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VOL. 3 ISSUE 38

ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR — SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18-24, 2005

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OPINION PAGE 11

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Michael Harris compares Stephen Harper to the Tin Man — a brain with no heart

Paul Daly captures North Atlantic refinery near Come by Chance

‘Fox in the chicken house’

New observer program for fishing boats may allow industry to regulate itself: Hearn ALISHA MORRISSEY

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Kelly Dalton Warren and her son Camron, 6, inside Macdonald Drive Elementary School in St. John’s. Dalton Warren says her son, who has cerebral palsy, was segregated within the school because of a shortage of student assistants. Paul Daly/The Independent

‘Educational child abuse’ Special needs students suffer from lack of support services, critics say

CLARE-MARIE GOSSE

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ours after learning the mother of a six-year-old with cerebral palsy had spoken to The Independent about a drastic lack of resources for special needs students at her son’s St. John’s school, the Eastern School District rectified the situation. Critics, however, say a shortage of student assistants is a mounting problem across the province and the system needs reform. Kelly Dalton Warren says when she arrived at Macdonald Drive Elementary to pick up her son, Camron, after his first day back at school, he was upset. “He told me he had a terrible first day of school because he didn’t play outdoors,” she says. “His exact words to me were, ‘Somebody forgot to hire enough student assistants.’” Camron’s cerebral palsy is relatively mild. He’s a little unsteady on his feet and

Editor’s note: the following feature completes The Independent’s series on the Top 10 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians of all time. The entire list is included on page 2. Starting today until Sept. 28, readers can vote for the No. 1 Newfoundlander and Labradorian of all time by visiting our website — www.theindependent.ca By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

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o Dale Russell FitzPatrick, her grandfather was “Poppy the premier.” A man who had a “memory like a steel trap,” never missed an appointment, and “lived and breathed” his and his province’s genealogy and history. Her grandfather “wore his life and heart

requires help with small tasks such as using the washroom, but can walk unaided and his mental capabilities are normal. Dalton Warren says Camron and four or five other special needs students were being kept in a classroom during recess and lunchtime because there weren’t enough assistants to monitor them outside. She adds they were also taken to a separate room to eat. “So Camron claims to have one friend … I said, ‘Well what about everybody else?’ he said, ‘They don’t play with me.’ I said, ‘And what time do you play?’ He said, ‘Well, at lunch time and recess, but I go off to the other room.’ So he’s not getting a chance to socialize. It’s shocking.” For the first week of school, Dalton Warren left work every day to go to Camron’s school and personally accompany him outside. She says she also had to complain about a handicapped toilet that had been broken since the end of the last school year. Camron had been using a regular stall and grasping the copper piping for support.

“I touched it and had it been hot I would have flipped out. “I actually looked up the charter of human rights and I have a definition of discrimination and what they are doing is discrimination, but I’m sure they don’t even know they’re doing it.” Dalton Warren says she doesn’t blame the school, but the education system. Every June, special needs students go through individual assessments to determine the amount of student assistant hours needed for the start of the next school year. The number usually changes over the summer as new students enroll or transfer. Schools that need more student assistant hours must then submit an appeal to the school board. Macdonald Drive Elementary recently submitted an appeal, which would usually be addressed by October, but since Dalton Warren’s complaints, the school has already received temporary emergency assistance.

ast Coast fishermen may end up paying more for fisheries observers aboard their boats under a federal plan to re-jig the current observer program. Critics say the plan is a means to save money within the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), transferring the cost to private industry. It’s feared such a move may create a situation where industry regulates itself. Paul Steele, acting-director general of conservation and protection with DFO, says the observer program is being restructured to increase industry responsibility over the management and conservation of the fishery, while also quelling fishermen’s complaints of having to deal with only one DFO-contracted observer company. The current two-year observer contract for the Newfoundland and Labrador region — which expires on Dec. 31, 2006 — is held by St. John’s-based Seawatch. Ottawa pays one third or $800,000 of the tab. Individual users pay the rest. “What we have now is contracts with individual companies on a regional basis … a company that has specific rights to provide the service within the region,” Steele tells The Independent. “Under the new system it would be more of a … competitive arrangement or a free-market approach.” He says DFO would no longer have direct contracts with one See “Government,” page 2

ABITIBI DELEGATION

Just Joey

Premier Danny Williams met Saturday morning at Confederation Building in St. John’s with senior executives of Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. — including John Weaver, president and CEO. While the media blackout continues on talks between government and the company, Williams told The Independent negotiations are down to a few issues, saying he was “cautiously optimistic” a deal could be reached. Abitibi–Consolidated has said it plans to shut down one of two machines in Grand Falls-Windsor, as well as the entire mill in Stephenville. The company had initially requested $455 million in government support. Paul Daly/The Independent

Politician, Father of Confederation, writer, historian, Poppy — Joey Smallwood was intensely loved and hated

QUOTE OF THE WEEK “I’m single, very single. Hopefully that will change and hopefully I’ll improve the social life too.”

See “Is it getting better,” page 4

— Mount Pearl Mayor Steve Kent on his busy schedule on his sleeve,” and “his door was always open.” He loved to farm, to read, write and express opinion. He was a dedicated family man who ensured his grandchildren had piano lessons and boarding school education. “The grandchildren could just totally and completely wrap him around their little fingers and lead him by the nose,” Russell FitzPatrick tells The Independent. “When he was around, he was 100 per cent around us,

we had his total attention.” To the rest of Newfoundland and Labrador, Russell FitzPatrick’s grandfather was the unequivocal Father of Confederation — Joseph Roberts Smallwood. Hated, loved, feared and admired. He was passionate, articulate, opinionated, controlling — some even call him a dictator. He achieved his dream of See “Young Joey,” page 2

LIFE 22

Noreen Golfman on healing Rooms rift Life Story . . . . . . . . . . . . Paper Trail . . . . . . . . . . . Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Crossword . . . . . . . . . . .

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2 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

Investigation continues into fishing tragedy

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he lead investigator with the federal Transportation Safety Board says it’s too early to tell why the Melina and Keith II sank Sept. 12 off Cape Bonavista. Chris Morrow couldn’t say whether stability issues — similar to circumstances in last year’s sinking of the Ryan’s Commander — were to blame for the province’s most recent fishing tragedy. “We’re in the initial assessment stage right now, you might say. We came up here a couple days ago when we first heard about it and we’re doing some interviews and just collecting data at this point,” Morrow tells The Independent. “There’s a lot more data that we have to collect. We don’t know what’s out there … but there’s a lot of assessment left to do.”

The Melina and Keith II — an 18metre fishing vessel — sank late in the afternoon in calm seas. Four of the eight men on board survived. As of The Independent’s press deadline, the body of Anthony Molloy of Eastport had been recovered. Missing and presumed dead are Ivan Dyke and Justin Ralph, both from Eastport, and Joshua Williams, a Seawatch observer from St. John’s. Morrow says he’s been interviewing the survivors since they came ashore. “They were pretty tired and distraught. We talked to them briefly … but as of yet we haven’t talked to the other one and we still have some more interviews to do,” Morrow says. He says little information has been collected, but when interviews are completed he will return to his office for a

meeting on how to proceed. “It’s always a challenge when we don’t have the physical boat to look at. It makes it a challenge, but there are cases when we can find out what happened and in other cases it’s just impossible.” On Sept. 19 last year, two fishermen on the Ryan’s Commander died when their 65-foot shrimp boat ran aground in bad weather off Cape Bonavista. Federal regulations created a class of vessels called 64-11s (the Ryan’s Commander was one such boat) because they come in at just under the mandated length. Fishermen have long questioned the design of the snub-nosed vessels, built outwards and upwards. The result is a top-heavy, box-like boat. — Alisha Morrissey

‘Government will do what it wants’ From page 1 single company. Rather, harvesters would contact their preferred company, set up a contract with a competitive cost and DFO would certify, audit and monitor the work. “We’re not getting out of the funding business entirely and the government will still make a significant contribution to the program, but a larger portion of the program costs will be shared by the fishermen,” Steele says. DFO’s website says the federal government will save about $2 million across Canada each year from the changes. Loyola Hearn, MP for St. John’s South and Fisheries critic for the federal Conservatives, says observers should be well-trained public officials — not contracted employees with no set loyalty to management and conservation. “Some of these people are really concerned and they do the job and they do it well and a lot of the companies don’t want that because we have in the fishery — there’s more stuff going on under the table every year,” Hearn says, adding he’s had calls from observers in the middle

of the night, frustrated with what they’ve seen on board vessels. He says if the program changes, companies with ties to the fishery — even harvesters or processors — may be able to set up companies to do observation work. “This sort of go out and get an observer for eight bucks — and you get what you pay for No. 1 — and to turn it over to industry is worse because then you’re looking after the interests of whoever is paying you,” says Hearn, who’d like to see observers hired through DFO “so that when we put an observer on the boat we know how reliable they are. “It looks like government is trying to cut costs and have industry share more in the costs of hiring the observers and that’s the old saying, ‘You’re putting the fox in charge of the chicken house.’” Hearn says even if industry didn’t have a direct link to the observers, fishermen would still get to choose who does the job. Although DFO is currently carrying out internal and external consultations as to how to run the new observer program, Steele says the department will be putting measures in place to avoid any conflict of interest “There are still going to be fairly stringent criteria that they’ll have to meet, which will entail some cost so it’s not going to be a case of companies setting up shop overnight and … there will be some arms-length criteria put in place and will actually be entrenched in the regulations.” Hearn says since the decision falls under DFO’s jurisdiction it doesn’t have to be brought up in the House of Commons for debate. “Government will do what it wants to do,” he says. “Once you have something that seems to be working rather well within our own waters … we’re starting to build up a fairly good group of people who are bought in to protecting and preserving the industry, if you throw that away it’s just as well to say to people who are harvesting to go out and catch want you want.”

The top 10 Navigators include (in random order): 1) Joseph R. Smallwood 2) Sir Robert Bond 3) Captain Bob Bartlett 4) William J. Herder 5) Vera Perlin

6) D. W. Prowse 7) Bishop Michael Fleming 8) William Coaker 9) Mose Morgan 10) Armine Gosling

Voting via The Independent website — www.theindependent.ca — starts today, Sept. 18, and is open until Wednesday, Sept. 28. A No. 1 will be announced in the Oct. 2 edition. The final decision will be that of the judges.

‘Young Joey meant well’ From page 1 joining his homeland with Canada (“The most significant event in the history of the province,” says John Crosbie) and changed the economic face of Newfoundland and Labrador during an astonishing all-powerful reign as premier of almost 23 years. “He’s loved, hated; nowhere in between,” says Russell FitzPatrick, who was the only child of Joey and Clara Smallwood’s daughter (the couple also had two sons). “As teenagers, all the grandchildren, I was the lucky one because my name wasn’t Smallwood. The minute you opened your mouth … all the others were immediately tagged and unfortunately we were judged on somebody’s politics. Therefore we were either loved or hated.” Smallwood was passionate in his mission to modernize and advance Newfoundland and Labrador. He brought federal money to improve infrastructure, hospitals and most notably further education in the form of Memorial University. He also enforced a grand plan to resettle outport communities, transferring people to where the jobs were said to be, spawning an epidemic of ghost towns and displacement. He had dreams of creating industry in the province and he courted the interests of foreign capitalists amidst tales of bribery and corruption. Larger projects such as an oil refinery at Come By Chance and Churchill Falls hydro-electric development followed, but with disappointing results and at incredible costs to taxpayers. Smallwood fought hard for the province he loved in Ottawa and tolerated no dissent from his fellow Liberal party members, or his paltry Tory opponents. Even Smallwood himself called his regime “democratic dictatorship.” He is undoubtedly the most famous/infamous person in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history and whether he is the greatest is a decision for the judges of Our Navigators (with the aid of votes from the public). “Whether you agree or disagree with everything Mr. Smallwood did or didn’t do, it has to be recognized that he is one of the most significant figures in the political life of Newfoundland since discovery, or since the Europeans came here,” says Crosbie, one of the Navigator judges. “And this is why he should certainly be in this group of 10.” Crosbie served alongside Smallwood in the Liberal party in the early stages of his political career and later became his opponent, crossing the floor to join the Tories. With other disillusioned young Liberals, Crosbie eventually helped shape the Progressive Conservatives, the first realistic opposition to face Smallwood in his reign as premier. Despite their political and personal differences, Crosbie calls Smallwood an “eternal optimist and a great Newfoundland booster and patriot. “You’ve got to hand it to Smallwood. I opposed him and don’t regret having done it. In fact, it was one of the experiences of my life that I regard as having been of the greatest importance and significance to me.” It is often agreed by those who both loved and hated Smallwood that he

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reigned all-powerful for longer than any leader should. “I think the young Joey meant well,” says Ivan Morgan, another Navigator judge. “But after ’59 he was just a power man and he turned into a dictator. Whatever good he did, I think was quickly undone.” Morgan admits to growing up in a family vehemently and vocally opposed to Smallwood’s politics and says as young boys, he and his brother were terrified of the premier, thinking him “the devil himself.” Morgan’s opinions haven’t changed much since, but he does begrudgingly admit (along with some choice words) Smallwood probably should be included in the top 10. Just as Crosbie credits Smallwood as being an important part of his career, Ray Guy, satirist, life commentator and Smallwood’s arch nemesis, can also claim the same. “I think the supreme thing he did was to provide so much fun for reporters and commentators and others,” says Guy, another Navigator judge. “You had to alter reality a slight smidgen and you were into Joey in Wonderland, having a wonderful time.” Guy became a household name as a biting legislative reporter in the House of Assembly. He wrote columns for The Evening Telegram, poking fun at the goings on within the Liberal party and was Smallwood’s most vocal antagonist. “I came along midway through his wild career and I think at that time he didn’t think anyone could touch him whatsoever,” Guy says. For Guy to compliment Smallwood on any level is rare, but he gives it a shot. “A lot of people cite education and Memorial University and that sort of thing,” he muses. “I suppose, if I was really stretching, without giving myself a permanent injury, yes, I guess, begrudging kudos for his efforts in the education and the university.” Smallwood’s reign eventually came to a drawn out end in the early 1970s. The Progressive Conservatives, under Frank Moores, triumphed in the provincial elections and after contesting election results and then attempting a brief return to political life in 1975, Smallwood was eventually forced to concede defeat. He threw himself into cultivating his love of history, by developing and publishing the first volumes of the Newfoundland and Labrador Encyclopedia, alongside his granddaughter Russell FitzPatrick. Joseph R. Smallwood was born in 1900 in Gambo, the eldest of 13 children; both he and his youngest sibling came into the world on Christmas Eve. He was a man larger than life, who provoked an opinion in everyone. He died after watching the news, a week before his 91st birthday, defying doctors’ predictions of expiration years earlier. The Father of Confederation left life in much the same way he left politics — reluctantly. Judges for Our Navigators include John Crosbie, Noreen Golfman, John FitzGerald, Ray Guy, Ivan Morgan and Ryan Cleary.


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 3

City of Supermarkets Is there truth to the joke? Is the City of Legends actually overrun with aisles of produce and check-out counters? Surprisingly — well, you’ll have to read on By Alisha Morrissey The Independent

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t’s becoming an old joke that the City of Legends has become the City of Supermarkets, but when compared to other East Coast cities it seems the capital city region may be in need of even more grocery stores. Between St. John’s and Mount Pearl, The Independent has come up with an unofficial count of 18 grocery stores (not including specialty stores, Wal-Marts or the Price Club). That may seem like a lot, but when compared to Moncton and the City of Halifax, St. John’s and the surrounding area has more shoppers per store. Combined, St. John’s and Mount Pearl have a population of 198,000. Given there are an estimated 18 supermarkets between the two cites — that works out to about 11,000 shoppers per store. That compares to about 9,500 for each of the 20 stores in the City of Halifax, and 6,100 in the City of Moncton’s 10 grocery stores. And another thing to keep in mind: supermarkets in St. John’s and Mount Pearl also draw shoppers from outlying areas all over the eastern Avalon. Stephen Jewczyk, city planner for the City of Mount Pearl, says he’s seen a lot of retail space going up on the Avalon and points out that today’s grocery stores are selling — not just groceries — but a variety of dry goods, from boots to cosmetics. “It’s not only St. John’s and Mount Pearl that’s the market for these places, but you also have … a lot of the Southern Shore. They come in for the day or on their way home from work that’s where they’ll stop off,” Jewczyk says. “As an example, look at the Greater Toronto Area. You’ll have a lot of these supermarkets and box stores in relative proximity to each other and they’re serving a much more local market, where as here there’s a much more regional market.” Still, jokes persist about a clean up on aisle five (Blackmarsh Road) and bulk toilet paper on sale on aisle nine (Stavenger Drive). Editorial cartoons depict the province’s most famous landmark, Signal Hill, being incorporated into a new Dominion or Sobeys supermarket. Even T-shirts declare the province’s capital as a

grocery shopping Mecca. As for his shopping needs, Jewczyk says he shops at all three of the bigger stores — Coleman’s (because of its family atmosphere), Sobeys (for the selection) and Dominion (lower prices).

“The one thing I don’t like about it (Dominion) though, is when I go to a supermarket I’m going to buy groceries,” he says, laughing. St. John’s Mayor Andy Wells does most of his grocery shopping at the Dominion in Churchill Square — one of the stores rumoured to be clos-

ing when a controversial new Dominion opens at the head of Quidi Vidi Lake — and while he admits he doesn’t know how many supermarkets are in the city, he does say some of them are intimidating in size. “Whether there’s too many or not too many is a decision that the market must make. We look at it in terms of zoning and property values and good planning and there’s nothing wrong with the supermarkets that’s been built in this city,” Wells says, adding grocery companies “know what they’re doing,” and will only build where the market is right. “I remember when the Price Club came here and they were going to attract consumers from all over the eastern half of Newfoundland.” Wells says all that matters in his city is that there’s no harm to the public or individual good. Len Coughlan, a member of Say No To Loblaws, an ad-hoc community group opposing the supermarket development of the Memorial Stadium property, says it’s not the number of supermarkets but where they are placed that has angered his group. He says free enterprise rules — even if the jokes keep coming. “I think that yeah, we’re getting to be known and of course The Globe and Mail has done an article on it and we’re getting to be known as the city of supermarkets,” he says. “I don’t know if there’s any solution because it’s private enterprise. “If they want one in every neighborhood, God bless ’em, go and do it. I don’t think the city or we as citizens got any right to say you cannot build another supermarket because you got enough.” According to provincial statistics, this year nearly $490 million was spent on groceries in Newfoundland and Labrador. Grocery sales are up three per cent between 2004 and 2005.

Give Newfoundland a Supreme Court voice Editor’s note: the following letter by Joel Rochon and Sakie Tambakos was printed in the Aug. 10, 2004 edition of The Globe and Mail.

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ith his cabinet in place, Prime Minister Paul Martin must now turn to the important task of filling two vacancies on the Supreme Court of Canada. Given that decisions made by the court have a profound effect on Canada, these appointments are an opportunity to remedy an injustice: the Supreme Court has not yet had one judge from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador since Newfoundland entered the confederation 56 years ago. By constitutional convention, the prime minister controls who is appointed, although there is usually some consultation with the Canadian Bar Association’s committee on the judiciary. The only criteria stipulated in the Supreme Court Act are that an appointee must have a minimum of 10 years practice at the bar or must be a judge of a provincial superior court,

and that at least three of the judges be from Quebec. Over time, the convention has become three justices from Ontario, two from Western Canada and one from the Atlantic provinces. The current Atlantic representative on the court is New Brunswick’s Mr. Justice Michel Bastarache, appointed in 1997. Now at the relatively young age of 57, Judge Bastarache has a long career ahead of him. If Canada blindly stays with convention on regional appointments, Newfoundland and Labrador’s voice will stay mute well into the future. The convention has been broken in the past. The most recent instance was in 1979, when British Columbia’s William Rogers McIntyre replaced the retiring Wishart Flett Spence of Ontario. That appointment breached the usual custom of three judges from Ontario, and was made to allay concerns by the B.C. bar that the province had been ignored over previous selections to the bench. The appointment was also made on the understanding that when Alberta’s Ronald Martland retired, he would be replaced by

someone from Ontario. Without a similar break in convention, Newfoundland and Labrador will not likely see a place on the Supreme Court until after 2012. Perhaps, in view of the vacancies created by the departure of Louise Arbour and Frank Iacobucci, a seat could finally be given to Newfoundland and Labrador as a measure of recompense for its patience and invaluable contributions to Canada, and for the decades of neglect around its representation on the Supreme Court. A third Ontario judge could then be appointed to maintain the traditional regional distribution after the retirement of Judge Bastarache. Newfoundland has outstanding potential candidates who merit consideration: • Mr. Justice Leo D. Barry, graduate of Dalhousie Law School; masters at Yale University; sat in Newfoundland House of Assembly from 1972 to 1975 and from 1979 to 1981 as minister of mines and energy and minister of industrial development; appointed

appointed to the trial division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1993; • Chief Justice Clyde K. Wells, graduate of Dalhousie Law School; worked in the office of the Judge Advocate-General of the Canadian Army from 1962 to 1964; former provincial minister of labour, Liberal leader and premier; serving as Chief Justice on the Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador since 1999. Although one seat on a bench of nine will not cure decades of neglect, that one seat would symbolize a genuine effort on Ottawa’s part to pave the way to a more balanced appointment process and to serve as a catalyst for reforming the way that judges are selected to the Supreme Court of Canada. Joel Rochon has worked in civil litigation since 1988; Sakie Tambakos is an associate lawyer with Torontobased firm Rochon Genova. They are Ontarians who think it’s the Rock’s turn.

