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From a Newspaper owned and operated in Newfoundland & Labrador

Vol. 2 Issue 13.

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Sunday, March 28th, 2004.

www.theindependent.ca

$1.00 (including HST)

Rocking the boat MPs Loyola Hearn and John Efford clash over foreign fishing

News Grimes on other side Page 9

By Jeff Ducharme and Ryan Cleary The Sunday Independent

tion (NAFO), which oversees fishing in international waters. NAFO is widely seen as toothless, unable to enforce the ederal Opposition fisheries critic quotas it sets. Loyola Hearn says it’s time for Efford was also chairman of an allJohn Efford, Newfoundland’s party committee of politicians from this representative in the federal cabinet, to province last March that recommended fish or cut bait on the question of Ottawa Canada, again, extend custodial managetaking custodial management of the ment. Grand Banks. “I know what happens if Hearn passed a private John Efford goes against member’s motion in the cabinet … he has to resign,” Hearn told The Sunday House of Commons earlier Independent from Ottawa. this week calling on the fed“My comment is that if eral government to do just Efford worked as hard in that. cabinet as some other peoEfford, minister of Natuple worked in caucus we’d ral Resources, did not vote have everyone on side on on the motion — despite this issue.” having supported custodial John Efford In a recent edition, The management in the past. Independent published the voting perIn March 2003, Efford was a member centages of the province’s seven MPs in of Parliament’s standing committee on the House of Commons last fall. The vote Fisheries and Oceans that recommended Ottawa take custodial management of attendance records are said to be a reafish stocks outside Canada’s 200-mile sonable indicator of how much time an limit on the nose and tail of the Grand MP spent in the Commons. Having Banks, as well as the Flemish Cap, a attended 35 per cent of votes, Efford came in second last behind Gander/ nearby fishing zone. Further, the committee recommended Grand Falls Conservative MP Rex the federal government pull out of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries OrganizaContinued on page 2

F Gallery Charlotte Jones Page 14

Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent

Number cruncher Life & Times Girl power Page 23

“Hopefully our budget will be a good compromise between fulfilling our commitment to the public service while falling in line with the fiscal realities that we face,” Finance Minister Loyola Sullivan told The Sunday Independent of the provincial budget slated to be handed down Tuesday. Sullivan wouldn’t say whether there will be any layoffs. “Our budget will be clear and direct and won’t leave people in the balance wondering what’s what. We want to be honest and open with people.”

‘Bell Island held ransom’ Public sector strike will shut down the island town seen the community turn a corner. “People are getting their pride back,” he says, pointing to a newly renovated house. He knows who lives in every hese days, the story of Bell new building; how much they’ve spent Island begins and ends with the to build or rebuild. ferry service. Especially today, less than a week “We’ve given seven building permits before a public-sector strike may hit already this year,” Gosine says. “It’s the first time in 30 years we’ve been at that the province. If NAPE workers walk, level. Usually we’re at one, maybe two the much-publicized plan is to reduce permits per year. We’re jumping for joy.” the Bell Island two-vessel ferry service from 20 round trips a day, to one. That Progress, especially in a small comone trip is to leave after nine munity — the current populaa.m., and return before three tion is about 3,500 — is that same afternoon. measured constantly and in That’s got mayor Gary small increments. Every new Gosine in a tizzy. His cell home is a victory, each new phone rings incessantly (he job is worth a celebration. says he goes through four batThe large, recently-contery packs a day): the bank, structed homes stand in stark town employees, the local contrast to the abandoned, NAPE picket captain. rickety properties that still As Gosine sits in the passenserve as a reminder that this ger seat and gives a tour of the island was once home to island, he rewrites press releasmore than 15,000 people. The es, verifies facts, scribbles one-time mining town has Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent notes, calls to check on his Mayor Gary Gosine been through some tough trucking business — and years. recounts a bit of history. “We’re going after these buildings The conversation always returns to To face a cut in service of that mag- and tearing them down,” says Gosine, the ferry. nitude, he says, would be a slap in the passing a particularly rough-looking old There are 16 regular ferry services face at a crucial time. house. “We’re cleaning this place up. within the province, Gosine says, and Gosine has lived here for most of his People are moving back and buying up the one between Bell Island and Portu- life. He’s been mayor of Wabana since the property.” gal Cove is the only one that can be 1995, and on town council since 1990. considered a commuter route. Over the course of those years, he’s Continued on page 11 By Stephanie Porter The Sunday Independent

T

Sports Kobe in court Page 26 Quote of the Week “You don’t understand Bell Island from driving around and looking — you’ve got to get inside the buildings, get a feel for the people and the way they live.” — Boyd Merrill, Bell Island resident

“That’s our highway,” he says. “It’s our lifeline.” With the steep reduction in ferry service, Gosine figures he’d be in a position to call a state of emergency within two or three days after the start of a strike: perishable foods would run out, there would be a shortage of heating fuel, people couldn’t get to their doctor’s appointments in town — let alone the 350 or more commuters who go back and forth across the Tickle every day.

‘Happy hunting grounds’ St. John’s neighbourhood choice target for thieves By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent

A

n incident one evening last summer has left a man who lives in an affluent St. John’s neighbourhood wondering whether he and his family live in Newfoundland or the Middle East. “My little girl, who is 6, she comes in and says, ‘Dad, Dad. There’s a big fire out in our back garden,’” says the man, a doctor who asked that his name not be published for fear of reprisal. “Sure enough, I run up and look out her window and here’s this Ford Escort ablaze,” says the man, who maintains a sense of humour about the “million stories” he has to tell. The Escort had been stolen and driven down into the valley behind the man’s house where it was torched. To add insult to injury, the burned-out hulk sat in the same spot for a week, a constant reminder that groomed lawns and picket fences offer little protection from thugs and thieves. The man says his Churchill Square neighbourhood has become the “happy hunting grounds.” “The kind of thing you worry about is even if they (the bad guys) get caught, sometimes they (the courts) don’t do anything with them. So now you’ve got

this guy whose been in your house, knows what you’ve got, he knows you, he knows where you live and you wonder if you have to sort of live in fear — are they going to come back now? “The only one who is going to be left open for further attacks is you.” Just last week the man was woken by the sound of the horn in his wife’s truck. He went to the front window and saw a man going through the cab. The homeowner rapped on the living room win-

dow and the thief fled. Still in his pajamas, the man pulled on a coat and boots and gave chase. “You don’t really think. Then you get half way out chasing him and you think: What am I doing?” The St. John’s neighbourhood has suffered a rash of break-ins, forcing the man to take precautions. “We just don’t Continued on page 7 See related story on page 7

Crime by the numbers Theft from motor vehicles (Northeast Avalon)

Vehicle theft (Northeast Avalon)

2003 (January to March 26) 278 2004 (January to March 26) 4

2003 (January to March 26) 32 2004 (January to March 26) 151

Break and enters (commercial and residential) (Corner Brook )

Break and enters (commercial and residential) (Northeast Avalon)

2003 (total for the year) 100 2004 (to date) 19

2003 231 2004 (to date) 201


Page 4

NEWS

The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

Photos by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent

let’s pretend … What would Grimes and Harris give public servants if they were in charge? By Ryan Cleary The Sunday Independent

D

anny Williams’ stand on a pay raise for provincial government workers may be known far and wide, but what would Roger Grimes and Jack Harris do if they had the keys to the coffers? Harris, leader of the New Democratic Party, would go with a “modest” increase (no specifics, mind you). As for Grimes, while the Liberal Oppo-

sition leader doesn’t agree with a wage freeze, he won’t reveal the precise figure he has in mind. “There’s no point,” Grimes told The Sunday Independent. “It’s not a question for me to answer because of the fact that people have made their decision (in last fall’s election). They have to deal with the current government and that’s it. “I’m not interested in pretending. People didn’t pretend in October, they made real decisions and we’re living with it.”

Harris doesn’t mind pretending … to a point. He advocates a modest increase, but won’t say exactly how modest. “Public servants shouldn’t have to unfairly shoulder the burden of the province’s fiscal problems,” he told The Independent, adding a wage freeze would actually mean a cut in pay, considering the rate of inflation. The leaders representing the province’s public sector unions are carrying out marathon negotiations in St. John’s this weekend

leading up to the April 1 strike deadline. The unions — the Newfoundland Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE), representing 18,000 government workers, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 3,500 workers — are bargaining as one across the table from government. NAPE leader Leo Puddister has said his union is seeking a 21 per cent increase over three years. At the same time, the pre-

mier announced in a televised address earlier this year that the province can’t afford any wage increases. If left unchecked, this year’s deficit is projected to hit $820 million. Each percentage wage hike would cost the provincial government $22 million a year. When Grimes was premier, he granted government workers a 15 per cent increase over three years. That raise costs the provincial treasury $350 million a year.

‘Not one fish saved or one boat reprimanded’ From page 1 Barnes. At 96 per cent attendance, Liberal Gerry Byrne, MP for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte, came in at No. 1. “If I voted against custodial management I would be lying, because I’m not against custodial management,” Efford told The Independent from his office on Parliament Hill. “I’m against what the foreigners are doing on the Grand Bank, but I am a member of the government.” heat From all sides Efford, who has faced heat from all sides over the issue, maintains that if he was in the House he would have had to vote. His not being there was a matter of “abstaining.” Accusations that Efford has backed away from custodial management because he now has to tow the government line don’t sit well with the MP from Port de Grave. “I’m on record,” says a defiant

Efford, referring to his participa- member’s motion is nothing form a Bloc Newfoundland and tion in the Parliamentary stand- new. Labrador party received cheers ing and all-party committees that “This just didn’t happen and jeers from across the counrecommended Canada extend its because Loyola Hearn brought a try. jurisdiction over the high seas. vote to the House. This is about “Frustration does drive you to “How could I possibly serve get- a dozen times Loyola has done do crazy things. If you allow ting something done about the this over the years,” says Efford. frustration to drive you to do problem with the overfishing When asked whether he stupid, crazy things, then I’m outside the Grand Banks outside should follow provincial Liberal not going to be a part of that.” (the government)?” leader Roger Grimes’ suggestion Between 1992 and 2002, Hearn raised the question of that Newfoundland MPs vote Canadian fisheries inspectors custodial management in recorded 284 inthe Commons again Frifringements commit“Frustration does drive you to do day. In response, MP ted by foreign trawShawn Murphy, parlialers on the Grand crazy things. If you allow frustration mentary secretary to fedto drive you to do stupid, crazy things, Banks. The federal eral Fisheries Minister Department of FishGeoff Regan, listed off then I’m not going to be a part of that.” eries and Oceans, the money Ottawa has which released the — Natural Resources Minister spent in recent weeks on information through John Efford high-seas surveillance. the federal Access to “There has not been Information Act, reone fish saved or one boat repri- with their feet and sit as inde- fuses to reveal the individual manded,” Hearn countered. pendents if the feds keep ignor- violations, although they’re gen“When is the government going ing the province, Efford sighs. erally thought to include the to introduce legislation to imple“Oh my God Almighty,” he catching of endangered species ment the will of the House of says. such as cod and flounder that are Commons?” Grimes made the comment under fishing moratoria, the Hearn’s question went unan- several weeks ago in The Sunday underreporting of catches and swered. Independent. His suggestion that the use of illegal net liners to Efford says Hearn’s private the province’s seven MPs should catch undersized fish.

DFO also refuses to reveal the home countries of the foreign trawlers suspected of illegal fishing, saying the information may be damaging to international relations. The fishing infractions do not include those documented by inspectors from other countries such as the European Union. Under NAFO rules, Canada cannot take action against a foreign trawler suspected of illegal fishing. ForeigN Follow-up Rather, it’s up to the foreign country to follow through on the court action. DFO has been repeatedly asked for information on the penalties or fines that foreign countries have handed down, but the department refuses to answer the requests. While Efford says Hearn’s motion does send a message that there are “major, major problems with our fishery outside the 200-mile limit,” he calls the whole episode political grandstanding. “This is nothing new.”


The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

NEWS

Page 5

Question of compensation Ed Byrne says cabinet may consider compensating west coast chicken farmers

By Ryan Cleary The Sunday Independent

each. Byrne says the letter wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. “If it had a shred of credibility a cheque would have been attached to it. It’s painfully obvious what that letter was all about.” Lawyer Paul Dicks, a former MHA who retired from politics in 2001 after losing the Liberal leadership race to Grimes, had made arrangements in the summer of 2002 for a his St. John’s law firm to represent the chicken farmers in a suit against the province. What made that so unusual was that Dicks was a member of Tobin’s cabinet, the very one that the farmers allege had failed to protect their interests. Dicks told the farmers they had a better chance of winning their case through the court of public opinion than through the courts.

