting a league in Newfoundland …
es, another year has passed and I’m still in Asia. What went wrong? I was meant to be eating mashed potatoes by the gallon by now and watching Friends re-runs … Instead I am in Hanoi, Vietnam, trying to stumble through yet another language, still trying to love rice, and as always trying to figure out what all those social mannerisms really mean. After adventures in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) as a CUSO volunteer last year, I moved to Vietnam to begin work as a teacher at the United Nations International School. My time here has been filled with ups and downs, literally. The first major up was when I climbed the highest peak in southeast Asia/Indo China, Mount Fanzipan, affectionately known as Mount Fancy Pants, at 3,143 metres, in northern Vietnam. I cried twice during the trip and it wasn’t because of the beauty. It was hard work. Packing before the trip, I was optimistic. I had perfected my fancy pants dance for the summit, and managed to scrounge together some warm clothes. At base camp, we met our guides Luang and Hoi who were no more than two teenagers looking for some pocket money. Things did not get off to a very smooth start when my partner, David, left a $100 bill in his passport that mysteriously disappeared when our eager guides went to photocopy our documents. PORTERS IN FLIP-FLOPS We picked up four Mongh (Vietnamese hill tribe people) on the way, who were our porters for the trip. They carried wicker baskets on their backs with food, sleeping bags and tents, and wore plastic flip-flops and some light clothes. Meanwhile, the rest of us are decked out in enough Helly Hansen, MEC, New Balance, and CamelPaks to sink a ship. The porters were true mountain goats who scampered across the trail with little difficulty, while I seemed completely off balance and uncoordinated. Our guides turned out to be quite useless and managed to get us lost four times. The trek took three days and by the end, our group had given up following our guides and we’d become good friends with the porters, who were constantly laughing and smiling, and telling me where to put my feet and which way to go. I tweaked my knee three-quarters of the way up the mountain and was not able to perform my fancy pants dance, a major disappointment, but
Kirsty Gillies and her partner, David Cameron, trekking in Vietnam.
have since performed it in the staff room, the living room, and one impromptu performance in the parking lot. I limped all the way down Mt. Fanzipan at an agonizingly slow speed, and was heard to mumble, “I’m never doing anything like this again.” On the up side, the Mongh porters are some of the best cooks I have ever met. They rustled up Vietnamese dishes, rice, banana pancakes, and even French fries over an open fire.
PLETHORA OF BIKE VENDORS Living in a Hanoi neighbourhood has been quite the experience. We awake every morning to dogs barking, chickens bocking, and roosters roosting. Because we live on a small lane not big enough for cars, we have a plethora of bike vendors who come to sell us things. Favourites include Shoe Shine Boy, (25 cents a pair), Bread Lady (20 cents a loaf), Mat Man (any kind of floor covering), Plastic Woman (Tupperware eat your heart out),
WORLDBRIEFS French minister quits PARIS (Reuters) — French Finance Minister Herve Gaymard says he is resigning over his handling of a luxury housing scandal. “I have decided to hand to the prime minister my resignation as minister of economy, finance and industry,” Gaymard says. “I am aware of having made blunders and a serious error of judgment concerning the conditions of my official accommodation ... I will take on, as I have already indicated, the financial consequences. Despite this, my family has been subject to real harassment for several days.” The 44-year-old had come under growing pressure to quit after revelations that he, his wife and eight children were living in a huge apartment in the chic heart of Paris at state expense. Gaymard had been at the helm of the Finance Ministry since late November.
Chile fire under control SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) — A wildfire in Chile’s most famous national park, Torres del Paine in Patagonia, is mostly under control after a week in which it burned more than 55 square miles (14,000 hectares), the forestry service says. The imposing granite spires and vast glaciers in Torres del Paine are a magnet
for foreign tourists, especially during the Southern Hemisphere summer from December-February. Dozens of campers were evacuated when the fire was at its height earlier. Smoke obscured the park’s spectacular views, but the fire never reached the most popular parts of the park, which lies near the bottom of the continent. The Czech government has offered to help pay for some of the restoration work because a Czech tourist accidentally ignited the fire with his camping stove. He paid a fine of $200 and was allowed to leave the country.
Fighting for gay marriage in Brazil TAUBATE, Brazil (Reuters) — Assigned by the Brazilian government to a backwater factory town, 27-yearold prosecutor Joao Gilberto Goncalves is using obscure post to mount the country’s first serious effort to legalize gay marriage. While the high-profile January court filing seeking to legalize gay marriage has outraged the Catholic church in the world’s biggest Catholic country, Goncalves, the father of two small children and a baptized Catholic himself, says the case is straightforward. His interest in testing the limits of Brazil’s 1988 constitution and a belief
that legalizing gay marriage would fight social prejudice convinced him to file the case. “Despite appearances of being tolerant, Brazil is a place where gays are violently killed,” he says. A court decision is expected late this year, but the case will likely be reviewed by higher courts. If upheld, it would allow gays in the world’s fifth most populous country to wed.
Emissions deal near OTTAWA (Reuters) — Canada says it is close to signing a voluntary agreement with automobile makers to cut emissions blamed for global warming and rejected calls to impose binding limits. Ottawa says by 2010 it wants car makers to reduce emissions by 25 per cent from 1995 levels, but has resisted calls by environmentalists and opposition parties to impose curbs on major car manufacturers. Representatives for the Big Three car makers — General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler — say it would be hard to introduce new technologies at such short notice to meet Ottawa’s demands. Cutting car emissions is one way Canada hopes to meet its targets under the Kyoto protocol on climate change, which obliges Ottawa to cut output of greenhouse gases by six per cent from 1990 levels by 2012.
‘MOULDY SWIMMING POOL’ There is 100 per cent humidity here right now, but it remains quite cool in the air … apparently mould thrives in these conditions and our house is overrun. There is mould in every single pair of my shoes, in my bed, underneath the tablecloth, on the floor, and on books. It’s extremely bizarre. Not only that, the tile floors are constantly wet from humidity — it looks like someone has thrown a bucket of water all over them. Picture living in a mouldy swimming pool and you have my life right now. I really know how to sell Vietnam, don’t I? Besides that, everything is going swimmingly here in Hanoi. Southeast Asia continues to shock and make me laugh all at the same time — as long as you keep your sense of humour, it’s a great place to live. Kirsty Gillies worked in Vientiane, Lao PDR as a CUSO volunteer and then for the Vientiane International School as a performing arts teacher. In September 2004, she moved to Hanoi, Vietnam, to work at the United Nations International School as a humanities and English teacher. Do you know a Newfoundlander or Labradorian living away? E-mail editorial @theindependent.ca
Martin made sure the U.S. knew before the Canadian public From page 9 this week, it’s said, is the result of a few weeks of planning on how and when to deliver an answer to the U.S. on missile defence. Sources close to Martin say the missile-defence decision became tied to the federal budget a few weeks ago. On Feb. 11, Martin and Finance Minister Ralph Goodale held their final meeting to seal the budget details. It was then clear to Martin the government had enough money to spend on programs that would be attractive to Americans, but that were more madein-Canada in their approach to international security and defence. THE BUDGETARY SHOP These included $12.8 billion over five years for the military, as well as money to boost border security and the fight against terrorism. With this in the budgetary shop window, Martin reportedly felt he had created enough room for himself to say no to missile defence, without leaving himself open to U.S. accusations that Canada was not doing its share on the international security front. On Feb. 18, Martin and senior government people involved with the mis-
sile-defence decision held yet another meeting to hash out what Canada would be telling the Americans. That meeting didn’t end conclusively either, though. Martin took the weekend to think it over and reportedly it wasn’t until he got on the plane last Sunday, headed to the NATO summit in Brussels, that he told Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew and accompanying aides that the decision was made; that it was time to notify the Americans that Canada had gone as far as it could on going along with missile defence. In the Commons, opposition parties were angry that Martin had been insisting that no decision had been made, even as the Americans were being informed. This version of events does nothing to quell that outrage. It does seem that the prime minister made sure the U.S. knew before the Canadian public or Parliament did. That won’t make Martin any new friends either. But after this, the prime minister and his inner circle might well be asking — what does? This article originally appeared in the Toronto Star. Reprinted by The Independent with permission.
SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27-MARCH 5, 2005 — PAGE 13
Strength of spirit
Fresh from an ECMA win, Duane Andrews’ version of gypsy jazz is getting noticed nationally By Stephanie Porter The Independent
uane Andrews, belly full of Thai food, is taking a break in his Montreal hotel room. One performance already completed earlier in the evening, he’s got three more showcases scheduled later this night — and three more to come over the weekend. Hot off his success at the Feb. 20 East Coast Music Awards in Sydney, N.S. — Andrews was one of only two Newfoundland acts to take home a trophy — the musician went straight on to Quebec for the North American Folk Alliance conference. Andrews has been a fixture on stages in St. John’s and elsewhere for a decade, playing with acts including Jenny Gear, African-dance band Mopaya, Danette Eddy, bluesman Denis Parker and the Chieftains. But now the Carbonear-native has his first solo CD in hand. Andrews says he’s having to learn about a whole other part of the industry — and learn fast. “This is totally new for me,” he says of the conference and networking world. He says he first truly participated in a conference in late 2003, the Music Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador’s (MIANL) annual gathering. Though he didn’t have a CD to promote at the time, the event was a lesson in the value of playing to the right people: three months after
the conference, the association’s president, Django Reinhardt. John Hutton, called Andrews and invited him On returning to Newfoundland in 2002, he to the North American Folk Alliance’s event began working on the sound that would lead in San Diego. him to his first solo album, a combination of “Now I’m doing all the textbook things like gypsy jazz, traditional Newfoundland music, setting goals,” Andrews says with a laugh. and Andrews’ own compositions. “You’ve got to have the right attitude at things Response to Andrews’ CD, released in July like this, you’ve got to be 2004, has been positive; willing to work in this the work landed him four way too, you can’t expect “You have to go out and MIANL award nominato just be discovered … tions (he won best instruThe way this works is work just as hard as you mental artist) and two you have to go out and ECMA nods (he won jazz do on your music on still work just as hard as artist of the year). you do on your music on “That album was getting the contacts getting the contacts and recorded with one microgetting your music in the phone, over a couple and getting your music right place.” nights of recording,” says Andrews first picked Andrews. “(The CD) can in the right place.” up the guitar at age 10, stand up to what’s out and hasn’t put it down there … but we can do — Duane Andrews since. Shortly after gradbetter.” uating with a bachelor’s He’s already got the degree in music (jazz studies) from St. Francis next two recordings planned in his head: first, Xavier in 1994, he returned to St. John’s, a quartet, then, maybe a small string section, a becoming involved in the traditional music horn section. “We’ll make the arrangements a scene. little more elaborate, the product more polSoon, he began studying classical music as ished,” he says. well, an interest that led him back and forth to For now, Andrews says he’s been “having a France to study composition in Paris and great time.” He’s enjoying the travelling and Marseilles. performing — made possible in part, he says, It was in France that Andrews became by the $200,000 investment the provincial enthralled with the “gypsy jazz” pioneered by government made last year to the MIANL —
and is currently focused on breaking into the national and international festival scene. He’s also looking to begin playing more concert hall or theatre gigs, rather than solely pubs and clubs — and still playing regularly with Gear, Mopaya, and others. Bit by bit, he says, he’s meeting the right people, laying the groundwork for the future, and finding support beyond the comfort of his home province. “You come up here, and most of the people you meet are strangers,” he says. “It’s cool, there’s no east coast pride or Newfoundland pride, these are people who have been won over, who really like the music. That’s really encouraging.” While it has been said Andrews’ music shares more with a Parisian bistro than a St. John’s pub, the musician says his work is as inspired by Newfoundland as anywhere else. “We played this afternoon, and someone said, ‘I’ve heard people playing music they say is inspired by Django Reinhardt before, but it doesn’t have …’ he was saying there was a drive that our music had that was lacking in other music he has heard,” Andrews says. “People are talking about Newfoundland music all the time, and what is it? That’s something I think is a strong characteristic; there is this drive in it, or a strength of spirit. “It’s not always stylistic, but it’s something in the spirit of it all.”