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to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1989; • Chief Justice J. Derek Green, graduate of Dalhousie Law School, where he became a Sir James Dunn scholar; studied at Oxford University and became a Rhodes scholar; former treasurer of the Law Society of Newfoundland; former member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal; currently serving as Chief Justice on the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador trial division; • Mr. Justice Keith J. Mercer, BA of jurisprudence and a BCL from Oxford; former associate deputy minister of justice with the provincial government; appointed to the trial division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1992; • Mr. Justice David B. Orsborn, graduate of Dalhousie Law School, where he received a number of scholarships, awards and prizes for academic achievement, including the university medal in law for highest grade in graduating class; former partner of Mercer, Orsborn, Benson and Myles;

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4 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

‘Lost in the sign forest’

TOURING THE TOWN

School board elections don’t receive as much media focus as municipal campaigns — partly due to CBC strike By Alisha Morrissey The Independent

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chool board elections have a lot going against them. With municipal elections falling on the same day, combined with the CBC lockout and a historically low voter turn out, school board elections seem to be the last thing on voters’ minds. School board officials say it should be the first. John Hutchings, returning officer for the western school district, says there is one hopeful sign in this year’s election — a large turnout of candidates, especially females, for many of the districts. “There doesn’t seem to be any talk about it in the media or even most of communities. Our experience with school board elections, the CBC was the media group that we spoke to and many other medias would pick up the story from them,” Hutchings tells The Independent. “… with them on strike that has not happened.” The bigger problem, he says, is coordinating with the municipal elections — trying to organize polling stations to coincide with the municipal voting system. “In many towns like the City of Corner Brook with 23 people running for council and three or four running for mayor and signs all over town, people running for school board are kind of lost in that. I call it lost in the sign forest.” Hutchings says since school boards are voluntary there’s no private money going into campaigning. The province’s Education Department pays for the school board election campaigns — setting aside $50,000 this year — although the sum was later increased to

$65,000 to include the cost of television advertisements. Though all people over the age of 18 can vote, voter turnout is traditionally low — after all people aren’t “hyped up about school boards,” Hutchings says. “How our school systems runs and how well people are educated is in everybody’s best interest so if we have a good education system our society prospers so I assume it would be a social and societal responsibility (to vote),” he says. There are 15 seats in each of the four districts — Eastern, Nova Central, Western and Labrador (the Francophone board will be responsible for its own elections). Candidates were nominated in 56 of the 60 seats (appointments will be made by the province in any vacant seats). Only 15 candidates were uncontested. Brian Shortall, executive director of the association representing the province’s school boards, says while there’s generally a low voter turnout — between 10 and 20 per cent provincewide — one of the reasons for the large number of candidates could be last year’s reduction of 11 school boards to five. “We’ve got a lot of parents, some retired citizens, some business people,” says Shortall of who’s running this year. “We’re getting some individuals who are interested in community life, political life and see the school board stage of politics as stage one. “We got other people who are involved who are caught up with a single issue — they want a new school for example or they want this program or that program in a given area or they’re not happy with — or they want to change the policy.” GENERAL MANAGER John Moores john.moores@theindependent.ca

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Premier Danny Williams and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (the Irish Prime Minister) toured the Basilica of St. John the Baptist Saturday morning with Archbishop Brendan Michael O’Brien. Ahern left later for the United Nations. Paul Daly/The Independent

‘Is it getting better? No, it’s getting worse’ From page 1 Denise Pike, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils, says there aren’t enough student assistant hours allocated to schools in the province. She adds the shortages are not only impacting special needs students, but all students, because teachers are often overloaded. “Children who don’t have enough student assistant time, this causes a ripple effect … it’s educational child abuse,” says Pike. “I believe that there are children in the school system whose rights are being infringed because there aren’t enough supports and I’m talking about the average child.” She says she’s heard recently of junior and high schools in the province that are actually lapsing back towards permanent segregation because of a lack of special needs resources. “Schools are saying they have no other choice but to do this because they don’t have the resources to support all these individual learning needs. However, that totally contravenes school board and department policy, but I will tell you, I know it’s being done. “Is it getting better? No, it’s getting worse.” Special needs and able-bodied students have been part of an integrated system since the early 1980s. Glenda Riteff of the Eastern School district says the integration of children with cognitive, behavioural and physical disabilities is a priority.

“Inclusion is where we want to be with any child with special needs. Wherever we can include a child in the regular mainstream is certainly what our school board and Department of Education would support.”

“He’s been segregated. I’m constantly telling him ‘you’re equal to everyone else,’ but he can’t understand, if I’m so equal, why am I being segregated?” Kelly Dalton Warren Brenda Smith, director of student support services with the province’s Education Department, says services within the special needs system are regularly monitored and assessed. She says funding has gradually increased every year, stabilizing over the past two years, despite lower enrolments. She says the appeal process in September is a necessary step towards providing adequate resources. “We can’t meet childrens’ needs if we don’t do that reassessment after school opens. It’s designed to accommodate changed needs,” Smith says. “It’s a very small portion of the budget that is used during the appeals process.” Riteff couldn’t give an exact num-

ber of appeals currently pending. “I don’t know, to say 20 or to give you an adequate number ... because what’s happening, as you can imagine, since school started on the 6th of September and even before that, we’ve sent up, probably on a daily basis right now, we’ve sent up various numbers of appeals.” Carol Furlong, head of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, the union representing student assistants, says the appeal process system is unfair and stressful for student assistants, as well as the children and families involved. She met with Education Minister Tom Hedderson recently to discuss the issue. Furlong says the union is forming a committee of student assistants to offer a proposal to government recommending changes for next year. Dalton Warren says she’s glad the situation has been solved at Macdonald Drive Elementary, but she’s disappointed Camron was made to feel excluded and deprived. “It just goes against everything I ever told him. He’s been segregated. I’m constantly telling him ‘you’re equal to everyone else,’ but he can’t understand, if I’m so equal, why am I being segregated? “When he goes off to school I should be wondering about what pictures he’s colouring, how much fun he had, what he did in gym, did he learn anything, not did you get to eat with everybody else, did you get to play with everybody else.”


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 5


6 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

Irish eyes are smiling F

or the second time in the last two administrations, the Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) has visited Newfoundland. Bertie Ahern has apparently known of the province since his childhood and remembers fondly stories of the place he heard from older men returning to Ireland. It is a bit unusual and flattering to have two Irish leaders in a row come to see us, and it speaks volumes of the strength of the relationships between the groups on each side who have kept the relationship alive. When John Bruton came a number of years ago, I had the privilege of meeting him at a St. Patrick’s Day afternoon social. The Taoiseach was very much a fit with the local crowd, and as the afternoon wore on, his stories and performance earned the affection of everyone in his audience. He reportedly skipped a flight out to Canada that evening and ended up singing Karaoke at a local pub until the wee hours, after which he was officially adopted as a native son. Having the head of Ireland repeat-

BRIAN DOBBIN

Publish or perish edly visit is not a small thing. I was in Dublin Sept. 8 and across the front page of their Independent was a report of an international study that suggested the Irish were now the second most affluent population per capita in the world, behind the Norwegians. Do you remember the perception of Ireland 15 years ago? It wasn’t far off the truth, and it was scarily close to the current perception of Newfoundland. Much has been said of the Irish receiving massive EU cash injections, being the newer and poorer sibling of a wealthy family. Does that sound familiar? To this day the butt of most jokes in the rest of English Europe are the Irish. Hmmm ... I’m starting to see a pattern here. The laugh has been turning as of late as

Irish companies are now taking their new wealth and buying a lot of the businesses and places outside their country that at one time they would have had trouble getting in the door of.

When I say do it ourselves, I mean attract our own international investment to come here, control our own resources for our benefit, invest in our own industry, without looking to Ottawa for permission or money. What I perceive when I am doing business in Ireland is that they have been very smart about attracting international business through tax incentives, they have invested heavi-

ly in new sustainable industry like technology and tourism, and they have subsequently goosed the national psyche with the confidence that they are world players. A delightful result of this has been the stopping of outmigration and a net return of people to the country. When we talk about how we can be the Ireland of North America, the sad truth is that our natural ingredients for such a phenomenon are more plentiful than what the Irish had to work with. What the Irish have that we don’t is the ability of self-determination. Not that we couldn’t have it, and I’m not talking about separation, but even just demanding more distribution of powers within the Canadian federation. It is very encouraging to see the government now looking at other alternatives for the lower Churchill hydro development, rather than just getting our older brother Quebec and father Canada to give us a hand like the last government wanted. The first time we did that it was like signing

your eight-year-old brother to a lifetime services contract for an Oh Henry candy bar, and Dad witnessing the deal. We’ve grown up a little bit since then and my perception is that most people in the province now believe we could do it ourselves. When I say do it ourselves, I mean attract our own international investment to come here, control our own resources for our benefit, invest in our own industry, without looking to Ottawa for permission or money. I believe the psychology of the people here is improving, and with continued strong leadership, will continue to improve. So faithful reader, we can sit and watch and talk and ponder about what the Irish have been able to do, or we can actually do what the Irish have been able to do. It didn’t happen overnight, and we have already begun to take the steps that are necessary, but in the words of the late great poet Bob Marley — let’s emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.

YOUR VOICE ‘People don’t come to St. John’s to see tall buildings’ Dear editor, and private newcomers, as well as the Many of us have returned or moved devaluation of nearby properties and thousands of kilometres to live, work, businesses. and start businesses in the historic Some suggestions before you vote. downtown core of St. John’s because Walk along Duckworth Street, of its look and feel — its uniquely Water Street, and Harbour Drive charming appearance, and warm again. Observe the impact of the tall human scale of the shops, houses and buildings on those and nearby streets, old buildings, the views and access to residences, and businesses — the loss the harbour and The Narrows. of sunlight, views and access to the But we are alarmed that several harbour, weakened economic and city councillors seem to be ignoring physical wellbeing, frequent vacanthe mistake of othcies. ers who allowed Then, go to out-of-scale tall Signal Hill or the Short-term tax buildings there — southside and look Atlantic Place, for back. Notice the advantages from example, with its wall of tall buildcarpark, Scotia additional tall buildings ings developing Centre, Fortis and between the harbour would likely disappear and the rest of TD buildings, Revenue Canada, d o w n t o w n . as the city’s historic etc. Loss of appro(Countless visitors identity and character ask how that was priate scale in an area often results in allowed to happen.) disappears. a loss of that area’s Decide if you identity. want that wall to We’re bewilcontinue. Decide dered that anyone who values the what you really want your downtown look and feel of this wonderfully dif- core to look and feel like, for yourferent grand old city and its heart self, your family, and your visitors. would consider changing its character Find out exactly how your candior trying to copy the look of other date would vote on future proposals downtowns with other high-rises — for buildings taller than the current especially when those other cities are four-story limit, and, perhaps, larger. spending millions correcting that Ask what political decisions have to same mistake in order to revive their be made to enhance, rather than historic downtowns. destroy, what we have? People don’t come to St. John’s to Tell her or him exactly what you see tall buildings. Short-term tax want, and hear the answers. advantages from additional tall buildThen vote. Our city’s future ings would likely disappear as the depends on it. city’s historic identity and character disappears. That will result in fewer Barbara De Land, visitors, fewer potential commercial St. John’s

‘A long stretch’ Dear editor, We welcome the right of your publisher, Brian Dobbin, to question spending public dollars on the CBC (Die CBC die, Sept. 4-10 edition of The Independent). We have no problem with questions or criticism. But we do expect Mr. Dobbin to be fair and accurate in his comments. It is a long stretch to suggest that CBC employees get 14 weeks vacation, and to use that, along with Mr. Dobbin’s displeasure at the way CBC

covered a story in which he had a part, as the basis for slamming and slandering the CBC. Employees start with three weeks paid vacation and are entitled to five weeks after 20 years. The men and women who are the face of CBC in this province want management to end their lockout. We want to get back to telling the stories that matter to people in this province. Bob Sharpe, CMG St. John’s

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.

PUBLISHER Brian Dobbin MANAGING EDITOR Ryan Cleary SENIOR EDITOR Stephanie Porter PICTURE EDITOR Paul Daly

All material in The Independent is copyrighted and the property of The Independent or the writers and photographers who produced the material. Any use or reproduction of this material without permission is prohibited under the Canadian Copyright Act. • © 2005 The Independent • Canada Post Agreement # 40871083

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

Conspiracy of the week I

t’s as plain as day, the reason why Rex Goudie lost Canadian Idol — he’s a Newfoundlander b’y. More than that, he’s a bayman — a buck bayman, pure as the driven snow across the Baie Verte Peninsula. The mainlanders couldn’t have that, a Newfoundlander showing them up on the national stage, and so the contest was rigged. (The same way Jason Greeley and Jenny Gear also lost out — see the trend?) Canadian Idol is the latest example of how Confederation with Canada is a complete and utter failure, or so they say. Goudie, the wannabe mechanic, “all guts and gasoline,” the Burlington buck with the precious ballcap bought at the Village Mall, didn’t stand a chance because Canada has it out for us. First the Supreme Court shutout and now Idol — it’s time for us to leave Canada, to separate and become our own nation. “The Republic of Rex,” we could call it, just like the words tacked to the Pink, White and Green waving in the Idol audience. It didn’t take long — moments really — after Ben Mulroney broke the news (and our hearts) of the latest Idol winner for the conspiracy theory to surface. Newfoundland has been gypped — again. Now how stunned is that, using Rex’s defeat as yet another example of how we’re getting screwed over? But it happened, there’s no denying what was said on the open line. It didn’t help that it was impossible to get a phone line in this province to register a vote, but then most conspiracy theories are cooked with at least a pinch of truth. Conspiracy theories, in fact, are as Newfoundland as salt meat on Sunday. One of the first recordings of a conspiracy theory can be traced back to 1933 when this place teetered on bankruptcy. Newfoundland had a choice — default on its loans or throw itself at the mercy of Great Britain.

RYAN CLEARY

Fighting Newfoundlander The British government itself defaulted on a loan from the United States in 1933 and it continued on as normal. Newfoundland had a solid case for honourable default — considering a $40-million chunk of its $100-million debt was our contribution towards the winning of the First World War — but we weren’t permitted to go that route. Instead, Newfoundland had to surrender its democracy and was ruled by a six-man commission between 1934 and 1949, when Confederation came about.

It didn’t take long — moments really — after Ben Mulroney broke the news (and our hearts) of the latest Idol winner for the conspiracy theory to surface. There was more than one giveaway over that period — sweet deals were done, in the absence of democracy, that cost Newfoundland untold tens of millions of dollars. The forests were carved up, land was handed away to foreign countries, and the people were left to starve on six cents a day. Sure no wonder we’re so suspicious. The commission government that ruled the place didn’t have to report to a soul — not in Newfoundland anyway. Then when times got better instead of instantly reverting back to a democracy a National Convention was held to buy some time so Great Britain and

Ottawa could figure out how to hoodwink Newfoundland into Confederation. Or so the theory goes. There’s a conspiracy tagged to most major milestones in our young life as a province: Churchill Falls and the energy corridor that Ottawa supposedly wouldn’t insist Quebec give up; the cod stocks and an insidious federal plan to depopulate the outports; the withdrawal of federal jobs and a scheme to depopulate everywhere else; offshore oil and the federal government’s intention to keep most of the windfall for itself. Too many wrongs that have been done to us are written off as conspiracy theories — to brand us as paranoid and out of our heads. They detract us from the truth — that some conspiracies are actual crimes against us, as a people. Then there are times when we actually are paranoid. Rexy is most definitely sexy (or so the women say), but he couldn’t sing like the missus who won. God knows he gave it a valiant effort. Not to diminish the suffering of drug addicts, but Rexycotin withdrawal is no picnic. (Kudos to the producers of Canadian Idol, while I’m at it, for the cutaways to the celebrities in the audience like the CRTC commissioner, whose name I can’t believe I forgot, and the chairman of the Alberta centennial committee, whose name I never knew.) There’s even a certain level of paranoia here at The Independent. Take Brian Dobbin’s recent rant on the very page you’re holding about how the CBC should die. There are whispers Dobbin will be made to pay for what he wrote once the lockout ends and the CBC is back at work. Everything Dobbin has ever touched will be picked apart by the beloved Corp. in retaliation for his outburst. Now how paranoid is that? Ryan Cleary is managing editor of The Independent. ryan.cleary@theindependent.ca


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 7

Witness to a drug deal

VOTES FOR THE TAKING?

It happened one night on a dark cul-de-sac in St. John’s … This didn’t happen exactly the way I wrote it. I am not stupid and there are people I don’t wish to piss off. And I am NOT talking about the cops.

J

esus, she was a laugh. Pretty as all get out and just so damn cheerful. A great person. She was trying to come off as sophisticated, and it was working, at least until she dragged out pictures of her kids. Then she was pure baygirl. Mama bear loves her cubs. Absolutely. She had agreed to meet me for a few beers downtown. Lucky me. And we were having a laugh. She was smart and witty and I was enjoying her company. I was sitting with her, thinking of what to do next. She seemed to like me, and I don’t like bars. So what to do now? A movie? Dinner? She looked at me and asked, “What are you doing right now?” “I dunno. I got nothing planned.” Get me. Mr. Suave. She smiled, “I got an idea. Want to come along?” Sure. So we left the bar and headed down Water Street. She took keys out of her purse and pressed her key fob. Bip Bip. The running lights of a new silver car flashed next to me on the street. “We’ll take my car,” she said. Fair enough. We got in. Nice car. She put on the stereo and pulled into traffic. I just sat there listening to her lively conversation as we sped along on the highway. I asked her where the hell we were going. She just laughed and said, “You’ll see.” OK. We eventually turned down a road to a new housing development. You know the type. They’re springing up all over the northeast Avalon like big

IVAN MORGAN

Rant & reason plywood and pressboard mushrooms. We pulled down a street, paved and with curbs that led into the dark empty woods. Turned again into an empty cul-de-sac, each lot just trees and bog. I thought about the kids who would be playing street hockey here in the years to come. If you don’t get around, you don’t realize how fast this city is growing. She pulled around in the cul-de-sac and, turning her head, put the car in reverse and backed it up a small lane into the woods, just out of sight. Hello? I sat there in the dark looking at her. OK? I considered mentioning that I am 45 years old, and own my own home. I don’t need to go parking. WHAT NEXT? She turned the stereo down and lit a cigarette. She looked at me smiling. Radiant. I made a what-next expression with my face. She laughed. “Just wait. I want you to see something.” We waited. The music played softly in the background. She was clearly enjoying my curiosity. You could tell from her playful smile. I must have looked impatient because she said softly, “Just cool your jets.” I cooled my jets. After a while a set of headlight beams swept across the empty cul-desac. A large SUV pulled up quickly, swung around the whole circle and came to a quick stop. Headlights snapped off. I sat up. What the hell is this?

Suddenly her expression was serious. She lowered the ember of her cigarette out of sight. “Don’t you move,” she whispered. I didn’t move a hair. Another set of headlights swept across the darkness, briefly lighting up the parked truck. It swung quickly up alongside. Off went its lights. A middle-age man in a jacket got out and walked to the SUV. The truck’s window lowered and he talked with a man sitting in the driver’s seat. Two young men got out of the car and walked into the woods on the other side of the culde-sac. They came out after a few minutes, carrying a duffel bag that they put in the back of the truck. Another minute talking, and the driver of the car and his two young companions got back in their car. Engines roared to life, headlights snapped on and the two vehicles zoomed out of sight. It was over before it began. I was amazed. I looked over at her. She was beaming. “Cool, huh?” “How … how … how did you know this was going to happen?” I sputtered. She laughed. One of the young men was from home, she said. “Jesus, what if they had seen us?” My heart was pounding. She smiled an impish smile. “They didn’t.” Wow. We all have an idea of what St. John’s is. It is an idea based on our past. The truth is this city is growing in leaps and bounds. And it isn’t all good. RNC Chief Richard Deering got on the TV last week to let us all know there’s organized crime operating in Newfoundland. Ya think? Ivan Morgan can be reached at ivan.morgan@gmail.com

A stack of mail-in ballots for the upcoming municipal election in the lobby of an apartment building in downtown St. John’s. Concerns have been raised about the possibility of voter fraud with the mail-in system in just such cases. Paul Daly/The Independent

YOUR VOICE

Our true colours: the revolution starts here Dear editor, This year my friends and I took advantage of the May 24th weekend to do something different. We decided to raise the native flag of Newfoundland — the Pink, White, and Green — over the southside hills in St. John’s. We didn’t just raise a flag — we raised a 15foot flag. You can imagine a flag of that size would stir a bit of commotion in town. And it did. It was on the radio and in the news. People were talking about it in the streets and at ultimate Frisbee games. In all my life I have never heard so much passion over what seemed to be so small a thing. When we raised the flag I viewed it as a sign of rebellion, but when it was flying on the hill I started to see so much more. Everyone I talked to seemed to have a different feeling about the flag. Some viewed it as historical and cultural; others saw it as a sign of independence; still more viewed it as a sign of rebellion; and some people viewed it as a sign of the new

POET’S CORNER

Sign language More to be pitied then blamed Are those who’ve defaced and defamed; They’ll get their come-up pence ’cause they’re not worth a two-pence for their once credibility has waned. Can we not get someone with a clue Or even a person with few To run against Andy That would be just dandy To make it a race, not a shoo’ As ringmaster at City Hall Mr. Wells has gumption and gall Abrasive and gritty E’en friendly and witty But get in his way, it’s a maul. On the “board” he’ll perform like a lion Our “share” of the spoils? Will be fine The feds, he’ll drive nuts No ifs, ands or buts, Are we ready to break out the wine? The irreverent bard Bob LeMessurier, Goulds

Greg Pike and friends with their flag on the southside hills.

Newfoundland. There was one common theme — everyone was passionate about it. Find me one person who could say the same about our current provincial

flag. Our current flag was given to us back in 1980. I think it can be best described as the scrap pieces handed to us from the construction of the Union Jack.

Its colours and shapes have been Newfoundland and stills flies high over arbitrarily assigned meanings as if to the homes of many Newfoundlanders, say, “This flag represents Newfound- both in town and around the island. land.” Blue is for water. Is this supLast week columnist Ivan Morgan posed to be Newfoundland creativity? wrote a piece calling for the Pink, The Pink, White, and Green has been White, and Green to be officially ours part of our history for (Raising a new Flag, many years. In fact, Sept. 11-17 edition of it’s the second oldest The Independent). flag in Canada (next Well, now I’m secI have never heard to the Fleur-de-lis). It onding that motion. so much passion was created in an Why not? It’s a flag effort to resolve a reliselected by the people over what seemed to and has remained so gious conflict in the city. The Protestant the 19th century. be so small a thing. since English were repreTo aid Morgan in his sented with a pink effort I have developed flag (the colour of the an online petition. I Tudor rose of the royal family at that encourage all Newfoundlanders to time) and the Catholic Irish were repre- band together to petition for this cause. sented with a green flag. Every name counts. The revolution The two churches took their conflict starts here! to Bishop Michael Flemming who simThe online petition is located at ply wrapped a white banner between www.pinkwhitegreen.ca the flags as a sign of peace. It was since Greg Pike, adopted as the unofficial flag of Mount Pearl


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

8 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

Where is the cod — committee determined to find out

IN PLANE VIEW

A

Pilot Arnie Clark and the Miss Veedol at St. John’s International Airport last week. Miss Veedol is a replica of the Bellanca Columbian flown by Canadian Erroll Boyd from Harbour Grace to England in 1930. Paul Daly/theIndependent

series of public hearings will be held around the province in the coming days to pose a question: why, after 13 years, hasn’t the northern cod stock recovered? Loyola Hearn, MP for St. John’s South and Fisheries critic for the federal Conservatives, says it’s been a “mission” of his to raise the question and find the answer. “It’s been asked several times, and you know, different people have different theories, but nobody has addressed the issue in a formal sense … and for once perhaps get all the facts on the table,” says Hearn, a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries. He says the committee will hear from scientists — both independent and those employed by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) — fishermen, and others with a vested interest in the fishing industry. Meetings are set to begin on Sept. 27 in Bonavista, then move on to Port Blandford (Sept. 28) and St. John’s (Sept. 29 and 30). “One of the reasons we are doing it too is in light of concerns raised this year — I mean we almost had the civil war over the recreational fishery,” Hearn says.