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atural Resources Minister Ed Byrne plans to fly to the province’s west coast this weekend or next to meet with chicken farmers who lost their shirts four years ago when the industry fried. But Byrne isn’t prepared to say just yet whether the provincial government, which had a hand in reshaping the island’s broiler industry, will compensate the farmers for their pain and suffering. “We want to give these people a fair and open hearing,” Byrne told The Sunday Independent. “We’re not saying yes (to compensation) and we’re not saying no. I’ll make a recommendation to cabinet based on the case I hear from the farmers (but) it’s cabinet that will make the decision.” Ten west coast chicken farmers, most of whom were based in Howley just outside Deer Lake, went under in 2000, three years after the former Liberal administration of Brian Tobin closed the Corner Brook slaughterhouse. As a result of that decision, the west coast farmers were forced to truck their chicken to the abattoir in St. John’s. It wasn’t economical to do so, however, and Integrated Poultry Ltd., a company owned by the farmers, went out of business. The farmers say their company’s hand was led by the government of the day and have been crying foul ever since. Roger Grimes’ administration apparently saw merit in their case and signed off on a letter last fall agreeing to pay the farmers $200,000 a piece in compensation. The letter was drawn up on Sept. 29, the very day Grimes called the provincial election. The compensation came with a hitch, however, in that the money

Photo by Paul Daly/ The Sunday Independent

Natural Resources Minister Ed Byrne says cabinet will consider whether to compensation west coast chicken farmers for the loss of their industry.

would only be paid this year and only if the Liberals won the provincial election. Williams didn’t have to live up to any election promise he didn’t make. Fearing the Liberals would lose the election, and suspicious the Grimes’ government was trying to quiet them down in the heat of an election, the farmers went public with their story and a question about the letter of promised compensation was raised during the televised leaders’ debate. The farmers hoped Williams would agree to live up to the Liberal commitment. The farmers are

still hoping. From government’s perspective, Byrne says he’s approaching the upcoming west coast meeting with an open mind. “I don’t have any pre-conceived notions.” He also pointed out how the provincial government is “cash strapped.” The provincial budget is scheduled to be handed down on Tuesday. The farmers see the letter that was written by the Grimes administration as an admission of liability. The letter, written by thenforestry minister Rick Woodford,

read: “The failure of Integrated Poultry Ltd. resulted in financial loss for all of the shareholders of IPL due to investments made to start and maintain the company. Government further recognizes that the closure of Newfoundland Farm Products’ processing plant in Corner Brook was particularly devastating to west coast farmers such as you, who were forced to close their operations and no longer receive income from the chicken industry.” The letter went on to say each of the 10 farmers would be paid a lump sum payment of $200,000

Dropping the caSe Then, in July last year, Dicks unexpectedly told the farmers his law firm was dropping the case. A month later he was appointed chair of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro’s board of directors. That same month Country Ribbon, the mainland company that stepped in to take over the chicken industry from the Newfoundland farmers, was given another $4.5 million — despite an earlier commitment from the province that the chicken industry wouldn’t receive another dime. One of the west coast chicken farmers, Doug Legge of Howely, lost his farm and went bankrupt when the industry collapsed. On one hand, he’s pleased that Byrne plans to meet with them; on the other hand, he says the lives of the farmers and their families have been toyed with for years. “It’s hard to believe in politicians anymore,” he says, “but there’s still hope in Danny Williams’ government.”

Screech overhaul Famous rum gets a makeover … from a U.S. company

By Ryan Cleary The Sunday Independent

“Therefore, we sought expertise from the market that we are trying to penetrate with this product, while ensuring participation from the Newfoundland market where Screech already has a loyal following,” Watton told The

moored in the harbour. A compass design is inlaid over the picture with “Famous Newfoundf there were a list of all things land Screech” across the top. Newfoundland and dear, The old label was more colourScreech would probably be ful with a dominant outline of the near the top. island of Newfoundland, as well The dark Jamaican rum as the liquor corporation’s this place is famous for is coat of arms. going through a transforThe rum inside the bot“…we sought expertise from the mation. More specifically, tle is the same old market that we are trying to penethe label on the bottle has beloved dark and dirty trate with this product, while ensur- Screech Newfoundland is been redesigned. But the work wasn’t ing participation from the Newfound- famous for. carried out locally. Rather, The liquor corporation land market where Screech already the Newfoundland Liquor plans to introduce the has a loyal following,” Corporation paid a U.S.new Screech bottles in its — Melissa Watton, liquor corporation stores over the next few based firm, Swardlick Marketing Group out of months as existing stocks Portland, Maine, $55,000 are depleted. Cdn to drum up a concept and Sunday Independent. According to the corporation’s design and carry out market testThe Newfoundland participa- website, the Jamaican rum that ing. tion came in the form of St. would come to be known as Melissa Watton, spokeswoman John’s-based Ryan Research and Screech was a mainstay of the for the liquor corporation, says Communications, who were paid Newfoundland diet. Salt fish was the American company was $19,500 to conduct market test- shipped to the West Indies in hired because the corporation is ing in this province, Nova Scotia exchange for rum: the fish trying to launch Screech in new and Ontario. became the national dish of markets outside the province, The new label created in the Jamaicans; the rum became the specifically the northeastern States includes a picture of old traditional drink of NewfoundUnited States. St. John’s with fishing schooners landers.

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Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent

The Newfoundland Liquor Corporation plans to come out with a new Screech label in the coming months.


Page 6

NEWS

The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

An independent voice for Newfoundland & Labrador

P.O. Box 5891, Stn.C St. John’s, Newfoundland A1C 5X4 Tel: 709-726-4639 Fax: 709-726-8499 www.theindependent.ca The Sunday Independent is published by The Sunday Independent, Inc. in St. John’s. It is an independent newspaper covering the news, issues and current affairs that affect the people of Newfoundland & Labrador. We publish a weekly circulation of 18,000 copies throughout the province.

NeWsrooM Managing Editor Ryan Cleary Senior Editor Stephanie Porter Picture Editor Paul Daly Senior Writer Jeff Ducharme Reporter Alisha Morrissey Layout John Andrews

Police state

NeWsrooM Founders Ward Pike Jon Drover Greg Locke General Manager Shaun Drover Account Executive Mike Wells mike.wells@theindependent.ca Credit Manager Rose Genge

eMAiL Advertising: sales@theindependent.ca Production: production@theindependent.ca Circulation: circulation@theindependent.ca Newsroom: editorial@theindependent.ca

All material in The Sunday Independent is copyrighted and the property of The Sunday Independent or the writers and photographers who produced the material. Any use or reproduction of this material without permission is prohibited under the Canadian Copyright Act. © 2004 The Sunday Independent

G

ive Danny Williams credit for making friends with the Constab before starting a racket with the union crowd. It’s possible Williams might find himself dangling from his Jag’s antenna if a strike came to pass and the police weren’t around the steps of Confederation Building to line-dance him to the elevator. There’s a law that says police aren’t allowed to strike, but which way would they look if government wasn’t nice to them and Loyola Sullivan accidentally fell up a flagpole, a pair of budget documents dripping from his ears? Leo Puddister is always decked out in starch and stripes but there’s a prison guard (the days of correctional officers were yet to come during his days on the range) from Her Majesty’s Penitentiary buried in the foil wrap. As a lasting reminder of his time in the pen, Puddister is said to pile a government pension on top of his union pay. That’s not to say that Puddister or his flock would be anything but peaceful and law abiding in the event of job action. The most that’s likely to be raised to Danny’s face will be a placard or two or three:

Millions doesn’t buy union happiness; O Danny b’y … the gripes, the gripes are appalling; Danny we hardly knew ye (were so friggin’ tight). The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary would never, in a Million’s year, side with one group over another, even if one of the sides hadn’t promised to turn up the heat by 75 degrees. No doubt the Constab looked eager on TV practicing their mobcontrol exercises just a week before the strike deadline, but who wouldn’t get an adrenaline rush from stomping around a field pointing clubs and swinging shields? Talk of strikes and killer budgets is a welcome distraction until the Lamer Inquiry starts up again and the three men convicted of murders they didn’t commit can get back to pounding the police on the supper news. It was an interesting move by Danny to hire more Constab before closing more hospitals and schools and passing around the pink-slip bowel … if that’s what Tuesday’s budget is all about. Do they anticipate riots in the outports once Loyola says his

piece and the numbers are out? Will the natives across the Tickle resort to pirating the Beaumont Hamel and sailing her, Cannon fax machines blazing press releases, through the defenseless Narrows? Will the teachers and nurses, knowing the fight will eventually come to them, join the ranks of the downtrodden and storm the Colonial Building like their fathers before them? Would the Colonial Building be a real loss now that The Rooms is set to open and there’s no need for historic space? Will society as we know it in Newfoundland and Labrador collapse if Williams takes an axe to government cheques, support beams of the rural economy? What price will Danny pay for doing what probably ought to be done, not what necessarily needs to be done at this very second? Why the hell can’t we clean up the mess tomorrow when the sun is sure to shine and all the mudders’ sons start lining up their pickups in North Sydney? Why do we have to be frugal now when there’s still room on the overdraft? Danny b’y is lucky he was just elected because, given their time back, voters might just vote for

Roger Grimes and his Visa card. Wouldn’t it be easier to grant the union wishes and avoid all the ADversity? But then the time for tough measures is at the beginning of a mandate, not the arse end. Notice the 15 per cent that Grimes went out with; versus the big fat zero that Williams started with. Whatever happened to the licence plates that the nurses bought to remind themselves of what Brian Tobin did to them? Do you think Tobin searches them out while driving around Toronto with his Magnaman plates? Puddister has always whispered he doesn’t expect the showdown to come to a strike. Perhaps he’s right and it’s Williams’ strategy all along to start with nothing and give a little at the end. What would be the crime in that? Ryan Cleary is managing editor of The Sunday Independent. ryan.cleary@theindependent.ca

Letters

Letters PoLicy The Sunday Independent welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must be 300 words in length or less and include full name, mailing address and daytime contact numbers. Letters may be edited for length, content and legal considerations. Send your letters in care of The Sunday Independent, P.O. Box 5891, Station C, St. John’s, NL, A1C 5X4 or e-mail us at editorial@theindependent.ca

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Health care for everyone

n our current health care system there can be up to a one year or more wait time for a bed in a nursing home and some even have a two-year or more waiting list. It takes months to see a specialist and/or to have a simple procedure like a Cat scan carried out — let alone an operation. There are times when hospitals don’t have enough beds to accommodate the patients to look after them so that patients are shuffled around and/or turned away — all due to budget cuts. The government claims there isn’t enough money in the budget for our health care needs. We

know the old line there’s no money in the budget. Yet the government finds monies to construct new hospital facilities and departments in communities where they aren’t needed — just for political leverage. And they still seem to find money to keep the old hospital facilities mothballed. One of many examples of this is the Grand Bank Health Centre at a cost of $18 million. Already under construction, the community and surrounding areas agree with the current government that the facility was too large and not appropriate for their needs. Construction was stopped but at what cost to the

taxpayer? Everyone in the province knows of and/or has had friends and relations die prematurely because of long waiting list for operations, ultrasounds, Cat scans and MRIs only to find out that the medical staff could have saved their lives if they had diagnosed the problem earlier. Overworked and/or under -staffed medical personal and lack of equipment in our medical facilities can lead to no diagnosis and/or an improper one. But we realize they are doing the best they can while dealing with budget cuts and reduced staff levels. Maybe the government should

concentrate — not on political leverage — but stopping the wasting of taxpayers’ money and put more emphasis on increased medical personal and equipment. We are tired of being pawns in this political game with both federal and provincial governments. At what cost is our well-being worth? The health-care system is not a commodity but a public service that should be available to everybody. Governments forget that they are not there to govern the people but to govern for the people. It’s time to take a stand and govern ourselves. Dave Crane, St. John’s


The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

West Words

NEWS

Page 7

by Frank Carroll

Hunger pains I

’ve been thinking about hunger lately because, well, I’ve been hungry. Every year, from March 2-20, I go without food and water from sunrise to sunset — a spiritual obligation I must fulfill as a Bahá’í. One of its purposes is to foster empathy toward people for whom hunger is not a choice. Fasting for about 12 hours is not as difficult as it sounds. Most days I have more than enough energy to get through my daily work. Yet there are days when I feel withered and drained. Such days are perhaps the most valuable of the fast. On those days I think, “There are people who feel like this all the time.” We don’t have to travel to Ethiopia or North Korea to find them. I know we don’t have children with emaciated limbs and bloated bellies dying in our streets, but malnourishment affects children here too. It weakens their intellectual and physical capacities, damages their hearing and vision and stigmatizes them. While March is my time of fasting, it is also the month when the Canadian Association of Food Banks (CAFB) conducts its annual survey of food banks and emergency food programs. The results of this year’s HungerCount survey won’t be known until the fall, but the 2003 statistics give some idea of the depth of hunger in Newfoundland and Labrador. Last March, 31,132 people used food banks in this province, which represented the highest per capita rate in the country. It’s no wonder. Almost a quarter of our population, 23.4 per cent, is classified as lowincome. Most people who used food banks in this province last year were social assistance recipients: 92 per cent compared to 57 per cent nationally. After paying rent, a family of four living on social assistance in this province has roughly $1,086 to live on for a month. The Dieticians of Canada says a family needs to spend about $629 per month to meet its nutritional needs. When you factor in other costs such as heat, light, clothing, school supplies, transportation and toiletries, it can be a tight squeeze. If it affects families, it affects children. Forty per cent of the people served by food banks in this province were children — slightly above the national average of 39 per cent. The CAFB is the first to admit that food banks alone cannot provide the answer to hunger. For one thing, they would never be able to meet the demand. Those unfamiliar with how food banks work might be surprised to learn that most of them must limit their clients to only one or two visits per month. And most hampers don’t contain enough food to last more

Photo by Paul Daly/ The Sunday Independent

Cadet tour than three to five days. Food banks typically encounter shortages in August and March: August because low-income families are struggling to get their children ready for school; March because their finances are exhausted from high winter heating bills. It is common for food banks to turn to the CAFB in times of shortage. Eg Walters, the provincial HungerCount coordinator, says in the report that a number of food banks in rural Newfoundland struggle to generate “adequate” food donations within their communities. But no matter how adequate the donations are, food banks are not the answer. The CAFB says the solution rests with governments. It has proposed a number of policy changes, including increased social transfer payments to the provinces, a national housing strategy, Employment Insurance reform and even the enshrinement of the right to food in federal legislation. Of course, there are also societal issues that no government can quickly legislate away. No doubt governments have a responsibility for the health and welfare of its citizens. But the solution to hunger begins with you and me. A government is no better or worse than the society it governs. And governments won’t start paying more attention to the problem until ordinary Canadians do. The CAFB has noted there was only one reference to “food banks” recorded in the Hansard transcripts of House of Commons debates last year. Hardly surprising, given hunger doesn’t seem to be high on the average Canadian’s priority list. It seems to have gotten lost amidst heated discussions about Todd Bertuzzi and Nipplegate. What can we do? We can educate ourselves about the causes of hunger. We can tell our legislative members that the problem is a priority for us. Some of us may choose to pray and fast; most of us can give generously to our local food bank. If you would like to donate to your local food bank, there will be a major food drive in front of Coleman’s grocery stores throughout the province on Saturday, April 3. Frank Carroll, a journalism instructor at the College of the North Atlantic’s Stephenville campus, can be reached at frank_carroll_nf@yahoo.ca

Air cadets from branch 708 in Stephenville visited the Confederation Building in St. John’s this week.