‘No place like Labrador’ Métis elder recalls not making much money living off the land, but he felt ‘free’ HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY By Bert Pomeroy For The Independent
en Mesher still gathers water from a spring near his childhood home on Labrador’s southeast coast. “I only gets a chance to go there during the summer, and I brings back several containers with me,” says the 69-year-old Labrador Métis elder, who now lives here in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. “It’s really good water.” Mesher was born at Independent Harbour, a small fishing communi-
ty about 10 miles east of Cartwright. While the community no longer exists, it was a big part of Mesher’s early life. “We’d move there in the summer before the salmon started running, and fish salmon and cod during the summer,” Mesher tells The Independent. “My parents fished there and my grandparents fished there.” Mesher’s Inuit ancestry helped him adapt to the rugged Labrador terrain and harsh climate. As a young boy, he recalls taking part in traditional harvesting activities, such as hunting and trapping, pick-
ing berries and gathering medicines. “There were no doctors around in those days, so we had to make do with what we had,” he says. “There were no telephones, no electricity, no way to communicate with the outside world … unless you travelled by boat or by dog team.” Mesher attended school in Cartwright, where he completed Grade 6 before leaving to tend to family matters. “When I got old enough I had to stay at home to look after the family when my father went on the trapping grounds,” he says. “I hunted,
fished and looked after the house.” Mesher and his siblings would trap near their Paradise River winter home, while their father tended to his line miles away, for days on end. “We’d trap weasels and squirrels,” he says. “We’d probably get five to 10 cents for a weasel and 10 to 15 cents for a squirrel — you could by a big bag of candy with that much money.” As a young teenager, Mesher would travel with his father to the trapping grounds, being away from Continued on page 14
Labrador Métis elder Ken Mesher still enjoys a traditional boil-up. He says the land has a way of healing. Labrador Métis Nation
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
14 • INDEPENDENTLIFE
Catching up with Jody
It’s tough balancing acting and music, but Jody Richardson has found a way; curtain set to lift on new play, Birth of Theatre By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent
LSPU Hall March 3-13. As a physically demanding and sure-to-be-unique adult comedy about evolution, he writer, actor, singer, musician, admits preparations have been exhaustcomposer and producer all in ing. one might understandably find Locals might know Richardson betit difficult giving a snappy answer to ter for his days as part of rock band the question: So what do you do? at Thomas Trio and the Red Albino and social gatherings — but not Jody later in Fur-Packed Action. Recently Richardson. he’s been producing musical scores for “Creative engineer,” he says without film and theatre and also started up a hesitation. “I think it new hard/melodic rock was about six months and roll band called The ago I was trying to figHaters. “That pact with ure it out, because I was He says he finds it tired of going, ‘Well I’m impossible to choose the devil is a writer and well I also between being a musido this and do that’ and cian and being an actor. working out …” usually creative engi“That’s why my careers neer is just enough to never take off, I always Jody Richardson stop the conversation.” derail them because I go Richardson sits at a back and forth.” desk, fiddling with a But to be able to work microphone in his home study/studio. and sustain a career in the arts while His house, which he shares with long- living in Newfoundland and Labrador time partner Susan Kent, is a down- is success in itself, plus Richardson has town St. John’s pad; compact, old, full a few other balls in the air. of character and the pleasing clutter of He and two partners — Thomas a busy life. Thorne and Rob Guy — are currently Richardson’s in the last week of working on an animated series for chilrehearsals for his and Liz Pickard’s dren aged 7-12 called Nanobodz. The play, Birth of Theatre, which the two trio has full funding from Telefilm and friends wrote and will perform at the the Newfoundland and Labrador Film
Development Corporation. Richardson hints there’s already been some interest from a broadcaster. “So that one’s really large, actually. It’s terrifying.” It didn’t take this creative engineer long to get back into the local arts scene after returning from a successful, 10week stint workshopping and perform-
Rhonda Hayward/The Independent
ing No Great Mischief at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto before Christmas. Richardson grins widely as he remembers the experience. “I loved it and I loved the food and I’m totally spoiled and I’ve gone through a horrible, horrible culture shock, coming in and walking these same streets over and over again.”
That said, he insists he would never leave the province permanently. He likes the isolation and how “you’re not really influenced by current trends. “There’s no trappings of success.” Richardson even likes the fact it’s hard to make a living in the arts scene here. “I like that too because you have to diversify … We have this small little group and everybody sort of looks over everybody else’s shoulder and you know, you love it and you hate it but I would much rather be here.” Richardson hopes young people will realize the benefits of working in the local arts community and says his daughter, Alicia, 14, has started writing. “It feels really nice here these days too, it’s like a lot of people are coming home or coming into their own … it makes you feel really proud. I hope that people stay here, I really do. I mean it’s really tough and she’s a hard mother, but I really hope that people just struggle, struggle, trying to find a way.” For all his 38 years, Richardson doesn’t look like someone who’s had much of a struggle. With his tousled red hair and bouncing energy he could easily pass for a kid in his 20s. “That pact with the devil is working out … and the blood of virgins; at some point they’re going to catch up to me.”
The sea cathedral Icebergs of Newfoundland & Labrador By Stephen E. Bruneau Flanker Press, 2004
’m not much for winter; it does me in. I cannot even begin to express how overjoyed I will be to see the first iceberg slipping along the coast of this island, the harbinger of spring. But this year I won’t be caught gawking at those gigantic, frozen apparitions like a tourist at the window of a Dutch brothel or trying to discern religious figures and the profiles of long dead celebrities in the rough-hewn bulk of a berg. No sir, I’ve got my trusty Icebergs of Newfoundland and Labrador field guide to lead me, tucked into my bag where Birds of Eastern and Central North America once resided. No longer will I find myself frozen in mute incomprehension when the first of the flock drifts into view. “That’s a pin-
MARK CALLANAN On the shelf nacled bergy bit,” I’ll scream to anyone who will listen, explaining that the diagram in my field guide shows its relative size to be that of a bungalow. When visitors mistake a lesser species for the technically-termed very large variety, I’ll shake my head in wry amusement and point out that, no, according to the coloured illustration on page 36, a very large iceberg is roughly the size of a suspension bridge while their iceberg is clearly no bigger than a hospital, and thus of a medium designation (a growler, for those of you with trivial persuasions, is the same size as a Volkswagen Beetle; not the modern models, but classic era).
Born of a desire to feed boat tour operators non-fallacious information about our yearly white fleet, Stephen Bruneau’s Icebergs of Newfoundland and Labrador first appeared in 1998 in booklet form. Since then, the author imparts in his foreword, it has been “informally reprinted and distributed” with amendments in each successive year. Now, six years after its first printing, Flanker Press has made the text available for public consumption in a colour edition. Clearly, this latest incarnation of Icebergs of Newfoundland and Labrador has its target market well in mind. The entire inside back cover is devoted to useful facts about our province. TOURIST TRIVIA Among other things, it informs tourists that the area of Labrador is 294,000 square kilometres, that our provincial tree is the black spruce and that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians speak in “often heavily accented” English — a fact that, without the timely intervention of the guide, would undoubtedly be disastrous to those Anglophones who come from non-accented areas of the world such as Brooklyn or Yorkshire. Despite my initial amusement towards a field guide that deals with something as impermanent and variably shaped as floating freshwater ice (next in the series, A Guide to Tanker Spill
Formations), the book has many interesting features and is deserving of more serious attention. After opening with a short section of answers to frequently asked questions detailing how icebergs form, how much they weigh, how close one can safely get to them (not very), the book moves on through a series of interesting iceberg facts — “a secret (Second) World War program, named Habbakuk, was a plan to manufacture icebergs for use as aircraft carriers” — and then into short anecdotes and poems on the subject of icebergs, from authors as various as Captain James Cook and the poet E.J.
Pratt. Of the items in this section, one of the most interesting is Moses Bursey’s 1912 account in The Daily News of his sealing ship’s near-collision with an iceberg in which he makes reference to the once common practice of harnessing ships to be towed by drifting icebergs, “as many as three vessels made fast to one of these great islands of ice” sometimes travelling “at a rate of seven knots and [sic] hour, dead to windward.” The rest of the book is accounted for by photographs of icebergs and various iceberg-related diagrams. The latter detail iceberg drifts, size categories and shapes, techniques for estimating height and length of icebergs, iceberg towing procedures and more. For the dedicated berger, an iceberg observation form is included upon which various notes can be recorded for future reference. If, like many, you’re content to be amazed by the size and shape of icebergs without ever knowing their provenance or wishing for a vocabulary with which to discuss them, then you can probably give Icebergs of Newfoundland and Labrador a miss. For visitors, it will no doubt prove an indispensable aid. Now if only they could understand what the locals are saying … Mark Callanan is a writer and reviewer living in Rocky Harbour. His next column appears March 13.