He says he’s hopeful the discussion will lead to answers about what options are available for next year’s recreational fishery and whether bay stocks can provide a viable commercial fishery. Hearn is also interested to know what people are saying about stocks. “Well it would be nice to know … to be able to sit there and between the scientists and the departmental officials and the legal people and the people actually at sea and listen to what they all say about the stocks, the migrations patterns how much is really there, whether it can sustain a commercial fishery or a recreational fishery,” he says. “Instead of — ‘Well, there’s lots of fish out there.’ Ok, well where is it?” Meantime, Sept. 20 is the release date for the study Bycatch on the High Seas: A Review of the Effectiveness of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, completed by the World Wildlife Fund. The study will outline the impact of indiscriminate fishing, and the role of the NAFO, which oversees fishing on the high seas. The report is expected to outline a five-step recommendation to reduce bycatch, as well as launch a public awareness campaign. — Alisha Morrissey

No ‘immediate impact’

Constabulary has 28 new recruits, more needed; union leader says retention of veteran officers will be issue in contract talks By Darcy MacRae The Independent

T

he Royal Newfoundland Constabulary swore in 28 new recruits this month, but the new officers will not solve the problems facing the force. “There won’t be any immediate impact,” says Constable Tim Buckle, president of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association. “The time we will see a major impact from these individuals is during next summer when officers are on leave and the new officers have been sufficiently seasoned to be able to carry out police duties on their own.” Buckle says the hiring of 28 new officers will actually only result in 1015 new positions due to attrition (older officers retiring from the force) — and more are needed. “Everyone will help at this point. As

Chief (Richard) Deering has said in the past, our resources are stretched to the limit,” says Buckle. “In order to supply the minimum amount of policing, on a daily basis we’re having officers coming back and working overtime shifts. “We have 28 coming today, but in December we have up to 30 eligible to retire, so the next few years are still going to be challenging.” RNC Deputy Chief Joe Browne agrees that the force could use more officers, but says the new recruits will be beneficial. “In terms of is it enough? It will help close the gaps that have been created over the past decade,” Browne says. “The problem is over the same period of time, quite a number of the existing staff become eligible for retirement. So based on attrition, we don’t know where we’re going to be. If everybody who is eligible exercises the option,

we’d be in a big hole again.” The hiring of the new recruits comes at a cost of approximately $1.15 million, but when potential retirement savings are deducted the new spending could amount to just $613,000. The new recruits are not yet ready for field work. They must first complete their practical training, which has been going on for the past 19 weeks. Once they finish (probably in the next week or two) the new recruits will be assigned to their platoons (patrol work), but will work under the guidance and direction of “coach officers” or experienced police officers. “They’ll literally be attached at the hip for the first three months,” Browne says. “From three to six months, they get a little more freedom, but are still under the daily observation and direction of the coach officer. At the sixmonth juncture they get to work with additional officers and get a little more

exposure to different areas of policing. That goes on for a year.” Buckle says while the addition of new officers — a second graduating class from Memorial University will join the force in September 2006, and a third in September 2007 — helps the force, it could cause problems to have a force of mostly new officers. “There has to be rejuvenation of your police population by hiring new recruits. But at the same time it has to be done in a strategic fashion so that you are still maintaining knowledge and experience of your veteran officers,” says Buckle. “We’re commencing negotiations in the fall and one of the issues we have to deal with is retention of veteran officers. Salaries and benefits are not comparable to other police forces in the Atlantic region …” Browne says one look at the ages of the current force indicates a good bal-

ance will be maintained. “Although large numbers are eligible for retirement in the next few years, that trend is about a decade long. You’ll have a number of people who will reach the 25-year mark (the point at which they are eligible to retire) in the next year or two, but following them is a group with 15 years and then a group with 10 years and so on,” Browne says. Buckle reiterates the 28 new recruits are appreciated by the RNC, but maintains that more officers are needed, particularly in the greater St. John’s area. He says that in recent years, migration from rural Newfoundland to the provincial capital has caused the population of St. John’s to grow while the number of RNC officers has diminished. “We have one of the lowest police to population ratios in the country,” Buckle says. “We’re down 90-100 officers compared to where we were 10 years ago.”

YOUR VOICE

Long live the CBC Dear editor, I read with some amusement Brian Dobbin’s column from this week’s Independent (Oops … I did it again). You along with many others have some grudge about the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that never ceases to amaze me. There is some sort of blemish placed on this broadcaster because it is publicly funded. To begin, the information provided, production quality, and sense of culture that we as Canadians (and independent thinking Newfoundlanders and Labradorians) receive from the CBC are more professional and less biased than the information provided by privately owned media. Secondly, CBC reports on many issues in Newfoundland and Labrador that privately owned media couldn’t cover for fear of jeopardizing advertising revenue. I rely on CBC to give intelligent coverage. I rely on CBC to report on issues that are in the public interest. That is but one advantage of a publicly funded broadcaster — there is no benefit in self-interest. The Independent writers are great, most of the stories are great but the

columns are becoming a blatant form of selfadoration. (Incidentally, as a subscriber of The Independent, I help pay for your right to say what you said.) Reporters who work for privately owned media cannot always cover many interesting and relevant stories because there is not enough money invested to strategically place them in the various regions of each province and territory across Canada. And this paper is unlikely to unveil the true essence of the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador from a desk on Harbour Drive or from a laptop overseas. However, the reporters of CBC can and do. And as for our tax dollars being better spent and the comment that “our social safety net is utopian” is enough to show me that this paper’s understanding of the people of this province is limited. But that’s another issue. Long live public broadcasting — everyone’s voice. M.C. French, St. John’s


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 9

YOUR VOICE

Legend in his own mind Dear editor, According to a soon-to-be published book by Peter C. Newman, Brian Mulroney thinks that, next to John A. MacDonald, he was the greatest prime minister in Canadian history. The man is a legend in his own mind. As far as I’m concerned, Brian Mulroney was the single reason for the collapse of the three-party political system in Canada. It was in the dust of his defeat that the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada ceased to be. For as long as I (and probably most Canadians) remember, the political landscape was made up of three parties: the Liberals, the PCs, and the New Democratic Party. There has always been a sprinkling of other localized parties such as the Marijuana Party and the Green Party, but primarily it was a three-party system. That was until Mulroney showed up. While his PCs might have won a huge majority and he ended up prime minister as a result, it was the aftermath of his tenure that is remarkable. The Canadian public was so horribly disillusioned with the PCs that the entire party was essentially shown the door in June 1993. Prior to that vote, I don’t believe there was ever such a thorough trouncing at the hands of the electorate. There is no doubt as to the cause of this catastrophic defeat. It was Mulroney. Once we, the public, had cleaned house (the House of Commons, that is), there was nothing left of the PCs. Every right-leaning federal politician was left reeling. And thus began the regionalization of the right. The westerners initiated the Reform Party. The east clung to the old sun-bleached skeleton of the PCs. And in Quebec, all hell broke loose, and the Bloc Quebecois was formed. Many years later, the Conservative Party of Canada was formed from the

Brian Mulroney

Reuters

remains of right-leaning parties. But it was very much a marriage of convenience, as opposed to love. They banded together only because they knew that to go it alone meant guaranteed defeat. And eventually, after much in-fighting, Stephen Harper became the new king of the Conservatives. But by aligning himself with the hard-right leadership of the United States, Mr. Harper also guaranteed himself a defeat in the last election. Given the complete disillusionment with the governing Liberals, it was a prime opportunity for the Conservatives, but it was squandered because they couldn’t find solid footing … again. And here we are, 10-plus years after Mulroney and the man has the gall to say that he was second only to MacDonald in historical importance. While he, of course, believes his importance, was positive, I beg to differ. He might be number two in importance but it was anything but positive. After all this time we still don’t have a viable conservative party. And it’s all his fault. Deborah Burton, Mount Pearl

Women and politics Dear editor, Women represent more than half of the province’s population, yet they are far from proportionally represented in any level of government — municipal, provincial or federal. For centuries, women have struggled to acquire rights and have their voices heard. It is becoming clearer that this gender is playing an increasingly significant role in the political world. As a female, I am pleased that our provincial government has taken the initiative to promote women’s involvement in the upcoming municipal elections. Joan Burke, minister responsible for the Status of Women, in conjunction with the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Municipalities, recently held a series of information sessions across Newfoundland and Labrador to assist women who are interested in becom-

ing actively involved in our municipal governments. Women have a great deal to offer and are very aware of the issues in their respective communities. In our province, today, women comprise only 29 per cent of those in municipal politics, less than one-third. Women need a more substantial presence in politics, and it is essential that we have more of an opportunity to contribute to the decision-making processes that impact us. It is great to see our provincial government championing this initiative and encouraging a more equal balance of genders within our governments. I applaud the efforts of Premier Williams and Minister Burke in supporting and promoting women’s participation in these leadership roles. Lacey Lewis, Marysvale

Steve Kent

Paul Daly/The Independent

Super Steve Mount Pearl Mayor tackles municipal issues with rare intensity; wears FREE NFLD. on his chest By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

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teve Kent, mayor of Mount Pearl, has achieved more life goals in his 27 years than most people do in 50; reading through his profile of accomplishments on the city’s website is exhausting. Not only has he served as the youngest on council since he was elected deputy mayor at the age of 19, but he’s received gold and silver Duke of Edinburgh awards (there have been many other accolades), a masters degree, worked for years as chief executive officer for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Eastern Newfoundland, has served on a mind-boggling array of committees and is currently working full time as manager of corporate developments with Stirling Communications and acting station manager for OZ FM. He’s also set to be re-elected as mayor in a no-contest acclamation process in the upcoming municipal election. “It’s always been a juggling act,” he tells The Independent. “If you want something done, ask a busy person and I think I’m a good example of that.” With an election looming, the contrast in municipal climates between St. John’s and Mount Pearl is particularly blatant. The capital city has been gearing up for Sept. 27 with multiple council nominations, with clashing personalities and issues tempering the path all the way. Mount Pearl, on the other hand, has only three new faces running for council, no one contesting Kent for the mayor’s seat and seemingly few issues to divide voters. “I think overall people in Mount Pearl are very satisfied with the quality of services they receive … says Kent. “With all members of council seeking

reelection, I wasn’t surprised at the low number of new candidates.” He admits to being somewhat surprised, however, by the fact he won’t personally be part of an election process, since his one contender, Cathy Sheehan, dropped out of the race. Despite their infrastructure and personality differences and the ever-looming issue of amalgamation, Kent says Mount Pearl and St. John’s have learned to collaborate well over the years.

“If you want something done, ask a busy person and I think I’m a good example of that.” Steve Kent “I think it’s also important to note that we’re co-operating in a lot of ways when it makes sense … one of the best examples of municipal co-operation, ironically enough, is in this region and despite certain politicians who have very strong views on the issue (amalgamation), we do get along relatively well.” Kent, who commutes every day to St. John’s for work, is still against amalgamation, citing examples across urban North America where the move to unite communities has proven detrimental in terms of higher taxes and lower service levels. “This region has been very well served by the present structure of local government … the fact that Mount Pearl exists and the other communities in the Northeast Avalon region exists has been good, not only for our taxpayers but for the taxpayers of St. John’s as

well.” Kent says he’s looking forward to the next four years, continuing to serve as mayor of Mount Pearl and building on his career — even though he has so little free time. When he does get a break he’s like any other 27-year-old. Kent says he tries to get outdoors, he spends time with family, likes movies, music, live bands and drinking with friends. He’s also hoping to change his single status at some point. “I’m single, very single,” Kent says with a laugh. “Hopefully that will change and hopefully I’ll improve the social life too.” As a strong community and provincial advocate, Kent doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in his career quest, although he’s uncertain exactly what direction his future may take. Politics seems a safe bet and he admits running provincially or federally is something he might consider further down the line (He ran, unsuccessfully, for a Liberal nomination during the federal election of 2000). “One thing I do know is I want to stay here in Newfoundland … I think that Newfoundland and Labrador has a lot of untapped potential and I think there’s a need for young leaders to stay here and try and turn things around.” He passionately offers his own opinion on Newfoundland and Labrador’s place within Confederation and says he wears his FREE NFLD. T-shirt “with great pride. “I really believe that Newfoundland and Labrador deserves a better place within the Canadian Confederation. We have a lot to offer this country and the amount we’ve contributed continues to be undervalued by the rest of the country. Wherever I go, I am always a proud ambassador for Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Municipal election stats for 2005 • Municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador eligible to hold elections: 276 • Municipalities holding full elections: 140 • Municipalities with councils to be proclaimed through acclamation: 42 • Municipalities with just enough candidates to form council (remaining vacancies will be filled through later by-elections): 63 • Municipalities with an insufficient number of candidates to form council (special by-elections will be conducted on Oct. 25): 31 • Total number of candidates to put their names forward for municipal elections: 2,125 • Incumbents: 1,108 • New candidates: 1,017


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

10 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

LIFE STORY

‘Art was his obsession’ By Alisha Morrissey The Independent Percy Janes 1922 – 1999

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ercy Janes was a writer — an author who lived a solitary life to focus on his craft. A creature of habit, a gardener and a member of a close circle of like-minded friends, Janes was a mentor to those he chose to have around him. Most of all, he was a writer. Peter Harley, an author and close friend, spent much of the last few years of Janes’ life following him around “when he got lost,” and completed a small book called Percy at the End. Ravaged by Alzhiemer's during the last years of his life, Janes died on Feb. 19, 1999. Harley says he still misses his Wednesday bike ride to Janes’ house and his wife misses their Friday movie nights. “He was a true recluse, not quite a hermit, but something bordering on it I guess — halfway there,” Harley says slowly. “He knew his course early on in life. He wanted to be a writer and he lived to do that. He was poor throughout his entire life so that he could write … he told me, for instance, that he never had children because he felt he couldn’t support him.” Janes was married in 1950, but divorced four years later. Harley says Janes read biographies, but would put down a book if he didn’t like it. Janes would “watch a thousand movies on Stalin and Hitler,”

Percy Janes and his neighbour Anne.

and, until he went in the hospital, worked on his writing every morning — and would get angry if anyone called or dropped by. Ginny Ryan, a friend of Janes, says it was humbling and exciting to talk with a man, who she describes as a mentor for her family. “There was a long time there, and I understand is often the case with Alzheimer’s patients, where he was at once afflicted with the disease, but knew he was afflicted and was still struggling to maintain his capacities as much as possible,” she says of visiting him during the last months of his life.

“It’s not like it’s suddenly a cloud drawn over you so that you mercifully recede. It’s more a case of you’re seeing the cloud coming and you’re fighting it with all you’re worth.” Ryan’s husband, John, was the executor of Janes’ estate, donated everything to the Centre for Newfoundland Studies after his death. Early in the friendship, Ryan says Janes would talk about politics and writing, but he came to trust the couple and began sharing deeper secrets: “family matters and lost loves and so that was very humbling too to feel like we had been entrusted with all that.” Paul Bowdring considered Janes to be more of a friend than a mentor. He says Janes never read or critiqued his work as he did for so many other friends. Bowdring, a writer whose friendship with Janes lasted the last 15 years of his life, says he will remember the dedication Janes had to his work. “Art was his obsession. The only thing that mattered to him was that what he produced was artistic … that it was a work of art,” Bowdring says. “He was brutally honest in his writing to the point where he had been completely rejected by his family after the publishing of House of Hate and that must have been very traumatic for him. He didn’t call it a memoir or a family saga … he saw it as an artistic work.” Bowdring, too, says Janes saw the role of family man as “excluding the role of artist,” despite loving the idea of children. “I feel like I have been a struggling writer all my life and I’m still struggling so I think he was

YEARS PAST “No greater benefit could be conferred on the people of St. John’s than the establishment of an efficient fire brigade, so as to guard against the recurrence of such an awful calamity as that which laid nearly two thirds of the city in ashes, in July last.” — The Daily Tribune, May 30, 1893. FROM THE BAY “Broadcast over St. John’s station on Thursday night was the information that possibilities of employment at bases and in woods work is practically nil. “Unless men have been guaranteed

work they should not leave home as in the event of being stranded without funds the government will assume no responsibility for their board and lodging or return transportation.” — The Twillingate Sun, Jan. 24, 1948.

AROUND THE WORLD “The total value of wine exported from Spain in 1889 touched a sum of over 11,300,000 pounds. The very large supply of common red wine sent to France is used there for blending purposes with French wine. Nearly all the sherry wine and the generoso, which is

something to live up to. That devotion that he had to writing that made me feel like it was very important.” Gordon Rodgers met Percy as a student when he took a writing class with him in the mid-1970s. Janes befriended some of the students and when he bought a piece of land on St. Thomas’ line outside St. John’s asked some of them out to help him clear the land of stumps and rocks. It was there Rodgers — and later his family — became close with Janes. Janes later dedicated his novel No Cage for Conquerors to the Rodgers family. “The first thing that comes to mind is how dedicated he was to his writing. It was his writing first and last and middle,” Rodgers says. He reminisces about Janes’ garden and how much it meant to him. He says Janes — who never drove — would have a friend pick him up and take him to his plot of land where he would putter around while talking about writers and writing. Rodgers says he remembers a call from Janes one fall evening when he lived in town — away from his precious garden. Rodgers says it was nearly dark and Janes sounded distressed that his ride hadn’t showed up so that he could go and tend to the plot. Rodgers picked him up and took him to his bit of land where Janes moved around in the dark checking on his plants and after about 20 minutes got back in the car and they went home. “He sort of touched the earth there … his soul somehow seemed calmed on the way back and I always remember that.”

of much stronger quality, finds a market in England.” — The Times, July 15, 1891. EDITORIAL STAND “St. John’s has been delivered over to the rule of the publicans by the clergy of the Roman Catholic church.” — The Temperance Journal, Feb. 14, 1885. An editorial regarding the defeat of the Permissive Bill to limit liquor licensing. LETTER TO THE EDITOR “Editor, notice is herby given that from and after Tuesday, the 21 of August next the fixed light on Cape Race will be changed to a revolving

white light and the revolving white light at Cape Pine to a fixed white light.” Signed, John Stuart, secretary of public works. — The Patriot and Terra Nova Herald, June, 18 1866. QUOTE OF THE WEEK “You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.” — From the Mutualist, a guest column printed in the Jan. 26, 1946 edition of The Newfoundland Trade Review

YOUR VOICE

Newfoundland: a tourist’s perspective Editor’s note: the following comments were written by a couple who stayed recently at the Harbour View Inn in downtown St. John’s. The couple forwarded their comments to relatives on the mainland. A copy of their correspondence was forwarded to The Independent. We’ve planted ourselves in a modern hotel right next to the famous harbour at St. John’s, and we’re splitting our time between sightseeing and genealogy. Some of the best sightseeing is right outside our window, where we marvel at the rapid loading and unloading of the fleet of small ships that service the offshore oilrigs. Across the harbour, shrimp boats remain tied up to the docks — it’s out of season, so the fishermen are finding other work to do. And three coast guard ships are tied up at their base at the far end of the harbour. There are lots of restaurants to try within walking distance of our hotel. As for traditional Newfoundland food — well, cod is expensive these days (as is all seafood) and we don’t share the Canadian fondness for a plate of fried potatoes smothered in gravies or sauces. We have had some nice smoked salmon, however, and the locally harvested mussels are out of this world! But St. John’s is more famous for its drink than its food. The city boasts more bars per capita than any other city in North America. You have to imagine Bourbon Street (in New Orleans) up in a land where it seldom gets above 75 degrees, and often a lot lower. Of course it’s summertime, so the locals are all attired in shorts and skimpy tops — while we put on jackets and rubbers to fend off the rain! The two operative words for politics in this neck of the woods are neglect and exploitation. Newfoundland has been part of Canada for less than 60 years, but it didn’t fare very well as a British colony. The English tried to forbid settlement, but there was work to be performed conveniently through the winter on “the island” (as it’s known) in support of the fishermen, so the shore stations gradually turned into year-round habitations. And there’s a small and diminishing native population. The Brits neglected Newfoundland,

being primarily concerned with exploiting its resources — the Grand Banks. But the cod fishery is pretty much finished. In the 16th century, many reliable sources claimed the cod in spring were so numerous they could be just scooped out of the water. Not any more. The Brits exploited the manpower of Newfoundland, sending the locally manned regiment into the worst battles of the First World War. Over three-quarters of the troops were killed or injured. Canada neglects Newfoundland, but wants to exploit its oil. The high-tech centers of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver exploit the countryside, as the young brains of the Atlantic provinces are drained off to the high-paying jobs in the cities. Some of them return to the land of their birth when they retire. Newfoundland neglects Labrador, which is part of the province, but wants to exploit its timber and minerals and hydroelectric capacity. St. John’s neglects the outports, which means the rest of the island. And everyone neglects and exploits the First Nations tribes, although they make good subjects for the museums and for archaeologists. So, to imagine Newfoundland, imagine a country (and it’s not too far off base to think of Newfoundland as a country) which, although long neglected and exploited, is filled with honest, hard working people, accustomed to the rigours of an isolated location and winter storms, used to losing their loved ones in fishing accidents and wars, always friendly and smiling, and mildly surprised that tourists find the countryside so compellingly lovely. The impression is that the land looks much the same as it did 50,100, or 200 years ago. Only the roads have changed. Imagine a breathtakingly beautiful land nearly devoid of human development. There are almost 10,000 kilometers of coastline, dotted by tiny fishing villages. The forests are evergreen, the air is fresh and crystal clear (when it isn’t raining or foggy), and the colorfully painted boxy clapboard houses are a symbol of this lovely island. Bob and Elsa Pendleton, Texas


INDEPENDENTWORLD

SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18-24, 2005 — PAGE 11

‘A hero and my best friend’ When Terry Fox began his cross-Canada run for cancer in 1980, Doug Alward was by his side. He speaks frankly about why Terry continues to inspire us 25 years later

Six-year old Sarah Best stops to touch a statue dedicated to Terry Fox in Ottawa.