Rant and Reason

by Ivan Morgan

Dadfare, a relative term R

ight wing parties warn us company. If ever there was ever of the scourge of welfare. a poster girl for a 100 per cent Stephen Harper is in inheritance tax, she is it. trouble down here for his famous Careful observation has led me “culture of defeatism” remark. to understand that people on dadWelfare softens the work ethic, fare tend to have a willingness to we are warned. It makes us use daddy’s lawyers and adver“uncompetitive.” It’s too expen- tising accounts to squash uppity sive. Welfare is bad. columnists, so I will beg you, Perhaps, but that is a debate gentle reader, to excuse me from for another day. I’m here to warn mentioning any current provin- cite, for example, our own John you of another scourge — the cial examples of dadfare recipi- Crosbie. He was certainly born scourge of “dadfare.” I refer to ents. I will assume that you can with advantages most folk of his the condition where people rise connect the dots at your leisure. own time couldn’t have even to powerful heights solely In private enterprise the prob- dreamt of, but I think all will through the influence of their lems of dadfare tend to be self- agree he made the most of them, families. People who would be correcting. We have all seen and made a success of his life clearly incapable of achieving examples of the sons of wealthy through hard work, dedication any of the things they take for families purposefully whittle a and intelligence. I use him as an granted without their families large business that they have example because I rarely agree reputation and mounds of cash. inherited into bankruptcy. In with anything he says, but Dadfare recipients. plain language, if you inherit a admire him nonetheless. It’s in The crowning example of a pile of bucks and you are as public life that dadfare is a real dadfare recipient is George W. stunned as a rock, you will tend problem. The electorate likes Bush. You have to be pretty cred- to attract folks who will lighten success. That’s what confuses ulous to believe that this guy that financial load for you — the dadfare recipient. They have could have made it to the presi- permanently. Adam Smith’s all the trappings of success. dency of the United States with- invisible hand dips, if you will, Their employees are always flatout a little help from dad and his into the dadfare recipient’s till. tering them (as they want to buddies. The smarmy swagger, Even in the arts world you can always be employees). All the the obvious lack of stuff the faceless millions intellectual vigour and toil for everyday came the clear-eyed willing- In private enterprise the problems of easy enough, so why not ness to sacrifice other politics? Politics is easy. dadfare tend to be self-correcting. peoples’ sons for a Just smile, look the part questionable war in Iraq and do what your highWe have all seen examples of the are all the sombre con- sons of wealthy families purposefully priced handlers tell you sequences of dadfare. to do. whittle a large business that they In Newfoundland and Without dadfare I see have inherited into bankruptcy. Labrador the government this guy managing a and business world used second-rate golf course to be riddled with dadfare somewhere in Texas. Here in Canada the latest dad- see phenomenal success some- recipients. It was the way things fare recipient in the news is times tied to a familiar name. I were done. Things are much different Belinda Stronach. I have written have always joked that were I to on this before, but I will state seek a career with CBC I would now, but the echoes of distant again that she represents what a consider changing my name to class lines can still be heard. The lot of politicians think of you. Mansbridge, Gzowski, or maybe unsuspecting taxpayer can still be accosted by a dadfare recipiClearly Belinda was trotted out Lewis Richler. Don’t get me wrong. I am not ent. “Excuse me. If you could by backroom Tories to see if anyone would bite. She is the living out to tar folks born with certain just spare an appointment to such embodiment of their low opinion advantages. I have been around and such board. My parents were of you. When they looked at her long enough to know that we all …” manage with the hand that we Don’t make eye contact and they thought “logo.” are dealt. Agreed some are dealt hurry by. That’s my advice. I think dadfare. Her qualifications? A year at better hands than others, but that Ivan Morgan can be reached York University and a lot of time is only one factor in the essence working (wait for it) in her dad’s of a successful person. I will at imorgan@elvis.com


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The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

Opinions Are Like...

by Jeff Ducharme

Monkey sees, monkey reports

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eing a journalist isn’t always fun and games. It looks like a lark when you’re sitting on the couch at home, watching the evening news and having a good home-cooked feed. There we are sticking microphones and tape recorders in peoples’ faces and asking questions. Pretty easy stuff, eh? Yup, any trained monkey could be a journalist. But trained monkeys don’t necessarily handle responsibility very well. Case in point, they really seem to take great joy in throwing their own excrement around. And that isn’t very responsible, or for that matter, sanitary. Monkeys also smell really bad, but then again, so do some journalists. What people see on TV or read in newspapers is only the end result. What they don’t see are the hours spent on research or pouring over boring documents that could put even the most ardent cokehead fast asleep. The public isn’t there when journalists spend hours, days struggling over moral dilemmas and questioning just what is the greater good — if there even is such a thing. Good journalists spend their nights tossing and turning over the ramifications of the stories they write — sleep is something most journalists often find comes at a premium. The gas jockey down at your local corner station doesn’t spend his evenings worrying about the financial pain the latest gas hike

caused to the family of four who live just above the poverty line; journalists often do. At least, the goods ones do. We are public watchdogs. And sometimes watchdogs not only bark but often bite. A watchdog’s bark, even though it often wakes you up at night, is a welcome disturbance when it scares away a burglar or protects your family from harm. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously.

In our business, threats often lurk in unpublished reports and internal documents. Hidden in offices and locked in desks, are things that certain interests don’t want you to ever know. The reasons aren’t always insidious. Sometimes it’s a matter of arrogance that these forces think they know better; they are protecting the public from themselves. This is the trap that politicians often find themselves falling into.

The Western Health Care Corporation report is a prime example. That report was never meant to be seen by the media. The Sunday Independent got our hands on it and released the details that sent politicians into damage control and the public rallying to save their health care. By leaking that document, the west coast has gathered the troops and rallied to fight the proposed cuts. They met March 20 in Stephenville – one of

the largest and most impassioned meetings of concerned citizens ever to be held in the airport town. NAPE president Leo Puddister won’t be sending us Christmas cards next year. We’ll be lucky if we get a lump of half-burned coal come next Christmas. The stories we printed last week came from internal documents that were delivered to us, not dirt that we dug up. We didn’t create the financial position the union finds itself in, nor did we time it so the documents were released before negotiations began with government. We spent hours debating the timing of these stories, agonizing over the ramifications — there’s that word again. We will always be the bad guys because even though we didn’t create the bad news, we had the gall to publish it. We are the only industry in the world that devotes prime real estate on the editorial page so that our customers can write in and tell us how incompetent or irresponsible we are. We will always be the dog that tears open the garbage bag by the curb, but we are also the same animal that will warn you of the wolves at the door. jeff.ducharme@theindependent.ca

Why can’t Canada get it right? Brits cut surgery wait lists from two years to two months VANCOUVER By Amy Carmichael The Canadian Press

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he speedy transformation of Britain’s archaic healthcare system into a machine spitting out happy customers faster than MacDonald’s makes Canada look like a burg stumped by the challenge of wait lists. Dr. Allan Burns, vice-chairman of England’s National Health Service Confederation, explained the transformation to a panel of Canadian experts at a meeting of the Health Council on Thursday. “The prime minister announced the system would be reformed on Sunday morning television. It took round about 3.5 months to write a 10-year plan. Everybody signed up and we’ve hit every target so far.” Wait times that stretched an appalling two years for many common surgeries have been slashed to a couple of months. Emergency rooms treat patients within four hours, said Burns.

And as a result of the overhaul, cancer mortalities have dropped 10 per cent. “It just requires huge effort, focused effort and somebody to decide what you’re going to try and do. Any country can do it.” It also took an increase in spending of 42 per cent over seven years and a major devolution of power down to the frontline decision makers. “More power to general practitioners to decide what they wanted for their patients and how best to get it, more power to the patients to decide where they wanted to go and the time they wished to be seen in,” said Burns. Michael Decter, chairman of the Health Council, which is charged with measuring the progress of the health system in a transparent way, said Britain has shown the problem can be solved.

“It’s a real eye opener, especially considering the British system was in worse shape than ours. “The cultural change is hugely important, making patients the centre of what you’re doing and listening to what patients think.” But he said problems in the Canadian system can’t be solved until there are measurable indicators that can point out what is working and what isn’t. Every

province uses different tracking methods and collects different data that doesn’t answer that question. The council has until the end of the year to come up with evidence that Decter said will cut through the rhetoric and hopefully make it clear to the public what needs to be done. In the last of two meetings, held last week in Vancouver, the council established rough action

plans and resource requirements for groups looking at wait lists, primary and homecare reform and the plight of aboriginals. The 25-member council is made up of doctors, economists and government officials. All provinces, except Alberta and Quebec, named representatives. Alberta considers the council an intrusion into provincial jurisdiction.


The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

NEWS

Page 9

‘Caution’ to the wind Officials say new youth justice act slap on the wrist

By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent

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he door to the candy store may have been opened just a little wider. In effect for barely a year, the Youth Criminal Justice Act has left police frustrated because of a clause that, in many cases, obligates them to give a verbal warning — referred to as a caution — rather than laying a charge. “The dilemma that we run into is how many cautions does a person get?” says Staff Sgt. June Layden of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in St. John’s. “And do we as policing agencies, not just us in the RNC, but policing agencies across the country, do we put in mechanisms to record cautions?” Under the former Young Offenders Act, police would simply charge a young offender with an offense and let the Crown attorney’s office follow through. While statistics from the Constabulary headquarters in St. John’s and Corner Brook reveal that break and enters are on pace with last year, officers worry that the new act may have left police without the proper tools to deal with youth crime. “It was very easy to track that because kids would come into the system and there were records of it,” says Layden, who believes police and the public are frustrated with what may be perceived as a lack of police action. “People who have concerns with issues of youth being disorderly in the community or, in the case of the business sector, theft, particularly shoplifting … don’t see the law as having the teeth it needs to have.” Layden says she’s heard from some members of the public who have all but given up calling the police because young offenders are often given little more than a slap on the wrist. Under the new act, which covers juveniles aged 12 to 17, police are encouraged to give a verbal caution but can lay a charge depending on the severity of the offence. One of the reasons for instituting the“cautions” was that Canada had the highest youthincarceration rate in the western world. “It’s a process that may well work in some instances if, for instance, the police officer at the time is sure that this is the first offence or the first caution,” says Lloyd Wicks, the province’s child and youth

advocate. A retired youth and family court judge, Wicks knows the issue of dealing with young people who run afoul of the law all too well. “You could have somebody wreaking havoc, as it were, but getting away with it for a while anyways until the reality check has been done.”

“Couple that with the possibility that their expectations of doing hard time have been lessened, then you have a recipe for real serious troubles in society.” – Lloyd Wicks, child and youth advocate Almost half of all youth crimes fall into four categories: Theft under $5,000 (such as shoplifting); possession of stolen goods; failure to appear; and breach of probation. The Youth Criminal Justice Act differs from the old act because it automatically transfers those charged with murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault to adult court without the need for a hearing. “The new act tends to try to put a bar, a line between the minor crime and serious crime,” says Wicks. The federal government writes criminal law, while the provinces absorb the cost of enforcing it. Wicks says the changes to the act were as much about saving money as trying to balance the scales of justice. “It’s not cynicism, it’s reality, says Wicks. “So I think one would be cynical, really cynical, if they thought that saving money wasn’t part of that process as well.” Wicks and Layden agree that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s driving many young people to a life of crime. “They will commit crimes of any kind to feed their (drug) habits,” says Wicks. “Couple that with the possibility that their expectations of doing hard time have been lessened then you have a recipe for real serious troubles in society.”

Photo by Jeff Ducharme/The Sunday Independent

Jewellery ‘most disturbing loss’ From page 1 keep anything in our cars and we leave them unlocked with nothing in them.” On Monday last week, things turned from bad to worse. Just days after the man chased away one thief, his mother’s home was ransacked. After volunteering at the food bank, the 75-year-old woman came home to find the backdoor window of the house had been smashed. The house was in a “state” and her TV, DVD player,

and mobile phone were gone. The most disturbing loss was the woman’s jewelry, including her late-father’s pocket watch. While his mother is likely now going to have an alarm installed, the man says his mother doesn’t want to become a “slave to the alarm.” The man and his wife are both professionals and have four children. He’s resolved not to move away from the neighbourhood of his youth that he returned to just two years ago.

“I love this part of the city … we wouldn’t move on account of this.” He understands the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is overwhelmed and praises the police for their fast response and actions when they do arrive. But, he says, that’s after the fact and the damage is already done. “One of the answers here would be to have regular police patrols,” he says. “You never see a police car coming down here.”


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The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

Long-term care for Labrador Committee pushes for health services closer to home Happy Valley-Goose Bay By Bert Pomeroy The Sunday Independent

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lenda Schwabe is glad she didn’t have to make a decision to relocate her mother from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to St. John’s. With no long-term care facility in Labrador, and her 73-year-old woman in need of 24-hour care, Schwabe and her family were faced with having to move her mother to the island. “But Mom died before it came to that point,” says Schwabe. “Thank God she died and never knew what could have happened.” Her mother passed away at the Labrador Health Centre a little over a month after breaking her hip and traveling to St. John’s to undergo surgery at the Health Sciences Centre. “When she got back to Labrador I was really upset when I was told that she would require long-term care, and that she would not be able to get it here,” says Schwabe. “I never dreamed that she couldn’t get long-term care in Labrador. I was totally shocked.” Schwabe’s story is all too common, says Leo Abbass, mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. “Nobody’s family should be put in that kind of situation this day and age,” says Abbass, who chairs a concerned citizens’ committee lobbying for the establishment a regional long-term health and protective-care facility in the Labrador town. “We believe this is an absolute necessity for the entire region. We have an aging population, and the demand for such a facility will continue to increase. I don’t know how the provincial government can’t see this as a top priority.” The closest thing to a long-term care facility in Labrador is the Harry L. Paddon Memorial Home in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The 49-bed facility provides level one and level two nursing care to its residents, but it’s not meeting the region’s needs, says Abbass. “It’s totally inadequate,” he says. “We need a facility that provides level three and level four care for patients with such conditions and dementia and Alzheimer’s, in addition to protective care. “The Paddon Home wasn’t meant to serve as this kind of facility. The residents have very little privacy there. It’s cramped and crowded and the rooms are very small, particularly if you have two residents in there and they are in wheelchairs. Any dignity some of these residents had before they went in the home must be gone.” Abbass says there’s a waiting list to get into the Paddon Home. Many of those on the list suffer from dementia. “Because there is no room at the

Photo by Bert Pomeroy/For the Sunday Independent

Happy Valley-Goose Bay Mayor Leo Abbass chairs a concerned citizens’ committee lobbying for the establishment a regional long-term health and protective-care facility for Labrador. He says such a facility could become an annex to the Labrador Health Centre.

