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$1.00 HOME DELIVERY (HST included); $1.50 RETAIL (HST included)



Throwing things around with Memorial University’s juggling club

Local toy stores on what’s hot this Xmas — and what’s not

Executive pay


Some government employees make more than the premier CLARE-MARIE GOSSE


rovincial politicians in Newfoundland and Labrador are among Canada’s highest paid, but some local heads of Crown corporations are winning the overall salary race. Most notably, Ed Martin, the recently appointed head of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, who makes $310,000 annually, plus a yearly bonus of up to $77,500. An executive fresh from a high-powered management position with Petro-Canada, Martin is a reflection of Premier Danny Williams’ vision to hire more industry experts — although even Williams says Martin’s “very challenging job” and subsequent salary is a unique one. “(Any future hiring) wouldn’t obviously be at Ed Martin’s level or anything close to it,” Williams tells The Independent, “but what I want to be able to do is in departments that are interacting with the private sector we have to have basically people within that can deal with people (in the private sector). And in order to do that and in order to be competitive you have to be in a competitive salary range.” Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro is in the midst of major restructuring towards building a stronger company with investment stakes in all elements of the province’s energy industry. The Crown corporation will also help Lisa Porter, Baptiste Neis and Deneen Connolly show off their talents as part of An Evening of Burlesque, presented by Neighbourhood Dance Works. The show, in support of the 2006 Festival of New Dance, will be held at the LSPU Hall Nov. 19. Paul Daly/The Independent

Foreign ‘handicap’ Icelanders expand fishing operation in Canadian waters; complain about media attention ALISHA MORRISSEY


he same foreign-owned company that caused a storm of controversy last year when it was permitted to fish quotas inside Canada’s 200-mile limit off Baffin Island in the Davis Strait is now expanding its operations in the country. Steingrimur Erlingsson, owner of Bjarnar, an Icelandic company, as well as majority owner of the Canadian-registered Nataaqnaq Fisheries, says he and his partner have recently put another vessel in service to fish Canadian quotas. Bjarnar owns 55 per cent of Nataaqnaq Fisheries, with Royal Greenland owning the remaining 45 per cent. Nataaqnaq Fisheries owns the Canadian-registered Inuksuk I, a trawler previously known as the Salles and registered in Estonia. The ship was known for its poor fishing practices on the Grand Banks. A deal struck last year between Ottawa and the Baffin Fisheries Coalition — a group representing 11 Nunavut fishing communities — allowed the Inuksuk I to fish inside the 200-mile limit, setting a precedent. Newfoundland and Labrador fishermen complained bitterly, objecting to foreign involvement in what they see

as an exclusively Canadian fishery. The controversy that followed, as well as an update on what’s happened since then, was outlined in the Sept. 2 edition of Fiskifrettir, an Icelandic trade magazine. In the article — a copy of which was translated for The Independent — Erlingsson and his partner, Finnur Hardarson, outline how they came to be involved in the Canadian fishery. According to the article, their involvement began in the early 1990s when commercial cod stocks collapsed off the East Coast. Around about the same time, fishermen — domestic and foreign — began to see new opportunities in the shrimp and turbot fisheries. The Icelanders say they followed in the footsteps of other fishing companies from such countries as the Faeroe Islands, Greenland and Norway. “The Canadian companies that conduct ocean fishing today, both of prawn and blue halibut, which they began catching at a later date, are still more or less directly or indirectly owned by Nordic fishing companies,” the article reads. “A relatively small number of fisheries who operate ocean fishing of prawn and/or blue halibut in the northern part of Canadian jurisdictional waters are solely owned by Canadian companies without foreign participation. “The development was therefore See “Working,” page 2

QUOTE OF THE WEEK “The outmigration of 50,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians over the last 10 years has been a deliberate strategy to infiltrate the country and control the army.” — Premier Danny Williams on his master plan for NewfoundCanada, see page 3

See “Business approach,” page 2

Claiming the Grand Banks John Snow remembers placing a plaque on the floor of the North Atlantic — and the dive that may have started an industry


Caribou hunting with European explorer Millais



Michael Harris pays tribute to a young war hero Life Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Paper Trail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Crossword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

10 10 18 26

n the floor of the Grand Banks, near the Virgin Rocks — an outcropping of shoals about 120 miles from St. John’s — lies a bronze plaque, bearing the coats of arms of Newfoundland and Labrador, Memorial University and the Fisheries College. It was placed there 41 years ago, under the direction of then-premier Joey Smallwood, by divers John Snow and Hugh Lilly. The marker not only claims the area for Newfoundland, but commemorates the first time anyone set foot on the floor of the once-fertile fishing grounds. Perhaps most importantly, that dive by Lilly and Snow may have kick-started the oil industry the province boasts today. Snow now lives in Kingston, Ont. Lilly, a geologist and professor at Memorial University, died in a 1966 car accident near Botwood. “Hugh Lilly wanted to go out to see if there was oil out there,” Snow tells The Independent. “Hugh was looking

John Snow, second from left, with the expedition crew in 1964.

for grants to go out there and the Newfoundland government gave him the grant because Joey wanted to find out what was there too. “Joey was nosy as all hell, he had to get in on everything.” Snow was a professional diver and had spent the few years leading up to the Grand Banks dive doing surveys for Memorial. “We went up the north shore of Newfoundland and all of this, up around the island,” he says. “Those were surveys for lobster and scallops … so I was used to this kind of diving. It never really struck us that we were the first ones down there.” According to Smallwood’s plan, the plaque was to be laid on the sea’s floor on June 20, St. John’s Day. See “Explored,” page 4


NOVEMBER 13, 2005

‘Business approach’ From page 1 shape the province’s energy plan, which could potentially lead to the province, headed by Hydro, developing Labrador’s lower Churchill. Martin is currently in the process of filling three new vice-president positions, which will offer salaries of $130,000 to $200,000 each, plus a potential year bonus of up to 20 per cent. A spokesperson for Hydro says Martin’s salary was benchmarked against other Canadian utilities. As for additional industry executives being hired in other high-profile positions within Crown corporations, Williams says he hasn’t hired anyone lately, with no immediate plans to do so. Liberal leader Gerry Reid criticizes Williams’ new executive hiring meth-

Ed Martin

ods, saying that under previous governments a position like the CEO of Hydro would probably command a salary similar to that of a deputy minister (no more than $136,000). MORE MONEY Reid says offering more money to executives and holding money back from other public sector workers like teachers and nurses is sending out a negative message. “It’s the business approach to government that the premier brings with him,” says Reid. “If you look at any corporation or any business that’s being run … you see the top CEOs making bundles of money and the average worker in the company receives very little.” Another business initiative just getting off the ground is the province’s Business Department. Williams — who’s responsible for the department — says all hiring will be within the allotted 2005 budget of $1.5 million. Due to a slow start, most of the department’s 2004 budget ($1 million) wasn’t used and Williams says that has also boosted this year’s total. Leslie Galway, former CEO of NOIA (Newfoundland and Labrador Ocean Industry Association), was hired earlier this year as the deputy minister. She earns just over $136,000 — the top rung of the range for a deputy minister. “If we’re bringing private sector specialists into that department, we will try and pay competitive salaries,” says Williams, “but of course within the general guidelines of government because this is strictly within a government department.” So far, the Business Department has

Salary details A cross-section of provincial government salaries, including Crown corporations: CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Ed Martin: $310,000, plus a potential annual performance bonus of up to 25 per cent or $77,500. Three vice-presidents Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (currently in hiring stage): $130,000-$200,000, plus a potential 20 per cent performance bonus. CEO Eastern Health Board, George Tilley: $215,000. Chairman of C-NLOPB (Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board), Fred Way (acting): $179,900$211,600. CEO Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation, Steve Winter: $88,000-$136,000. Auditor General, John Noseworthy: $124,758. Executive director of Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation, Leo Furey: $74,000-$87,150. CEO The Rooms Corporation, Dean Brinton: No salary details released. CEO of the Eastern School District, Darin King: No salary details available due to negotiations over contract. Premier Danny Williams: $163,252 ($95,000 MHA salary and $68,252 premier salary, both of which he donates to charity). Deputy minister of the Department of Business, Leslie Galway: $136,000. Deputy ministers: $88,000-$136,000. Members of the House of Assembly: $95,000 ($47,000 base salary, plus $24,000 tax-free allowance. Works out to $95,000 a year after calculations to determine how much salary it would take to earn $24,000 tax free). Ministers: $145,000 ($95,000 MHA salary plus $49,483 minister salary). Official opposition leader, Gerry Reid: $145,000 ($95,000 MHA salary plus $49,483 Opposition Leader salary). Speaker of the House of Assembly, Harvey Hodder: $145,000 ($95,000 MHA salary plus $49,483 Speaker of the House salary) Leader of a parliamentary group, Jack Harris NDP: $112,313 ($95,000 MHA salary plus $17,313).

only spent $453,347 on manpower (and some of that hiring was on a temporary basis), although Williams says he is looking to fill more positions, including administrative support and a “sophisticated number cruncher. “We want someone with specific skills to go in that department … so that as proposals come in, and as we feed back to people that are interested in investing in the province, that we can

internally, within that department, do our own analysis.” Some of the major files the department is working on include a continued inventory report on government’s business functions, a Red Tape Reduction Task Force to make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to globally compete and expand, and a branding strategy to streamline government’s corporate image — and subsequently

SHIPPING NEWS Keeping an eye on the comings and goings of the ships in St. John’s Harbour. Information provided by the Coast Guard Traffic Centre. MONDAY, NOV. 7 Vessels arrived: Atlantic Eagle, Canada, from Terra Nova; ASL Sanderling, Canada, from Halifax. Vessels departed: Maersk Norseman, Canada, to Hibernia Platform; Ocean Concord, Canada, to fishing; Oceanex Avalon, Canada, to Montreal; Aromendez, Spain, to Sea; Atlantic Kingfisher, Canada to Terra Nova Oil Field.

TUESDAY, NOV. 8 Vessels arrived: Maersk Placentia, Canada, from Hibernia; Sir Wilfred Grenfell, Canada, from Sea. Vessels departed: ASL Sanderling, Canada, to Halifax. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 9 Vessels arrived: Jim Kilabuk, Canada, from Hibernia; Western Neptune, Panama, from Sea; Maersk Nascopie, Canada, from Hibernia. Vessels departed: Atlantic Osprey, Canada, to Hibernia; Maersk Chignecto, Canada, to

Newfoundland and Labrador’s. Reid says he’s disappointed with the slow start-up of the Business Department and he says Williams hasn’t been forthcoming with any information. “Two years in a row the premier … wouldn’t show up for the budget estimates so that we could ask him questions on what the Department of Business is doing and as far as I know, they’re not doing anything.”

‘Working it together’ White Rose. THURSDAY, NOV. 10 Vessels arrived: Maersk Challenger, Canada, from Bay Bulls; Alfred Needler, Canada, from sea; Wilfred Templeman, Canada, sea; Atlantic Kingfisher, Canada, from Terra Nova Oil Field; Cabot, Canada, from Montreal. Vessels departed: Maersk Placentia, Canada, to Hibernia; Mathilda Placentia, Canada, to Hibernia; Maersk Challenger, Canada, to Bay Bulls; Maersk Nascopie, Canada, to Hibernia.

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From page 1 that foreigners brought vessels and knowledge and prospered.” The article outlines how the Inuksuk I has access to a quota of 4,000 tonnes of shrimp and 2,000 tonnes of blue halibut. In the article, Erlingsson and Hardarson describe how the shrimp and turbot fishing grounds off Baffin Island are better than on the Grand Banks — both in terms of catches and quality. “There (on the Flemish Cap) the day’s catch is perhaps approximately 10 tonnes (of shrimp) whereas the average catch by Inuksuk per day (in the Davis Strait) has been approximately 36 tonnes. On good days we have exceeded 40 tonnes,” the men say in the Icelandic article. They also acknowledge how controversy in the Canadian media has hurt people’s perceptions of Nataaqnaq Fisheries. “… when Nataaqnaq Fisheries was established there arose some misunderstanding in the Canadian media that Canadian jurisdictional waters had been opened up to foreigners,” reads the article. “It was not taken into consideration that these were foreigners who had established a Canadian company to co-operate with the locals as had been customary for many years. It took considerable energy in the beginning to correct that misunderstanding.” Reached in Greenland by The Independent, Erlingsson says the misunderstanding continues. “We have never been outspoken in regards of our company, but still the fact of the thing is people have been writing about our company,” he says. “All I ask is that when people write about my company or the company that I am a shareholder of that they do tell correctly and rightfully what is right about it. “My problem of course is — and there is nothing in the world that I can do about that — we have a handicap. And our handicap? We have funny names and we speak with an accent. That is the only thing that we are different from you.” He says the misconception that foreigners are coming to take something away from Canadians is unfair, adding the company is maximizing Inuit employment. In fact, he says, there are about 200 employees with the company — all Canadian. “They (Inuit) still own the fishing rights — I don’t own any quota or anything like that — we are just harvesting quota that belongs to aboriginal groups. We are working it together.”

NOVEMBER 13, 2005


Don’t drink the water By Alisha Morrissey The Independent


harlene Mitchell says the water from her tap won’t hurt you — but she won’t drink it. The town clerk of Woodstock on the Baie Verte Peninsula says she’s gotten used to boiling her water since a boil order came into effect in the town in May. “Most everybody around here don’t drink it from the tap anyway,” Mitchell tells The Independent. “They usually go to a well to bring it down, right or buy their water.” Woodstock is one of 184 communities in the province with a boil order in effect. COSTLY CHLORINATION The water supply in Woodstock hasn’t been chlorinated since earlier this year when the town shut off its chlorination system because it couldn’t afford to keep it running. It costs the town $4,600 a year for chlorination and supplies to keep the water system going. “It costs a lot of money to get the chlorination to go through and I guess now they stopped for a while.” The town’s annual municipal operating grant from the provincial government — set at $11,409 since 2002 — may appear to cover the cost of the water disinfection system, says Mitchell, but it also has to pay for road work, among other things. “People don’t realize how much money it is to run a town,” she says. Woodstock is not the only community unable to pay for clean water — eight other communities listed on the province’s boil order advisory record have had their water systems shut down because of a lack of funds. Most of the communities that can’t afford water treatment don’t receive municipal operating grants because they are not considered municipalities. Environment Minister Tom Osborne says while 184 may seem like a large number of towns boiling

Communities subject to boil orders March 31, 2001 — 223 March 31, 2002 — 193 March 31, 2003 — 181 March 31, 2004 — 159 their water, the average yearly count is actually dropping. He also says the number of boil orders across the province tends to fluctuate depending on the season.

In the summer, with more construction on water mains and elsewhere, boil orders are implemented as a precaution, Osborne says. In fact, he says boil orders are often a precautionary measure, going so far as to say the number of boil orders per year isn’t a good indicator of water quality in the province. “In most of Newfoundland and Labrador water supplies are generally pristine due to remote watersheds and generally good, quality water,” Osborne says. “Most of the time, approximately 89 per cent of the boil water advisories are for water systems that have … pristine quality —

just there’s no disinfection in the system or the system is not working or adjusted properly to deliver sufficient chlorine.” He says a better indicator of poor water quality would be to count the number of illnesses from waterborne diseases and infections. So far this year there have been none recorded in the province. While most orders are short lived, some boil orders continue for years — Branch on the Southern Shore has had one in place since 1989. Cottrell’s Cove, Placentia Bay, has had a boil order in effect since the summer of 2000. That community

was recently given $126,000 from the Municipal Affairs Department to update its water system. Government addressed aging water infrastructure in 2004 by spending $59.6 million on water and sewer projects. Osborne says government is currently training municipal employees to run chlorination systems in communities — carrying out testing on a regular basis. Back in Woodstock, Mitchell will continue to boil her water. “It’s not clear and you know when it’s not really clear … I don’t trust it. I don’t drink it.”

Danny’s master plan for NewfoundCanada infantry led by Staff-Sergeant Peckford from Kelowna into Edmonton and Calgary. During this period, central Canadians will be diverted from the eastern and western fronts and weakened by hysterical laughter due to continuous airing of 22 Minutes and Just for Laughs with Mary Walsh, Cathy Jones, Mark Critch and Shaun Majumder. Captain Canada Brian Tobin will be stationed at the Toronto waterfront and will symbolically drop a turbot net over the CN Tower discouraging any resistance from Bay Street. Using psychological warfare to control the media and airwaves during this period is critical and Commander Harry Steele has committed to play non-stop country and western, Burton Cummings and Brian Adams on all of his 2,000 radio stations. Geoff Stirling of NTV will release Captain Newfoundland and his mythical star fleet on the entire North American and Caribbean five-star satellite network to discourage a counter-attack from south of the border and Cuba. These entire maneuvers will take only one night and by morning when the country awakens to Canada AM, Seamus O’Reagan will confirm that the battle is over. That same night in his weekly report, Rick Mercer will join me and broadcast live from Mile One in St. John’s where it all began to announce the formation of NewfoundCanada and raise the Pink, White, Red, White and Green flag. This will all take place on April 1, ironically and appropriately the same day we joined Canada.

Editor’s note: the following are excerpts from a Nov. 7 speech by Premier Danny Williams to the 5th annual Affinity Newfoundland and Labrador Dinner in Ottawa.


onsidering the audience and the location, I thought that tonight would be the appropriate time to announce the master plan for Newfoundland and Labrador not to separate from Canada, but to takeover the country and form NewfoundCanada. This is highly confidential and I would ask that the cone of silence be dropped over the room. The Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the room tonight know that we have been planning this for a long time and each and every one of you has been conscripted to infiltrate the nation’s capital and be in a state of red alert for the green light from St. John’s. The outmigration of 50,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians over the last 10 years has been a deliberate strategy to infiltrate the country and control the army. The final component has finally been added with our takeover of the Armed Forces under the capable leadership of General Rick Hillier. This recent maneuver, coupled with the strategic long-term control of Hockey Night in Canada by Bob Cole, has rounded out our planned assault of the country. The NHL players strike and the CBC strike were a minor set-back but we are now certain that all federal political partners possess weapons of mass destruction. The recent actions of Jack

Danny Williams announces new cabinet appointments last week.

Layton have made it unanimous. Our long-standing media colonel in Ottawa, Max Keeping, is ready to brainwash the Ottawa Press Gallery upon declaration of invasion by Newfoundland and Labrador. And Rex Murphy is poised and ready to override The National with a live broadcast from Port aux Basques when 30,000 fishermen will launch our naval assault on the mainland. It is assumed that their landing in Cape Breton will not even be noticed due to linguistic similarities and shared cultural traits. Great Big Sea will hold simultaneous

Paul Daly/The Independent

televised concerts throughout the Maritimes to divert attention from the advancing marines with an opening act by Rex Goudie to mobilize youth. Craig Dobbin will be launching the air assault from Labrador into Quebec with the largest helicopter team in the world, supported by the sophisticated squadrons of Air Labrador and Provincial Airways. In order to provide an element of surprise, the switch will be turned off at Churchill Falls by Corporal Dean MacDonald, throwing Quebec and the Eastern Seaboard into darkness and chaos, enabling Wing Commander

Dobbin to take over Quebec as a friendly ally given the conscription of Private Michael Ryder and Mr. Dobbin’s recent acquisition of a franchise in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. And Lieutenant John Crosbie will advise the Quebecers of the occupation on Radio Canada in their native tongue. Control of the west is critical because that is where the real wealth of our country is contained. The heavily armed and populated northern base of Newfoundland and Labrador, appropriately named Fort McMurray, will concurrently dispatch its 30,000-strong

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NOVEMBER 13, 2005

Not as it seems


t may appear that Kevin and Chris Forward of Forward’s Oil are filling a Volkswagen with home-heating oil, but it’s not the case, Kevin Forward tells The Independent. Forward’s Oil, which sells diesel fuel to construction and trucking companies for use in heavy machinery, was caught on camera filling the company car and van (both diesel) in St. John’s on the morning of Nov. 8. “While it might look suspicious to people, it’s not,” Kevin says. “Anybody can check our equipment anytime.” He says the company bought diesel cars to cut costs. A question

Province losing energy staff to private sector


he provincial government is working hard to develop its provincial energy plan, while at the same time competing with private sector corporations for manpower. Premier Danny Williams tells The Independent there will have to be “significant” additional funds allocated to the Department of Natural Resources, just to hold on to existing staff and attract new ones. “They’re now under-resourced,” he says following a press conference to release the province’s new energy plan discussion paper on Nov. 10. “As well, the private sector is actually raiding people from that department. For example, even at a very senior level here, our assistant clerk, a very important person in the bureaucracy, has just gone off to the private sector.” The discussion paper is aimed towards initiating consultations for a long-term energy plan, encompassing all resources from petroleum and hydro-electricity to alternative projects such as wind power. Williams calls it “the most aggressive and comprehensive energy policy review and development ever undertaken in this province. “We are raising the province’s profile, both nationally and internationally as a critical North American energy warehouse, an attractive area in which to invest.” The consultation process is designed to gather input from the general public as well as industry stakeholders and is slated to run from early to mid-2006. Williams says the work load the energy section of the Department of Natural Resources has on their plate “is enormous,” despite an allocation of extra dollars in the 2005 budget. He says he doesn’t yet know exactly how much additional money the department will need. “That number will happen in the budget process, but it will be a significant number because we have to make sure we can attract good people at a fairly high level.” — Clare-Marie Gosse

was raised whether stove oil can legally be sold as a cheap replacement for diesel. The answer is no (although the fuel won’t hurt your car’s diesel engine). Diesel fuel is taxed differently than home-heating fuel. Taxes on diesel for use in cars includes HST, as well as a 16.5cent-per litre provincial tax and a 10 cent per litre federal tax. Taxes on stove oil come to 15 per cent. Kevin says all of the applicable taxes were paid for the fuel pumped into the company car, though the company does get a discount price on diesel because they buy in bulk. — Alisha Morrissey

‘Explored in depth’ From page 1 “There was quite a few divers who went out with us,” says Snow. “But we ended up in a big storm, the waves were over 30-feet high … and we had to turn around and come back. “When we hit the shore, the divers all took off, you’ve never seen so many green divers. And Hugh just looked at me and said, ‘You’re not leaving too!’ and I said, ‘No Hugh, I’ll go back out there with you.’ It was just the two of us.” Lilly, Snow, and the rest of the crew headed back out — “and it was smooth as silk out and back.” The divers finally went down on June 23, 1964. According to the plaque, the Virgin Rocks were “explored in depth” by Hugh Lilly, John Snow and Cal Trickett — but, as Snow says, Trickett didn’t make it on the final, successful, expedition. Snow remembers all the details of the dive, from placing the bronze plaque (measuring 38 inches by 48 inches) in about 63 feet of water — to the cod and the fishing going on around him. “There were literally millions and millions of codfish around,” he says. “And you’d swear we were in the city because the White Fleet that used to come from Portugal, they were fishing there at the time. It was funny, they were fishing the good old-fashioned way, you know, hand-lining. “And if they would have kept that up Newfoundland wouldn’t be in the problems they have now.”