PENTICTON, B.C. By Leslie Scrivener Torstar wire service

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s you cross the Continental Divide at the Kicking Horse Pass and drive into Golden, the mountains, monstrous and foreboding, seem to grow like a colossus from the very foot of the highway. Semi-trailers bear down on you along the sickeningly winding road. Where would those trucks bearing loads of steel, their weight unthinkable, have gone on this twolane highway with eight-per cent grades as Terry Fox, the one-legged runner, made his way homeward? Granted there are pull-offs, and others have made the same journey — Steve Fonyo, most notably, walked and ran across

Canada in 1984-85 — but it’s nonetheless a nerve-racking and steep stretch of the TransCanada Highway. Sometimes we’re slow to grasp the momentous nature of a moment, something that, as years go by, catches at our hearts and that we look back on with wonder. That’s what happened to Doug Alward. One day, he’s shooting hoops with Terry, his sports rival at a Port Coquitlam school; a few years later, he’s accompanying his childhood friend on a cross-Canada adventure. And then, somewhere down the road, from courage, greatness was born. Naïve and ambitious in 1980, the two friends didn’t think much about Terry running a daily marathon on a crude (by today’s standards) artificial leg. One leg? Who, with

two legs, would be so audacious? “They’ve got better legs today and still can’t do what he did,” says Alward, sitting back in an easy chair in his parents’ living room in this sunny resort town, where he’s on holiday. “As the years go by, I realize that I witnessed one of the most incredible athletic events ever,” he says. Backtracking a bit to the east, on the Trans-Canada, past Revelstoke, where the water thunders out of the mountain, where veils of steel catch falling rock and the streams are a milky, glacial blue, two women talk about Terry as if his crossCanada run was last week, not 25 years ago. “My journal is mostly gardening stuff,” says Linda Gardner, who works at Craigellachie, the site of the “Last Spike,”

Jim Young/Reuters

which marks the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885. “But when he died (in 1981), I wrote that one of the greatest Canadians had died. We had someone who had finally pulled the whole country together,” she says. “He was one lonely guy going down the road and everyone got behind what he was doing.” The winter of 1980 was treacherous, Gardner says. She recalls feeding her livestock on her farm when 329 centimetres of snow fell in Glacier National Park. “It was a really bad snow year. I remember going through snow up to here to feed the pigs,” she says, lifting her hand near her waist. See “It doesn’t seem,” page 14

Political ‘tin man’

Michael Harris says Stephen Harper has a brain but no heart — a dud, not a stud

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here is an old saying, courtesy of Friedrich Nietzche, worth remembering in these troubled political times: if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. Looking into the abyss of our national politics, Stephen Harper is reminiscent of the kid in the joke who has to have a pork chop tied to his leg so that his dog will play with him. This week Harper was stabbed in the front by four members of his own party, some of them party candidates, who say he is a miserable failure and ought to resign. They have consulted the tea leaves of the national polls and say he can’t win a single seat in Quebec. Even worse, he lags 16 points behind the Liberals in Ontario. In other words,

MICHAEL HARRIS The Outrider young blue eyes is a dud not a stud — a political tin man with a brain but no heart. There is more than a little truth to their rebel yell. After a summer spent showcasing his skills for a job at Burger King, Canadians still believe Harper has the personality of a dead flounder. His numbers remain as cold as the barbecues were hot at his tepidly supported culinary events — at 12 per cent in the polls he is barely ahead of

the NDP and the Green Party. Dressing set, why not the real thing? Unless, of him in over-tight leatherette cowboy course, the real thing was even worse. suits or blow-drying his hair into tighter This wannabe prime minister’s politbondage did not trump the public’s ical failures are manifest. Northern belief that he would Republicanism will rather be paring his never catch fire in the pet’s toenails than cirGreat White North. Canadians still culating among the His initial support for Great Unwashed. (That believe Harper has the war in Iraq showed would be you and me the same astuteness as Bucky!) the personality of a voting the Edsil into As for those cheesy production. He treated dead flounder. new commercials, they Belinda Stronach with look like they were all the warmth one produced by a dentist would reserve for hanin Cleveland flogging a new soap opera dling a sample of anthrax. And getting starring the hurting half of his relatives. a job with this leader is like catching a Instead of tacky re-enactments of Cool fatal illness; you leave the office bootsSteve taking command on a Wal-Mart first with vague blatherings about vol-

untary career path changes. What is so voluntary about having your jugular vein slashed by a guy whose blue eyes never get above the freezing point? Sergeant Preston’s faithful sidekick, King, had more ocular humanity. As for the media, Harper treats them like a skin rash, which seems only fair since they treat him like a cross between Preston Manning’s gay cowboy and Stockwell Day’s Sea-Doo poster jock. So much for surveying the abyss of Stephen Harper’s shortcomings. What about us? Sadly, the truth is just as unflattering. According to the pollsters, about two per cent of us stay See “The darker side,” page 13


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

12 • INDEPENDENTWORLD

Mulroney broke the cardinal rule A friend in need needs protecting from himself; Newman book flap reflects universal political truths OTTAWA By Susan Delacourt Torstar wire service

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t’s hard to measure scientifically, but public opinion — even in Liberal Ottawa — seems to be tilting toward Brian Mulroney in this week’s flap over a book filled with raw and ribald quotes from the former prime minister. That in itself is an indication that this fuss is more than merely the product of nostalgia in the tiny, often incestuous world of federal politics. Twelve years ago, when Mulroney left office, it would have been hard to imagine any great surge of sympathy for the man. This week, even people in Prime Minister Paul Martin’s circle were saying that they felt for Mulroney; that he didn’t deserve this stunning, surprise release of decade-old remarks he had considered private.

‘MORE THAN PITY’ It’s more than pity at work here. Something else is going on. While old Ottawa hands were delighted simply to be reminded of Mulroney’s more colourful era, the wider conversations provoked by Peter C. Newman’s book, The Secret Mulroney Tapes, are as much about the current political climate in Ottawa as they are about the past. The controversy has touched on some universal themes in daily political life — the place of loyalty, friendship and trust, for instance. It has people talking with renewed interest about the dividing lines between the political and reporting classes. Most of all, though, it has vividly underscored the cardinal rule of life in federal politics: your friends can be far more dangerous than your enemies. And, as a corollary, if not the overarch-

ing rule: the person who can cause you the most damage is right there staring back at you in the mirror every morning. No wonder Martin and his tight circle of friends might feel a bit rattled. Mulroney thought of Newman as a friend. The feeling was mutual, as Newman demonstrated even this week, when he sent a heartfelt letter to Mulroney to accompany the surprise book delivery at his home. L. Ian MacDonald, Mulroney’s biographer, revealed in the Montreal Gazette this week how Newman inscribed the copy he sent to his old (and now former) friend. “For Brian: At last Canadians will see you for the warm, funny and human person that you are.” Mulroney, a chronic phone-a-holic, had thought he was free to blow off a little steam with his pal in his many late-night phone calls through the 1980s and early 1990s. He reportedly did not believe Newman was taping him or that when he was being recorded, the conversations would eventually be used to add colour and texture to any future biography. Instead, Newman simply transcribed them and let them loose for all Canadians to see this fall in their raw and vivid detail. Mulroney emerges as an odd mixture of naïveté and hubris, obsessed with his own reputation and place in history. “By the time history is done looking at this and you look at my achievements as opposed to any others, certainly no one will ever be in Sir. John A.’s league — but my nose will be a little ahead of most in terms of achievements,” he told Newman. Mulroney, so skilled, savvy and sophisticated in the intricate and dark arts of politics, somehow forgot the most basic rule. Perhaps that’s behind

some of the sympathy being expressed in Ottawa this week. His failing was all too human; the forehead-slapping kind we all feel when we ignore our own best judgment. His regret, it’s said, is profound. Friendship is the basis of the form and substance of this book. Mulroney is fixated on friends who turned on him, high-powered friends in international circles and people who just won’t be his friends (like all the members of the “lazy, cynical, self-serving” media). WORST FRIENDS But he said all this to a friend of the worst kind one can have in politics. No, not a journalist. It is possible for friendships to exist there, despite what the hard-core cynics may argue. The worst friends, Mulroney should have known, are the friends who don’t save you from yourself. Newman wasn’t a friend who worked to help keep Mulroney’s excesses in check or who challenged his grandiose and small obsessions. He simply was there: listening, taping and letting him ramble on. That should have been Mulroney’s clue. Newman, for his part, also seems a bit baffled this week by how badly things have gone; how the newspapers’ sensationalistic cherry-picking of all the negative Mulroney remarks made it impossible to see the book as a portrait of a “warm, funny and human” person. Imagine. A journalist caught off guard by journalism. A friend done in by a friend. A politician who forgot to play politics. These are the delicious ironies that are feeding the ravenous interest in this story this week in the nation’s capital. Some stories can never get told too often and some lessons need to be continually relearned.

Our finest leader ever? Brian Mulroney (right) with former U.S. president Ronald Reagan. Reuters

Talabani appeals for help

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s a week of worsening bloodshed took hundreds of lives, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani admitted his country was in crisis, and made a plea for help to fight the insurgency that is undermining efforts to rebuild after the ouster of Saddam Hussein. “Iraq is facing one of the most brutal campaigns of terror at the hands of the forces of darkness,” Talabani told the United Nations summit of world leaders late last week. “They are killing hundreds of Iraqis, destroying their wealth and trying their best to stop the march ... toward rebuilding the country through building a constitutional and fair regime.” As he spoke, suicide bombers inflicted another day of mayhem in Baghdad, killing at least 31 people. Talabani, a Kurdish former resistance leader, said “terrorism that targets the Iraqi individual has declared a war of annihilation against innocent civilians.” But in a meeting with Danish journalists, he suggested Iraqi units could replace some of the foreign troops in his country by the end of this month. Denmark currently contributes 530

troops. And, he said, “many units from the allied forces” could be removed by then if a timetable was set with the contributing countries. In a progress report to the Security Council, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says life for Iraqi civilians was growing worse because of terrorism, violent crime and military operations. He says Iraq’s forces lack training and have used excessive force and mass arrests “often without attention to due process.” The issue of foreign troops in Iraq has been a volatile one for the new Iraqi government, with some Iraqis blaming “occupation forces” for fuelling the insurgency and others insisting that an early troop withdrawal would be catastrophic. French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, a bitter opponent of the 2003 American-led invasion, says the situation in Iraq is now so serious that the U.N. should revisit the issue. “So many things are at stake ... the unity of Iraq, stability in the region and our collective security,” Villepin says. — Torstar wire service

A day of cleanup duty

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hotos of smiling faces, a camcorder, an upright piano, a Bible. Canadian sailors are picking up the bits and pieces of shattered lives in Mississippi as they cleaned up the expansive property of the Armed Forces Retirement Home here. This was Katrina’s dumping ground — her wind and waves picked up neighbouring homes, smashed them to pieces and then spread the remains across the once-scenic property of this retirement home. For the sailors from HMCS Toronto, it’s a day of grunt work. With chainsaws buzzing, they attacked the mounds of debris, gathering nail-studded lumber, shingles, chairs and all manner of household items. “Trying to describe this to my wife, it was like a hurricane combined with an earthquake,” says Lieut. Mike Fraser as he helped another sailor carry a long piece of timber to a dump truck. Household artifacts found in the rubble are tenderly brought to Padre Jim Russell, minding a growing stack of uncovered valuables. Among the items were photos, a purse and even the stations of the cross, swept from a chapel on the grounds. “We’ll take care of any of the valuables, the mementoes,” says Russell. But he says it’s not easy picking up the remnants of other lives. “Today, it’s about people’s homes and church.” “It’s more emotional for me today to see the destruction of a personal nature. It is just kind of sinking in for me.”

The retirement centre, home to 425 veterans, took a wallop when more than a metre of water swept through. U.S. naval engineers are hard at work clearing the interior of the building. Days after arriving, the Canadians are making plans to leave, following the footsteps of the U.S. military, which is scaling back its own operations here as local governments take on a bigger share of the cleanup. “We are at the stage of starting to do redeployment planning,” says Commodore Dean McFadden, head of the Canadian task force. FINAL DECISION Canadian sailors will be working here this week, he says, adding that a final decision on how long they stay could come in the next few days. However, he suggests elements of the Canadian aid effort, which includes divers, a construction team as well as the sailors of three warships, could remain beyond next week. Meanwhile, this Coast Guard ship Sir William Alexander sailed from Pensacola, Fla., without unloading some of the emergency aid it had brought. Its cargo of tents, enough to shelter 1,800 people, was no longer needed, said Lieut. Marie-Claude Gagne, a navy spokesperson. As well, an estimated 1,000 military meals were also left on board — they contained Canadian beef and couldn’t legally be unloaded, she says. — Torstar wire service


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

INDEPENDENTWORLD • 13

VOICE FROM AWAY

‘Everybody went their own way’ Loads of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in Ottawa, but local Newfoundland Club can’t seem to draw them in By Stephanie Porter The Independent

“It’s only because the majority (of the guests who didn’t get food) were Newfoundlanders that we weren’t lynched.”

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lthough there are an estimated 18,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the Ottawa region, the local Newfoundland Club — now in its 10th year of operation — may close up shop. “At one point in time we had 350 members,” says Jim Crocker, a member of the club executive since about 1999. “But everybody kind of went their own way … “We have our annual executive meeting next week … and the president moved to Nova Scotia and a couple of the other gals that were involved, we haven’t heard from them. Somebody has to take the reins and be responsible for leading the meetings. “It’s not looking good, I’d say this is about the end of it.” The Newfoundland Club generally holds four major events a year: a spring Jigs dinner; summer barbeque; fall social; and a mummer’s dance at Christmas. The group tries to hire Newfoundland musical acts — or ones with a Newfoundland connection — when possible. Fergus O’Byrne and Jim Payne entertained the crew once; Moose Stew, a Toronto band with Newfoundland members, was hired another time. Over the years, Crocker says the club has had 250-seat events sell out. He recalls another time when so many people showed up for Jigs dinner the caterers ran out of food. (“It’s only because the majority were Newfoundlanders that we weren’t lynched,” Crocker laughs). And he was always surprised at the number of club members who weren’t even from his home province — their list at one time included upwards of 50 “wannabes.” But last fall, the club’s annual dance attracted only 80 people. Although 175 Jigs dinners were ordered last March, club members were only able to sell

Jim Crocker

Parliament hill, Ottawa

120 tickets. “We took a loss on that,” Crocker says. “We had a few funds on reserve in case of a situation like that, but that money can be whittled down pretty quickly.” Crocker says the club needs new leadership with the time and energy to rally Newfoundlanders and Labradorians together. A former vicepresident, Crocker says he doesn’t have room in his schedule anymore. Crocker and his young family moved from Newfoundland to Ontario more

The darker side of the abyss From page 11 awake at night thinking about the worst political scandal in modern Canadian history. The Liberals, riding so comfortably high in the polls, are the party that corrupted the institutions of government in a way that would have done justice to Al Capone. They not only pilfered and squandered public funds, they used Crown Corporations to do it. Paul Martin and company have managed the hypocritical balancing act of decrying the war in Iraq (and savagely attacking Harper for his support of that illegal misadventure), and sending our troops to Afghanistan, where the definition of democracy is letting war lords and criminals stand for public office while American troops flee the country like certain well-know rodents leaving a sinking ship. WHY? While the country is dying at the gas pumps, the Liberals refuse to soften the shock of running a car by admitting to acts of highway robbery. Why does Ottawa charge GST on the full pump price — gasoline taxes included — when that is obviously a

tax on a tax? Why are we still paying a deficit reduction tax of 1.5 cents at the pumps, when the deficit was retired seven years ago? And why is Mr. Martin raking in $4.5 billion in federal gasoline and diesel taxes, exclusive of GST, and returning a paltry 7.2 percent of that money to the provinces for road and highway development? And in the darker areas of the abyss of our sorry national politics, what can one say? Why have we all apparently forgotten that the Liberals managed to lose track of a billion dollars of our tax money in HRDC? Why has the Gun Registry, and another blown billion dollars plus, become less important than niggling about Stephen Harper’s makeover? And when will Paul Martin’s convenient memory lapses on matters from this country’s tainted blood fiasco to the sponsorship scandal take on more importance than the opposition leader’s wardrobe? About the time that pigs fly, and I don’t mean Pierre Pettigrew’s chauffeur. Michael Harris’ column will return Oct. 2.

Reuters

than 20 years ago, when his son was three and his daughter, one. He worked in the telecommunications industry, “semi-retiring” a year ago. NEW JOB But last winter he decided to go back to work, and started a second career selling cars at a General Motors dealership in Ottawa (coincidentally, the dealership is owned by a Newfoundlander). He works some evenings, and the hours can be long. The job has become even more

important this fall. His children, now aged 25 and 23, graduated from Carleton University last spring with arts degrees. This fall, they’ve both enrolled in the education program at Memorial University. Crocker says it’s nice to have his kids doing the same program — they’re very supportive of one another — and it’ll be an opportunity to spend time with the family still in Newfoundland. But the year away from home is, he admits, “a costly adventure that I’d rather pay for the school from my work

than savings.” Besides the financial boost, Crocker says he’s enjoying the work he does. “I do, I get to meet a lot of people,” he says. “The first thing you learn is how to take rejection — you could spend an hour or three with a customer, and they could walk right out the door. “But once you get over that, it’s great.” As for the Newfoundland Club, Crocker says he’s not quite sure what can be done to save it. There’s been plenty of advice and ideas passed around, he says. Most of it’s been tried — and hasn’t worked. Whatever the cause of the club’s demise, Crocker says he’ll miss the usual functions, and the opportunity to meet and keep in touch with others from home. “We may organize a mummer’s event for Christmas to close it out — everybody paid their membership fees for 2005, or some people did anyway,” he says. “We’ll give them that last event and then close the books on it. Someone may come around to help resurrect it, but I think we’re just about to give up.” Jim Crocker — and the Newfoundland Club — can be reached at jcrocker@rogers.com. Do you know a Newfoundlander or Labradorian living away? Please email editorial@theindependent.ca.


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

14 • INDEPENDENTWORLD

Hurricanes? We’ve had a few By Peter Calamia Torstar wire service

A

s program manager of the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth, N.S., Peter Bowyer always dreaded one question: how many people have died from hurricanes in Canada? Now, three years of dogged digging by a team of centre researchers have produced the astonishing answer that hurricanes and tropical storms here have claimed at least 629 lives since 1900 — probably closer to 895. The investigation that fills more than 1,100 pages with the scientific and human dimensions of 173 hurricanestrength storms that affected Canada

during the 20th century, mostly in the Atlantic provinces. In addition, the past 10 years have seen more hurricanes in the North Atlantic than any other decade and the proportion of major hurricanes (categories 3, 4 and 5) is also likely to soon break the record set in the 1950s. Yet, hurricanes barely rated a mention last year in another report to the federal government about natural hazards and disasters. And a high proportion of Halifax and area residents told a researcher they didn’t ever expect to personally suffer hurricane damage, only months before Hurricane Juan pounded Nova Scotia in September 2003. “It was obvious that the issue of hur-

ricanes was not on anyone’s radar screen. We wanted people to be concerned about hurricanes, but not freaked out about them,” Bowyer says. Concern is likely to be the mildest response of anyone who even skims the hurricane centre’s study, issued on CD this summer and which is now receiving its first wide exposure with this article. Other surprise findings include: • Hurricane Hazel isn’t the deadliest tropical storm in Canada’s history, not by a long shot. The 81 deaths Hazel caused in the Toronto area in 1954 are definitely eclipsed by the 173 now-confirmed dead in a category 2 hurricane in 1927 that made landfall near Yarmouth, N.S., crossed the province and went on to strike P.E.I. and the east coast of

Newfoundland. • That too is likely overshadowed by a 1900 storm — remnants of the “Galveston Hurricane” — that hit Canada east of Port Albert, Ont., and then tracked across southern Ontario, the Gaspé, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. That storm left 53 confirmed dead and another 180 presumed dead, most officially listed as missing at sea off the French island of St. Pierre. • From 1950 to 2000, as many hurricanes were recorded off the Cape Breton coast as off the coasts of many southern states along what’s called Hurricane Alley. Once in cooler Canadian waters, however, these storms posed much less threat of hitting land as major hurricanes.

• Cars are proving to be death traps in hurricanes. Not counting Hazel’s deaths, which were mostly people drowned in the open or inside houses, more than half the other 48 hurricane victims in Canada since 1950 drowned inside cars. • By dividing the Atlantic into a grid with squares 100 kilometres on each side, the researchers discovered an unexpected hurricane hot spot about 1,000 kilometres due south of Shelburne, N.S. During the second half of the 20th century, 17 hurricanes passed through that patch of ocean, more than anywhere else, including the Gulf of Mexico east of New Orleans, which experienced only seven in the same period.

‘Join the club, dude’ Paul Martin took heat late last week from Irish rocker-turned-activist Bob Geldof. At a news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Live 8 organizer Geldof tore a strip off the Canadian leader for his failure to commit 0.7 per cent of GDP to foreign aid, one of the Millennium Development Goals to help underdeveloped nations. “Poor old Paul,” Geldof said. “He’s getting it in the neck from Bono, who’s touring up in Canada, and in the teeth from me.” U2 frontman Bono had also criticized Martin harshly for the lack of Canadian action. “Canada’s weird,” Geldof said. “Live 8 did great up in Canada ... it’ll happen in Canada” sooner or later, Geldof said of the foreign aid spending goal for rich countries. “Paul — join the club, dude!” — Torstar wire service

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As Gardner tends to tourists, many from Australia who have arrived on a bus, Karen Grey, a tour guide, says she always tells passengers about Terry. “When you consider that he wasn’t a politician, he was not a sports hero, he embodied the true spirit of hope,” Grey says. “This is a classic Canadian story, the greatest underdog story. It’s a very Canadian thing. People said there’s no way he could do it and yet he left a legacy for Canada — millions of dollars for cancer research.” As she walks back to the bus, she is joined by driver Wayne Evans, from Surrey, who agrees that it isn’t important that Terry’s journey was left unfinished. Terry stopped in Thunder Bay, halfway across Canada, when cancer returned. “I think of what he accomplished, not what he didn’t do,” says Evans. The two walk past a plaque that poetically describes Canada’s railway as an iron ribbon linking the country from sea to sea, often following the footsteps of early explorers, much as Terry did. “A nebulous dream was a reality,” the text reads, as if describing Terry’s Marathon of Hope, which has raised more than $360 million worldwide for cancer research. Farther down the road, Alward is watching the excellent and true-to-life CTV movie Terry on tape as he talks, his attention irresistibly drawn to the screen, enjoying the bizarre sensation of seeing himself portrayed by an actor. “It doesn’t seem real. I don’t feel I’m watching myself. But it is Terry and me. NATIONAL HERO “He’s a national hero and my best friend, but also just another guy who worked his tail off,” Alward says. “As the years go by, I realize how extraordinary he was. You wouldn’t see anyone else work as hard or inspire like that. Oh — this is a great scene,” he says, as the movie shows Terry coping with Alward’s snoring. The 46-year-old, who this year became one of Canada’s top marathon runners in his age group, speaks frankly of what might have been. “If Terry had gone on, he’d pretty well be forgotten by now. Terry’s dream was to put cancer at the forefront, not himself. “If he’d made it and not died, cancer would have been pushed to the background. Knowing Terry, he would have chosen death from cancer. Look what’s happened, so many thousands of lives extended or kids permanently cured because of cancer research. “I don’t look on Terry as being dead at all,” Alward says. “People say he didn’t finish his run. I say he’s run around the world many times.”