Paddon Home, people are forced to send their loved ones outside the region. Just imagine how difficult that is for somebody from coastal Labrador?” Not only is there likely a language barrier, but many of these families do not have the financial means, because of the high cost of airfare, to travel back and forth to St. John’s to visit their loved ones.” To add insult to injury, Abbass says families are faced with the

added financial burden of making arrangements to fly their loved ones home after they pass away. “This facility would serve the greater part of Labrador. If people came from the coast, at least they would have some family and friends here in Happy ValleyGoose Bay — connections can be made.” Abbass says his committee has taken every opportunity to impress upon government the need to establish such a facility in

Labrador. “We’ve met with every minister, except one, as well as the premier,” he says. “I even had the opportunity to take the premier, as well as the minister of Health, on a visit to the Paddon Home on different occasions. They all say they understand where we are coming from, but we still don’t have a sense of where this project is on the priority list.” With the province’s 2004-05 budget slated to come down on

Tuesday, Abbass says he’s hopeful there’ll be some good news. “When the premier was here he told me that the government hears the message,” he says. “I can’t see him not understanding the situation and the need for this facility.” The committee is in the process of developing a petition that it hopes to place in communities throughout the region within the next couple of weeks. “We need to get as much support as we can.”


The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

NEWS

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The other side of power After 15 years on the government side of the House, Roger Grimes finds himself across the floor By Jeff Ducharme The Sunday Independent

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pposition leader Roger Grimes sits at his cubelike desk in the House of Assembly. He looks like he’d rather be anywhere else but there as he adjusts his cuffs and reads from an unassuming sheet of paper. After 15 years on the government side of the legislature, the left side, he now sits to the Speaker’s right, the Opposition side. Later, in a lobby area outside the House, Grimes talks about his new role opposite the seats of power. “One of the techniques in the legislature is try to make people believe you’re not trying to pay attention while you’re listening to every word they’re saying,” says Grimes, sitting in an ornate leather wing-back chair with a sly smile on his face. “Because they sometimes blurt out some things that you just make a mental note of or you jot down and they sort of think you’re not really interested, you’re not really paying attention and sometimes you can surprise them.”

It’s an “act,” says Grimes, one bles notes. He’s looking for the The premier stands and accuses that he admits to using “fairly perfect sound bite. Grimes and the Grits of leaving effectively” in the House. When question period begins behind a financial nightmare. “I enjoy the legislature very just after 2:30 p.m., it’s as if a bell When Grimes criticizes MP much. Some MHAs would rather rings and Grimes comes of his John Efford, the province’s reprenever go in there.” corner like a gentleman boxer. He sentative in the federal cabinet, Back in the House, Grimes hits attacks the Tories, in this particu- for comments about the Atlantic his stride when question period lar round, over the Atlantic Accord and equalization paybegins. His voice cuts through the Accord. ments, Williams accuses Grimes childish jibes that are continuous“The problem is they (the fed- of having personal issues with his ly hurled across the floor between eral government) have got our one-time political rival. Grimes the Tories and Liberals. ran a heated battle against Question period, he Efford for leadership of the says, is what he enjoys Liberals after then-premier “It was one of the reasons, when most. Brian Tobin returned to I was a school teacher, I wouldn’t “It’s a great place to lay Ottawa. out the very basics of the “I was very disappointed bring my students to this place.” democratic principles. in the federal minister,” says — Opposition Leader Roger Grimes Grimes, sitting in the lobby This is your chance as an elected member to say outside the House. claiming what you believe. And there’s no bad blood they can either agree or disagree cake and are eating it too,” Grimes between him and Efford. with you, but it doesn’t matter, says as the Liberals hurl barbs “We are entitled to it (equalizayou’re allowed to say your piece. across the floor. tion). It’s a constitutional proviYou can ask whatever question His prime adversary, Premier sion that the government of Canayou want. They can give whatev- Danny Williams, sits across from da is short changing us on and er answer they want and then you Grimes (in Grimes’ old seal-skin John Efford is the minister. That can fight it out afterwards in the chair), clasping his hands like he’s means he’s sided with Ottawa … media to see who people might presiding over a board meeting. It’s not right and it’s not enough believe.” Grimes’ appearance is more like and he’s down (here) trying to say On this particular day in the that of a school teacher, which is to us you shouldn’t be asking for House, Grimes continuously looks what he did for a living before any more.” at three sheets of paper and scrib- entering public life. After a term as premier that last-

ed about three years, Grimes says life on the other side of the House isn’t that bad. It may even have benefits. “You do get to, as much as anything, set the agenda by deciding which items you are going to ask about (during question period).” Grimes admits the verbal salvos being launched from both sides do, at times, take away from the business of running the province. “For the theatre that’s in there, because it is a bit theatric, the players in there, at least the experienced ones, understand it and they don’t get distracted from the debate by that.” The schoolyard antics of the MHAs, says Grimes, can be distracting and unnerving to newcomers and visitors to the House. “It was one of the reasons, when I was a school teacher, I wouldn’t bring my students to this place.” After months of trying to teach his students to put up their hands and wait their turn, the one time that Grimes did bring students to the House left his classroom in a state of disarray. “It took me half a year again to get order back in the classroom.”

Consumers spent in January OTTAWA The Canadian Press

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onsumers went on a spending spree in January to make up for weak Christmas shopping, says Statistics Canada. Retailers also benefited from the increasing popularity of gift cards, which are predominantly redeemed in January, the agency said Friday. “Retail sales advanced 1.6 per cent to $26.4 billion, after falling 1.3 per cent in December,” it said. “Excluding sales by motor and recreational vehicle dealers, the largest component of the auto-

motive sector, retail sales jumped 2.2 per cent in January, reaching a record high of $20.1 billion.” The January spurt brought sales back to the level seen in September 2003, with all provinces except Saskatchewan posting higher sales. However, while retailers were ringing up sales, wholesalers were singing the blues. Wholesalers saw a drop of 3.2 per cent in January from December as they sold goods and services worth $35.8 billion. “The drop in January was largely attributable to the motor vehicles, parts and accessories sector,” Statistics Canada said. “Excluding that sector, sales

fell 0.4 per cent.” Seven of 11 trade groups surveyed, accounting for 60 per cent of total sales, posted decreases. In addition to the automotive sector, which was down 15.2 per cent, industrial machinery was off by 2.3 per cent and lumber and building materials fell by 3.3 per cent. Some sectors, such as food and beverages, drugs and tobacco products, saw gains. Seven provinces contributed to the decrease in wholesale sales, with the largest declines in British Columbia at 5.3 per cent. Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario, both saw four per cent declines.


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The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

Strike preparation Union talks continue as strike contingency plans are put in place By Stephanie Porter The Sunday Independent

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s Wednesday’s midnight deadline inches ever closer, plans are being drawn up around the province in anticipation of a strike by government workers. Considering more than 20,000 workers may be on the street, including student assistants, hospital support staff, lab technicians, highway workers, school and College of the North Atlantic support staff, and employees of the liquor corporations — and that’s just a start — the effects will be felt by almost everyone. Singers Christa Borden, Jackie Sullivan and Jacinda Beals are set to tour arts and culture centres around the province beginning April 2, day two of a possible strike. Of course, if there’s a strike the centres may shut down. “I’m absolutely worried,” Borden told The Sunday Independent. “I quit my job to come on this tour, rescheduled all my students. If it’s cancelled, I don’t know when I’ll get the opportunity again to do this … let alone make up the money.” Broadening the scope, Wabana Mayor Gary Gosine lists the repercussions a cut in ferry service will have on Bell Island. “The money in the bank machine will run out in a couple of days. The perishable food will run out. Fuel — gone. And what about medical emergencies?” he says. “And all those people that work off the island now are going to have to stay in St. John’s for a week at a time, or not work.” A strike will have a definite impact on health care. The Health Care Corporation of St. John’s, which runs hospitals in the city, announced last week officials were beginning to “scale down activity” to ensure there are the least number of inpatients in the facilities come strike time. Inpatient elective serves were cancelled, as were any other procedures that could safely be postponed. Contingency plans are being developed to deal with the day-today operations within the hospitals. Take meal service as an example.

“No one’s not going to get fed,” says Deborah Thomas, a spokeswoman for the corporation, “but naturally, there will be some differences.” Cooks and delivery drivers are considered essential services, so they’ll still come to work — though extra food will be ordered early this week so the drivers won’t have to cross the picket line immediately. Many meals are being prepared in advance of Wednesday’s midnight strike deadline. “We currently have a cook and chill system,” Thomas says. “So we can prepare up to a week’s food in advance. No one will have to cook, the food can just be put on trays and given to patients.” The menu will be simplified using the most popular food choices as a guide, she says, so there will be less choice for patients and visitors. The central kitchen, which provides food for all the hospitals in the St. John’s area, makes 2,700 trays a day plus sandwiches and salads. During a strike, that number will be brought down to around 1,550. The cafeterias in the Waterford,

Health Sciences Centre and St. Claire’s will be open, but offer only minimal selection. The Tim Hortons franchise in the Health Sciences Centre, which is owned and operated by the health care corporation, will also be closed. Thomas knows that, should a strike come, she — like many other management and management support staff — will be asked to take on a new role, whether it be making sandwiches, housekeeping, or any of a number of other duties. She says the corporation will be finalizing and announcing its contingency plan early this week. “We’re not privy to negotiation information any more than you are,” she says. “Nobody’s hearing anything. It is a distraction … It’s hard to get your mind on anything else.” Provincial Finance Minister Loyola Sullivan said Friday contingency plans are in place in the event of a strike. “I certainly hope there’s a deal,” he said when asked whether he expects one to be hammered out. “We’re on the path to deficits and we have to curb expenditures.” The word from the Newfound-

land Association of Public and Private Employees — the province’s largest public sector union, representing 15,000 government workers, as well as the Canadian Union of Public Employees, representing 3,500 — didn’t offer much hope that a deal may be near. NAPE president Leo Puddister and CUPE’s Wayne Lucas say they’re hoping for an agreement without job action. Still, they say they have yet to see anything approaching what they consider a reasonable offer. A rumour of public service job cuts — perhaps as many as 1,000 — is circulating as part of the provincial budget, which is set to come down on Tuesday. Such a rumour makes negotiations that much more difficult. Outside the Confederation Building Friday, some NAPE workers were taking a break. None would give their name, but opinions flowed freely. “NAPE doesn’t represent me or my views,” said one worker, adding he’d rather give up his $21 biweekly union dues (more than $500 a year) than be part of this strike. He may be part of a minority: NAPE was given its

largest strike mandate ever, at 91 per cent. Another worker said she believed there won’t be a strike. “They have had a tentative deal in their back pocket for the past three weeks and have been waiting for an opportune time to release it.” Yet another worker felt the general public isn’t on the union’s side. The workers, she says, are looked down on because they don’t deserve “the huge salaries. “Everyone thinks we all make $35,000 a year when we are just making enough to pay our bills.” While on Confederation hill, The Sunday Independent was handed a memo circulated to some NAPE members by a higher-up within the union. According to the letter, there are more sticking points in negotiations than just the wage freeze. The letter states the government seems determined to pursue certain concessions, including sick leave (they propose a cut of 12 days), statutory holidays (three days less), and that pension and health insurance increases should come out of employees’ pockets. With files from Alisha Morrissey


March 28, 2004

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The Sunday Independent

IN CAMerA

‘Every job is a victory’ Photos by Paul Daly / Story by Stephanie Porter

From page 1 “I tell you, in the summer there are more Ontario licence plates here than Newfoundland ones.” In 1966, when the Bell Island mines finally closed, thousands of Bell Islanders found work outside of the province — a large number in and around Cambridge, Ont. (“Little Bell Island,” as it’s affectionately known).

Other people have discovered Bell Island too, and have bought summer or retirement homes. Some come to work. Boyd Merrill — just as Gosine promised — is an eager spokesperson for the finer points of island life. Born and raised in a small town in New Brunswick, Merrill has moved around for the past couple of decades in his career as a Mountie. Most recently he was assigned to

the “murder section” in Halifax, where he dealt with major crime, including homicide. Promoted to corporal, he moved to Bell Island with his family last August to preside over the area. “This is the best-kept secret in Newfoundland,” he says. “This is where people should be raising kids. You don’t understand Bell Island from driving around and looking — you’ve got to get inside the build-

ings, get a feel for the people and the way they live. “It’s peaceful, it’s quiet, and it’s wholesome.” And, according to the statistics Merrill provides, the crime rate — once a problem on the island — is shrinking fast. “Property crimes are down 25 per cent in six to eight months,” he says. Continued on page 12


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In Camera

Newfoundland’s ‘best kept secret’ From page 11 “Calls for uttering threats and things like that are down by a good 50 per cent.” Bell Island has five full-time cops. For a population of under 4,000, that’s above the national and provincial averages. But the real difference, he says, is in his style of policing. “I think, before, there were too many people on the island that didn’t know the police force.” Merrill says he uses a get-to-know-the-community approach, hangs out in the coffee shop for a couple of hours every morning, talks to everyone he can. The corporal admits he’s meant to be a “smalltown guy,” and as far as he’s concerned, Bell Island is pretty much self-sufficient. He hasn’t left the island — except for a couple of work obligations — for weeks. Indeed, he only has one complaint about his new home. “These are hard-working people stricken with an incompetent ferry service,” he says, pointedly. “There’s a number of people who would go to work if they had a reliable ferry service.” Paul Connors, a Bell island native and the town’s economic development officer, commutes to the island from Kelligrews, every day. He likes the ferry rides, and acknowledges how much a difference the two-ferry service makes, compared to a single vessel. “There’s a loyal workforce here. Bell Island’s spent many years on social assistance and we’re starting to get off.” In 2001, the unemployment rate in the community was 41 per cent. Although he doesn’t have new statistics, Connors says the current rate is lower, thanks to more people taking jobs in St. John’s and area, and to new industries on the island itself. “The turning point for this island probably came with the opening of No. 2 mine as a tourist attraction. People started to realize that there are employment opportunities in tourism.” In the summer months, he says, the number of tourists visiting the island has gone up by 10,000 every year. In addition, the fish plant now employs 70 people for half the year, processing sea urchins. Last year, a scaffolding manufacturing business was opened, creating 10 jobs. There’s another business about to set up which could hire another dozen people. These are major milestones, all agree. Gosine continues his tour: The new lighthouse, the famous murals, the old bank (it moved off the island in 2001, despite much protest), the seniors’ complex, boys and girls club, clinic. Driving down the steep hill towards the ferry terminal, Gosine hangs up the cellphone and looks out at the ocean. “If I didn’t believe in Bell Island I wouldn’t have put the last 15 years of my life into this place. “Everything’s OK now, as long as we have a good ferry service. But if this strike happens … they’ve got Bell Island held ransom.”

