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VOL. 3 ISSUE 18

ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR — SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, MAY 1-7, 2005

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LIFE 19

SPORTS 32

Noreen Golfman Rocks On, art that lives and breathes in St. John’s

Hockey isn’t just fun on blades — try a sled for size

Paid ‘allies’

MOVIN’ ON UP

Federal government pays tab for 11 countries to attend St. John’s fisheries conference; another Spanish trawler cited for illegal fishing on Grand Banks JEFF DUCHARME

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he federal government is paying the bill for 11 countries to attend a five-day conference on high seas fishing in St. John’s this week, The Independent has learned. Meantime, as politicians and bureaucrats gather in the capital city for the federal-sponsored conference, yet another Spanish vessel has been issued three citations for illegal fishing on the Grand Banks. The Maria Eugenia G. was cited April 21 for misreporting and mis-recording its catch, failing to keep proper stowage plans, and failing to facilitate the work of Canadian inspectors — whose investigation was halted by the ship’s captain when they began to uncover questionable cargo. The most recent incident raises to 15 the total number of citations issued to date this year — equal to the total citations issued in 2004. Nine of the citations issued in 2005 have been laid against three Spanish vessels. The conference on high seas fisheries governance, slated for Monday to Friday in St. John’s, was expected to be opened tonight (May 1) with a keynote address by Prime Minister Paul Martin. Critics say the conference is a farce, meant to pacify detractors. Ottawa is paying for one representative of each country (plus the Fisheries minister, if one attends) for 11 developing nations that have signed on to the United Nations Fish Agreement, including Iran, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Cook Islands, Fiji, India, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Namibia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. Nadia Bouffard, director of Atlantic affairs with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), says its international practice to pay for developing nations to See “The bills have,” page 2

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I disagree with that (the Gomery inquiry), I think public inquiry causes too much discussion in public.” — MP John Efford

IVAN MORGAN 7

Don’t hate the player, hate the game

The little show from George Street is about to be cast in the national spotlight. George Street TV, seen late nights on NTV, has been officially picked up by the Comedy Network. Donnie Goobie, Scott Taylor and Kent Brown carry their trademark couch on Prescott Street in downtown St. John’s. Paul Daly/The Independent

Deering denies prostitution probe ALISHA MORRISSEY

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oyal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Richard Deering has broken his silence. Deering sat down with The Independent and CBC Radio last week to discuss what the Ontario Provincial Police are — and are not — investigating. The Independent reported last week the OPP had been called in to investigate two internal Constabulary matters — described as potentially criminal in nature — within the force. One of the files has to do with the Lamer inquiry into the wrongful convictions of Randy Druken, Ronald Dalton and Gregory Parsons. The other matter, sources informed The Independent, related to a 2003 Constabulary investigation into prostitution and organized crime. The Constabulary investigation was closed

The original Constabulary investigation explored links between organized crime and prostitution in the St. John’s area, as well as the possible involvement of several “high-profile” people in the St. John’s area. Again, Deering denied the OPP investigation has anything to do with that file. He said one of the probes has to do with possible criminal activity within the RNC carried out within the past six or eight months. Helen Cleary-Escott, spokeswoman for the RCMP, says independent investigations are not uncommon and when there are no charges laid few details are released. “We would do investigations all the time and if there’s no need to — if there’s no charges then there’s no need to release any information,” she says. “If I were doing a murder investigation I wouldn’t give any of the information about who we talked to or what we said.” See “On the record,” page 10

Healthy benefits Efford may receive more than $140,000 a year in disability if diabetes forces him to retire

VOICE FROM AWAY 12

By Jeff Ducharme The Independent

Newfoundlander in Yemen

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LIFE 17

‘Mother Teresas of the art world’ Life Story . . . . . . . . . 8 Voice From Away . 12 In Camera . . . . . . . . 20 Events . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Crossword . . . . . . . 28

before completion, partly due to funding restraints. There had been two internal investigations into why the Constabulary case was dropped, as well as an external probe by the RMCP. “I can’t tell you what the OPP are here investigating, but I can comment on what they’re not investigating, and they are not here investigating anything to do with prostitution,” Deering told reporters. “In terms of discussing what they’re here for, there’s a pretty clear policy between police departments that … all the media relations aspect of that falls in the lap of the OPP so the contact on that is Inspector Detective Dave Truax.” Contacted by The Independent, Truax says the OPP investigation is confidential. He confirmed one of the investigations relates to the Lamer inquiry, refusing to release further details. He would not confirm or deny whether the second has to do with the prostitution investigation dropped by the RNC.

John Efford

Paul Daly/The Independent

atural Resources Minister John Efford may be eligible for 70 per cent of his $208,000 yearly salary under the federal government’s disability plan, according to internal documents obtained by The Independent. Efford says he’s considering quitting politics because of his diabetes — a serious condition he’s suffered from for years. Efford, who takes several insulin needles a day, says doctors have told him he’s putting his health at risk by staying in the political arena. Long hours and stress are said to be worsening his con-

dition. The MP for Avalon, who won the seat in the 2002 byelection, isn’t eligible yet for a federal pension, but he may qualify for the disability package. Efford, who’s 61, would receive health benefits until he’s 65 — if he’s declared eligible for the disability plan. Payments would be reduced by 100 per cent of benefits paid under the Canada Pension Plan, according to the internal documents. Federal Treasury Board spokeswoman Michelle Laliberte tells The Independent MPs See “One step at a time,” page 2


2 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

MAY 1, 2005

‘One step at a time’ From page 1 can eventually qualify for a pension while on disability. But if there’s an election before an MP has notched enough time to qualify for a pension they are deemed ineligible for benefits. With Conservative leader Stephen Harper threatening to put the current Liberal minority government “out of its misery” and force an election as early as June, it’s highly doubtful Efford can notch the three years it would take him to meet the six-year minimum to qualify for a pension. That’s unless he runs again, which he hasn’t ruled out either. UNWAVERING SUPPORT Efford’s unwavering support of Prime Minister Paul Martin during the Atlantic Accord negotiations and seemingly flip-flopping over the same-sex marriage issue has left him embattled. Efford’s spokesman Tom Ormsby says the minister won’t make any decision on his political future until he undergoes more testing in the coming weeks. “He’s taking everything one step at a time,” Ormsby says of Efford’s future.

Depending on the word from doctors, Ormsby says his boss recently quipped he may be “healthy enough to run in the next 10 elections. “But he has to wait for everything to come back and he talks to his doctor.” Efford, who served in the provincial legislature between 1985 and 2000, earns a provincial pension of an estimated $75,000 a year. More than two million Canadians have diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, the type Efford suffers from, occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin. With no insulin, glucose builds up in the body, leading to kidney failure, heart disease, impotence, blindness and even amputation. Sufferers must take regular insulin shots to keep glucose levels in check. Efford suffered a blackout earlier this year, which he attributed to his diabetes. In 2002, he won the federal byelection to replace Brian Tobin in the federal riding of Bonavista-TrinityConception, and was re-elected to the redrawn riding of Avalon in the June 2004 federal election. He’s served in the federal cabinet as Natural Resources minister since 2002. Federal Fisheries Minister Geoff Regan will be in St. John’s this week for a conference on high-seas fishing. At least 48 countries are expected to take part in the five-day event. Paul Daly/The Independent.

‘The bills have not come in’ From page 1 attend such conferences and it’s important for Canada to bring “allies” to the table. “The bills have not come in so I can’t tell you what the total budget will be for (the conference),” Bouffard says. The conference is expected to focus attention on governance of high-seas fisheries. Foreign fishing outside Canada’s 200-mile limit is said to be a primary reason why domestic groundfish stocks haven’t recovered since the early 1990s, despite commercial fishing bans. Ottawa announced Friday an additional $20 million will be spent over three years to combat foreign overfishing — but the money won’t go directly towards policing the Grand Banks. Instead, the funding will be directed to pay for an “ambassador for fisheries conservation,” a $500,000 contribution to the United Nations Fish Agreement to help developing nations manage straddling and migratory fish stocks, and fund Canada’s involvement in a number of fishing organizations. “It (the conference) is a big sham job,” says Gus Etchegary, a retired fishing industry executive and outspoken critic of overfishing and DFO. Over the past decade, more than 300 citations have been issued against foreign vessels for illegal fishing. Most of the citations were issued without publicity, often against boats that have been cited frequently but face no penalty in their home country. Canada has been repeatedly called upon to take custodial management of the Grand Banks.

Federal Fisheries Minister Geoff Regan says custodial management is still an option. “It’s on the table and it remains on the table and, of course, I’m looking forward to the report of the advisory panel on straddling stocks, headed by Dr. Art May,” Regan tells The Independent. He expects that report to be on his desk in June. In recent years, Ottawa calculates foreign fleets have increased the catch of illegal species — including cod and American plaice — to as much as 15,000 tonnes. At that level, Regan has said fish stocks face “virtual destruction” in as little as three to five years. At the time of boarding by Canadian inspectors, the Maria Eugenia G. had 255 tonnes of groundfish on board — including 91 tonnes of turbot. Morley Knight, director of conservation and protection with DFO in St. John’s, says the latest incident was more a concern for what inspectors couldn’t see. “Upon inspecting the after part of the main hold, our inspectors found continuing boxes of Greenland halibut (turbot) below three boxes of hake,” Knight tells The Independent. “The master then stopped the inspectors from moving any more boxes.” Knight says there was no way to know how much turbot was actually onboard after the master refused them further access to the main hold. The ship is now en route to its homeport of Spain where it’s expected to be inspected by local officials. The story, says Knight, is similar to

citations laid April 17 against the Matrioska — a Russian-flagged vessel that ports in Spain. The ship was cited for over reporting its catch of shrimp by 12 tonnes. Canadian inspectors suspect the shrimp was actually over reported to cover an illegal catch of turbot. The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) regulates fishing outside Canada’s 200-mile limit on the high seas. The organization is seen as toothless, unable to enforce the quotas it sets. Regan says the St. John’s conference doesn’t have anything to do with NAFO. At the same time, the conference is expected to deal with some of the weaknesses of the organization — including the objection procedure, which allows countries to disregard quotas and unilaterally set their own. “We want to increase the pressure to remove procedures like that,” says Regan. Entitled The Governance of High Seas Fisheries and the UN Fish Agreement — Moving Words into Action, the conference will include workshops on fisheries-related issues. More than 48 countries will take part, including environmental groups such as Greenpeace. Regan says the conference is a necessary step in changing global attitudes. “The way you get international achievements is by building consensus and that’s why, as frustrating as it is, as long as it does take, it’s important to work at the international level and it’s important to have meetings like we’re having in St. John’s.”


MAY 1, 2005

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 3

By Jamie Baker The Independent

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ime magazine talks of his “effective combination of guile, determination, charm and street smarts,” and calls him “one of Canada’s most effective and entertaining leaders.” Saturday Night identifies him as “all business” and talks of his Irish temper and unwavering stand in the face of opposition. Toro magazine tagged him “one part Ted Turner, one part Johnnie Cochrane, and one part Don Cherry.” He was Atlantic Business magazine’s newsmaker of 2004 and has been profiled by everyone from CBC Television’s The National to The Boston Globe and MacLean’s. Whether you agree with the analyses or not, there’s no doubt Premier Danny Williams is getting his fair share of national ink, continuing months after his war with the federal government over offshore oil revenues. Steven Frank, Time’s Canadian bureau chief, recently compiled an indepth profile of Williams and, in doing so, thinks he may have come across the province’s next candidate for the country’s top job. “Danny Williams as prime minister? It would be great,” Frank tells The Independent. “It might be good to have someone not born in central Canada leading the country. Maybe Danny Williams will be the man.” In politics as in life, however, timing is everything. There have been many Newfoundlanders on the short list for prime ministerial material — John Crosbie, Clyde Wells and Brian Tobin have all been the flavour of the month when it comes to speculation about future prime ministers. But they all eventually fell off the radar. Crosbie couldn’t speak “en Français”; Wells didn’t have the charismatic gusto; and Tobin was trampled by the stampede supporting Paul Martin. While many in central Canada were “impressed” with how Williams took on the federal government over the Atlantic Accord, Frank says Williams could prove to be more than a one-hit wonder. “He is showing strong leadership at a time when there are not a lot of strong leaders in the country — he’s grabbing national headlines by making sure the needs of Newfoundland are heard,” Frank says. “He seems to be accomplishing things one item at a time and that’s setting him apart from his predecessors.” Kevin O’Brien, the MHA for Gander and parliamentary secretary to the pre-

Dannymania Premier getting huge mainland media exposure; talk of ‘Prime Minister Williams’ making rounds mier, had a rough go in the House of Assembly on April 21 when Liberal Opposition leader Roger Grimes suggested O’Brien “… was brown for a while, trying to impress the leader, trying to impress the premier, to see if he might get considered for cabinet.” Grimes later withdrew his “brownnoser” remarks. Opposition jibes notwithstanding, O’Brien says there’s no denying the impact Williams has had in putting the province on the national and even international map. “I think there’s various people and governments around the world that are interested in Newfoundland and

The Martin-Layton follies Editor’s note: John Crosbie’s twice-a-month column isn’t due to appear in The Independent until next Sunday, but he took the time to write a poem as a special political treat. Paul Martin our vaunted economic savior, Has not matched expectations with behaviour, Balanced budgets no longer in style, Since Minority Government is really quite vile. The New Democratic Party will save him from harm, $4.6 billion for them has great charm. Big spenders they’re now a cozy coalition, To stay in power their real left-wing mission. What difference about some fraud and corruption, Liberal patronage, payoffs and deception, Allied with the righteous and the saintly, The sins of the Liberals will dim faintly! The NDP hitherto morally and ethically straight, Not caring about their electoral fate Both righteous and red! Are now bent more broadly than even their Ed, As they leap to the rescue of the morally dead! Jack Layton has laid down the line, To gain power ’tis worth crawling through sponsorship slime, And returning a gain to the scene of the crime! As the socialists give their helping hand, To the most flawed politicians in the land! Liberals believe to be in power is sublime, No matter what it takes at any time, To have power, influence, patronage, rewards, To divide among the Liberal and socialist hoards. I watch with glee to observe the verbose, Rush forward to join the Liberals as toast!

Labrador due to the heightened awareness the premier has brought with the Atlantic Accord and so on,” O’Brien says. “He has the ability within his own character to command attention, and he doesn’t mind tackling the various issues that have to be tackled with regards to Newfoundland and Labrador. “It’s a great advantage.” Noting Brian Tobin was “one of the great communicators” in federal politics, Frank says the way in which Williams has commandeered international exposure isn’t as much about charisma as it is about results.

“Danny Williams seems to be getting things done — maybe that’s the big qualifier here,” Frank says. “I think that’s what his strength is: he finds out what the issue is and he works on it until it’s done.” While probably not as polished as the Tobin’s of the world, and relatively inexperienced as a politician, Williams is learning the game at a rapid rate, Frank says. “I think he’s effective in using the media to promote his message and to get the message and needs of Newfoundland out to the rest of Canada,” he says. “He realizes, I think, you can jump up and down and scream

all you want, but unless someone can hear you, you’re not going to get anywhere. “Momentum is a hard thing to get going and I think he’s actually doing that. He has had a tremendous start, but we’ll see how he does.” O’Brien says Williams’ knowledge of issues and the way in which he relays his message leaves little room for media manipulation. “He’s got the ability to articulate a view and an issue in a way that everyone can understand,” O’Brien says. “I think this kind of attention will hold us in good stead for a long, long time to come.”

‘We need jobs for Newfoundland’ Hard to pinpoint number of federal government jobs eliminated in this province over last decade Alisha Morrissey The Independent

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hen it comes to calculating the number of federal jobs lost in Newfoundland and Labrador in recent years, it’s practically impossible. Statistics Canada reports there are approximately 8,300 federal government employees in the province today — including those working at postal outlets and other so-called federal government business enterprises — compared to 12,818 in 1993. That’s a loss of 4,518 jobs. Officials with the province’s labour front, however, say more than 9,000 federal jobs have been lost going back to 1992. Larry Welsh, regional representative for the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the union representing federal employees in the province, says severe cuts to federal jobs in the mid-to-late 1990s saw a huge number of jobs lost across the country, but there’s been little to no recovery in this province. Shifting positions — and sometimes whole departments — to other provinces is the problem, Welsh says,

but government’s latest strategy to cut costs sees departments shaving five per cent off each of their budgets as opposed to across-the-board cuts. “It’s a slower approach than when … they came out and said we’re cutting 25,000,” Welsh tells The Independent. “The new approach is a chipping away and it’s not as noticeable.”

“It’s a slower approach than when … they came out and said we’re cutting 25,000. The new approach is a chipping away and it’s not as noticeable.” Larry Welsh Welsh says the province’s federal cabinet representative, John Efford, has been a detriment when it comes to attracting federal jobs here. “If you had a cabinet minister and he

had the ear of the cabinet and the ear of the prime minister and the who’s who and that was one of their priorities — that was what they talked about when they went to meetings — we need jobs for Newfoundland,” Welsh says. He says he’d be “surprised” if Efford “has even thought about it.” Efford disagrees. “That’s not only been a priority of mine — because there may be or there may not be an election — it’s priority No. 1,” he says. “When you look at the number of federal jobs here in Newfoundland per capita and compared to other parts of the country there’s some areas of the country which is greater than Newfoundland and some that have got the same problems that we’ve got here.” According to Statistics Canada, the provinces with the lowest proportional number of federal government employees are Alberta (82 federal employees per 1,000), Ontario (85 per 1,000) and Quebec (93 per 1,000). Newfoundland and Labrador has 109 federal employees per 1,000 people. (Of course, the province’s population See “Federal jobs” page 9


4 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

MAY 1, 2005

Stand by your Dan Manning turfed from post after going public on crab plan; no intentions to run federally or cross floor By Jamie Baker The Independent Fabian Manning may not like what’s going on in the political sandbox right now, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to take his ball and go home. Manning, Tory MHA for Placentia-St. Mary’s, was removed from his parliamentary secretary’s post by Premier Danny Williams last week after going public with concerns about what he feels was a lack of consultation in implementing the new raw materials sharing plan for the crab fishery. The raw material sharing system, set-up as a two-year pilot project, caps the amount of crab each plant gets, but effectively guarantees each plant will receive a set amount of crab to process. Government claims the plan ensures regional stability as a result of a more orderly fishery. Fishermen and their union, who say the plan unfairly favours processors, have been protesting daily at the House of Assembly and have blockaded Placentia Bay and St. John’s Harbour in protest of the plan. Late last week, government offered to whittle the two-year project down to one year, but the offer was rejected by the union. Manning says he went public with his concerns knowing full well there would be consequences. He shoots down any suggestion he made the move to spur his personal popularity for a possible federal election run. Manning admits he has been contacted about running federally but, he says, half the members of the Tory caucus have also been called. “My interest in federal politics is not even a question — this situation is much bigger than Fabian Manning and the pay cheque I receive,”

Fabian Manning

Manning tells The Independent. “This is an issue that’s fundamental to the future of rural Newfoundland and Labrador. “I’m telling you, we have a major problem on our hands.” If the Liberals are rubbing their hands together in anticipation Manning might cross the floor to join the opposition, they may as well forget it. Manning says he may have lost a $25,000 chunk of

deter him from “speaking on behalf of the people of my district.” He says he’s been expressing his concerns within the caucus since the plan was announced on March 2. “I’ve travelled throughout my district and met with fishermen and plant workers, as well as community leaders, and I can’t find anybody who’s comfortable with what we’re doing here.” Manning says it’s not that he doesn’t agree with government’s plan for the crab fishery as much as he dislikes the way in which it was implemented — without consultation. He welcomed news that at least some dialogue was taking place last week, even though the union rejected government’s offer to reduce the plan from two years to one. “My proposal last week was to get some good, concrete dialogue started and to reassess the position and put together some offers. I am pleased at least there’s discussions going on and some movement to get this issue resolved. That’s been my message all along.” He says people in the industry, who are directly affected by such a plan, including fishermen, plant workers and processors, should be able to Paul Daly/The Independent sit at the table to plot a course of action. “We have a fishing industry that’s worth a bilsalary, but that doesn’t mean he’s going anywhere. lion dollars and we’re going to make a funda“I have no plans to cross. I never gave it a first mental change to a crucial part of it, but we’re thought, let alone a second thought. The fact is I not going to consult with the people that are out consider myself an employee of the people in there involved in it? I have a problem with that. “I understand their position and their right to Placentia-St. Mary’s. I’m here to represent them. “I plan on staying a member of the party, even hold that position. But I also have a right to though I fundamentally disagree with govern- speak out for my people. If that’s contrary to what government is doing, that’s all I can do ment’s process here.” Manning says he won’t allow inside politics to about that.”