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

INDEPENDENTWORLD • 15

Asian crime rings at root of pot finds NB police asking the public for help spotting marijuana grow ops By Kathy Kaufield Telegraph Journal

O

Stephen Harper

Chris Wattie/Reuters

TV ads show Harper’s losing the plot By James Travers Torstar wire service

H

ow smart is Stephen Harper? Surely he must be smarter than the party’s current television ads suggest. Who but a scriptwriter could imagine any opposition leader asking a lieutenant, in this case Calgary’s solid Jim Prentice, how long Liberals have been in power? (Should it again slip the Conservative cortex, the answer is 12 years.) Harper and friends clearly hope that’s too long for Canadians. Should the party have its way, voters will watch the commercials and conclude that a young, vigorous alternative is readying in the wings and make the ballot-booth adjustment. As far as it goes, that’s not bad strategy. Voters chilled by Harper and those unsettling anaconda eyes may warm to photogenic Rona Ambrose or be comforted by the calm projected by Diane Findley, another cabinet minister in waiting. In effect, Conservatives are claiming that Harper is first among equals in a party that is more than the sum of its parts. Nothing wrong with that except that what’s ailing the reconstituted Alliance and Tory caucus is more serious than the staff exodus or lacklustre enthusiasm for the leader. Indirectly and unintentionally, the television ads confirm that the party doesn’t have much to say and what it says isn’t that interesting. Worse still, the nasty, demonizing yarn Liberals told about Conservatives in the last election remains more gripping even if it wafts lightly over truth. With considerable help from leftover Reform dinosaurs, the hard-knuckle folks in Paul Martin’s backroom continue to position Liberals as all that stands between Canada and the guns, Jesus and winner-take-everything dogma of U.S. Republicans. Instead of countering with a more compelling story about themselves and their rivals, Conservatives reinforce stereotypes. Harper’s burgers-and-beer summer tour will be remembered best for, holy smokes, his Village People cowboy photo and missed opportunities. At least twice, the party let slip chances to define policy differences. As upset as they are at the pumps,

deep down most Canadians know decades of bargain-basement gas prices fuelled unsustainable habits and consumption. That eludes Conservatives who have yet to offer a sophisticated response reflecting the need to conserve while buffering some people and economic sectors from price shocks. In focusing on gas taxes — which fall short of covering the social costs of cars — they sound as foolishly dated as George W. Bush reassuring Americans there’s no need to change their ways. Tired thinking and old fears surfaced again when Conservative heritage critic Bev Oda used the CBC lockout to muse about the corporation’s value to taxpayers, particularly English-language television. That stirred lingering suspicion that Conservatives, who formally support the CBC, lean to private networks and give too light a weight to the importance of public broadcasting, including its proven influence on industry standards. There’s plenty of room for Conservative thinking on both issues. For starters, they could hammer Liberals for still collecting a surtax to reduce the deficit after years of budget surpluses or for favouring patronage over a CBC board with power to hire and fire its president. As the television ads struggle to articulate, after 12 years of first indifferent and now disappointing Liberal rule, change should be a powerfully seductive overture. But the ruling party will be here beyond the next election unless Conservatives speak more loudly in the national political conversation. With Justice John Gomery’s help, that begins with an appeal to our elevated sense of fair play. It shouldn’t unduly challenge Conservatives to remind Canadians that the Liberal abuse of power tilted the electoral contest to their advantage and must be considered before votes are cast. But Conservatives need to do more than argue that it would be unconscionable to reward the Liberal breach of trust with a fifth mandate. They need to explain who they are, why they are different, and what they would do with power. Conservatives remain a party looking for a story. If they don’t find it, Liberals will again tell it for them and the familiar ending won’t be happy.

n the heels of seizing a recordbreaking 44,600 marijuana plants from New Brunswick fields this week, RCMP say the province is seeing an explosion in the number of marijuana grow operations and predict more seizures will come in the weeks ahead. “It’s staggering in a word,” RCMP Staff Sergeant Bob Power says of the increase in grow operations. RCMP say raids in Adamsville, Fredericton Junction and Millville last week have resulted in the seizure of approximately 44,600 marijuana plants and the arrests of five people of Asian descent — proof, police say, that organized Asian crime is on the rise in New Brunswick. With this year’s marijuana harvesting season not yet over, police have already broken the 2004 record of 37,000 plants seized and the 2003 record of 32,000. Power says the high number of plants seized isn’t what should get the public’s attention. Rather, he says, it’s the fact organized Asian crime is growing in New Brunswick, bringing with it illegal alien smuggling, firearms, violence and border integrity issues. “It’s the safety of our homes and our communities here that concerns the police and should concern all of us as citizens, safety from organized crime,” Power says. “Organized crime sponsored grow ops are far more than just plants in a field. They represent the fuel that runs the engines of organized crime.” Power says police intelligence indicates other organized crime groups such as Eastern European groups, traditional organized crime and organ- Field of marijuana plants ized motorcycle gangs are also thriving on the profits of illegal marijuana grows in the province. He says police seized 9,300 plants. One man, Hou first saw the presence of Asian organ- Xien Chang, 48, will appear in court ized crime in New Brunswick after in connection with the raid. Power says police are uncertain busts in January 2004 in Saint John and in Moncton in July of that same whether the three operations were connected but they believe they are all year. Last week, police seized approxi- part of an organized Asian crime ring mately 16,000 marijuana plants at an that sees cells work independently but outdoor grow operation in Millville. under the same crime boss. Power says intelligence agents tell Police hired dump trucks and a loader them some of the to pick up hundreds pot would have of piles of plants at remained here for the operation, locatAsian crime families resale in the ed behind a white Maritimes, while a house and down a are being forced to large portion would hill in a large field. headed to A 41-year-old move their operations have Toronto and man, Chung Ho Cheng and 34-yeareast to the Maritimes Montreal or along the eastern seaboard old woman, Xiao Hing Zhu appeared because of intensive of the United States, often transported by in Woodstock law enforcement in couriers via cars or provincial court inside commercial charged with prothe west. trucks. duction of marijuana He says it’s likely and possession for Asian crime families are being forced the purpose of trafficking. The raid in Adamsville, near to move their operations east to the Moncton, netted over 20,000 plants Maritimes because of intensive law worth an estimated $20 million on the enforcement in the west. “We call it the green tide,” he says. street, one of the largest outdoor grow-op seizures in Canadian history. “We’ve seen a proliferation of mariTwo illegal Chinese immigrants Guan juana grow-ops move from west to Rong Cao, 32, and Jian Ming Yang, east over the past three to five years. “The potential for profit is extreme30, appeared in court last week, charged with production of marijuana ly high. The risk of detection is relaand possession of marijuana for the tively low and the punitive measures purpose of trafficking. The judge are not an issue to organized crime because they are employing individuremanded them to provincial jail. In Fredericton Junction, police als to work the grows that are lower

Mike Hutchings/Reuters

level in the organization and dispensable for the lack of a better term.” Power appealed to the public for help in reporting suspicious activities, especially in rural areas. He says police will be in touch with realtors associations, barristers as well as NB Power to partner with them in their fight against organized crime. He says he wants NB Power to be on the lookout for unusual electricity consumption patterns that often come with indoor marijuana operations. He says in the case of the Adamsville operation, the Asian crime ring purchased private land in April 2005 to grow its crop while another Asian group bought property in March 2005 for its crop. He says realtors could be helpful in identifying suspicious purchases of land. Although RCMP J Division has a Co-ordinated Marijuana Enforcement Team, Sgt. Power says the public can help by reporting activities in houses that aren’t consistent with regular family living, windows that are blocked, ventilators added to roofs and neighbours who appear to isolate themselves from the community. “We are appealing to the public not to take the law into their own hands but maybe to take the law into their own hearts and to be more aware of their environment and the need to cooperate with the police in reporting these abnormalities that may appear in their neighbourhoods and in their rural areas,” he says.


16 • INDEPENDENTWORLD

SEPTEMBER 18, 2005


INDEPENDENTLIFE

SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18-24, 2005 — PAGE 17

George Morgan

By Stephanie Porter The Independent

G

eorge Morgan remembers well the day he was asked to join the circus. It was eight years ago, and he was having a coffee downtown with his friend and fellow performer, Beni Malone. Out of the blue, Malone popped the question. “I was like, ye-ah!” says Morgan. “Having no idea what that meant or what that entailed.” That summer, Morgan provided music and more in performances of Malone’s Wonderbolt Circus. Also on board were Kirsty Gillies, Pete (Snook) Soucy as Roscoe the Ringmaster, and “the 13-year-old boy wonder” Malcolm Graham. “It was such a great experience we were dying to do it the next summer as well,” says Morgan. “Which we did.” The circus has continued since then, with different regular and guest performers, holding workshops and an annual circus school, making a name for itself travelling to many coastal communities around the island and up to Labrador. “The supply boat would stop to drop off supplies and we’d jump off and do a show and you’re flying by the seat of

Paul Daly/The Independent

‘Kind of freaky’ Wonderbolt showcases eight years of George Morgan’s circus music. It also marks the first time the prolific musician — he’s been part of 30 previous recordings — has released an album under his own name your pants,” Morgan says of last month’s “great experience.” He picks a couple of highlights. “We arrived in Postville, and the school had burnt down — we usually do the show in the school gymnasium — we only had three hours to find the venue, get the gear there, set it up, do the show, get it all back on the boat because they were sailing. And basically, you don’t piss off the captain because he’s calling the shots.” In the end, the group used the local fire hall as the stage, and the audience sat in the street to watch. Another highlight of this year was taking part in the Kamataukatshiut (Innu translation: “people who do tricks”) festival in Sheshatshiu and Natuashish. “It was good to hang out in the com-

munity instead of blowing in and blowing out,” says Morgan. “They put on a sweat lodge for us; Elizabeth Penashue cooked a big salmon dinner, and there were lots of kids around. It was just amazing.” Over the years, Wonderbolt’s repertoire has grown and evolved, as have Morgan’s musical contributions. Over the years, he’s compiled a mixed bag of sounds and songs, drawing on a number of influences and genres. Last year he realized it was time to get some of the pieces down for posterity. “The body of work started to grow to the point where I wanted to catalogue it,” says Morgan. “A big motivation was to realize the arrangements, to get in the studio and flesh out the songs and bring them to where they could be.

“I’m playing circular saws and scrap metal and everything … and when you bring it all in the studio you can multitrack and get your friends in to play on it and all of a sudden it morphs into something different.” The just-released CD, called Wonderbolt, features 17 circus-themed songs between one and four minutes in length. It serves as a souvenir and a complement to the circus show; it also works on its own, as a fun and “kind of freaky” collection of inventive, mostlyinstrumental pieces. “It’s hard to categorize or put it in a box,” Morgan says. “I call it circus music because that, to me is vague and could mean anything — some people think of the organ-grinder tune — but I think more like Cirque de Soleil or

world beat. “Basically anything goes, that’s what I love both about the circus itself and circus music, it’s so wide open.” Though Morgan enjoys Wonderbolt, the performances and practices fill just a fraction of his busy schedule. He may also be found performing his own songs as Arthur Capelin, or, more often, playing percussion for the Punters, the 8Track Favourites, Spirit of Newfoundland or other theatrical events. “I’m comfortable within each of these settings now,” he says of his hectic schedule. “So it’s not that bad, though logistically it can get tangly. There is a split focus that happens anytime you’ve got two or three shows a day. Halfway through one, you can’t help thinking about another. “Part of it is interest and wanting to work in a variety of settings, and part of it is practical.” Already in his career, Morgan has been involved in the recording of over 30 albums — as a band member, singer/songwriter or accompanist. Wonderbolt is the first one to be released under his name. There’s another reason Morgan wanted to get his circus songs on CD: by See “Back to a clean slate,” page 19

LIVYER

‘They’re always full of life’ Whether it’s driving a school bus or running a local hockey league, Gerry Taylor enjoys working with kids By Darcy MacRae The Independent

E

ach year, Gerry Taylor is excited to see the fall coming. While the Mount Pearl resident enjoys summer’s warm weather, fall’s arrival means two very enjoyable aspects of his life are about to start again after a few months off. For starters, in September he begins driving two school bus routes in Mount Pearl. It’s a job he has enjoyed for the past seven years and looks forward to

each morning. “The kids get you up in the morning,” Taylor tells The Independent. “They’re always full of life. I have two good runs, and they’re a great bunch of kids. It makes the day that much better.” The second annual fall tradition for Taylor is the beginning of the St. John’s Junior Hockey League season. He’s been president of the league on three occasions, his current tenure having begun in 1998. Throughout the season, Taylor will watch as many as five or six

games a week in arenas across the Avalon Peninsula. Although the rinks are cold and the weather often less than ideal for travelling, it’s a volunteer position the 69-year-old cherishes. “I like going to all the rinks and meeting all the people there,” Taylor says. “I enjoy making sure there is a game of hockey for junior-age players. I like seeing so many players get enjoyment from playing the game.” Taylor grew up on Bell Island and See “I take it one year,” page 19

Gerry Taylor

Paul Daly/The Independent


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

18 • INDEPENDENTLIFE

GALLERYPROFILE

Recycled art

PETER DRYSDALE Visual Artist

P

eter Drysdale’s apartment is decorated with old stereos, bits of scrap metal, pieces of machinery and other found objects. “I like contraptions,” he says, simply. Drysdale has made a name for himself with his recycled art — turning remnants and recycled objects he comes across or hunts down into sculptures of animals, people, planes, trains and

automobiles. For 10 years, Drysdale headed up the Eastern Edge Gallery’s annual recycled art show, a Christmas-season fundraiser and celebration of reusing materials in creative ways. “I think someone else will take it over now, I think I’ve had enough,” says Drysdale, who works afternoons at Mill Lane, a carpentry shop in the same

building as Evergreen Recycling on Waterford Bridge Road in west end St. John’s. “Between work and the show it’s like recycle, recycle — it’s like eating spaghetti every day for 10 years.” Drysdale has completed impressive projects throughout his career, many of which have shown in joint and group exhibitions around the province. A train built from old appliances, furniture and other bits and pieces, commissioned for a show at the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, still sits in the empty Belvedere Orphanage (he’s hoping to move it to Luben Boykov’s sculpture garden). A largesale airplane, similarly constructed, still has a home at the Christina Parker Gallery. A big bird (named Rover) was on display at The Rooms all summer. Smaller sculptures — including a helicopter built during Eastern Edge

Gallery’s recent 24-hour art marathon, featuring drumsticks for propeller blades — have found their way into private collections. These days, Drysdale is without a proper studio. Restricted to a small apartment, he’s returned to working with watercolour paints and ink. “I kind of go back and forth, between sculpture and painting and drawing,” he says. Over the years, he has also painted large murals in the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre’s Basement Theatre and two Evergreen recycling depots in St. John’s. Drysdale’s work has been part of several joint and group exhibitions over the years. “Recycled art, I’ve always been making things since I was a kid,” he says. “But I think in some ways, where I’m into the carpentry more heavily at work, at the end of the day I’ve had it with dealing with screws and drills.

“Drawing and recycled art sculpture, they kind of bounce off one another to me.” Drysdale’s current artwork combines pastel watercolour landscapes and dark ink drawings. The combination of colour and imagery is at once mildly childlike and ominous. “I was just strictly using water colours,” says Drysdale. “But it’s been done so much … I used the permanent black marker to combine with it, I find the mixed media kind of interesting.” For more of Peter Drysdale’s sculptures, visit www.christinaparkergallery.com. — Stephanie Porter

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

POET’S CORNER Cabin Take your bearings from the tree at the edge of your vision and the woman watching from the cabin door as you splinter birch wood to heat the oven and warm your tiny room inside where later you might talk or make love, maybe and then, who knows, sit up reading or fall asleep quick, entwined, with nothing else in this life to do but hold. The birch glows red in the stove nearby, and her skin drifts under your fingertips, cool and white like the smoke rising outside, that swims through the loose net of branches and away. A poem from the 2003 book Scarecrow by Mark Callanan.


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

INDEPENDENTLIFE • 19

‘I take it one year at a time’ From page 17 remained there until he was 30. Together with his wife and kids, he then moved to Mount Pearl, where he continued to work as an electrician. He eventually began working with the City of St. John’s, and soon became the city’s chief electrical inspector. Upon retiring from the position seven years ago, he was offered a job as a bus driver in Mount Pearl. He turned down the position initially, worrying he wouldn’t enjoy the job. But once he decided to give it a chance, Taylor discovered driving a school bus offers many rewards. “All of the kids know my name and are very friendly,” Taylor says. “A lot of them high five me when they get on the bus in the morning and when they get off in the afternoon.” One of the greatest aspects of driving a school bus, says Taylor, is watching children grow and mature before his eyes. Sometimes the process takes a few months, or even a few years, but often he sees kids mature in a matter of days, and in one case, in mere minutes. “I remember one little boy crying all the way to the bus on his first day of school,” Taylor says. “His mother had to drag him to the bus, and by the end of it she was crying too.” As upset as the young boy was, Taylor says that in a matter of minutes, he stopped crying, sat with a friend, and was soon every bit as talkative as the other children on the bus. “The next morning he got aboard the bus himself,” Taylor says. “After that, there wasn’t a minute’s trouble with him. He loved riding the bus. If his mother came to school to pick him up, he wanted to ride the bus home.” In time, some of the children on Taylor’s bus route will probably show up in the junior hockey league to which he dedicates so much time. Since the league began in the fall of 1979, with current premier Danny Williams serving as president, close to 3,000 players have taken to the ice.

EVENTS SEPT. 18 Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, 729-3900. Literacy Rocks at Bowring Park, email Kim Gillard at kgillard@literacynl.com. The 18th Annual Great Rennie’s River Rubber Duck Race, 3 p.m., from Herder Bridge, 722-DUCK. SEPT. 19 Deadpan Alley presents The Birdcage a show about love, marriage and drag queens – a unique interpretation of the Robin Williams film 8 p.m. at the LSPU Hall, 753-4531. SEPT. 20 Join the Anna Templeton Centre for a variety of fall programming including: Wonderful Weeds, an introduction to natural dyes with Susan Furneaux; Preschool Art Discovery 9:30-10:30 a.m.; Introduction to Etching 6:309:30 p.m., 739-7623. SEPT. 21 Folk Night at the Ship Pub featuring Rob Brown, Michelle Brophy & Fergus Brown-O’Byrne, 9:30 p.m. Wedding At Octagon Castle Dinner Theatre at the Majestic Theatre, 5793023. Mary Dalton will read from her book Merrybegot, at the A.C. Hunter Library in the Arts and Culture Centre, St. John’s, at 7.30 p.m. Join the Anna Templeton Centre for Children’s Sewing Basics 6-9:30 p.m. Extra shows: Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, 8 p.m., 729-3900. Also Sept. 22. SEPT. 22 Authors Lisa Moore and Alison Pick will be launching their newest books at Bianca’s 7-9 p.m., Lisa will launch Alligator, and Alison, The Sweet Edge. Taoist Tai Chi beginners class, 10:3012 a.m., 579-5276. Stones in His Pockets, at Rabbittown Theatre, 739-8220.

the

A meeting of the Humanities, Arts and Medicine reading group, 4 p.m. at the Health Sciences Library at MUN. SEPT. 23 Daytime Watercolor/intermediate at the Anna Templeton Centre with Diana Dabinett, 739-7623. Songwriters on Tour: some of the province's best singer/songwriters, at the Delta Hotel Ballroom, 8 p.m.

Quite often, players will approach Taylor at the year-end banquet and thank him for providing them a game of hockey. One of Taylor’s fondest memories occurred at ice level just moments after the conclusion of the playoffs and the awarding of the league championship. One player waited off to the side until he got the chance to speak to Taylor and with tears in the young man’s eyes, he shook Taylor’s hand and thanked him for his efforts, saying his four years of junior hockey were among the best times of his life. “I’ve had a lot of players come to me and say they certainly enjoyed

‘Back to the clean slate’ their days in junior hockey,” says Taylor. “All of that is a big payment for what we put into it.” Taylor is the only current member of the junior league executive who has been a part of the organization for all 26 years. He doesn’t have a time table for when he may eventually leave and says he will continue as long as the game needs him. “I take it one year at a time,” Taylor says. “I enjoy what I’m doing and as long as I can contribute a little bit, my health holds up and my family’s health holds up, I’ll stay with the league.” darcy.macrae@theindependent.ca

From page 17 releasing Wonderbolt, he says, he’s wiped that part of his slate clean — and he can move on to his next recording, his next project. As always, Morgan has a few in mind. Next up is Nocturnes, pieces he’s written for piano and violin. “They’ve been around for a while and I want to deal with them, too, so I can move on,” he says. “I don’t know what it is, it’s like you’re always ahead of your work … I’m even thinking past Nocturnes too, and I’m not even finished writing the album.” Morgan leans back on the couch in his

living room/studio. “My head gets full of songs,” he says. “I probably have two or three hundreds songs in my head right now, all the arrangements, everything.” In truth, Morgan says, after an intense summer of gigs, festivals and 30-odd circus shows, he’s ready for a break. He’s having renovations done on his house, and this fall he’d like to “chill out and clean. “I want to get all the junk out of the house. You know how you can’t take on a new project until you clean off your desk or clean up your room? It’s kind of like that. “Back to the clean slate … then we’ll see what happens.”


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

20 • INDEPENDENTLIFE

IN CAMERA

Refinery

T

he smell doesn’t hit until the car pulls within a few hundred feet of the North Atlantic oil refinery — and it’s not even very

strong. Not so many years ago, the sulphur stench would reach miles down the highway; the sky, as the mayor of the Town of Come by Chance says, would be blue with emissions. But technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since the refinery was built in 1974. According to North Atlantic’s communications co-ordinator Gloria Slade, the company has put over $550 million into the site over the past decade to become more efficient, and keep up with ever-strengthening environmental standards. The refinery lay dormant between 1976 and 1986, when Newfoundland Processing took it over. Eight years later, North Atlantic moved in. “The refining business is always changing,” says Slade, clad in her North Atlantic blue coveralls, hardhat and safety glasses. “When we took over in 1994, there was a lot of catchup work to do — because the refinery sat idle for that many years, technolo-

The North Atlantic oil refinery near Come by Chance processes more oil in a single day than the entire province consumes in four. The company has pumped roughly $550 million into the operation since 1994, reducing sulphur emissions by 85 per cent. Then there are the obvious economic benefits that come along with 700 full-time jobs. Picture editor Paul Daly and senior writer Stephanie Porter dropped by the refinery this week for a tour. gy advanced and the refinery didn’t.” It’s a perfect day for a tour of the site. The sky is clear, and the waters of Placentia Bay are smooth as glass. A tanker is approaching North Atlantic’s jetty; another boat is already docked. Area A manager Wilf Lockyear, along for the walkabout, says between 295 and 315 boats come to dock here — the largest deep water port in North America — every year. The port is ice-free, 12 months of the year.