After laying the plaque, Lilly and Snow got to work on the other part of their expedition: collecting rock samples from the ocean floor. “While Hugh was knocking samples off the large mountain there underwater, the side of a cliff … this cod would come in and take pieces of the rock,” Snow says, laughing. “And Hugh would swing at it with his hammer … that cod was about six feet long, he’d just back off and then come back in …” Finally the divers got the samples Lilly wanted, and brought

them up on the deck of the boat. ‘FULL OF OIL’ “And right away, he said ‘Holy smoke, this place is full of oil’ … he knew it just by looking at the rocks, through his scope. He could see all the black through it,” Snow says. “If it wasn’t for Hugh Lilly, Newfoundland would have been about 20 years behind what they are now.” Snow says Lilly wanted to keep his discovery a secret from the pub-

lic for a while, at least until he finished writing his own scientific articles about the dive and the data he gathered. As it worked out, the newspaper and television reports told the story of the dive and the plaque — but didn’t mention the riches below the Banks. As Smallwood was quoted at the time, “We wanted to make sure that Newfoundlanders were the first in history to walk on the bottom of the Grand Banks. If we had let anyone else do it before us, we should be shot.” When Lilly’s articles did finally come out, Snow says, “all the oil companies from around the world were after him to find out what was there.” Smallwood and “his crony” John C. Doyle apparently tried to buy up some of the oil rights around the province. It would be another 15 years before the first rigs would head out to the area. “It’s a funny thing,” says Snow, with a tinge of sadness. “I look at all the millions of dollars that was made by people in Newfoundland and everything else and Hugh Lilly died the following year … it’s too bad because he was really well on his way for a lot of things.” There is a scholarship in Lilly’s name, given out annually in the Earth Sciences Department at Memorial University. As for Snow, he suffered a stroke a few years afterwards, cutting short his diving career. “But I’m still alive, after all these years,” he says. “At least I have my name on a plaque and nobody can see it.”


P.O. Box 5891, Stn.C, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, A1C 5X4 Ph: 709-726-4639 • Fax: 709-726-8499 Website:




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NOVEMBER 13, 2005


Cold comfort Two St. John’s residents on fixed income contemplate making it through the winter By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent


o get into Linda Bride Richards’ living room, you have to go through a doorway draped with a thick curtain. The floral cloth isn’t for decoration, but to keep in the heat. Whenever she goes out or has to answer the front door, she carefully navigates her wheelchair through, to make sure as little warmth escapes as possible. Disabled and on a fixed income of roughly $450 a month, 49-year-old Richards admits, with a shy smile, she’ll probably switch off the heat after the interview is over and she’s left alone with her small pet terrier, Star Bright. It’s November, not quite brutally cold outside, but her electric bills have been creeping up and Richards is worried about the insulation in her compact, three-bedroom bungalow. “Last month I didn’t have the heat on at all, only the scattered time and my bill went up $10, $15 from the previous month,” she says. “The place I had before was like $250, $280 with hardly any heat on, only like two heaters on. It was smaller than this.” Richards gestures around the openconcept living room. The walls are adorned with jigsaw puzzle pictures, Christmas decorations and a tree in the far corner. In every space there’s a pattern of some kind, dressing the room in a warm covering. Richards herself is sitting snuggly in her wheelchair with a blanket over her knees and a fleece sweater zipped to her neck. She says the doctors told her she

would feel the cold more acutely seven years ago, after she had her leg amputated. She explains her blood doesn’t circulate properly — especially because she can’t get up and move around. “I sleep in a water bed so that makes a difference,” she says. “It’s always hot … when I get cold in the day, when I’ve got no heat on, I go into the waterbed and get warm. “It will get to the point, if it gets any colder, I go in the water bed and stay there and just get up and get a coffee and just go back.” Richards uses electric heat, but she says she’s already noticed the difference in her bills this year as a result of increasing oil prices and their impact on the price of electricity. Although electricity prices per kilowatt hour remain set on an annual basis, adjustments are made every July, and this year prices crept up by five per cent — a reflection of last year’s fuel prices. Next year’s rate will likely rise again as a result of recent massive surges in the cost of a barrel of oil. In October, the province implemented a home-heating fuel rebate of between $100 and $400, for lowincome households, but the rebate only applies to those homes with oil heating. Richards says that doesn’t seem fair. “We’re getting our electrical heat by the oil that they’re burning, that’s how they get it, but we can’t get any help. It don’t make sense.” Bill Denine, an 84-year-old pensioner living in the west end of St. John’s, is just as perplexed. Sitting in his ground-floor duplex,

Linda Bride Richards

which is owned by the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, Denine says his electricity bills suddenly sky-rocketed three months ago for the first time. He says he was told he had no more subsidized hours left. Previously he was only paying up to $60 a month, now, without his housing subsidy, he’s paying well over $100. He called Newfoundland Power as well as the housing corporation to find out what was going on. “They said, ‘Well the cost of a barrel of crude was gone up,” he says. “Well I said, ‘What in the name of heaven’s that got to do with me?’ I said, ‘I’m not burning crude.’ They said, ‘Well every time that goes up that cuts back on your hours that you’re allowed.’”

Temperature control


any people across the province may find paying oil and electric bills especially hard this year in light of a massive spike in the price of fuel. Although government is offering a subsidy of up to $400 to lowincome households burning oil, people with electrical heat are feeling the affect too — just a year later. “The increase in oil and gas, at this stage, doesn’t have an impact on the cost of electricity for this upcoming heating season,” Bob Pike, a spokesman for Newfoundland Power, tells The Independent. That’s bad news for residents already wondering how they’re going to pay this year’s bills. For people having trouble paying them, Pike says they have a window of about three months before any real threat of disconnection. He says the time of year doesn’t dictate when the power company can disconnect a customer

— the temperature does. “There is a moratorium that goes in place the latter part of November until the spring,” says Pike. “It’s not that you can’t cut people off, but during that period the temperature has to be at a certain level … the temperature probably has to be above zero degrees, for example, on a particular day.” Although Pike acknowledges oil prices do affect how much Newfoundland Power revises its rates, he adds only 30 per cent of the company’s electricity is oil generated — the rest is hydro. A rate stabilization plan keeps prices set until they are reviewed in July; they went up by five per cent this year. As of press deadline, Newfoundland Power was unable to provide statistics for the number of customers disconnected over the last 12 months. — Clare-Marie Gosse

Paul Daly/The Independent

Denine, who doesn’t use his lights because he’s been blind for 10 years, says he’s not used to paying so much in electric bills. “Now it’s all over $100 these past three months and I can’t see through that because I only washes (clothes) once a month, that’s all I need to do, and I don’t use the shower and the bath every day, I don’t need to; I’m not that dirty I suppose. “I use the kettle and I don’t use the mixer, I don’t use the toaster, I don’t use the juicer … so the only thing I’m using is the top of the stove and the electric kettle — and the electric heat.” He says he doesn’t know when he might qualify for the subsidy again. “You’ve got to really squeeze the

queen’s head till she bawls, before you lets it go,” he says with a wry grin, joking about his fixed pension. “You’ve got to put so much for this one, so much for that one and so much for the other.” For Richards, her main essentials may have to be stretched this winter as she monitors her bills. Four hundred and fifty dollars a month can only go so far. “That has to do groceries, clothes, cable, light bill, phone bill, heat,” she lists off, her eyes bright. “I don’t know what to say to make it any different. When we, as people with disabilities, are on a very fixed income, you can’t even budget. How can you budget $450? You do what you can do.”


NOVEMBER 13, 2005

Prepare for a Canada without Quebec Former lieutenant-governor James McGrath questions Newfoundland and Labrador’s future in Confederation


n the 10th anniversary of the last referendum in Quebec when the federation survived by the slimmest majority, a poll was taken that showed if Quebecers were asked to vote on the same question today the yes side would win a clear majority. What has changed to cause this shift? Clearly the sponsorship scandal and the fall out from the Gomery inquiry has had a major impact on public opinion in Quebec, so much so that federalism is seemingly no longer an option for most francophone Quebecers. With the minority Martin government no longer able to count on the support of the New Democrats, a winter election is inevitable. This will be a watershed election in Quebec, as the separatist Bloc Quebecois is poised to make gains over the 54 seats they now

JAMES MCGRATH Guest column hold. Indeed, the federalist option will be wiped out in all or most of the Frenchspeaking ridings. The Liberals will be reduced to only the Anglophone ridings in and around Montreal. Polls indicate the two other federalist parties, the Conservatives and the NDP, have no chance of winning a seat. Marc-Yvan Cote was one of the federalist organizers fingered by Judge John Gomery. Cote, a former provincial cabinet minister, predicted at a press conference in Quebec City that the federalist forces in Quebec will be wiped out in the coming election.

This could mean over 60 seats for the Bloc, translating to over 60 taxpayer-supported offices staffed by separatists. No mean thing when you consider that each Member of Parliament is allocated on average $300,000 a year to pay for staff and accommodations in their ridings. Just do the math! That’s $18 million-plus of Canadian taxpayers’ money all dedicated to the break-up of the Canadian federation as we now know it. Is it any wonder why the separatists decided to run federally? Following the last referendum in Quebec, I raised the following five questions: 1) What is this province’s future in a nine-province federation without Quebec? Can we count on a federal government dominated by Ontario to protect our offshore resources and what’s left of our fisheries?

2) What would be the status of the Churchill Falls power contract (to which you can add the future of the lower Churchill)? 3) Would this province continue to have unimpeded access to markets for iron ore from Labrador west? 4) Can we go it alone if the federation fails? The future of Quebec in Canada is an important issue to Newfoundland and Labrador. Our leaders need to address the questions presented above and be prepared for the inevitable outcome. Surely, if you keep funding a cause to the tune of $18 million and keep asking the same question, at some point you’re going to get the answer you want. They call this “winning conditions.” We cannot go into this unprepared. Keep in mind that the Quebec government has never recognized the

1927 Privy Council decision that established the border between Quebec and Labrador. Indeed, the legislation that brought us into Confederation in 1949 was done outside the constitution, as the provinces were never consulted. Why? Quebec would have never agreed, and Canada wanted the deal done. Indeed, that is why the opposition of the day voted again the bill. They felt the federal government had a constitutional obligation to consult the provinces Our province needs a plan to deal with the Canada that exists without Quebec. The time for planning is now. This time we need to get it right. James McGrath is a former federal minister of Fisheries and lieutenantgovernor of Newfoundland and Labrador.


Backhanded praise for Margaret Wente Editor’s note: the following letter was written to Margaret Wente, a columnist with The Globe and Mail. A copy was forwarded to The Independent. Dear Margaret Wente, With the baskets of mail you must receive I doubt you’ll remember the letter I wrote in response to your sealing piece. In that letter I pointed out that Paul Watson was a dubious choice to give a credible opinion on the subject of seals. The enclosed article (Bigotry on Ice, Nov. 6-12 edition of The Independent) serves to illustrate that one cannot trust the comments of someone who is a fanatic and a bigot. His over-simplifications and sweeping misjudgments take my breath away. Two weeks ago I met an 85-yearold woman in Edmonton who was being honoured with the distinguished Alberta Achievement Award. On being told I lived in Newfoundland,

she asked if it was true that most Newfoundlanders were inbred and on welfare. I replied that if that comment was made about a visible minority in Canada (your Korean grocer came to mind), it would be considered racist. Then I went on to ask if most Albertans were rednecks. Having lived in Calgary for 20-some years I knew that most were not, but I told her that I often had to make this point to Atlantic Canadians. She then asked me why I thought we carried these misconceptions. The answer is obvious: we do not make the effort to become better acquainted with each other. Canada is difficult enough to keep together without our appalling ignorance. It may sound like backhanded praise, but I do appreciate and admire most of your work. Joan Clark, St. John’s

Making waves RYAN CLEARY

Fighting Newfoundlander

In search of a political alternative Dear editor, I very much appreciate your regular columns. In Hashing it out (Oct. 30Nov. 5 edition of The Independent), however, you miss the political mark concerning Jack Harris’ departure as leader of the provincial NDP. You suggest that Harris would have made a “decent minister in a Liberal or Tory administration,” but chose to “go it alone in a party of one.” Your suggestion implies that one enters politics to be on the winning side and that sides are somehow interchangeable. On the contrary, I assume Harris has remained a New Democrat

because he adheres to the platform on which his party stands — strong government, equitable taxation, fair labour laws, gender equity, public services of health care and education, etc. The differences in parties are at the same time political, social and economic. If we Newfoundlanders are to act responsibly, we need to seek a real alternative to the two major provincial parties. One expects The Independent, by its very name, to support this essential feature of democracy. Carol Harris, Woody Point


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

Poor old John Efford can’t get a moment’s peace — not even in Florida. Too sick to travel to Ottawa for work, he somehow managed to drag himself south for a week of much needed W and W (west and welaxation). And then what does The Globe and Mail do, but slap the news on the front page (Ailing minister opts for sun over Ottawa, read the headline), a story accompanied with a picture of a scowling Efford. He looked tired and crooked, but who could blame him? He had a scarf around his neck and obviously hadn’t made it to the Sunshine State when the snap was taken. Efford was caught in yet another embarrassing moment. What’s a guy who continues to collect $213,000 a year for a job he physically can’t perform doing gallivanting around the world on holiday anyway? This province isn’t represented at the federal cabinet table because Efford won’t accept the fact his time is done. His reputation has been gutted like a fat cod in a seal tank — it’s beyond healing. Tom Ormsby, Efford’s point man in Ottawa, was quoted as saying his boss needed to “get away from it all … to get his sugars under control.” The question is this: will a fresh Florida orange help him do that? Crab apples were out last month; blueberries the month before — why didn’t he give some of the local fruit a try? Truth be told, this past week has been a wild one for former provincial Fisheries ministers. To Trevor Taylor first — the man who was in a rut has been moved to a portfolio (Transportation and Works) that’s full of ruts (actually the highways are full of ruts — not the department). Was the shuffle a demotion or promotion for Trevor? Let’s see, young Mr. Taylor was born on a boat, grew up on a boat and skippers a boat. He knows one thing and one thing only — fishing on a boat. He may appear to be a fish out of

Trevor Taylor

water in the Highways Department, but give him time — he may come to be a landlubber. (And John Efford’s Christmas cards may feature a picture of himself beached in Florida in a sealskin thong and sitting on a Danny Williams beach towel.) Trevor was the closest thing to a maverick on Danny’s team. The premier actually gave the young buck some rope to run things his way. My guess is Trevor was Danny’s experiment to see if there’s any truth to the old wives’ tale that there’s strength in team. Trevor failed the experiment and the raw material sharing plan — the same one that led to the crab strike last summer — is as dead in the water as FPI’s future in groundfish. Long live King Danny! It won’t be tomorrow that a cabinet minister will be given as much twine — not after Trevor hanged himself. That said, my respect for Trevor went up a notch or two last week when he personally wrote a letter to The Independent explaining how he sees the fishery — too many fishermen, not enough fish. There was truth in his letter, a truth expressed without first being drained of life and sincerity by the scourge of press release writing. But Trevor also missed the broader point. The answer to the fishery crisis (which is about as old as Trevor himself) is not to continually cut and burn (although more cuts are imminent) — but to plan and rebuild and challenge and listen.

Paul Daly/The Independent

If Trevor had a long-term strategy he wasn’t communicating it. Tom Rideout, another former Fisheries minister, wasn’t exactly a master communicator himself. I doubt he ever dreamed his career would ever go backup (his word, not mine) in terms of taking over Fisheries again after 15 years. Danny should have an easier time with Tom — whose days of making waves ended with his month and a half siege of the premier’s office. I was hoping Danny would invite Beth Marshall back to cabinet, but she’s not exactly his style — not in terms of being female, that’s been blown out of proportion — but in terms of being an independent mover and shaker. Danny has control, no one else, and that’s the way he likes it. Another guy who made the national news this week was our old friend Scott Reid. Remember him? He’s the guy in the prime minister’s office who warned last fall that Newfoundlanders would pay for Danny’s insolence. Maclean’s ran a piece about how Reid has a habit of saying stupid stuff, questioning whether a “political street fighter with a short fuse can rebuild the PM’s image?” I say absolutely; leave Reid be. In fact, send him down here during the next election to campaign for Efford, who just may run again (if someone double dares him). Please don’t. Ryan Cleary is managing editor of The Independent.

NOVEMBER 13, 2005


‘You can’t laptop train a puppy’ Ivan Morgan’s first love will always be newspapers — not computers


’ve read that people are reading fewer newspapers, choosing instead to get their information online. They know this in Stephenville and Grand Falls-Windsor, where the phenomena is having a direct, devastating effect. There is crisis in the newsprint industry. But it is more than just a threat to those communities. It is a threat to a community I love — the community you are a member of by simply reading this. I love newspapers. My love affair with them began in the ’60s, and the idea — forwarded in some circles — that the days of newspapers are numbered, appalls me. I find it deeply upsetting. The end of newspapers? What a ghastly thought. I suddenly felt like the dreadful Charlton Heston: not until the last newspaper is pried from my cold dead hands. Why are newspapers supposed to be dying? Apparently because more and more people get their news off the Internet. Off a computer screen? It’s just not the same. You can’t curl up in a



Rant & reason comfy chair with a computer screen — not unless you’ve coughed up $1,000 for a wireless laptop — and it still isn’t the same (and besides, I think my weekend Globe is pricey at $2.25). You can’t hide behind a computer screen in a coffee shop. Being smiled at coquettishly over a computer screen at the breakfast table is just not the same. I guess some people think the Internet is more high tech, and therefore better. What’s more high tech than a newspaper? They are completely organic, they are biodegradable, they come with their own power source, a totally accessible software and they will last forever. If you drop your laptop in a puddle, can you just hang it somewhere to dry? A

newspaper is only a buck and a half to replace. You can’t roll up a laptop and tuck it under your arm. Or swat your dog with it. You can’t snap it open in a queue and read it. You can’t line a birdcage or wrap your spare china or start a fire or any of those other cliché things with a computer screen. You can’t laptop train a puppy. Of course I use the Internet. But it is more like a radio or a TV than a newspaper. It’s useful for getting news immediately. What’s on fire, what’s crashed, who’s been shot? That sort of thing. You don’t necessarily buy a newspaper for that kind of news. You buy the newspaper for a host of other reasons. For some it is a ritual — the morning coffee and the paper, the lunchtime sandwich and the paper. For decades it was the last thing I did in the day. Kids to bed, dishes done, dog walked, and then off to bed with the papers. With the kids older, now I read my papers in the morning.