SHIPPING NEWS

Rhonda Hayward/The Independent

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

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27 No report

MONDAY, APRIL 25 Vessels arrived: Maersk Placentia, Canada, from Hibernia; Katrina Charlene, Canada, from Burin; ASL Sanderling, Canada, from Halifax. Vessels departed: Cabot, Canada, to Montreal.

THURSDAY, APRIL 28 Vessels arrived: Jean Charcot, Britain, from sea; Atlantic Eagle, Canada, from Terra Nova; Maersk Challenger, Canada, from Aberdeen. Vessels departed: George R. Pearkes, Canada, to sea; Aveirense, Portugal, to sea; Atlantic Eagle, Canada, to Bull Arm.

TUESDAY, APRIL 26 No report

FRIDAY, APRIL 29 No report


MAY 1, 2005

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 5

John Efford

Norm Doyle

Photos by Paul Daly/The Independent

Ready to run Rumours rampant about who’s running federally; Efford says election ‘long ways off’ By Jamie Baker The Independent

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here may only be seven federal ridings in Newfoundland and Labrador, but there’s no shortage of speculation as to how things could play out should the writ be dropped in the coming weeks. Most of the federal election rumours are swirling in Avalon, where Liberal MP and Natural Resources Minister John Efford is contemplating retirement based on declining health. Efford, who has seen his public support plummet in the wake of the Atlantic Accord talks, says his health (diabetes specifically) — not polls — will determine whether he runs. Meantime, he says he’s not convinced there will even be a federal election. “Well an election’s not coming up for a long while yet — as much as Stephen Harper would like to have one I think it’s going to be a long ways off,” Efford tells The Independent. The only place where there are wholesale guarantees is Labrador. There will be a by-election there on May 24 to replace the seat left vacant by the death of Lawrence O’Brien unless a general election is called beforehand. In St. John’s South, it had been speculated incumbent Conservative MP Loyola Hearn might jump to Avalon if Efford retires. Sources close to Hearn— a likely candidate for a cabinet portfolio if the Conservatives win government — say that’s not the case. As for possible opponents, Siobhan Coady carried the Liberal banner against Hearn the last time out and hasn’t ruled out giving it another shot. “I do have a desire to represent what I consider the new Newfoundland and Labrador in Ottawa, so obviously I’m considering it,” Coady says. In St. John’s North, Conservative Norm Doyle is leaving no doubt his name will be on the ballot seeking reelection. “I am running, and I’ve had every intention of running no matter when an election happens, whether it’s a month from now, a year from now or two years from now,” he says. Contacted by The Independent, former provincial cabinet minister Walter Noel confirms he’s thinking about having another crack at Doyle. As with every federal election, a number of sitting MHAs and cabinet ministers are said to be contemplating making the jump — including Tom Rideout and Ed Byrne. Byrne, sitting MHA for Kilbride and the province’s Natural Resources minister, nixed the idea of running federally, saying it hasn’t even crossed his mind. “It’s not even a story b’y,” Byrne says. “I’ve spent 11 years getting where I am now. I’m here and I have no interest in running in federal politics. I’m happy and content where I am. “I’m not interested and I haven’t talked to anyone about it.” Rideout, MHA for Lewisporte and the province’s Transportation minister, is said to be considering running either in Bonavista-Exploits against incumbent Liberal Scott Simms or possibly in Avalon. Rideout did not return The Independent’s telephone messages. While there may be no shortage of

rumours, there is a shortage of one important thing in most districts — cash. Many associations are still reeling from the last federal election, and the prospect of having to ante up for another round in such short order is creating headaches. “No question it will be tough on all associations across the country,” says Holly Pike, NDP riding president for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte. She’s considering running again against Liberal incumbent Gerry Byrne. “I can’t imagine many associations have much cash in hand — I know we don’t — with the last election only months ago.” “It makes things a lot more difficult in terms of donations, because there’s only so much you can collect,” says St. John’s North Conservative riding president David Hurley. “The only consola-

The areas for the east end of St. John's include: Elizabeth Ave west Lemarchant Rd./Lime St. Gower/Bond St. Signal Hill Rd. Churchill Sq. area Fox Ave. area Airport Heights area

tion we have is that the other parties are in the same boat.” Another issue factoring into the election debate is whether the sponsorship scandal is preventing big-name Liberal candidates from stepping forward. Noel, for one, says the Gomery inquiry won’t impact his final decision. “I ran last time in spite of the sponsorship scandal and it was a big issue then,” Noel says. “As a matter of fact, were it not for that issue, the Liberals probably would have returned with a fairly comfortable majority. For the past two years we’ve been pre-occupied with this partisan politics and the business of the country is not getting done.” Coady says the opposition parties should let the Gomery inquiry finish before attempting to force an election so all the details can be known to voters and clear-minded decisions can be

made. “If we can get to the bottom of this, I think that will shed a great amount of light on the intricacies of government,” Coady says. “My concern is, if we go into this early, that won’t take place and it will deter anyone from ever doing so again.” While Efford touted Prime Minister Paul Martin’s “courage” in dealing with the issue, in a surprising statement, he says he doesn’t agree with how pub-

licly the situation has been handled. “The prime minister called the Gomery inquiry to let Canadians know very clearly that he disagrees with any wrong doings in the system that he wanted to get this out in the public … I disagree with that,” Efford says. “I think public inquiry causes too much discussion in public. He wanted to be honest and he wanted to be clear with Canadians.” — With files from Alisha Morrissey


6 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

MAY 1, 2005

OUR VOICE

Beware the Chinese bearing gifts I

read with some trepidation last week China’s state oil company was making major investments in the Alberta oil sands, and Husky Oil was also aggressively spending in the Canadian oil and gas industry. Having spent a lot of time in China over a five-year span, including having operational offices in Hong Kong and Taiwan, the news sent shivers up my spine. Let me put to rest any thoughts that I am xenophobic. The Chinese are a truly remarkable people and I continue to have a network of close personal and business relationships there. Their culture is one of the most ancient on earth; they were pushing the advances of civilization when my ancestors were deciding which mud and stone village to rape and plunder. My fear comes from an appreciation I gained of what is happening politically and economically in China these days. Perhaps my point is best explained by some personal anecdotes. About four years ago I was standing in a large field outside the city of Ningbo, a beautiful tourism destination in mainland China. Rich in history, architecture, and culture, it was one of their “smaller” cities, prob-

BRIAN DOBBIN

Publish or perish ably only 10 million people or so. I was in the company of provincial and city development officials and they were explaining their plans to construct a major industrial park on the land. Now their version of an industrial site is not ours. Instead of warehouses and lay down areas, they mean high-tech manufacturing centers in a planned community for people to work, stay, and recreate. I had visited one in Taiwan that had 70,000 employees and produced $18 billion US in revenue the year before. The officials explained that within a few months they would have the major infrastructure complete and companies and developers such as ourselves would be able to start building the structures necessary for the park. As they said this I looked out over small houses and farms as far as the eye could see, with animals being penned and crops in the field. I asked how long

YOUR VOICE Calling Abitibi’s bluff Dear editor, Just as Grand Falls-Windsor was celebrating its centennial association with the pulp and paper industry and the founding of our wonderful town, its people are about to lose their very culture. It is to be snatched away from us by a company with a cash-flow problem and a need for more profit, a company that has been, for some decades now, harping on the need for more concessions. It matters not how smartly the loghaul crew keeps the logs moving on the belt. It is futile to discuss the quality of the stock and paper testing. It is truly of little concern how fast the machines turn and the amount of pride with which the machine crew starts a new reel and delivers a new batch of paper on the shipping floor. Nor does it matter if the lowly broke hustler does an honest day’s work. What odds if the paper trucks get to Botwood in a timely and safe fashion. In the giant scheme of things, the mill worker can work his fingers to the bones and no one gives a tinker’s dam — except the worker, and his family, and his community. Cash-flow problems are not an explanation for depriving some 125 workers of a job. Cash flow is a bookkeeping term that means a company has over-extended itself and has too many irons in the fire. Cash flow will not suffice as a reason for destroying the culture our people developed for 100 years. We are a town of rabbits, moose and house parties. We are a town of gen-

erosity and compassion. We are a town of veterans and legionnaires and church organizations. We are the offspring of the finest and most courageous baymen that Newfoundland has ever spawned. Yes, I am grateful my father had 48 years employment in the mill. Yes, I am thankful I could finance my university education as a member of the Local 63 union, but by God the business world of papermaking should be appreciative too. They should appreciate the fact we let them cut our forests for years without any reforestation. They should be grateful our people were not sluggards, but true craftsmen. They should acknowledge how freely we let them draw on the power of the Exploits River, a power that was our birthright. Finally, they should realize we did not give them our forests and rivers so that they can harness our rivers for extra profit, work our people to death with unrealistic production demands and take raw material from our timberlands and ship it off to bolster a second mill while this one is diminished. Maybe it’s time we stopped being pawns in an economic game in which the company thinks it holds all the cards, and called their bluff. How curious it is that our paper company is now at its most militant when the aroma of some $2.2 billion is wafting down from Ottawa. If we are weak, our survival may depend on some of those dollars. Aubrey Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor

‘Tell Danny to fly a kite’ Dear editor, The opinion of Trevor Taylor published in The Southern Gazette on April 19th shows a very biased and untruthful attempt to justify government’s misguided policy on the raw material sharing program. The program is grossly discriminatory against fisherman, and makes them virtual slaves to the processors. It also shows the level of contempt the Tory government holds for fisherman. A fisherman cannot exert the same negotiation strength as before the raw material sharing program. It is obvious the government consulted with the Association of Seafood Producers. Taylor tells us the cabinet was briefed in February on the pitfalls facing the industry this year. He stated they had to act to save the fishery.

Mr. Taylor, along with the other ministers, was brainwashed. I have never seen a processor go bankrupt. I have seen them merge. I have seen them con millions from governments. They can go to the Maritimes, the U.S.A and buy up plants. The action shows how barren the minds of the Williams’ government are. If they really want to improve the lives of plant workers they should be fighting for increases in cod quotas. Mr. Taylor has had a remarkable transformation — from fisherman to hardnosed company-supporting hack. Maybe he should re-evaluate his career options. He is still young and if he has the guts to tell Danny to fly a kite, he may survive and earn his pension. Joseph Edwards, Lawn

AN INDEPENDENT VOICE FOR NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR

P.O. Box 5891, Stn.C, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, A1C 5X4 Ph: 709-726-4639 • Fax: 709-726-8499 www.theindependent.ca • editorial@theindependent.ca The Independent is published by The Sunday Independent, Inc. in St. John’s. It is an independent newspaper covering the news, issues and current affairs that affect the people of Newfoundland & Labrador.

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

they thought it would take to acquire the property and what difficulties they anticipated expecting people to move off land that had probably been cultivated for generations, centuries perhaps, in their families. The response was that everyone would be gone by the end of the week as the bulldozers were arriving Monday morning. I came back to that site less than three months later and the roads were paved and streetlights working. I imagine a lot of those farmers are now living in the new apartment monoliths that go up every day there. The second personal experience I had that highlights my point is an investment deal I was involved in with the owner of Red Dragon cigarettes, a premium Chinese brand. I toured one of his factories in a province of 80 million inhabitants (again, not their largest by any means). The amount of cigarettes spitting out of the machinery was incalculable. I imagine they rounded off to the nearest million when they did their daily inventory. This was a man of significant wealth. The owner was an investor in a proposed high-tech Newfoundland industrial park the Taiwanese government wanted to build here (another story … probably a three-column series). When we met at the signing ceremony to announce his Canadian investment, I noticed he brought with him a smaller older man. Not dressed in the expensive clothes our cigarette man was wearing, he looked slightly rumpled and out of place as he stepped out of the latemodel Mercedes sedan our investor arrived in.

I asked my partner who this man was, and why was he being treated with such obvious deference by everyone. It was explained to me that he was the senior party official responsible for the cigarette industry. One word from this individual and our wealthy investor was out of the cigarette business and all of the benefits it provided him. Needless to say, a lot of people kissed rumple suit’s ass that day. What I learned was there is a very unique blend of dictatorial communism and entrepreneurial capitalism evolving in China. The Chinese rightly believe this is their century. The 19th belonged to the Europeans, the 20th to the North Americans, and this 100 years will see the sheer number of new affluent consumers in China overwhelm what have been the traditional economic powers. So why the shivers at their investment dollars? Because the environmental and economic pressures of the western world are slowly but surely being addressed through our system of social democracy. Yes, we consume unjustly a significant majority of the world’s resources, not the least of which is fossil fuels, but because environmental groups are allowed to protest and citizens can speak out, there are systemic brakes in the western world to runaway capitalism. In my opinion, these brakes do not exist in the China of today. If global warming concerns you now, wait for Chinese industry to flex its muscle. The five most polluted cities currently in the world are in China. That scares me.

Does this mean they should not be allowed to develop their economies like we did? Of course not. But remember, you are dealing with a governance system that allows no debate, no free speech, no lawsuits to stop environmental destruction. The party decides what it wants to do and does it — end of story. Does this make their money less valuable? No, but the incredible consumptive forces the Chinese will bring to bear in the next decades are something we should all be concerned about. I don’t know what the answer is; I wish I did. Some of my very worldly and sophisticated Chinese friends suggest that without the complete authority of communism, that part of the world would truly spin out of control with the combined energies of hundreds of millions of new capitalists and consumers. From what I have seen there, I cannot debate that point too long, but I Iike to hold onto the naiveté that lets me believe freedom of speech and choice is truly the only way for us to evolve and deal with some of these enormous challenges we will all face globally over the next century. Maybe we may escape the inevitable crisis that will occur when oil and steel are so costly only the wealthiest can afford to drive, when the basic living costs include oxygen or ultraviolet radiation treatment, but will our children? The multinational corporations and western governments love to talk about the size of the Chinese markets that are developing, but I fear by the time we start asking these questions, it may be too late.

Talking at them

D

anny Williams must have learned by now a Newfoundland fisherman isn’t as easy to put in his place as the prime minister of Canada. Paul Martin is a joke compared to the skippers who play chicken with 76,000-tonne oil tankers in Placentia Bay. Williams is talking to them like (and this may send him over the edge) a townie lawyer, just what he doesn’t want to do. Martin backed down, fishermen won’t. Williams is the god of the moment in Newfoundland and Labrador; everybody, and his mother, loves him; he’s the darling b’y of the mainland media — Time, Saturday Night, MacLeans; he can do no wrong; he is our champion the same as Tobin, Wells, Peckford and Smallwood before him. That kind of stroking breeds arrogance. Arrogance breeds failure. Williams has to be careful not to get too cocky. As wonderful and winning as he is, the premier’s reputation won’t get him over this particular blockade in the political sea lane. A premier with two years experience under his belt can’t expect to waltz into an industry with a 500-year history, turning it on its head, without explaining himself fully. The kind of change that Williams is pushing (even if it’s one year instead of two) must be carefully fed to rural Newfoundland, so that it doesn’t choke the life out of the messenger. Remember how, during the NAPE strike, Williams had the nerve to walk out the backdoor of Confederation Building and chat with strikers on the picket line? Notice how he isn’t spending any

RYAN CLEARY

Fighting Newfoundlander time down on the wharf these days? Does Williams believe in what he’s doing to the crab fishery the same way he believes in how he’s handling our cheque book? Or is the premier giving his golden boy, Trevor Taylor, too much rope? The answer isn’t clear, which is why the public seems divided on the issue. Case in point, backbencher MHA Fabian Manning has been forced to walk the plank. (Williams’ ship is sound enough not to suffer a mutiny, although there’s said to be more than a hint of turmoil in caucus.) Both sides of the crab issue have points. Government’s point is the crab fishery needs stability; so does rural Newfoundland. No one can argue that. Fishermen, on the other hand, have every right to fear a system that favours plant owners — descendents of the same merchant system that enslaved them for generations. How would Williams have reacted when he owned Cable Atlantic if the federal government limited the homes where he could sell cable? He would have went mental, of course. Talk about the U.S. testing a missile over the Grand Banks, Williams would have fired a ball of TV antennas at Ottawa from the top of Signal Hill. It’s more than a little ironic that one of this province’s most successful businessmen is tinkering with the same

free-market economy that made him a multi-millionaire. It’s one thing for a premier of this place to take on the might of the federal government, to give Ottawa a swift kick in the arse, to do a David and Goliath on Martin’s head; it’s quite another thing to mess with Joe Fishermen from Average Cove. Ottawa can always be bashed to score a few points. Outport Newfoundland is sacred ground. For a master communicator, Williams needs to work on his communication skills. Talk to fishermen, Mr. Premier. Tell them why your government’s plan is a good one. Tell them why they have nothing to be worried about. Visit the wharfs; ease their fears. Don’t ignore them, ban them from the legislature, and vow your way or the highway. The premier made Martin live up to his election promise. Fishermen expect the same from the premier, whose government promised consultation before implementation. In the end, Williams landed the new Atlantic Accord deal, but it still may end up dead in the water. The bill may never pass before a federal election, and Martin may have had the last laugh (even if he’s out of office). Williams has the power to get his own way again this time, but if he doesn’t handle the crab dispute right, win or lose, fishermen — representing so much of rural Newfoundland and Labrador — may also have the last laugh … at the polls. Ryan Cleary is managing editor of The Independent. ryan.cleary@theindependent.ca


MAY 1, 2005

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 7

Writing Paul Martin’s epitaph I

was watching MuchMusic the other evening, happy to be doing nothing in particular, when I was suddenly presented with the spectacle of OutKast’s Big Boi grinning at me from my TV screen. Smiling the confident smile of the truly successful, he leaned into the camera and said “Don’t hate the player — hate the game.” It immediately struck me: that line could be Paul Martin’s epitaph. I apologize to anyone who reads me regularly. Writing about Gomery again? Yup. How could I not? We are watching the destruction of the federal Liberal Party of Canada. We have witnessed the spectacle of a man — Paul Martin — who apparently cannot discern the difference between a crisis for his party and a crisis for the country. Alphonso Gagliano, once a powerful man in Quebec, now a shabby joke, issues a press release accusing Martin of destroying the party and possibly the country. That’s how long they have been in power. They

IVAN MORGAN

Rant & reason think the party dying is the country dying. It is the Liberal party that is dying. Paul Martin is killing it. I have never seen what others saw in Mr. Martin. Much has been made of his so-called business “genius.” I get tired of unfettered rapacious heartless greed being touted as a virtue to be admired. From what I understand, he moulded a successful shipping industry by arranging his affairs in such a way that he didn’t have to pay Canadian wages or maintain Canadian safety standards for his employees. This is brilliance? Furthermore, his career as a Finance minister entailed taking a lot of benefits away from people who paid their taxes to receive them. And he didn’t even

lower their taxes. A lot of kids have massive student loans because of him. A lot of people didn’t get the medical treatment they deserved because of him. I could go on. Tommy Douglas he ain’t. As a CEO of his own company he would not have tolerated — not for one second — the kind of slipshod financial governance that allows $100 million to disappear unaccounted for. Anyone in his company who did anything comparable would have been fired. Pronto. Yet he asks us for our forgiveness. As a politician he hated the Chretienites so much the line between “us” and “them” was fatally blinded. He might of thought there were two different Liberal parties, but Canadians don’t. Chretien knew there wasn’t. He boobytrapped the office before he left, and walked away chuckling, wondering if Martin was smart enough to defuse it. He wasn’t. Sadder still is the fact that he, as Liberal prime minister, had to cut a deal with Jack Layton. I am pretty sure I

would rather go down in flames. Not that we won’t all benefit from the changes to the budget — we will. But Martin looks desperate. Why make the leader of the fourth place political party in the House look prime ministerial? There are worse things than electoral defeat. We are seeing that now. Saddest of all is that the very force that makes the Liberal party strong — that collective sucking up for power and privilege — is now unravelling at an astonishing rate. Not only at the Gomery inquiry, but across the country. The glue that holds the Liberals in power, the unshakable certainty that they — and they alone — will control access to the cookie jar, is weakening by the day. The suck-ups and the self-promoters — the backbone of the Liberal party — are staying at home. A lot of folks who have been tub-thumping Liberals for years will now quietly slip from sight. To paraphrase the great American film producer Samuel Goldwyn, in the next election they will stay away in droves.