The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004


The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

In Camera

Page 13


Page 14

In Camera

Gallery

Fox Alone, Japanese woodblock, 10.25” x 9.25”

One moment in August, Japanese woodblock, 6.5” x 4”

Blueberry, Japanese woodblock, 9.25” x 11”

The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

Charlotte Jones

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harlotte Jones says her current artwork is an extension of the undergraduate degree in psychology she completed at the University of Manitoba some 25 years ago. Then. she was intrigued by animal psychology: animal behavior, adaptation and methods of survival. These days, Jones explores those themes by working on large woodblock prints of lynx and coyotes. “I find it so fascinating that there are so few mammals on the island, each with their own ecological drama. “Coyotes are relative newcomers to the island and I’m fascinated by how that affects other species. And the lynx numbers are so tied to the cycle of the snowshoe hare.” Foxes and pine martins are also predominant in her recent work, as are plants and flowers. After that first degree, Jones completed a master’s degree in librarianship, and another in arts. She also studied woodblock printmaking in Japan. “I’m not really into mechanical things,” she says, laughing, when asked about her medium of choice. “Woodblock is an interesting technique, especially because I like to work with lots of colour. It’s technology-free, and it’s great for someone whose home moves around a lot, you don’t need a lot of materials or space — just time.”

And time is a precious commodity, especially for someone like Jones, who wears “a couple of hats.” “I’m in the same predicament as so many artists,” she says when asked if her art is full-time. She’s a guest curator, as well as the co-ordinator of a local Learning Through the Arts program. Learning Through the Arts is an international program, which incorporates art and artist-educators into a school’s existing curriculum. It’s currently in 10 schools in Jones’ district. Jones has taken part in exhibitions across Canada, in Ireland and the United States. In May, she’ll launch her new artist’s book, and open an accompanying show at Christina Parker Gallery in St. John’s. In June, The Limestone Barrens Project — of which Jones is guest curator — opens in Corner Brook, where she currently resides. The Irish and Canadian artists who participate in the project, examine the barrens of the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, the tip of the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador, and County Clare, Ireland. — Stephanie Porter

Marsh Marigold II, Japanese woodblock, 9.75” x 14.5 “

Foxes, Frost and Moonlight, Japanese woodblock, 9.25” x 19”

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


March 28, 2004

Page 15

The Sunday Independent

BuSINESS & COMMERCE

Photo by Donald Weber/Getty Images

Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen wave to supporters on stage after he was declared the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre March 20. Harper will take on the ruling Liberal government of Paul Martin in the next election.

Harper on handouts Does newly-crowned Conservative leader Stephen Harper still think Atlantic Canadians are defeated? By Ryan Cleary The Sunday Independent

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o matter how much they try and shake them, certain words or statements tend to nip at a politician’s heels like a stray dog … only most strays won’t trail behind to the grave. Take John Crosbie’s “pass the tequila, Sheila” reference to his former political nemesis, Sheila Copps, or Tom Rideout’s “backupable” addition to the English language. Brian Tobin’s reference to the “last, lonely, unattractive little turbot clinging on by its fingertips to the Grand Banks” is certainly memorable, as is Roger Grimes’ revelation to New York bankers about how Newfoundlanders and Labradorians either “fish or f—-.” In the case of Stephen Harper, newly-elected leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, he’s remembered on the East Coast for accusing the region of being hooked on government handouts, contributing to a “culture of defeat.” When Harper made that statement about two years ago, he said the only way to move away from the defeatist attitude was to

from equalization payments. continue to exist between strengthen the region’s economy. As for equalization — money provinces.” So has Harper’s view of Atlantic richer provinces pay to poorer Asked about Ottawa’s relucCanada changed? Does he see still see us as ones to pay for services such as tance to move on equalization, health care and education — Harper referred back to the Condefeated? “I’ve kind of gotten clipped on a provincial Finance Minister Loy- servative party’s stand on resource couple of words that have been ola Sullivan has said that the fed- royalties, which are two different spun,” Harper told The Sunday eral government isn’t prepared to issues. As for this week’s federal budIndependent in a telephone inter- make changes to the program. Sullivan did not want the money get and its impact on Newfoundview from Ottawa, quickly adding how his family is originally from distributed on a per capita basis land and Labrador, Harper says because it will mean less money the budget has the same impact on the Maritimes. “This is a part of the country that for Newfoundland and Labrador. most regions of the country. should be as wealthy as “They’ve obviously any other part of the announced no kind of country, but there’s an tax reduction or any“These are things government can do. assumption that’s been thing we can see and After that it’s up to the peoples’ own iniingrained as far as fedthey’re just claiming tiatives and energy and innovation. I eral policies go that this they’re good managers is a have-not region and believe that if we create that kind of envi- which, you know, simit’s going to stay that ply is not the case,” he ronment Newfoundland and Labrador way,” he says. “I don’t says. “… I don’t know will be as successful as any other part of what to say from a agree with that.” North America.” Harper favours Newfoundland perreplacing corporate subspective that’s any difsidies, such as those ferent.” handed out by the Atlantic Canada “Our province is losing $200 A federal election is expected to Opportunities Agency, with lower million a year due to the imbalance be called this spring or in the fall taxes. He also supports allowing in the equalization formula,” Sul- at the latest. Harper expects the poorer provinces such as New- livan has said. “Allocating on a per Conservatives to keep the three foundland and Labrador to keep capita basis is completely contrary seats they currently hold — St. 100 per cent of resource royalties to the principles of equalization, John’s East, (Norm Doyle), St. without having them clawed back particularly while fiscal disparities John’s West (Loyola Hearn) and

Rex Barnes (Gander/Grand Falls). Those seats will be reconfigured under the riding boundary changes so that St. John’s East will become St. John’s North; St. John’s West will change to St. John’s South /Mount Pearl; and Gander/Grand Falls will become Bonavista/ Exploits. “I don’t see anything that would prevent us from winning those three seats and possibly winning more,” says Harper, who visited the province once during the Conservative leadership campaign. “I think every seat will be in play in the next election given the government scandals and its record so I think things are really looking up.” Harper’s main messages seem to be tax relief and that the mindsets in this end of the country have to change. “Basically we have to accept the fact that this province can be as successful as anywhere else in the country,” he says. “We have to keep taxes low, as low as possible as we can in this country, and we have to allow regions of the country to control their resources and their resource revenue.”


Page 16

Business

The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

Guest Column

By Alison Dyer

Spending spree Consumer debt on the rise as Canadians hooked on easy ways to save money

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wipe, sign, and grab the goods. It’s so easy, so convenient. And for an increasing number of Canadians, it’s so addictive. Personal debt in Canada is on the rise. “It’s about $15,000 for every man, woman and child in Canada. About $450 billion,” says Stanley Kershman, a bankruptcy lawyer in Ottawa. That amount includes mortgages, car loans and credit card debt. A recent Ipsos-Reid study shows the Canadian household debt balance has increased from $56,700 in 1999 to $66,900 in 2003. Some economists are telling us we’re OK, at least for the present. “Debt as a proportion to income has now exceeded 100 per cent,” says Eric Lascelles, an economist with TD Bank. But, he adds: “Assets have been growing even more quickly than debt has. That means that net wealth has been rising.” Yet Kershman suggests we could be playing a dangerous game. Canadians are saving a lot less these days. “A recent study by the National Bank shows that consumer savings is at 1.2 per cent of disposal income. Twenty years ago it was 20 per cent,” says Kershman. It’s an equation that leaves many Canadians in a vulnerable position. Sue Lot, counsel with the Ottawa-based Public Interest Advocacy Centre, agrees. “The fact that they’re living so close to the margin means that any kind of crisis would put people in a real debt spiral.” So how did we get hooked? Those crunching the numbers will point to low interest rates, rising property values, immigration, dual incomes and asset diversification as being the major factors driving people into debt across the country. But those dealing directly with the fallout — credit counsellors and bankruptcy trustees — have another take. “It’s a shift in society’s view of credit,” suggests Ian Penney, a bankruptcy trustee with Deloitte & Touche in St. John’s. “Debt is far more acceptable (with younger generations) than it was to my parents.” Fueling our craving for credit is shrewd advertising by credit card and other loan companies. “What’s happened is the willingness of consumers to take on a loan,” says Al Antle,

executive director of the Credit Counselling Bank branch closures have aided the expanService of Newfoundland and Labrador. sion of this industry. “(These companies) are “That’s a direct result of the repetitive mes- not banks, not federally regulated deposit sage that advertisers present to consumers — taking institutions, but they offer alternative services to many people that are credit-chalthat it’s OK to be indebted.” And indebtedness is starting at a younger lenged,” she says. One service offered, the payday loan, can age. “(During) frosh week (university orientation), there are flyers, you can apply for have annual interest rates of 300 to 400 per anywhere up to about 17 credit cards,” says cent. “We’re creating a sort of two-tier of Kershman. “It’s billed as building your cred- financial services that serves a moderate- to it history. That’s a lot of garbage — it’s lower-income population and is extremely expensive,” counsels Lott. building your debt history.” According to KershThe sheer number of man, there’s no one cards in circulation in Canada is daunting: an “Debt as a proportion to demographic group that is estimated 68.6 million at income has now exceeded in debt. “It blurs along age lines, along educathe end of 2001, accord100 per cent.” tional lines,” says Kershing to a Canadian Economist Eric Lascelles man. “(Those in debt) are Bankers Association surpeople who don’t undervey. That’s about three stand the concept of credcards for every Canadian it and how it works.” over the age of 18. But from where Antle sits, there’s one Penney says credit card debt is now the biggest trend in consumer debt. “People in group that’s headlining consumer debt. dire financial circumstances are availing of “(It’s) what we call a sitcom family – single these credit cards as a short-term fix that will income, two children, overwhelming morteventually lead them to a path whereby gage. Why? They’ve been told money is the something like a bankruptcy or proposal will cheapest it’s ever been, go get yourself a house,” says Antle who adds that sometimes be necessary,” he cautions. And there are new players on the block. it’s a two-income family. “Because it isn’t just the house,” he adds. “We’re seeing a trend away from the local lenders and a trend towards the American People also use credit to buy the furniture, banks that have come into the country,” says the lifestyle. “It’s the whole business of Antle. He warns that the latter treat overdue being middle class, and looking, feeling and accounts far differently than Canadian behaving middle class.” Then the house of cards begins to topple. lenders. For Lott, the rise in consumer debt is a big “We have marriages that fall apart, people concern because “it underlies some of the that rely on hair-brain schemes,” says Antle. For some, it will end in bankruptcy. Kertrends we’re seeing in the alternative financial consumer services market which is the shman estimates there were 82,000 personal growth of organizations like MoneyMart.” bankruptcies last year in Canada. New-

Lydia Zajac’s column, Financial Affairs will return next week

foundland, with a 10.8 per cent increase over the previous year, has been growing steadily for past few years. “The alarm bells will ring if the interest rates do go up one or two percentage points. A lot of people who are managing right now will not be managing well because their payments will shoot up,” forewarns Ellen Roseman, board president of Toronto Credit Counselling Service and author of Money 201. There’s a united front on a strategy for change. “(It) should be taught in Grade 9 or 10 because they’re getting hit with all these market pitches right out of high school. It’s a basic life skill to understand how credit works,” says Roseman. Kershman, author of Put Your Debt on a Diet, says it’s a combination of attitudinal change, of “realizing you can’t have it all, you’ve got to save for it,” and simple strategies. Like having a household budget. Still, with credit being swallowed up as fast as it can be offered, there may also be a role for governments to play. “In the U.S. (the federal regulator has) actually taken steps to look at the fact that they’re targeting huge mail solicitations of the sub-prime, higher credit-risk market,” says Lott. In Canada, however, she says the government has failed to express concern over our credit-dependency and over-solicitation by credit card companies. “The marketing you get in the mail shouldn’t be in fine print,” says Roseman, “They should be forced to put it in same print as the good stuff. And maybe there should be some messages right on the credit card — like there is on cigarette packages — hazardous to your wealth!”

Charter to Humber Valley

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eer Lake airport hosted its first commercial passenger transatlantic flight last week. The plane, which flew direct from England’s Gatwick airport, held 110 Humber Valley resort clients. International passenger facilities, including customs and immigration clearance, were specially arranged to accommodate the flight. Humber Valley resort is located on the north side of the Humber River and Deer Lake. The development features 321 free-

hold, privately-owned vacation properties — all of which are currently sold. More chalets, the central clubhouse, spa and beach restaurant are to be constructed in 2004. “We are just doing what comes naturally… making people feel welcome,” says Brian Dobbin, the resort’s chief executive officer. Further charter flights are planned for the summer 2004, and January 2005 — to coincide with the ski and snowmobile season.