But it doesn’t matter when — it is the ritual. A newspaper is more than just the news. A newspaper is a friend, a social club, a sorority — a community. If the Internet is a news supermarket, then a newspaper is a favourite restaurant. Who has time to click all over the net and find the kind of news and perspectives you want? We do, that’s who. A newspaper has a feel, a stance, an attitude. Take our own local papers as examples. Here in St. John’s we are lucky to have a host of newspapers. We have a national paper I have loved to hate every day for the last 32 years. We have a tired old local one that is read mostly by older people and mostly out of habit — like that old sweater you just can’t bring yourself to throw out. There is another free one graced with precious little more than the wit and wisdom of Craig Westcott (you have permission to quickly read him before heading for the recy-


YOUR VOICE EI system downgraded

‘Separation of state and corporation’ Dear editor, For God’s sake, give Brian Dobbin back his column, would you? Dobbin’s columns are absolutely brilliant compared to guest replacement William Thompson’s astonishing rant (What’s with the can’t-do attitude, Nov. 6-12 edition of The Independent). After I was barely three paragraphs into young Willie’s article, I swear I could hear the ghostly voices of Winston Churchill and Rudyard Kipling murmuring, “Hear, hear — up the Empire!’ over my shoulder. I haven’t encountered the words “vicious tribesmen” — used by Thompson to describe the original South Africans who fought for their lives and their land against English and Dutch colonialists, Thompson’s ancestors — in combination since the last time I watched a Merchant Ivory flick. At least we’re sorry about the Beothucks, not being very Ayn Randish/social Darwinist around these parts. Thompson says he detects an “almost socialist” attitude in the populace of Newfoundland and Labrador — evidently part of our “misguided attitude” — along with a penchant for trade unions and, most likely, social assistance of any stripe. Welcome to Canada, Mr. Thompson. Perhaps you should have kept going south. Thompson and Dobbin both have an aversion to “big brother” — i.e. government interference in what should be, according to their line of “thinking” (apologies to Socrates et al.), a laissez faire marketplace. Thompson and Dobbin should remember that entrepreneurs make up only approximately five per cent of the population; therefore, their opinions are not, as they so naively seem to believe — judging from the way they write — Holy Writ to the rest of us. Another name for “entrepreneur” is “businessperson.” And the primary raison d’etre of such an entity is the making of money —unless the business is entered into for the love of the product or service. Business worships at the altar of the almighty dollar, or in Mr. Thompson’s case, the almighty rand — not Ayn, but the South African unit of currency that oh so synchronistically just happens to bear the name of the author famous for her books on cut-throat capitalism disguised as philosophy. My ancestors fought for the separation of state and church. I have an idea my descendants might end up battling for the separation of state and corporation. Susan Rendell, St. John’s

Forty new Canadians were welcomed in a ceremony at the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre Nov. 9. The new citizens represent 15 countries, including Belgium, UK, Iraq, Sierra Leone and Taiwan. The ceremony was one of four held in Atlantic Canada last week, part of Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s continuing efforts to commemorate the Year of the Veteran. Paul Daly/The Independent

‘CLB comrades sacrificed by their own commanders’ Dear editor, Remembrance Day has always been a very special occasion in our household. Not only for its purpose to remember and pay homage to all those who either laid down their lives or fought for us, but also because of my family’s association with the Church Lads’ Brigade. I was a member of the CLB for a number of years and remember those years with good memories and pride. I remember asking my grandfather why he had pieces missing from his arms and round reddish marks in his back. His reply was always, “Oh, that’s where a dog bit me and I fell down.” NO LEGS I never had the courage to ask him why he had no legs. It was not until many years later that I learned the real truth: these were wounds received in France, shot by enemy fire in the First World War. My children were also in the CLB for many years and remember the story of my grandfather well — especially around Nov. 11. This year will be different for my family; we will be participating from the sidelines at this year’s formal cer-

cle bin). We have a smarmy college paper with a sophomoric interest in sex and an odd obsession with the price of people’s houses. What’s up with that? And we have the one you are holding now — the coolest, most informative, vibrant publication to appear in this place in the last 400 years. Clever you. If you’re looking for Heloise, you’re in the wrong hood my friend. See how it works? Newspapers are a central part of my life, and have been for over 30 years. I love their feel, I love their smell, I love their look. From the loggers, through the mill workers, out the tips of the reporters’ fingers into the printers hands and out to the kid who delivers them, we are a community, and we want nothing more than to hang with you, whenever or wherever you want, for an hour or two. Try getting that off the net. Ivan Morgan can be reached at

company because they ask too many questions.” Yes, we did ask questions, questions regarding attendance, questions regarding promotions, questions regarding rewards for work done but not received, but we received no answers.

emony because my two kids are no longer with the CLB. Due to no fault of their own, they are blacklisted from joining the CLB on the entire Avalon Peninsula because, and I quote: “We the CLB do not like the parents’ behaviour with the officers of this particular

NO RESPECT We did get ignored and received no respect, which is something I guess … it is a response of sorts I guess — just go away or get lost or something, you’re not worth responding to ... Oh yes! Someone asked me about the church; can’t the church do something for goodness sake? No! They either cannot or will not — we are butting our collective heads against a church wall. Anyhow, to all you readers of The Independent please keep in mind that around you somewhere are two super kids who are looking on at this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony because the CLB brass got their collective backs up and quite literally took it out on two innocent kids, two fallen CLB comrades sacrificed by their own commanders. Randy Burry, Conception Bay South

Dear editor, Here are a few facts on the employment insurance (EI) system that your readers might find interesting. It is my contention that the federal government has moved away from our traditional EI system. These days, only 38 per cent of unemployed workers actually qualify for EI, compared with 75 per cent who qualified before 1990. These figures are supported by the Canadian Labour Congress and indicate an ongoing downgrading of the EI system. Our workforce in certain areas of Newfoundland and Labrador is a seasonal workforce and depends heavily upon an adequate EI system to get workers through the downtime they will inevitably experience every year. Our fishery, forestry and construction workers, all seasonal, are either important to our economy or they are not. I maintain that they are and that they deserve an adequate EI system. The main reason for the drop in usage of the EI program is because the federal government increased the qualifying requirements and slashed the benefits. Census figures tell the story in the federal riding of St. John’s East. In 1990, 15 years ago, 7,530 workers in the riding availed of EI benefits. By 2001, only 2,680 workers qualified — a drop of 64 per cent. I really wish the drop was entirely due to better employment prospects, but it was not. The lion’s share of the 64 per cent drop is attributed to the fact that benefits are now harder to get, and when you do qualify, it is for fewer benefits for a shorter period of time. I have spoken in the House of Commons on this issue on many occasions. I have been critical of the NDP in this regard as well. When they did their budget deal with the Liberals, the NDP failed to use their leverage to assist Canadian seasonal workers by insisting on a more generous EI system. In their next budget, the Liberals may tinker with the EI system again, but of late their “improvements” have always been minor and mainly cosmetic. However, in Atlantic Canada the results of their earlier changes have been far more than cosmetic. The empty house next door and the empty seat at the supper table are proof positive of the devastation caused in our region of the country. Norman Doyle, MP St. John’s East

*Limited time leasing offer based on a new ACURA (UA6625J) available only through Honda Canada Finance Inc. O.A.C. Lease is based on a 48 month term. Monthly payment is $599 with $1500 down payment or equivalent trade-in, $67 PPSA, $1430 freight and PDI included, first monthly payment and $0 security deposit due at lease inception. Lease rate is 7.65%. 96,000 kilometre allowance; charge of $0.15/km for excess kilometres. Total lease obligation is $35,169.05. License, insurance, applicable taxes and registration are extra. Option to purchase at lease end for $17,220 plus taxes. Retailer may lease for less. See your Acura retailer for full details.

NOVEMBER 13, 2005


NOVEMBER 13, 2005


‘Trappings of an elephant on the back of a mouse’ By Ryan Cleary The Independent

Road to


here was an argument, not a popular one by any means, that Newfoundland should never have been granted responsible government in the first place because it could never make it on its own financially. That argument was laid out in October 1947 when the Newfoundland National Convention was presented with a financial report on the state of Newfoundland’s finances. To rehash, the convention was convened for two purposes: to suggest alternative forms of government to replace the commission government, and to determine if Newfoundland could once again be self-supporting. Facing dire financial straits, Newfoundland gave up its democratically elected responsible government in 1934 in favour of a six-man commission ruled by the Dominions office, a branch of the Government of Great Britain.


A review of the Newfoundland National Convention (1946-1948) The convention, made up of 45 delegates from around Newfoundland, formed a committee to review the colony’s finances. There was a belief that Newfoundland had been self-supporting since 1941 — primarily with the advent of the Second World War and construction of American bases on Newfoundland soil. William Keough, delegate for St. George’s on the island’s west coast and a pro-confederate, presented the report

of the finance committee to the national convention. The first thing he pointed out was a comparison of per capita debt: Newfoundland ($237); Canada ($1,387); Great Britain ($1,900); and the United States ($1,853). While Newfoundland’s per capita debt was substantially lower, Keough said other countries such as Canada were better prepared to handle their debt load. “I may add that in the instance of Canada and the United States, the national debts are to a large extent internally contained, whilst ours (in the range of $75 million) is overwhelmingly an external debt,” he said. “They owe their per capita debts across the street. We owe ours across the Atlantic.” Keough noted the chief arguments in support of self-sufficiency included a balanced budget and treasury surplus. By 1947, Newfoundland was apparently self-sufficient, but Keough argued there was too much dependency on

world markets, primarily in terms of the cod fishery. When the fishery failed, Newfoundlanders starved. “Given the wrong time in world conditions, and my last forgotten fishermen on the bill of Cape St. George will probably starve again, only the next time I hope he won’t be so persistent about it.” He continued: “In the past our economy was not able in normal times to provide the revenue to support the public and social services that other western peoples enjoy. There is no evidence at this moment that would seem to indicate we may expect that our economy will be able to do the like for the normal times of the future.” In studying the statistics of revenue and expenditure over the years leading up to 1947, Keough said Newfoundland’s public finances went through three phases: “a period when we managed to make ends meet; a period when we didn’t manage to make ends meet; and a period when we more than managed to make ends meet.”

When Newfoundland was granted responsible government in 1855 it did so on a “shoestring” budget of $500,000. “There are others, however, well inclined to wonder, and I have heard them wondering so, out loud, if, since there was a gaunt half-million dollars to manage with in the first place, we should have been granted responsible government at all,” he said. “We still had 6,000 miles of coastline in those days, even if there was only 120,000-odd people to spread along them … they are inclined to think that it would have made just as much sense, perhaps more, to have granted responsible government to Ferryland or Bell Island. They wonder if the founding fathers of this nation did not bite off more than they could chew. “They do know that ever since we have had to bleed ourselves white in an attempt to provide the trappings of an elephant on the back of a mouse; and that we have never, until recently, quite

By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent


t’s a crisp fall day and Addison Bown is sitting in his comfortable office, which has a view out the window, spanning past Pippy Park across the city to The Narrows. It’s a fitting sight for the construction manager of the Grand Concourse Authority, especially when Bown has become so accustomed to spending most of his workdays supervising in “the field” amongst the 125 kilometres of walkways, built by the organization. This year marks a major milestone for the grand concourse, which has generated over $25 million in the last decade towards constructing and beautifying trails throughout St. John’s, Mount Pearl and Paradise. In celebration, $57,000 worth of full-colour, commemorative walking maps have been distributed to every household in the area. The work isn’t over yet. Although the original concept of trails — stretching from Signal Hill in St. John’s to Octagon Pond in Paradise — has now been completed, Brown tells The Independent he sees this time as a chance to prepare for future projects and already 20 new developments are planned for the next couple of years. “I don’t think it will ever be completed,” Bown says from behind a busy desk, “because there’s always more projects coming up that our partners want done … we’re just winding down a bit, but I think we’re just winding down to get ready for a hub again.” Most every person living in the greater St. John’s area has likely trodden a part of the well-loved network of grand concourse pathways. Whether on a stroll from Quidi Vidi Lake to Signal Hill or skateboarding at Mundy Pond Park, most are unaware they’re travelling on award-winning infrastructure, hailed as the finest development of its kind in Canada. “We’d like to think the world,” says Bown. The Grand Concourse Authority is perhaps the greatest achievement to come from the not-for-profit Johnson Family Foundation, started in 1987 by Paul Johnson to help promote and restore the province’s cultural heritage. A recipient of multiple awards — including an Order of Canada and an Order of Newfoundland and Labrador — Johnson, now in his mid-70s, is the man behind the vision of the Grand Concourse, as well as much of its funding. Known for shying away from

Addison Bown along the Rennies River trail in St. John’s.

Paul Daly/The Independent

Made for walking Grand Concourse Authority continues cutting trails through greater St. John’s area the media spotlight, Johnson’s name has become synonymous with preserving the natural and historic beauty of the province. Grand concourse’s funding also comes from as many as 15 partners, Brown says, including a large bulk from ACOA (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) and Services

Canada (formerly Human Resources Development Canada). In 1989, the Johnson Foundation built a lookout around Cabot Tower on Signal Hill, a project that evolved four years later into the beginning of the grand concourse, with a vision to connect Quidi Vidi Lake to Signal Hill. Since then the miles upon miles of

work carried out has also included other projects such as the Johnson GEO Centre and the Railway Coastal Museum. As many as 1,100 people have worked on the walkways and park infrastructure over the years and many of those were trained specifically for the task, with the help of the College of

the North Atlantic. “We sent our crew out, got them trained, they came back and built projects,” says Bown, “and many of those people, now, are in demand.” After building a trail, he says the Grand Concourse Authority keeps an eye on it for a year to assess any maintenance or possible problems, and then

succeeded.” Keough said Newfoundland was geared to serve the world — “not to serve ourselves. “If next year the fishery fails or we can’t sell the fish, then we all know that many a family economy will go out at the elbows and down at the heels overnight … fish in this island is still a matter of life or death.” Keough said the national convention should have been held later, in 1950 or ’51, by which time the impact of the war would have faded. “Indeed, everything would seem to indicate that our only hope of ever coming by such services (that western people enjoy) would be by subsidy from the outside.” The background for this column is taken from The Newfoundland National Convention, 1946-1948, by James Hiller and the late Michael Harrington, available through the Newfoundland Historical Society and various retail outlets.

passes it on to the relevant municipality. The City of St. John’s currently contracts the authority for upkeep work. “The fact that we’re doing maintenance, its security on the trails too. Our crews, from spring to fall, they cover every trail twice a week.” Some of the major work finished this year includes the Janeway play garden (“It’s a beautiful spot that accommodates all the kids down there whether they’re in a wheelchair or in a stretcher.”) and a brand new skate park at Mundy Pond. As well as being two of the grand concourse’s most expensive projects. Bown says they are also two of “the best things” they’ve ever done. Some upcoming grand concourse projects include building a park for the Johnson GEO Centre on Signal Hill and a trail system around the wooded areas of the Rotary Sunshine Park. As someone who loves to get outside himself, Bown says he would like to see more trail networks incorporated in the west end of St. John’s, out towards Goulds and Kilbride. He’s also concerned about the many new large-scale developments in the city, which are often planned without any design consideration for walkers — making future trail construction more expensive. “The walkway should be incorporated,” says Bown. “Let’s look at Kenmount Road, those sub divisions are gone in there, where do those people go for a walk? And it’s so close to connect to the Botanical Gardens.” The Grand Concourse Authority and the Johnson Family Foundation have received lots of recognition over the years. Most recently the grand concourse’s Walkway Maintenance Manual, published in 2004, won a 2005 National Honour Award from the American Society of Landscape Artists. More important than awards, is the opinion of the general public, the people who use the system on a regular basis. “We get several letters, e-mails, from people,” says Bown. “I got one just a couple of days ago, this guy sent a note and thanked us for the great job we’re doing and hoped that we’re here forever.” He says the health benefits of being able to walk out and about are so important. “There was another letter we had from someone, they said they think we’ve saved more lives than the Health Sciences (Centre).”

YOUR VOICE Doctor doctor, give Efford the news

Watson spreading Newfoundland hate?

Dear editor, I see where John Efford has taken a “week off” to go to Florida for “health reasons.” I thought he had taken the last few years off! Maybe he should have travelled to Lourdes, France. He could have a miracle cure and instead of referring to him as the “Honourable John” we could then call him “Saint John.” Does this man think Newfoundlanders are truly so stupid as to believe him when he says, “I’m so sick, I can’t go to work, but I can travel to Florida.” His communications director says his doctor suggested he go to Florida for “health reasons.” I would suggest Dr. Paul (Martin) sent him there because John threatened to go back to Ottawa. All Martin needs now is to have Efford in Ottawa for the Conservatives and the NDP to play ping pong with

Dear editor, I recently read and re-read and read again the article by Alisha Morrissey, Bigotry on ice (Nov. 6-12 edition of The Independent). The reason for my reading the article a number of times was the “stab of fear” generated by my first reading. In the past I have read and researched many articles, books and historical literature on the Holocaust — particularly related to the 1918-1945 period, including the infamous Hitler and Nazi era. Certainly I could not, nor would not, associate Paul Watson with the depraved and insane activities practiced by the Nazi party, its thugs nor its leaders — Hitler, Bormann, Eichmann, Hydrich, et al. I was, however, alerted by several comments in the article similar to the “hatred” elements of Hitler’s (Nazi) persecution of the Jewish race. I feel that these elements constitute a hatred of a race (Newfoundlanders as a people). Can one expect more of this type of rhetoric to be expanded to Nova Scotia sealers and Nova Scotians, to Quebec sealers and Quebecois — where will it stop? It is important that people

… poor John. Maybe this trip to Florida will bring John to his senses and he will do the honourable thing and resign so Martin can appoint someone who will really represent Newfoundland because we have not enjoyed representation in Ottawa for a long, long while. Wake up John. The majority of Newfoundlanders don’t want you anymore. Do the decent thing and resign. We all know you won’t run again due to “illness” (chuckle chuckle). You won’t run because you know and all Newfoundlanders know, you will never be elected again (unless you visit Lourdes) and then only maybe . Goodbye John. Don Lester, Conception Bay South

The Little Red Caboose at Cape St. Francis

should be aware and alerted to the danger of this spreading blight and I feel that thinking people will react with the same fear and revulsion that I experienced. I would feel comfortable and somewhat vindicated if your paper would expand on this story by researching the potential for identifying this material as “hate literature” and that it is unacceptable in civilized society. Certainly by championing this cause you will add to the respect and stature of the Independent news — as evidenced by other causes you supported in the past. Walter Andrews, St. John’s

Dear editor, As an admirer and subscriber of The Independent who’s isolated on the mainland for large parts of the year, I want to entice your readers with a special story from the northeast Avalon. This Monday evening (Nov. 14), CBC Radio One’s Outfront program will feature the Little Red Caboose at Cape St. Francis, with audio glimpses into its fascinating history and its new life as my family’s “pied a terre” in Newfoundland. When I first saw the caboose on a shining April day two years ago, I was back in Newfoundland on another of many fond pilgrimages to the land of my father’s birth. At the end of a rugged road we came upon it, incongruous — a little bit of human coziness squatting between the rock and patches of snow, the dazzling sea leaping and

receding on the craggy shore just below. That day began my love affair with this old wooden caboose, which has won the hearts of all who’ve seen it ever since Harry and Viola Butt of Pouch Cove adopted it and moved it out to the Cape as a fishing cabin 40 years ago. Now it is bonding me and my children and grandchildren ever more strongly to our Newfoundland heritage and to the future of that brave and beautiful island. This is the story I share on Outfront. The program, produced by Marie Wadden in St. John’s, will air at 9:13 p.m. on CBC Radio One. I hope readers of The Independent will enjoy it. Helen Forsey, Ompah, Ont.