Yet, strangely enough, I still think Paul Martin is fundamentally a decent guy. Furthermore, I think there is no question he would make a better prime minister than Stephen Harper. It doesn’t matter. There are rules to the game of politics. I didn’t write them and neither did Martin. A strong leader can re-write those rules. Martin won’t. He played the game and misjudged at every point. The poor man is even reduced to taking crap from Bono. When will it end? I think he’s a decent, principled, conscientious man caught up in a political maelstrom not of his making. And it is going to bring him down. It is going to bring down the Liberal Party of Canada. It is going to inflict a Harper government on us all. Thanks to the vagaries of time and circumstance, a good man has put us all in a very bad spot. But don’t hate the player. Hate the game. Ivan Morgan can be reached at ivan.morgan@gmail.com

CRAB PROTEST

YOUR VOICE Average Quebecer a ‘Fast Eddie’ at our political pool table Editor’s note: The following letter was written to The Independent regarding a recent column by Bill Rowe published in The Telegram. Dear editor, No Mr. Rowe, I don’t think you will get your wish. I don’t believe the federal Liberal-sponsored corruption in Quebec will enrage Quebecers to the point of separation. At least I hope not. However, if we had enough people like you, trying to be another Margaret Wente, then I could be wrong. Having lived in Quebec during the so-called Quiet Revolution, I can assure you most Quebecers have a very finely tuned political awareness. Compared to some of our Newfoundland political wannabes, even the average Quebecer is a “Fast Eddie” at our political pool table. As one of our learned elite you should know that for every Laurier or Trudeau, la belle province has always had its Louis-Joseph Papineau, Levesque or Bouchard to tell Quebecers they have been victimized by the English-federal conspiracy. As a lawyer, you should be aware of the depth of damage to the soul and spirit of a true victim or one who has been repeatedly told they are a victim. Ask yourself why, in the early 1990s,

our justice system finally evolved to the point where victim impact statements became a reality — at least on paper! Yes, the sponsorship scheme was exactly what it has been called — a scandal. That said, I would be first to say go ahead and spend another $200 million or $300 million of our tax dollars in Quebec tomorrow, proving it would be spent to present researched, factual historical, financial and even political data to our fellow Canadian citizens in Quebec. On radio you, Mr. Rowe, refer to your staggering insights. Could you not see the only weapon of mass destruction the “gang of separatists” have is the wall of lies and deceit erected by the politicians. Quebec has been allowed to graduate hydro-electrical engineers who know nothing about the upper Churchill, PhDs who know nothing about the 1927 Privy Council or the existence of a Quebec-Labrador border. I am ready to financially support a homegrown version of Voice of America or Radio Free Europe if that’s what it takes to bring truth to our fellow citizens in Quebec. Can we count on your support? John Adams, Hr. Grace

Fishermen catch fish Dear editor, This is in response to an article in the March 27-April 2 edition of The Independent quoting Jean-Pierre Andrieux,Spain’shonourarycounselin Newfoundland and Labrador on the subject of overfishing. We commend Mr. Andrieux for his candid statements. A fishing vessel is a self-contained world, a microcosm of the society from which it springs. Crewmembers who sail together for years are a tight-knit group who have learned to depend on each other in bad times.Their very survival depends on it. Fishermen have traditionally been paid by performance. For most of history, the defining factor between successful and unsuccessful fishers was how much they caught and how fast they caught it. Normally, captain and crew shared the outfitting of the vessel and any profit that might ensue. This system pressured captains to catch fish and crew to maximize profit any way they could. Fishermen catch fish. It is their profession. They are hunter/gatherers in the most basic sense. Restrictions on fishing activity have now been applied to this traditional mindset. With the introduction of 200-mile limits after the UN

LawoftheSeainthemid-1970s,coastal states had a chance to manage their fishery resources, which were declining under increased fishing pressure. With this came regulations — catch restrictions, mesh size, quota limits. Expensive fisheries patrols and inexpensive fisheries observer programmes were instituted. Conservation is not what a fisherman does.Afisherman catches fish, trying to make a living in a fluctuating and unpredictable industry in a harsh environment with the addition of often confusing regulations. The need for observers aboard fishing vessels came directly from an understanding that fishers are driven by the need to catch fish and that anti-conservation practices will occur regardless of their legality, if the profit margin requires it. If NAFO countries are serious about conservation, they must have binding quotas based on sound scientific principles, real regulations that can be enforced by their own inspectors and effective observers independent of the fishing vessels and the fishing industry itself. The same is true for Canada. Richard Gill, St. John’s

Paul Daly/The Independent

Paul Daly/The Independent

Rhonda Hayward/The Independent

Fisheries Minister Trevor Taylor offered Friday, April 29, to cut back the two-year raw material sharing pilot project to one year, an offer rejected by the fishermen’s union. Fishermen have protested at sea and on land since the plan was announced in early March.

Why do we not defend ourselves? Dear editor, Recent landings by the Russian factory trawler Tynda in Bay Roberts reveal our decimated fisheries will never be restored to the level of the large, healthy resource we transferred to Ottawa in 1949. Uncontrolled foreign fisheries on the continental shelf, combined with the under reporting of catches and the impact of removing huge quantities of immature fish from the ecosystem will result in the extinction of major groundfish species. We have provided the news media across Canada with details of this blatant misreporting, as well as a perspective on the quantities of immature foreign-caught fish landed in Canada, and trans-shipped to markets. We have been convinced by knowledgeable sources that the Tynda catches are typical of all foreign landings in Canadian ports since the same cod-end mesh size used by the Tynda is used by all 20 NAFO members. It is not difficult to understand the dimension of this continued massacre on the remaining fish left outside the 200-mile zone. In one trip the Tynda landed in excess of 1.1 million individual turbot, weighing between eight and 17 ounces each. Other than Canada, no other country would permit fishermen — foreign or domestic — to engage in the mass destruction that has been taking place on our continental shelf and appears to get worse and worse as time goes on.

The same scenario applies to misreporting catches. The Tynda reported catching 1,030,182 pounds of groundfish, but when the cargo of fishmeal production and frozen cod liver weight was calculated the actual catch was shown to be 1,658,315 pounds. It’s been almost 14 years since a groundfish moratorium was imposed on Canadian fishermen, yet foreigners have continued to fish in an unrestricted fashion. Those irresponsible foreign fishing nations will continue to fish and destroy what is left of our once great fishery unless a Canadian government displays the fortitude required and

places real value on fisheries like Iceland and Norway. Canada must take control of the continental shelf, and through custodial management, rebuild our fisheries for the benefit of all. We should not waste taxpayers’ money and valuable time on international conferences. The new govern-

ment in Ottawa should prepare a document — based on the history of our fisheries since the invasion of foreigners in the early 1950s — and present our case to the UN, Food and Agriculture Organization and, if necessary, the World Court in The Hague. An accurate account of the last 55-year history of our fishery will demonstrate it is impossible for a fisheries commission composed of 20 nations to manage a complex ecosystem on a sustainable basis. This recommendation should have the highest priority on the agenda of the MPs representing Newfoundland and Labrador after the next election. As Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, we must ask ourselves why our elected representatives, our unions, our seafood companies and community leaders don’t embrace this issue. Why we would fight so vigourously against ourselves in full view of the national and international public — as we have this past week — and still not muster the same enthusiasm to defend our history, our culture and our children’s future in preserving one of the greatest renewable resources that graces our planet? Is it political expediency, is it lack of courage, is it because we have leaders preoccupied with their own self-serving interests, or is it because we have lost sight of who we are and where we came from? Gus Etchegary, Fisheries Crisis Alliance

915 Topsail Road, Mt. Pearl 364-2423 Toll Free: 1-800-349-6999 email: sales@tuckeracura.com


8 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

MAY 1, 2005

LIFE STORY Rock ’em sock ’em curling ‘Colourful character’

A

fter having lived in northern Alberta, it’s easy to underJEFF DUCHARME stand why curling is so popA savage ular there. When it’s that cold and that bleak for that long, any enterjourney tainment, no matter what, is welcome. Think about how curling came Cows are too stupid to run on their about in that God-forsaken frozen own — that’s what makes them such land: listen b’ys, farmer Fred says we a good food source. In that Persian Gulf country, boy can only tip cows on Tuesdays and Thursdays because it’s screwing up jockeys ride camels on oval courses. milk production. So we’re going to Young boys are kidnapped or bought have to come up with something for from poor families to compete as the rest of the week. Let’s freeze a jockeys. To ensure the boys are at their strip of ice, draw two circles at each end, give everybody brooms, and lightest weight, they are often underfed and live in bleak then throw rocks at conditions. each other. To put an end to The Scottish lay In Qatar, where sand such abuses, designclaim to inventing ers have invented a the game, but then is their snow and robot jockey. again, they claim camels are their “We can’t stop everything. these races. They are And to make it cows — camel part of our history even more attractive and tradition, so we to the cow-tipping racing is the big have tried to find an crowd, drinking was not only allowed, it sport. One can only alternative,” Sheik Abdullah bin Saud, was strongly imagine it came who’s in charge of encouraged. the robotic jockey But even with the about the same way project, said in an twining of two such Associated Press valued Prairie pasas curling did — a interview. times — drinking Just like they and throwing rocks bunch of sheiks can’t stop camel rac— curling still strugsitting around taking ing in the Persian gles to attract anyGulf, the milk thing but its tradidraws off the water industry can’t afford tional fan base. to let those Prairie They’ve strapped pipe, looking for folk go back to fullwireless microtime cow tipping. phones onto the something to do But the creation of players to bring the curlers strategy to the fans on a Qatar Saturday robotic might be just the (curling is all about afternoon. ticket. strategy), jazzed-up We could invent a the team outfits with bright colours and graphics, all but game of robotic curling and let robot removed the take-out game, and put a curlers knock each others’ block off — rock ’em sock ’em curlers. Just time-limit on each contest. As a former player, I can attest to like the Rock ’em sock ’em Robots the fact that curling is a great game so many of us enjoyed when we were — the sport is growing in leaps and young, the aim would be to cause a bounds. But from a non-initiated fan competitor’s robot head to pop off. If standpoint, the game is only slightly the head pops off, then that robotic more exciting than watching cars rust curler is out of the game and that in the middle of an Arizona desert. squad has to curl with one less player Curling is akin to being a Vietnam for 10 minutes to a minimum of two sniper — hours and hours of bore- curlers per team — one to throw the dom interspersed with a few seconds remaining rocks and sweep, and of excitement when one brilliant shot another left to skip. Skips would be untouchable as is made. I stopped curling seriously when long as they stay within the rings. But beers and smokes were banned from the moment they leave the rings, the ice surface — the perfect sport they’re fair game. To encourage fan participation, had eluded me once again. If those who guide the game of empties could be heaved at the robotcurling want to jazz up the game, ic sweepers as they made their way they should consider allowing body down the ice. Players knocked out by contact. More than once, after taking a fan would be gone for the entire a sip and a puff, the urge to throw out match — it’s harder to nail a curler the broom and hook a member of the from the stands than on the ice — and other team’s front-end as they passed once again, to a two-player-miniby became almost, at times, over- mum. Maybe Canada doesn’t need anothwhelming. In Qatar, where sand is their snow er sport where fans throw things and and camels are their cows — camel competitors beat the crap out of each racing is the big sport. One can only other on a sheet of ice, but since imagine it came about the same way hockey is currently on strike, it as curling did — a bunch of sheiks couldn’t hurt. sitting around taking draws off the Jeff Ducharme is The Indepenwater pipe, looking for something to dent’s senior writer. do on a Qatar Saturday afternoon. jeff.ducharme@theindependent.ca Cow racing would never work.

Former Conception Bay South MHA Bob French ‘always had an opinion’ By Jamie Baker The Independent

B

ob French is perhaps best remembered as the popular and bombastic MHA for the district of Conception Bay South, but his son, current MHA Terry French, says his father was also a bit of a softie. That doesn’t mean French wouldn’t speak his mind when he felt the time was right. In fact, Terry says there was never a moment when his father couldn’t produce an opinion about something. “You had to know my father … he was a pretty colourful character, and sometimes he was a bit louder than he should have been, but he always seemed to manage to get the job done,” Terry tells The Independent. “Most of the people who knew him would probably tell you his bark was worse than his bite.” As a teenager, Terry says there was more than one occasion when the elder French “set him straight. “I worked with him and for him when we had the convenience stores and gas bars and the big joke is always that I quit twice and was fired three times,” Terry laughs. “He always had an opinion and he wore his heart on his sleeve. He didn’t hide behind the curtains and whisper things.” Before French became well-known in political circles, he was known for his love of sports and dedication to improving sporting facilities in his hometown. Softball was his biggest passion. “(Softball) was my father’s lifelong interest,” French says. “He was president of the local league for, I think, 12 years and he was involved in building the new Topsail ball field, first, and then

Bob French

he was part of building the field in Kelligrews as well.” French was born in St. John’s, but moved to Conception Bay South as a teenager. In his adult life, he was involved in various political and leadership campaigns, even back as far as Joey Smallwood’s days. He entered politics himself in 1984 when was elected as councillor in CBS, serving one term. After that term, French stepped out of politics until 1996 when he ran successfully for the Tories in the provincial general election. He was re-elected by a landslide in 1999. Getting elected as a Tory in the 1996 campaign, Terry says, was an accomplishment onto itself given the fact some were predicting the newly appointed saviour, Brian Tobin, might

win all 48 districts. In the end, the Conservatives scraped out nine seats. “It was a challenging time to get into politics. Every door you knocked on, you were campaigning against Brian Tobin and his popularity. We won that one fairly significantly though, somewhere between 400 to 500 votes I think. “In 1999, I think he probably had the biggest majority, maybe except for Roger Fitzgerald, of anyone on our side of the house.” Despite French’s popularity and accomplishments as an MHA and town councillor, Terry says his father’s favourite position was actually one he held outside politics — chair of the 1996 provincial summer fames in CBS. “It was something he talked about doing, believe it or not for a number of years. He was delighted to take that on. It was a couple of years of planning, so I would say, looking back on it now that was his proudest moment.” When French passed away on Aug. 2, 2002, then-premier Roger Grimes said he was a “loss to his community and this province,” and provincial flags were lowered to half-staff. Then Government House leader Tom Lush said “Bob French contributed a great deal to his town, his district and to the province.” Now himself a very popular and respected MHA, Terry credits a lot of his success to his father. “Let’s face it, if you had to write a political script for someone running for a seat, it was certainly written for me. The advantage I had was that my father was well known and well respected. “Politics for him was like everything else — if he was into it, he was into it full force.”

PAPER TRAIL

‘For King and Country’ By Alisha Morrissey The Independent

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he First World War’s Battle of Gallipoli wasn’t the most significant fight the Newfoundland Regiment participated in, but it was the first action 1,076 soldiers saw and an opportunity for the them to make a good first impression. Newspapers back home here in Newfoundland heralded the victory of Caribou Hill on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli (the overall battle lasted 11 months; Newfoundlanders took part for four months) and called for more volunteers. The April 27, 1916 edition of The St. John’s Daily Star included a synopsis of the Newfoundland contingent’s first year at war. Walter Davidson, governor at the time, almost immediately began enlisting men after the initial declaration of war on Aug. 12, 1914. In an interview with The Star, Davidson said “Newfoundland must do her part, laying claim, as we do, to being the oldest and most loyal colony. “In my telegram (to Britain) I stated we were poor in money and rich in men.” Davidson pledged 500 men to the war effort, but wanted 5,000 and immediately began recruiting through every medium possible. Advertisements in every newspaper followed the August declaration. There were 49 casualties and 93 wounded during the battle at Gallipoli. One British general offered congratulations to the men in a story printed in a European newspaper, which was even-

tually re-printed in The Star’s synopsis piece. “By their conduct in this, their first important work, they have brought distinction to the brigade, and have proved themselves to be possessed of selfreliance, bravery and tenacity, the first qualities of a good soldier.” When it came to recruitment, The Star kept a running tally and each day printed the names of those who enlisted and where they were from. On April 4, 1916 the paper reported 46 enlistments in a five-day period with the majority from St. John’s. The next day the total number of recruits from around the province was pegged at 3,388. The pages of the paper weren’t filled only with names of those who were recruited, but listed at least 10 to 15 names a day of casualties from the province. The first shipment of wounded soldiers sent home from the front was reported on the front page of the April 17, 1916 edition of The Star. On the boat sailing into St. John’s harbour, arriving to a welcoming party of “hundreds,” 20 soldiers returned home. The advertisement for recruits wasn’t only published in The Star. The Bay Roberts Guardian ran the same ad for months. “To young men,” the ad read. “Your King and Country need you … and if you would to yourself be honest and true. Country first, self last should be your stand. Need you persuasion? You’re a slacker if you do. You must fight with all your might the Kaiser will subdue.” On May 12, 1916 several war stories

ran in The Guardian, including the story of German submarines agreeing with the United States that German U-boats wouldn’t attack passenger ships without providing notice to the Americans first. There were also instructions from government postal services that explained the rules of sending packages to loved ones overseas and on the front. It explained the proper addresses to send packages and letters (two different addresses) and how packages must be wrapped: in canvas or linen, not paper, cardboard or metal. No more than 11 pounds were to be sent at any one time and luxuries like tobacco and chocolate had to be packaged in tins so as not to melt or moisten other packages. The Royal Gazette, almost always filled with court-docket information and public notices, began publishing advertisements encouraging young men, between the ages of 18 and 35 to join the war effort. The advertisement stuck out like a sore thumb as it was the only notice with larger text, capitalized sentences and different type settings. “Your king and country need you! Will you answer their call?” asked the bold headline. The job provided free fares to St. John’s for any recruit from outside the city; each man was paid $1 a day and free rations for the duration of military services. “Newfoundland has already responded to the empire’s call and has sent forth 2,000 men for the army and 1,250 men for the navy. “We wanted to do our best and our ambition is now to double those numbers.”