All the crude oil processed at the refinery, imported from Venezuela, Russia, or the Middle East, arrives via boat at the jetty, and is pumped through pipes up to storage tanks. The 40 tanks on the property have a total capacity of seven million barrels, three million of which are for crude oil. The refinery processes a high-sulphur, or dirty, crude. The facility does not take any oil from offshore

Newfoundland; that crude is too “sweet,” and, Slade says, wouldn’t utilize many of the capabilities found at Come by Chance. She says the refinery’s daily production amounts to four times what the province could use in a day — and 95 per cent of the finished product is exported. “We turn the crude into some of the cleanest product on the market,” says Slade. “We make a very clean, very low-sulphur gasoline. “Canada is not demanding that product as of now. But in the United States, places like California have stricter environmental controls on vehicle emissions, that’s why most of our product goes to the southern U.S.; that’s where the demand is. “Eventually it’ll be here.” A few trucks pass by, driving around the site. A handful of employees can be spotted by the storage tanks or pipes, but it seems quiet — surprising, given there’s probably 200 people at work. There are a total of 700 employees on site, working in four shifts. The heaters whir loudly, making conversation near impossible. There

are hundreds of pumps and valves on site, says Lockyear, and thousands of miles of pipe. The Newfoundland climate has not been kind to the metal, adding plenty of rust colouring to the intricate grey industrial structure. “We take lots of pictures when we get a new piece of equipment,” says Slade with a laugh. “Because after one winter here, it doesn’t look the same.” The refinery operates 24 hours a day, year-round, except for the annual “turnaround” every fall or spring. The latest was finished in July, and required a 40-day shutdown. “We take all the units down for inspection and recertification, go into all of these units, these heaters, and inspect everything,” says Slade. “They do X-rays and thickness measurements and will detect any deterioration that way.” Of the $550 million North Atlantic has invested in the refinery, Slade says most of it has gone into environmental control. “It’s all a part of being cleaner and cleaner all the time,” she says. ••• A couple of miles down the road is


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

INDEPENDENTLIFE • 21

road

the heart of the Town of Come by Chance. The neat and prosperouslooking community of about 300 shows few of the vacant properties or run-down homes that mark so much of rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Mayor Joan Cleary makes no bones about it: the refinery is to thank. She estimates about 80 per cent of the working-age townspeople work for North Atlantic; a number of others work there on a casual basis or during the annual shutdown periods. Then there’s the taxes. The refinery’s tax bill accounts for about $250,000 in annual income for the town — with no services from the town. The Whiffin Head transshipment facility, just down the coast from North Atlantic’s jetty, brings in another $170,000. “We’re debt-free and we have quite a nest egg in the bank,” says Cleary with pride. Giving a tour of the town, she points to some of the things the recent prosperity has allowed — the walking trail, ice rink, sliding hill, fitness centre, multi-media room, a

floating wharf for recreational boats. The town was recently able to burn the mortgage on its municipal building. There are 13 youth from the town currently attending postsecondary institutions. Each one was given $250 towards books. While Cleary says Come by Chance — celebrating 30 years of incorporation — has always paid its bills, things have gotten a lot easier recently. Cleary spent years fighting for something to be done about emissions from the refinery down the road, a stance she blames for losing her run at a provincial seat for the Conservatives in the last election. “The opposition came out and said if I was elected I was going to try and shut down the refinery,” she says, shaking her head. “Elections are elections, so that’s fine … “But I was one to fight the emissions, they were terrible, absolutely terrible. The sky would be blue with them. “And you’d be living here, and wondering what the hell you’re doing here. There have been some cancers in the area, and you can’t

help but wonder if, maybe …” Cleary was part of an air quality coalition that worked with representatives from the province and the refinery. “(North Atlantic) came up with their long-term plan for emissions and that, plus all the improvements they’ve made out there … Is there ever going to be a day when you’re not going to smell the refinery at all? Maybe not. But there is some give and take.” Cleary and her group still meet with company representatives once a month, 10 months of the year. “The community group was formed as a group of opposition, now we work together. And it’s not just environmental issues, there’s other things, like ‘when is the next shutdown? Will you be hiring anyone locally?” Cleary, a nurse by trade — and an avid hiker and kayaker — says the coastline and water around the town seem fine; she hasn’t spotted any visible effects of the petroleum industry. And she’s been watching. “It’s probably Russian Roulette,” she says of Placentia Bay. “There

are so many tankers and so much activity in that bay that you have to think, when is there going to be an oil spill, not if. “Trust is something you have to learn, and that certainly was the case here. But we’ve got a great relationship with them now.” ••• The walkabout of the refinery is drawing to a close. After lengthy explanations of technical and chemical processes, extreme heat and pressure, Slade takes a moment to sum the whole place up. “When you heat crude, different products come off it at different temperatures from heavy to light, and then you run it through various other pieces of equipment to actually make your gasoline and your jets and your diesels and all that kind of stuff. “Nothing to it, hey?” The refinery exports and estimated $1.5 billion in products annually. Behind the refinery, closer to the jetty, are piles and piles of bright yellow elemental sulphur. It’s a smelly product, to be sure — but

useful. About 45,000 tonnes of sulphur, captured from the crude oil during the refining process, is exported to Spain and Brazil every year, for use in medication and fertilizer. Since 1994, Slade says, the refinery has reduced its sulphur emissions by 85 per cent, “something we work at all the time.” Partly because they have to. New regulations came down earlier this year that say gasoline has to have less than 30 parts per millions (ppm) sulphur. By June 2006, diesel is going to have to be 15 ppm. “And right now we’re at 150 ppm, and that’s the second cleanest in the market,” Slade says. The diesel upgrade, currently ongoing, will cost $20 million. “We are ahead of the game in most of our products,” adds Lockyear, “but we still have lots of investments to do. “We used to emit 190 tonnes of sulphur a day into the atmosphere. Now our total emissions are about 40, low 30s sometimes. “Considering we refine a high sulphur crude, we do well.”


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

22 • INDEPENDENTLIFE

Live Rooms, live A

nd now a word of cautious optimism. After a long and impatient summer a contingent of the visual arts community of the province recently met with the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board and the CEO of the Rooms, along with a representative from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. Think of the gathering as a first and welcome step in the peace process, with government doing its best to reconcile the unhappy opposing forces. Unless you fried your memory by partying at one too many BBQs this summer, you will recall that in late spring the aforementioned CEO, Dean “you’re fired” Brinton, unceremoniously dumped Gordon Laurin, the director of the Art Gallery. That gesture led to a wild roar of disapproval not only from artists but also from the puzzled public, some of whom are still writing letters to this newspaper wondering what that was all about and where things stand. Visual Arts Newfoundland and Labrador (VANL) sponsored a vigorous letter-writing campaign to remove the CEO and have the gallery director reinstated. Communication between the VANL crowd and the Rooms brass broke down completely, with government necessarily standing an arm’s length away, waiting for the fan to stop whirring. To be fair, it was summer, and people were harder to reach. The important players in this drama took holidays, moved houses, went camping, made excuses, and understandably hid under the cloak of seasonal license. No one was talking. Time has passed, we’re back to wearing socks, and it’s inevitable things have cooled down in more ways than one. Indeed, it’s obvious to anyone acquainted with the myth of Sisyphus that the letter-writing campaign ran its ineffectual course. The CEO kept his office, the gallery director has removed himself from the

NOREEN GOLFMAN Standing room only spotlight, and there is a general sense that it’s time to move ahead. The Rooms is running and we all want it to run well. So it was in such a spirit of levelheadedness that members of the VANL Board finally met with Brinton and members of the Rooms Board. VANL’s encouraging report of the meeting describes it as “productive,” with both parties indicating “a desire to have a collaborative working relationship that will ensure prompt, healthy discussion of issues that will lead to positive solutions.” That’s what you would expect, of course, but getting to a point where such platitudes can be uttered persuasively is important and necessary. Achieving positive solutions is not always going to be easy, but at least the parties have relaxed their oppositional hard lines and started talking. No good can come of pouting in the corners, as failed marriages and the interminable CBC lockout so sadly prove. Most encouraging is the list of discussion topics shared — if not fully agreed to — by the parties, including timely plans for replacing the director after a full national search, the logic of adding curatorial staff to support the needs of the gallery, and the revisiting of that pernicious word in the title of the Art Gallery: “division.” What’s in a name, one may ask, but the offensive word reinforces the unpleasant suspicion that the gallery is merely a bureaucratic wing of a larger corporate entity, not a self-directing structure in its own right. By all accounts, the Chair of the Board and the CEO are not wedded to “divisions.” Good.

Other issues simmer, and there are probably some artists out there who see VANL’s willingness to get beyond the rancour as a sign of defeat, but nothing is ever gained by the angry silent treatment. So far, humanity hasn’t evolved anything better than the talking cure. Many of us are relieved to know the discussion is underway. Good news is long overdue and the Rooms needs it. Most of us will never really get a handle on the details behind the firing of the art gallery director, but after this much time it is safe to say that there was probably way more than met the eye. The big questions for the future of the art gallery and the entire Rooms structure are all centred on governance: who will have a say in the direction of the organization? How is power to be exercised? How will decisions affecting the policies and practices of the various institutional bodies of the Rooms be determined? And what role does the public have in this discussion? After all, it is paying the bills. The current structure puts an awful lot of weight on one man, the CEO, as the senior manager, responsible for the entire system and its resources. Who would want such responsibility? Surely the best way forward is by mutual adjustment, negotiation with the interested parties, degrees of accommodation, and not direct or absolute control. For many practical reasons the Rooms cannot be run exclusively on a consensual model but it is in everyone’s best interests if the ideal of consensus were kept in view. Finally, there are signs that we can all move ahead. Good for all the parties that they opened up the dialogue. Good for us. Noreen Golfman is a professor of literature and women’s studies at Memorial. Her column returns Oct. 2.

Just like home Billet families play key role in Fog Devils’ success; players quickly become part of extended family By Darcy MacRae The Independent

F

or Pam Rose, taking on the role of billet family for a member of the St. John’s Fog Devils is not a job to be taken lightly. Over the next six to eight months — depending on how well the team does — she and her family hope to offer 16year-old Matt Fillier a home life similar to the one provided by his parents in Pictou County, Nova Scotia. “I want to make him comfortable, just like if he was living at home,” Rose tells The Independent. “I told his mom I have three rules : you’re warm, you’re fed and you’re happy.” The Rose family — Pam, husband Gerard, and their son Patrick — are one of 20 families housing Fog Devils’ players this hockey season. Like most “billet parents,” they applied online to host a hockey player this year, and since Fillier moved into their Mount Pearl residence in mid-August, they have been thrilled with the experience. “It’s one of the best things we’ve ever done,” says Pam. “He has fit right in. I couldn’t have ordered him any better from a catalogue.” Pam says Fillier grew up a “country boy” on a farm in Pictou County, and has many of the same interests as a lot of Newfoundlanders — he enjoys hunting and fishing, and is excited about his first moose hunting trip with Pam’s brother later this fall, as well as an ice fishing excursion sometime this winter. QUICK FRIENDS Fillier and Patrick Rose are the same age and are classmates at Mount Pearl Senior High. Pam says the two became quick friends. In fact, the initial reason she and Gerard applied to be a billet family was because of Patrick’s insistence they look into the program. The Rose household is the prototypical billet house for a young hockey player such as Fillier, says Fog Devils’ billet co-ordinators Gary and Leisa Sullivan. They say the main requirements are that players have their own room (they can share a bedroom if their roommate is a fellow Fog Devil) and computer access, and that the billet family supply all meals. The most important aspect of a billet family, says Gary, is that they provide a nurturing family environment. “The billet parents play probably the single greatest role, other than the coaches, in the success of the team,” Gary Sullivan says. “Simply because if you don’t have happy players in terms

Pam Rose helps Matt Fillier pack for the Fog Devils’ first road trip of the season. Paul Daly/The Independent

of their living arrangements, you will not get a player playing at his optimum capacity.” As is the case with the Rose family, Keith Ryan and Carmel Morrissey also work to ensure they provide a stable home for Oscar Sundh, one of two Swedish players on the Fog Devils. Ryan says he wanted to become a billet parent for a pair of reasons. “One was to help a kid who is trying to make something of his future,” says Ryan. “The second is my son (Brad Ryan) got drafted into the WHL (the Western Hockey League) by the Kootenay Ice in B.C. I was hoping someone will offer him the same comforts as we can offer Oscar.” Although Sundh comes from a European country, Ryan says there are not many cultural differences between them. The 18-year-old Swede speaks perfect English, so suppertime discussions around the dinner table are no problem at all. When it comes to what to eat, the similarities between Ryan and Sundh are striking. “Oscar is a meat and potatoes kind of guy,” says Ryan with a laugh. “He eats it day in, day out.” In exchange for providing Fog Devils players with food and a comforting home environment, the billet families receive $90 a week to help cover extra expenses — as well as a pair of season tickets. The tickets, in particular, are sure to be put to good use. “We’ll be going to all the games,” says Pam Rose. “My husband even

went to Corner Brook to watch the games over there.” Billet families are not responsible for transportation for the hockey players, not that the issue is a problem. Some older members of the team have cars, and they are distributed throughout St. John’s and Mount Pearl (the two communities the players live in) so they can help the younger Fog Devils get to practice, games and school. How close a family lives to schools is an important part of the criteria used to choose billet parents, a decision that offered several possibilities. “We ended up with more billet applications than we had players,” Gary Sullivan says. Leisa Sullivan adds that while age, proximity to schools and work commitments were important criteria for applicants, the final decision often comes down to how well a player and family get along. “Trying to make sure both sides are happy is a real challenge,” she says. If everything goes well with a player and his billet family, the relationship can continue for many years, says Gary Sullivan. In some cases, he says a player can spend up to five years with the same billet family, a situation Pam Rose wouldn’t mind one bit. “I’m hoping he’s going to be here longer than this year,” Rose says. “As long as he’s with the Fog Devils, our door is open.” darcy.macrae@theindependent.ca


INDEPENDENTBUSINESS

SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18-24, 2005 — PAGE 23

Tennille Ashley and Jaclyn Gruchy

Paul Daly/The Independent

West on Water

Trendy downtown St. John’s boutique, Twisted Sisters, moving where the customers are By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

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isters Jaclyn Gruchy, 27, and Tennille Ashley, 29, will soon be gazing at a different view from behind the counter of Twisted Sisters Boutik. As of Oct. 1, the Canadian designinspired women’s clothing store — which opened its doors just over two years ago on the corner of Prescott and Water Street in downtown St. John’s — is moving a block west up Water. The sisters are hoping their current stunning view of The Narrows will be replaced by increased sightings of customers and credit cards. “We’ve been thinking about moving since the day that we opened really,” Ashley tells The Independent. “We don’t want to, we kind of have to, because, well, we ran out of space, but you look up the street on a beautiful day and there’s so many people walking up there and there’s nobody down here. “I mean it’s not that far off of the strip, but that was what we were really sur-

prised about, it is that far off of the strip.” Twisted Sisters Boutik will be joining the ranks of the closest thing St. John’s has to a “fashion district.” Setting up in the spot Tectonics Hair Studio used to occupy (the salon is now named Sound and recently moved further west, near the Murray Premises), the sisters will be surrounded by some of downtown’s most popular stores. The area is a magnet for summer tourists as well as locals, and with multiple condo developments pending, it’s likely to keep growing. “People want to go in and out of stores. When they look down the street and see there’s only one down there but there’s 20 over there, they go the other way,” says Ashley. Both she and Gruchy admit they would love to see downtown St. John’s embrace a stronger shopping culture away from the box stores and the malls. Twisted Sisters Boutik has developed a loyal customer base of local women, drawn to its promise of originality and diversity. With Canadian-only designers, an edgy mix of styles and many locally created lines of accessories as well as fea-

tured artwork, Gruchy says their clients have come to expect a certain standard. Ashley says they often check how many pieces in one particular style have been sold already (“nobody likes running into themselves”) and ask to be notified when certain stock arrives. The premise of unique designs and strong customer service is of key importance and Gruchy says it makes the idea of possibly hiring staff in the future difficult (currently the sisters man the store solo, helped out occasionally by friends). “We’ve got all these things that our customers expect from us now and you almost have to teach that to your employees, the moment that they start working,” she says. Both of the sisters have other career interests besides the store. Gruchy works a couple of days a week at Sound hair salon and Ashley has her own business called Devotion Electrolysis. They decided to start up Twisted Sisters Boutik because they were interested in fashion and saw a gap in the St. John’s market for an original, edgy, Canadian designed clothing store.

The sisters say customers are excited about their upcoming move, which will allow extra room for merchandise and is currently being celebrated with a moving sale, which includes discounts on stock of up to 70 per cent. Along with the ever-evolving lines from the young Canadian designers featured in the store, Ashley says Twisted Sisters Boutik has also grown and changed its look over the last two years, from less street wear to more sophistication — although they try to keep a mix. The same could be said for their own individual clothing tastes. Mass exposure to ever-changing fashion and multiple buying trips to order stock has influenced their own styles. “Mine has changed so much and it still does almost every season,” says Ashley, at a loss to describe herself. “Certain days, I’ll want to wear a T-shirt with a skull on it and another day I want to wear a blouse with flowers.” Gruchy, who loves 1940s and ’50s inspired clothing, laughs and calls her See “Tastes change,” page 24

In the zone By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

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odney Martin, a local realtor and candidate running for St. John’s city council, says the city could have potentially made up to 50 per cent more on the sale of the Memorial Stadium property. Had the land undergone a commercial appraisal — which it would have, had the property been zoned commercial rather than open space at the time of the 2003 sale — it may have gone for far more than $2 million, says Martin, a realtor. “I would have liked to see the sale price based on its potential, rather than

what it was … it was pretty much — I commercial. don’t know what you would call it — a “Had it been zoned commercial, dud almost, because nobody could do would they have paid more? Good anything with it based on its zoning,” question, it’s possible, but I don’t think Martin tells The there would have been Independent. difference, but I “(Memorial Stadium) much He adds it was a don’t know for sure,” smart business move had to be worth a hell he says, adding the sale on the part of Loblaw was based on the premto purchase the site at ise the site was subject of a lot more.” a lower price and take to rezoning. the chance on the Martin says the site Rodney Martin rezoning. should also have been Gareth Griffiths, sold based on the posmanager of real estate with the city, sibility of new residential development says he’s been asked before whether the in Pleasantville, which was once a U.S. Memorial Stadium site would have military base. sold for more had the land been zoned “Waterfront property sells for a lot of

money, so it (Memorial Stadium) had to be worth a hell of a lot more, especially with the development proposed for Pleasantville, with all the houses going there. A lot of people don’t know about that.” Cliff Johnston, manager of planning and development in St. John’s, says there are no set plans to start developing Pleasantville as of yet as the federal government is currently deciding what to do with the land. “What has been proposed is that the federal Public Works people are looking to see what lands may need to be required for future federal lands down there, plus the Department of National Defense base, and then the lands may

be transferred to the Canada Lands corporation which is a Crown lands agency.” He says discussions have been ongoing for some time, but there have been no decisions made to date. “The area may be developed down the road for future housing, but right now it’s waiting, I guess, for what the federal government decides … the area has water and sewer and so on, so it would be redeveloped, but there have been no plans developed as yet.” A spokesman with the provincial Department of Transportation and Works says there are also no plans to redevelop the old Janeway Hospital site.

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24 • INDEPENDENTBUSINESS

SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

Ottawa fears petro-rage MPs get an earful from business, consumers angered by soaring fuel prices OTTAWA Les Whittington Torstar wire service

L

iberal MPs are feeling the heat from their constituents this summer about the price of gas and the likelihood of home-heating costs soaring this winter. Business owners are also lighting a fire under politicians to act fast to reduce energy costs that are hurting Canadians and the economy. “Soaring gas prices are having a major negative impact on the Canadian economy,” says Catherine Swift, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Gasoline and heating fuel charges have shot up in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which damaged production and refining capacity in the United States, and are expected to stay high at least through the coming winter. This has now become the number one worry of more than 100,000 owners of small and medium-sized businesses allied with the CFIB, Swift says. “We therefore urge the federal and provincial governments to act quickly to alleviate the impact of soaring energy prices on small- and medium-sized businesses and consumers.” It appears that Liberal cabinet ministers are listening. Finance Minister Ralph Goodale has confirmed that Ottawa may provide fuel rebates for low-income households or those on fixed incomes to help consumers cope with skyrocketing home heating costs. “We have to think about what will happen to seniors this winter, as well as others,” explains Tony Ianno, the minister of state for families. But he says no final decision on rebates has been taken by the government. The Liberals are particularly sensitive about what might happen this winter. They fear a dramatic spike in heating fuel costs that will leave cashstrapped Canadians struggling to survive in the frigid months could hurt their re-election chances in a possible election next spring. Spurred on by worried Liberal MPs, caucus chair Andy Savoy spearheaded a plan to bring members of the Commons industry committee back to Ottawa early to put fuel company executives, government officials and com-

The North Atlantic refinery in Come by Chance

petition bureau watchdogs on the hot seat over recent price gyrations. The day-long session is set for Sept. 22, four days before Parliament resumes after its summer recess. Savoy was galvanized to action by a three-day highway blockade by truckers that left grocery shelves and gas station tanks near empty in parts of New Brunswick, his home province. “The price increases are going to have an impact on the economy, especially in rural Canada. So my goal is (to) try and find some answers in the near term and look at what can be done going down the road,” he says. With Martin promising Canadians a chance to go to the polls within seven months, the mood of consumers is much on the minds of political parties. NDP Leader Jack Layton, accusing oil companies of profiteering, has

Paul Daly/The Independent

called for national price controls. And the Conservatives are demanding the Liberals stop charging GST on top of federal and provincial excise taxes on fuel. Ottawa could easily knock five cents a litre off gas prices, Tory Leader Stephen Harper says. He says Liberal ministers, with their taxpayer-supported vehicles, are more interested in using higher gas costs to force consumers to conserve energy for environmental purposes than they are in helping consumers. “Canadians are fed up with high gas prices” but not the cabinet, he says. “Maybe Paul Martin and his cabinet ministers would be singing a different tune if they had to fill up their own government cars.” In Montreal, Henri Masse, leader of the Quebec Federation of Labour, called for the federal government to put

a temporary tax on excessive profits earned by oil companies. The CFIB, speaking for small business owners, says combined federalprovincial taxes represent 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the price of gas in Canada, compared to 20 per cent to 30 per cent in the U.S. Canada’s rates should be lowered and the federal Competition Bureau should monitor the petroleum industry closely for evidence of price-fixing or price gouging, the group says. Martin has vowed government watchdogs will be vigilant on behalf of consumers. But Goodale has rejected suggestions Ottawa cut the GST on fuel, saying such a move would only save a few cents a litre and that would be quickly swallowed up by price shifts at the pump. The petroleum industry rejects all

suggestions of anti-competitive practices and says that prices in Canada go up and down in concert with prices in the international market. While consumers are moaning over high prices at the pumps, Goodale is expected to announce in the next few weeks that final calculations show another huge federal surplus for 2004. It’s likely to be about $6 billion, but a raft of special, one-time payments subtracted from last year’s books will allow the Liberals to say it was only $3 billion, according to economists. Goodale says he plans to re-introduce a five-year, $13-billion corporate tax reduction plan that was temporarily removed from his last budget as part of a deal with the NDP. The finance minister says the cuts are needed to keep Canada abreast of tax cuts in the U.S.