The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

BusIness

Page 17

Off the rack City clothing store shuts down

Alisha Morrissey The Sunday Independent

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enches and Rogues has been a popular shopping spot in downtown St. John’s for eight years, but in the blink of an eye, everything was gone. The signage has been ripped down and the store cleaned out. During one of the most important weeks in Canadian fashion – Toronto Fashion Week – Jane Mifflin, owner of Wenches and Rogues, has fallen off the radar screen. Known as an innovator in the fashion world, her shops were recognized for giving Canadian

designers a strong voice and even stronger sales figures. Just two years after opening the original St. John’s location, Mifflin opened another Wenches and Rogues in the Toronto neighbourhood called Little Italy. One year later she opened another shop on Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. The three shops found great success and after opening her second Toronto store Mifflin was named the City of Toronto’s Fashion Retailer of the Year. She became an active volunteer with Toronto’s Fashion Incubator Board and eventually became president of the volunteer group that fosters groundbreaking Cana-

Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent

dian designers. Mifflin has regularly been listed on Chatelaine magazine’s where-to-buy list. Newfoundlanders staffed all

Printing plants to close HALIFAX Canadian Press

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ranscontinental Inc. is closing two Nova Scotia printing plants acquired from Optipress in January, affecting about 100 jobs, though laid off workers will be offered a chance to relocate. Transcontinental said it will add more than 40 jobs to its Halifax plant, which was expanded last year, relocating work from former

Optipress printing operations in Yarmouth and New Minas, which will be closed in coming months. Employees at the two Optipress plants — 75 in Yarmouth, 26 in New Minas — will be offered the opportunity to relocate. Transcontinental’s daily news papers include the St. John’s Telegram, Halifax Daily News, Cape Breton Post, Charlottetown Guardian and the Moose Jaw Times-Herald. The company also owns a slew of community papers

Air Labrador lands in Quebec

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eginning April 5, Air Labrador plans to offer regular flights to Quebec City and Sept Îles. The new service is a continuation of its flights between Wabush and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, as well as St. John’s and Deer Lake. It will use two dash-8 aircraft with 7 a.m. departures from both St. John’s and Quebec City, six days per week, Sunday through Friday. “With great enthusiasm, in this year of celebration of 500 years of French language and culture in the New World, we are pleased to

build this new air-link between Newfoundland, Labrador, and Quebec,” says Roger Pike, president and chief executive officer of the airline. Air Labrador, a member of the Pike Group of Companies, has been in operation in the region for more than 50 years. Gilles Filiatreault has been named the new chief operating officer of the entire Air Labrador network. Because of the expansion, the airline will employ 25 more people and open its third operations base in Quebec City.

the Wenches and Rouges stores. With the closing of the three stores, the fate of the staff is now uncertain.

Despite repeated attempts, The Sunday Independent wasn’t able contact a spokesperson for the company.

Feeding the public Institutional catering company to launch new program April 1 By Kayla Hutchings For the Sunday Independent

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tlantic Catering began as an operation for the College of the North Atlantic in Corner Brook in 1994 with a meager staff of four, one of which was founder and president, Jeff Clarke. Ten years later, the company has expanded to become the largest locally owned institutional catering company in Eastern Canada. It consists of 65 sites within the province, with branches is Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. After examining and identifying markets, Clarke saw there was a need for this type of company in the area. Most of the other players were national companies. “I thought we could change our service to meet the needs of each place,” says Clarke. “When we said we could personalize our service to suit your needs, then people realized well yeah, this is better.” Locations expanded, as did the services provided. What started as a service for colleges only began to reach into elementary and high schools, to correctional centres, and finally to larger industries. Clarke says, with the expansion has come greater credibility “If you were holding a conference, and had 600 people coming to your conference … We’ll come in, provide all of the vending, manage the site, provide all the food, provide all of the equipment — from the ovens and the stoves — and we hire all of the cooks.”

The cooks and the near 200 other staff members share one thing: they were all purposely hired partly because they are graduates of a Newfoundland and Labrador college. Every worker at the Stephenville headquarters site is a graduate of the College of the North Atlantic.

Jeff Clarke

“Everybody here started with us just about fresh out of college and learned on the job and now we have an excellent team,” says Clarke. Clarke hires locals to give back to the area economy. He will only purchase products from Newfoundland and Labrador suppliers,. He is a firm believer that the basis of a strong economy is in the support of locally-owned businesses. “I think that if we support locally, and everyone supports locally, it’s creating jobs and tax dollars and profits stay in Newfoundland and Labrador and the local economy,” he says.

Atlantic Catering has recently developed a program called Building Blocks that will allow them to reach even further out in to the community. The program is based on the idea that there is a need for children to implement nutrition within their daily lives. “We would like to help youth identify some of their own eating habits and to look at alternate, healthier choices,” he says. “Also, we would like to see school programs that work with cafeterias to ensure that kids are choosing that healthier lifestyle.” The team for the program includes a trained dietician and onsite staff members who are responsible for creating varied, nutritional menus. “We’re trying to keep it interesting,” says Clarke. “What we’re finding in schools is that the menus are the same every week, so you’re eating meatballs every second Tuesday, all year. “It’s not just a program where what we say goes. It’s an interactive program with the schools. Schools are becoming more and more nutritionally oriented and in developing our Building Blocks program, we are becoming more nutritionally oriented.” Although the program isn’t going to be officially launched until April 1, Clarke says early feedback has been positive. Currently, he is also piecing together a proposal to pitch to potential clientele in Ontario. “If you feel you have something to offer, step forward and offer it,” he says.


Page 18

Business

The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004 ADVeRtORIAL

Oil Field RepORt

Glossary of terms


March 28, 2004

Page 19

The Sunday Independent

INTErNATIONAL AFFAIrS

Photo by Tao-Chuan Yeh/Agence France Presse

As the election atmosphere intensifies, performers pound their drums before a huge poster of presidential candidates at Taichung, central Taiwan.

‘What I wouldn’t do for a touton’ Newfoundlander Bridget Canning adjusts to life in Taichung, Taiwan Voice from away is a regular feature on Newfoundlanders living abroad. By Stephanie Porter The Sunday Independent

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or all the differences Bridget Canning sees between Newfoundlanders and the Taiwanese, she’s got another one to add to the list. “They’re very political people,” says Canning. “That much is like it is at home. But Taiwanese don’t talk about their political opinions very easily. “It’s kind of a faux pas to ask about it.” That hit home over the past couple of weeks, as Taiwan geared up for their recent national election. Last weekend, Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian and vice-president Lu Hsiu-lien of the Democratic Progressive Party were re-elected by a narrow margin for a four-year term. Chen and Lu won by less than 30,000 votes — a small number considering some 13 million votes were cast. With election advertising at a height, Canning would often ask locals for their thoughts on the candidates and proceedings. The Taiwanese she spoke to were hesitant. “They seem to consider all the

politicians kind of corrupt — if Labrador. one party gets elected, regions of Canning moved to Taiwan last the country known to support the August. other don’t get treated very well.” “It was so hot,” she remembers Canning, from Highlands on the of her first moments in her new southwest coast of Newfoundland, home town. “It’s like my head was took the bachelor of arts she on a swivel. Everything was so earned at Memorial and headed to different, everything smelled difToronto in search of a job some ferent.” four years ago. Taichung is the third-largest city She worked as an auditor there in the country, with a population but eventually grew tired of it. “I of over one million. “We’re surwanted a major change,” she says, rounded by gorgeous mountains,” her voice coming across the Canning says, “which can be phone clearly, though she’s in her good, they shelter us from office 11-and-a-half time zones typhoons. But the city is landaway. “I wanted to travel, gather some teaching experience, pay off the rest of my student loans — and I was getting sick of Toronto.” She got her wish. Oddly enough, it was a Newfoundlander — a retired teacher now living in Asia — who interviewed Canning and her boyfriend for the language arts school in Taichung Bridget Canning where they are both now working. “The school isn’t really locked. And we hardly ever get to ESL (English as a second lan- see the mountains, it’s so pollutguage), it’s reading comprehen- ed.” sion, phonics, things like that,” The city, she adds, is not pedesshe says. trian-friendly. Everyone — includThere are 10 Canadians work- ing Canning — has a scooter they ing at the school, including eight take everywhere. from Newfoundland and “I like driving it, though I’ve

seen a lot of scooter accidents,” she says. “Sometimes, you pull up to a stop light, and you’ll have 10 other scooters all pull up with you at the same time. I feel like I’m riding around with the Hell’s Angels.” Canning is trying her hardest to pick up some Chinese — the language barriers can be isolating and tough to deal with. “We live in an apartment building, and every time we get a piece of mail, a bill, we have to bring it to work and get someone else to read it. “We can’t call our landlord directly, and there were some problems at the beginning because we couldn’t read our lease.” It’s not all bad, she’s quick to say. “Hey, I have no idea who’s left on Survivor, and you know what? I don’t care.” And the people around her are always willing to help. “The people are nice, really friendly. They smile,” she says. “If they know two words of English, they’ll try to talk to you.” She tells a recent story to illustrate the point. She stopped in a restaurant for breakfast the other day, placed an order, got her food, and went to pat at the cash. To her dismay, she realized she’d forgot-

ten her wallet at home. “I was saying the Chinese words for ‘excuse me, excuse me,’ and ‘tomorrow,’ and trying to explain,” she laughs now. The cashier just waved her away with a “no problem.” When Canning went back with some money later, the workers had a quiet laugh over the situation. She laughs again as she talks about her St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in O’Changs – the only Irish bar in Taichung, which she and her friends took over to celebrate and sing songs from home. Canning and her partner intend to stay in Taiwan until the summer of 2005. She’s already been to Thailand, and has plans to visit Bali and the Philippines before the year is out. “I went through some culture shock at the beginning, but now I’m enjoying this,” she says. When the time does come for her return, she says she may begin an education degree. “When I go back, I figure it’ll be like I’m being bombarded. After going from so few people able to speak to me, it’ll be like everyone is speaking to me. “ And the homesickness? “What I miss the most are my friends, family, the ocean,” she says. “And toutons. Bread just isn’t the same here, it’s sweet. I was just thinking today, what I wouldn’t do for a touton.”


Page 20

INtErNAtIoNAL

The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

Butt, butt …

On the eve of Ireland’s smoking ban, doubts abound, especially in the pubs DUBLIN, Ireland By Shawn Pogatchnik The Associated Press

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reland is about to ban tobacco from workplaces, but rebellion hangs heavy in the air, particularly in that smokiest of places, the pub. “I won’t be enforcing it and I won’t be telling my staff to enforce it, simple as that,” pub owner Danny Healy-Rae said of the ban, which takes effect tomorrow. It applies to any enclosed workspace, including more than 10,000 pubs, as well as billiard halls, private clubs, home offices, even a lone trucker’s cab. “We’ve a busy enough job to do here as it is, and we can’t be chasing people into the television lounge or the toilets,” added Healy-Rae, whose pub is in the County Kerry village of Kilgarvan, where, as is typical in rural Ireland, most customers smoke. “We’ll have to just let everyone smoke away as usual and the hell with what they say in Dublin.” Ever since Health Minister Micheal Martin proposed the ban last year, surveys have shown a majority of Ireland’s 3.9 million people, about 25 per cent of whom are smokers, support the idea. It would be the most sweeping restriction on cigarette smoking imposed by any country. But enforcing the ban could be

difficult. Under the guidelines of the government’s Office of Tobacco Control, pub owners can face fines of up to the equivalent of $5,200 Cdn per offence if they fail to make “all reasonable efforts” to deter smoking. The guidelines specify pubs should display “no smoking” signs prominently at their entrances, bar areas and restrooms. Bar staff should tell smokers they’re committing an offence, then, if they don’t stop, refuse to serve them and ask them to leave. If the customer refuses, the guidelines suggest calling the national police force. Police officers have reacted with outrage. “It’s not a function for a police force at all. We haven’t resources to deal with far more serious issues, never mind dealing with obstreperous smokers,” said P.J. Stone, spokesman for the officers’ main union. The ban’s key enforcers are about 40 Health Department inspectors, who will be responsible for spotting violations in pubs and hotels. Another 100 inspectors from the Health and Safety Authority, who currently monitor building sites, farms and other workplaces, will be asked to check for smoking employees, too. The government has hired no additional inspectors to enforce

the ban. “There will be all-hours inspection,” said Martin, who added: “Most people don’t smoke, so there will be strong compliance.” Pub-goers predict that in tightknit rural villages, pub owners will risk a fine rather than turn away familiar faces. “This is a middle-class ban for city-centre pubs in Dublin and a few other cities and towns,” said Terry Rafferty, a retired bank manager and pub connoisseur from western County Mayo. “In Dublin you’ve got huddles of health-conscious people, trendies. But out in the sticks, forget it. They’re still very happily health-unconscious.” Joe Browne, president of the Vintners Federation, which represents 6,000 pubs outside Dublin, has pledged to help cover defence costs for any pub owner taken to court for violating the ban. Cigarette-machine vendors have imported more than one million tobacco-free herbal cigarettes, which, though carcinogenic, are not covered by the ban. “Initially we expect there will be a novelty factor and we should sell quite a few on the first weekend,” said Gerry Lawlor, spokesman for the Irish Cigarette Machine Operators’ Association. “But it will probably fall off. I don’t anticipate making a living out of it.”

Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Enjoying a pint and a smoke in a pub in Dublin will soon be an activity of the past. As of Monday, smoking is banned in all enclosed workspaces — including bars — in Ireland.

A drive-in theatre for snowmobiles oSLo, Norway Associated Press

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he Sami reindeer herders of Norway’s Arctic are building a snowmobile drive-in theatre using, of course, the tundra’s most plentiful winter resource: Snow. The snow drive-in will serve the Eighth Sami Film Festival, April 5-7, in Kautokeino, a mainly Sami town of 3,000 in Norway’s far north. The festival will show about 80 films by or about

Sami and other indigenous peoples at the drive-in and other theatres. “We have plenty of snow, and it’s not likely to melt any time soon. Summer comes late to Kautokeino,’’ festival leader Anne Lajla Utsi said from Kautokeino, about 450 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. The drive-in’s roughly threemetre by six-metre screen and an amphitheatre for those without snowmobiles are being built from snow.