MAY 1, 2005

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 9

Financial foot dragging

Federal government ‘walked away’: Anstey

Seven MHAs late in handing over financial statements — including Roger Grimes

— at just over 500,000 — is much smaller than other provinces.) Efford backs those numbers. “If the union disagrees with that,” he says, “I’ve done very little in my life that the unions haven’t disagreed with. “The problem that we got in Newfoundland is we don’t boast enough about what we already have here … and be proud of things they’re doing.” Loyola Hearn, Tory MP for St. John’s South, says the issue is one of his pet peeves and he’s often brought up the question of federal government job losses in Ottawa with little or no response. Hearn, who opposed the proposed elimination of 82 postal outlets in the province, says public outcry also stopped the proposed shut down of the experimental farm on Brookfield Road in Mount Pearl in April, saving 28 jobs that were to be “redeployed. “We’ve thrown a spoke in the wheel kind of thing and sometimes when you get out in front of it and embarrass them a bit then they back off and deny that they are going to do it,” Hearn says, adding he’s always advocated government departments locate where they can be most effective. He says it’s only “logical” the Department of Fisheries and Oceans be located on either coast. “They say no jobs are being lost but if you had 100 jobs and now you’ve got 60 I know the jobs are going somewhere.”

By Jeff Ducharme The Independent

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even MHAs have missed the April 1 deadline for disclosing details of their personal finances and have been given until mid-May to file before the issue is handed over to the Speaker of the House of Assembly. Premier Danny Williams met the deadline, but Liberal Opposition leader Roger Grimes did not. The financial information is filed with the office of the com- Roger Grimes Paul Daly/The Independent mission of members’ interests, a position held by Wayne Green. “inactive.” For instance, Municipal Affairs Minister Jack The list of MHAs who have yet to submit disclosure state- Byrne lists two inactive survey companies as part of his holdments include Liberals Percy Barrett, Judy Foote, Gerry Reid ings. and Grimes; Tories Kathy Goudie and John Hickey; and Under the legislation, Green simply takes an MHA’s word. NDPer Randy Collins. “There is an element of trust there that they aren’t withholdGrimes and his Liberal government had made an issue about ing anything and if I see something that is inconsistent with prethe fact Williams took more than a year to put his financial vious statements then I raise questions,” says Green. house in order after being elected in 2003. The premier met the NDP leader Jack Harris lists a number of residential rental 2004 deadline, but Green had concerns and directed Williams properties in St. John’s among his holdings. He draws a salary to put his substantial interests into blind trusts and resign from from those properties and from his law practice. Harris also lista number of corporate boards. ed a private airplane which, according to the statement, was to “He (the premier) has met every requirement of the act (for be sold on May 1. His wife is a lawyer at the Workplace, Health, 2005),” Green tells The Independent. Safety and Compensation Commission. Before entering politics, Williams, a Education Minister Tom Hendderson lists lawyer by trade, sold his company, Cable “There is an element of income from rental properties in St. John’s Atlantic, to Rogers Cable for $232 miland Marysvale and owns land in Bay trust there that they lion. Roberts. Every MHA is required, under conflict Tory MHA Ray Hunter has three Crown aren’t withholding of interest legislation, to file with Green’s land leases in the Windsor-Springdale disoffice by April 1 of each year. In total, 24 trict. He also owns 88 per cent of Hunter’s anything and if I see disclosure documents are complete, 13 Electrical (inactive), and his wife is have yet to be signed off by MHAs, and employed with the Newfoundland and something that is four more are currently being reviewed by Labrador Association of Public and Private Green — including the premier’s. Employees. inconsistent with Williams current disclosure statement Liberal MHA Yvonne Jones owns previous statements won’t be available to the public until Riverlodge Motel in Mary’s Harbour. Her Green reviews the premier’s “in depth” spouse, who works for the Woodland Group then I raise questions.” of Companies, owns land in Heart’s Content, statement. Thirty of the 48 MHAs were late in filas well as Jones Charters and Tours in Wayne Green ing. Green says even with the media Mary’s Harbour. attention that swirled around Williams’ Tory Paul Oram owns 100 per cent of financial foot-dragging, the majority of Birchview Manor, Oram’s Funeral Home MHAs still aren’t taking the deadlines seriously. and 58 per cent of D&P Quality Builders. Locations of the “It’s unfortunate and I don’t like it,” says Green. “Each year holdings weren’t listed. He receives a salary from the funeral it seems to be as bad or, in fact, maybe getting a little worse.” home and Birchview Manor. In the most severe cases, Speaker of the House Harvey Grit Kelvin Parsons and his wife own 270 acres of undevelHodder can declare a seat vacant — throwing an MHA out of oped land in McDougall’s Gultch near the Codroy Valley and the House. a joint interest in the commercial property rental firm Dockside A number of the disclosure statements list businesses that are Realties. His wife also draws a salary from Dockside.

From page 3

Loyola Hearn

Reg Anstey, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, says the federal government “walked away” from the province when the decision was made to remove about 40 per cent of federal positions from this province. He cites the Gander weather station, which was relocated to Halifax, and the privatization of 5 Wing Goose Bay — reducing 1,000 government jobs to 400 non-government positions. Fifty more positions are expected to sail across the Gulf with the coast guard vessel Wilfred Templeman, as a new research vessel replacing it will be stationed in Dartmouth, N.S. “This is political decisions and there’s nothing we can do other than continue to apply pressure on our provincial representative,” Anstey says, adding a federal presence would “do wonders for the economy.”


10 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

MAY 1, 2005

On the record with Chief Deering From page 1 Truax and six other OPP officers returned to Ontario on April 25 and have plans to return this month. Deering says he’ll investigate the force and find out who’s leaking information. Meantime, Marie Hayes, a records technician, was charged with three counts of breech of trust and one count of obstruction of justice as a result of the force becoming aware of her leaking information to an unnamed person. She appeared in court on April 29. Hayes was released from custody and is suspended with pay. She will appear in court again on May 24. It is not known whether the charge against Haynes relates to the OPP investigation. INTERVIEW EXCERPTS In an April 28 interview with reporters from The Independent and CBC Radio, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Richard Deering made clear that officers who provide information to the press are breaking an oath. Reporters who encourage officers to provide information are accomplices. The following are several excepts from Deering’s interview: Deering: “If you want to use confidential sources within the department that’s your business. It’s problematic and frustrating for me because in essence what you’re doing, and you know the media are very good at this, they want to hold us to a certain standard, they want to hold us accountable for the way they conduct themselves, but on the other hand they want to participate in illegal activity. “You want to participate and cooperate with police officers who are breaching their oath of conduct, their oath of office, their oath of confidentiality in the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Act and I sit back as the chief of police and say you can’t have it both ways. “Either you are going to hold us accountable and rightfully so, and make us live to a certain standard, and

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Richard Deering and Staff Sgt. June Layden answer reporters’ questions April 28 regarding an OPP investigation. Paul Daly/The Independent

you’re going to refrain from participating in this kind of stuff.” ••• Deering: “This insistence of getting to the bottom of this whole prostitution thing, in my view, is ridiculous, because I can tell you with certainty that this prostitution file finished two years ago. It’s been subjected to three independent reviews, two internally and one externally — it’s over.”

••• Deering: “You’ve talked about so many — who are your sources? Who are you talking to in the RNC? Who are you talking to in the RNC?” Reporter: “I can’t reveal my sources.” Deering: “Why can’t you? So you’re condoning their conduct — is that what you’re saying? You’re condoning police officers who live outside of their oath of office and oath of

confidentiality — is that what you’re telling me?” Reporter: “Sir, when it comes to prostitution in the city …” Deering: “No answer my question, answer my question, are you telling me that you condone that sort of activity and that you’re going to participate in it?” Reporter: “Sir we follow a standard set of guidelines and ethics …” Deering: “So tell me, what’s you’re

ethical line on this you tell me.” Reporter: “We, will not reveal our sources.” Deering: “Well I’ll tell you what then, how many do you have two, 20, 100 I don’t know.” ••• Deering: “I wanted to sit down with you and be upfront and say I don’t know who your sources are and to be very frank, I don’t care. I do care, that’s not true, because what your insistence has prompted me to do now is to open an internal file to find out who is corrupt in this department in terms of leaking information. And I’ll give you a guarantee it will take us a while, but we will get to the bottom of it. “At that point in time maybe both of you (reporters) will have your opportunity to explain your ethics policy in front of someone besides the chief of police. I don’t know.” ••• Reporter: “When it comes to prostitution in the city, how bad is it?” Deering: “Is there prostitution in this city? Yes, is it a concern? Yes.” Reporter: “Do we have a vice squad looking into this?” Deering: “We have investigations ongoing here at any given time and for me to sit down and tell you specifically what they are is counterproductive in terms of what we’re trying to accomplish. I don’t have an obligation to explain to the media every investigation that we’re involved in. In fact, it would be inappropriate for me to do so because sometimes these investigations take on an undercover component an undercover aspect. Reporter: Why have there been so few prostitution charges laid? Deering: “The laws are pretty specific in what you can and can’t charge for and if you’re following what happens in the media, and I’m sure you are, there’s a huge debate going on in what’s happening in some of the strip clubs downtown and unfortunately, from my perspective, I think the laws don’t perhaps have the teeth that we would like them to have.” ••• Reporter: Have any of the officers been suspended or put on probation? Deering: “No, none. You know I just have to sit back and say you folks amaze me. You want to hold us to a standard, but you want to be part and parcel of the corruption that goes on in society and particularly in police departments. “You want us to conduct ourselves at a very high level, but you want to accept information from people who want to be corrupt in the police department. I just say you can’t have it both ways. What do you want? Do you want to be part of the solution or do you want to be part of the problem?”


INDEPENDENTWORLD

SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, MAY 1-7, 2005 — PAGE 11

NDP leader Jack Layton and Prime Minister Paul Martin meet in St. John’s during the 2004 federal election.

Paul Daly/The Independent

For Harper, snap vote now trickier The face of a chameleon government remains to be seen By Chantal Hebert The Toronto Star OTTAWA

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he hand on the ticking federal election clock may just have been moved back. At the very least, the NDP/Liberal budget deal puts the election ball squarely in Stephen Harper’s court. The bargain struck between Jack Layton and Paul Martin impacts first and foremost on the optics of a swift execution of the minority government. Indeed, notwithstanding NDP claims to the contrary, the most immediate consequence of the recent budget deal-making has more to do with raw politics than with public policy. Yes, an upcoming round of corporate tax cuts will be partly cancelled. But those cuts were only going to kick in in 2008, beyond the life of the current government under even the most optimistic Liberal scenarios. Nothing will prevent whoever is in power after the next election — and since we got the prime minister’s word there will be a vote 10 months from now at the latest — from reinvesting in corporate tax relief. And yes, more money will trickle into the

social and the environment budgets between now and then, although much of it at first only on paper. A sizeable chunk of the money Martin agreed to reinvest would only be spent after Canadians have gone to the polls. If Martin is re-elected, one can only assume he will follow through on his commitments to Layton. But if the Liberals lose power to the Conservatives, a Tory government will hardly be bound by the deathbed promises of the current one. In the face of this, Harper can still, if he wants to, set out to force a spring election. With the help of just one independent MP, the Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois — if all their MPs show up — would have enough votes to topple Martin. That goes even if the NDP shores Martin up — as it will, for the foreseeable future. The defeat of the minority government could happen on one of the handful of confidence motions the Conservatives have already introduced in case they decide to bring Martin down later this month. Or defeat could come on the next budget vote since the changes brought about basically

ensure the Conservatives can no longer support it. But Harper will have to keep a finger on the pulse of public opinion before making a final decision because the deal does make the swift toppling of the government less politically palatable for his party. Polls already show that a strong majority of Canadians would be just as happy to wait until next winter to pronounce on the Martin government. And then, Martin has already taken to connecting the dots of a Conservative-Bloc Québécois alliance and the issue of national unity.As Harper knows, the budget deal will make it easier to portray his party as one more interested in partisan gain than in the country’s future. The Liberal/NDP agreement ensures that, if the Conservative leader wants to defeat the government this spring, he will have to go it alone with the Bloc. It could be that the mood of the country has soured beyond the salvation point for the Liberals and this deal will only make things worse. But until the dust on that settles, the immediate winner is Layton who saw a chance to make himself relevant to the election discussion without

having to give the Liberals an open-ended lease on life. By promising to call an election within 30 days of the December report on the sponsorship scandal, Martin himself put an expiry date on his government. As for the prime minister, while he is hardly home and dry yet, he now has a chance to live to fight another day — and maybe even the few months he so desperately wants. In exchange though, Martin has turned a budget originally crafted to suit Conservatives to one made to order for the NDP. That may yet come at a price in the ballot box. In the dying days of last year’s campaign, Martin appealed to the left-minded voters to shore up his flagging support. But those who ultimately made the biggest difference to last June’s election outcome were the small-c conservatives who went with the Liberals rather than buy into the new Conservative party. Whether these make-or-break voters will feel comfortable doing so again in the face of a chameleon government remains to be seen. Reprinted with permissionfrom the Toronto Star.

Putin putting around old Soviet policies NEW YORK

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hat is Vladimir Putin up to in the Middle East? Last week’s trip by the Russian leader to Egypt, Israel and Palestine marked an historic crossroads for Moscow as well as the region. Nikita Khruschchev was the last Moscow supremo to visit Egypt — over 30 years ago — and this was the first time ever a Kremlin boss set foot on Israeli soil, even though Moscow was among the first nations to recognize Israel. In Israel, Putin got red carpet treatment: a military guard, lunch with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

STEPHEN HANDELMAN

Global context (who informed Putin that he was “among brothers”), and meetings with religious leaders of all faiths. To underscore the brotherly theme, Putin had scheduled a meeting with Red Army veterans – Russian Jews who were part of the huge emigration to Israel following the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. That emigration explains at least part

of the visit. An estimated 1.5 million Israelis — more than 20 per cent of Israel’s population — are of recent Russian origin; and Russian culture, attitudes and even criminality (thanks to the branch operations of some Russian mafia groups) permeate Israeli society. But it also puts a stamp on one of the more interesting foreign policy maneuvers of post-Soviet Russia. For much of the Cold War, Moscow was an unabashed ally of the Arab world, setting itself squarely against Israeli policies. But the Putin government in particular has embraced Jerusalem for both domestic and external reasons: to

demonstrate its opposition to antisemitism at home, and to make a common cause with Israel in the battle against Islamic terrorism. The early honeymoon between Moscow and Jerusalem turned sour, however, mostly because of Russia’s continuing efforts to maintain lucrative arms export and oil connections with Arab countries like Syria and Iraq. Israelis greeted Putin with tempered cynicism. “In the world of realpolitik — of which Putin is a master practitioner — it is hard to accept that his (policy) redirection arises only from a desire to be fair and right a historical wrong,”

observed The Jerusalem Post. In fact, “realpolitik” is the foundation of Putin’s Middle East journey. When he touched down in Cairo, Putin proposed holding a Middle East peace conference in Moscow next fall following Israel’s scheduled withdrawal from Gaza. The conference would supposedly revive the road-map peace process of the early 1990s, in which Russia along with the so-called “quartet” of the United States, the European Union and the United Nations acted as guarantors. Not surprisingly, only the PalesSee “Arms exports” page 13


12 • INDEPENDENTWORLD

MAY 1, 2005

VOICE FROMAWAY

The news in Yemen

Newfoundlander Bryan Manning frustrated by world’s view of country he’s grown to appreciate By Bryan K. Manning For the Independent Editor’s note: Bryan Manning is teaching English as a second language at the American Language Centre in Aden, Yemen. The Middle East country, with a population of nearly 20 million, borders on Saudi Arabia. “I always wanted to travel and work in Yemen as it was about as exotic and unknown as any country I could imagine — and it certainly lived up to that part of its reputation,” he says. Manning says virtually everyone carries Kalasnikovs (Russian assault rifles), and there are an average of three weapons in every household, “however, the crime rate is comparatively low… and violent crime is basically non-existent as we know it in the West.” He describes the law of the tribe, which governs the land outside the cities, and is currently at the root of one territorial war. “All this is pretty fascinating to live amongst,” he says. “And I don’t regret my decision to come here for a minute, despite the Third World living conditions.” Manning submitted the following piece from his home in Aden.

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Yemeni Ahmed Abdullah al-Abrash jumps over a row of six camels, approximately three metres in length and three metres long, during the Yemeni Traditional Sports Festival in 2004 in the city of Zabid, 200 kilometres southwest of the capital Sanaa. The event was organized by the government for the first time in 2004 and will now be held yearly in Zabid. AFP/Khaled FAZAA

oo often in Yemen, the news takes the form of hair-raising headlines that read like warning labels on caches of TNT: Threat level rises for Westerners in Yemen, warns embassy. One would swear the very air in Yemen is laced with mustard gas. Can a place be so incorrigible in its supposed barbarism towards outsiders? Embarrassed as I am to admit it, I more than entertained — or should I say swallowed — this preposterous media myth. It is hard not to succumb to the description of Yemen (tainted and skewed as it is) we Westerners receive. For the sources — foreign media and government alarmism and opportunism — make clever and convincing bedfellows. There is no viable alternative to these news sources, barring uprooting oneself and making contact with actual Yemeni people, in Yemen. Not an option for most, I would think. And so the truth of life in the Middle East, and in Yemen specifically, is replaced by fallacy: that life as a foreigner, notably a British or American citizen, is inherently fraught with imminent danger. Cue the chorus line of weathered clichés. Fundamentalists and Islamic extremists will target you for assault, maiming, and possibly murder. If you make it through that nasty gauntlet more harrowing peril awaits — kidnapping. I was once informed by a Canadian Islamic scholar the kidnapping rate has escalated to “cottage industry” status. Not surprisingly, he had never set foot in any part of Yemen but was sure the statistics (more likely lore) held true. What hope is left if even the learned amongst us are being sucked in? Whatever the reason, be it nerve-

wracked governments, ill-advised individuals, or myopic journalists, the world perception of Yemen is plainly false, and painfully outdated. As a working citizen of Aden I see danger, not in the streets and alleyways — chaotic as they are — but in a web spun from beyond Yemeni and Middle Eastern demarcations. The web’s orb is fixed over the Middle East and its spin-doctors are busily at work here in Yemen. Its strands connect to North American and European media corporations. The message — Yemen is unsafe — is derived from the news, recycled by them ad infinitum and mass produced until the stories’ origin is virtually forgotten. You need only reference the research of American Will Hutchison on contrasting images of Yemen and America to begin to see the double-standard in reporting. An example: in Kansas City, population 440,000, a person is 97 times more likely to be a victim of a crime than in Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen. At the core of this epic blunder in communication between the West and the East is a thirst for sensationalism which demands a divorce from ethics. If they negatively sensationalize Yemen, you will not come. And the viewer ratings of a major broadcasting station grow. If they condemn the country as a haven for al Qaeda, then you may dismiss it soundly enough to malign it outright. This is the all too concrete and neglected crisis facing the national psyche of Yemen. It is a stake to the heart of key industries — culture and tourismrelated promotion, and foreign business investment to name a few — already struggling to get on their feet in the country. While the rest of the world reaps the exposure and profits of the global travel phenomenon, Yemen crouches in an arcing shadow of bad publicity. Sadly, those who lead the charge in this campaign of misinformation fail to consider its social and economic ramifications, the insidious and demoralizing consequences that hurt the dignity of an entire nation. It is about time this media assault changed from accusatory to accountable. Then, at last, some semblance of the real picture of life in Yemen can show itself. Then maybe the outside world, so long misled by spin-doctors and propaganda, will start to see the genuine Yemen. And foreigners like myself and countless others can stop chastising ourselves for not coming to this refreshingly uncommon country sooner. The truth about Yemen can be as sublimely vivid as a sunset over Elephant Bay — just don’t look for it on the evening news. Do you know a Newfoundlander or Labradorian living away? Please contact the Independent at editorial@theindependent.ca


MAY 1, 2005

INDEPENDENTWORLD • 13

‘A common foe’ Newfoundland and Iceland share the same enemy when it comes to overfishing

By Jeff Ducharme The Independent

Tetu says he understands the frustrations concerning foreign overfishing that have led some critics to call for definitive action, including Canada taking custodial management of the entire continental shelf. “We’re totally of the same view that we have to take all measures we can to counter overfishing, to better manage what is there, what remains there.” Icelanders, he says, “take every opportunity” to remind nations such Spain and Portugal they have to change their ways. With a population of just under 300,000 people and on an island in the north Atlantic, Icelanders have faced many of the same fishery-based issues that face this province. The tiny island nation is regularly pointed to as an example to follow when it comes to managing a fishery. “Some communities are less profitable than others so there is less fishery ... they’ve sort of regrouped,” says Tetu. “They got together and did something together.” Fewer and fewer Icelanders work in the fishery, says Tetu. Many have taken advantage of the country’s free-education system and moved away from the traditional way of life — fishing. Icelandic boats are increasingly crewed by foreigners, primarily those from the Baltic States, he says. Tetu shuns charges that some of those foreign crews are the very ones putting the stocks at risk because they refuse to follow quotas, or fish for species under moratoria. “That I would doubt, because the control is still exercised by the Icelanders at the end of the day,” says Tetu. Like many people from outport Newfoundland who have followed the oil boon to St. John’s, Icelanders have also moved to the capital of Reykjavik in search of jobs outside the fishery. “I see similarities here in a sense that St. John’s now is more and more the centre.”