‘There’s no place like Labrador’ From page 13 his home for as much as two months at a time. “We’d have a few dogs with us — probably around three or four — to haul our flour, sugar, butter, tea and baking powder. The rest of the food we ate came from the land. “Some people had tilts, and others had canvas tents with a galvanized stove — it was your home away from home.” At the age of 17, Mesher left his coastal home to find work with the United States Air Force at the Goose Bay Air Base. “I worked with the Americans for three years, but I always wanted to be
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back home, living off the land,” he says. “I didn’t make much money living off the land, but I felt free.” Mesher eventually found seasonal employment at the air force base, working there in the winter and moving back to his home during the summer months to carry on his traditional way of life. The land, he says, holds the answer to many problems, particularly those facing today’s aboriginal youth. “The land has a way of healing people,” he says. “If our young people today would try and live a more traditional way of life, then they wouldn’t have the problems they do with alcohol and drugs. When we were growing up, we lived a healthy life because of our attachment to the land.” He spent 13 years as a volunteer with
the Canadian Rangers out of Cartwright, completed his Grade 10 in 1972 and 10 years later was one of the first Labradorians to obtain a Class 4 navigational certificate. He’s also a 20year member of the Canadian Marine Rescue Auxiliary. Mesher has lived his entire life in Labrador. And while he’s travelled to other parts of the country, he’s never had the urge to pull up stakes. “There’s no place like Labrador,” he says. “I’m very thankful and fortunate to live here.” While he doesn’t live off the land like he used to, Mesher is still able to harvest his caribou meat for the winter, and gather firewood year round. “I am proud of my heritage,” he says. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
INDEPENDENTLIFE • 15
Reeves an ‘acceptable’ exorcist Constantine Starring Keanu Reeves 1/2 (out of four)
ased on the adult-oriented comic book series Hellblazer, Constantine features Keanu Reeves as John Constantine, a terminally ill, demon-hunting exorcist desperately trying to win God’s favour. With a variety of religious and mystical artifacts at his disposal, he relentlessly pursues Satan’s minions and sends them back to hell. While he is certain that he, too, is heading south for eternity, the one hope in his life is that his efforts on Earth will hold some sway with heaven. We encounter John Constantine just as he is beginning to notice an anomaly in the natural order of things. Early in his investigations, he crosses paths with LAPD detective Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz), who eventually seeks his assistance on a case she’s exploring. In jig time, they’re both convinced that there’s something major brewing, and they’ve landed in the thick of it. In contrast to the jaded, emotionally numb Constantine, Dodson, who seems to be effective in her chosen line of work, has not become hardened by it. She is a sensitive, spiritual person who
TIM CONWAY Film Score values life, and appears to view her profession as a means of making the world a better place. Together, she and Constantine make the perfect team. While Constantine dabbles in religion and occasionally tosses out a few interesting concepts, the film remains safely within the realm of fantasy. God, Satan, Archangel Gabriel (Tilda Swinton), and the ranks of supernatural entities are merely characters to serve a story that could easily accommodate a quartet of big-footed short people transporting a magical ring. POWER CASTING Fans of the comic book series, which is set in England, are likely to be somewhat disappointed with relocating the story to Los Angeles, as well as the choice of Reeves to play a character that was originally British. Moreover, the physical appearance of Constantine is alleged to have been inspired by musician Sting, so the casting choice here seems to be driven more by star power
No kids for me, just Cadillacs
y parents bought a Mazda 3 the other day. I love it. For you to understand why this is at all interesting I have to make a confession: I’m a car snot. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve driven a 12-year-old van for the past two years. But it wasn’t good enough for me and I couldn’t wait to get rid of it. I have this favourite internal dialogue that goes: As soon as you grow up and get a real job, you’re not having kids — you’re having a Cadillac. I understand this is incredibly shalVICTORIA low. I’m only confessing because I WELLS-SMITH plan to redeem myself in the folHip lowing 550-650 words. Redemption via the Mazda 3, which I love. This love has been highly educational for me, which is a lot more than I can say for some of my other encounters with love. Dolly (the new car) has, in a few short days, enlightened me. I have verbalized what I learned, for you, and organized it into five points. You are about to read a half column, half persuasive essay. I’m going to start with the obvious. No. 1: There is no need to invest in over-priced commodities. People empty their bank accounts for gigantic houses, expensive clothes, tiny computers and, of course, luxury automobiles. I understand some people have a genuine interest in things like the architecture behind some mansion or the rare Chinese fabric their skirt is made from, but I question why most people enjoy spending too much money. If I was rolling in cash, I wouldn’t be driving around town in a fancy car, I’d be standing on the Great Wall of China or cruising around the Galapagos Islands. Or, better yet, save your money and pay for your grandchildren’s education, or help medical research, or do anything that is going to fulfill you in any way or help you actually live. Have an experience. No. 2: Music is the single most therapeutic thing this life has to offer for under $30. Chocolate makes you fat and alcohol makes you drunk — not happy. But music can change your mood in a matter of minutes. Music is the best way to harmlessly get your mind off whatever it needs to be off. My old van didn’t have a CD player and I couldn’t listen to my favourite songs. I feel like my Mazda has enriched the quality of my life by filling my head with Dave Matthews. No. 3: It’s all in the small things. In other words, if something isn’t working for you, make a few minor adjustments and see what happens. Think about how important it is to the movie-going experience that you sit somewhere you’re comfortable. Back-row people hate to sit up close. A small thing like a chair can make or break your night. My new car has a CD player (as previously discussed), more than enough cup holders and the clock lights up red with black writing. These seemingly minor details make me smile. Or at least they keep me from frowning. No. 4: It’s easy to keep something clean, just don’t let it get dirty in the first place. No. 5: I’m trying not to be as set in my ways. If it had been my job to buy the new car, I would have spent more money. I would have spent money that is now being used to redecorate our bathroom. Keeping an open mind can increase your number of happiness landmines. Sometimes you have to give a person, a place, an idea or even a moment a chance and you may find something that influences your life in a positive way. It’s that easy. Victoria Wells Smith’s next column will next appear March 13. email@example.com
than anything else. For the uninitiated among us, however, Reeves is acceptable in the role. Regardless of the ongoing debate and skepticism of Reeves’ thespian skills, this isn’t the kind of film that demands mastering a wide range of emotion while delivering subtle dialogue. He’s convincing enough to do the job at hand, and that’s what really matters. Weisz, on the other hand, presents us with a real human being, and her take on Angela serves both the film and her costar well, providing audiences with a truly sympathetic connection to the story while further defining Constantine’s cold, self-serving nature. Director Francis Lawrence makes his feature film debut here, after a successful career shooting music videos, and does much better than many of his peers have in making the transition. There are times when the pace slows almost to a standstill, the few moments of comic relief play like afterthoughts, and a number of scenes, especially towards the end, don’t reach the energetic heights they should. Then again, working from a screenplay written by a couple of guys barely more experienced than himself, for all we know Lawrence could have pulled off a minor miracle here.
What we can see, however, is that Lawrence dedicates himself to the material more than most guys who make the leap from commercials and music videos. There’s no attempt to use the film as an opportunity to audition for his next project, to show the world that he’s the hot new one-man show. WELL-EXECUTED ACTION The action scenes, though not elaborately choreographed, are well executed, and visually the film enjoys what must have been a good working relationship between the director, the cinematographer, and the production designer. From Hell to the more routine settings in the story, Constantine offsets some of its familiar story elements, many of which can be found in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, with a visual style that seems distinctly its own. The film is always interesting to watch, and elaborate set pieces are neither overwhelming nor unrealistic. From the interiors of churches to the
underbelly of a bowling alley, we’re never at a loss for scenery, despite the fact that the film is shot in one of the most photographed cities on the planet. Likewise, the camera work offers the occasional odd perspective that is faithful to the comic book roots of the story, and the lighting lends itself well to the film’s style. There is much variety in the way scenes are shot, and in their presentation, we feel that the focus of the film makers is on the best way to shoot the action, not simply to jazz things up with camera tricks. The result is a motion picture that at least appears to win our favour honestly. While Constantine is not a great motion picture, nor even a very good one, it is entertaining. There are good intentions at work here, as is a great deal of effort, and fair degree of talent. In more experienced hands, this could have been the film to set the bar for the rest of the year, but as it is — better than average — let’s hope not.
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
16 • INDEPENDENTLIFE
Mother and son flee their home in June 1947, as a forest fire threatens Traytown.
Of all the people Frank Kennedy met while working with the long-closed Daily News — Bob Hope, Louis Armstrong, Eleanor Roosevelt — his most memorable subject (Smallwood not included) was a certain famed photographer named Karsh, the same guy who removed the cigar from Churchill’s mouth. “‘I admire your technique,’” Karsh reportedly told Kennedy. And so have a generation of Newfoundlanders. Senior editor Stephanie Porter spent a few hours this past week with Kennedy, who gave The Independent permission to reprint some of his photos.
rank Kennedy flips through the original manuscript of his book, Flashes from the Past, reminiscing about his 42 years in the newsgathering business— the tragic fires, the celebrity visits, the 1945 surrender of a German U-boat, the trip to Gallipoli, and the endless photo ops with Joey Smallwood. Kennedy bought his first camera — a Baby Brownie — for $1.20 at age 16 in 1938. His hobby photography was good enough, and he was hired six years later by The Daily News in St. John’s as a staff photographer. Twenty years later, he joined CBC as a television cameraman. “I never had any intention of writing a book when I retired from the CBC,” he tells The Independent. “Or even when I was at The Daily News. It’s too bad I didn’t, because I never was one to save very many photographs.” He didn’t keep a journal either. So when, in the mid-’90s, he started to think about writing his book — encouraged by his family, especially his daughter, who convinced him to buy a computer — he spent more than
a few hours at the archives. “I had to drag it out of my mind,” he says. “I went back to look up the old stories I had taken pictures for, and read the articles to refresh my memory. Then I’d come home to the computer and write up the stories.” The book, published by Breakwater Books in 2000, has since sold out of its first printing. There are no immediate plans for a reprint — he’s moving on now, and is well into writing his follow-up, tentatively titled A Corner Boy Remembers. It’s about growing up in pre-Confederation St. John’s, and for the sake of chronology, Kennedy says, he probably should have written this one first. APRIL FOOL’S TRADITION The book will include a few more of his photographs, and a lot more stories, written much the way Kennedy speaks: informal, descriptive, and with more than a little wry humour. Of all the people Kennedy met and shot over the years — Joey Smallwood, John Diefenbaker, Eleanor Roosevelt, princess (now Queen)
Makeshift ferry carries cars across the Exploits River.
Elizabeth, Bob Hope, Louis Armstrong — he says one of the ones who left the biggest impression was Karsh, the world-renowned photographer from Ottawa. “Karsh was here, and I was sent down with a Daily News reporter,” says Kennedy. “I was a bit apprehensive, taking the picture of a famous photographer, you know this was the guy who took the cigar out of Churchill’s mouth … “At the end of the interview, I said ‘I hope you didn’t mind me taking candid pictures while you were being interviewed,’ and he replied, ‘No, not at all, in fact I admired your technique.’” Kennedy smiles as he tells the story, one he’s told many times before — including in his book, virtually word for word. He keeps smiling as he pulls a couple of pages from the manuscript. Kennedy was known for his April Fool’s Day photos, which became a 15-year tradition at The Daily News. Kennedy’s first attempt was a photo of the Colonial Building in St. John’s, collapsed into ruins.