Meredith Hall

Christianne Rushton

David Pomeroy

Calvin Powell

Handel’s Messiah Friday & Saturday, December 9 & 10, 2005 Basilica of St. John the Baptist – 8pm

Douglas Dunsmore conductor Meredith Hall soprano Christianne Rushton mezzo-soprano David Pomeroy tenor Calvin Powell baritone Philharmonic Choir of the NSO

A traditional way to begin the Christmas season—a performance of Handel’s Messiah in the magnificent setting of the Basilica. Mezzo-soprano Christianne Rushton joins Newfoundlanders Meredith Hall, David Pomeroy, and Calvin Powell for this ever popular oratorio. Tickets: $25/$21; $20/$17; $13/$11 Not available at the door. Available at: NSO Office 722-4441 Bennington Gate, Churchill Sq. 576-6600 Jungle Jims, Torbay Rd. 722-0261 Jungle Jims, Topsail Rd. 745-6060 Fred’s Records, Duckworth St. 753-9191 Provincial Music, Campbell Ave. 579-2641 The Guv’nor, Elizabeth Ave. 726-0092

Peter Gardner General & Artistic Director Principal Conductor Marc David

NOVEMBER 13, 2005



‘He loved seeing people come through the door’ LAWRENCE (LAR) CROCKER 1920-1991 The Independent, April 12, 1948

FROM THE BAY “The final report from the whalers Morellas and Cabot, at Hawke’s Harbour, gave them 157 fish (whales) and the Cachelot at Rose au Rue 128. Operations are now over … last year the catch was over 300.” — Family Fireside, November 1926 YEARS PAST “Fish is no longer fish according to the rumours on the go this year. Cod will at last come into its own when fishermen will have to make the hard choice between salting or selling fresh. — Fogo Islander, May 1972 AROUND THE WORLD “Evel Kinevel, who used to defy death by trying to leap motorcycles over canyons and busses, has turned to the quiet life of the artist.” — The Daily News, Nov. 26, 1983 EDITORIAL STAND “Reports of dull times come from all parts of the Island, and the wolf is with difficulty kept from the door of many an industrious man. In some districts the special grants, or thereof, are being expended upon public works, to provide labour for those in need.” — The Evening Mercury, Feb. 9, 1885 LETTER TO THE EDITOR “Up to the present, during my political career, some unseen “caressing presence” must have been around me, for success has waited in my train. Shall that success continue unbroken? I fear that it will not.” Signed Biancas M.H.A — The Indicator, May 1888 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “On the mainland what you see on TV about Newfoundland; what you see in magazines and newspapers are pictures of the outports, fishing boats and the like. I would like them to see some of the buildings we have in St. John’s, like the Royal Trust, Memorial University, Confederation Building. I would like them to see the new housing developments, the beautiful homes … not fish stages and fishermen all the time.” Bob Tulk, the Newfie Joke Man. — The Free Press, April 28, 1971

By Darcy MacRae The Independent


or many years, there was no more popular man in downtown St. John’s than Lawrence Crocker. Lar, as he was better known, was the face of Lar’s Fruit Mart until he passed away in 1991, proudly operating the business he loved with his wife, Winnie. With his friendly smile and welcoming demeanour, Lar touched many people. “Oh dear God almighty, everybody knew Lar,” says Ray Fennelly, a longtime customer and friend of the storeowner and his wife. “I knew Lar from the first time I made a trip into St. John’s. When we’d be in from the Southern Shore the last stop we’d make was into Lar’s and dad would buy us a custard cone. That was the last stop every time we came to town.” Fennelly was just six years old the first time he entered Lar’s. He remembers walking into a spotless building with shinny fresh fruit laid out in a mouth-watering manner. The beautiful display declared that Lar was proud of his store and its products. “That was obvious when you walked through the door,” says Fennelly. “You walk through the door and the shop was as neat as a pin. Everything was always put in a perfect place. It was all laid out beautifully.” While the fruit may have caught their attention, customers were soon greeted by a friendly smile and sincere hello from Lar himself. Like the stunning fruit on display, Lar was also a striking figure. “Lar was just such a handsome man — he was a really elegant looking man,” Fennelly says. “He always dressed so nicely. He was always dressed in black and white and looked like somebody out of a movie. And he was as sweet as you could possibly dream. He was just a gentle, wonderful human being.” Lar’s Fruit Mart was a downtown staple for decades, as was Lar. Visiting his store for an ice cream, some fresh fruit or a cold drink was a regular event for many people. “It (the store) was the essence of downtown St. John’s,” Fennelly says. “You talk to anybody who grew up in St. John’s and ask them what they did on a Sunday, if they were from anywhere close to downtown — if they were from town, period — they had a custard cone on a Sunday at Lar’s. It was a big deal. People would be going home after church and they’d always drop in at Lar’s.” While he was known for operating a

Lar Crocker outside his shop in downtown St. John’s.

thriving business, Lar also had a reputation for his generosity. Stories are told to this day of children from downtown St. John’s, many of whom could not afford fresh fruit, standing outside the windows of Lar’s Fruit Mart and admiring the fine selection of fruit inside. On many an occasion, Lar would take one look at the children and soon make his way outside with an apple, orange or some other delicious snack for the wide-eyed youngsters. Even after his death in 1991, Lar’s Fruit Mart continued to be a big part of the downtown community. Run solely

by Winnie Crocker, the store maintained its character. “It was always popular — it never lost its charm,” Fennelly says. Lar’s Fruit Mart was sold to John Breen in 2003, becoming one of several Breen’s Convenience Stores in the city. A plaque commemorating the store run by Lar and Winnie hangs on a wall in the building today. “It’s a tribute to Lar and Winnie Crocker,” says John Breen. “The customers who came in after we bought it always spoke about how nice he (Lar) was and the type of stuff he did. I

Photo by Ray Fennelly

wanted to keep the history going — it was a landmark downtown for years. I wanted visitors from out of town to know what was there before I took it over.” The plaque hanging in Breen’s helps preserve the memory of one of the city’s most beloved shopkeepers — a fitting tribute to a true gentlemen, says Fennelly. “He loved life, he loved being a part of the community,” Fennelly says. “He loved seeing people come through the door.”



Cars burned during riots are stacked up at Strasbourg's city impound lot. The French government approved emergency measures last week to allow curfews to be imposed in riot-hit areas after youths torched more than 1,000 vehicles in yet another night of unrest across the country. Vincent Kessler/Reuters

‘Cast aside’ by France

Family members speak out about the incident that started all the riots — and where to go from here CLICHY-SOUS-BOIS, FRANCE By Sandro Contenta Torstar wire service


ouna Traore’s mother was cooking his favourite dish when the lights went out in her neighbourhood. This was no ordinary blackout in the impoverished La Pama district on the outskirts of Paris. Just a short walk from the apartment, 15year-old Bouna lay dead, electrocuted after hiding from police inside a transformer in an electrical substation, triggering the blackout. Also burnt to death was his friend and soccer mate, Zyed Benna, 17. “She never thought that it was because her son had died,” Bana Traore, Bouna’s 22-year-old sister, says. Reports police had chased two teenagers to their deaths spread quickly through the complex of four-storey apartment buildings that evening of Oct. 27. Within hours, youths began burning cars and confronting police in violent protests that would spread

to cities across France, forcing the govern- has not spoken publicly about Bouna’s ment to impose a state of emergency and death and the chaos that followed. casting a glare of publicity on festering Late last week, his parents accompanied problems of immigration and discrimina- his body back to their ancestral African viltion. lage of Diaguly in Facing unrest not Mauritania. They seen since the student When they needed us in the brought all of Bouna’s riots of the 1960s, clothes to distribute, some French towns war, they used Africans as according to the cusare now locked down tom of their village, to shields for the French sol- people poorer than by nighttime curfews after more than 6,000 themselves. diers by putting us on the cars were torched and Bouna will be 1,500 people buried next to his front lines.” detained. grandfather, who setThe accidental tled in France after Fatoumata Traore deaths of Bouna and fighting as a French Zyed, and the two soldier with Allied weeks of unrest they triggered, have turned forces in World War II. the teenagers into symbols of France’s fail“When they needed us in the war, they ure to integrate its citizens of ethnic minor- used Africans as shields for the French solity backgrounds, particularly its five mil- diers by putting us on the front lines. Now lion Muslims. that they don’t need us any more, they cast Aside from a statement by Bouna’s us aside,” says Bouna’s aunt, Fatoumata. brother Siyakah urging calm, the family Her anger stems from a life on the mar-

gins of French society, where ethnic minorities often live segregated in impoverished neighbourhoods on the outskirts of cities, struggling with unemployment and dropout rates significantly higher than the national average. At the housing estate Bouna called home, the walls are scrawled with graffiti tributes: “Bouna rest in peace.” Bouna’s father, Seydou, works as a street cleaner for the city of Paris and his mother, Tonkhonte, does odd jobs when she can. Together they were able to buy their apartment in La Pama, a private housing complex filled with residents of Arab, African and Turkish backgrounds. Bouna was one of 11 children in his family, all born in Paris and most still living in their three-bedroom apartment. He was a gifted soccer player and dreamed of one day becoming a professional. He loved rap music, dancing and looking good. “He was always looking at himself in the See “Children rejected,” page 14

The achievements of a real-life Braveheart

How could the government of our country have so completely ignored the gallantry of this extraordinary person?


he Magnificent Seven will never be the same. Like a lot of people, I suspect, I used to think of the cowboy picture starring the bald guy and Steve McQueen. Then I found out about the Seven Canadians who, on a single day in World War 1, September 2, 1918, earned the Victoria Cross. There were no props, no special effects, no stunt men for our forces fighting east of Arras, France on that day. Only the heavily fortified Drocourt-Queant Line, a maze of trenches, pill-boxes and machine-gun nests occupied by the Germans. The death business, as all these young men found out, was very well organized that day in the muddy battlefields of France. One of the Magnificent Seven,

MICHAEL HARRIS The Outrider Claude Nunney, shines like Mars on a crisp autumn night. Private Nunney may be Ottawa’s most under-appreciated warrior, along with Newfoundland’s famed Blue Puttees and the heroes of Kap-Yong in Korea. Only 94 Canadians have been awarded the Victoria Cross, the Commonwealth’s highest medal for uncommon valor. But Nunney is the only man from the ranks who was also awarded the Military Medal (MM) and the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM).

Consider the achievements of this Bishop, Nunney, a member of the 38th real-life Braveheart. At Avion, (Ottawa) Canadian Infantry Battalion, machine-gunner Nunney played a left his post at company headquarters hero’s role in the attack on enemy and “scrambled through the bombardtrenches. At Vimy ment to lead and Ridge, where Canadian encourage his comNunney’s war soldiers faced the sperades by example.” cial horror of mustard set the stage for record doesn’t need That gas, Nunney won his Claude Nunney’s last DCM for repelling 20 embellishment but battle. attacking Germans even The next day, though he himself was Canadian forces history provides it wounded. And then attacked the Germans there was his finest hour and Nunney was all the same. — and the last days of badly wounded. his young life. On September 1, 1918, Refusing to leave the field, he took the Nunney rallied Canadian soldiers who lead position in front of the attacking faced a deadly German counter-attack Canadian infantry, “often 50 to 75 around Vis-en-Artois. yards ahead” of his comrades, taking According to historian Arthur out 25 German gunners. Then Nunney

was wounded a second time and died 16 days later of his wounds. He was just 25. Nunney’s war record doesn’t need embellishment but history provides it all the same. He was not your average Canadian kid who grew up with the support of a loving family and then went off to protect King and country when duty called. No, Claude Nunney was a “home-boy.” These were Britain’s tragic, poor children who were sent to the Dominions as a means of relieving slum conditions in places like east-end London. The idea was the brainchild of an obscure police magistrate, Robert Chalmers, who told a committee of the See “Governor General,” page 12

NOVEMBER 13, 2005


With enemies like Layton, who needs friends? By Chantal Hébert Torstar wire service

for a lose-lose parliamentary showdown. Last spring, the Liberals went to unprecedented lengths to dodge a fatal election bullet. But over the next few weeks, the country will be treated to the spectacle of Layton and Stephen Harper playing Russian roulette.


ven if Prime Minister Paul Martin had offered Jack Layton the moon, chances are the NDP leader would still have withdrawn his support from the minority government this week. Ever since he co-authored a federal budget last spring, Layton has needed an issue to differentiate himself from the Liberals in the next election more than he has needed further policy concessions. With time running out on this Parliament, he could hardly have afforded to take yes for an answer to his demands. By setting his sights squarely on medicare he was also unlikely to ever have to make that choice. To meet the NDP bottom line, Martin would have had to resolve to run the next election against a rainbow coalition of vocal premiers. It is not just Alberta’s Ralph Klein or Quebec’s Jean Charest who would not tolerate further federal encroachments on the way they operate their province’s health systems. And so, Conservative leader Stephen Harper had it wrong Monday. The NDP’s change of heart was not so much part of a strategy to wrestle a better deal from the government on medicare as a clumsy attempt to distinguish itself from the Liberals. It is clumsy because Martin may ultimately be better off without a deal on medicare and without NDP support and Layton will be far worse off for taking the knife to Parliament. In the same way that the public eventually connected the dots between tax cuts and shrinking essential services, there may come a time when

Jack Layton, federal NDP leader

Chris Wattie/Reuters

the privatization of the health-care system becomes a galvanizing election issue. But that time is neither this fall nor next spring. With the delivery of health services on the mend in many provinces for the first time in a decade, the NDP choice of a crusade is, to say the least, counterintuitive. While Canadians rarely miss an occasion to

express their attachment to a public health-care system, they are ultimately less interested in the theory of medicare than they are in its daily practice. That’s why the Martin government is more eager to press the provinces to reduce wait times than it is to hound the private sector out of the public system. In the process, Layton has also set himself up

PULL THE PLUG As the first of what will almost certainly be a string of polls showed yesterday, the Liberals are recovering quickly from the latest sponsorship hit. The two national opposition parties may be poised to pull the plug on a government that will increasingly have more of an interest in going to the polls than they do. As a bonus, Layton is basically doing Liberal work, helping to frame the election question to the government’s advantage. The renewed threat to the life of the minority government has had the effect of relegating every other federal issue to the background. As of now, headlines will focus not on corruption or the NDP’s chosen health-care battle horse but on the gamesmanship between the opposition parties and the related issue of the instability of a minority Parliament. While the opposition dithers, the government will be shoring up its fortunes with an economic statement on Monday and, if time allows, a federal-provincial summit on aboriginal affairs and a major international conference on the environment. The only winner is the Bloc Québécois. From its perspective, the sooner Quebecers go to the polls, the better. Now Gilles Duceppe may get his wish without having to share the blame of initiating an unpopular winter election.

Governor General could show she understands the soul of Canada From page 11 British Parliament dealing with emigration: “I conceive that London has got too full of children.” Chalmers suggested, and authorities later agreed, that Britain’s “surplus children” be sent to Canada as farm labour. Nunney arrived here in 1905 aboard the S.S. Tunisian from Harron Road School, London, England. Officially, this poor, 13-year-old orphan and several of his siblings were wards of St. George’s Home in Ottawa. (St. George’s received its last home-children in 1934, but the building still

exists across from the Grace Hospital. Today it is Holy Rosary Parish.) St. George’s placed Nunney in South Glengarry County on the farm of Mrs. Donald Roy McDonald. This loving woman adopted Claude and sent him to school and allowed him to work on neighbouring farms for pocket money. Life was not as kind to his brothers and sisters. One of his brothers, George, drowned in the Jock River, near present day Barhaven. A sister, Eve, was sent to Montreal as a domestic and disappeared from the public record. Eventually, the practice of receiving

these child emigrants attracted serious critics, including Charlotte Whitton, famous former mayor of Ottawa, and James S. Woodsworth, leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. In 1924, Woodsworth told the House of Commons: “We are bringing children into Canada in the guise of philanthropy, and turning them into cheap labour.” So how could it be that a rootless child sent across the Atlantic to a foreign country could end, so tragically young, as one of the greatest war heroes of our nation? And even more pressing, how could the government of our coun-

try have so completely ignored the gallantry of this extraordinary person? I don’t know the answer to that question but I know an amazing man who wants to do something about it. Renfrew resident, Dave Lorente, whose own father was a “home-boy,” has written to both the National Capital Commission and the Canadian Heritage department with a special request. Dave wants to see a monument, perhaps more than one, erected to honor the extraordinary valor of Claude Nunney, soldier and home-boy. Regrettably, no one seems interested. Except, of course, Dave. On January

23, 1991, Dave hosted a reunion of home-boys at his own home in Renfrew. More than that, he traveled to the United Kingdom and presented a brief to the House of Commons on the subject of Britain’s emigrant children. As a result of his and other people’s tireless work, the British Government decided in 1998 to erect monuments to Britain’s emigrant children in the former receiving countries. If our new Governor General wants to show the country she understands the soul of this big land, honoring a homeboy and a hero who gave all for Canada would be an excellent way to begin.

NOVEMBER 13, 2005


‘Here there’s nothing … just rock’ Gerald Ralph adjusts to a new career, new baby, and new pace of life in Iqaluit By Stephanie Porter The Independent


Gerald and Sheri Ralph with daughter Jocelyn.

couple of weeks ago, ran a tribute “to all our Newfoundlanders here,” including a recipe for Jiggs dinner. “Many Newfoundlanders don’t find the landscape alienating,” he says. “Remember, we’re 3,000 kilometres north of the tree line here. “But for me, I always had an affinity, if it wasn’t the sea, well I always had trees around me, even stunted trees. Here there’s nothing at all, just rock. It looks like coming into Port aux Basques. “My first view of this place was daunting; you’re three hours from civilization. It was exciting and scary … everybody tells you that first winter is the test and we got through that.” Ralph says winter means about three months of dark, –35 C weather — and that’s without the wind-chill factor. On New Year’s Eve, on one of those extra cold days (closer to –65 C), Sheri

“I say things move slowly. But I bet if you spoke to an Inuit person they’d say they’re moving much too fast.” Gerald Ralph Ralph gave birth to the couple’s first child, Jocelyn. Raising a child in the north has proven OK so far — Ralph was allowed 13 weeks of parental leave; the family orders groceries from Montreal every second week (even with the postage — subsidized by the government — the food is cheaper than at the local grocer).

But an unexpected hurdle hit the new parents last May, as 24-hour daylight kicked in. “We were getting about two hours sleep a night because our child would not go to sleep,” he says. “We had garbage bags up in the window … she might settle down at 12:30 a.m., up at 3 a.m. A month before, she had been sleeping through the night.” They left for a couple months of summer holidays in June — and none too soon. There are other challenges to life in Iqaluit: there’s a major housing shortage; the Ralphs have been on a day care waiting list since Sheri was three months pregnant; and it’s about $1,500 for an air ticket to Ottawa. The two general stores are low on selection and high on price, so much so that the Ralphs, while “down south” for the summer, bought about $8,000 worth of

Do you know a Newfoundlander or Labradorian living away? Please email

Have you noticed the benefits our oil and gas industry is bringing to Newfoundland and Labrador?

Growth in the construction and housing sectors.

Place Bonaventure, St. John’s, NL

hen Gerald Ralph was preparing to move to Nunavut, he was given one piece of advice. “Be patient because everything proceeds at a snail’s pace,” Ralph recites, laughing. A year-and-a-half later, the Grand Falls native has long since discovered that not only is that statement accurate — it might even have been generous. There are positive points — much of the delay in his workday comes from extreme consultation and consensus building — but then there are the more trying consequences of the laid-back atmosphere. Like the week last year Ralph and his wife spent huddled in their apartment, waiting for someone to come and fix their door. Ralph graduated from Dalhousie law school in 2000 and spent the next two years as a lawyer at a private firm in St. John’s. Two years later, he took a position as a clerk at the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal. Two years later again, he decided he was ready for another change. “I’d been saying I wanted to do policy work since law school,” begins Ralph. He applied for and got a job as senior policy analyst in the human resources department with the Government of Nunavut. “What got me here? Well, there’s the excitement of a new jurisdiction, this is a new place, created in 1999 … just cutting its teeth. There are so many pieces of legislation, just creating it for the first time. It’s a real chance to get it right, I’m excited about that.” Ralph was pleased to hear Canada’s newest territory was home to a number of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians — but again, he didn’t quite expect what he found. “We guesstimate we’re the next most common origin of people next to Inuit,” he says. “The population is 60 per cent Inuit, 25 per cent Newfoundlanders. People come for six months and stay for 10 years, people come for a year and stay for two and go back.” That means there’s salt beef at the store and Purity hard bread on the shelves. The local newspaper, just a

non-perishables, packed them in a container, and shipped them to their new home. As for his job, Ralph’s main project is a review of public service legislation. The current act was brought forward from the Government of the Northwest Territories, and has been used in Nunavut for the past six years. “We’re trying to make the act more reflective of Inuit societal values,” Ralph explains. “For example, we’re exploring having dispute resolution mechanisms … and there is a concept of a peacemaker in Inuit culture … not so much a mediator, but someone who could act as a go-between to settle matters.” Ralph is also responsible for communication support for the minister, and handles access to information requests. “It’s a challenge, this is such a small jurisdiction that everybody up here is doing one-and-a-half or two jobs. Or three jobs, as the case may be.” The work itself, though slow moving — Ralph fears it may be quite a while before he’ll have a real sense of accomplishment from any of his projects — is interesting. “Here’s an example: they started reviewing the education act before Nunavut came into being in 1999. So they started this in 1998 or 1997, and they’re proposing to have a new act into the legislature sometime next year. “We might be into 2009 or 2010 before the act we’re looking at now gets introduced to the House. “It’s frustrating, but at the same time, I think whether we’re here for six more months or six more years I think I’ll always look back on this time (fondly) because everything is so new, there’s so much under development.” Iqaluit currently has a population of about 6,500 people — it’s still a small place, by most Canadian standards, but certainly booming compared to the 2,500 residents who were there a decade ago. “I say things move slowly,” says Ralph. “But I bet if you spoke to an Inuit person they’d say they’re moving much too fast.”

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Shortcut sham mars marathon Scott Simmie Torstar wire service


ome members of a prominent Toronto runner’s group deliberately skipped several miles of the 26.2-mile route during the recent U.S. Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. — then accepted medals for “finishing” the event. “The preliminary finding is that someone in the JeansMarines organization, one of the coaches, assisted the runners into circumventing the course,” says Rick Nealis, the marathon’s race director. Now, the Marine Corps wants those medals back. And the founder of JeansMarines — who assisted with the

shortcut — has written members asking any runners who did not fully complete the entire 42-kilometre course to return them. “... I feel at this point that we are ... obliged to maintain the integrity and the unfaltering spirit of JeansMarines,” wrote Jean Marmoreo in an e-mail. “In order to do this, I believe we have no recourse other than to return any medal that doesn’t represent the total distance in the specified seven hour time limit.” On Oct. 30, just over 20,000 people crossed the starting line for the 30th annual Marine Corps Marathon. Among them were about 225 members of JeansMarines — a group whose motto is “Yes, ma’am. You can do a marathon.”