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he Canadian ambassador to Iceland says both nations share a common foe when it comes to fishing abuses on the high seas — Spain and Portugal. Richard Tetu was in St. John’s recently to work on a number of issues, the fishery being the most critical, that he believes Newfoundland and Labrador and Iceland could work closely on. “It’s a problem that is widespread, overfishing,” Tetu tells The Independent. “The Icelanders ... it’s the same thing they are concerned (about), what the Portuguese or what the Spaniards have been doing at times and we all share the same concerns.” The career diplomat says the traditional method of tackling high-seas overfishing — diplomacy and negotiations — have yet to achieve substantial results. “We are at a point … where if we don’t talk about it more seriously, yes, in five years from now it could make a difference. And we want to avoid that and everyone I’m sure wants to avoid that, it would be against our own interests, all concerns.” Ministers from 18 nations will be in St. John’s this week as part of The Conference on the Governance of the High Seas Fisheries and the UN Fish Agreement: Moving from Words to Actions. The Icelandic delegation will be led by that nation’s Fisheries minister. “Their minister of Fisheries is a very close ally here and he was one of the first to accept an invitation to come to this conference,” says Tetu. For many Newfoundlanders, it’s just another conference in a long line of conferences. “The minute you don’t talk anymore, of course, it leads to confrontation.”

Canadian ambassador to Iceland Richard Tetu.

WORLD IN BRIEF Australia to close drug dealer tax loophole CANBERRA (Reuters) — Australia’s government is trying to close a tax loophole that allowed a drug dealer to claim a tax deduction on hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen from him during a heroin deal. Drug dealer Francesco Dominico La Rosa buried more than $220,000 ($172,000 US) in his backyard in 1995 and dug it up again to buy heroin, but the cash was stolen during the drug deal. La Rosa spent six years in jail for heroin importation and possession. Treasurer Peter Costello says income tax law amendments would deny deductions for losses and outgoings related to an indictable offence for which the taxpayer had been convicted. Deductions would also be refused for expenditure on illegal activities. Under Australian law, income earned from illegal activity can be subjected to income tax. The High Court of Australia ruled in October that if illegal income is subjected to tax, then losses should be deductible. “At the time of the High Court’s decision, I said I was not satisfied with that outcome and that I would seek to introduce legislation to change that law,” Costello says in a statement. The October ruling ended a 10year battle between La Rosa and the Australian Tax Office, which argued the tax deduction was against good public policy.

but 1,000 died because of the conditions and in transit.”

Interrogations faked at Guantanamo, witness says NEW YORK (Reuters) — Authorities at Guantanamo Bay staged interrogations of detainees for visiting politicians and generals to give the impression valuable intelligence was regularly being gathered, according to a former Army translator at the camp. Former Army Sgt. Erik Saar told CBS television show 60 Minutes that he believes “only a few dozen” of the 600 detainees at the camp were terrorists and that little information was obtained from them. “Interrogations were set up so the VIPs could come and witness an interrogation ... a mock interrogation, basically,” Saar tells the program, which airs Sunday, April 1. “They would find a detainee that they knew to have been cooperative. They would ask the interrogator to go

back over the same information,” he says, calling it “a fictitious world” created for the visitors. Saar worked at Guantanamo from December 2002 to June 2003. U.S. Southern Command spokesman Col. David McWilliams says the military allows visiting politicians and others who need to understand the process to view interrogations, but insisted, “We do not stage interrogations for VIP visits.” Saar also recalled interrogation techniques he witnessed at Guantanamo, including one previously reported incident where a female officer behaved in an overtly sexual fashion while interrogating a devout Muslim, at one point smearing ink which she told the detainee was her menstrual blood on his face. McWilliams declined to comment on that claim, saying it was similar to another incident detailed in leaked FBI memos that are the subject of a military investigation. Saar writes about his time at the camp in the book Inside the Wire: A Military Intelligence Soldier’s Eyewitness Account of Life at Guantanamo, to be published this week by Penguin.

Paul Daly/The Independent

Arms exports and oil connections From page 11 tinians welcomed the idea. For everyone else involved in that much-discounted process, the road map is yesterday’s idea. In Arab capitals, Jerusalem and in Washington, things have moved on. Nevertheless, Putin’s attempt to reinsert Moscow into Middle East diplomacy can’t be easily ignored. Arab countries are privately eager for something to balance Washington’s increasingly monopolistic command of political developments in the region, even if Russia’s power to make its voice is far from what it was. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak seized almost with relief on Putin’s comment that “democracy can’t be exported” to the Middle East from the outside. That was a mild swipe at Washington policymakers who are trumpeting their overthrow of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein as a message to all Arab leaders to reform or get out of the way. That suddenly makes Moscow a useful foil. So does Russia’s continued presence as an arms exporter. Recent announcements of sales of short-range

missiles to Syria and a plan to provide Palestinians with armoured vehicles has unnerved both Israel and Washington. Putin took pains to say he has no intention of inflaming tensions in the area. He even let it be known the had cancelled the sale of problematic longer-range missiles to Syria. And he has made common cause with Israel against the nuclear ambitions of Iran, with whom Moscow has a long-established program of technical nuclear assistance. “We are not changing the balance of power in the region,” Putin insisted. “Israel has no problem there.” Maybe not. But Putin and Russia has little else to offer right now except arms and an alternative diplomacy. As Russia determinedly begins to reempower itself as a foreign policy player, after a decade in the wilderness, those factors will be increasingly hard to dismiss. Stephen Handelman is a columnist for TIME Canada based in New York. He can be reached at shandel@ix.netcom.com. His next column for The Independent will appear Sunday, May 15.

stories from here

No frogs in blenders for Peru LIMA, Peru (Reuters) — Peruvian officials saved some 4,000 endangered frogs from being whizzed into popular drinks after they were found hidden in an abattoir. “We were checking the fridges when out jumped a frog. It had escaped, they were in big crates,” a spokesman for Lima city hall says. Frog cocktails are popular in the Andes because of their supposed aphrodisiac qualities. Shops in central Lima selling the drinks have tanks where customers can choose their frogs. He says the telmatobius frogs — which had apparently been brought from the southern lakes in the high Andes — were found stored in the abattoir. They were taken to a colonial fountain in central Lima to splash around before being returned to their native lakes by ecological police. “There were about 5,000 of them

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14 • INDEPENDENTWORLD

MAY 1, 2005

Priest took money, but denies spying on pope ROME Reuters

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Polish priest accused of spying on the late Pope John Paul said he had taken money provided by a suspected secret service agent, but denied he had been a spy. “I was never an agent. You can call me foolish or naive, but not a spy,” Father Konrad Hejmo said in comments published in Italian newspaper La Repubblica. A Polish state agency overseeing communist-era files says Hejmo, who looked after Polish pilgrims coming to the Vatican for some 20 years and had access to John Paul II, informed on the Polish-born pontiff during the 1980s. Hejmo says a Polish agent based in Cologne, Germany, had come to Rome shortly after John Paul became pope in 1978 and had befriended a number of Polish priests. “This agent also gave me money via the priests,” Hejmo told La Repubblica, adding that the agent had died of cancer. Hejmo did not specify why he thought he was given the money. The paper quoted him as saying he was hard-up and “there were kindhearted priests who gave me money.”

The Vatican has declined comment on the affair. The Polish National Remembrance Institute, which oversees and carries out research into the communist files, says it had evidence Hejmo was a conscious informer of the SB security service. The SB tried to infiltrate the church in the 1980s over its support for the Polish anti-communist opposition, led by the then-banned Solidarity movement. The Polish Catholic Church has demanded a thorough investigation into the accusations. The allegation dismayed many Poles. The pope, who died on April 2, was revered in his homeland as an unrivalled moral guide and played a major role in bringing down communism in Poland and across central Europe. Hejmo’s religious order, the Dominicans, says their Polish chief Father Maciej Zieba would travel to Rome this week to talk to the priest. John Paul had links with the democratic opposition while an archbishop in Krakow in 1960s and 1970s. His election as Pope in 1978 sparked a national awakening that resulted in the birth of Solidarity two years later.

WORLD IN BRIEF Osama bin Laden not quite dead yet DUBAI (Reuters) — A posting on an Islamist website which appeared to report the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was misleading, the full text of the Internet article makes clear. The posting on a website often used by Islamists began by saying there was news bin Laden had died but then went on to say the fugitive militant could die at any time and Muslims should be prepared. The unidentified author appeared to be trying to attract readers to his posting with the headline reporting bin Laden’s death. There was no evidence bin Laden had died.

N. Korea reactor shutdown problematic for talks: U.S. SEOUL (Reuters) — The United States believes North Korea may be trying to harvest material for a nuclear bomb from a shut-down reactor, the chief U.S. negotiator to stalled nuclear talks says, and adds that would be “problematic.” “The plutonium reactor at Yongbyon has not been running going on three weeks,” says Christopher Hill, U.S. assistant secretary of State. “There could be an effort to reprocess (nuclear material).” Hill told reporters after meeting with South Korean officials the reactor shutdown and the possibility of a North Korean nuclear test were of great concern to powers trying to coax North Korea to give up its atomic programmes through six-party talks. “To go ahead and have a nuclear test at a time the six-party talks are in abeyance I think would be very troubling for the talks,” Hill says. “Efforts to harvest plutonium at a time the North Korean side is simply boycotting the talks would also be very problematic for the talks.” Hill says patience in Washington is wearing thin on the North Korean nuclear issue, but says “we are not abandoning the six-party process.” Proliferation experts say the north may have already harvested enough fissile material to produce six to eight plutonium bombs. Earlier this month, U.S. newspapers reported North Korea had stepped up activity at a site Washington believes can be used for an underground atomic test.

The last round of the six-party nuclear discussions — which bring together the two Koreas, Japan, China, Russia and the United States — was held in June 2004.

Norwegian court convicts first woman for rape OSLO (Reuters) A Norwegian court has sentenced a woman to nine months in jail for raping a man, the first such conviction in the Scandinavian country that prides itself for its egalitarianism. The 31-year-old man fell asleep on a sofa at a party in January last year and told the court in the western city of Bergen he woke to find the 23year-old woman was having oral sex with him. Under Norwegian law, all sexual acts with someone who is “unconscious or for other reasons unable to oppose the act” are considered rape. The court sentenced the woman to nine months in jail and ordered her to pay 40,000 Norwegian crowns ($6,355 US) in compensation. The woman argued the man had been awake and consented.

Doomsayers say Benedict fits world end prophecy ROME (Reuters) — Pope Benedict’s ascent to the papacy took a conclave of 115 cardinals, four rounds of voting and followed a lifetime of service to the Vatican. But ask Internet doomsayers eyeing a 12th century Catholic prophecy and they’ll tell you it was all stitched up more than eight centuries ago and that judgment day is nigh. The prophecy — widely dismissed by scholars as a hoax — is attributed to St. Malachy, an Irish archbishop recognized by members of the church for his ability to read the future. Benedict, believers say, fits the description of the second-to-last pope listed under the prophecy before the Last Judgement, when the bible says God separates the wicked from the righteous at the end of time. “The Old Testament states: ‘believe his prophets and you will prosper’ — so believe it. We are close to the return of the judge of the nations. Christ is coming,” wrote one Internet post by the Rev. Pat Reynolds.


MAY 1, 2005

INDEPENDENTWORLD • 15


16 • INDEPENDENTWORLD

MAY 1, 2005

U.S. soldier sentenced to death for killing comrades MIAMI Reuters

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Pre mie rS oc

U.S. military jury has sentenced an Army sergeant to death for killing two officers in a grenade and rifle attack on his comrades in Kuwait two years ago, military officials say. Sgt. Hasan Akbar, a former member of the 101st Airborne Division, was found guilty a week ago on two counts of premeditated murder and three counts of attempted premeditated murder after a trial at Fort Bragg, N.C. The trial is subject to review by a high rank-

ing military officer, who could approve the sentence or reduce it, officials say. After that review, the case will be automatically appealed to higher U.S. military courts. The last time a U.S. soldier faced a courtmartial for murdering a comrade in wartime was during the Vietnam War and the last military execution was in 1961. “Sgt. Hasan Akbar was sentenced to death by a military panel here,” Fort Bragg officials said in a written statement. The charges stemmed from a nighttime attack at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait on March 23, 2003, as 101st Airborne soldiers

awaited orders to move into Iraq at the start of the war. Akbar was accused of rolling grenades into soldiers’ tents and firing a rifle at those who emerged. Cpt. Christopher Seifert and Maj. Gregory Stone were killed and 14 others were wounded. Akbar’s mother and military lawyers say Akbar snapped in the face of relentless ridicule of his Muslim faith and harassment by fellow soldiers, according to a published report. Akbar had faced three possible sentences: death, life in prison with the possibility of parole or life without parole.

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Venezuela, Cuba forge anti-U.S. alliance HAVANA Reuters

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il exporter Venezuela has drawn closer to Cuba by establishing subsidiaries of its state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and a government bank on the Communist-run island. Presidents Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, who are seeking to build an alternative to the U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas — from which Cuba is excluded — attended the launchings in an upbeat mood. “We are very pleased. This is a historic day,” says Castro, 78, dressed in his customary military uniform. Chavez was just as pleased. “We have been building this brick by brick, like a house,” says Chavez. The left-wing leaders tasted sardines and chocolate at a fair where Venezuelan businesses sold $412 million in products to Cuba with the help of Venezuelan export credits. The goods, including toys, car tires, clothes, shoes, sports equipment and building materials, will enter Cuba tariff-free. Castro declared the FTAA dead in a three-hour speech in which he said the U.S. proposal for a single free-trade bloc of the Americas was an “anexionist plan” aimed at plundering Latin American resources. “What’s left of the FTAA is just pieces, bilateral agreements,” Castro says of the hemispheric free-trade plan, which has met with growing resistance in Latin American societies disillusioned with the promises of free-market capitalism. In the last five years, Venezuela has become a vital economic lifeline for Cuba’s cash-starved government, partly filling the void left by the Soviet Union’s collapse with vital supplies of oil on very favorable terms. OIL FOR DOCTORS Cuba is paying for the estimated $1 billion a year oil bill with medical and educational services. Officials say 30,000 Cuban doctors and medical personnel are working in Venezuela. The partnership is viewed with suspicion in Washington where Bush administration officials see a conspiracy against U.S. interests in Latin America. Venezuela, the world’s fifth largest oil exporter, is a major source of energy for the United States. PDVSA will make Havana the headquarters for its Caribbean oil refining and distribution plans. It signed an agreement with the Cuban oil company Cupet to build a lubricants plant in Cuba. The Venezuelan company is also looking at building a super-tanker shipping terminal and a storage facility with a 600,000 barrels a day capacity at Matanzas, east of Havana, and the completion of a Soviet-built oil refinery in Cienfuegos. PDVSA will consider off-shore exploration in Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico waters, where Spain’s Repsol YPF last year discovered a noncommercial deposit of good quality oil. The two countries further agreed to undertake joint nickel and cobalt mining projects, improve communications and step up air and shipping links. Venezuela increased oil shipments to Cuba to 80,00090,000 barrels per day (bpd), Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez says. Since 2000, Venezuela has officially supplied Cuba with 53,000 bpd of crude and refined products, but exports have risen since Chavez’s consolidation of power. The Bush administration’s former point-man for Latin America, Otto Reich, accused Chavez of using Venezuela’s oil wealth to prop up Castro. “We have to be careful that our home, the Western Hemisphere, is not undermined through political warfare guided by a couple of self-described revolutionaries who also lead increasingly failed states,” Reich said in a Miami speech.


INDEPENDENTLIFE

SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, MAY 1-7, 2005 — PAGE 17

‘Mother Teresas of the art world’

Gerald Pedros, Scott MacLeod and Francis Caprani of La Raza Group with some of their pieces.