“In those days,” he says, “I had to cut and paste — actually, physically, cut and paste, not like now …” He carefully chopped up a photo of the building, rearranged the pieces to make it look as if it had crumbled, and photographed it again. The picture ran on the front page. NATIONAL JUDGE “In those days, people weren’t used to seeing photos of things that didn’t really happen,” Kennedy says. “Nowadays, people are used to trick photography and all this kind of stuff … I got a great kick out of it, I have to say.” His trick photos — the railway station falling into a “sink-hole,” a large boat stuck in amidst downtown buildings, the fabricated bus strike — always got reaction from readers, whether it be annoyance, rage, or amusement. “Yes, the paper got a lot of phone calls on April 1,” Kennedy says. “And some of them weren’t very complimentary.” Kennedy began photography as a hobby, with a darkroom in his closet at
home. Eventually, while a professional photographer, he took up working with a movie camera as a hobby. Eventually that, too, became a way to make a living. Looking back, Kennedy feels that he’s always found a way to get paid for his hobbies — even now, as he writes his memoirs. But this month, Kennedy is taking a break from writing. He’s one of three judges (the others are in California and Alberta) in the photography category for the Canadian national newspaper awards. Over the course of weeks of emails, the 88 entries have been narrowed down to five. Now the judges have to whittle their choices down to three. From what he’s seeing, Kennedy says newspaper photography has come a long way since he was in the business. “It’s excellent, in fact, amazing,” he says, rifling through the pile of entries and showing off a couple of his favourites. “There’s not one black and white picture in the lot.”
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
INDEPENDENTLIFE • 17
Joey Smallwood welcomes Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to St. John’s in 1961.
The Knights of Columbus fire in St. John’s, 1942.
The Colonial Building, St. John’s — Kennedy’s April Fool’s Day photo, 1948.
The train carried automobiles from Clarenville to Gander in 1955, before the Trans Canada was completed.
Fire in Harbour Grace, 1944.
After 20 years with The Daily News, Kennedy was hired by CBC-TV in 1964 — the year the station got permission to operate in St. John’s — as their second cameraman. Kennedy loved the change in media: television “was easier,” he says. “With the still photography, you’ve got to get the one picture that told the story. Whereas with the moving picture, when something was going to happen, you just turn on the camera and leave it on.” This is the story of his first CBC shoot.
A wild west start at the CBC: The Flying L Ranch
arold Lees, a cattle rancher from western Canada, was interested in starting a large ranch on the Burin Peninsula, and had been in that area as early as 1960 looking over the territory. He found a lot of bogland there, but felt that much of this could be drained and turned into fine pastureland, for perhaps as many as 5,000 head of cattle. Although he raised his animals in Saskatchewan, most of his beef was shipped to Europe, and the Burin Peninsula was 2,500 miles closer than his ranch. In the fall of 1963 he formed a compa-
ny, The Flying L Ranch Company Limited, and brought in 125 animals on a trial basis. He figured they should easily survive the Newfoundland winter, which was much milder than Saskatchewan. He was right. The cattle had no problem living through the winter and this was great encouragement, along with Premier Joey Smallwood’s promise to grant him several hundred square miles of rangeland, including 20 square miles for a ranch near Winterland, just west of Marystown. In early August 1964, trainloads of bulls and cows began arriving at Goobies, near the top of the peninsula, and by Aug. 25,
900 animals were grazing there, waiting for their next move to greener pastures. They were to be driven down 90 miles to the new ranch, “The Flying L,” and this was my first assignment, covering the cattle drive … (The cowboys) began the roundup by circling the scattered herd on horseback, and funneling them towards the Burin Peninsula highway. Premier Smallwood rode the range in fine style, on a fine brown mare, and really looked the part with his cowboy suit, boots, red neckerchief and 10-gallon hat (oops, 45-litre). Horseback riding was nothing new for Joey, of course, as he had several riding horses on his own ranch on Roache’s Line, and this was probably one of them. Riding with Joey, side by side, were the two head honchos of the new company, Harold Lees and Art Hall, both from out west. Much of the area along the highway was fenced, and there was very little trouble keeping the 900 animals on the straight and narrow. However, in other sections, the road ran through barrens and bogs, and often some cows would wander onto these, and it was great getting shots of the wranglers
doing their stuff, getting the animals back in line … For one shot I stood with the camera rolling, as hundreds of cows passed by on a fairly narrow section of road. Then, into the viewfinder came this big bull astride a cow, copulating as the whole group moved along. That shot is now in the blooper tape at CBNT. Joey rode along for the first 10 miles, until the cowboys stopped for a chuck wagon dinner. During that western-style meal, he told us he took part in the drive to show the government’s support for the venture. He felt this was the start of another thriving new industry for Newfoundland. The film we made was shown across the country on the national program Country Canada, and was also used on the first Land and Sea program, when we initially went on the air from St. John’s in October of that year. The addition of the 900 head of cattle at the Flying L now made a total of over 1,000 animals on the boot of the peninsula. During the fall and winter, young boys were thrilled to see real cowboys rounding up doggies (stray calves) in their towns. After the first year, however, the
government began getting complaints from town councils. They said the roaming cattle were contaminating their water supplies, and that picnic sites and swimming areas were being polluted. A Grand Bank butcher said Lees was allowing some cows to starve to death … Lee countered by saying some residents were shooting the cows for sport, and others were actually rustling the cattle. He discovered that bog-reclamation was much more expensive than he had anticipated, and subsidies from the government were not as ample as he had hoped. In two years the Flying L Ranch was in big financial trouble … in the spring of 1966, the Toronto Dominion Bank took possession of the cattle, in lieu of payment of more than half a million dollars then owing. The bank auctioned the animals for an undisclosed amount. Many of the animals were never found. Some had fallen over cliffs, others were lost in the bogs. Still others may still be roaming the hundreds of square miles of rangeland. Another of Joey’s new industries had bitten the dust. An excerpt from Flashes from the Past, used by permission.
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
18 • INDEPENDENTLIFE
WEEKLY DIVERSIONS ACROSS 1 Chinese pan 4 ___ Secum, N.S. 8 ___ Bay, N.S., site of miners’ museum 13 Long, loud mournful cry 17 Last minute? 18 Vegetarian protein 19 Like some French vowels 20 Pelvic bones 21 Its capital is Bridgetown 23 Rephrase 24 Dianthus 25 Parliamentary gofer 26 Two-part country 28 Resist 30 Part of la maison 32 Grimy growth 33 Family plan? 34 Gunk 35 Like thick makeup 36 Free from strife 40 French river 41 N.S. basin with world’s highest tides 42 Transmits 43 Shortened alias 44 Greek pastry 46 Actress Cardinal (“Black Robe”) 48 Discordant noise (from a trumpet) 49 Cries of agreement
51 Painter of forest and totems 52 Quiz answer 53 Egoyan film on Turkish Armenians 56 Queen’s dog 58 To ruminate in Reims 59 Condescend 60 French festival 61 Alta. town with Eddie the Squirrel 63 Church recess 64 River in N Ontario 66 Hearing range 70 Harden 71 Pertaining to sound 72 Not skimpy 74 Ruckus 75 Type of power 77 Sound when you step on it 78 Send forth 79 Purges 80 A to Z 81 Post-tsunami scene 82 Spinning 85 Kind of bear 86 Viscount’s superior 87 ___ d’or Lake, N.S. 88 Pathogenic bacterium 90 Inducing drowsiness 94 Indonesian island 95 Long stories 96 One of five Greats
97 Stale 98 Spud’s buds 99 Writing-on-___ Prov. Park, Alta. 100 Tear apart 101 It’s often surfed DOWN 1 Silken trap 2 Eggs 3 Sound of a fall 4 French floor 5 Encryption 6 One in ten of us has seen one 7 Ontario cottage country 8 Extremely good or bad 9 Limping 10 Discombobulated 11 Put up 12 Fabled city of gold 13 Cry of joy 14 Stew 15 Triumphs 16 Darling’s ___, N.S. 22 Kind of eagle 27 West in Brest 29 Chest muscles, for short 30 Cut covering 31 LakmÈ highlight 32 N.B. island: Grand ___ 33 Heppner or
Margison 35 Mongoose relative 36 “Bay Boy” writer/director 37 Bridal Veil ___, B.C. 38 Tsar’s edict 39 Procrastinator’s word 41 Bebe’s mom 42 Town with coldest temperature ever in Canada (-63 C) 45 T-shirt size 47 Land units 48 Notice of intent to marry 50 Like an ocean view 52 He played Gould and Trudeau 53 Saying 54 Drive back 55 Usher’s beat 57 Auricular 58 Sacred song 60 End 62 Storage centre 64 Speechless 65 Reaping what you sow 67 Birthplace of Karen Kain 68 Norse god 69 Sitters’ charges 71 Agitate 73 Funeral figure
76 October 1970 situation 77 Suitcase 78 Italian currency
LEO – JULY 23/AUG. 23 A business trip, a vacation or something that involves your going out of town is on the horizon, Leo. Pack your bags now because you’ll be in store for an adventure.
TAURUS – APR. 21/MAY 21 You’ve had a short temper, Taurus, and close friends and family are starting to feel the brunt of your tongue lashes. Calm down and start mending fences before it’s too late.
VIRGO – AUG. 24/SEPT. 22 Someone from your past has made an appearance lately, Virgo. You’re not happy to run into this individual. Graciously smile and be on your way — in the opposite direction.
GEMINI – MAY 22/JUNE 21 An important decision due at the end of the week has you pulled in two directions. You must make a decision soon, or else the opportunity might pass you by.
LIBRA – SEPT. 23/OCT. 23 A large responsibility has been put into your hands, Libra. Don’t worry, you have the means to get it done. You can always enlist the help of a friend if you feel overwhelmed.
CANCER – JUNE 22/JULY 22 You’ve been waiting to hear big news, Cancer, and it’s finally headed your way. Expect a complete turnaround with a situation that has been plaguing you lately.
SCORPIO – OCT. 24/NOV. 22 Your life is in an upheaval, Scorpio, but it is a happy change to your normal orderly schedule. Friends and family love to be near you in the days to come. Enjoy the company.
2004) 84 Hearty’s partner 85 Cartoon possum 86 Ireland
89 Jazz fan 91 Equal 92 Grosse-___, Que. 93 Shilo summer time
WEEKLY STARS ARIES – MAR. 21/APR. 20 With birthday wishes soon heading your way, you may be planning a major bash. Don’t be so extravagant with your spending, however. Finances are tight.
80 Certain Heights 81 Competed 82 French priest 83 Actress Fay (1907-
SAGITTARIUS – NOV. 23/DEC. 21 If you’ve been feeling down in the dumps, Sagittarius, all of that is going to change. A stranger brings good news, and you’re the first in line to accept his offering. CAPRICORN – DEC. 22/JAN. 20 You’ve been juggling too many responsibilities, Capricorn. Pretty soon one of the balls is going to drop. Realize that you need to scale back your projects. AQUARIUS – JAN. 21/FEB. 18 Someone will rely on your help heavily in the days to come, Aquarius. You don’t mind because you love to feel needed and a central part of the action. PISCES – FEB. 19/MAR. 20 Advice is offered to you, but you’re not inclined to take it. Reconsider, because this person really speaks words of wisdom.