Utsi said she is not sure if it is the world’s first snowmobile drive-in, but said she didn’t know of any others. There will be room for about 100 people, including the snowmobilers. Because of subfreezing temperatures, the snow seats will be covered with reindeer skins for warmth. There will be Sami Lavvo tents, akin to teepees, offering a place to warm up and buy traditional snacks, much of it made with reindeer meet. The once nomadic Sami fol-

lowed their reindeer herds to the northern fringes of Europe at least 9,000 years ago and settled in the Arctic regions. Once referred to as Lapp, they prefer to be known as Sami. Only a fraction of the estimated 80,000 Sami, perhaps 10 per cent, still herd reindeer in the lands they inhabit across northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. For most, snowmobiles have long replaced reindeer sleighs as transport during the hard winters of Norway’s northernmost

province, Finnmark. Utsi said they had wanted to build a snow drive-in for years, but were finally able to finance it this year. It is being built at a Sami tourism centre on the tundra, just outside Kautokeino, where there will also be traditional reindeer races during the day. The film festival is part of the annual 10-day Sami Easter Festival, celebrating the culture of northern Europe’s indigenous Sami.


march 28, 2004

Page 21

The Sunday Independent

LIFe & TImeS

Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent

Killer stats HIV/AIDS advocate helps others, while fearing for himself

Alisha Morrissey The Sunday Independent

T

he photocopier whirs. A sheet of paper wafts onto the tray; friends and relatives reduced to age, gender, and risk factor. Richard Neron glances at the number of preventable cases of HIV and AIDS in Newfoundland and Labrador and sighs — words won’t change it now. “I know from Health Canada statistics, they did a youth study not that long ago. It was an alarming rate … 50 per cent of Grade 9s to Grade 11s thought there was a cure or that there was a vaccination for HIV. “They’re thinking that the (birth control) pill is a method of protecting themselves and they don’t have to worry about anything else,” says Neron, shaking his head. The 34-year-old has been HIV

positive for 16 years and has worked in the trenches of AIDS awareness and prevention in this province for 13. “It’s very frightening. And because they are seeing that people are living longer, they don’t think that it can happen to them,” says Neron of the students taking part in the Health Canada study. In 2003, 69 people contracted HIV through heterosexual activity in this province. Of those, 41 were between the ages of 20 and 29. Neron says children should be taught the risks. HIV and AIDS was called GRID (Gay-Related Sexual Disease) when he was in high school. “I was always told it was a gay man’s disease.” As a young man, he was bisexual. “When I was having sex with men I always practiced safer sex, but when I was having sex with

women, I didn’t.” Now openly gay, it was a woman who infected him with the disease that now rules and threatens his life. She died six short months after he was diagnosed with HIV. “The doctor at the clinic told me I had a year to live and basically to never have sex again,” says Neron. His work at the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador is an opportunity to provide the support that was not available to him. Neron’s work as an outspoken advocate for those living with HIV and AIDS helps others, but, he fears, may also threaten him. “I enjoy telling people about my status because I want them to learn about what it is like … (but) I’m worried about that as well. What about the repercussions that may happen to me if people find out that I’m HIV positive, you

Call For submissions

Gallery

know, the discrimination and the violence that could occur?” He says the stigma that comes with HIV and AIDS forces many to conceal their condition. “They do not go see a doctor (in their community). They do not want anyone to know about their status so they have to travel … across the province because they are scared of people finding out and what the repercussions may be,” says Neron. Born in Windsor, Ont., Neron says even families can turn their backs on loved ones with HIV and AIDS. It’s a cruel reality he knows first-hand. His parents learned of his condition in a letter that he sent them. He says while they were supportive at first, they now refuse to acknowledge him as their son. “It hurts,” he says, bordering on tears as he describes his yearly phone call to his mother. She

In an effort to support and promote the province’s art community, The Sunday Independent invites visual artists from across the province to submit work for publication in the paper. Our newspaper gallery will appear regularly, profiling one artist or collective each time.

hangs up the phone, saying she has no son named Richard. He says the stigma is focused in rural areas where education is lacking and that is the reason he tells clients of his story. “If I could save just one person’s life by talking to them about my personal life then I’ve done my work,” says Neron. “I see friends dying all the time.” His funeral arrangements already made, Neron knows his time could come any day. “People think that because I’m healthy and stuff that there’s nothing to worry about, but there is. There are people dying every single day — every single minute of this illness,” he says, maintaining a tenuous grasp on his emotions. For Neron, prevention is the crucial factor in destroying what is destroying him. “There’s no cure. There’s no vaccination.”

Interested artists or groups are invited to submit a selection of work for consideration. High-resolution digital images are preferred; slides and negatives of work are also accepted. If chosen, the works will be published in a special section dedicated to the artists of Newfoundland and Labrador.

For further information, or to submit proposals, call (709) 726-4639 or e-mail editorial@theindependent.ca.


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LIFE & TIMES

The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

Local Spins

by Rick Bailey

An evening of gypsey jazz O

K, first thing’s first – Duane Andrews is a St. John’s musician who plays guitar, fiddle, and organ in his own laid-back, easy manner, which makes his virtuosity seem effortless. I knew that an evening of Andrews playing music of and inspired by gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt would be fantastic. With the addition of bluesman Steve Hussey on guitar, Frank Fusari’s double bass and Pat Boyle switching up guitar and trumpet, you have a quartet that works very smoothly. I haven’t heard much of Django’s library, however, The Duane Andrews Quartet were quite happy to provide the chilled-out crowd with a choice portion of his upbeat music to grasp my full attention. I can’t forget that my attention wavered a bit to my surroundings – the new bar located above Peddler’s on George Street certainly has class enough for all. Soft lighting, bright mosaic tiles, and Japanese-style smoked glass booths situated in a non-smoking environment. I guess the venue’s name comes with the grand opening. The only smoking in the place came from Duane’s fingers across the fretboard as he blazed through swinging tunes, almost Dixieland, but with an unmistakable gypsyinfluenced guitar sound. Hussey

strummed the constant swing vamp, backed by Boyle on some rhythmic licks and sweet muted trumpet, with Fusari joining them in the second set to keep time on the upright bass. These well-trained players kept a feisty mood – dipping briefly into waltz-time, swinging fast solos through the middle, and returning to a slow finish. That’s just for one song. The melodies were rapidly paced and exuberant, and until now, a foreign jazz sound to me. Like being in Paris. I had to smile. I do listen to enough jazz to say that if you’re up for some lively Django swing, you can’t go wrong with The Duane Andrews Quartet. Andrews knows Django. Uh…not

personally, he died in 1953. If you do see these gypsies passing through, you’d be wise to see them play. Steve Perry Born Nov. 17, 1975 Died Oct., 2057 (Independent, 2004) I went to Steve Perry’s CD release show at the LSPU Hall in St. John’s, and it featured a wide array of talent from many who hail from the Wesleyville area of the island. Perry, originally from Newtown, follows up his last self-titled release with a new disc of eclectic folk

stylings. The title tells you it’s got dark moments within, but you also get an album of simple melodies and memorable lyrics that are strangely prolific. Starting with Same Old News, a pleasantly paced, yet morose lament of hearing the worst, Perry’s disc takes you into a world of women, relationships and mass murder – with his deep, haunting voice and a wink of dry humour. I’ve Never Been In Love is a slow, sad, thumping dirge that leads into Self Esteem (Where’ve You Been), a short tune with banjo and voices extending the jam to the end. The next song, Sleeping Beauty, is a lovely ode that examines the endearing qualities of a beautiful woman and how she appeals to the senses. I sensed the smooth guitar and eerie violin at the end by the disc’s producer and primary musician Trev Davis. House Without A Door is a favourite because of the sharp lyrics and metaphoric wit. The album picks up with more on the beautiful women theme in One Man Tent (Room For Three), and the short catchy bounce with the knowledge in Better Off Wanting. 1000 Days (Can’t Go On) is the western-style end of a few people’s lives with a few days left to go. Truly the hidden classic is made complete with the drumming of Elliot Dicks and Collin Carrigan on

guest violin. The album finishes on a similarly paced Sugar For Tea, an odd ditty with a lap slide and an organ. Sounds dirty, but it’s not. Steve Perry’s tombstone says some pretty deep things on the cover, and that’s what you’ll get inside his latest homemade folk disc. It’s honestly got something about it – something honest and yet not so easy to understand. What I do understand are the pleasant melodies, the varied instrumentation, and the mood-evoking overall sound of this indie release. I also understand it’s on a limited run locally, so if you want Perry’s brand of darkly strange folk love songs, act fast. (Reviewer’s note: Duane Andrews played in Steve Perry’s band for the CD release show … wthere’s the link.) Rick Bailey is a musician and radio DJ. His next music review will appear on April 11.


The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

LIFE & TIMES

Page 23

Ladies night Three very different women get together for a tour

By Stephanie Porter The Sunday Independent

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ackie Sullivan is very clear: Nothing against “the male species,” but the next two weeks are all about women and their songs. “There’s something very empowering about having a female tour,” she tells The Sunday Independent. “There’s something about this, something I wanted.” The this she’s referring to is a provincewide arts and culture centre concert series, proposed and produced by Sullivan. The shows feature three singer/songwriters — all from Newfoundland and Labrador, all equally billed, and all performing original music. “I saw the call for proposals and on a very quick whim I devised a business plan,” she recalls. “I didn’t want it to be any one woman’s show. I wanted it to be a women in song show.” Sullivan, a folk-pop singer with one album (Out of the Rain) under her belt and another in the works, was open to suggestions from the arts and culture programming staff on who the other two headliners would be. Jacinda Beals was an obvious choice. Another up-and-coming young artist, Beals also has one CD completed (Slip into my Skin) and one due out in 2005. “I have played all over Labrador,” says Beals, “but it’s been more difficult to get to Newfoundland. This tour will let a lot of people see me for the first time.” For the third slot, Christa Borden, recent winner of Popstars, came to mind. “She was the perfect candidate,” says Sullivan. “She had some profile through Popstars, she’s in the middle of recording an album, had lots of experience in larger venues, and is at the right point in her career to do this.” Sullivan called Borden and gave her the pitch. Borden didn’t miss a beat, accepting immediately.

Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent

Chrita Bordon and Jackie Sullivan are slated to begin their provincewide tour of arts and culturecentres on Friday, the day after the April 1 strike deadline.

And the wheels were in motion. chimes in with a smile — and actually have a story to tell.” The threat of a public sector means it. Although classically Today Borden is all enthusiasm strike — many of the arts and cul- trained, and an experienced opera and smiles, though excited about ture centre staff are union mem- singer, Borden considers this tour the tour, excited to be moving back bers — hangs over the women, her “big breakout,” her first major to Newfoundland (she currently though they’re trying not to worry opportunity to showcase her own lives in Halifax), and on top of the too much. They plan to start world after spending rehearsals tomorrow, knowthe afternoon in a ing full well there’s a possisalon. “There’s something very empowering bility the tour may be cut “The three of us, about having a female tour. There’s short, postponed, or, at our music is so difsomething about this, something I wanted.” ferent,” she says. worst, cancelled. All agree that all they can “Our backgrounds — Jackie Sullivan do is be prepared for the are different. Our best tour they can give. styles are different. Sullivan changes the subIt’s the kind of show ject and laughs as she originally pop songs. where, if you don’t like what you figured she’d end up the youngest “My contract with Popstars is see, then you don’t have to worry one on the bill. finally done, I can distance myself about it because we’re all only “And now I’m the grandmother from that experience and now … singing like six songs each.” of the tour,” she says, rolling her I’m an independent artist. I can be Sullivan agrees: “It’s evolved eyes. Hardly, at 32 (as of Monday) Christa Borden the way Christa into a show where there are three she’s just got a year on Beals, and, Borden is. very different artists. Christa is well, nine on Borden. “People will see I’m not about more pop, I’m folk and pop, Jacin“Yes, I’m the rookie,” Borden backup dancers and belly shirts. I da’s more … rock-pop I guess.”

All three relish the chance to play in theatre settings, as opposed to the bars and clubs they often perform in. Sullivan, who works full-time as a social worker, has done the arts and culture centre circuit before as part of the Music Industry Association’s Rising Star tour two years ago. Over the past couple of years, she’s organized a long list of fundraisers and events, an experience that has given her the tools she’s needed to plan this tour. “People don’t see all the work that goes on behind the show,” she says. “The meetings, the rehearsals … it’s not a blast, you’re not always out partying. It’s work, just like anybody else who’s out there 8:30 to 4:30, like I am. “Hey, I’d rather be doing music full time, but I can’t make a living at it every month.” Borden pipes up again, “Jackie and Jacinda have more experience than me. They’ve been around a little longer; know the scene a little better. I’m looking forward to learning the ropes and picking up some tips along the way.” As for Beals, she says this is her first official tour. That it is happening, she points out, goes to prove there’s an audience for women who write and perform their own songs. “There’s a great scene for women songwriters in this province. It certainly seems to be growing,” Beals says from her home in Labrador. “I know it’s true here because I just hosted the first ever all female songwriters’ circle a couple of weeks ago for the Mokami Status of Women. There was a lot of great music that night. “Most of all, I love performing and sharing my music. And (on this tour) I’ll get to do that every night. You can’t ask for more than that.” Women in Song begins April 2 in Labrador West, and wraps up April 12 in St. John’s.


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LIFE & TIMES

Events MArch 28 • Debut Atlantic artists Caitlin Tully, violin & Robert Koenig, piano, D.F. Cook Recital Hall, Memorial University of Music. • Rotary music festival, Corner Brook Arts & Culture Centre, (709) 637-2580 Continues until March 30. • Long Day’s Journey into Night, presented by Beothuck Street Players produced by Ted Quinlan, Starring Kevin Lewis and Bev Doyle, 8 p.m., LSPU Hall, St. John’s, (709) 753-4531. MArch 29 • Ballet Jörgen Canada’s production of Coppélia, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, 8 p.m., (709) 729-3900. • Debut Atlantic artists Caitlin Tully, violin & Robert Koenig, piano, Corner Brook Arts & Culture Centre, (709) 637-2580. • Lisa Robertson reading, Casual Jack’s Roadhouse, Corner Brook, 8:30. • Newfoundland and Labrador Safety Council provincial youth conference: Speak up, speak out, be heard. Holiday Inn, Portugal Cove Rd., (709) 754-0210. Continues March 30. MArch 30 • Ballet Jörgen Canada’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, 8 p.m., (709) 7293900. • Debut Atlantic artists Caitlin Tully, violin & Robert Koenig, piano, Gander Arts & Culture Centre, (709) 256-1082 • The Yellow School Bus/L’Autobus Jaune with Art Richard, Grand FallsWindsor Arts & Culture Centre, (709) 292-4520. • St. John’s Women’s Centre meeting: Self Care, 83 Military Rd., St. John’s, (709) 753-0220. • AIDS Committee of Western Newfoundland annual general meeting. Guest Speaker will be Susan Froude and the topics will include: The Stephen Lewis Foundation, AIDS, and orphaned children in Africa. Humber Community YMCA, Corner Brook, 8 p.m.