Three artists on a mission — not to change the world — just the smaller communities they visit like Pouch Cove

Paul Daly/The Independent

By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

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o the casual, local onlooker, Newfoundland and Labrador may be as grey as ever, but within the old Pouch Cove Elementary school building, three outsiders are finding the colour. Tucked away inside the dilapidated, whitewashed building — now a residence for visiting artists — Scott MacLeod, Gerald Pedros and Francis Caprani of La Raza Group are living and working, busy collaborating on a vibrant, 40-foot long mural. The piece, depicting their impressions of the essence of Newfoundland and Labrador, is to be featured in an exhibition running through May at the James Baird Gallery on Duckworth Street in St. John’s. The artists will also show locally-themed pieces of their own, individual work. More surprising than La Raza’s unusual, relaxed, collaborative approach, is that the highly successful trio from the mainland (with roots in Cape Breton, Dublin and Europe) will be donating half of the exhibition’s proceeds to the Janeway Children’s

Hospital. “Everyone, I think, somehow in life, wants to give something important back,” says MacLeod, the group’s youngest member. Since their Montreal beginnings in 1988, La Raza has adopted the concept of using art as a means towards effecting social change, both through the imagery of their work and fundraising. Among other projects, including organizing food banks and working with Amnesty International, the group raised money selling their work to fund half the cost for a new hospital in Honduras, South America, in 2003. “We’re not going to change the world, but we can change our communities or the communities we go visit,” Macleod tells The Independent. “So I think that’s the impetus behind making a living and that obviously has to translate into cash dollars — and eventually it does.” Named after a slum area of Mexico City, where the artists worked and exhibited in the late ’80s, La Raza found themselves inspired by the public art and murals of several Mexican painters. The group has since cultivated a loose,

unfettered style, which is visible in the journal-like collage of local history and character exhibited at the James Baird Gallery. “Newfoundland has been a place that’s always fascinated us,” says MacLeod, “and there’s no better way to do it than to actually come here … it’s Canada but this really does feel like another country. These people are a people unto themselves.” Not unlike Caprani, Pedros and MacLeod. As a collaborative piece, elements of each artist can be found in the mural. Caprani, who is Irish/Italian and married with three daughters, often deals with spiritual themes incorporating women — he has a light, almost ethereal touch. Pedros (also married with children) has a vibrant, bold, style which comes through in his recreations of icons and images from old Newfoundland churches. MacLeod has a personal interest in archeology, which is demonstrated in images focusing on the history of the Beothuks and L’Anse aux Meadows, rendered with his loose, unrestricted approach. See “Having the goods,” page 19

LIVYERS

‘Breaking the ice’ By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

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s someone who not only convinced his newly-wed wife to live with him in a shacklike house in the Arctic, but managed to make the experience a fond one, Jack Clark proves he’s not a man to stray from a challenge. It’s a quality that has taken this honourary Newfoundlander (originally from Ontario) from developing an Arctic gas pipeline through to southern Canada and the United States, to advising on underwater structures for offshore projects such as Hibernia. Clark’s work as a geotechnical engineer, which entails understanding

the earth’s crust and how to build with it and on it, has led to national recognition. Already a recipient of the Order of Canada, Clark will be awarded a Canadian Engineer’s Gold Medal Award in a May 14 ceremony in Regina, Sask. The medal is considered the most prestigious award for engineering in the country. “It came out of the blue and it’s very exciting for it to happen,” Clark tells The Independent, “but I always think, ‘Geez, I know about 30 people more deserving.’” Clark and his family lived near Calgary for almost 30 years before making their home in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1984. Now retired at

72, Clarke still travels to Alberta and B.C. for consulting work; which is where he is now. “I’ve still got a lot of people that for some reason will still hire me,” he says over the phone. “I don’t do fulltime by any means and I turn down a fair bit, but between Alberta and BC, I’m working on a number of projects.” Clark and his wife Joan (a wellpublished local author) found themselves “lured” to Newfoundland when Clark was offered a job as head of St. John’s-based C-CORE (The Centre for Cold Ocean Resources Engineering). C-CORE provides See “A unique opportunity,” page 22

Jack Clark is honoured by Adrian Clarkson.


18 • INDEPENDENTLIFE

MAY 1, 2005

GALLERYPROFILE

MARCUS GOSSE Visual Artist

M

arcus Gosse lives and breathes art. A substitute art teacher, an art tutor and a full-time artist, Noseworthy is making progress on a growing career in as many mediums as he can get his hands on. Gosse’s Torbay home and studio is filled with art: mixed media pieces hang next to soup-can plates designed and signed by Andy Warhol, and a feminine sketch by Salvador Dali.

After seven years painting, he’s still a toddler in the art world compared to many of the artists — including Newfoundlanders — who created the work hanging on his walls. Despite the number of years he’s been a professional artist, his portfolio of work — more than 2,500 pieces consisting of mixedmedia paintings, lino-prints and mixedmetal sculpture — and passion for art has been drawing a lot of attention. “I pretty much try to traffic my art work wherever I can,” Gosse tells The Independent. With five exhibits under his belt and new representation, Gosse decided to create a sketchbook the province can have a look at. The book, The Island in

Me, including poetry and sketches, will be released through publisher Breakwater Books in 2007. Gosse will also be involved in an art auction this month. He says it’s a “privilege” to be to be involved with a new art dealer who not only knows her stuff, but plans on selling his art side by side with work by Mary Pratt and David Blackwood. Behind Gosse’s house is what he calls “the barn” — a studio workspace open all summer long. Gosse says he leaves the door open so the community and tourists can pop by. He admits he’s been frightened a few times by people who walk in unexpected. Gosse’s main focus in his artwork is

blending his two heritages — Mi’kmaq and Newfoundland — to create a selfdescribed “funky” take on life in the province. “It shows a colourful world of Newfoundland, not poor and unemployed,” he says. “It’s more vibrant art than what we usually see because we’re used to more traditional art.” When it comes to realism versus abstract, Gosse doesn’t mince words about the way he mixes the two styles. He says people see realist work he did in the beginning of his career and have told him he should do more of it, but he says the same person can stare at his abstract work for hours and be “fascinated” and not make any comments.

“It looks like a photograph,” he says, pointing to one of his earlier pieces, “but you can buy a photograph anywhere. “I wanted to make Newfoundland Starry Night,” he says of some later pieces that depict fishing stages in the blue hue of starlight, similar to Picasso’s famous painting. Gosse says he’s learned many lessons from world-renowned artists he’s worked with and his art classes at Memorial, but the most important — and the one he’s taught to all of his students “is to be open to other people’s ideas and to know that everyone’s got an opinion.” — Alisha Morrissey

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


MAY 1, 2005

INDEPENDENTLIFE • 19

A living artwork W

hat did you do for Earth Day? Many of us tossed away our newspapers and plastic bottles of water, boarded our SUVs, and headed for work. You have to really work at it to honour Earth Day in Newfoundland. Environmentalism catches on faster in places where environments are less hostile. In these parts April is the cruelest month — not because spring flowers tease us into thinking life goes on forever — but because life is barely happening at all. Well, now it is May and Mother Nature’s name is still being taken in vain, and for good reason. However, anyone who recently attended a work called Rocks On at Eastern Edge Gallery might be thinking a little differently about the planet, even this greybrown chilly part of it. The work in question is a form of art that involves performance. It is literally off the wall. Unlike conventional art experiences, the viewer doesn’t shuffle along a high partition from one framed image to another, pondering the meaning of life in a frozen painted moment of time. Performance art is happening in real, not caught, time. This is art that not only inhabits physical space, but also features the human activity that goes on within it. It is no accident performance art and Earth Day began at roughly the same time, in the more socially aware 1970s. The former is a body of work that refuses to be commodified by the wonky free market. You can’t bid on a piece of performance art at Sotheby’s. It’s a living work, with the breathing creator at its centre. It’s resolutely anti-elitist, or, ironically, in the word of a popular advertising campaign, priceless. When a performance artist dies, whether or not he has cut off his ear, he takes his work with him. Earth Day was also born in the early ‘70s, out of a widely shared need to save the planet from our ignorant polluting selves. Skeptical detractors notwithstanding, it does appear as if the earth is getting smellier, messier, and warmer every year. Thirty years ago we thought

NOREEN GOLFMAN Standing room only the environmental movement was the domain of a strictly lunatic fringe. Today it is difficult to avoid sharing the guilt over how much waste we contribute every day to the global garbage dump. Both performance art and environmentalism have endured as legitimate expressions of the human condition. And just last week both came together elegantly at Eastern Edge in the work of Sarah Stoker, a St. John’s native and founder of Gutsink Productions Inc., a company that performs what it believes. Consider its memorably titled work of 2000: They cut down trees so you can wipe your ass and blow your nose with the softest tissues ever. You won’t find those words hanging beside a landscape painted by one of the Group of Seven, now will you? The most recent work, titled Rocks On, magically transformed the normally bland white space of Eastern Edge Gallery on the harbour front of St. John’s into a nature reserve, turning the place inside out. The audience was first led into the darkened space and took a seat somewhere along the walls. Our attention was directly focused in the centre of the floor, where Stoker’s tall, pale, androgynous body lay still and partially smothered in beach rocks. Wrapped in skin-coloured gauze, Stoker’s outstretched body assumed an almost uncanny serenity, nestled on and covered by grey-blue stones. Floating in sensual billowy curves above her and suspended from the ceiling were two massive white sheets onto which images of nature were continuously and rhythmically projected. As familiar sounds of sea and air filled the room and the lights came up ever so slightly, Stoker’s body slowly, gradually, steadily, awakened to the room, as if responding to some ancient siren call. It is difficult to tell how long the piece

Performance artist Sarah Stoker.

lasted — 15 minutes, possibly more, or less. The performance displaced our rushed workday sense of time, putting us in a deeply relaxed mood, in tune with the ebb and flow of water on a beach, with the cries of gulls and the whoosh of wind. Throughout, Stoker lifted her body inch by carefully controlled inch out of the rocks into a crouching, then a partially upright position, and then moved just as slowly and deliberately back down to the floor again, to the point at which she began, performing a deliberate cycle of rising and falling, birth and burial. Astonishingly, such a simple conceit as a body emerging from and then returning to a resting place among beach rocks achieved a lasting effect, at

‘Having the goods and being persistent’ From page 17 “Once (buyers) make their selection, we’re going to have a red pencil and we’re going to sketch a square and the three of us will sign it and we’ll put a red dot on it and at the end of the exhibition they’ll all be cut out, framed and then given,” MacLeod says, explaining how the 40 foot-long mural will be sold. The diverse mix of materials and styles in the collage sums up La Raza’s own versatile approach. The artists have used oil paints, acrylics, charcoal — “whatever serves the purpose” — upon a type of thin, plastic, non-absorbent parchment called mylar. “It’s a material used by architects … it’s easy to transport, you just roll it up, you don’t necessarily have to frame it … you can almost put anything on it, it’s a very, very forgiving material.” And it makes for great layering. MacLeod points out a large painting of a woman he began as one of his solo projects. Unhappy with its progress he passed it along to Caprani, who added his own spin — and his own layers. “That’s how we influence each other and we kind of have this attitude that anything’s up for grabs,” says MacLeod. “If someone has a discovery we say, ‘Oh yeah? Show us how to do it.’ It’s sort of a collective spirit when we do collective projects.” Caprani, Pedros and MacLeod are undeniably unique within an industry where most artists move uncertainly from one paycheque to the next.

“It’s hard to make a living (as an artist),” MacLeod admits, putting La Raza’s success down to “a combination of a certain kind of business savvy, knowing how to market and also having the goods and being persistent. “We’re just trying to give back what

we’ve gotten over the years and art is a platform for change and you can do good with it.” Caprani gives his own tongue-incheek summary. “So we’re like the Mother Teresas of the art world,” he says with a grin.

Rhonda Hayward/The Independent

once hypnotic and provocative. There, in the half-light of an imagined space, Stoker’s body was solidly of the earth, briefly detached from it, and restored to it once again. One of the notable contradictions of the performance is that it was enhanced with technology. The audience inhabited a white-walled room into which large colourful images of nature were mechanically projected. Silently and with reverence, we were at first stiff in our seats, expectant, and ready to submit to the surprise of Stoker’s choreography. The contrast between the artist’s expression of profound attachment to the earth and our own equally profound alienation from it became heavily obvious. The whole brief luminous exercise not only made us experience a serene

connection to the natural world, but it also reminded us of our own sorry distance from it. Art has the ability to make these contradictions obvious. Art can remind us of that distance and our own complicity in it. Art can bring us back to something we have forgotten, ignored, or taken for granted. Indeed, the short-lived experience of Rocks On generated far more power than the empty repetitive message about taking the one-tonne challenge. Performing is obviously so much better than preaching. Noreen Golfman is a professor of literature and women’s studies at Memorial University. Her next column appears May 15.


20 • INDEPENDENTLIFE

MAY 1, 2005

IN CAMERA

‘It’s a fabulous

While most sports emphasize winning, the women’s hockey league in St. John’s has taken a different approach — working hard, making new friends, and having a good time. Writer Darcy MacRae and photographer Rhonda Hayward took in a playoff game April 27. This is their report:

There’s a buzz in the air at Prince of Wales Arena in St. John’s. It’s Wednesday evening, April 27, and there’s an aura of excitement when a visitor walks through the front doors and sees the flurry of activity on the ice. The Sport Shop Women’s Recreational Hockey League has begun its year-end tournament with a game between City Honda and Once Upon a Child. The players on the ice and spectators in the seats are clearly enjoying themselves; their smiles give it away. It may be an official playoff game, but there’s no pressure to win. That’s not what this league is about. “We’re 100 per cent recreational,” says Kelly Piercey, who plays for Glen Collings

Ltd. “We’re about skill building, and having fun. It’s all about women playing hockey, many for the first time.” The action on the ice may not be driven by the quest for victory, but it’s still entertaining. City Honda applies loads of pressure on Once Upon A Child goaltender Crystal Kean early, forcing her to make several key saves. Eventually, Laurie Hunt beats Kean to put her team up 1-0, but just a short time later Once Upon A Child’s Karen O’Neil skates the puck into the attacking zone, weaves around a trio of defenders and scores with a quick wrist shot to tie the game at one. As play continues, the friendly nature of the contest becomes more obvious. No player is allowed to score more than three

goals in a game, slap shots and diving for lose pucks are not allowed for safety reasons, and body contact is forbidden. Even if players were allowed to check, there wouldn’t be any cheap shots. “There just isn’t any dirty play,” Piercey says. “It’s nice to see that. It’s kind of unique for hockey.” Kelly Piercey is joined on the Glen Collings Ltd. squad by her sister Kristy, who’s also league president. Kristy was one of the founding members of the league, having been one of 12 women who, six years ago, took to the ice regularly at 6 a.m for practice and pick-up games. The league has since flourished. There are eight teams this year. The driving force in making the league a


MAY 1, 2005

INDEPENDENTLIFE • 21

game’

success has been keeping the mood loose. With players ranging in age from 25 to 55 and varying in skill level (some never played before joining the league), it’s all about getting to know new people, exercising, and having fun. To keep the atmosphere, teams are dismantled at the end of every season, with new line-ups put together the following fall. “That keeps the level of competitiveness reasonable,” Kristy says. “We don’t build rivalries because you’re not on the same team long enough.” Once the season begins, steps are

taken to ensure games are close. If a team routinely pounds their opposition, trades are made to even out the rosters. “We want it to be something that can be maintained,” says Linda Sloka, league vice-president. “A great way to do that is to have even teams every year. One team doesn’t become a powerhouse, we keep it fun for everybody. Once you’ve been playing for a few of years you know almost everyone in the league.” Back on the ice, City Honda topped Once Upon A Child 3-1 in the first contest, while Midas beat Glen

Collings Ltd. by the same score later in the evening. These types of games are exactly what the league president likes to see. “We wouldn’t accept games that were 8-0, we would do something about it really quick. We’re fundamental about that, because nobody wants to play in that type of game,” Kristy says. “It doesn’t matter if a team loses every game, as long as they’re able to compete in every game. If we wanted to make it a competitive league, things would be different, but we just want to have fun.”

But just because winning isn’t the only objective doesn’t mean players aren’t trying hard. Effort and determination are demonstrated on every shift, as well as a fair bit of athleticism. An example of that came on the first goal of Piercey’s game. Midas forward Gail Head danced around almost all of the Glen Collings’ Ltd.

skaters before finding herself on a breakaway early in the opening period. She faked right, before pulling the puck left and sliding it into an empty net. The goal brought applause from both teams. “It’s a fabulous game,” Kristy says. “It’s just a blast.” Darcy_8888@hotmail.com


22 • INDEPENDENTLIFE

MAY 1, 2005

EVENTS MAY 1 Sun Spirits Aboriginal performances, matinees available St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, until May 2, 729-3650. Cul-De-Sac LSPU Hall, 8 p.m., presented by Artistic Fraud, 753-4531. Home Show 2005, Mile One Stadium 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., tickets $5. Aliant Walk for Kids Help Phone Bungalow, Bowring Park, St. John’s, starting at 11 a.m. MAY 2 International Compost Awareness Week at Memorial’s Botanical Gardens continuing until May 7, a full week of compost talks and demonstrations, free. George Street TV members Donnie Goobie, left to right, Scott Taylor and Kent Brown. Paul Daly/The Independent

Comedy Network picks up George Street TV By Jamie Baker The Independent

T

he little show from George Street is about to be cast into the national spotlight. George Street TV, the brainchild of local comedians Kent Brown and Donnie Goobie, which also features Scott Taylor and former Codco star Greg Malone, has been officially picked up by the Comedy Network. The popular comedy show has been featured on NTV for the last two-and-ahalf years, and it will become, as far as the show’s creators know, the first home-grown local show to be picked up by a national broadcaster. “Donnie and I first met with the network in Toronto three years ago after our pilot,” says Brown, who’s also the show’s producer. “They were very encouraging at the time and thought we were on the right track and that was just our pilot. “We’re excited, motivated and pumped.” “It’s sinking in now … I’ve been flipping out since we heard,” Goobie tells The Independent. “It’s not only good for us, but it’s good for St. John’s and Newfoundland because we get to exploit Newfoundland and George Street in a good way all across Canada. “We’re swimming with the big fish now, man.” Comedy Network programming director Brent Haynes says the show will allow a unique Newfoundland perspective on the events of the day. But he says it was the actors themselves — Goobie and Brown — who sold the network on the show.

“Having seen what they’ve done and having been out there, I can say there’s something about their personalities … people just connect with them,” Haynes says. “They’re funny, and that’s what we’re in the business of capturing. They have good, strong personalities and a different comedic take on what’s going on in the world.” While air dates have yet to be set, Haynes says production is expected to take place this summer, likely in July. There are no plans to make wholesale changes to the show’s content, but Haynes says there will be a little finetuning. “It’s going to be a different show than it has been on NTV, because we don’t want to mimic that show,” Haynes says. “We want to do something that is in the spirit of what they were doing, but speaks to the country as a whole. “That’s ultimately what we’re trying to do on the Comedy Network — give voice to many different opinions and people and mix it up a bit.” And mix it up they will. Calling the Comedy Network “a staffing of friends,” Goobie says the George Street TV gang couldn’t be happier to be part of the network’s family. “We’re pretty lucky,” Goobie says. “We get all the freedom we want and do whatever we want, but all in good taste. The good thing about it is they want it all about Newfoundland and about us and what our lives our like.” Besides being a great opportunity to showcase St. John’s and the province — which Brown refers to as the “Hawaii of the north” — Brown also says the show will give new recognition to the hotbed of talent that exists in the

province. “I always hoped George Street TV would become a Saturday Night Live for Newfoundlanders,” Brown says. “I feel like we need a local TV show that can have local people on it who can get recognized and go on to have an impact in this industry. We’re so incredibly proud to be from this place.” Scott Taylor, a.k.a. “Glitter Man,” a recurring character on the show known for spending most of his time doing weather forecasts from tropical locations, says he’s excited about having the opportunity to push the “glitterfication of the nation.” “I’m glitterfied to be able to glitterfy the nation … it’s a good feeling b’y,” he says. “The whole glitterfication process is a journey in itself and I’m tickled pink that I’m able to glitterfy everybody. “It all comes from everybody enjoying what they’re doing, so it’s good and exciting.” While Goobie and Brown are thrilled to be going nation-wide, Brown gives a lot of credit to the Stirling family and NTV. “We walked in there when everyone else said no to us, and they said, ‘Let’s go.’ They also credit the “comedic genius” of Malone for helping make their dreams become reality “We have a very good reputation for making funny television with no money, but this year, hopefully, we get to make funny television and we’ll have money. Donnie and I always believed in each other and thought we could do it … we’re over the moon man. “We’ve been on a rip ever since we heard. Now we got to sober up and do a bit of work.”

Understanding the Accident/Incident Investigation Process PREVENTION WORKSHOP SERIES Accident/Incident Investigation This practical workshop will provide OH&S professionals and other stakeholders with an overview of accident/incident investigation process as it relates to the management of occupational health and safety programs. Participants will gain knowledge of: þ the benefits of reporting and investigating accidents and incidents þ the role of A/I investigations in building an effective OH&S program þ the legislative requirement to conduct investigations þ a strategic, effective investigation procedure þ the A/I investigation team; who should be involved and what are their roles þ what accidents or incidents should be investigated plus much more...