Taxing payments By Alisha Morrissey The Independent

T

he province is about 25,000 accounts short of putting the beleaguered school tax issue to bed, Finance Minister Loyola Sullivan says. While the accounts add up to about $35.8 million in unpaid school taxes, Sullivan tells The Independent the province expects to collect several million dollars of that through an interestrelief program announced in July. He’s pleased enough to collect a portion of the outstanding bill, saying the school tax issue will finally be dealt with. The outstanding fees go back to 1992 when the province took over the responsibility for collections on the more than 152,000 accounts in arrears from the school boards. “Once we collect all these and go through these accounts we will hopefully put to bed forever the school tax

issue,” Sullivan says. The interest-relief program provides relief of more than 36 months of interest on tax arrears for people who either make a repayment plan or pay outright the school taxes they owe. The program is in place until the end of the year. Sullivan says people who don’t take advantage of the break offered by the province will be responsible for paying the back taxes and interest in full.

“Once we … go through these accounts we will hopefully put to bed forever the school tax issue.” Loyola Sullivan The incentive has garnered a lot of attention from those owing money. Sullivan says since the interest relief

initiative was announced on July 6, the department has received more than 11,000 telephone calls and hired 16 workers to handle the backload of calls and letters. “One thing in particular that people need to understand is when you get 11,000 phone calls within a six-, sevenweek period it’s going to take time for people to get back to these people,” Sullivan says, adding the program and added staff may help clue up the backtax problem as early as next year. “We’ve been sending information on their accounts with their social insurance numbers … and (through) the Canada Revenue Agency over the past six weeks. Now are sending out notification letters to all these people who owe school tax advising them of our initiative,” the minister says. “We would like everybody who receives a letter to contact our department … so they can have an arrangement made before the end of December on repaying this.”

Tastes change drastically From page 23 sister “particular,” although she admits her own tastes have drastically changed in recent years too. “I wore black for about four years and not another colour entered my wardrobe … but now I’m like, ‘Colours.’ I don’t want to wear a piece of black clothing.” When asked if they ever abandon their boutique, Canadian design sensibilities and shop in the mall, the sisters let out a collective “ewww” and roll their eyes. “We don’t really go anymore,” says Gruchy with a shrug. “It just kind of made us stop because we were trying to focus on Canadian designs that are made in Canada and trying to have a better focus — that’s important to us — and then how do we go and shop at the mall?”


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

INDEPENDENTBUSINESS • 25

GO TEAM

At auto talks, women grab the front seat By Tony Van Alphen Torstar wire service

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A dozen companies from around Newfoundland and Labrador will take part in a Team Canada Atlantic trade mission to Chicago Oct. 2-6. Back row from left; Una Walsh (Marine Farms Marketing); Patrick Martin (Dray Media); Brian Dicks (Expro Industries); Kevin Metcalfe (Verafin Inc.); Robert Tulk (Expro Industries); Rob Power (Ocean Choice International); Dorothy Stacey (RW Tiller Structural Engineering). Front row: Paul Mitten (Compusult Ltd.) and Shawn Silver (iDance). Paul Daly/The Independent

Airline’s success proves Milton right By David Olive Torstar wire service

I

owe Robert Milton an apology. On more than one occasion, and as recently as 2003, I wrote that the then Air Canada chief executive was in over his head and should be replaced. The recent strong performance of ACE Aviation Holdings Inc., new parent of Air Canada since the airline’s restructuring was completed last year, is sweet vindication for Milton, whom I once faulted for an ineffectual “subbrand” strategy (Tango, Zip, et al), for missing few chances to depict himself as a victim of heavy scheming by Ottawa, and for a sensitivity toward customers and employees that might compare favourably with a lamppost. There’s more vindication for Milton in Wednesday’s Chapter 11 filings by Delta Air Lines, the Number 3 U.S. airline, and Northwest Airlines, which is Number 4. They are both so-called “legacy” carriers, like Air Canada, that are burdened with much higher labour and other operating costs than such barebones start-ups as WestJet, JetBlue and Ryanair. In an industry with too much capacity and too little managerial resolve about confronting tough decisions, Wednesday’s grim tidings were unavoidable — as Milton has been predicting since at least 2001. Delta and Northwest have bled billions of dollars in red ink since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The 81year-old Delta, the proud flag carrier of the U.S. South, is now a penny stock. The total market capitalization of Delta and the 79-year-old Northwest, at some $260 million (U.S.), is about onethird of what Wendy’s International Inc. will likely fetch from its planned sale of a mere 18 per cent stake in its Tim Hortons chain.

Milton, 44, long ago forecast a rendezvous with the bankruptcy courts for most, if not all, of his legacy peers, and got a post-9/11 jump on the U.S. airlines in making severe cost cuts that U.S. carriers cosseted by Washington bailouts were loathe to embrace. When the one-two punch of a looming Iraq war and outbreak of SARS, turned Air Canada’s principal gateway, Pearson International, into a no-go zone for international travellers, Milton succumbed with his airline’s creditor protection filing of April 1, 2003.

Air Canada … is forecasting its first annual profit since 1999, despite the curse of soaring fuel costs. But Milton was actually embarking on a necessary if turbulent endeavour that his U.S. counterparts were unwisely postponing. “The morning we filed for bankruptcy protection may have been the most depressing in my entire career,” Milton wrote in his 2004 memoir, “but it soon became apparent that it was the most liberating thing that had ever happened to the company.” The restructuring eradicated $8 billion in debt for the cleanest balance sheet among the North American legacy carriers, and yielded annual savings of $2.2 billion. And it all took just 18 months. Last month, scarcely a year out of bankruptcy court, Air Canada was reported its first post-insolvency profit, and is forecasting its first annual profit since 1999, despite the curse of soaring fuel costs.

Luck played a role, of course — which is fair enough, after what Milton calls “this chain of catastrophes and challenges.” The ruinous price wars launched by discounter Jetsgo Corp. ended with that carrier’s demise earlier this year. Zip and Tango were an impediment to WestJet, which remained hell-bent on its strategy of rapid growth but was suddenly earning less profit doing so. A terrible price was paid for Air Canada’s salvation by the thousands of airline employees laid off since Milton’s purchase of Canadian Airlines, a transaction of dubious merit, and the subsequent 9/11 tragedy. And holders of shares in Air Canada prior to the restructuring saw their investment wiped out. The culture clash at Milton’s airline has hardly abated, which accounts for anecdotal reports of the snarliness of some cabin and call-centre staff. But in an industry where most pilots don’t hesitate to explain how they could do a better job of running the airline than the CEO it’s almost unavoidable that airline CEOs exhibit the compassionate instincts of a brick. Yet Milton’s survival skills are quite astonishing. About a dozen CEOs of major world airlines have been sacked since Milton took the helm at Air Canada in 1999. “I have read,” says Milton, “that the average tenure of a CEO at a major corporation is three years, and for a major airline today, it is perhaps half that. So I guess I’m helping to average the numbers up.” If mere endurance were his only claim to fame, Milton would hold as much interest for future historians as Dick Clark. But the still-young CEO who started a cargo airline before graduating from Georgia Tech may finally have put Canada’s flag carrier on a route to sustained viability.

hen union leader Buzz Hargrove sauntered out of a tough bargaining session at Ford the other day, he heard a familiar voice behind him. “Put two women in charge and they’ll get it done,” one of his top negotiators, Peggy Nash, said to chief Ford negotiator Stacey Allerton Firth as they walked down a Sheraton Centre hallway. The women chuckled, and Hargrove, head of the Canadian Auto Workers, smiled. “Yes, they’re right,” he said later. The two women had resolved a nagging money issue at the negotiating table to put another piece of the puzzle in place for a new contract. They had also broken new ground in high-octane auto negotiations, a male bastion replete with decades of screaming, fist pounding and even the occasional scrap punctuated by a knuckle sandwich. For the first time in Canada, two women were in the front seat of Big Three auto bargaining. They played a significant role in negotiating the tentative contract at Ford that set a pattern for the other auto giants, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler. INNER CIRCLE Both have participated in major auto bargaining before, but never with this so much at stake. On one side of the table was Nash, a former passenger agent at Air Canada who quickly took an interest in unions and women’s rights, eventually rising to the CAW’s inner circle. On the other side was Allerton Firth, a Ford labour relations veteran who became the first woman vicepresident of human resources at Ford of Canada in 2003. And there they were — two married women juggling family life sitting across from each other at a bargaining table in a downtown hotel dealing with issues affecting millions of dollars and thousands of workers. “It’s a different era,” Nash says. “People just want to see if you can do the job. That’s the bottom line.” Allerton Firth says she also didn’t give gender much thought in negotiations because both sides had to focus on resolving major issues including how to deal with pending job losses. Ford is losing money and needed to cut production. Hargrove, who has bargained contracts for more than 30 years, says he remembers occasions when chauvin-

ism ran rampant. Although Hargrove didn’t recall any CAW and Big Three negotiators resorting to fisticuffs, he remembers members of union committees trying to settle disputes physically among themselves after knock-down, drag’em-out debates. Nash says there are still some situations where people stereotype women as not tough or confrontational enough for contract bargaining. “It’s a Victorian notion of women as delicate flowers,” she says. She remembers a time when negotiators would ask, “‘Don’t your kids miss you? How does your husband feel about you being away so much?’” It left her with the impression they felt she was abandoning her responsibilities as a mother. Nash says bargaining was more of “a boys club” a generation ago. ACTIVE LISTENING Nash says although there is still some occasional yelling as nerves become frayed and frustration sets in during all-night bargaining sessions, “the decibel level has gone down.” Allerton Frith adds her approach in bargaining is sharing a lot of information and “active listening.” “If you’re yelling at someone, they’re not listening but thinking about defending themselves,” she says. “We were facing serious issues and had to concentrate on finding solutions.” Allerton Firth notes that as a working mother, organization is essential because she is usually “juggling several balls in the air” and that skill helps in bargaining. Allerton Firth and Nash stress their senior positions show young women choosing a career can break through barriers to holding non-traditional jobs. The two negotiators received high praise for their work from colleagues because of strong communication skills, respect and trust. Hargrove says the women played a strong role in resolving impasses in local negotiations affecting Ford parts plants in Windsor that could have held up a settlement. The deal must be ratified by union members in a vote this weekend. Whitey MacDonald, chair of the union’s master bargaining committee at Ford, says Allerton Firth listened intently, understood the issues and made decisions quickly. “She put her best foot forward for the people affected by Ford’s restructuring. Quite frankly, I had a better relationship with her than other people in that position in the past.”


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

26 • INDEPENDENT FUN

WEEKLY DIVERSIONS ACROSS 1 Mace, to nutmeg 5 Fleshy seed covering 9 Like rock 13 Math subj. 16 Ridge 17 Tender cut 18 Pitcher 19 Estop 20 Ottawa 23 Bewail 24 Pie coverings 25 Comic gun sound 26 It encloses the lungs 28 Lab animal 29 French silk 31 Hammer part 33 Eight (Ger.) 34 Had a bite 35 Pickerel 36 Nourished 37 Japanese script 39 It’s worn with a suit (2 wds.) 42 Signs of assent 44 Nevertheless 45 “___ at a time!” 46 Combine with water 49 Equestrian 52 Young deer 54 Eastern way 55 Help to escape, maybe 56 Employ

57 Not feral 58 Japanese aboriginal 59 Fled 60 Antiaircraft fire 62 Biblical priest 63 Hitch 64 Japanese port 66 Not provincial 68 N.W.T. hamlet, for short 69 Econ. indicator 70 Pith helmet 71 Kind of engineering 75 Chunk of ice 77 Scot’s word of regret 78 A miss is as good as a ___. 79 That thing’s 82 Golfer from P.E.I. 84 Asian nanny 86 Influence 87 Haul 88 Abu Dhabi, e.g. 90 Polish locale 92 Geological epoch 95 Pester 96 Unlimited budget (2 wds.) 99 Cinder 100 Reel in 101 Apportion 102 Characteristic 103 Wager 104 College on the

Solution on page 29

Thames 105 Greek mountain 106 Market DOWN 1 Egoyan film about Turkish Armenians 2 Supposed 3 Suffix for diseases 4 Baltic native 5 100% 6 Nfld. town with 10-ton moose 7 Firearm 8 Central American people 9 Female lobster 10 In the know 11 Sign of deficit (2 wds.) 12 Colourless 13 Magical incantation 14 Express mirth 15 Welcome 16 Capital of Ghana 21 Help 22 Electrical unit 27 Sask. town with statue of Lesia, the Ukrainian girl 30 Green lights, for short 32 Summer time in SeptIles 35 ___ pressure 36 Scandinavian

38 Plus 40 Distiller’s grain 41 “Mr. Hockey” 43 Beef cut 46 Suspend 47 Thou today 48 Sicilian smoker 49 Starched frilly collar 50 Very small island 51 Quietest time (3 wds.) 52 Autumn 53 Pierre’s pal 54 Acapulco aunt 57 Caffeinated drink 58 Egyptian symbol of life 61 Early German astronomer 63 There’s no ___ thing! 64 Not repeatedly 65 Health haven 67 ___ de Janeiro 68 Style of electronic music 69 Villeneuve of racing 71 Giant N. Zealand bird, once 72 Objects to bring good luck 73 Zilch 74 Not figurative 76 Give the cook a break, maybe (2 wds.) 80 Lymph gland in the throat

81 Not sour 82 Skewer of meat 83 Divert

85 Montreal’s subway 86 Heaps 89 Capable

91 Bullets, briefly 93 Makes a pick 94 Promote recovery

97 ___-gallon hat 98 Ocean

WEEKLY STARS ARIES - Mar 21/Apr 20 Advice is offered to you, Aries, but you don't want to take it. Reconsider listening, because this person is very wise, and you could benefit from a little education.

LEO - Jul 23/Aug 23 A stranger brings good news this week, Leo. And it's just in time because you can certainly use some, and quickly. Friends want to get in on the action.

TAURUS - Apr 21/May 21 Someone will rely on your help heavily in the days to come, Taurus. You don't mind because you feel your best when helping out those in need.

VIRGO - Aug 24/Sept 22 A large responsibility has been put into your hands, Virgo. Don't worry, you have the means to get it done. You can always enlist the help of a family member if things get hairy.

GEMINI - May 22/Jun 21 You have been juggling too many projects, Gemini. Pretty soon you're bound to drop one of those balls you're balancing. Realize that it's time to scale back. CANCER - Jun 22/Jul 22 Your life is in an upheaval, Cancer, but it is a very happy change. Enjoy these moments because they aren't bound to continue for very long. Scorpio plays a role in the change.

LIBRA - Sept 23/Oct 23 Someone from your past has made an appearance lately, Libra, and you're not happy to run into this individual. Say your "hellos" and then walk quickly in the opposite direction. SCORPIO - Oct 24/Nov 22 A business trip, a vacation, or another idea that involves your going out of town is fast approaching, Scorpio. It will be a bumpy ride, so prepare early and

expect the unexpected. SAGITTARIUS - Nov 23/Dec 21 The big news you have been waiting to hear will finally arrive this week, Sagittarius. Expect that it won't be as good as you had expected. Better revise your plans accordingly. CAPRICORN - Dec 22/Jan 20 An important decision you face has you feeling very ambivalent. You don't care about making a choice between the two options. However, you may want to rethink how you feel. AQUARIUS - Jan 21/Feb 18 You can have a stubborn temper, Aquarius, and now those close to you are starting to get fed up. You'd better change the way you deal with people or you'll be very lonely. PISCES - Feb 19/Mar 20 If you are planning a major bash, you'll have to figure out where to

get the finances, Pisces. Your wallet is a little light these days. FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS SEPTEMBER 18 James Marsden, actor SEPTEMBER 19 Jimmy Fallon, actor SEPTEMBER 20 Matthew & Gunnar Nelson, singers SEPTEMBER 21 Luke Wilson, actor SEPTEMBER 22 Joan Jett, singer SEPTEMBER 23 Bruce Springsteen, singer SEPTEMBER 24 Kevin Sorbo, actor

Fill in the grid so that each row of nine squares, each column of nine and each section of nine (three squares by three) contains the numbers 1 through 9 in any order. There is only one solution to each puzzle. Solutions, tips and computer program available at www.sudoko.com SOLUTION ON PAGE 29


SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

INDEPENDENT SPECIAL SECTION • 27

Published Date: 2005-09-12 Ad #: CNLICA0605-CB

Role Description: This is a key role in our Canadian development center. You will lead a team to deliver exceptional Instructor-Led Training (ILT) course materials for our client, a large business software company. The development team will consist of a number of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and Instructional Designers (IDs) with part-time support from a Graphic Designer (GD). You will report to the Senior Instructional Designer (SID).

Specific responsibilities include: - Managing the analysis of the requirements provided by the client and SMEs for the development of specific learning goals for each course - Managing the design of specific learning solutions, including the creation of detailed specifications from requirements to determine the components, strategies, and structure for each course Managing and conducting the creation of course outlines and course content including slides, instructor notes, and student guides - Ensuring the instructional strategy that has been established for the project is applied to each course - Ensuring the design integrity of the ILT courses is maintained by applying industry standard instructional design principles and theories in the design process - Working with SMEs and content development professionals on the scripting of the course content - Collaborating with the PM on schedules, budgets, and deadlines (project team meetings, updating schedules, etc.) - Liaising with client staff, taking time to understand their needs, developing the client relationship through effective communication and personal skills - Promoting and practicing company values in the leadership of staff and in the nurturing of a creative, innovative, and enjoyable work environment - Coaching and mentoring of Instructional Designers and Technical Writers - Contributing to the ongoing improvement of instructional design and technical writing - Other duties as assigned Required Education and Skills: - Master's Degree or Bachelor’s Degree and equivalent experience in Instructional Design, Instructional Technology, Technical Writing, or related field - Minimum of five years experience as an ID or Technical Writer on ILT or Web-based learning projects - Experience with FrameMaker is highly desirable - Excellent communication, analytical, writing, and visualization skills - Experience in planning and developing training materials or experience in business and professional training - Experience in managing, leading, and motivating teams - Flexibility, motivation, and ability to meet deadlines - Location PulseLearning Ltd., 921 College Hill Road, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada E3B 6Z9 Terms of Employment and Compensation We offer a competitive and compelling compensation package. Contract positions are also available. To Apply: E-mail your resume and cover letter to hr.ireland@pulselearning.com. Please include the Job Title and Reference Number in the subject line of your e-mail.


28 • INDEPENDENTBUSINESS

SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

Learning Disabilities Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Inc.

Ad #: 200509-973CB

Executive Director Position The Learning Disabilities Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (LDANL) is accepting applications for the position of Executive Director. LDANL, an affiliate of the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, is a not-for-profit charity dedicated to the advancement of education, employment, social development, legal rights and general well- being of persons with learning disabilities. The Executive Director provides leadership to ensure implementation of the strategic plan and the development of an organizational structure that achieves stated goals. The successful candidate will have a proven track record in leadership, excellent communication and organizational skills, the ability to work independently, the ability to motivate staff, and expert computer skills. Proposal writing, fund-raising, overall fiscal management, project management and supervision of staff and volunteer activities are key responsibilities of the position. Previous experience with issues related to learning disabilities would be an asset. The successful candidate will be able to develop partnerships with various stakeholder groups and to deliver skilled presentations. The position reports to a Board of Directors. Please forward resume and the names of three references to lgreen@nl.rogers.com. Deadline for applications is Friday, September 23, 2005.