Schooner’s farewell Dere’s a schooner in the harbour and her spars are shod with fire, My heart and soul’s gone aboard ’er for the islands of desire. She’ll be leav’n on da morrow when the westerlies are full and strong, To run the gauntlet of my veins with the ocean breeze’s song. Then we’ll be head’n out and up to where the high sea breezes blow, To dance and skip with the Carey chick where the big waves drift like snow. Then she’ll be flush’n clean her scuppers on the nort’ and on the sout’, To the rhythm of the ocean swells of rail in and then rail out. Dere in our prime we’ll run the wash to make the fo’c’sle door, and dare our chums to do the same as she’s slog’n off from shore. We’ll have our mug up down below with the crack and scroop of plank, and listen to the gargling bow as seas skirt down her flank. We’ll pass our watch a stand’n in the dim of compass light A lean’n on the weder’d wheel and starin’ into the night. We’ll spend our youth in freedom, awed by break’n seas, but undaunted will we raft the swells and laugh at the roar’n breeze. Ah, but these old ships are gone now, t’is the end of the likes of we. But we battered sails against the gales, and that never more will be. We were the last to hear the blast of the riggin’s howling tune, and dance with spars beneath the stars by the pale light of the moon. — Phil Earle, Carbonear
SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27-MARCH 5, 2005 — PAGE 19
Wade Foote, general manager of Breakwater Books in St. John’s
Rhonda Hayward/The Independent
Book report Publishers in this province plan to release some 80 titles this year, on par with production in the mid-1990s — but few are expected to make it to the mainland
By Stephanie Porter The Independent
arry Cranford, publisher of St. John’sbased Flanker Press, says he stepped into the provincial book industry when, “it was at an all-time low.” Cranford got serious about publishing about six years ago, and has since grown his company from one employee, to seven, from one release a year, to 18. “Years ago there were 50 books a year out (in the province),” he tells The Independent. “But I don’t think they were marketed right. It’s fair to say in the last two/three years publishers have been more cognizant of marketing books, which is better … You can’t rely on grants anymore to subsidize production. You’ve got to generate enough revenue to handle your following year’s production.” While many books have a low profit margin — if any — Cranford says it’s especially difficult for a company like his to do high-end literary titles, or find the deep pockets to pay advances to high-profile writers. Publishers in Newfoundland and Labrador, on the verge of one of the most ambitious years in recent memory, are asking for help: for marketing, for distribution, and for funding programs some say are necessary for their survival. Flanker plans to publish 18 titles in 2005. Breakwater Books has 10 trade titles and one textbook on deck; Creative Publishers will probably come out with close to 20; Jesperson plans for about eight. Factor in all the smaller and other independent presses, including newcomer Boulder Publications, in the vicinity of 80 books will be released by local publishers in 2005. “If what I’m hearing is right,” says Cranford, “if people meet their targets, it looks like production is going to be back to what it was 10 years ago.” A decade ago, the provincial government’s publishers’ assistance program came to an abrupt end. Wade Foote, general manager of Breakwater
Books, says the loss of that sustainable funding “really hurt” the industry. “That was when Breakwater used to do 15 or 20 titles a year … and at that bracket, you’re eligible for more national funding programs, it really solidifies your house.” Breakwater is anticipating “a better year than last year.” In 2004, Foote says, much of the company’s time and energy went into producing a Grade 8 Newfoundland history text book — a project that has taken a year longer than expected. (By way of explanation, Foote says the project was more complex than foreseen, given the various political and interest groups involved. “A political football,” he describes.) “Now we’ll be lucky if we break even on the project,” he says. That’s the way it goes with many titles. To break even, an estimated 800 to 1,500 copies of an average book must be sold. To sell out of a 2,000 print run is considered a success. Foote frankly admits most of Breakwater’s books — and the company is hardly alone — are produced at a loss. “So if they’re not funded, if we’re not funded, we couldn’t survive … most of our local authors wouldn’t have the opportunity to be published.” With five manuscripts coming across his desk every day, Foote says its obvious there’s no shortage of writing talent. Given that, and the positive political atmosphere in the province, he’s optimistic the industry will thrive. Foote alludes to a marketing feasibility study, commissioned by the Newfoundland and Labrador Publishers and Marketing Association (NLPMA), submitted to the province last week, as another key to the future. Debbie Hanlon, co-owner of Jesperson Press, and president of the NLPMA, says the study held See “Very tough,” page 20
No ‘dithering’ here Federal budget has something for everyone
ver the past week the federal opposition, in response to an article in The Economist, joked about the prime minister’s “dithering.” Seems quite funny considering all the dithering that was done recently over changes brought to the House of Commons relating to the federal Department of International Trade. Here was a bill meant to make the department more efficient by bringing pieces of its responsibility — currently held in the departments of Industry and Foreign Affairs — under its control. After much dithering, the bill was defeated. The week before the budget and everyone was flexing muscle. Interna-
The bottom line tional Trade is aggressively pursuing a deal for this province to have the European Union lift its trade barrier slightly to allow 7,000 or more tonnes of shrimp to enter that market without being subject to tariff. Much more needs to be done, but it’s a step in the right direction. Let’s get the mechanics of the department right so it can function effectively. Speaking of the budget, is it possible
to deliver something for everyone? The challenge is to balance spending requirements while still effectively securing the economy. Looks like budget 2005 has appeased most people — including the majority of the opposition. There was a boost to the competitiveness of the economy through the elimination of corporate surtax and a reduction in corporate tax by two percentage points by 2010. That’s not fast enough considering the changes to the tax environment in the U.S. — but it’s a start. The increases in the contribution to Registered Retirement Savings Plans were long overdue; so was the elimination of the foreign property rules. Increases to the basic personal excep-
tion were also welcome, as was the direction of, in time, eliminating tax for those earning $10,000 or under. Indeed, for many low- and modest-income families, the effective marginal tax rate (after factoring in income-tested benefits) is higher than 60 per cent and higher than the rate facing Canada’s top income earners. This absolutely needs
The challenge is to balance spending requirements while still effectively securing the economy.
to be addressed. Other good business incentives in the budget include the 50 per cent tax deduction for the cost of new energyefficient equipment. This is a great inducement to address climate change, but it is also a good stimulate to the economy as many property owners will take advantage of installing new energy-efficient equipment, saving on operating costs and getting a refund for the capital expenditure. The break-even position for Employment Insurance premiums that was announced in the budget is about time. It has been a source of contention for too See “Investments,” page 20
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
20 • INDEPENDENTBUSINESS
‘Very tough starting out’
Trip away great cure for ‘seasonal affective disorder’ By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent
t this time of year when even the most die-hard Newfoundlander or Labradorian feels the need to escape to warmer climes, the possibility of bumping into a neighbour from St. John’s while strolling down a sandy beach in Florida is nothing out of the ordinary. Travel agencies are in their busiest stretch, as people book vacations down south for March, April, and the most popular month — May. Mike Donovan, president of LeGrows Travel, says although there were some cancellations at the beginning of summer last year due to the public sector and Aliant strikes, bookings are as strong as ever.
POPULAR TRAVEL SEASON “It really doesn’t vary from year to year unless the economy’s bad,” he tells The Independent. “The last couple of years have been very busy and this year is very busy and for anybody who’s lived here, there’s always kind of a priority in getting out of here the spring of the year.” The most popular destination is the Dominican Republic, closely followed by Cuba. Donovan says Florida is gaining in popularity, possibly as a result of the stronger Canadian dollar. For most people, convenience as well as affordability is key and having direct flights available to the Dominican and Cuba means once the plane has left Newfoundland and
Labrador, it touches down only four hours later in a much friendlier temperature. “Direct charters out of here are seven day visits so for most people what’s changed in the last five years is more and more people go twice a year. “So for most people it’s seven days because that’s the way the charters go.” Jane Davis is a wife and mother of two small children living in St. John’s. She says the family makes a point of going away to Florida at this time of year — every year. Her parents spend the winter in Sarasota, so they travel down to visit them and escape the weather. Davis says there are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians everywhere. “I was just in Halifax on the weekend and I said, no matter where I go I always run into a Newfoundlander — but in Florida, always. “It’s very rare that I would walk on the street in Sarasota, on the beach, and not recognize one person from Newfoundland … just people from St. John’s. “The timeframe that we tend to go tends to be the timeframe a lot of Newfoundlanders are going down as well — that seasonal affective disorder that we’ve all got going on.” Vacations are sore spot for Davis right now; she just lost $550 dollars to cancel this year’s April trip, due to a work-schedule clash. “I’m not a very happy camper … we couldn’t get what we wanted in March, everything was booked, and
From page 19
Paul Daly/The Independent ‘Tis the season … to get away from winter and head for the beach.
our children are in ballet concerts in May and then it’s into the summer, so this year we won’t be going, it’s probably the first year in 10 that we haven’t gone.” She says finding outdoor activities to do this time of year — especially with the children — is virtually
impossible. “If we just got winter and had tons of snow then we could all ski. I mean, I’ve been waiting to go down to the Logy Bay Lump now for the last month with my kids all excited and of course here, of all years, we can’t even do that because it’s so icy.”
Investments in education and infrastructure need to be made From page 19 long for both employers and employees. Much needed expenditures were announced for the military and it was great to hear our own Rick Hillier say the military is “no longer wringing our hands but rolling up our sleeves.” We need a smart military with the right equipment, training and personnel to do the job. The additional monies should mean stability for the bases in this province. I believe there should be more military spending in Newfoundland and Labrador, considering both our geographic location and our per-
sonnel contributions. Business recognizes there are a number of initiatives that require large infusions of cash, including health care, cities and equalization. The real problem is to ensure our year-over-year spending doesn’t outstrip our ability to pay. We all want value for our money. It is disconcerting to realize that federal program spending has increased close to 40 per cent over the last five years. There are some systemic problems that need to be addressed, especially in health care. It always amazes me when I go to the hospital to see there has been little improvement even though so
much more money has been made available. Nurses and doctors are still over worked, waiting lists haven’t diminished and frustrations abound. Investments in education and infrastructure need to be made, but are being crowded out by heavy spending in other areas. FUNDAMENTAL REVIEW Late in 2003, the government mandated a new Cabinet Committee on Expenditure Review to conduct a fundamental review of all federal programs with the goal of generating savings every year, building over time to at least $3 billion annually within four
years. A solid initiative to continually review government programs to ensure their continued relevance. In so doing, the federal government must ensure it doesn’t negatively impact its investment in people and procurement in the regions. As I indicated in my last article, this province needs more of the federal civil servant positions and procurement — not less. Bottom line: no dithering by anyone in this budget. The record $200-billion budget set out a course for the next five years. Siobhan Coady’s column appears every second week.
few surprises. “In order for us to keep our culture alive, and to keep publishing the books that are not money-makers, support is needed,” she says. “We need to go to the international, national trade fairs, we need to focus on the technology side of the industry.” She’s hoping for some good news in March, when the provincial budget comes down. While Hanlon says operating Jesperson — which she and her business partner took over two years ago — is enjoyable and interesting, it’s far from profitable. She looks at it as a long-term investment she pays into every month. Hanlon spoke to The Independent from the St. John’s airport, on her way to Toronto for a course on exporting books. She says passion and determination keep her fighting for the Newfoundland and Labrador industry. “This industry is growing because of people like me who are prepared to take a financial risk and not wait for the next few years, not wait to see what funding comes on stream.” Gavin Will began Boulder Publications three years ago with a reprint of D.W. Prowse’s History of Newfoundland — a title he says he knew would sell (at 5,000 copies, he was right). He continued with other reissues, and is now easing into original material. He plans to release at least three titles this year. ‘HASN’T BEEN EASY’ “Learning the business hasn’t been easy,” Will says. “What’s lacking is marketing expertise, and helping people like myself who are relatively new to the industry, to get their products off the island and into the rest of Canada and, God forbid, the States.” With only 15 per cent of all books in the major book chains coming from Canadian publishing houses, the battle for shelf space and sales is going to be uphill. “It’s very tough starting out, very tough growing from one or two titles a year,” says Flanker’s Cranford. “But I think we’re going to be in business a long time. “But we will have to diversify and capture other markets, because who knows what’s going to happen with the Newfoundland market? “Once the fish and brewis generation dies off, and the pizza and beer generation comes to middle age, what will their reading habits be?”