Nearly all of the 225 were women — some of whom had never run a marathon but had trained to walk or run the event. Ahead of them lay a course with strict time limits: finish the 26.2 miles in seven hours or you’re out; reach the 14th street bridge within 5 1/2 hours or you’re out. THE PEOPLE’S MARATHON There’s no cash prize in this, also known as “The People’s Marathon.” But there’s a reward when you cross the finish line: a treasured “finisher’s medal,” is placed around the neck of every successful participant. Under the guidance of founder Marmoreo, some of the slowest runners

were encouraged to take a shortcut. They left the route and rejoined it, shaving off several miles and ensuring that they would be able to reach the key bridge and finish the event within the seven-hour limit. Bob Ramsay, Marmoreo’s husband, insists they’re not the first to cut this particular corner. At least one charity has used the same shortcut in the past and did so again this year, he says. “Runners spotted people running across the Washington Monument Mall,” says race director Nealis. It wasn’t long before he was receiving emails about the incident — and others were posting on runner’s forums about witnessing both JeansMarines and a leukemia support group breaking the

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rules. Ramsay, though admitting what JeansMarines did was wrong, says the motives were pure. “One of the people (taken on the shortcut) is severely mentally retarded. And that person was taken across and finished and got his medal and is proud as punch.” Well, OK. Observers might sympathize with the temptation to assist someone with developmental challenges. But taking eight or nine people on a forbidden shortcut? “Her (Marmoreo’s) only desire was to help her slowest little birds make it to the finish line,” Ramsay says. He says his wife was feeling pretty crummy about the whole affair, and would not be available for comment. “Jean is a dear lady, but perhaps a victim of her own success,” says one Marine Corps marathoner. “She’s encouraged so many women to take up running, the ranks now include people who just aren’t able to do a full marathon.” Nealis also says members of JeansMarines weren’t the only ones to skirt the rules. Between 150 and 200 others finished without following the full course, he says.

Children rejected by both sides From page 11 mirror,” Bana says. Bana says her brother was well integrated. But her aunt describes him as caught between two worlds. “The children born here are rejected by both sides: in France they see them as Africans and in Africa they’re seen as French,” says Fatoumata, 40. The day he died, Bouna walked to a nearby middle-class neighbourhood to meet his friends for a game of soccer. “That neighbourhood has everything — tennis courts, soccer field, cinemas, a clinic. Here, we have nothing,” Bana says. What happened after the game finished is unclear. Bana says her brother and his friends were simply hanging out in a group when police arrived in a hurry. Startled, the teenagers ran, eager to avoid identity checks that youths say often lead to long interrogations. “My brother was never in trouble with the police, but he was afraid of them,” Bana says. “The truth is that the police here are usually violent. They have no respect for us.” Police say they arrived to investigate a break-in at a construction site. Six youths were arrested and later released. Police insist they didn’t chase Bouna and two of his friends into the electrical station. But one of the youths who survived the accident, 17-year-old Muttin Altun, has said through his lawyer that they did.

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NEED PROTECTION “The police knew that they were chasing them into someplace dangerous,” says Bana. “They should have just stopped chasing them. They should have protected them instead.” Bana says police didn’t inform the family of the accident. Her parents learned of it when Bouna’s friends knocked on the door with the news, about two-and-a-half hours after his death. Bouna’s father raced to the scene of the accident. “He wanted his son to get up for him. He couldn’t believe that his son was dead,” says Bana, whose family has called for an independent inquiry into the deaths. “We thought the riots were crazy. They won’t bring back my brother; they won’t solve anything,” Bana says. Like many young people in the Paris suburbs, Bana believes the riots were fuelled by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy describing impoverished and segregated neighbourhoods as places that had to be cleaned of “scum.” She’s taking courses to become a medical secretary. In the meantime, she says she has difficulty even finding work as a cleaner. She says employers will often tell her over the telephone that they have work and ask her to forward a CV. “I send it and I never hear back. I’m sure it’s because I have an African name. There’s racism in everything in France, in housing, jobs, school — everything,” she says. She’s spent her whole life in France, but since her brother’s death, she’s not sure if she can continue calling it home. “If things remain as racist as they are, if we continue to be rejected as French citizens, maybe I’ll move,” she says.

NOVEMBER 13, 2005


White House aides lectured on leaks Top U.S. officials sent to ethics classes; CIA jail report sparks call for new probe WASHINGTON By Tim Harper Torstar wire service

about security precautions for handling classified information. “The briefings will include the rules and laws relating to classified information and what’s expected of people,” he says. thics classes for White House staffers. While class was in, the Republican leadership Calls for a new probe over so-called demanded a probe into the leaking of informa“black sites.” tion about clandestine CIA prisons in the former Republicans pointing fingers at Republicans. Soviet bloc. It was leaked to the Washington And the return of one of the most storied leak- Post and that newspaper’s revelations have put ers in recent history. the White House on the defensive over Suddenly, everyone in the U.S. capital is American use of torture. obsessed with leaks, an outgrowth of almost two “If accurate, such an egregious disclosure weeks of fierce partisan battle stemming from could have long-term and far-reaching damaging the CIA leak affair. and dangerous conseWith Capitol Hill in a quences, and will imperil lather over leaks, a seriour efforts to protect the ous issue was devolving American people and our into comedy. homeland from terrorist While President Bush was While U.S. President attacks,” says Republican sending the first wave of George W. Bush was Senate leader Bill Frist and sending the first wave of House of Representatives 3,000 White House staffers Speaker Dennis Hastert in 3,000 White House staffers to mandatory a letter to Senate and to refresher classes on refresher classes on House intelligence comethics, his administration mittee chairmen. ethics, his administration was welcoming Iraqi Not so fast, says deputy prime minister was welcoming Iraqi deputy Republican Senator Trent Ahmad Chalabi back to Lott of Mississippi. He said Washington. the story appeared in the prime minister Ahmad That is the same Post a day after Cheney Chalabi to Washington. Chalabi who is still under briefed Republican senaFBI investigation for tors about the secret sites. allegedly leaking “There’s no question that American intelligence to there was a discussion to a Iran and is widely believed to be the source of Washington Post reporter by a staff person who much of the disinformation leaked to willing apparently knew everything that went on there journalists, aiding the White House in its rush to last Tuesday,” says Lott, pointing to the room war in Iraq. where the meeting was held. Among those who attended the first day of “I just think we spend too much time around ethics school was White House chief of staff here chasing rabbits. You give 10 senators inforAndrew Card and counsel — and former mation, it’s going to get out. So what are you Supreme Court nominee — Harriet Miers. going to prove here?” Another student was David Addington, who The White House ethics class was a response replaced Lewis “Scooter” Libby as Vice- to the case in which officials were accused of President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff after leaking Plame’s name. She was identified in Libby was charged with lying about his role in print by syndicated columnist Robert Novak. leaking the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame. The classes drew disdain from Democrats, but Deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, still under satirists had a field day. Jon Stewart, host of The investigation for his role in the case, heads to the Daily Show, shared some mock school questions classroom today. with his audience Monday night. One classroom White House spokesperson Scott McClellan task cited by Stewart: “Draw a CIA agent. Now says the hour-long briefings remind staffers fax your drawing to Bob Novak.”


Carl Bernstein (L) and Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. Jason Reed/Reuters

Watergate ace says today’s news rushed functional.” What a contrast to words spoken last week by another Pulitzer prize-winning U.S. investigative unday afternoon at the Royal York Hotel, the reporter, Seymour Hersh, who was in town to Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, best address the Canadian Journalists for Free known for his Pulitzer prize-winning work Expression. with Carl Bernstein on the Watergate scandal, So I had to ask Woodward, how will his speech found himself giving an impromptu half-hour differ from the one Hersh, who broke the stories of “journalism seminar’’ for four young local Vietnam’s My Lai massacre and Iraq’s Abu Ghraib reporters … and me. prison torture scandal, gave? We asked him about the state of the fourth estate “He has very strong conclusions and judgments south of the border, and how it has fared since about the war,’’ replied Woodward. “My approach 2001 when President George W. Bush entered the is reportorial: to find out what happened as best I White House. Woodward has spent a lot of time in can and let people make their own judgments Bush’s company, writing two books and now about the war. working on a third. “It’s not necessary (for me) to make judgments.” He clearly had expected the reporters gathered And yet rushing to judgment is what so much of on a slow news Sunday to ask about the White the U.S. news media are about right now. House, but we have different questions on our “It’s a new type of journalism that gives us the minds. Like what he thinks of latest,’’ Woodward agreed. “But how the media has covered it doesn’t tell us what really hapBush’s wars. pened.” “There are a lot of “Impatience, speed tend to Which is why Woodward dominate everything,” he doesn’t read the political blogs, people on both sides replied in his distinctive drawl many of which have turned on and disjointed sentences. him, most recently for his who take facts that “Cable news, the Internet. I appearance last month on always find that you do better CNN’s Larry King Live where they can use as a work if you spend weeks, he seemed to be defending I. months, even years on someLewis (Scooter) Libby, Vicepolitical weapon … thing. There’s not a tendency in President Dick Cheney’s former So? Been there, the media to do that now. In top aide, who was charged last Watergate we could work week with perjury, obstruction done that.” weeks on a story. After the Iraq of justice and giving false testiwar started, the Post gave me a mony. Bob Woodward full year to find out why we “There are a lot of people on went to war and what hapboth sides who take facts that pened. I think we are continualthey can use as a political ly rushing for the incremental advance (but) we weapon,’’ Woodward said. “So? Been there, done have to get to the bottom of things. that. During Watergate, people were hysterical “I have to give us an incomplete … ” about what we were writing and covering. The famed investigative reporter, now consid“I was 29 years old and Ron Ziegler, the press ered a member of the Washington elite, had just secretary to (U.S. president) Richard Nixon, the flown into Toronto to give the keynote speech at spokesman for the leader of the free world at that that evening’s UJA (United Jewish Appeal) point, denounced us non-stop. The head of the Federation gala dinner for its more generous Nixon re-election committee gave a big speech. donors. The head of the Republican Party, Bob Dole, His plan was to talk about the Iraq war, its attacked us for an hour. That gets your attention. “reverberations in the United States and around the “But you just kind of say, okay, they’re using world,” as well as his latest book Plan of Attack, a what you are saying for one political purpose or profanity-filled tome that revealed the extent to another. At the same time (former Democratic which the war on Iraq was on the drawing board presidential candidate) George McGovern was early on in the Bush administration. saying, ‘Look at these wonderful stories.’ But, although the book contains much damning “I don’t know who any of (the bloggers) are, but evidence, enough, some say, to impeach the presi- what strikes me most often is that they don’t know dent, it’s no diatribe. what they’re talking about. That doesn’t mean that “It’s a book that looks both ways,’’ he says. “You they don’t have a strong opinion. Under the first can read it as (some) people have, ‘George Bush is amendment in the United States, you’re free to forceful and determined,’ and you can also read it throw words around. At the same time, I think you that it shows the (White House) as flawed and dys- need to look at serious criticism seriously.’’ By Antonia Zerbisias Torstar wire service


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David Mercer, a linguistics student at Memorial, has been juggling for seven years.

Paul Daly/The Independent

Dr. Juggle’s club Group meets at MUN to throw things at each other; fire breathing catching on By Jenny Higgins The Independent


even juggling clubs fly through the air — and they’re all headed towards Aaron McKim. He’s not bothered. McKim catches each club and fires them right back at fellow juggler James Burke. The two stand facing each other, about eight feet apart, while passing the multicoloured clubs back and forth. They’re both part of the St. John’s Juggling Club, whose members meet three times a week at Memorial University in St. John’s. “I moved back home to Newfoundland when I was 14 years old, back in the winter of ’87,” says McKim, who helped found the club 18 years ago. He speaks while juggling with Burke. “I looked … to see if there were any other jugglers in the area. There was one guy, Dwayne Starcher. So we got together

right here in the phys ed building and started juggling. We kept at it for a couple of years and other people got interested and started coming around. The rest is history.” Starcher has since moved to British Columbia, but McKim’s been coming to the club ever since. He says membership is still small, but it’s grown — to about 10 from the original two. “The majority of (members) are university students,” he says. “We’ve got a number of high school students as well that are friends or relatives of already existing members. “Mostly people just wander through and see it or they hear about it through the grapevine and decide to check it out. We don’t do any formal advertising at all.” Club member James Burke, who has spent time juggling in Montreal, says the club’s small membership has its pros and cons — there aren’t as many people to learn from as there are in larger cities, but the

community here is more closely knit. “It’s very open here, and the atmosphere is not competitive, it’s more supportive,” he says. “If you see someone trying to learn something, it’s cool to go over and help. It’s never seen as criticism.” Five people are at today’s meeting, including 15-year-old Jeffrey Smyth. When he first joined the club three years ago, Smyth didn’t know anything about juggling — now he can juggle five balls and three clubs. He also started Sunnyside Circus with his older brother, David. “It got the name because at the end of the show we crack an egg over my brother’s head,” laughs Smyth. “It’s a small circus that so far we’ve done at my mom’s work pretty much. We’ve had about five shows and they’ve all been paying, so that’s good. “Around the beginning, when I first started performing, it was really nerve-wracking, but I’m OK with it now.”

McKim says it’s not unusual for the club’s members to make money juggling — he used to do it himself while going through medical school. But now that he’s a doctor, McKim says things have changed. “I mostly do volunteer shows, like the Newfoundland and Labrador AIDS Committee and Christmas shows for the Janeway — shows like that.” His stage name, fittingly, is Dr. Juggle. Performing — however good for the jugglers — is not always good for the juggling club. “This year we’re going through a bit of a transition,” says McKim. “We had a bunch of people come regularly and they all got good and then they all got hired by Beni Malone (a local performer who owns Wonderbolt Circus) to tour around Newfoundland and Labrador. “Now most of them have moved up to Montreal to try to get into the Ecole See “When I’m juggling,” page 19


‘I learn constantly … and I love it’ Lisa Hurd’s been a fixture on the St. John’s theatre scene for 35 years By Stephanie Porter The Independent


ithin three weeks of moving to Newfoundland with her husband and four young children, Lisa Hurd had auditioned for, and been cast in, two plays. It was 1968 and the family had come to this province from England for a planned stay of two years — Hurd’s husband, Donald, was on a short-term contract. “Seven years later we decided to buy this house, and we looked at each other and said, ‘I guess we like it here,’” Hurd says, relaxed in her home near the St. John’s airport. Her two cats, Summer and Autumn, nose around the room, purring. “I really wondered whether, coming from London — I loved it there — I

wondered whether I would ever be able to settle in a place with 100,000 people. But I’ve never looked back. The minute we set foot on the soil here, I fell in love with it.” It might have been the welcoming and active theatre scene, the fast friends she made, or something else entirely about the city. But by the late-’70s, Hurd’s parents realized she wasn’t going to return to England — so they moved to St. John’s. Her husband’s mother, too, made the move across the ocean. “We had good friends in London, but it took two hours travel to go see them, so you didn’t see them that often,” Hurd says. “Here you can see your friends almost every day so you can become very close, very quickly.” Hurd was 12 when she caught the acting bug — and ever since then, that

is all she’s wanted to do. She put in six years of teaching in England, but left to enroll in theatre school. She’s been pursuing her passion ever since. Shortly after arriving in Newfoundland, Hurd became a member of the St. John’s Players, an association she would continue for some 25 years. She’s recently gotten involved with the organization again, and codirected Hickory Dickory Dock, which had a recent three-day run at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre. “It’s a lot of fun and a wonderful, close-knit group,” says Hurd. “Still, my best friends are those I met when I joined them. It’s a community thing but it’s also a family thing. “Donald, bless his heart, babysat for me while I was rehearsing. We had four See “Going at 150,” page 22

Lisa Hurd

Paul Daly/The Independent

NOVEMBER 13, 2005





s Michelle Whitten LaCour agrees, it’s a good time of year to walk into a gallery and see a wall of flowers. “I don’t really like winter … I don’t often paint winter scenes,” Whitten LaCour says, looking at the wall of summer and fall blooms in front of her. “Even though I do most of my painting in the winter, I’d rather stick to the photos I took during the rest of the year.” Whitten LaCour, who has been painting regularly since 1989 (she’s got a day job with the federal government, but is very committed to her hobby) has had some success with her series of landscapes, most being scenes gathered in outport Newfoundland. The floral focus came recently, providing a temporary break from the world of saltbox houses, sheds, boats

and picturesque towns. “I’ve since gone back to landscape, but I don’t think I’m finished with my flowers,” she says. “There’s a lot to them and the more I get to actually look at the flowers and see … as I start to paint I realize I’ve never really seen them and have to look a little harder at what they’re about.” A bit of a gardener as well, painting flowers, plants and leaves allows Whitten LaCour to bring her two hobbies together. “When I go to the flower shop to buy flowers (for my garden), I pick the flowers I want to paint. I’m not one of these people who has a really organized garden, there will be a lily

here, a rose here …” She points to one of the paintings of display — a large, luminescent pink rose, lively, colourful and full of personality. Called Aunt Sheila’s Rose, Whitten LaCour says the flower was from a bush she planted in memory of her aunt Sheila. “A lot of these pieces have meaning for me,” she says. “When painting this one, I started thinking about aunt Sheila and she was a really special lady … full of life and joy. I think paintings are more successful when you personalize them; even if I’m the only person who knows, I think the viewer unconsciously gets a little bit of that spirit.”

Whether working with florals, landscapes or still life, Whitten LaCour says it’s the play between shadow and light that captivates her. She works primarily in watercolour, enjoying the blending capability and “juiciness” of the medium. As a youngster, Whitten LaCour says she always wanted to be an artist, “but life kind of went in a different direction.” Now with a career and a family — including three boys — she’s learning to juggle all her commitments and interests. “But I love to paint and I get contrary if I don’t get to,” she says with a laugh. Whitten LaCour’s interest in art was

rekindled in 1989 when she began taking art classes. She figures the next years will be for learning, experimenting and evolving — and when she hits retirement age, she’ll be ready for a second career. “Your work evolves, and the longer that you paint and the more things you paint the better it is,” she says. “It can be hard to find your voice … me, I’ve found it in florals, I’ve found it in the passion of the watercolour.” Michelle Whitten LaCour’s work is on display at the Cynthia I. Noel Gallery, Long’s Hill, until Nov. 26. For more, visit — 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

EVENTS NOVEMBER 13 • Songposium: the art and business of song writing, writer of Summer of ‘69, and managers of No.1 performers will provide advice to songwriters, MIA members $25, others $40, 1-866-456-7664. • Deck the Halls Craft and Art Fair, Holiday Inn, 10 a.m., 722 8855. NOVEMBER 14 • Monthly information session, Le Leche League breastfeeding support group of St. John’s, 8 p.m., 16 Brown’s Lane, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are invited to attend, babies welcome, 754-5957.


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NOVEMBER 15 • FLUX and the alchemy of motion: celebrating travel, photographer Ryan Davis presents new images from Southeast Asia, China, and India, The Sprout restaurant, 364 Duckworth Street. • Adrian Michael Kelly launches his new novel, Down Sterling Road, at the Ship Pub, 8 p.m., (416) 979-2217. NOVEMBER 16 • Marjorie Doyle will read from her book, Reels, Rock and Rosaries: Confessions of a Newfoundland Musician, 7:30 p.m., A.C. Hunter Library, refreshments served. • Folk night at the Ship Pub, Mad Hatter night, 9:30 p.m. • Glengarry Glen Ross, Rabbittown Theatre, 7:30 p.m., running until Nov. 20. NOVEMBER 17 • Lisa Hurd performs Dance like a Butterfly in the Basement Theatre of the Arts and Culture Centre, 8 p.m. All proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross disaster relief, 729-3901, continues Nov. 18. • Christina Petrowska Quilico, solo piano, $5-$10, 8 p.m., D.F. Cook Recital Hall, MUN. • Craft & Design Show, St. John’s Convention Centre, $4.50, running until Nov. 20. NOVEMBER 18 • Trombonist Darren Sigesmund showcases his quintet project, Strands, $5-$10 at 8 p.m., D.F. Cook Recital Hall, MUN. • Ron Hynes in concert, LSPU Hall, 8 p.m., $20, 753 4531. NOVEMBER 19 • Traditional Newfoundland dinner and silent auction in support of the Health and Community Services Archive and Museum, tickets $12 in advance, 757-3296. • SPANNER, joined by members of the School of Music faculty, tickets $5-$10, 8 p.m., D.F. Cook Recital Hall, MUN. • Christmas at the gallery with new work from 16 artists, opens 2-5 p.m., Red Ochre Gallery. • Neighbourhood Dance Works presents An Evening of Burlesque, LSPU Hall, in support of Neighbourhood Dance Works’ 2006 Festival of New Dance. 8 p.m., 722-7673. • The Kids Eat Smart Foundation TableWare 1925: Honouring Our Heritage, entertainment by students of Fortune Bay Academy, live and silent auction, Marine Institute, $75, 1-877-722-1996.

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IN THE GALLERIES: • Virgin Territory, untouched, uninhabited areas inspire an exhibition by Clem Curtis, opening at the LSPU Hall from 3 – 6 p.m. with the artist in attendance. Running until Dec. 4.