Locations St. John’s ........................May 17 ........Guv’nor Inn .................8:30 am - 4:30 pm St. John’s ........................May 18 ........Guv’nor Inn .................8:30 am - 4:30 pm Corner Brook ..................May 25 ........Holiday Inn..................8:30 am - 4:30 pm Labrador City .................May 27 ........The Carol Inn ..............8:30 am - 4:40 pm Grand Falls-Windsor .......May 31 ........Mount Peyton Hotel .....8:30 am - 4:30 pm Registration is free and lunch will also be provided. To register please call Michelle MacDonald at (709)778-2926, toll-free 1-800-563-9000 or e-mail: mmacdonald@whscc.nf.ca.

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The Gander WISE will be starting a new 12-week career exploration program for women, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., free for women who qualify. NLOWE’s 2005 Annual Conference: Creating a Buzz & Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Fairmont Newfoundland, St. John’s, May 3, 754-5555. Ballet Jörgen Canada presents The Velveteen Rabbit, Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre, matinees available. MAY 3 Organizing meeting for The Mount Pearl Subchapter of the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, Kim’s Family Restaurant, starts at 7:30 p.m., 739-9474. Youth Community Awareness Day, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Salvation Army Citadel, St. John’s, admission: non-perishable food item. Centre Chorale Spring Concert, Gander Arts and Culture Centre, tickets $12.50.

MAY 4 Ballet Jörgen Canada presents The Velveteen Rabbit, Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre, matinees available, 643-4553. Sun Spirits Aboriginal performances, matinees available Gander Arts and Culture Centre, until May 5. MAY 5 Red Shield Salute, Salvation Army, Grand Falls-Windsor Arts and Culture Centre. MAY 6 Sun Spirits Aboriginal performances, matinees available, Grand FallsWindsor Arts and Culture Centre. Ballet Jörgen Canada presents The Velveteen Rabbit, Labrador West Arts and Culture Centre, matinees available. Connie Parsons School of Dance Recital, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, tickets $18, continuing May 7. MAY 7 Andy’s Inferno: Celebrity Roast with Mary Walsh, Pete Soucy, Mark Critch, Steve Cochrane and others, starts 6:30 p.m., The Bella Vista, St. John’s, tickets $100, 753-4531. IN THE GALLERIES With this Freedom, Elayne Greeley, Leyton Gallery of Fine Art, opening reception with artist in attendance, 3 to 5 p.m., 722-7177. La Raza at the James Baird Gallery, until May 18, free, 726-4502. Cultural Barometer: A statement on the state of the arts in Newfoundland and Labrador. Featuring the work of Michelle Baikie, Cathy Driedzic, Elayne Greeley, Nikki Hart and more, until June 12 at The Resource Centre for the Arts, 753-4531.

‘A unique opportunity’ From page 17 global engineering solutions to clients in natural resource sectors such as oil and gas. “I’ve been so fortunate to have incredibly interesting projects,” says Clark. “The work I did in the 1970s on the Arctic gas pipeline was certainly immensely interesting because we were literally and figuratively breaking new ground. “I thought that was going to be a unique opportunity that would never be repeated and when I got the opportunity to go to C-CORE and finally move out under the water to the offshore … sea bed-related work was just as exciting.” Throughout his life, Clark has lived all across Canada, starting off in a tiny community of 150 people called Bullocks Corners near Hamilton, Ont. He met his wife Joan, who comes from Nova Scotia, while attending Nova Scotia Technical College and the couple have three children. Clark admits to having a love

affair with Newfoundland and Labrador, but says his wife is completely hooked. “When we moved there we became very attached, in fact years ago Joan said, ‘You know, you’ll never get me to move from Newfoundland’ … she’s published, now, 14 books, she finds Newfoundland an extremely good, creative environment to work in.” What’s a bit of wind and fog to a woman who was happy to live in subzero temperatures with her young husband and haul water from the nearby river to use the outhouse? “That was a tremendously interesting start for us there (the Arctic) … she looks back on it very, very fondly and one of her books that she didn’t get to write until 20 years after we left, was very much set there.” Clark may not be planning to revisit his first marital home anytime soon, but he’s not ready to put up his feet just yet. “I’m 72 and it sure has been a lot of fun and it continues to be and hopefully will be for many years to come.”


INDEPENDENTBUSINESS

SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, MAY 1-7, 2005 — PAGE 23

Worming them out The unpopular elm spanworm may be gearing up for another assault, but there are ways to fight back By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

H

aving wriggling, black worms dropping down the chimney, crawling over the dining room table and studiously making their way towards the bedroom would be enough to send anyone running for pest control. It’s just another standard summer’s day for many central St. John’s residents during the months of July and August. In recent years there’s been a price to be paid for living in a nice, leafy area. Anywhere up to a few thousand dollars, in fact, just to keep the infamous elm spanworm — which has taken up a seasonal reign of anarchy in St. John’s since 2000 — under control. “Oh my God I had them coming down on my bed,” says Craigmillar Avenue-resident Eva Hawkins, “because they come through the chimney … it was horrendous. I felt like running away from home.” This year Hawkins is enlisting the help of a qualified friend with a pressure sprayer loaded with dormant oil to blast her fairly small maple trees. The dormant oil spray works directly on the spanworm eggs and spring is the best time to apply it — before the leaves start to bud. A pesticide called BTk (Bacillus Thurigiensis) is probably the most commonly weapon against the spanworm. People with small trees can save some money by purchasing the bacterium at a garden store, but most need a professional sprayer to deal with the larger ones. The general price-range falls between $50 and $100 a tree, depending on size. BTk causes a fatal disease in the worms and is best applied after the eggs have hatched and the larvae are still small. A follow-up application is often required. A medium-sized garden with a few trees could cost between $300 and $500 to treat. Larger premises, particularly the many high-end guest houses in central St. John’s, have shelled out money in the thousands to keep their customers worm-free. As a caterer, Hawkins says she’s seen weddings cancelled at locations infested with spanworms.

Nicole Greeley, who heads the spanworm project at Murray’s Garden Centre on Portugal Cove Road, says customer enquiries about treating the pests are growing. Murray’s sprayed around 300 gardens last year. Although Murray’s only deals with the BTk spray, there are some local companies offering to “plug” infected trees with a pesticide called Ace Cap 97. The chemical gets drawn up into the sap of the tree and make the leaves poisonous. Although this method is generally cheaper and often more effective, it’s technically illegal to use it for the treatment of spanworms in Newfoundland and Labrador. “It’s not registered for spanworm,” says Greeley. “I know there’s loop holes getting around using them, but our customers are aware that the federal government is not registering it yet, so we’re not offering it until it is.” Peggy Dixon, an entomologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada based in St. John’s, has been involved with in-depth research into the spanworms in recent years. She and her colleagues are hoping to collect data to enable the spanworm to be registered on the list of pests legally treatable by the Ace Cap-filled tree plugs. Dixon says although studies dating back 50 years show the spanworms to be native in this part of North America, they were once considered rare in the province. She adds records show parts of the United States have had serious problems with the pests for hundreds of years. Last week, a student from Memorial who made spanworms the subject of her honours project in 2004, paced the streets to get an idea of the current numbers of eggs waiting to hatch. Dixon says the areas heavily afflicted last year seem to be slightly diminished this year — but the worms could just be relocating. “I don’t want to be alarmist because it was only a couple of places that they went to, but they were pretty high in some of those areas. And in the States that’s kind of what they found. It would be a few years in one area, maybe the whole outbreak lasted 10 years, but not 10 in the same area.”

Span worms take over an abandoned snowblower.

As well as having an abundance of hard-wood maple trees (a favourite with the worms), the province appears to have an unfortunate lack of natural predators to keep the outbreaks at bay. Still, Dixon says “it can’t go on forev-

er.” The last major outbreak in the United States was in the 1970s, and Dixon says the eventual collapse of the spanworms was discovered to be due to a small, parasitic wasp which attacked the eggs.

Paul Daly/The Independent

Although no predator was found in the eggs on local trees last year, she says there was some evidence of a parasite. “We did find some in the later stages in the cocoons … it was there, and that will build up.”

‘Get the hell out of here’ Union rep for workers at Grand Falls-Windsor mill says Abitibi should sell out and leave town By Alisha Morrissey The Independent

U

Paul Daly/The Independent

A paper-making machine in Abitibi’s mill in Grand Falls-Winsor.

nion officials representing Abitibi Consolidated employees say the company should sell its operations in Grand FallsWindsor and Stephenville and leave. “The time has come for Abitibi to sell those two mills and get the hell out of here,” Max Michaud, Atlantic region vice-president for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers’ union, tells The Independent. “Give a chance to another player and it would be the best thing that could happen to the population of Newfoundland.” Speaking in a thick French accent, Michaud says the union was “shocked” by the company’s April 27 announcement to shut down of one of two papermaking machines at its Grand FallsWindsor mill.

The announcement came following a 60-day internal review. Abitibi Consolidated — the largest pulp and paper company in Canada — announced the review in January after a fourth quarter loss in 2004 of $108 million. The company reported a $51-million loss in the first quarter of this year. Mills in Stephenville and Grand Falls-Windsor, as well as mills in Kenora and Fort William, Ont. were reviewed. The company’s cost-saving plan includes the “phase out” of the No. 7 machine at the Grand Falls-Windsor mill, cutting an untold number of jobs in the province, and selling its Fort William operation. Pink slips will be handed out in the province’s two mills in mid-May as part of an amalgamation of administration, says Seth Kursman, spokesman for the company, adding numbers won’t be released until employees have been

informed. Abitibi Consolidated has 240 workers in Stephenville, 520 in Grand FallsWindsor and 420 woodlands workers. “We’ve got a business that’s not competitive … we, as a company, have lost money for a number of years here,” Kursman says. “Our shareholders deserve a return, our employees and the communities in which we operate deserve to be a part of a business that makes those difficult decisions.” Natural Resources Minister Ed Byrne has announced he will invoke Bill 27 — revoking the timber rights for 60 per cent of the wood supply for the Grand Falls-Windsor mill — if the company follows through on shutting down the No. 7 machine. Byrne failed to return The Independent’s messages prior to press deadline. “We’re going to take the high road here and we’re going to talk about the

future,” Kursman says. “But I must caution, you cannot make paper without fibre. “I think that if a measure like that is taken, where we lose all our licences, it would have a detrimental impact on our operations across the province.” The Stephenville mill has been facing increasing energy costs, with company officials claiming a hike of 30 per cent over the past three years and a monthly power bill of $2 million. The mill has no secure wood supply and imports up to 70 per cent of the wood fibre it needs to operate from offshore. In March, Opposition leader Roger Grimes told The Independent selling both mills could be an opportunity for the province. “Other companies would find either Stephenville or Grand Falls-Windsor See “Now’s their chance” page 24


24 • INDEPENDENTBUSINESS

MAY 1, 2005

French ambassador to Canada says relationship between his country and Newfoundland and Labrador should be strengthened By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

T

he French Ambassador to Canada, Daniel Jouanneau, paid his first visit to Newfoundland and Labrador late last week since his official posting in Ottawa in September, 2004. The Independent caught up with Jouanneau for a sit-down interview about his thoughts on the province, the fishery, Danny Williams and his intentions to promote French business and tourism in the province. Sitting in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel in St. John’s, Jouanneau stresses the importance of his visit to the province, both on a personal and political level. “I came with a team,” he says. “I came with my wife, I came with my daughter, who lives in London, and her friend. I came with our trade commissioner … and I came with the man who is in charge of tourism for the whole of Canada and he will see how we can improve the tourist link.” Jouanneau has just come from a ceremony to award Newfoundland and Labrador war veteran Ronald Reid a Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) medal. Reid received what is considered to be France’s most prestigious national order for his service during the Second World War. He lost his leg at the infamous D-Day battle on Juno Beach in 1944. Jouanneau says his first impressions of Newfoundland and Labrador are of a “proud country” with a great sense of “solidarity. “They are right to be proud of what

French ambassador to Canada, Daniel Jouanneau.

they have achieved in a difficult context, shifting from fishery to oil. All today and nothing tomorrow is a very painful transition,” he says. With a French presence in Newfoundland and Labrador dating back some 500 years, Jouanneau says the bridge between the two cultures is

important. He adds he would like to expand business relations — particularly within the oil industry. “Our trade is still modest. I think we can do more. “Also we can have interesting partnerships in the field of oil, for instance, because you know, when

Paul Daly/The Independent

Hibernia was built there was a group of French technology components in the construction … and now for White Rose again.” Jouanneau say he would like to see more of the thousands of French tourists that visit Canada every year, expand their horizons.

“They know Quebec and they know the Rockies and I’m sure that more should come here because it’s really a beautiful country. People are warm and very hospitable.” The French ambassador says he is also impressed with the premier’s work to improve bilingualism in the province, as well as his administration’s cultural initiatives. “I never saw that, and I travelled a lot in Canada. Every time I meet a premier I read the speech from the throne, because all his policies, all his ideas, his problems are there … I found very interesting this emphasis on culture.” The fishery is perhaps what most defines the province, a fishery the French have participated in for hundreds of years through the islands of St. Pierre-Miquelon off the island’s south coast. While the people of the French islands felt the harsh blow of the codstock collapse of the early 1990s, so did the men and women of Brittany. “Of course it’s a big issue for Newfoundland and Labrador,” Jouanneau says. “I think it’s very important to have a scientific eye on the evolution of fish populations.” Jouanneau adds France would welcome the opportunity to extend marine biology research in east coast waters and, with modern advancements in science, he hopes foreign over-fishing issues can be tackled in a more collaborative way. “I think on this issue, we now in 2005, certainly have more sophisticated tools than we had in the past; it will probably help politicians to make good decisions and ease the relations between those countries that together fish in this area.”

Investigate DFO the same as sponsorship scandal: Etchegary

F

isheries advocate Gus Etchegary says now is the time for the province to demand an in-depth audit of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). “Particularly now, when we’re in a minority government and approaching, perhaps, another election,” he says, adding the audit should go back to 1949 when Newfoundland and Labrador entered Confederation. Julie Hebert, a spokeswoman with the Auditor General’s office in Ottawa, tells The Independent that although DFO has never been audited as one department — primarily due to its size — a province-specific investigation could potentially be carried out. “I’m not sure if we’ve ever done it but, yes, we could,” she says. Hebert says there is a plan to conduct an audit into “Canada’s ocean strategy,” scheduled for fall 2005, but she couldn’t provide details on what that might entail or what areas it would focus on. “I would like to see an in-depth investigation carried out along the lines of the sponsorship program in Quebec” Etchegary says. Audits of DFO conducted in recent years were carried out in the areas of the salmon fishery and marine vessel navigation. A follow-up report in 2000, relating to an audit conducted in the late 1990s into sustaining and renewing Atlantic groundfish stocks, showed the department was maintaining acceptable progress. The report stated, however, that DFO had been unsuccessful in carrying out a recommendation to conduct an independent audit.

‘Now’s their chance’ From page 23

attractive. If Abitibi pulled out I’m convinced there would be buyers in the marketplace,” he said at the time. Michaud agrees, saying it’s time for the company to quit complaining and leave. Abitibi should follow newsprint-giant Bowater’s example, he says. In the 1980s, when the company had financial trouble, the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Mill was sold to Kruger. The union represents workers at the Corner Brook mill as well. “We don’t hear any bitching from Kruger … Abitibi since they’ve been here, since I can remember, all I heard is them bitching that we’re not making any money in Newfoundland.” He says the membership is tired of the company’s constant reorganizing. “For the past 10 years everybody is scared of buying a house, they are scared of their job (being cut) and it does affect a lot of families and I don’t see any other solution,” Michaud says. “So why not sell the two mills in Newfoundland? They need the cash, so now’s their chance.”


MAY 1, 2005

INDEPENDENTBUSINESS • 25

By Jamie Baker The Independent

W

ith half the continent embarking on a desperate search for the extra electricity required to satisfy growing demand, you might think a little province like Newfoundland and Labrador has nothing much to worry about. Not so, says Dean MacDonald, chairman of the board of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. But while many areas of the province are or will be in need of increased power, MacDonald says there are some options. On the island portion of the province, MacDonald tells The Independent the needs can be met without necessarily bringing in lower Churchill power. He says there are great possibilities associated with wind power and developing existing hydroelectric projects to reach their full potential. “The demand for energy on the island can certainly be met with development of some of the hydro sites that are still under-utilized on the island, along with wind energy and some other sources,” MacDonald says. “Demand for energy on the island is probably, with some good planning, something that is well in hand and can be managed.” In Labrador, where potential new heavy industry is already assessing the availability of electricity, the lower Churchill looms large. The key in that region, MacDonald says, will be securing the necessary recall rights from the project to use within the province. “It’s something we certainly have to be sensitive to as we move forward, to ensure we have some recall rights,” he says. “Labrador, depending on what happens with mineral discoveries, etc., whether or not there’s need for additional energy sources for smelter or commercialization of any activities up there, that’s anyone’s guess.” Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has the fourth largest generating capacity of any utility in Canada. But developing and running power projects — whether they be hydro, fuel generated, wind powered or nuclear — is not a cheap prospect. Holyrood currently provides up to 40 per cent of the electricity for the island’s power grid, but last year alone the plant used 2.6 million barrels of No. 6 fuel which, at an average price of $31 per barrel, cost approximately $80.6 million. That plant will also face significant challenges in the years to come with emissions reduction requirements as per the Kyoto Accord.

Dean MacDonald at his office in St. John’s.

Paul Daly/The Independent

Growing power

Province may not be immune to increasing energy concerns, but at least there are options

“There are huge obstacles facing the country and world in terms of energy, and we are not immune to that in this province,” MacDonald said during an April 26 speech at the St. John’s Board of Trade luncheon. “Energy is an essential commodity that cannot be taken for granted.” The overall cost for developing the lower Churchill project, including Gull

Island and Muskrat Falls, is estimated at some $4.8 billion. The Gull Island project is expected to take about six years to build while Muskrat Falls is expected to take just under five years. The project would generate 2,824 megawatts of new energy, or 17 million megawatt hours annually — enough to supply approximately 1.5 million households.