MArch 31 • Ballet Jörgen Canada’s production of Coppélia, Gander Arts and Culture Centre, 8 p.m., (709) 256-1082. APriL 1 • Ballet Jörgen Canada’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit, Gander Arts and Culture Centre, 8 p.m., (709) 256-1082 • St. John’s Folk Arts Council presents Fools for the Banjo, an evening of tunes and tales starring the banjo with Rik Barron, Neil Rosenberg & Mike Hanrahan, Crow’s Next Officer’s Club, Water St., St. John’s, 7:30 p.m., 576-8508.

Continuing in the RCA Visual gallery, LSPU Hall until April 14th is Momentary Reasons: Celebrating artists who have made a significant contribution to the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts scene. The show features Green Bay, Lily Pads (left), an etching by Jerry Evans and Cod (above), copper sculpture by Elly Cohen.

• Drawing from the Landscape, exhibition by Michael Connolly opening 7-9 p.m., St. Michael’s Printshop Gallery, St. John’s. Exhibit continues until April 30, (709) 754-2931.

APriL 2 • Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra’s A Night at the Opera, Arts & Culture Centre, 8 p.m., (709) 729-3900. • Ballet Jörgen Canada’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit, Grand FallsWindsor Arts & Culture Centre, (709) 292-4520. • High school drama festival, Stephenville Arts & Culture Centre, (709) 643-4571. Continues April 3. • Women and Song: Jackie Sullivan, Jacinda Beals, Christa Borden, Labrador West Arts & Culture Centre, (709) 9445412. • Unicef Newfoundland 4th annual dinner and silent auction, Clovelly Golf Club, St. John’s, 7 p.m., (709) 726-2430. APriL 3 • Ballet Jörgen Canada’s production of Coppélia, Grand Falls-Windsor Arts & Culture Centre, (709) 292-4520. • Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra’s A Night at the Opera, Arts & Culture Centre, 8 p.m., (709) 729-3900. • Avion Players drama festival production, Gander Arts & Culture Centre, (709) 256-1082. • Body Language, exhibit opening reception, The Leyton Gallery of Fine Art, St. John’s, 3 p.m. Featured artists, including Undrea Norris, Greg Bennett, Ray Cox, Anita Singh, Lori Doody, Elayne Greeley and more, will be present. • Another Evening of Burlesque, LSPU hall fundraising event, (709) 753-4531.

Of note: A portion of all royalties from the sale of Castles in the Sea (reviewed in The Sunday Independent, March 21, 2004 edition) is donated to the Lawrence Jackson Writers Award, a $500 award established in memory of the late author, his writing and his writing advocacy. Administered by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, the Lawrence Jackson Writers Award is sponsored by the family and friends of Lawrence Jackson and by the generous contributions of individuals to the Lawrence Jackson Trust Fund. The award is presented annually to a single applicant to the Arts Council Project Grant Program (writing category) on the basis of artistic merit, regardless of the success of the individual’s application. Further information about the award can be obtained on the NLAC website at www.nlac.nf.ca or from Reg Winsor, Executive Director, at 726-2212.

Shipping News

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eeping an eye on the comings and goings of the ships in St. John’s Harbour. Information provided by the Coast Guard Traffic Centre. Tuesday, March 23 Vessels departed: ASL Sanderling, Canada, to Corner Brook. Wednesday, March 24 Vessels departed: Maersk Chancellor, Canada, to White Rose; Maersk Nascopie, Canada, to Hibernia; Atlantic Eagle, Canada, to Terra Nova. Thursday, March 25 Vessels arrived: Maersk Chancellor, Canada, from White Rose; Maersk Norseman, Canada, from Hibernia; Maersk Gabaras, Canada, from Terra Nova. Friday, March 26 Vessels arrived: Ann Harvey, Canada, from sea; Cabot, Canada, from Montreal; Atlantic Kingfisher, Canada, from Hibernia. Vessels departed: Maersk Norseman, Canada, to Hibernia; Burin Sea, Canada, to White Rose; Sibyl W, Canada, to McCallum.

MV APOLLO Carrying 120 vehicles and 300 passengers, the MV Apollo is getting ready to leave its winter home at St. John’s harbour and return to service in the Straight of Belle Isle. The ferry runs between St. Barbe and Blanc Sablon run.

The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004


March 28, 2004

Page 25

The Sunday Independent

SPORTS

Numbers game Province’s junior male athlete of the year has a tough choice to make By David Manning The Sunday Independent

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ere are the numbers: 17, 6, 4, 210, 24 and, probably most staggering, 87. Confused? So am I. I have trouble grasping how someone so young (17), is so big (6’4”, 210 lbs), and could have accomplished so much — like being one of 24 to try out for Canada’s junior national baseball team or having a pitch that comes in at 87 miles per hour. Then again, not everyone is Ronnie Sweeney. Numerically, he’s pretty impressive, but when you get to meet him, you realize that the numbers don’t lie. A Level II student at O’Donel High School in Mount Pearl, Ronnie is much like his fellow classmates: he does his homework … sometimes, hangs with his friends, plays sports, and causes the odd bit of mischief. There is one glaring difference, besides his imposing size, that sets Ronnie apart — he’s a national calibre athlete … in more than one sport. Competing in baseball, basketball, and track and field, Sweeney excels on all fronts. He played on Newfoundland’s provincial baseball squad and was invited along with 23 other players to try out for Canada’s junior national team. On the court, he helped lead O’Donel to a 4A provincial championship, and was selected to attend Canada’s Nike Basketball Camp that showcased the top 70 high school basketball players in the country. In athletics, Sweeney was the provincial juvenile champion in the javelin and discuss. Last week, to no one’s surprise, he was named Newfoundland’s Junior Male Athlete of the Year for 2003 for his accomplishments in all three sports. Sweeney counts the award as an exceptional end to an exceptional year. “It feels great to be recognized, especially against the good athletes (John Daley and Joey Russell) nominated,” Sweeney says. In a year full of accomplishments, Sweeney counts his inclusion in the junior national baseball pool as the most rewarding. The baseball tryout caught Sweeney totally by surprise. “I turned white,” he says, reflecting on the experience. “I was one of the last names called. I didn’t move, I couldn’t believe it.” Maybe it was his fastball, clocked at 87 miles per hour, that impressed the coaches enough to give him a shot at making Team Canada this April in Florida. If chosen, Sweeney will tour the Dominican Republic with the team for a series of games. The experience will culminate later this summer when the junior squad travels to Taiwan to compete in the world championships. But things don’t come easy. Sweeney has had to make some

Photo by Paul Daly/The Sunday Independent

“Right now I’m sticking with the two (basketball and baseball) until I get to university.” And what about track and field? “I had to give that up to concentrate on baseball.” sacrifices and has encountered a few setbacks over the last few months. A thumb injury incurred late in the baseball season turned out to be a bad break, and a broken wrist during basketball season has caused him to focus his

priorities. Rather than play while hurt and risk further damage, Sweeney has opted to rest and direct his energy completely towards the national camp. The thought of having to

choose between two beloved sports weighs heavily on his mind. “Right now I’m sticking with the two (basketball and baseball) until I get to university.” And what about track and field?

“I had to give that up to concentrate on baseball,” he says. The two sports offer a contrast in sporting experiences for the young athlete. The speed and intensity of basketball keeps him interested, yet the atmosphere and relaxed nature of baseball is infectious. Track offered a different experience — Sweeney mentions concentration and self-reliance as two major aspects of individual sports. Claiming to have received his athletic ability from his dad, Sweeney, like any natural athlete, has taken to most sports quickly. The downside is that he has an extremely hard decision to make. The choice between basketball and baseball likely won’t come down to him. While he says he enjoys both, he does realize that, at some point, he’ll have to make a decision on which sport he’ll take to a higher level. “If I can’t get a university scholarship for both then I’ll obviously have to pick one pretty soon,” Sweeney says. Which one will it be? He says he doesn’t know, and based on his responses, it’s obvious he isn’t too keen on making that choice. “I guess whichever sport will take me the farthest, I’ll probably go with that one,” he says with a hint of regret. Sports, which started out as a way to have fun and make new friends has now become the road to his future. Next stop: Florida. “They’ve told us there will be scouts there to take a look at us,” Sweeney says. That has the teenager as focused and driven as ever. Saying he’ll “try his best to get noticed,” Sweeney believes he has taken the necessary steps to make it happen. “I’ve been working out for a while, trying to get in better shape. I’ve lost some weight, hopefully I’m ready.” Pitching three times a week at O’Donel gym from a wooded mound he built himself, he’s working on his pitching repertoire, hoping to add a change-up to a curveball, and his speedy fastball, and make that goal of an American university scholarship a reality. The national camp isn’t the only baseball challenge Sweeney will face in the near future. He’s moving to Ontario to play with a select team that will travel throughout the States playing games all summer. “It’s going to be a big change. In Newfoundland we play maybe 30 games a season, this summer we’ll play between 60 or 70. It should be fun.” “After this camp, I think I’ll be ready to take it to the next level,” Sweeney says confidently. What that next level includes is up in the air. And will it be with baseball or basketball? Hopefully both, if you’re Ronnie Sweeney.


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SPORTS

The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

Week In Review

by Shaun Drover

Kobe Bryant: Player or played?

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tem: Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault case continued as the alleged victim was forced to testify about her sexual history. Comment: When celebrities are involved in cases of such magnitude, it’s difficult to conclude whether they are, in fact, guilty, or being taken advantage of because of their massive bank accounts. Bryant is a huge celebrity in Los Angeles, a city full of stars. I have never been a huge fan of Bryant, but the charge against him has left me with mixed feelings. In the past, Bryant has been considered a “mama’s boy” by many of his teammates. When on the road he was known to stay in his hotel and play video games while his teammates hit the clubs. From a young age his work ethic

towards the game has been tremendous. His reputation and dedication to his profession makes it difficult to believe he is even capable of anything criminal. There can be a fine line between rape and consent and it’s perplexing to think that a player of Bryant’s status would risk his career by stepping over that line. If it wasn’t Bryant would she still have cried rape? Wilt Chamberlain admitted to sleeping with thousands of women throughout his career. For his generation, Bryant shares a similar superstar status and would normally have little difficulty finding a sexual partner. If this young girl was violated, then Bryant deserves full punishment regardless of his celebrity

Provincial athletic awards announced

T

he annual Molson awards were given out last week. A program of Sport Newfoundland and Labrador, the awards recognize the best athletic achievements in the province in 2003. The winners included Laura Murray of St. John’s who took home the Margaret Davis Memorial Award for junior female athlete of the year. Murray took the swimming community by storm, setting 12 provincial records. In addition to being named to the Atlantic allstar team, she was also the youngest competitor at the short course senior nationals. The Joe Mullins Memorial Award for junior male athlete of the year went to Ronnie Sweeney of Mount Pearl, while the Graham Snow Memorial Award for executive of the year was handed to Lise Rowe of St. John’s. Rowe is the director of competitions for Swimming Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the meet manager for the St. John’s Legends. The John Drinkwater Memorial Award for coach of the year went to Doug Partridge of St. John’s. Partridge has been developing a top quality women’s basketball

program at Memorial University for a number of years and was named the top basketball coach in the country for 2003. The Ed Browne Memorial Award for team of the year went to the Cathy Cunningham Curling Rink. The rink came from behind at the provincials to claim the 2003 Provincial Scott Tournament. Advancing to the Canadian Scott Tournament of Hearts, the team again came from behind and took a silver medal. The Elizabeth Swan Memorial Award for senior female athlete went to St. Brides native Jenine Browne of MUN’s Sea Hawk basketball squad. Browne continued to show that she is one of the top players in Canada, by dominating in the Atlantic University Basketball League. At the Canadian level, she was the leading scorer in the country, named to the all-Canadian team.   Mount Pearl swimmer George Colbert won the Fred Heyward Memorial Award for senior male athlete of the year. Colbert set three provincial records in 2003 and qualified for the 2004 Canadian Olympic trials in two events.

status. I’m sure the U.S. judicial system will uncover the truth of the matter. After all, it is a black man being tried for raping a white woman in the state of Colorado. Ya, I’m sure that will provide the stage for a fair trial. I’m in no position to decide his guilt or innocence, but I know it’s only normal to be skeptical of this woman’s claim when semen from another man was found on her underwear during a hospital exam. WILL FLATROCK FLY? Item: Does Flatrock have what it takes to mount a comeback in the Labatt Avalon East senior hockey final? Comment: It is a fair assumption to say most of us were

expecting a much closer and more exciting start to this best of seven series. Game four goes tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Southern Shore Arena where the two teams will clash once again. It is extremely difficult to rally back after such a disappointing start to the series. The ability to focus and maintain confidence after experiencing such lopsided losses is emotionally challenging. In this sport, at this time of year, lack of confidence and momentum may be a hurdle that Flatrock may not be able to jump. It can also be a wave that Southern Shore could ride to the Herder final. Either way, the winner of this series will face another tough battle in the hunt for the Herder tro-

phy. The Corner Brook Royals rolled over the Deer Lake Red Wings in four straight games in the west coast final. Todd Gillingham was named the series MVP and looks to lead Corner Brook back for another shot at the Herder. Shaun Drover’s column appears weekly.

Sports Briefs

Maharajh high school charity game Memorial’s men’s basketball team will host the third annual Maharajh high school all-star charity game this Saturday. The game will feature the best talent of high school basketball players in the province squaring

off against the Sea Hawks. The teams hit the hardwood at 7 p.m. at the MUN gym (the old Hawks nest) in the physical education building. The teams will hoop it up in a joint charity-fundraiser effort

with the Children’s Wish Foundation receiving a $1,200 donation, as well as gate proceeds being split between the foundation and MUN men’s basketball. Admission will be $3 for adults and $2 for children.

Avondale volleyballer goes national Memorial Sea-Hawks volleyball star Tom Kelly has caught the attention of Volleyball Canada and awarded a tryout for the senior men’s national team. After a stellar season that saw the Avondale native being named an AUS 1st team all-

star, Kelly will travel to Quebec for a selection camp March 2627 to duke it out with the best the country has to offer. The former University of Calgary Dino heads into the weekend with hopes of gaining experience and tips as to where he needs to improve his game

in order to play at the highest level in Canada. Sea Hawks coach Michael Hayes feels as if “This is a great honour and recognition for a tremendous athlete, and also shows progress as well as gains positive exposure for our varsity program.”

www.theindependent.ca


The Sunday Independent, March 28, 2004

SPORTS

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2005-03-28