NOVEMBER 13, 2005


The bearable ambiguity of prizes


t the risk of sounding too much like a grumpy socialist I’ll confess I’m not fond of book or film competitions. The world’s gone right mad with these in the last few years, though, and even once defiantly non-competitive events are now handing out prizes to the Best This and the Most Popular That. The trouble is that although these events offer delicious hours of bar gossip and even some off-site betting, it’s practically impossible to believe in them. Like blind dates, there is something simultaneously repulsive and seductive about them. Competitions about books and films are subjective, arbitrary, and almost always controversial for just these very reasons. But they also validate a struggling author or filmmaker in the public eye, boosting a career and paving the way to wide recognition, lucrative sales, and sometimes even glory, and so they need to be tolerated. Even the most measurable of artistic performances can be controversial. Consider skating. You’d think that if you intended some amazing leap but instead missed your partner’s open arms and went sprawling on the ice like an octopus that the judges wouldn’t award you the gold, but a history of partisan Olympic judging has proven otherwise. Musical competitions can be controversial, too, and if everyone who ever watched their kids sweat bullets in the Kiwanis Festival could talk about who they really thought should win the piano competition we would have to rename the event Lord of the Flies. KARMIC INTERACTION But generally speaking it is easier to agree about who skates better than anyone else, who plays piano or violin or French horn better than anyone else. Of course, these examples are live performances, where reactions are confident in their immediacy, almost irretrievable. You can rewind the tapes but the voting happens in the moment, in some sort of subtle karmic interaction with the shared emotionalism of a live audience. That doesn’t happen with a book or a movie. We can change our minds about either of these and often do. Watching or reading anything decent usually leads to thinking and reflecting long after the actual aesthetic experience, by which time the thing itself might have settled into a completely different register altogether. Almost everything in these cases depends on timing. Not only does the question of where we were come into play but the question of who we were is as important for our judgment. The 20-year-old who loved Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners is now the middle ager who is almost embarrassed about her earlier passion, finding the prose cloying and juvenile. And there is no way that same middle ager can ever work up the same wannabe radical enthusiasm for Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider. That was then and now I’m not at all convinced that any work of art occupies a place of permanent and absolute value. Teaching, like time, is a humbling leveller. When you return to a novel or film you once loved and are convinced your students will be as enthusiastic, you can be affronted by their polite indifference at first but then you find yourself resigned to the possibility that they might even have a point. The problem with these competitions, like the Governor General Awards, the Giller Prize, the Man Booker, Pulitzer, Cannes, the Oscars, Sundance, and so on, is that their awards depend on juries, and juries are made up of human beings with moods, tastes, allergies, and untrustworthy personal histories. In some circles, Canadian cocktail chatter is animated by stories about drunken, tired, feisty jurors who seemed to have been more interested in comparing the quality of red wines at dinner than the books they were assigned to read for the good of literary history. Having been on several dreary film juries I can testify to the unpredictabil-


NOREEN GOLFMAN Standing room only ity of the exercise, so much of it having to do with the chemistry among the group, the temperature in the theatre, the amount of material to eyeball, and so on. How can anyone expect a rational decision when you are trapped in a room with two smelly strangers and expected to watch 85 films in a week? But if we all agree with the modern philosophers that it’s impossible to come up with ways to measure the quality of a book or a movie objectively, then why are we moving so ardently towards these spectacles of reward? One pathetically obvious answer is marketing, of course. Books and movies sell better when they have prizes attached to them and the bigger the prizes the bigger the sales. Oprah’s Book Club tells that story in a nutshell. The industry, whether comprising publishers or producers, is chiefly responsible for driving the competition and spinning the hype that reinforces the consensus. It’s a dirty chain but someone’s got to link it. A less obvious answer is that we really like these spectacles, even if we find the grounds on which they are constructed slippery and fake. They give us something to moan about, provoking us to undermine their integrity while obsessing over their potential for making history. In the world of arts reporting there has been nothing less than a media frenzy about the Giller Prize for fiction these last two weeks, with Newfoundland novelist Lisa Moore being right up there in the nominees’ circle for her work, Alligator. It was impossible not to wish her well and applaud her success, basking a little, as we inevitably must, in the shared glory of her committed regional identity. We might not feel all that comfortable about the whole bloody elitist game, but if we are going to watch it from here then it sure feels good to have someone to watch. Editor’s note: Winnipeg writer David Bergen was awarded this year’s Giller Prize. Noreen Golfman is a professor of women’s studies and literature at Memorial. Her next column will appear Nov. 27.

Jordan Canning recently picked up a $3,000 prize for her short film Pillow Talk, shown on Oct. 21 at the St. John's International Women's Film Festival. The prize for “excellence in a first film by an emerging female filmmaker” was handed out by William F. White International Inc. Atlantic Region, and the Lab by Delux in Toronto. Paul Daly/The Independent

POET’S CORNER Antique shop There’s a terracotta cat and a bone-carved three-mast ship, ebony candlesticks, a china plate and an urn, deep blue and crafted from something I don’t immediately recognize. It occurs to me on the bus as I’m riding home — it is the sea, the colour of the sea, and everything pours back into it. A poem by Mark Callanan from his 2003 book Scarecrow.

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‘When I’m juggling, my life is a lot happier’ From page 17 Nationale de Cirque (National Circus School). So we just lost about three or four of our more skilled jugglers. This tends to happen.” Circus arts — like fire breathing and unicycling — are becoming increasingly popular at the club, says McKim. Matthew Downey, a club member and university student, says he does a lot of work with fire, although at today’s meeting he’s sticking to his juggling clubs. “Right now I’m mostly doing club juggling and staff spinning — that’s a big stick you can do tricks with and spin around. You can also light the ends on fire,” says Downey. “I also do fire shows. That’s quite fun. I do fire breathing and fire eating. “You find yourself bringing it up in conversations because you realize it’s one of the few things that makes you cool,” he says, laughing.

Working with fire is a dangerous skill that the club’s members will only teach to older, more advanced jugglers, Downey adds. “We always tell them that, yes, it is very dangerous. If you don’t respect the flame it will burn you.” Since he joined the club three years ago, Downey says juggling has become more of a lifestyle than a hobby. “You start to look at all objects completely differently,” he says. “It’s not just ‘Wow, that’s a cool orange,’ it’s ‘I could juggle that.’ You look at everything and wonder how you could juggle that.” McKim agrees. “This is one of my regular forms of physical activity,” he says. “It’s fun. It totally breaks up the humdrum of my day job. It keeps me meeting people that I otherwise wouldn’t meet on a regular basis. “The main reason I do this is, when I’m juggling, my life is a lot happier.”

NOVEMBER 13, 2005



This week, Newfoundlandbased publishing house Boulder Publications releases its seventh book — a reprinting of John. G. Millais’ 1907 book Newfoundland and its Untrodden Ways. Millais, a European world-traveller, naturalist and explorer, fell in love with Newfoundland, its unspoiled beauty, the people he met — and the thrill of hunting caribou. Senior editor Stephanie Porter spoke to publisher Gavin Will about the book; on these pages are a few of Millais’ own photos, taken during his months of hunting.

Untrodden G

avin Will’s Boulder Publications launched into business three years ago with a reprint of Judge D. W. Prowse’s A History of Newfoundland. That release sold “thousands,” convincing Will he’d found a niche in the marketplace. “I realized there is a real thirst among the general population for learning about our heritage here in Newfoundland and Labrador,” he says. Boulder went on to publish

five more books of local interest, including reprints of Paul O’Neill’s The Oldest City and Elliott Leyton’s Dying Hard. So it was that Will came across Newfoundland and its Untrodden Ways, written by English naturalist John G. Millais. First published in 1907, the 400-page book details Millais’ time in Newfoundland — his travels, trials, expeditions, hunting successes, and discoveries. “I’ve been aware of this book

for a number of years,” says Will. “It’s such a fine book and so different … I didn’t want this to be lost, I think this work should be revived. “I think people will welcome this particular book because of the quality of writing and the beautiful illustrations.” Focused around Millais’ passion for hunting big game — primarily, in this case, caribou — his book presents, in vivid detail, hunting strategies and philosophies. It also

contains warm and vivid descriptions of the largely unexplored interior areas of the island of Newfoundland. He recounts fireside anecdotes, accurate in the dialect and humour of his new friends. Millais became a friend of Prowse; he got to know outport Newfoundlanders and native Mi’kmaq, some of whom became his guides and companions. The book contains two chapters on hunting whales, and several sections

NOVEMBER 13, 2005


ways on canoeing, hiking, and travel around the island. And, of course, there are many, many pages on tracking, hunting and observing the Newfoundland caribou. Although some sections veer towards scientific description, most of the book is told in an easygoing, respectful, and at times lighthearted, way. “He writes with great wit and self-deprecating humour,” describes Will. “He writes lovingly about the people of Newfoundland, particularly those he hired as guides. “The Mi’kmaq community around Conne River plays a prominent role in this story — and that’s something that’s kind of been forgotten. He came to know some of the Mi’kmaq people and to admire their skills and how they managed to thrive in a harsh environment.” When producing this version of the book — the last reprint was in 1970 — Will says he tried to keep as close to the original as possible. He decided to have each of the pages scanned, instead of retyping the text, keeping the look of handset type, and the feel of a book written 100 years ago. “You can appreciate the book on a number of levels,” Will says. “One, as a guide to hunting caribou … also, for the love of nature. In addition to that, we can read it to learn about our heritage, aboriginal and non-aboriginal.” Over his career, Millais also wrote about travel, hunting and nature in Africa, Great Britain and Ireland. He was, as well, a bit of a Renaissance man, a painter like his father (John Everett Millais), a photographer, and a keen observer of nature and people. “He was a world traveller, very much a man of his day, a Teddy Roosevelt type, an avid naturalist and hunter,” says Will. “Teddy Roosevelt became renowned for hunting large wild animals in Africa and elsewhere, and Millais really trod in his footsteps.” As Millais, born in 1865, grew older, he turned away from chasing big game and focused on less strenuous activities. “He turned his attention to the great British pastime, which of course is the garden,” says Will, laughing. “He wrote about wild flowers of Great Britain and the nature of Britain.” The following are selected excerpts from Newfoundland and its Untrodden Ways by John G. Millais: “St. John’s is a quiet old-world place, something between a Canadian town and a Norwegian fishing village. On one side of the beautiful harbour are endless cod-flakes and a few sealing vessels, and on the other is the main town, built on the side of a steep hill, where electric trams and lights add the one jarring note; but the whole atmosphere of the place is charming and without noise. They discourage the American spirit there, and the man who wants to hustle soon breaks his heart. Businessmen stroll down to their offices at ten o’clock, and have always time for a cigar and chat … The main thoroughfare is Water Street, where the traveler can obtain anything within reason. The shops are excellent and up-to-date, and the people extremely kind to strangers, especially when they come from the Old Country. The cabs are a feature of the place, and are drawn by wiry little Canadian horses. When you go up the steep hills you feel you ought to be prosecuted for cruelty to animals, and when you come down you

wish you had never been born. You drop from Cathedral to Water Street in one horrible swoop, scarcely reassured by the optimism of the Placentia Irishman who drives you, and who always makes a point of conversing at the most hair-raising corners …” ••• “It may seem strange to the town dwellers that there are many men so constituted that the luxuries of civilization have no attraction for them, but it is no mystery to those who have seen both sides of the picture. The outdoor man has by far the best of it, for he leads the life that God and Nature intended him to do. If his disappointments and difficulties are great, his joys are intense, and he feels that at any rate he has lived and known. One who has lived much in that great world, where there is no pretense, must feel chilled when he stands amid a gallery of cold faces and listens to the vapid talk of men and women in whose lives he cannot bear a part …” ••• “As we were returning to camp we saw a wonderful thing. I call it wonderful, because few men, even professional trappers, have ever seen the beast — a veritable black fox, as black as ink … He saw us as quickly as we saw him, and, like a flash, he whipped round, and, erecting his magnificent brush of black and white, darted over the skyline and was lost to view. “There goes four hundred dollars!” said Joe sadly. “Ah, if we had only been fifty yards to the right, we should have been out of sight and under the wind and I could have tolled him.” It was one of the most melancholy “ifs” I can remember in my hunting experience. The Indians have a “call” or “toll” for nearly every animal. They can bring a fox right up to within twenty yards by making a sibilant noise produced by sucking the back of the hand. Reynard takes it to be the cry of a hare in difficulties and seldom fails to advance close to the sound. Stag caribou are “tolled” by grunting loudly in two different ways, and this vocal effort requires little skill or practice on the imitator’s part, for the first beast I tried it on answered at once, and came grunting up close at hand … By using the double grunt at short range, I have brought a stag to within five yards of the stone behind which I was concealed. Sometimes the Indians can attract an amorous tag by flicking a white handkerchief from side to side at the edge of a wood. The stag can see this at a considerable distance and will sometimes come at full speed to the spot where the Indian lies concealed — I saw this done once …” ••• “We had a safe and uneventful journey to St. John’s. At TerraNova some trifle occurred to cause a delay of two hours. At Whitburne we ran off the track, and ploughed up the permanent way for about 200 yards. This contre-temps occurred close to the station, so section men got to work and put us on again. Then at Avondale the cylinder head or something blew off the engine, and we had time to do a little berry-picking and make sarcastic remarks. However, we reached St. John’s within a day of the advertised time, which is considered pretty good traveling in Newfoundland.”

NOVEMBER 13, 2005


Worth his salt


Food columnist sees salt as ‘flavour enhancer’; wouldn’t be without his gourmet collection

Kosher salt — my daily cooking salt, known for its mild flavour, dissolves quickly in water. NICHOLAS Sel de Mer (sea salt) — generally found in rockGARDNER hard crystals. It requires a salt mill or grinder to be edible. I use a mortar and pestle to make either Off the Eating Path coarse or superfine salt for cooking. Red Salt (Hawa’ii) — has a strong mineral conRoman soldier returning home from battle tent. Red colouration from the volcanic rock of the was partially paid in salt — one of the most islands makes it a wonderful garnish. precious commodities of the time. When he Sel Gris — hand-harvested from the shores of was paid for fine service to the empire he was said to Geurande, France, this salt tastes like the sea it was be “worth his salt.” Those who are paid in modern harvested from. Briny and bright, I use it on meats times collect a salary, which is a derivative of the before grilling. Latin salarium, or salt. Fleur de sel — from Cote D’Azure, France, the Doctors tout the benefits of balance and modera- Rolls Royce of sea salts. Also hand-harvested and tion, so why do we still use so much salt in our food? sun dried (one pound costs about $23). This is a finThe fact is we should, by government guidelines, ishing salt used for garnishes, not strictly for cookconsume 2,400 milligrams of salt daily (less than a ing. The complex mineral notes and floral overtones teaspoon). However, due to our fractured lives and are the perfect compliment to grilled or pan-seared other such inconveniences, we seem to have a gener- fish. al salt intake of nearly double that. High levels of Last, but certainly not least, I have a sea salt from sodium are bad for the heart as it Wales that was cold smoked increases blood flow and forces with 900-year-old oak. While the heart to work harder. it is used sparingly, it is a fanCoupled with stress and other tastic finishing salt for grilled I wasn’t a salt fan environmental conditions, high meats or even pastas. I have sodium levels can possibly lead fallen in love with this salt, until I went into the to hypertension. All that aside, and I will make any excuse to salt is very important in my prouse it for its smoky-crunchy business and started to fession. texture. Chefs love salt. It is not mereAnd while you dream of understand how it ly one of a multitude of flavoursalts from far-off lands, there ing agents — it is, in itself, a are a couple of things to conworks with food … flavour enhancer. sider when using salt. Newfoundlanders, as a I like salt. I wasn’t a salt fan Salt is a strange chemical. It until I went into the business can be used as a corrosive whole, love salt. and started to understand how it agent (on metals) and a preserworks with food, how its chemvative as well. It draws out istry works and why we love it moisture, which is why you so much. Newfoundlanders, as a should season a steak about whole, love salt. five minutes before it goes on a grill. Drawing the It is in our blood — literally — to use and misuse. moisture of the meat to the surface ensures a good, We use it on everything from preserving fish and stable crust to the steak. beef to seasoning of foods and, unlike most regions Salt and pasta — the rule is a gallon (approxiin Canada, a version of salt is used on icy roads. mately four liters) of water to 500 grams of pasta While I don’t have any road salt for cooking, I have (serving four to six people). Now the trick is twoa boutique collection of salts and pull them out of the fold: never add oil to the water (it stops the sauce cabinet to use freely. from sticking to the pasta which you want to hapMost people use sodium chloride (NaCl) — stan- pen); and always make the pasta water taste like the dard table salt. However, read the packaging: it also ocean. This ensures the pasta is seasoned well. contains iodine to keep the salt “free-flowing.” Who Finally, add a dash of finishing salt to a bowl of wants iodine in their food? If I want iodine, I’ll go to fresh fruit salad. The flavour change will amaze you. the medicine cabinet and add a couple of drops. I want my salt to be free of all additives so call me a Nicholas Gardner is an erstwhile chef and food salt purist. writer now eating in St. John’s. His next column I treasure my collection of additive-free salts. appears Nov. 27.


Former CBC Radio host and Globe and Mail columnist Marjorie Doyle just released Reels, Rock and Rosaries: Confessions of a Newfoundland Musician. Part memoir, part cultural history, part musical journey, this is Doyle’s third book. Paul Daly/The Independent

‘Going at 150 per cent or zero’ From page 17 children, the youngest was seven months, and the oldest seven years when we came, so without him I couldn’t have done it.” Over the years, her husband and all her children have become involved, on some level, in the theatre. Hickory Dickory Dock marked the first time her grandson appeared on the main stage. “They all enjoy being part of it,” she says. “But none of them have the passion for acting I do.” Rarely one to sit still (“My husband says I’m either going at 150 per cent or zero.”), Hurd is appearing in a one-woman show, Dance like a Butterfly, Nov. 17 and 18 in the Basement Theatre — less than a week after Hickory Dickory Dock has its final curtain. Hurd plays Tillie, an 85-year-old woman. Just discharged from the hospital — and still fiercely independent — Tillie is forced to face the fact she may not be able to care for herself any longer. Hurd has been performing the show since 1997 and has toured much of Canada with it.

She’s performed during fringe festivals, in theatres, and for the staff in nursing homes. After this week’s run, Hurd will perform the play, as she does every year, for the second year medical school class at Memorial. “I do the play in a wheelchair, so, as long as I can remember the lines, I can do that play up until the end of my life, as long as I can sit up I suppose.” Hurd’s got other plans too. She’s developed a series of murder mystery dinner theatre shows, a business endeavor she was quite busy with a decade ago — before she moved to Toronto for a few years to study and perform. She’s currently in talks with a downtown restaurant to revive the shows during next year’s tourism season. “We were just starting to try and build it back again, when I was asked to co-direct Hickory Dickory Dock. Then there’s Dance like a Butterfly, and I did some fundraisers for flood relief … it all took up a lot of time,” she says. “From being totally unbusy earlier in the year, apart from home and family and garden, now every day I have six different balls I’m juggling in the air and I love it.”



A project in Winterton, Trinity Bay

Paul Daly/The Independent

Make-work leftovers

Province saves millions on crab projects; critics say fishermen and crews should have been eligible By Alisha Morrissey The Independent


he province has spent only $3.5 million or 20 per cent of an $18-million pot set aside for make-work targeted at the crab fishery — and government officials don’t expect to spend much more, The Independent has learned. Meantime, another provincial government make-work program has received a $1.75-million boost. The crab workers support program was designed to help crab fishery workers impacted by last summer’s fishery shutdown qualify for employment insurance (EI) benefits. Critics say the program’s strict eligibility criteria cut down on the number of workers who qualified, forcing many to seek work through the province’s second make-work program — known as the community enhancement fund. That fund was originally set at $4.25 million, although it was recently boosted to $6 million. Officials with Municipal Affairs say the

millions of dollars left over in the crab make-work program will be put back in government’s special warrants fund, where the money came from. Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ union president Earle McCurdy says fishermen and crews didn’t qualify for the crab-based program because of the strict eligibility criteria. “They should have had some greater flexibility than what they had (in the criteria),” McCurdy tells The Independent. He says the community enhancement program needed the increase in funds to support those who didn’t qualify for the crab-based program. “It wasn’t a matter of taking advantage of the $18 million, it was really a matter of how many people met the criteria,” McCurdy says, adding, “there was a fair bit of work in a number of the plants in mackerel this fall and that reduced the dependence. The caplin fishery picked up some slack in some plants so I think those were all factors.” Any municipality, organization or group

can apply for funding for various makework projects. The jobs created this year mostly involve construction, including building repairs and outdoor work on trail systems or clean-up projects. As of The Independent’s press deadline, 271 applications for the crab-support program had been received by the Municipal Affairs Department — 138 were approved. In many cases, communities were approved multiple make-work projects. ELIGIBILITY Liberal leader Gerry Reid agrees the eligibility criteria for the crab program should have been open to fishermen and crews, saying in many cases fishermen are experiencing the same problems as plant workers. He says people are leaving the province in droves because they can’t qualify for assistance. “Right now there are more people leaving the province — and have left the province since June of last year — than we’ve seen since the moratorium was called in 1992.”