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
INDEPENDENTBUSINESS • 21
‘Difficult’ dealings Concerned promoters complain about cost and red tape at Mile One; stadium officials expected to unveil new business plan By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent
ajor concert promoters say management at Mile One in St. John’s makes negotiating the stadium for shows difficult and costly — travel expenses aside. Management, for its part, is hinting at significant upcoming bookings, while Mayor Andy Wells says he’d sell the debt-ridden facility “in a flash” should anyone be willing to buy. Although currently out of the country, Derm Dobbin — owner of the Fog Devils — passed on a message to The Independent, saying he would be “most interested in speaking with whoever would like to sell Mile One.” Although Wells says he’s “not sorry” about the likelihood that the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise will not operate here next season, he says he’s “not going to be sucked into that vortex.” At the same time, he admits he would consider selling the stadium to Dobbin. A national concert promoter — who requested his name be withheld — says previous dealings with Mile One Stadium have been “difficult. “Because of the amount of shows we have coming on, I would hesitate to comment … “I love the city, I think it’s a great place and I’d love to do more shows, but it’s unfortunate they’re not making it financially feasible for us.” Great Big Sea’s manager Louis Thomas says if Mile One wants to attract acts big enough to fill the space, they have to lower their financial demands. “They need to come to the table more than they
do … I just mean with the costs. The costs of the venue are not competitive enough compared to other venues of their size across Canada. I know that for a fact. I’ve talked to other promoters … they are aware that that room is expensive.” Due to geography, Thomas adds it takes three days to play a show in the province, but once a band gets here for the first time, they’re normally more than willing to return. It also gives local bands a chance to play as openers for bigger acts, which often leave their back-up bands behind on the mainland. Lisa Neville, Mile One’s manager, is unperturbed by rumours about selling the stadium and the prospect of a season without hockey. She says although “it takes two or three years to get out there in the market,” there are some big plans brewing — including a way of dealing with the unavoidable geography of St. John’s. “We haven’t tapped into the European market, but they all have to come from Europe to North America and (we’re) now tapping into getting those one-offs. “If they want to start their tour in Canada or North America, can they start their tour with us?” Neville adds the stadium can act as a means for bands to figure out their technical glitches, something Nickleback spent two days doing in 2003 before going on tour. As for making the space financially feasible, she says the stadium wouldn’t usually consider lowering prices, but would try to make a trip to St. John’s more “attractive. “I don’t know if I would like to say we would
Sealers ante up $25 fee
ealers will pay a membership fee of $25, along with a levy of 25 cents per pelt sold if they want to be a part of the revamped Canadian Sealers Association. Frank Pinhorn is part of the group touring the province meeting with sealers in an attempt to generate new interest in the association, which was originally formed in 1982 in response to negative publicity against the seal hunt. The association represented more than 6,000 sealers and worked with both levels of government to promote the industry until the association shut down on March 31, 2004. At the halfway point of the provincial tour, Pinhorn says the response to the group’s efforts has been encouraging.
EVENTS FEBRUARY 27 • Scott Tournament of Hearts final day, Mile One Stadium, St. John’s, 5767657. • Fat Cat Blues & Jazz Bar open mike night hosted by Blair Harvey, George Street, St. John’s, 10 p.m. • Kiwanis music festival continues all week at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre. FEBRUARY 28 • The First Backdoor Cabaret Resource Centre of the Arts presents an opportunity for emerging artists to showcase new works in development. RCA Visual Gallery, LSPU Hall, Victoria Street, St. John’s, 7–10 p.m., 753-4531, free admission. • Fat Cat Blues & Jazz Bar open mike night hosted by Jim Bellows, George Street, St. John’s, 10 p.m. MARCH 1 • Independent Living Resource Centre dinner club, Swiss Chalet, Stavanger Drive, St. John’s. Please register: 722-4031. • Reading by Di Brandt, award-winning poet. Casual Jack’s, Corner Brook, 8 p.m. • Gander Celtic Dancers dinner and silent auction. Proceeds towards the dancers’ trip to the New York City Dance Workshop and Competition, Hotel Gander, 100 Trans Canada Highway, Gander, 6:30 p.m., 256-2639. MARCH 2 • Intermediate fly-tying course at the Fluvarium, 7:30 p.m. Class limited to 12 people, call 754-3474 to register. • Folk Night at the Ship Pub, St. John’s. Featuring Simon Nuefeld and Judith Klassen, 9:30 p.m., non-smoking event. MARCH 3 • The Birth of the Theatre by Chuck Art and the Amazing Liz (i.e. Jody Richardson and Liz Pickard). A hilarious one-act blitz of metamorphoses antics, LSPU Hall, Victoria Street, St. John’s, 753-4531, 8 p.m. Tickets $18, Tues. and Wed. shows $15. Continues until March 13 See “Events,” on page 24
“We’re getting a good reception everywhere we go,” Pinhorn tells The Independent. “As we’re going we’re selling memberships so we’re also sort of paying our way as we go. “We’d like to have all 14,000 sealers on board if we could have them, but we’ve traditionally had between 300 and 600 Paul Daly/The Independent members in the past. We have over 200 now and we’ve only been at it a week.” Pinhorn says the tour and the association itself has been running on money left over from last year’s pelt levies. “They had some money left over — it wasn’t very much but it was enough to cover the expenses for like three months.” — Jamie Baker
Snoop Dog at Mile One
decrease rates … rather than devaluing the product we offer, we’ll do little extras for them — we’ll save them hassle, we’ll save them time by us taking care of it from a customer service perspective.” There are three ways the stadium might book an event: buying the show flat out and taking the profits; co-promoting (splitting the risks with a booker); or renting out the space, as well as any extra staff and facilities needed. “Let’s say, for example, we want to get $12,000 rent (the standard cost of the full venue),” says Neville. “Well if we think it’s a really good show, we may not want just $12,000 rent.” She says they might request taking in an additional percentage of ticket sales up to a capped amount. An official business plan is expected to be
Paul Daly/The Independent
released soon, outlining how the stadium intends to “start growing the business on the events side.” Neville says the plan will be relevant whether Mile One secures a tenant such as a hockey league or not. She adds if the stadium is to keep pace with its counterparts such as the Halifax Metro Centre, officials must aim for at least 150 event nights a year. The stadium’s last financial year — from June 1, 2003 to May 31, 2004 — saw 110 events. Roughly 15 of those nights were concerts or big-ticket sellers such as Snoop Dogg, the rest were sporting events and trade shows. City councilor Paul Sears has criticized Mile One Stadium for its failure to break even in the past, and he says it would have been nice to see a business plan produced earlier.
22 • INDEPENDENT SPECIAL SECTION
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
INDEPENDENTSPECIAL SECTION • 23
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
24 • INDEPENDENTBUSINESS
Trinity Bay artist carving up a storm S ince winning Best New Product at the recent Atlantic Craft Trade Show in Halifax, Kevin Coates has been working around the clock trying to fill orders from various craft shops. His colourful wood carvings depicting the life and flavour of outport Newfoundland are proving popular. “I have to have them all done by the middle of May,” the woodcarver from Winterton, Trinity Bay, tells The Independent. “This is pretty time consuming too because it’s all done by hand.” The Atlantic Craft Trade Show was held at the beginning of February and runs as an annual wholesale show, attracting buyers from Canada and the United States.
The Best New Product award is given to new exhibitors. Coates’ work came under the spotlight as one of the Newfoundland and Labrador producers shown at the Crafts of Character booth, sponsored by the province. Coates, a former cod fisherman, only realized his artistic talents a little over six years ago. Today, he works full-time at his craft from his work shed at the back of his home; the shed doubles-up as a make-shift shop in the summer months. Specializing in figurines of fishermen, mummers, Santas and many more — which he carves out of wind-fallen branches from balsam fir trees and then paints — Coates is one of those fortu-
nate artists who can make his craft his occupation. Unable to attend the event, he sent pieces of his work along with the department’s booth in the hope of securing some orders, but he had no idea he might qualify for an award. He was informed over the telephone. “I didn’t expect anything like that … the recognition.” As well as receiving a plaque, Coates’ work will be featured on the cover of the 2006 Atlantic Craft Trade Show guide. — Clare-Marie Gosse
EVENTS From page 21 MARCH 4 • RCMP Klondike Night Charity Casino live entertainment and dancing. Must be 19 years and over. Proceeds raised will go to the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Center and Special Olympics. RCMP Headquarters, 100 White Hills Road. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. • Spirit of Newfoundland presents Reunion at Purgatory High, a fantastic and hilarious play that digs up every kind of ghost from high schools in the province. Stars Susan Kent, Steve Cochrane and Sean Panting. Written and directed by Beni Malone. Tickets $42 with dinner/$22 show only. Majestic Theatre, St. John’s, 579-3023. MARCH 5 • Atlantic Union CD Release Concert local acoustic trio launches The Whole Dance. Atlantic Union is Sally Goddard, Andrew Lang and Dan Rubin. Tickets $8, showtime 8 p.m., Gower Street United Church Hall, St. John’s, 335-7007 • Spirit of Newfoundland presents Reunion at Purgatory High, Majestic Theatre, St. John’s, 579-3023. IN THE GALLERIES • Works on Paper: large and varied collection by Sid Butt, Orlin Mantchev, Otis Tamasaukas, Monica Adler and more. James Baird Gallery, 221 Duckworth St., St. John’s, 726-4502. Until Feb. 28. • Landscape: New Perspectives Emerging artists Corey Gorman and Michael Connolly combine their talent to celebrate landscape and nature. RCA Gallery, LSPU Hall, Victoria Street, St. John’s, 753-4531. Until March 8. • Emerging Artists Margaret Best, Christine Blackwood, Kathy Browning, Mike Connolly, Tia Connolly, Kym Greeley, Elaine Krueger, Libby Moore, Genevieve Parsons, Pia Pehtla, Margaret Ryall, and Eleanor Wells show work at the Leyton Gallery of Line Art, Clift Baird’s Cove, St. John’s, 722-7177, until Feb. 28. • Then and Now, a multi-media exhibit exploring the women’s movement, curated by Bonnie Leyton. Craft Council Gallery, Devon House, St. John’s. Opening reception March 6, 2-4 p.m.
SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27-MARCH 5, 2005 — PAGE 25
Roncalli girls hockey team gets psyched for a game.
Rhonda Hayward/The Independent
For the fun of it Hockey may be in trouble at the NHL level, but locally it’s never been stronger. Described as ‘fast and elegant,’ the women’s game is drawing attention By Darcy MacRae For The Independent
hile the stars of the NHL sit out the entire season, local kids and adults are flocking to arenas. National media outlets across Canada may have dubbed the cancelled NHL season as a dark era and a sign the sport is truly in trouble, but local hockey players, coaches and executives say the game is doing just fine. “Hockey is not gone because the pros are out,” says Steve Power, executive director of Avalon Celtics Minor Hockey. “Hockey is alive and well in St. John’s and throughout Newfoundland.” Power works with all age divisions of the Celtics organization, and knows first-hand what kids between five and 18 talk about before and after practices or games. He says they discuss strategy, the day’s events at
school and local hockey gossip. He doesn’t hear kids talk about Bob Goodenow, Gary Bettman, salary caps, revenue sharing or replacement players. “I’m sure there’s some disappointment there, but it’s certainly not translating into what they bring to the rink,” he tells The Independent. “I haven’t heard a kid mention NHL this year. I think it bothers adults more than it does kids. The kids seem a lot more concerned with the Fog Devils’ situation than the NHL lockout.” The indifference expressed by minor hockey players to the NHL lockout was on display on the evening of Feb. 21 at Prince of Wales Arena in St. John’s. Early on in the night, the Avalon Peewee B team hustled through drills orchestrated by head coach David Buckingham while a group of Novice players waited, in a hallway, for their turn on the ice.
Despite the fact their practice wouldn’t on top of that you can look at all the juniorstart for another 20 minutes, the Novice aged players who are away on the mainland players were fully dressed for hockey, chin- playing hockey. I don’t think the game is in straps fastened and skate laces tightened. trouble at all.” The five and six year olds eagerly watched While young boys and grown men alike the older kids run through one-on-one drills, have enjoyed the game of hockey for generdiscussing who might be the fastest skater ations, the sport is now becoming just as and who had the best shot. The NHL lockout popular with women, young and old. The St. seemed to be the last thing on their minds. John’s Recreation Women’s League has “The minor level in St. John’s is not in any eight teams this season, with more players trouble,” says Buckingham. “The only trou- than ever looking to play. ble is when you have millionaires arguing “When I started playing women’s hockey with millionaires. In minor hockey, kids play three years ago, we had six teams and now for fun and love of the game.” we have eight,” says Deborah Bourden, who Once the Novice players took to the ice, it plays for Sports Shop. “You can play a game was obvious how much they enjoyed the of women’s hockey any night of the week. sport. They were playing for the best of rea- It’s one of the fastest growing sports for sons — fun. women in Canada.” Parents from the St. John’s Caps and Although it appears many hockey players Avalon Celtics cheered enthusiastically for and fans across the province and throughout both clubs, especially when Caps’ forward the country aren’t overly concerned with the Bradley Power skated the puck the length of cancellation of the NHL season, the Stanley the ice — making several moves quite Cup still creates a buzz. Without an NHL advanced for a Novice player — before season and subsequent playoffs, the historic being stopped by Avalon goalie A.J. Rooney trophy will not be awarded this year. with a fine stick save. Governor General Adrienne Clarkson has “If you’re a hockey fan, you miss the suggested a way to still award the cup. She NHL. But life goes on,” says Danny Breen, says it’s about time women were given the president of Avalon opportunity to play for Celtics Minor Hockey. “I Lord Stanley’s mug. think hockey is doing Clarkson would like to see very well.” the winner of either the “You can play a game Beyond minor hockey, Women’s World Hockey of women’s hockey the sport is wildly popular Championship’s or the with adults. The province National Women’s any night of the week. Hockey League get the has two senior men’s leagues, two junior opportunity to hoist the It’s one of the fastest leagues and numerous cup above their heads. recreation leagues across Bourden supports the growing sports for the island and in idea, saying a competition Labrador. In the Co-operbetween women’s teams women in Canada.” ators St. John’s Junior for the cup would attract Hockey League alone, an audience of both genDeborah Bourden more than 200 players ders. take to the ice each sea“I think that’s fabuson. lous,” says Bourden. “A “We have eight teams with 25-player ros- guy friend of mine recently told me he ters, and there are always another 10-15 enjoys watching women’s hockey more than players knocking on the door waiting to men’s hockey because there’s a lot less hitcome in,” says Buckingham, who along with ting and more finesse. It’s fast and more elecoaching the Peewee B Celtics is a goal- gant. I think it would get the viewers.” tender with the junior league’s Celtics. “And Darcy_8888@hotmail.com
NHL could not afford to not cancel season Confused? No worries, as Bob White explains, there’ll be loads of time between now and the next NHL game to figure it out
uick, when was the last time basketball gave an assist to hockey? Some may recall how current NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was dispatched from the National Basketball Association in the early 1990s to take over the reins of hockey. At this point in history, it’s doubtful Bettman’s contribution to Canada’s game would be considered a helper, but I believe his stance in negotiations will one day be looked on as a necessary one. I suppose you could even say he saved the NHL. Or, at least what the NHL was sooner or later going to have to become. Then again, he helped orchestrate the
Bob the bayman expansion of the league that has arguably brought it to its knees. In other words, he made the NHL what it is (or isn’t) today. Perhaps he’s now intent on making up for past mistakes. When (or should I say if) the NHL returns to the ice, it will look noticeably different from its last manifestation. Most likely, it will be smaller, as will the pay cheques taken home by players.
Hockey was the one “major” professional sport in North America that could least afford to cancel a season. At the same time, owners will lose less money with no hockey than if the season had been saved. In that light, I guess you could say the NHL could not afford to not cancel the season. Confused? Well, no worry. There’ll be lots of time between now and the next NHL game to figure it all out. Back to Bettman, architect of the NBA’s salary cap that appears to work quite well. NBA players are still the highest paid athletes in the world. Yes, there are only 12 guys on a team, but the business plan set forth by the league
works for owners and players. The NBA enjoys a popularity that reaches into countries all over the globe, from Yao Ming’s China to Dirk Nowitzki’s Germany, Manu Ginobili’s Argentina and Steve Nash’s Canada. The league has successfully marketed itself worldwide, and this approach has certainly helped its financial well-being. GLOBAL EMERGENCE This global emergence would not have been possible if not for Bettman’s salary cap. It allowed a league that was floundering at the time (1984) to flourish by the end of the decade. Of course, it helped to have a product that featured
players like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. During their careers, the NBA rose to new heights, both in terms of player salaries and fan interest. The league has taken a few lumps recently for brawls, tattoos, gangsta rap and such, but I’m certain some folks in the NBA marketing department are actually happy the league bears the marks of this modern reality. This is lucrative stuff. White corporate America, where the media mostly resides, may not like it and sends that message loud and clear, but the bottom line is the bottom line See “Funny,” page 26
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
26 • INDEPENDENTSPORTS
Fingers crossed Province mulling over funding for new training centre By Darcy MacRae For The Independent
ewfoundland and Labrador’s top athletes should know shortly whether a new provincial training centre is on the way. With a provincial budget expected next month, the wheels are in motion for such a facility to become a reality as early as this fall. Tourism, Culture and Recreation Minister Paul Shelley was recently presented with a plan developed by Sport Newfoundland and Labrador and Swilers Rugby Club. The arrangement would see a new provincial training centre constructed on the grounds of the rugby organization, providing the province with much needed training facilities. “A provincial training centre is critical if our athletes are going to excel and do the best they can,” Shelley tells The Independent. “We need to have our own facilities in order to help our athletes compete at events like the Canada Games or even the Olympics.”
Sport Newfoundland and Labrador originally contacted Swilers Rugby Club president Pat Parfrey to see if he had a solution in mind for the provincial training centre problem. Parfrey came forward with a plan that suggested putting the centre on the rugby club’s grounds. In order to complete the project, the existing clubhouse at Swilers Field would receive an extension that would include a new weight training room, female change rooms, offices and possibly a boxing ring. A 50-foot covered walk way would also be built to join the clubhouse to a new structure, which would serve as the main training facility. That building would include a gym large enough to hold three basketball courts and serve as an adequate indoor training centre for rugby and soccer during winter. The two existing rugby fields already in place would also be used for other outdoor sports such as soccer during the spring, summer and fall. If the project receives the necessary funding, construction could begin this
spring and be completed by the fall. “In our opinion, this is the most viable option. I don’t think anything better than this will come along,” says Tom Godden, first vice-president of Sport Newfoundland and Labrador. “If we knew we were going to have a provincial training centre up and running by next fall, we would be ecstatic.” Under the current proposal, Sport Newfoundland and Labrador would combine with Swilers Rugby Club to raise $500,000 for the project, which would have a total cost of $4.4 million. Additional funding would be sought from the City of St. John’s, ACOA, and the provincial government. “We’re hopeful that Mr. Shelley will be able to sell this to the premiere and cabinet as a worthwhile venture,” says Godden. The old provincial training centre in Torbay opened in the 1960s, and was a more-than-adequate facility for many years. However, when problems with the roof and floors became too great in April, 2002, the centre was closed for good. Since then, provincial athletes have received assistance from the province to help pay their expenses as they train at various gyms and clubs throughout St. John’s and around the province. Shelley agrees that the joint proposal from Godden and Parfrey would solve the problem, and says he would love to see the project completed. However, he adds that many steps have to be taken before any promises are made. “All of our athletes know we have an issue in that we don’t have a provincial training centre. I commend them (Parfrey and Godden) for coming forward with an idea,” says Shelley. “We’re going to take a serious look at it. We’ll go through a budgetary process like we do every year, and see if this can be considered.” Darcy_8888@hotmail.com
Paul Daly/The Independent
Funny how things change From page 25 and lots of money is being pumped in and out. Unlike hockey, basketball is in no immediate danger of bottoming out. However, the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement is due for renewal July 1, and unless owners, league officials and players want to greedily carve Solutions for puzzle on page 18
NBA. At the time, NHL owners also owned the arenas, and they wanted something to put fans in the seats on nights when there wasn’t hockey. Funny how things change. When the NHL expanded and migrated to the U.S. in the 1990s, it took the same approach, only this time NBA teams were the major tenants and NHL teams were the secondary occupants. Maybe when Bettman finally resolves this whole affair, the NBA could complete the play and take him back. Here’s an analogy of Bettman’s NHL career to date. He shoots, he scores. Although, after a lengthy review, the goal does not stand. He takes another shot, but misses the net. He gets the rebound, but is taken down in front of the net. He drops the gloves, takes and gives a few smacks. A brawl erupts. Officials are still sorting out the penalties.