Published Date: 2005-08-10 Ad #: CB-TS-0810

Challenging work? Time for a life? At Grant Thornton you don’t have to choose. You are an experienced income tax practitioner with a passion for work and life. We are Grant Thornton LLP, and we have immediate openings in our St. John’s and Corner Brook offices. As one of Canada’s leading accounting, tax and management consultancy firms specializing in entrepreneurial business we offer an exceptional work environment, complemented by a diverse client roster and challenging project lists. As an analytical thinker you are looking for the right career move as well as the right life move. We offer both. Join us and enjoy focusing on providing the highest level of service to our owner-managed clients, while helping us build on our reputation as the preferred tax adviser in our market places. You have a professional accounting designation and have completed the CICA In-Depth Tax Course or offer relevant experience and a willingness to complete the CICA In-Depth Tax Course. Please send a resume in confidence and take the first step to finding a challenge you love, a salary that matches your tax expertise and a work environment where life/work balance thrives. Sandra Wills Manager of Human Resources Grant Thornton LLP 187 Kenmount Road St. John’s, NL A1B 3P9 swills@GrantThornton.ca www.GrantThornton.ca Please quote CB-TS-0810 Newfoundland is home to exceptional career opportunities, dynamic communities and a highly diverse business base. St. John’s is the capital and is a thriving city of people, arts and culture. Corner Brook is an exceptional city offering a thriving economy and a host of outdoor recreational opportunities among its rugged and spectacular landscape

Tel: 753-1445 Fax: 753-4747 E-mail: ldanl@roadrunner.nf.net

Published Date: 2005-08-25 Ad #: CB43720

Published Date: 2005-08-22 Ad #: MB0508222625 Reference: M05-BBGePj-372

Description: BPR-BECHTEL is one of North America’s leading providers of best-in-class plant engineering and capital program management services to the heavy industries, with extensive knowledge in the Mining & Metals (M&M) and Petroleum & Chemicals (P&C) sectors. BPR-Bechtel success is determined in large part by the quality of its employees, who are, without a doubt, its greatest asset. On behalf of BPR-Bechtel and under the responsibility of the project director, we seek a Project Manager – Open Pit Mine Development Work for a regular or contract position. The Project Manager will support the mine technical and operation to ensure efficient execution, supervision and coordination of the development sites, as well as the smooth running of the work. He or she will also advise the representatives of the contractors involved in the development work to ensure the application of approved work methods. Responsibilities: - Coordinates with contractors and mine operation personnel all open pit mine development activities: blasting, removal, backfilling, road construction, dewatering, etc. - Fulfill the requirements of the mine managers for all development site activities; - Observe the execution of the development work to ensure, jointly with the mine operation and the contractor representatives, an efficient conduct of the activities in conformity with recognized or agreed practices; - Take, in collaboration with the representatives of the contractors and of the client personnel, immediate on-site actions to rectify any divergence from the health and safety, quality and efficiency objectives; - Maintain liaison with the personnel involved in the daily operations and mine development to ensure the continuous application of health and safety standards; - Act on change requests or revisions, as well as any change or deviation. Requirements:

Business Overview: RBC Investments, the wealth management division of RBC Financial Group, provides direct and full service brokerage, financial planning, investment counseling, trust, private banking, mutual funds and investment management services to private clients and institutions in Canada, the United States, and internationally. RBC Investments is a leading provider of personalized, comprehensive investment solutions for private clients world wide. Position Overview: Sucessful candidate will service the Charlottetown, PEI market. In this role, the Financial Planner - Investment and Retirement Planning contributes to meeting area/centre sales plans by acquiring and growing profitable client relationships. Provides solutions and financial advice designed to satisfy the client’s investment and retirement needs, leveraging RBC Financial Group expertise. Seeks out new clients by developing relationships within the community and local centres of influence. Enhances the experience of existing non-account managed investment centric clients providing accessibility and proactive client-focused investment solutions and advice. Anchors clients with the appropriate delivery channel within RBC Financial Group. This role also balances the rewards of meeting business objectives with the risk of loss to the client, employee and shareholder by following corporate compliance/policies to maintain risk exposure and to operate within a legal framework and in accordance with securities regulations. Note: Compensation will be "commission only� following training period (maximum training period is 6 months). Required Skills: Demonstrated sales success and the ability to build rapport quickly with prospects. Excellent communication, time management, organizational, networking and relationship building skills. The position requires a flexible work schedule. Must be an accredited Financial Planner, or working towards accreditation, and licensed to sell mutual funds in accordance with provincial regulations (CFP or PFP designation). Mutual Funds Licensed for 1 year either IFIC or CSC. If you are interested in this dynamic role, please go to www.rbc.com/careers and submit your resume and cover letter to us quoting reference CB43720. We thank all candidates for their interest, however only successful candidates will be contacted. ***We value diversity in the workplace, are committed to employment equity and will provide reasonable workplace accommodation to applicants with disabilities***

DCS or engineering degree; Experience in open pit mining development, work management; Experience in mine development site coordination and contractor supervision; At least 10 years of experience in site mining development or dam construction. Please apply on line here: http://careers.bpr-bechtel.com

67-2+1¡63257$87+25,7<

Published Date: 2005-07-19 Ad #: MB0506204412

Innovatia is currently seeking Intermediate Technical Writers Innovatia delivers flexible Knowledge Services for telecommunications, IT, and enterprise companies. Our product portfolio is complete ranging from eLearning, Technical Documentation, and TeleWeb Service to emerging solutions like TeleWeb Sales. Description: The technical writer researches, develops and delivers quality technical documentation. Ideal Candidate: Experience authoring technical documents. A technical background with experience in telecommunications, data networking and Internet applications. Comfortable with aggressive schedules and deadlines and a proven record for on-time delivery. Responsibilities: Participating in reviews of authored content, and responding in a timely manner with corrections. Working closely with team members to share information and ensure technical and visual consistency across multiple document suites. Managing multiple documents and delivery schedules in a dynamic environment. Aid in the proofing of printed documentation prior to distribution to customers. Required Skill Set: 3- 5 years Technical writing experience. Strong technical aptitude and interest. Experience with FrameMakerÂŽ 7.0 and Adobe AcrobatÂŽ. Competent with variety of PC tools and applications. Is a self-starter who can work independently within a team environment. Flexible, able to adapt to changing requirements, scope and schedule. Compensation for this position is competitive on a national scale and offers a very comprehensive benefits package. To apply for this dynamic opportunity please login to: www.innovatia.net/careers View Opportunities at Innovatia. We thank all candidates for your interest however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Innovatia is an equal opportunity employer.

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SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

INDEPENDENTSPORTS • 29

‘The Fog Devils will make the playoffs in their first year’ From page 32

Michael and Daniel Ryder earlier this summer in St. John’s.

Paul Daly/The Independent

Some players worth taking chance on Saint John Sea Dogs GM remembers landing Michael Ryder, a real diamond in the rough By Scott Briggs Telegraph-Journal

E

ven in the information age, scouting often comes down to instinct and intuition. That was the case when Saint John Sea Dogs general manager Tipper LeBlanc first saw Montreal Canadiens forward and Bonavista native Michael Ryder. LeBlanc was the head Atlantic scout for the Hull Olympiques, while Ryder was a teenager playing at a Chowder Cup camp in Moncton. There were no numbers on Ryder, and that was fine with LeBlanc, whose eyes gave him all the information he needed. “I saw this kid on the ice and he had a trigger,” the Saint John GM recalls. “I had never seen a kid shoot the puck like that.” LeBlanc says Ryder had been planning on trying out for the Cape Breton

Screaming Eagles. “I never worked so hard on a kid in all my life,” LeBlanc says. “What I had to do to get him to come to Hull was promise him he would go three weeks without getting cut - guaranteed. That made the difference. He came.” And he produced. After scoring 34 goals in his rookie campaign, Ryder fired 44 goals in his sophomore season and 50 in his third. The 6-foot-1, 190pound winger tallied 25 goals and 63 points in his first season with the Habs. “I remember the first two weeks of camp in Hull he had a hard time,” LeBlanc says. “He was a little shy when he first came. “He didn’t like the traffic, but he had that shot. Sometimes, when you have a good feeling on a kid, you have to put your neck on the line. I believed in Michael Ryder.” The same could be said about Pavel

Rosa, who helped Hull win the 1997 Memorial Cup before going on to play for the Los Angeles Kings. LeBlanc first saw the Czech winger at an international midget tournament in Drummondville, Que. “There were about 20 people in the rink and I just saw this kid put on a show that I had never seen before,” he says. “Nobody else had seen him but me. “This kid hadn’t played the first two games the Czechs had played in the tournament, because they always travel with 20 or 25 guys. He turned out to be one of the pillars of our organization “You never know when you’re going to find that diamond in the rough,” LeBlanc continues. “You can never tell when someone is going to break out and show you what you’re looking to find. “When you see it, don’t push it aside. Make sure that you put it in the bank and take it with you.”

Skaters primed for Turin By Randy Starkman Torstar wire service

A

s head coach Guy Thibault drove the team bus home to Montreal earlier this week, the rest of Canada’s newly minted Olympic short track speed skating team snoozed in the back. They’d certainly earned the rest after 10 days of battling head-to-head against their best friends and training partners at the Olympic trials in Saguenay, Que., for the right to represent Canada in Turin next February. “It’s the toughest competition for

these guys,” says Thibault. “Every four years, they have to compete with their friends like they are their fiercest rivals at a level of intensity that’s even harder than the Olympic Games. They risked everything out there.” It was survival of the fittest as only 11 out of 16 women lasted the duration, while three men also went down with injuries. In an effort to keep pace with their tough Korean rivals, the Canadians have been raising the volume and intensity of their training the past two seasons. “I think the team this year is even faster than last year so it’s going to be

interesting to get on the World Cup and see where we’re at.” Thibault says. Joining Thibault on the men’s side are veterans Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que., Eric Bedard of SteThecle, Que., and Jonathan Guilmette of Montreal. Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., is the only team member not on the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic team. The women’s team is comprised of Alanna Kraus of Abbotsford, B.C., Amanda Overland of Kitchener, Anouk Leblanc-Boucher and Tania Vicent, both of Montreal, and Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que.

an area with no historical, geographical or even athletic significance to St. John’s or the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador? I can get wound up about a game against Saint John, Halifax or Cape Breton. Heck, I can even get pumped about a match-up with Rimouski — at least they’re from the country I live in. Most of these teams, especially the ones from the Maritimes, are natural rivals for St. John’s. As festive as the atmosphere will be when the Fog Devils play their home opener on Sept. 23, the excitement is only going to grow as the season moves along — thanks to the effort and skill of players from home and away. As far as the Fog Devils’ chances of success are concerned, I don’t expect them to win the Memorial Cup (or come anywhere close, for that matter, in their inaugural campaign). At the same time, I don’t expect them to be the bottom feeders some are predicting. The team has some pretty talented players. Imports Oscar Sundh and Nicklas Bergfors demonstrated during training camp they should be Solution for crossword on page 26

impact players in the Q, while first round pick Jean-Simon Allard showed flashes of his potential in practice and during the club’s exhibition games. A player not to be forgotten is Paradise’s Wesley Welcher, a first-round pick by Moncton in the 2004 Q draft. He’s got size and speed, and is truly ecstatic about playing in front of friends and family this year. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Welcher finish the season with close to a point per game. Watching the development of big Matt Boland should also be fun. The 16-year-old, also from Paradise, is absolutely huge — standing at 6’4 and weighing 240 pounds. If he can adjust to the speed and skill of major junior, Boland could be a stalwart on defence by the time he is in his third and fourth years of junior eligibility. I think the Fog Devils will make the playoffs in their first year in the Q — even with the slightly sub .500 record they’ll probably finish the regular season with. Even if they do lose much more than they win, the excitement and interest they’ll create will make their first season on The Rock a smashing success. darcy.macrae@theindependent.ca Solution for sudoku on page 26


30 • INDEPENDENTSPORTS

SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

‘Never put your opponent down and you do your best’ From page 32

Mellissa Oates, once a star player for the Memorial women’s volleyball team, is now the club’s head coach.

Paul Daly/The Independent

Back to the nest

Former star player with MUN Sea-Hawks volleyball team, Mellissa Oates returns as head coach By Darcy MacRae The Independent

M

ellissa Oates wants to guide the team she once starred for back to greatness. A standout with the MUN women’s volleyball team from 1997-2002, Oates recently began her first season as the club’s head coach. Calling the shots for the team she helped lead to the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) title in 2000 is a dream come true for the 26-year-old, who says she couldn’t be happier to be back with the Sea-Hawks. “I’m truly honoured. I’m excited to get started,” Oates tells The Independent. “I’m looking forward to implementing my own ideals, my coaching style, my plan.” During Oates’ tenure at MUN, the team was a perennial contender in the Atlantic conference. However, the club has fallen on hard times in recent seasons, and during the 2004-05 campaign, picked up just one victory. Such a fall from grace was difficult for Oates to watch. “It’s been exceptionally disappointing,” says Oates. “To watch what’s happened in the past few years … I think it stems from all avenues — lack of effort, coaching. It’s been hard to watch knowing the talent that’s there.” Oates knows making the Sea-Hawks contenders again won’t be easy. She expects to hit a few bumps in the road along the way, but stresses the transition from a losing team to a championship one started the day tryouts opened on Sept. 12. “It’s going to be challenging and it’s going to start with work ethic and attitude,” says Oates. “It’s got to start on day one.” The first step to turning the program around, says Oates, is implementing strong defensive

systems and strategies. She prefers a model used by Cuban national teams that includes very aggressive play on the defensive side of the ball. “Looking at our team and the talent in the province, I’d like to implement an ideal where we become an exceptionally defensive oriented team where you wear teams out,” says Oates, who was named the AUS Defensive Player of the Year in 2000. “Then you build an offence around that in the upcoming years.” Another facet of the Cuban game Oates favours is the all-out player intensity — a quality she wants her players to adopt. “They never half-ass it, it’s all out, 100 per cent intensity when they take to the floor,” Oates says. “Some of our kids take to the floor and say, ‘Well, I’m here let’s have a bit of fun.’ I’d like them to show a lot more pride in their performance and start giving 100 per cent at all practices.” While Oates says there is more talent on the MUN team than their dismal record last year indicates, she adds that coming off a one-win season, all positions with the team are up for grabs this fall. Returning players will have to fend off the efforts of several new recruits, many of whom played for Oates on the provincial Canada Games team. Three of the biggest names to join the SeaHawks are Sasha Wilkins of Gambo, Melissa Ryan-Smith of Seal Cove and Stephanie Wells of Corner Brook. Oates expects all three to push for starting positions, but adds she also anticipates other new recruits will identify themselves as being ready for big roles on this year’s squad. “Several will start right away,” Oates says. Recruiting quality players is key to making the MUN volleyball team strong once again,

says Oates. However, in her first year at the helm, she admits to having difficulty recruiting some players from the province. The problem is that after registering just one win last year, MUN was not an attractive option for several players. “It’s been exceptionally difficult just because of what’s occurred,” she says. “We lost a lot of talent to the mainland — especially Dalhousie and Cape Breton University.” As well as installing a tight defensive system, Oates’ main objective is to keep talent developed in the province here when it comes time for players to choose a university. “I’d like to change that — now,” says Oates. “That’s definitely one of my objectives.” Oates should have an advantage in recruiting local talent since she has an extensive background coaching provincial teams. Not only is she the Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Association’s technical director, Oates has also been the assistant coach with the provincial Canada Games team and co-coach of the provincial NTCC team. “It gives you access to the top athletes in the province,” says Oates. “It gets your face out there. Athletes know who you are, whether or not you’re approachable, they get to know your coaching style.” Oates will soon finalize the roster for the 2005 edition of the MUN women’s volleyball team. From there, she will continue implementing her system and “whipping the players into shape” until the AUS regular season starts on Oct. 22. Oates knows it will take a few years to make the Sea-Hawks one of the top teams in the conference again, but says she is willing to be patient with the club. However, that doesn’t meet she’d be happy with a performance similar to last year’s. In fact, she fully expects to see noticeable improvement by the time the 200506 regular season begins. “If I can get them to buy into what I’m trying to do in the pre-season, we’ll be off to a good start,” Oates says. “My goal this year is make playoffs. After that, we’ll build on what we have, build as a team.” darcy.macrae@theindependent.ca

proud grandfather. He’s pleased both his grandsons are fine players, but is even happier just to see them taking part in what he considers to be the greatest game on earth. In fact, even if it’s not hockey, Johnson is thrilled to see David and Steven taking part in an activity that will benefit them throughout their lives. “To me hockey and soccer are doing for them what sports are meant to do for kids,” says Johnson. “It’s helping make them better kids all around. They learn that if you don’t work hard, you don’t succeed; if you can’t win with dignity or lose with dignity, it isn’t right; if you don’t work together with your friends and teammates, you can’t succeed; you never put your opponent down and you do your best — if you lose, you lose.” During his days as an assistant coach with the Herderwinning St. John’s Caps, Johnson could get as fired up as anybody during a game. These days, he says he keeps his emotions in check when watching David and Steven since the most important thing is that they have fun. “My head and my heart get into the games, but I don’t show it,” Johnson says. “I’ve heard too many horror stories. Inside, I get as mad as anybody at the referee, but I don’t say anything.” For all the stories out there today about parents attacking coaches, coaches attacking officials and of crazed fans repeatedly crossing the line, Johnson says he hasn’t witnessed any acts that deeply upset him at either of his grandson’s games. He does admit that while some parents believe they are only offering cheers of encouragement to their child, they may want to consider letting the young hockey player make his or her own decisions. “They’re not doing anything wrong, but they’re saying ‘Skate, go wide, get back, get back!’ The kid picks up the puck and they’re yelling ‘Go, go, go.’ When the kid gets the puck in front of the net they’re yelling ‘Shoot, shoot,’” Johnson says. “The kid knows he has to go. The kid knows he has to shoot. The kids know what they’re supposed to be doing. “Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but there’s a difference between cheering and being an instructional cheer coach. No. 1, I don’t know if the kid even hears them yelling. No. 2, the kid will decide whether or not it’s best to go wide.” One thing Johnson loves seeing is when minor hockey kids exit the ice after a game with smiles on their faces. Win or lose, he says a child who’s enjoying themselves will always come away smiling. It’s a point even grandfathers like him have to be reminded of once in a while. “The kids handle it better than anyone,” Johnson says. “If you went and asked Steven last year how many games he won and how many games he lost, he wouldn’t have a clue. But if they happen to lose a game, old grampy is wondering about it.” Both David and Steven play with the Avalon Celtics minor hockey association, and from what Johnson has seen, the organization is well run. He is especially pleased with the coaches, who he says always insist on giving players equal ice time no matter what the score. “I haven’t seen any of this win-at-all-cost thinking,” Johnson says. “I see the reverse.” David and Steven are aware that their grandfather was once a prominent hockey person in the province. But the true magnitude of his hockey prowess hit home with David just last week when the 10-year-old discovered that his grandfather coached the legendary Randy Pearcey — his X-Treme Hockey instructor — back in the old Newfoundland senior hockey league. “Digger (Johnson’s nickname for David) somehow found out that grampy coached Randy Pearcey. So Digger said to me in the car ‘Grampy, did you really coach Randy Pearcey?’ Because Randy Pearcey is an icon to them,” Johnson says. “I said ‘Yes, David, I did.’ David said ‘Wow.’” Digger is a name only Johnson calls David. He says the name comes naturally to him when he watches David play. “Because he tries so hard,” Johnson says. “He’s only 10, his brother is 12. He’s always trying to keep up with his brother.” Steven is just as impressed with his grandfather’s hockey background, and enjoys talking about the game with Johnson. However, Johnson suspects his eldest grandson may be keeping a secret from him. “I don’t know if he’d admit it to his grandfather, but to tell you the truth I think he likes soccer a little better than he does hockey,” says Johnson. “Out of respect for grampy’s feelings, he doesn’t express that view too often.” After watching Johnson chat with his grandsons just outside the players bench at Feildian Gardens, it is obvious they have a special bond. He looks at them with such caring eyes that anyone can tell he would be proud of the young boys no matter what game they played. He speaks of them at every opportunity, and not just about their hockey. He proudly talks of how both David and Steven won public speaking competitions in their respective grades in school last year, honours that again force Johnson to choke back tears of pride and emotion. “They’re not afraid to get out in front of people,” Johnson says. “They’re confident kids.” Next week: Newfoundland hockey’s greatest tough guys. darcy.macrae@theindependent.ca

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SEPTEMBER 18, 2005

INDEPENDENTSPORTS • 31

Look to the Hill For Inspiration ON MAY 24, 2005, four young men braved the elements to install a flag on the Southside hills. Many were curious as to why they would do such a thing. Simple – they want people to take notice and to make a difference. Find out what inspired them to undertake this feat. Subscribe to The Independent for information.

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INDEPENDENTSPORTS

SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18-24, 2005 — PAGE 32

David, Steven and Don Johnson took in the action from ice level last week at Feildian Gardens in St. John’s. David and Steven are Don’s grandsons, and rarely play a hockey game without their grandfather in attendance. This week The Independent begins a three-part series on the the hockey days of Don Johnson. Paul Daly/The Independent

Hockey days With respect to Gordie Howe, Don Johnson may be Newfoundland’s version of Mr. Hockey First of a three-part series on Don Johnson’s hockey days. By Darcy MacRae The Independent

O

fficially, Don Johnson’s hockey days are behind him. The former president of Hockey Canada, former Herder Memorial Trophy winning coach, and former Boyle Memorial Trophy winning player had a long and distinguished career in the sport. His name is synonymous with hockey in the province, so much so that players 50 and 60 years his junior stop and wave to him from ice level when he drops by local arenas. He even has an award named in his honour — the Don Johnson Cup is handed out each spring to the Atlantic Junior B champions. During his time with Hockey Canada,

Johnson was an influential figure on the national hockey scene. Along with former NHLPA boss Alan Eagleson, Johnson played a big role in organizing the first Canada Cup in 1976, and subsequent Canada Cups in 1981, 1984 and 1987. After Team Canada’s tournament winning victory in ’76, Johnson joined Eagleson for a celebratory dinner at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, the then-residence of Pierre Trudeau, during which a pint-sized Justin Trudeau ran rampant in his pyjamas and wondered aloud who the Newfoundland guest was. Along with the former prime minister, Johnson has sat across the dinner table from some of the game’s best, including Wayne Gretzky. Johnson’s rec room is covered with signed pictures of Bobby Orr, Darryl Sittler and Bobby Hull. The messages from the game’s elite are not just stereotypical autographs, but personalized heartfelt messages

to a man whose kindness and compassion are his most visible qualities. These days Johnson plays the role of a dedicated fan. Even now in his 75th year, Johnson — who’s been sick lately — is spotted nightly at Feildian Gardens in St. John’s, braving the frosty temperatures to watch a group of 10-year-olds patrol the ice during sessions with X-Treme Hockey co-ordinators Randy Pearcey and Andrew McKim. The reason is simple: Johnson is on hand to watch his grandson, David. A loyal and dedicated family man, Johnson has a special relationship with all his grandchildren. But the fact that his son Michael’s boys — David, 10 and Steven, 12 — play hockey helps Johnson form a bond with the duo. He watches every game they play, and makes it to every practice — no matter the weather or temperature. In short,

nothing gets in the way of this grandfather and a night of watching his grandsons play hockey. When asked what runs through his mind when he watches his grandchildren on the ice, Johnson pauses for a moment before speaking directly from the heart. “How much I love watching them,” Johnson says, fighting his way through tears. “I don’t live my life through them. It’s just that God gave them the skill, and as their grandfather, I’m proud.” Upon entering Feildian Gardens during David’s sessions with X-Treme Hockey, Johnson scans the ice in search of his grandson. Once the 10-year-old jumps over the boards and begins skating up the ice, Johnson watches every stride, each pass, and every scoring chance with the intensity of a See “Never put,” page 30

The fog lifts E

xcitement grips me finally. Throughout the St. John’s Fog Devils’ inaugural training camp, I had great interest in following who was cut, who was kept, and what roles players were assigned. Not just because I follow the team for The Independent, but because I love hockey and am thrilled the city has its own major junior club. As interested as I’ve been in the Fog Devils so far, my excitement level never got too high during the exhibition season because it was, after

DARCY MACRAE

The game all, the exhibition season. Now that the regular season has started, I dare say I’m as thrilled as a fan could be. I’ll watch just about every home game from the press box at Mile One; I’ll check the Internet the morning after

each road game to see how the team did; and I’ll keep an eye on the competition to see whether the Fog Devils qualify for the playoffs. It’s not that I plan to be the most biased journalist on the planet — that distinction already goes to TSN’s Glen Healey, who still thinks he plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs — I’m just excited to watch good, entertaining hockey. Technically, the city had good hockey for the past 14 years in the form of the AHL, but for the latter

part of the baby buds’ run, the hockey wasn’t so entertaining. Since the benefits of major junior versus minor pro have been broken down numerous times before, I’m not going to give yet another detailed breakdown of why the Q’s on-ice product is superior to the AHL. What I will say is that for the first time in a long time hockey fans can look forward to going to the rink each and every time their team plays. The enhanced on-ice quality is only part of the equation. The fact the team

has some local players, is locally owned and will face teams from cities we’re familiar with will add to the experience. Several times last year, I found myself less than pumped up over watching St. John’s hosting the likes of Cleveland, Hershey or Syracuse. While I’m sure they’re fine cities, how could I — as a resident of St. John’s — get excited to watch my city’s team play against a club from See “The Fog Devils,” page 29

2005-09-18  

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