He says this year’s fishery has been the worst he’s seen in 11 years in politics. “There’s still some $12 (million) or $13 million left in that plan in that program that’s supposed to be put there to help people get over a hump,” he says. “They (fishermen) are devastated they’re losing their boats, they’re losing their vehicles … they’re even losing their telephones and these are real cases and they (government) won’t take the money from the crab program and put it to the other program.” Considering the range of negative factors in this year’s fishery — from soaring gas prices to high shrimp tariffs — McCurdy says government should put the funds left over in the make-work pot to good use. “Clearly there’s going to be a need for adjustment programs, early retirement and other types of adjustment programs to cope with some of the present circumstances,” McCurdy says. “We would certainly urge the government to do is … rather than put it back in the black hole, to put that money aside to start on an early-retirement program.”

FPI, Paul Watson and our foreign-owned fishery


ot a week passes without another surprising event in the history of our fisheries. The past seven days have produced several surprises. We were “honoured” by Captain Paul Watson — God’s gift to the civilized world — who saw fit to classify Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as the lowest form of humanity and should be shot, starved or otherwise disposed of for conducting a sealing industry and simultaneously protecting a fishery in the same manner that the Norwegians and Icelanders have been doing for centuries. On top of that, the restaurant industry in the U.S. has also chosen to ignore the practices of our Scandinavian friends


Guest column and concentrate their anger toward this province by not serving our fish products. In the same week the brilliant management and board of Fishery Products International calmly announces — having just purchased a $40-million asset in Europe — it’s about to go under unless there is a thorough housecleaning with costs reduced to bare bones. To set a good example, the head hon-

chos in Newfoundland and Labrador and in the States will sacrifice their combined $1 million-plus annual income and seek employment elsewhere. However, the CEO in Newfoundland will make a special sacrifice and stay on for two months and accomplish what he was unable to achieve in the previous five years. Furthermore, CBC Radio has reported that in the cost-cutting rationalization that will take place it is likely FPI will discontinue all activity in its groundfish operations. This could well be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back” because without a healthy, restored groundfish fishery the future viability of our rural communities will be jeopardized and our

population reduced enormously. Canada, west of Halifax, and the groundfish-producing countries of Norway and Iceland will be the beneficiaries. The fishing industry in those two Scandinavian countries will take over the U.S. and European groundfish markets completely and we will never recover. This event will mark another major milestone in the grand plan put in place when the current FPI management took over four-and-a-half years ago. The people in fishing communities such as Harbour Breton, Fortune, Bonavista, etc., who were promised so much by FPI in exchange for being unshackled by the province in a House of Assembly vote, are now in a state of

See “Defer and delay,” page 25

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panic. Why panic, asked former Fisheries Minister Trevor Taylor, when we have much more capacity in the province than we need to process the FPI quotas? What is mind-boggling about this mess is the fact our politicians seem to have lost their ability to use common sense. Surely some of them must know you can’t go on year after year treating the effects of the 35-year-old fishery crisis and not confront and cure the cause of the problem. Since the early 1970s some of us have been trying (without success) to convey to politicians and senior bureaucrats that unless there is a

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NOVEMBER 13, 2005

Ontario tobacco growers light up


BEIJING By Richard Brennan Torstar wire service


British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell met with Premier Danny Williams Nov. 9. The stop was one of a series of meetings with premiers and officials across the country, leading up to the federal-provincial conference on aboriginal affairs, to be held in Kelowna, B.C. Nov. 24. Campbell is the co-chair of the conference along with Prime Minister Paul Martin. Paul Daly/The Independent

Jobs are at risk, say salmon farmers With aid fund in limbo, aquaculture firms in jeopardy By Chuck Brown Telegraph-Journal


he optimism New Brunswick salmon farmers felt when a $20 million aid program was announced in July is fading fast. Four months later there is still no aid program in place as the federal and provincial governments remain at odds over who will pay what share for the program. “If this impasse continues without a solution companies and the jobs they provide are at considerable risk,” says Len Stewart, president of the New Brunswick Salmon Growers’ Association. Salmon farmers were thrilled when the funding was announced last summer. Disease, cold weather, an antisalmon food safety campaign, low prices caused by international competition and a sagging loonie have all

hurt the $200-million industry in the past few years. The aid program was expected to help some companies pull themselves out of receivership while also giving the industry a sense of stability and optimism. But Hugh Moran, general manager of the salmon growers’ association, says the farmers were hoping to have that aid money two months ago. “With an announcement in July, we expected by the first of September that there would be applications in and we’d be up and running,” Moran says. He’s getting jittery because some farmers need the aid money to get young fish into their sea cages this fall to be ready for harvest in 2007. If they don’t get the fish in, there will be no crop to harvest and market. “It’s critical two years down the road,” he says.

The federal government is looking for the province to pick up 40 per cent of the $20 million program. The province has said the aid package is entirely a federal program and that Fredericton already helps salmon farmers through fish health programs and loan guarantees. “We just want them to get those details worked out and get this program out there,” Moran says. He wants salmon farmers to be treated like other food producers who are eligible for federal and provincial support programs. Fisheries Minister Geoff Regan refuses to abandon hope that a costsharing deal can still be reached, based on a 60-40 formula with Ottawa picking up the larger share of the tab. “We’re still working on it,” says Regan. But sources in his department add that if an agreement with New

Brunswick can’t be reached, Regan will have to go back to the federal cabinet to see if the money can still flow without the province’s financial contribution. New Brunswick Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister David Alward says he’s pleased to hear the feds may be willing to find a way to fund the aid program on their own. “It’s important that the minister deliver on what they announced this July. It’s gone on much too long. They need to get the money out to industry,” Alward says. He says the province contributes about $2 million to aquaculture each year and that a task force studying the industry has recognized that. “We have been there with industry from square one, we continue to be now and we will be in the future,” he says.

ne-third of China’s 1.3 billion people smokes. It’s a habit Fred Neukamm, president of the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers’ Marketing Board, doesn’t want them to give up any time soon. “As you are aware the domestic situation is not very favourable and we see export opportunities as being very, very important,” says Neukamm, who is with a 125-person Ontario trade mission to China led by Premier Dalton McGuinty. With the province about to ban smoking in all public places — including bars — by the spring of next year, and with people generally being more health conscious, smoking has dropped substantially. China produces about two trillion cigarettes a year and is increasing each year by about 50 billion cigarettes. It imports about 3,000 tonnes of tobacco from Ontario annually, representing 10 per cent of the provincial crop. “We have been doing business for a number of years and we continue to try and enhance that,” says Neukamm, estimating it has been four years since the marketing board began exporting to China. Neukamm says the marketing board wants a “stable commitment” for imports. “It has been steadily increasing the last couple of years and now it has levelled off. We hope to maintain where we are at now with some slight increases in the future ... it is one of the places in the world where … actual total volume of usage is increasing,” he says. In Ontario, roughly 60 per cent of tobacco production goes for domestic use and 40 per cent for export. McGuinty says he sees no contradiction in bringing the tobacco marketing board along when his government has passed such tough antismoking rules. “They asked if they might come and we are not going to discriminate … and they are going to be doing whatever they can to help promote their products in this country,” says McGuinty, who avoided using the word tobacco.

Polishing potato’s persona


ity the poor potato: the victim of almost every fashionable food fad, from trans fat to obesity rates, not to mention the low-carb diet craze. But the lowly spud is fighting back, or at least the world’s largest French fry maker is fighting back on its behalf. Faced with softening sales, McCain Foods Ltd. has launched one of its biggest-ever marketing campaigns aimed at restoring consumers’ faith in the potato. “It’s a very big undertaking for the company,” says Mark McCauley, vice-president of marketing for McCain. “It’s very important that we get the message around the potato and our core product into the market.” Like other major North American food processors, the company has dramatically altered its advertising message to focus on the health and nutritional benefits of eating its products. In response to growing consumer concern about rising obesity rates and an aging population more sharply focused on things like fibre and vitamins, everyone from Kraft to Kellogg has been reformulating its products and its pitch. Kraft Foods has launched two healthier cookies, introducing whole-grain versions of its Chips Ahoy and Fig Newtons, while also curbing advertising to children of products high in sugar, salt and fat. Cereal makers like Kellogg Co. and General Mills, Inc. are adding more whole grains to their most popular children’s cereals. Even Hershey’s has attempted to reposition chocolate as having certain health benefits. And like other multinational food companies, McCain has enlisted the support of highly trusted food experts: in this case dietitians and farmers. And it is delivering the message through media widely read by women with children. Called the Potato Facts campaign, McCain says independent research shows consumers were woefully ignorant of potatoes’ benefits. “I believe that products like ovenbaked fries can be definitely be part of a healthy, balanced diet,” says Schwartz. — Torstar wire service

NOVEMBER 13, 2005


Defer and delay From page 23

Toys in the Avalon Mall Sears location

Paul Daly/The Independent

All I want for Christmas … Toys from the past are in again; educational games a hit with parents By Darcy MacRae The Independent

computers and computer programs were hot sellers at Christmas. But now simple toys such as farm animals oys that were popular two and racing cars are back in the spotdecades ago are making a light. comeback with today’s kids, “You think toys are on the way out toy store associates in St. John’s say. because of the electronics age, but it’s Items such as Transformers, My really surprising. Toys are certainly Little Pony and Hot not (on the way out). Wheels have made a It certainly surprised comeback, and “You think toys are on me,” he says. appear to be at the the toys of the way out because oldWhile top of many kids’ are popular once Christmas lists this of the electronics age, again, a lot of modholiday season. ern items will also “For some reason, but it’s really surpris- be hot commodities we can’t keep them by the time Dec. 25 ing. Toys are certainly rolls in stock,” says around. Michael Williamson, Leading the way are not (on the way out). two characters that manager of Zellers on Stavanger Drive also have their own Michael Williamson, in the city’s east end. television shows — “Hot wheels and Dora the Explorer Zellers manager LEGO seems to be and Bob the Builder. really popular this “Dora is really year. Transformers are doing well, popular with boys and girls. There’s too. They’ve re-done them; they’re everything from board games to a nothing like the old Transformers. table and chairs set,” Benson says. They’re new and improved.” “With Bob the Builder we have a lot Manufacturers may be taking of tool sets and movies. A lot of kids advantage of parents’ nostalgia for love Bob the Builder. toys they played with 20 to 30 years “The Furbys (an electronic soft toy ago as they shop for gifts for their whose appearance is a cross between young children. But toy store associ- a mouse, cat and an owl) are really ates assure today’s kids are as into the big this year as well. And we have vintage toys now as their parents Baby Annabelle dolls, but we can’t were in the 1970s and ’80s. keep them here. Every day there is “All of the things that were out pre- someone looking for one. It’s hard to vious years are coming back,” says keep them.” Andrea Benson of Toys “R” Us. Williamson adds that a set of mod“Kids see the older things and say ‘I ern-day action figurines has been wish I could get that.’” moving fast at Zellers. The fact that dolls and action “We had a promotion for Rescue heroes from two decades ago are Heroes last week and the response again the choice of children is sur- was unbelievable,” he says. “We prising enough, but it is not the only actually didn’t have the supply to satthing that surprises Williamson. He isfy the demand.” says that in past years video games, Joining the cute, the cuddly and the


flashy toys under the tree this year will be several educational ones, says Angela Higgins, in-store marketing director for the new Sears store in the Avalon Mall. “I know our LeapPad (an interactive educational toy for children aged 4-11) is going well and anything Dora,” says Higgins. “Again, they’re buying anything educational. One of our staff just said she’s running out of that stuff (LeapPad and Dora the Explorer).” Higgins says sports-minded toys will also be hot sellers this Christmas. “We usually do well with games tables,” Higgins says. “The hockey tables, soccer tables, foosball … they’re usually good sellers for us.” Although toys have certainly made

a comeback this year, as Williamson points out, video games and video game systems will most certainly remain a must-have item for children. Williams says most systems cost more than the average action figure or stuffed animal, so they don’t start moving off shelves as quickly as some other toys. “Right now it’s really quiet — I haven’t sold many of them at all,” he says. “But they usually sell closer to Christmas. That’s a high-priced ticket. I’ve got quite a few of the new PSP (PlayStation Portable) on layaway right now. We could have a big response for the new XBox coming out later in November.”

consistent and sustainable supply of top quality, mature raw material available to processors we can not compete successfully in the international market. The clear message from the fishing industry to the federal government has been consistent since we entered Confederation: it’s impossible to have a consistent, sustainable raw material supply in the absence of efficient fisheries management by the Canadian government. The politicians and senior bureaucrats have repeatedly ignored requests coming from those who were involved in harvesting, processing and marketing on a daily basis. Meantime, we are about to engage in the election of another minority government in Ottawa and once again we have an opportunity to force Ottawa to begin the process of rebuilding the resource. As we all know every vote will count and consequently every east coast federal MP should be contacted and encouraged to force Conservatives and Liberals to make a firm commitment to confront foreign fishing countries, stop all fishing outside 200 miles, implement custodial management and begin the process of rebuilding our fisheries. Unless we take advantage of the upcoming election we will miss the last opportunity to get the action required. At the same time, we should be aware there is a meeting of COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada), the federal committee responsible for listing endangered species, scheduled for St. John’s at the end of November. Should this committee list cod as endangered — without an ironclad agreement with foreigners to stop all fishing outside 200 miles — it will have major ramifications on stock recovery and will do nothing but defer and delay any federal action to rebuild our fisheries. The provincial government must take steps to discourage listing cod. The province should aggressively encourage all east coast MPs to work together to extract an ironclad election commitment from all federal parties to rebuild a healthy, renewable fishery resource and solve the basic problem facing our main industry. We should take note of an important announcement from the non-renewable oil industry when White Rose projected the first oil would be pumped with the next few weeks. They also announced the life of the White Rose operation would be between 10 and 15 years. Gus Etchegary, Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s


NOVEMBER 13, 2005

Ad #: 200511-1301-CB

NOVEMBER 13, 2005



NOVEMBER 13, 2005

WEEKLY DIVERSIONS ACROSS 1 French lady 5 Makes a pick 9 Great Lakes fish 13 Largest lake wholly in Canada: Great ___ 17 Atop 18 Harvest 19 An Esposito 20 Sicily’s high point 21 Animal fat 22 Like some budgets (2 wds.) 24 Perched on 25 Rascal 27 Common brown bird 28 Trick 29 Pooh’s donkey friend 31 Stairway part 32 Promissory note 33 Glacial ridge 36 Wildebeest 37 Prairie rodent 41 Five-pointed star symbol 45 Brief flash of light 47 Confusion ___, Nfld. 48 Get top marks 49 Like hose in storage 51 Italian one 52 Land unit 53 Like some whiskey 55 A chorus line? 57 Shot up 59 Rivulet 61 Loud

63 Coarse 67 Central Asian sea 69 Lowest deck 71 Neighbour of Israel 72 Longest-running CBC radio show: “The Happy ___” (1937-59) 75 N.S.’s official tree: ___ spruce 77 Saturday in Ste. Adele 79 Shriek 80 Copy 81 Plant cutting to be grafted 83 Carafes 85 Sulky one 87 “And ___’s your uncle!” 89 Relating to bone: comb. form 90 Caviar 91 To be (Fr.) 93 Feature 97 Author of The Farfarers: Before the Norse 100 Print for the blind 103 Indians play it 104 Mussed-up mane? 105 Phnom Penh resident 107 Got here 108 People of N. Quebec 109 Middle East carrier 110 If all ___ fails ...

Solutions on page 31

111 Water (Span.) 112 Covers 113 N.W.T.’s official tree: jack ___ 114 Baptism, for one 115 “___ we forget” DOWN 1 N.B. export 2 Swiftly 3 Kind of eel 4 Last 5 Sphere 6 Little legumes 7 Truck cover 8 Most easterly point of N. America: Cape ___, Nfld. 9 Laying away 10 Hawaiian capital 11 Once more 12 Functional start? 13 Broken-down 14 “Some friend you are,” more classically 15 Quotable nobody?: abbr. 16 Engrossed 23 Boast 26 Minister 28 Smoke deposit 30 Cogito, ___ sum 32 Tune out 34 Piece of Puccini 35 Lily family 38 Early fur trading co. 39 Word with drum or

wig 40 Hard liquor 41 Homonym of pear 42 Unbleached colour 43 It’s declining in Germany 44 Montreal’s subway, to locals 46 Gerund ending 50 Portals 52 Askew 54 Yukon town 56 Caesar or waldorf 58 Relaxed manner 60 Jean Vanier’s ark 62 Shakespearean lover 64 Trap aloft 65 Yesterday in Ypres 66 Tibetan oxen 68 Pacific present 70 They’re above the abs 72 Joke 73 Mar. follower 74 New: prefix 76 Scary dog, for many 78 Facts and figures 81 Resident of Edinburgh 82 Remarkable 84 Relating to a subject in the news 86 Planet beyond Saturn 88 Style 92 Senior 94 French storey 95 French author (La

Peste) 96 Trick or ___! 97 Letters

98 All: prefix 99 Go (one’s way) 100 Indonesian island

101 Crazy about ___ (William Weintraub, 2005)

102 Maritimes 105 Boletus mushroom 106 Birth name (Fr.)

WEEKLY STARS ARIES - MAR 21/APR 20 You've been feeling overwhelmed and are ready to hibernate for a few days. Do everything in your power to get away with it, Aries, since bosses may not be keen on the idea. TAURUS - APR 21/MAY 21 You're feeling extravagant and excessive, Taurus, so why not channel that energy for a positive purpose. Help someone who is in need and feel good about yourself. GEMINI - MAY 22/JUN 21 Have you been thinking about taking a vacation, Gemini? Don't delay or else it will never happen. Rally some traveling companions and enjoy your time away. CANCER - JUN 22/JUL 22 You've been estranged from a family member and are ready to make amends, Cancer. Soon you'll be reunited and will be able to talk about the rift between you.

LEO - JUL 23/AUG 23 Listen to your friends when a problem arises, Leo. They know the situation and can help you pull through it quickly. Pisces proves a true friend on Wednesday. VIRGO - AUG 24/SEPT 22 Someone out there is trying to get the better of you, Virgo. Luckily you are able to see through their plan right away. Hold fast to your convictions to have the upper hand. LIBRA - SEPT 23/OCT 23 To say big changes are on the horizon is an understatement, Libra. For the next few days, look forward to something you've never expected. Things are bound to be exciting. SCORPIO - OCT 24/NOV 22 Money matters are at the heart of conversation this week, Scorpio. Be sure you know what you're getting into, and don't make any rash

purchases without reading the fine print. SAGITTARIUS - NOV 23/DEC 21 Finances are tight, Sagittarius, so resist the temptation to make large purchases you can put off for the time being. You'll be glad you locked up your wallet or purse. CAPRICORN - DEC 22/JAN 20 This week you'll be more likely than usual to pull out all the stops and spoil the ones you love, Capricorn. Just save a little attention for yourself. You deserve pampering, too. AQUARIUS - JAN 21/FEB 18 As of late, you've turned into a magnet for love interests, Aquarius. If you're single, have fun with the new-found attention. If you're attached, be careful around admirers. PISCES - FEB 19/MAR 20 Take care of business early in the

week, and make sure you get everything completed. As the days go by, you'll find that romance distracts you. FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS NOVEMBER 13 Whoopi Goldberg, actress (56) NOVEMBER 14 Prince Charles, royalty (57) NOVEMBER 15 Virginie Ledoyen, actress (29) NOVEMBER 16 Rebecca Romijn, model (33) NOVEMBER 17 Daisy Fuentes, model (39) NOVEMBER 18 Owen Wilson, actor (37) NOVEMBER 19 Meg Ryan, actress (44)

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 SOLUTION ON PAGE 31

NOVEMBER 13, 2005


Media helped create Owens monster By Chris Zelkovich Torstar wire service


Philadelphia Eagles' Terrell Owens was suspended indefinitely by the Eagles on Nov. 5, two days after criticizing the team for not publicly recognizing his 100th career touchdown. Tim Shaffer/Reuters

It’s been an up-and-down ride for Sea Dogs Fog Devils’ expansion cousins experience similar results By Scott Briggs Telegraph Journal


he high point couldn’t have existed without the low point. Back on Oct. 27, the Saint John Sea Dogs defeated the AcadieBathurst Titan 3-2 at Harbour Station, upsetting the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s top team and the number one-ranked club in the country. The victory was extra sweet since the Sea Dogs had suffered an 8-1 drubbing to the same squad on home ice a month earlier. Such is life for an expansion team trying to establish an identity. Saint John – who entered the league along side the St. John’s Fog Devils this season - has been respectable and, at times, impressive in the first quarter of its inaugural season in the QMJHL. On the positive side, Saint John has never lost more than two straight games. At the same time, the Port City puck squad has yet to win two in a row. “We’ve been able to avoid any major breakdowns in that stretch of 18 games,” Sea Dogs head coach Christian La Rue says. “Pretty much all of our players are on a positive learning curve. “You want to be able to get better every week,” the bench boss adds. “It’s easier said than done.” On that note, Saint John needs to play better defensively on a more consistent basis. Many other Q clubs are in the same boat. The Sea Dogs have shown promise in the defensive department, holding the Titan to just two goals in the aforementioned Oct. 27 game before blanking Cape Breton 2-0 on Oct. 30. Aside from hovering around the .500 mark, there are plenty more positives. Saint John’s top three scorers are rookies. The

fantastic freshman class is led by centre Ryan Sparling, who had eight goals and 19 points entering Friday’s action. Czech winger Martin Bartos is second (7-9-16), followed by German centre/winger Felix Schutz (6-10-16). The team’s 20-year-olds — goalie Jason Churchill defenceman Jeff Caron and forwards Kevin Coughlin and Vincent Lambert — have also played well. Churchill — a Hodge’s Cove, NL native — has been brilliant at times, garnering Defensive Player of the Week honours recently. Caron, an assistant captain, is calm and cool with the puck on any part of the ice. A premium passer, Caron’s point shots often create scoring chances on the power play. Coughlin has been a valuable veteran presence when playing with Sparling and Bartos. His eight goals were tied for the team lead entering Friday’s action. Lambert was the club’s captain for the first 17 games and he handled the role with a mature manner. He’s also supplied some offence (5-8-13) and is often called on to kill penalties. Another positive is team toughness. Forwards Charles Bergeron and Patrick Leask have yet to lose a fight this season and both take pride in their pugilistic prowess. With his high-energy approach, Bergeron has been the club’s most inspirational player on most nights, leading to his recent appointment as captain. Defenceman Sebastien Rioux has been the biggest overachiever. Rioux doesn’t weigh much (he’s listed at 159 pounds), but he might have the heaviest shot on the club. He usually makes good breakout passes and sound decisions with the puck. The 17-year-old rookie rearguard consistently calls for the puck during power plays, a sure sign he’s confident about his puck-handling ability and ability to get off a quality shot.