The opportunities associated with selling that power to energy-starved markets in places like Ontario and the north eastern United States are lucrative enough that 25 proposals were submitted in response to the provincial government’s call for expressions of interest. Those proposals are currently being reviewed by two assessment committees representing government and Hydro. MacDonald says the province has made some gains in recent years by winning some recall rights from the upper Churchill project. That extra power, he says, has been a “boon” in the sense that the province has made money selling that power. Most heavy industries require access to large amounts of power. Mineral processing or smelting is one of those industries. Oil refining is another, although MacDonald says that’s not much of a concern given the fact “there hasn’t been a new oil refinery built in North America in the last decade or two.” Markland Resource Development made a significant mineral find in the

Churchill River bed last year, and is putting pilot processing of those minerals into operation this June. But in order for the company to look at possible secondary processing opportunities in central Labrador it will need power — the kind of power the lower Churchill project might generate. Still, when it comes to actually using power to develop and attract industry, MacDonald says you need far more than just an energy source. “It’s not just a matter of having the power there, but then you have to get the power to where it’s needed. If there was a smelter in the middle of Labrador, then you have the capital cost of transporting energy to it through transmission lines and so on. “It’s not just a simple slam-dunk, but obviously anything we do with lower Churchill is the whole issue of ensuring there are some recall abilities there because it’s important to us. “Obviously if the power is there and available, it puts you in a much better position to attract industry.” 2005 C - COUPE

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26 • INDEPENDENTBUSINESS

MAY 1, 2005


MAY 1, 2005

INDEPENDENTBUSINESS • 27


28 • INDEPENDENT

MAY 1, 2005

WEEKLY DIVERSIONS ACROSS 1 Help! 4 Didn’t sink 8 Talk without a script 13 Mosquito, e.g. 17 I have 18 Poet Roy ___ (2000 GG) 19 Carefree: sans ___ 20 Belly malady 21 Casino game 23 They crow 24 Horse colour 25 Not often seen 26 Retail worker 28 Our highest major lake (B.C.) 30 Stealing 32 Double features, at times 33 Fee for instruction 34 Detest 35 Outstanding in his ___ 36 God 37 Tee preceder 38 Canadian WWI pilot Bishop 39 Exploits 40 He played Tonto: ___ Silverheels 43 Jeopardy 44 They get shifted 45 Golfer Lorie 46 Body of water S of Borneo (2 wds.) 49 Loses heat

50 They often lack a mate 51 Polished a manuscript 52 He plays Jiminy Glick: Martin ___ 53 Canadian co-inventor of film colourization 54 ___’s Thesaurus 55 Just going through a ___ 56 Puts down 57 Malay dagger 58 Discontinue 59 First Quebec woman in House of Commons 60 Salt (Fr.) 61 Frighten 62 Our highest mountain 63 Cellular letters 66 Grab a bite 67 N.B. island: Grand ___ 68 “World’s largest Western ___” (Edmonton) 69 Largest intact coastal temperate rainforest: ___ Valley, B.C. 72 B.C. flower with edible bulb: blue ___ 73 “Reduce, ___, recycle, recover” 74 Unmitigated 75 Tribe head 76 Phial 77 Kind of transporta-

tion 78 Like a queen 80 Summer treat (2 wds.) 84 Normandy city of WWII fame 85 Humiliate 86 Venture 87 Do a takeoff on 88 Leadership position 89 Longed 90 Recedes 91 Beverage container DOWN 1 Bro or sis 2 Eggs 3 Open ___ (Alice Munro) 4 Stylish 5 Electric ___ 6 Short alias 7 W.O. ___ 8 Go up 9 Portals 10 The ___ of the draw 11 Ewww! 12 Digestive ___ 13 Equal status 14 Bacterium 15 Tall military dress hat 16 Mortise and ___ 22 Site for a bite 27 Tiger ___ 29 Smacks 30 Definite article 31 Possesses

32 Eyelashes 33 They’re shed under duress 35 Discharged 36 Passed out 38 Attacked on all sides 39 Actor Colm ___ 40 Inventor of Ringette: Sam ___ 41 A skate supports it 42 “Oui” and “si” 43 CanapÈ spreads 44 Farmyard fowl 45 Sacred text 46 Yanks 47 Worship 48 Devotional watch 49 Abyss 50 Developer of oral polio vaccine 52 Most feared fish 53 Actress Follows 55 ___ of mind 56 Ballerina painter 58 Pretentious talk 59 Authentic 61 Quotable notable?: abbr. 62 Crippled 63 Where “Corner Gas” is filmed: ___, Sask. 64 Negatives 65 Tucked in 66 Downhill ski race 67 Posted 68 Endure 69 Famous photographer

70 Fuming 71 Run of birdsong 72 Action film feature

73 Patna and basmati 75 Greenish blue 76 Action word

TAURUS - APRIL 21/MAY 21 Don't try to force your views onto others, Taurus. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions. A family friend drops by unexpectedly. Don't rush this person out the door. GEMINI - MAY 22/JUNE 21 When it comes to a heart-to-heart talk with a loved one, be blunt. That special someone has an important question for you. Be truthful, but also assist with the decision made. CANCER - JUNE 22/JULY 22 While you need to show your authority at work, don't step on too many toes. Show your coworkers some compassion. A friend asks a

favor of you. LEO - JULY 23/AUG. 23 Don't be possessive when it comes to a special someone, Leo. He or she truly cares for you, but also needs some time alone. You give financial advice to a close friend. VIRGO - AUG. 24/SEPT. 22 You get caught in the middle of a disagreement between colleagues early in the week, Virgo. While you didn't want to get involved, help them work through the issue. LIBRA - SEPT. 23/OCT. 23 One day this week, coworkers will need your help with a project. A loved one monopolizes your time during the evening. Don't worry; the weekend is yours alone. SCORPIO - OCT. 24/NOV. 22 While you like to be in charge, that's not how things work early in the week. Let someone else take

83 N.S. coal miners’ choir: ___ of the Deep Solutions on page 30

POET’S CORNER

WEEKLY STARS ARIES - MARCH 21/APRIL 20 Don't take a loved one's harsh words to heart, Aries. He or she is going through a rough time and just needs to vent a little. Things will blow over by early next week.

79 Kimono sash 81 Taxi 82 Taxing mo.

control when it comes to a business problem. Pay attention, and learn. SAGITTARIUS - NOV. 23/DEC. 21 A lot of people are depending on you this week, Sagittarius. Consider what is best for everyone involved -- even if you must make some compromises. CAPRICORN - DEC. 22/JAN. 20 You have a lot on your mind, Capricorn. If you're nervous, talk to a trusted friend. Things will quiet down by Friday, leaving you time to enjoy your weekend. AQUARIUS - JAN. 21/FEB. 18 Try to take it easy this week, Aquarius. You've been busy for a while. Now that you have a break, enjoy yourself. Be supportive of a loved one who needs your help. PISCES - FEB. 19/MARCH 20 That special someone has a sur-

prise for you. Don't accept it if you're having second thoughts about the relationship. Consider it deeply. FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS MAY 1 Tim McGraw, singer MAY 2 Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, actor MAY 3 Engelbert Humperdink, singer MAY 4 Lance Bass, singer MAY 5 Danielle Fishel, actress MAY 6 George Clooney, actor MAY 7 Mike Myers, actor/comic

`Immortality If you would seek me, when from hence I go Into the quiet dusk where shadows dwell, Seek for me in the evening afterglow Or in the brook’s song, that I loved so well. Or when the April dews refresh the earth As Spring fulfills her promise once again, Think of me in the morn of her rebirth, And in the coolness of the welcome rain. I have but gone into the grateful shade, Think not of me, as one whose song is done, Seek for me where the rose blooms in the glade, Or where the wood-thrush greets the morning sun. Seek not for me in some dark, mouldering tomb, Nor heed the epitaph upon its surface gray, ’Tis but my clay left there in that cold room, A cumbrous garment I have thrown away. A 1949 poem first published in the Poems of Newfoundland, a book edited by the late Michael Harrington.


MAY 1, 2005

INDEPENDENTSPORTS • 29


MAY 1, 2005

30 • INDEPENDENTSPORTS

Will you be ready for a refund in 2006? PRIME Information Sessions

Sport expecting growth in future From page 32 chunk of our regular players are not physically restricted. That’s a very positive sign in itself because while the sport is designed to cater to people who have physical restrictions, it’s not limited to that. We feel that in order to grow properly as an organization, we need to be able to appeal to able bodied individuals as well as physically restricted.” If everything goes according to plan, this fall will see the Avalon Sledge Hockey Association offer athletes such as Osborne the chance to play some meaningful games. Should things progress nicely in the St. John’s area, Osborne hopes the sport will then begin to grow in other parts of the province. “Hopefully what we’ll be able to do is appeal to enough people to get it off the ground and reach out to other areas

at a future time,” says Osborne. “Our goal long-term is to see the growth of sledge hockey evolve to include more teams and have opportunities to ice a provincial all-star team.” As much fun as Osborne is having playing sledge hockey again, he’s equally excited about bringing the sport to kids who face the same circumstances he did during his youth. Instead of having to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else play this country’s most beloved game, he wants them to experience the thrills hockey has to offer. “Sledge hockey gave me the opportunity to play the game,” he says. “I could find out what it’s like to score the goal or deliver a body check — things that generally excite kids about playing hockey.” Darcy_8888@hotmail.com

‘Important to have the best showing possible’ (2 presentations)

PRIME

Prevention + Return-to-work + Insurance Management for Employers/Employees

From page 32

The new standard for determining your workers’ compensation assessments

www.whscc.nf.ca

(709)778-2922 or 1-800-563-9000

Regina Games, is spot-on when he delivers his message to all teams and athletes. “I tell them it’s important to have the best showing possible,” Littlejohn says. “If we’re playing for ninth or 10th position, I want them to finish ninth. The same goes if they’re playing for first and second. I want them to finish first.” This is the stretch run for the provincial teams, with four months left to prepare. A volleyball team has a training trip to Cuba, and our male rugby and soccer teams have each made visits across the pond. The soccer team toured England, and the rugby side played matches in Ireland. The rugby team is tabbed as being a serious contender for a medal, and that’s no surprise given the track record of provincial teams on the national scene. Male softball teams from this province are always in the hunt, and even though the sport itself is being played by a decreasing number of athletes, look for the team to again be in the

Solutions from last week’s puzzle

Canadian Progress Club of St. John’s presents

MyBigFat GreekAuction! 18th Annual CPC Gala & Auction Please join us on May 6th, 2005 at The Delta Hotel for an evening of “Opa” as we celebrate Greek culture while raising much needed resources for our worthwhile charities The Vera Perlin Society and The Newfoundland and Labrador Special Olympics.

Complimentary Cocktails at 7:00 p.m. Greek Inspired Dinner at 8:00 p.m. Dinner Entertainment by The Perlin Players Continuous Silent Auction with over 70 great items Outstanding Live Auction hosted by Dave Greene Music and Dancing with Billy and the Bruisers Tickets are $100.00 per person and can be purchased by contacting any of the following CPC members: Terry Murphy 834-7402 Chris March 576-1383 Gary Haynes 753-7822 Roger Downer 739-6017 Peter Furlong 576-4208 Brad Marche 728-5146

Win a trip for two to Greece!

chase in Regina. Littlejohn expects some good results in athletics, with runner Julia Howard poised to lead the way. He thinks some of our wrestlers could surprise, as well as our rowers, who have done quite well in recent national competitions. A proposed new training facility in St. John’s, while still a couple of years left from reality, will make a difference for future provincial athletes. Funding is always an issue and you never know when the government axe is going to fall on sports funding, but federal dollars are usually consistent for our sports teams — albeit, the amount is hardly enough, which is why corporate sponsorship is so important. The pool of eligible, and willing, corporate sponsors in this province is shallow. It’s just another challenge for sport organizers in this province to overcome, but in my opinion, it’s a facet of our local sports that we must improve on as time goes on. Bob White writes from Carbonear. whitebobby@yahoo.com

Solutions for this week’s puzzle


MAY 1, 2005

INDEPENDENTSPORTS • 31

Missing the greens

SPORTS IN BRIEF

Golf courses in this province may not break Canada’s top 100, but golf still big business here By Darcy MacRae For The Independent

LONDON (Reuters) — Devotees of English soccer captain David Beckham have a new way to worship their hero — a “pilgrims’ trail” around his humble London roots. Taking advantage of his global fame, a local council has created the ‘Beckham Trail’ including his birthplace, his school and the playing fields where he first learned his trade.

G

olf course executives in this province were probably teed off this week when Globe Golf, a special edition magazine printed by The Globe and Mail, hit the stands. The magazine ranked the top 100 courses in Canada — and there wasn’t a course in Newfoundland and Labrador among them. There are more than 20 courses spread throughout the province, with most providing breathtaking views of the ocean, mountain terrain and wildlife. Some avid golfers strongly disagree with Globe Golf’s rankings. “It’s disappointing. We have some first-rate golf courses here, in particular the Terra Nova Golf Course. I’ve played on courses in other parts of Canada and the United States, and that is as nice a course as you will find anywhere,” says Mike Browne, executive director of the Grand Falls Golf Club. “We also have the new one on the west coast at the Humber Valley Resort. That’s a worldclass facility. I’m not sure The Globe and Mail even visited any of our courses when they made those rankings.” Browne’s opinion is shared by many in the province, including Bruce Crichton, general manager of Bally Haly Golf and Curling Club in St. John’s. “I’m surprised that there isn’t any there,” he says. “There are certainly some nice courses. The Wilds at Salmonier River and Terra Nova are probably the top two on the list.” Golf Newfoundland and Labrador chairman Trevor Morris was also disappointed to hear not a single golf course from the province received any national recognition. However, he says there is no shame in being left out of the top 100, especially considering the number of golf courses in the country. “There are thousands of golf courses in Canada, so to get in the top 100 would place you in the top 10 per cent,” says Morris, who’s also general manager of The Wilds at Salmonier River, The Willows at Holyrood and The Woods at Southlands. “There are a lot of amazing courses in every province that didn’t make that list. But I have no doubt that we should have had at least one ranked in the top 100.” Rather than focus on the fact the province was shut out, Morris prefers to

Beckham ‘pilgrims’ follow trail

NFL takes turn before congress WASHINGTON (Reuters) — With advances in technology, professional sports may soon have to confront the possibility of genetically and scientifically engineered super athletes, a Congressional panel on performance-enhancing drugs was told. “As scientists come to truly understand — and therefore be able to alter — the genetic structure of human beings, the ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ will no longer be a television fantasy but will instead become a near-term reality,” National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue says in written testimony.

Benitez gone at least four months Golfers, such as Rod Efford, are ready to hit the links as soon as they are ready.

focus on the positives of the game.At this time of year, golfers throughout the province are preparing to hit the links. Golfers here will undoubtedly be joined by out-of-province golfers during the spring and summer months. The results mean tourism revenue. “It’scertainlyamajorpartoftheoverall tourism product,” says Morris. With more than 5,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians playing golf every summer, there’s alreadyconsiderablecashfloatingaround provincial courses. Add to that the outof-province golfers who come here and

golf’s financial potential appears unlimited. “We had golfers from all across the island last year as well as golfers from throughout Atlantic Canada, Europe and China,” Browne says. “As everybody knows, golf is one of the most popular sports in the world right now, so most tourists are looking for 18-hole golf courses. The fact that we have one in Grand Falls-Windsor certainly adds to the local economy.” The Grand Falls Golf Club completed a nine-hole expansion last summer and has since seen the number of golfers increase dramatically. Crichton says upgrades are good for the golfing business across the province because

Paul Daly/The Independent

attractive courses attract tourists who may be looking to play multiple courses while visiting Newfoundland and Labrador. “With Stephenville coming on with an 18-hole golf course, and with Gander and Grand Falls expanding, there are more options for tourists to play golf,” he says. Of course, there’s always room for growth. Close to 85 per cent of golfers here are male, leaving golfing executives such as Morris wondering how to attract women to the game. One way is to inform women that, while golf may be male-dominated, their presence would be appreciated. Says Morris, “The big thing is letting women know they are welcome and they are wanted on the golf course.” Darcy_8888@hotmail.com

SAN FRANCISCO (Sports Network) — The San Francisco Giants will be without closer Armando Benitez for at least the next four months and possibly the entire season after an MRI revealed torn tendons in his right hamstring. The Giants had placed the righthanded hurler on the 15-day disabled list prior to a 10-3 win over the San Diego Padres at SBC Park on April 27.

Washington nationals create buzz WASHINGTON (Reuters) — In a politically divided city, avid baseball fans have found common ground during the barren 34 years Washington subsisted without a Major League team. Bereft of a home team to support, they have had to cheer for a club elsewhere.


INDEPENDENTSPORTS

SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, MAY 1, 2005 — PAGE 32

Rhonda Hayward/The Independent

Darryl Osborne has found his game — sledge hockey.

‘Hockey nut’ Sledge hockey is once again catching on in St. John’s; may be a league some day soon

By Darcy MacRae The Independent

D

arryl Osborne is passionate about hockey. He took to the sport early and, like most Canadian kids, dreamt about scoring the winning goal or delivering a stiff check. He loved sitting down to watch a game on television or from the bleachers of a local arena, activities he still enjoys today when he finds the time. But as much as Osborne loves the game, he has had to endure long stretches without actually playing the sport — until this past winter, that is. Osborne, 27, was born with cerebral palsy and as a result had difficulty skating, a factor that prevented him from playing ice hockey. When he was eight years old, however, he

began playing sledge hockey in St. John’s, and finally experienced the thrills he knew the game could provide. “I’ve always been an absolute hockey nut,” Osborne tells The Independent. “What was particularly refreshing about sledge hockey was the freedom it provided. It is unmatched as far as anything I’ve done regarding sports.” Osborne fell in love with the game of sledge hockey, and took part in the sport regularly for the next few years. But eventually the number of participants dropped off, and by the winter of 1988, the program ceased to exist. The Mount Pearl resident longed for the chance to get back on the ice and this year finally got his wish as the Avalon Sledge Hockey Association (of which he’s vice-president and spokesperson) brought the sport back to the St. John’s area. Since October, Osborne has been joined by 10 to 12 dedi-

cated sledge hockey players at the O’Hehir Arena in St. John’s. Every Saturday night, the group plays a friendly onehour game and they hope to begin a full-contact league in the fall of 2005. “We want to create enough interest this year to have a league of four teams of 11 players next year,” Osborne says. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback, which is very encouraging.” Sledge hockey is very much like ice hockey. In fact, it’s a full contact modification that allows people with and without physical disabilities to participate on a level playing field. Instead of skating, players travel around the ice on ovalshaped sleds with skate blades (or runners) attached to the bottom. Participants pull themselves around the rink with their arms, digging the picks on the bottom of the sticks into the ice to gain momentum. “It’s a legitimate game of hockey,” Osborne says. “It’s only modified in the sense of how you manoeuvre. But the game, no matter how you say it or how you play it, is a game of hockey.” So far this winter, the Avalon Sledge Hockey Association has been joined by disabled and able-bodied players. The great thing about the sport is that, unlike ice hockey, a player with physical restrictions is not at a great disadvantage. “You are on par if not at an advantage over your able-bodied counterparts because you’re used to using your arms and doing things a little bit differently,” Osborne says. “A big See “Sport expecting growth,” page 30

Passing time in sports limbo

I

t’s that time of the year again, when there is a gap in the local sports scene. Hockey and all the other winter sports are pretty much done, and the summer sports have yet to swing into action. What does a columnist write about, at least regarding local sports? The Herder is over, and all other relevant hockey is done. Yes, I’m purposely excluding the St. John’s Maple Leafs because I fail to see the relevance anymore. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen any relevance. They (Leafs management) don’t want to be here any-

BOB WHITE

Bob the bayman more, and the feeling is mutual (from my perspective, anyway). But enough of that. What lies on the horizon for provincial sports? Well, let’s see. It’s a Canada Games year and our province’s finest will be in Regina in August to see how we meas-

ure up against the rest of the country. For athletes, the event will most likely be the high-water mark of their careers. Some will progress to compete again at the national level, and a few might even get to the international stage. For those athletes, the Canada Games can be a springboard to greater heights. For everyone else, Regina will be the highlight. They get to represent their province — an honour that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Oftentimes, the odds are stacked against our athletes when competing

with some of the bigger provinces, where training advantages — not to mention easier access to better competition — gives young men and women a real competitive edge. Despite this, our athletes turn in impressive performances. Athletics, baseball, basketball, canoeing, cycling, diving, field hockey, rowing, rugby, sailing, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball and wrestling are on tap for competition in Saskatchewan. Our provincial teams and athletes will show up and compete in all sports, save

for canoeing and field hockey, but realistically, there are only a few sports in which we have a chance of winning gold, silver or bronze — or even finishing in the top five. Realistically, it’s simply not sensible to think our athletes should be in medal contention on this stage in every sport. It would be great, mind you, but it’s just not going to happen. But taking home medals in every sport is not the focus. Glen Littlejohn, the province’s chef de mission for the See “Important to have,” page 30

2005-05-01  

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