up an exceptionally healthy cash cow, I expect the matter to be resolved well before the deadline. And the NBA can probably thank the NHL for a monumental wake-up call. An assist, really. Will they pay heed to the NHL mess, so as to avoid a similar fate? You’d think they would seize this opportunity to send a message to fans, one that reassures players and owners are not all spoiled millionaires who could care less about how difficult it is for a middle-class family to afford tickets to watch an NBA game. OUT OF CONTROL If they let this spiral out of control and there’s a hold out for more money from either side, it would be a disgrace. The NHL needed to be fixed. The NBA, however, is not broke. It only needs some fine-tuning. Way back when, in 1946, it was hockey owners who started a basketball league that eventually became today’s
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WORKERS WIN WHEN WE BUY LOCAL • FRANK TAYLOR OF THE CAW SPEAKS OUT FOR RETAIL WORKERS • WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION: MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES • THE LABOUR RELATIONS AGENCY MEDIATION MAN: JOE O’NEILL • IN THE SPOTLIGHT: NANCY RICHE • YOUTH & WORKPLACE SAFETY • RELUCTANT HEROES: THE ST. JOHN’S REGIONAL FIRE FIGHTERS • WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT: NO JOKE • THE FOX GUARDING THE HENHOUSE: ARE THE OIL COMPANIES CALLING THE SHOTS? • DANNY WILLIAMS: WORKING TO BECOME PREMIER •LOBLAW’S STADIUM DEVELOPMENT: GOOD FOR WORKERS • HIBERNIA WIN HUGE VICTORY FOR WORKERS’ RIGHTS • THE WORKING POOR: GOOD PEOPLE WITH A HARD LIFE • ANNA THISTLE-MINISTER OF LABOUR • THE MINIMUM WAGE: RAISE IT NOW! • LABOUR HISTORY:THE TRAGEDY OF ST. LAWRENCE • PASSPORT TO SAFETY • WHEN THE JOB OVERWHELMS YOU • TOM HANLON OF NAPE • THE YOUNG WORKERS’ VOICE • RURAL NEWFOUNDLAND: LET’S STOP THE BLEEDING • THE HUMAN TOUCH: A TRIBUTE TO OUR NURSES • VOISEY’S BAY:MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS • THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM • THE OCEAN RANGER • LABOUR HISTORY: EARLY STRUGGLES OF WOMEN • WORKING WITH HUMOR • THE MARYSTOWN SHIPYARD: BUILDING A BRIGHT FUTURE • COAKER & THE FISHERMEN’S PROTECTIVE UNION • BILL PARSONS: OFFSHORE OIL & GAS BENEFITS:WHERE ARE THEY? • UP CLOSE: WAYNE LUCAS OF CUPE • THE CONFEDERATION DEBATE: DISPLACED, MISPLACED & OUT OF PLACE • HEALTH CARE SURVEY: PUBLIC OR PRIVATE HEALTH CARE? • STRESS: OBSTACLE OR OPPORTUNITY • BANKING: IT’S ALL ABOUT PEOPLE … OR IS IT? • LABOUR DAY • WORKPLACE EDUCATION: BACK AT THE BOOKS • UP CLOSE: WAYNE RALPH OF THE UFCW • THE (UN)EMPLOYED: WORKERS WITHOUT
Bob White writes from Carbonear. firstname.lastname@example.org
IST GUEST COLUMNstey Reg An A New Era of Governance?
PAY EQUITY Lawyer Sheilas Greene battle for justice ILL THE CUFFER QU Workplace questions answered
DAY IN FE THE LI Sealer
Hayward Reid of Dildo
DAY OF MOURNING
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Enough! Death & Injuries
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WORK • JACK HARRIS • UP CLOSE: ELAINE PRICE • SOMETHING TO LAUGH ABOUT: TURNING THINGS AROUND WITH HUMOUR • A DAY IN THE LIFE: THE CITY OF ST. JOHN’S REFUSE COLLECTOR S • THE UNRECOGNIZED STRUGGLE OF HOME CARE WORKERS • THE GROUP OF SIX BILLION AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE G8 SUMMIT • UP CLOSE: DEBBIE FORWARD OF THE NURSES UNION • OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY AVOID HEARING LOSS • COLLEGE GRADUATE WORKING WITH THE UNITED NATIONS • WORKERS DAY OF MOURNING: THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE • A DAY IN THE LIFE: CORRECTION OFFICERS OF HM PENITENTIARY • UP CLOSE: EARLE MCCURDY OF THE FFAW/CAW • Q AND A WITH PREMIER ROGER GRIMES: CANDID QUESTIONS CANDID ANSWERS • WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: DEVIL OR ANGEL • COMMISSIONAIRES: PRIDE THROUGH PSAC • NO WAY TO LIVE: GETTING POORER ON THE MINIMUM WAGE • PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS? • VOICE FROM THE PAST JOSEPH R. SMALLWOOD: BURN YOUR BOATS? • UP CLOSE: MARGIE HANCOCK • WORKPLACE SAFETY 3220 DUNNE MEMORIAL ACADEMY ST. MARY’S • VICKI STOKES ON THE JOB AT CORNER BROOK PULP AND PAPER • UP CLOSE: FRED DOUGLAS OF THE NLTA • SOCIAL WORKER KAREN BABB ON THE FRONT LINES • ABORIGINAL LABRADORIANS IN THE WAGE EARNING WORLD • THE DOMINION STORE LOCKOUT • GUEST COLUMNIST LORRAINE MICHAEL OF THE WRDC • UP CLOSE: GUS DOYLE AND THE REGIONAL COUNCIL • DAY IN THE LIFE WITH A SEALER HAYWARD REID • UP CLOSE: GEORGE KEAN OF THE UNITED STEELWORKERS OF AMERICA • INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY • SECOND DAY ON THE JOB WAS HIS LAST • REG ANSTEY OF THE FEDERATION OF LABOUR • WORKING IN THE ARTS • BIG BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT POLICY: PUTTING THE BOOTS TO WORKERS •GUEST COLUMNIST: PATRICIA DODD OF THE INJURED WORKERS ASSOCIATION • GIMME THE MONEY! THE IMPACT OF ARMED ROBBERIES ON EMPLOYEES • UP CLOSE: TOM RETIEFFE OF THE CEP • THE CUFFER QUILL: DAVE MORRIS ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS • UP CLOSE: Q & A WITH NAPE’S LEO PUDDISTER • GUEST COLUMNIST SHARON KING PUT HEALTHCARE BACK ON COURSE! • THE WORKING REALITIES OF WRITERS • WHEN SEX WORKS: A CALL FOR WORKER SOLIDARITY • GUEST COLUMNIST ANN MARIE HANN OF WHSCC • JUNIOR RESOURCE COMPANIES: OUR PROSPECTS ARE GOOD! • THE SMOKING BAN A HAZY ISSUE • UP CLOSE: ANN GEEHAN PRESIDENT OF THE IBEW LOCAL 2330 • UP CLOSE: DAVE PEARCE OF TEAMSTERS • THE IRISH TIGER & ICELAND: WHICH ONE WILL WORK HERE • UNEMPLOYED RIGHTS, WHERE? • THE SOUTHERN CROSS SINKING • GUEST COLUMNIST JEANNIE BALDWIN OF PSAC
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FEBRUARY 27, 2005
INDEPENDENTSPORTS • 27
ON THE ROCKS
Rhonda Hayward/The Independent Heather Strong, skip for Newfoundland and Labrador, throws a rock during a draw with British Columbia last week.
SPORTS IN BRIEF Vikings trade controversial receiver Moss to Oakland RALEIGH, N.C. (Reuters) — The Minnesota Vikings have traded controversial receiver Randy Moss to the Oakland Raiders, his agent says. “The Raiders have vowed to use Randy’s talents the way they should be used, and that’s to throw the ball vertically down the field,” agent Dante DiTrapano tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press in confirming the trade.
Canada aims to top the podium in Vancouver TORONTO (Reuters) — With five years to go and with a fresh slab of government funding, Canada has set out an ambitious plan to become the top medal-winning country at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. For many other countries, that is not a radical proposition. For Canada, which has twice suffered the indignity of failing to win gold medals at its own Games in Montreal 1976 and Calgary 1988, it is an
attitude change that has some cheering while others wonder if priorities have become skewed. Despite being viewed as a winter sports nation, Canada has never finished higher than fourth at a Winter Games, a spot it reached with 17 medals in Salt Lake City in 2002. In response, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) has developed the $110 million “Own the Podium” program which will use technology, coaching, support and training to develop athletes in sports that have the promise of delivering medals. Canada has set a goal of 35 medals for 2010. “We’re not preparing our athletes well for Olympic Games,” says Cathy Priestner Allinger, senior vice-president of sport for the Vancouver organizing committee and co-author of the program. She found that Canada had a low rate of turning medal contenders — those with at least two top-five World Cup finishes in their sport — into winners compared to other leading nations. At Salt Lake City, Canada had a rate of 27 per cent while the United States had 65 per cent and Germany 92 per cent. Priestner Allinger identified speed skating, freestyle skiing, snowboard, bobsleigh and skeleton as key sports where new athletes could be recruited and trained to be medallists in the next five years. For other sports, longer is needed.
FEBRUARY 27, 2005
28 • INDEPENDENTART
GALLERYPROFILE BRUCE SIMMS Textile Artist
ruce Simms got crafty in his retirement. After 30 years as a power-plant worker, Simms began rug hooking. He says two years ago he learned about a technique used by Grenfell missionaries on the island’s west coast. His first creation, a depiction of his childhood homestead in St. Anthony, was inspired after his sister commissioned an artist to do a painting of the house and yard. Simms thought there wasn’t enough detail and recreated the scene with long strands of wool hooked through a length of burlap and lashed to a wooden frame. Simms says he picked his great aunt’s brain about making the rugs and fiddled around with the technique until he got it right. “I probably hooked in about 10 miles and then pulled it all out because I didn’t like the stitching,” he tells The Independent. Simms’ second rug was of his wife’s childhood home in Eastport, where the couples’ summer home now stands. Simms has since moved on to create his own patterns of Newfoundland and Labradorinspired landscapes, animals, trees and flowers. The rugs look almost like a painting as the artist works from one side to the other using only straight lines. It may take as long as 25 hours to create one rug, but Simms says it’s nice to keep his hands and his mind busy. He says sitting in his basement work shop with his great aunt’s 100year-old, homemade rug hook has
become more than a hobby — it’s a passion. Simms had his work critiqued by the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador and now sells rugs through Devon House Gallery in St. John’s and teaches the ancient style of rug hooking in the community
room of a Dominion supermarket in Mount Pearl. He says his students are of all ages and walks of life, but all female. “I think the youngest is about 25 and I think the oldest is about 70.” Simms says his rugs aren’t really
for floor use as many of them are too small, but one of his students told him the hooked rugs could make nice placemats — as long as there aren’t any spills. While Simms may be working exclusively on rugs for now, he has worked on hand-carved wooden
sculptures and he built his university-aged daughter a violin and hopes to build one for himself as well. He says he doesn’t care if he only learns one tune — he loved building the violin. — Alisha Morrissey
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