Lueders scoffs at Olympic funding ‘pressure’ By Randy Starkman Torstar wire service


obsledder Pierre Lueders can’t fathom the notion that extra funding given to medal contenders before the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics increased pressure on athletes and led to poor performances. Lueders was among several athletes and officials trying to make sense of a newspaper report detailing the findings of a federal government review of a program that saw a total of $1.3 million directed to 93 athletes before the Salt Lake Olympics. The review said the money was a source of stress for some. “That wasn’t the case at all,” says Lueders. “I’d have to say in my own case looking back, would I have spent some of the money in a different manner? Absolutely. “But in terms of creating more pressure or contributing to underperformance, no, I don’t think so. I don’t think in my case a million dollars would have helped the situation.” Lueders, the 1998 Olympic champion, finished fifth in the two-man event at Salt Lake. Alpine Canada boss Ken Read said none of his athletes had been contacted about the review, which he found wanting. “Real pressure on an athlete is to be in the start gate and know you’re

not prepared properly,” Read says. “That’s pressure.” Read says there’s no comparison between the Salt Lake initiative and the new Own the Podium program, which will see $110 million invested over five years with the goal of making Canada the No.1 nation at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Read says the Salt Lake initiative was a lastminute effort aimed at helping athletes with medal potential, while Own the Podium is a long-range, comprehensive plan that deals with Olympic preparation plus athlete development, recruitment and sport sciences. Cathy Priestner Allinger, who has been overseeing Own The Podium for Vancouver 2010, says there has been extensive consultation with athletes. “There wasn’t one athlete who said they felt added pressure,” she says. “They want resources in a timely fashion that they believe are going to help them.” One athlete who did feel pressure from the Salt Lake initiative was world champion skeleton racer Jeff Pain, who says the money had to be spent in certain areas, such as technological innovation and coaching. “Looking back, all these things added to the normal year of preparation ... it was increased stress and probably contributed a little bit less than the performance I wanted,” he says.

verybody was saying all the right things on the Terrell Owens situation last week. On ESPN, Michael Irvin said Owens was wrong in criticizing his team and quarterback Donovan McNabb. Tom Jackson said Owens had sabotaged his team and that the indefinite suspension was long overdue. Mike Ditka called him “a selfish individual.” “He has seen his last big payday,” Jimmy Johnson said on Fox. “He has cost himself millions.” “He doesn’t deserve to be on that football team,” Dan Marino said on CBS. Irvin, who made a few Owenesque headlines in his playing day, was the most willing to forgive. But all agreed that T.O. needed a time out. This was all well and good as Owens’ behaviour, from belittling his teammates to throwing punches in the weight room, should be condemned. But the criticism rings a little hollow. After all, how can the media rip the guy after they’ve been promoting the Owens travelling circus the past few seasons? Every time Owens staged one of his silly touchdown celebrations, network cameras were there to record it and replay it ad nauseum. Every outrageous comment was celebrated. When the Eagles suspended Owens last summer, helicopters hovered over his home to record his every move. The cameras continued whirring when he staged a workout in his front yard, followed by an impromptu press conference. During games he got as much camera time as Tiger Woods. The guy was great copy and the media milked it. That point was made during ESPN’s The Sports Reporters last week. After Bob Ryan called Owens a “narcissist,” William C. Rhoden disagreed. “If you don’t blow your own horn, there ain’t no music,” he said. “We bury, we rehabilitate. That’s what we do.” Mike Lupica agreed, noting that guys like Owens and Dennis Rodman are maybe just smarter than most.

“They’ve figured it out,” he said. “Run their mouths and the press comes running.” There’s little doubt that Owens is out of control, but who helped create this monster? Even though he wasn’t in the building, Owens was again at the centre of things when the Eagles played Washington on Nov. 6. When the CBS pre-game guys moved on to setting up the day’s games, Boomer Esiason was asked how Owens’ absence would affect the Eagles’ game against Washington. “Who cares?” he spat. “Let’s stop talking about him.” As if. CHANNEL SURFING, THE GOOD Dave Hodge didn’t pull punches last week on TSN’s The Reporters during a discussion of the Trevis Smith situation: “What (the Roughriders) did ... was put their heads in the sand and hope this would go away.” ... After the referee threw a flag and then his hat to call two penalties against Miami, Fox’s Daryl Johnston told viewers, “I’m glad there wasn’t another penalty because I’d hate to see what the guy might throw next.” CHANNEL SURFING, THE BAD Fox’s NFL pre-game show hit a new low last week when surgically altered Pamela Anderson joined Jillian Barberie to promote the former’s new show (surprise, it’s called Stacked) and plug the NFL sexiest man contest. The latter prompted Ms. Anderson to say of candidate Lawyer Milloy: “I’d love to cross-examine him.” Heaven help us. ... Freudian slip? ABC’s Mike Tirico directed those watching The Tour Championship to tune in later in the week for, “an all-nude Invasion.” CHANNEL SURFING, THE UGLY That was topped only by Hockey Night In Canada host Ron MacLean, who followed a Don Cherry story with a tortured line that somehow connected a kick in the groin and Deep Throat. We presume that risqué joke was for all those kids who watch Coach’s Corner.


NOVEMBER 13, 2005



Sébastien Bernier, defence Age: 18 Hometown: Lac-St-Charles, Quebec Favourite hockey team: Tampa Bay Lightning Favourite hockey player: Scott Niedermayer Favourite type of music: “I like every kind of music.” Best movie you’ve seen? “I liked Remember the Titans.” Favourite actor: Samuel L. Jackson Favourite actress: Angelina Jolie What do you like best about playing hockey in Newfoundland? “I really like the fans a lot. The people here are very nice.”

NAME Scott Brophy Oscar Sundh Nicolas Bachand Luke Gallant Marty Doyle Matt Fillier Pier-Alexandre Poulin Wesley Welcher Sebastien Bernier Brett Beauchamp Anthony Pototschnik Maxime Langlier-Parent Olivier Guilbault Zack Firlotte Pat O’Keefe Philippe Cote Jean-Simon Allard Matt Boland Josh McKinnon Kyle Stanley Steve Tilley


# 12 10 23 6 43 27 18 14 44 2 24 16 21 5 11 22 4 26 8 3 25

GP 15 13 18 19 19 19 19 19 18 16 15 17 19 19 11 17 19 6 10 16 18

G 7 5 8 3 2 3 4 3 1 2 4 3 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0

A 12 13 5 9 7 5 3 4 6 4 0 1 1 3 4 2 2 0 0 0 0

GOALTENDER Brandon Verge Ilya Ejov Devin O’Brien

W 3 3 0

L 7 5 1

GAA 4.08 4.65 5.06

S.PCT .893 .853 .855

PTS 19 18 13 12 9 8 7 7 7 6 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 0 0 0 0

All stats current as of press deadline Nov. 10

HOMEGROWN “Q” PLAYER Robert Slaney Colin Escott Ryan Graham Justin Pender Brandon Roach Mark Tobin Sam Hounsell

HOMETOWN Carbonear St. John’s St. John’s St. John’s Terra Nova St. John’s Pound Cove

TEAM Cape Breton Gatineau Gatineau Halifax Lewiston Rimouski Victoriaville

GP 18 17 21 7 20 20 2

G 0 2 7 0 6 7 0

A 3 3 2 0 12 5 0

PTS 3 5 9 0 18 12 0

GOALTENDERS Ryan Mior Roger Kennedy Jason Churchill

HOMETOWN St. John’s Mount Pearl Hodge’s Cove

TEAM P.E.I. Halifax Saint John

W 8 3 6

L 11 1 12

GAA 3.68 3.94 3.30

S.PCT .904 .869 .907

Hard working team From page 32 The effort I’ve seen from the Fog Devils this season has really impressed me. While I haven’t seen any road games and have to think they’re doing something drastically wrong on the mainland if they can only manage one win in 10 games, their work ethic in St. John’s has been great. At practice and in games, the Fog Devils are as hard working a team as I’ve seen in recent years. As is the case with any expansion team, they are a bit short on talent. But I don’t think it’s fair for anyone to criticize their efforts on home ice this season. They take the body, drive hard to the net and truly try their best each and every time they put on a jersey bearing the Fog Devils’ logo. Leading the way in the hustle department is without a doubt the captain, Scott Brophy. He is turning out to be exactly the player management hoped he would when they selected him first over-

all in the expansion draft. Wes Welcher has also impressed me in this regard. He kills penalties with gusto and isn’t afraid to be the first player skating into the corner. Bachand is cut from the same cloth, as are Luke Gallant and Sébastien Bernier. Most of all, what I like about these guys is that they care about winning. They are not all from St. John’s, but they are truly doing their best to bring pride and honour to the city’s top hockey team. I know not everything is positive with this team. They take too many penalties, lack consistent scoring from any line not featuring Sundh and Brophy, and as I mentioned earlier, can’t figure out how to win on the road. But after entering the Fog Devils’ locker room after a tough loss and seeing young men with tears in their eyes, I simply can’t find it in myself to cheer against this team.

Keon Clark won’t save Raptors By Dave Feschuk Torstar wire service


atching the Raptors get manhandled of late, there are those who pose a question: is there not a tall guy walking this earth who could help ease the pain? Jack Armstrong, the gravel-voiced broadcasting sage, was poring over statistics in the Air Canada Centre press room the other day when he mentioned an American of no fixed professional address. “Where,” Armstrong wondered, “is Keon Clark?” Chuck Swirsky fielded the same query on his radio show last week, when it was apparent Toronto’s hoopsters could use the spring-loaded athleticism Clark brought to the club in 2002 and 2003. “Nobody can locate Keon Clark,” said Swirsky, the Raptors’ play-by-play man. And it’s true, indeed, that the last time most NBA fans heard, Clark had verbally accepted an offer to play for the New York Knicks during the summer of 2004. But he never signed the deal. He never phoned the Knicks back. He disappeared off the hoops map. Finding the enigmatic beanpole was going to require the Sherlock Holmes treatment, to be sure. So your correspondent got out the magnifying glass, uncaged the bloodhound and, uh, typed Clark’s name into an Internet phone directory. He answered on the third ring. “It’s going all right, man,” said Clark in his familiar bullfrog baritone from his house in hometown Danville, Ill., about an hour’s drive from Indianapolis. “I’m just trying to live my life without nobody telling me what I gotta wear.”

With that rant against the NBA’s new dress code, Clark bid adieu and hung up. When he answered his phone a couple of days later it was suggested an NBA team could still use him. Sixfoot-9 and soft-handed, athletically freakish and 30 years old, Clark’s potential still tantalizes. He last played in the NBA for the Utah Jazz in November 2003, when he was traded to Phoenix and released. He says the Indiana Pacers called him as recently as a month ago, but he hasn’t heard from any teams since. He didn’t say whether the drop-off in interest coincided with his appearance in a local courthouse earlier this month for a preliminary hearing on charges of possession of cocaine and cannabis. It wasn’t his first run-in with the law. He has been previously cited for marijuana possession. Clark also concedes he spent a couple of days in jail recently after what he characterized as a dispute over child-support payments to the mother of his 5-year-old son, Keon. Prohibited by a court order from seeing his son, he says he lives vicariously through pictures. It hurts, he says, that his son will grow up without a dad; Clark’s own father, who wasn’t around to raise him, has been serving a 65-year prison sentence for murder since 2003. Clark offers a list of reasons why he’ll never play in the NBA again, the league’s policy of random drug testing not among them. He had surgery on an ankle in 2003 and it still bothers him. He hates flying and he doesn’t like the dress code. And then there’s the money, more of which he says he doesn’t need. “I’ve lost everybody, including my son, because of money. No question. Money always drives people apart,” he says, sighing.

NOVEMBER 13, 2005


Experience factor Newfoundlanders Ryan Graham and Colin Escott know the struggles rookies face playing with Gatineau Olympiques

hen Ryan Graham and Colin Escott came to Mile One earlier this month with the Gatineau Olympiques, they were an example of the difference a year can make in major junior hockey. Graham, a Mount Pearl native, is an 18-year-old, second-year winger, and carries the confidence of a player who knows his place in the lineup is secure. Escott, of St. John’s, is a 16-year-old rookie. The Olympiques’ first-round selection in last summer’s midget draft is still trying to find his niche in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Both players were in the lineup Nov. 4 when the Fog Devils edged the Olympiques 2-1, but Escott was a healthy scratch one night later when St. John’s handed the visitors a 5-2 loss. Graham understands the situation Escott is in, having gone through similar growing pains last year during his rookie campaign with Gatineau. “Obviously you have a lot more confidence out there,” Graham says of being a second-year player. “Your ice time is limited when you’re a rookie, then (in your second year) the coach gives you a chance to play every game. You don’t have to worry about going to the rink and wondering if you’re going to be in the lineup or not.” Despite being taken third overall in this year’s Q entry draft — one spot ahead of the Fog Devils’ Jean-Simon Allard, who went fourth — Escott is not always assured of a spot in the Gatineau lineup. In his defence, the Olympiques have a veteran team with few openings for 16-year-old rookies. Although Escott’s role is rather undefined, his coach says the team expects big things from the 6’2, 165-pound forward. “It’s a major adjustment for him to step up from his league last year (junior B in Massachusetts) to our league this year,” says Benoit Groulx, the Olympiques’ head coach. “But he’s doing well. We feel that he’s going to be a good player for us at 18 years old.” For his part, Escott seems content to wait for his shot at stardom with the Olympiques, recognizing the role of a rookie. For now, he’s learning on the job, and having a good time doing it. “It’s great hockey. It’s really fastpaced and there’s a lot of skill,” Escott says. Graham demonstrated the benefits of being a second-year player during the two games in St. John’s. In both contests, he killed penalties for Gatineau and didn’t hesitate to throw his 5’10, 190-pound body at any puck-carrying Fog Devil. In the Nov. 4 contest, he picked up an assist on his team’s lone goal of the night by racing into the corner and bumping a St. John’s defender off the puck before sliding a pass in front to Jason Speight, who scored with a quick wrist shot. One night later Graham took the physical side of his game one step further when he traded punches with the

Fog Devils’ Luke Gallant in a secondperiod fight. While Graham’s efforts caught the attention of those in attendance — especially the family and friends who wore T-shirts with his name and number on the front — they also caught his coach’s eye. Groulx says Graham has shown great improvement in his second season in the Q. “Last year he was only playing his regular shift. This year we use him as a PK (penalty kill) guy, and once in a while we’ll put him on the PP (power play) as well,” Groulx says. “We like the way Ryan skates and the way he gets involved in the game. We’re happy with him and we know he’ll help us not only this year, but next year.” Groulx has been happy with a lot of players from Newfoundland since becoming the Olympiques’ head coach in 2001. Gatineau, formerly known as Hull, has always had a couple of Newfoundlanders on their roster each season, even during the times when many young players from the province went to Ontario to play major junior hockey. In recent seasons Doug O’Brien, Sam Roberts, Derrick Kent and current Fog Devils’ captain Scott Brophy have laced up their skates for Gatineau, much to Groulx’s delight. “We have to talk about Rick Babstock (head coach of the St. John’s Midget AAA Leafs). He’s been working for us for a while (as a scout), and over the years he’s sent us some good hockey players,” Groulx says. “We like the fact we have guys from Newfoundland on our team. They’re good boys and hopefully Mr. Babstock will continue his good work.” Having a Newfoundlander or two on the team ahead of you is a help for natives of the province when they first arrive in Gatineau, Graham and Escott say. Last season, Graham had both Roberts and Brophy to help him make the transition, while this year he is trying to do the same for Escott. “Scott was always like a big brother to me and Sammy was awesome. He was like my dad,” Graham says with a laugh. “It’s different with Colin because he’s the younger one, so I have to try to be the mature one, which is tough because I’m not.” Graham and Escott agree that Gatineau is as nice a city as there is to play in if you have to suit up away from home. With a population similar to that of St. John’s, it isn’t that different a city than what they’re used to. Both young men studied French in school and are managing to navigate their way around their new home with what they’ve learned. Plus, as Graham points out, Gatineau is just a bridge crossing away from Ottawa. “My billets up there are excellent people and I have a lot of friends on the team, so I like it there,” says Graham. “I try to stay out of as much trouble as I can, but …”

Solutions for crossword on page 28

Solutions for sudoku on page 28

By Darcy MacRae The Independent


Ryan Graham and Colin Escott at Mile One in St. John’s.

Paul Daly/The Independent



Under construction Sea-Hawks women’s basketball team rebuilds itself after departure of star players By Darcy MacRae The Independent


t is a season of transition for the Memorial Sea-Hawks women’s basketball squad, but that doesn’t mean the team won’t contend for its fourth AUS title in five years. As is usually the case, head coach Doug Partridge has recruited a group of talented rookies to combine with the returning veterans. But for the first time in five years, Partridge is looking for new leaders on the offensive end of the court. Over the past five seasons, those roles were filled by Jenine Browne and Amy Dalton. The duo were the driving force behind the Sea-Hawks conference title wins in 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2004-05 and could always be counted on to come up with the big shot in the dying seconds of a close game. Partridge admits this year’s training camp had a much different feel to it than in recent years. With Browne and Dalton already in the fold at past training camps, he worked on building a strong supporting cast around them. But this time around, he had to look for players to fill their shoes — a process that can’t be completed over night. “They were the focus of the offence for years and now we have to figure out what the new focus is going to be,” Partridge tells The Independent. “We need the first few months of the season just to figure out what the personality of our team is going to be.” After holding practices since September and taking part in two pre-season tournaments — the Hawk Eyes tournament in St. John’s and the Raptors Invitational in Toronto — Partridge says he has a good feel for the type of team the Sea-Hawks have become. Prior to the team’s regular season opener on Nov. 12 versus St. Mary’s, Partridge explained that some aspects of the club’s play are stronger than others. “We’re a very solid defensive team, we play well at that side of the floor,” says Partridge. “Offensively, we’re still a work in progress. We run well; we have a good transition game and are athletic. We’re just straightening out some things we want to do offensively.” Part of what the Sea-Hawks have to work out is which player or players will get the ball when the game is on the line. In the past, Partridge had the luxury of designing a play that would see either Browne or Dalton take the last shot. This year, Partridge has to wait and see how players react in similar situations before he appoints any one athlete as his go-to player. “We know who our best skilled players are, but we haven’t played enough close games — ones that come down to the wire — to know who we want to give the ball to at that point in the game,” says Partridge. “I think that’s something we’ll

Doug Partridge

Paul Daly/The Independent

develop over the course of the season.” A leading candidate for the job is thirdyear guard Leslie Stewart. The Halifax native was heavily recruited by schools from across Canada when she graduated high school before choosing MUN. After two years of riding shotgun to Dalton and Browne, Stewart may be ready to take the helm. Her 13 points-per-game last year ranks first amongst returning players, and her play in the Hawks Eyes tournament and Raptors Invitational indicate she is ready to take on a larger role with the SeaHawks. “She had a solid pre-season; had some very good games,” says Partridge. “Now as we settle into the regular season, she’s someone we’re going to rely on to be able to score in a number of ways.” A couple of first-year Sea-Hawks with experience playing university basketball in the States are also expected to be impact players this season. Forward Mellissa Prunty is from Longford, Ireland and played two years at Oklahoma City University before sitting out the 2004-05 campaign due to eligibility requirements (a university athlete can not switch teams without first sitting out a year). Partridge expects big things from Prunty. “Mellissa is a tremendously skilled player,” he says. “She will help anchor our offence.” Katherine Quackenbush grew up in Halifax before suiting up at the University of Maine for two years. Like Prunty, she had to sit out the entire 2004-05 season, but did practice regularly with the SeaHawks. While her contributions on the offensive side of the game may not be as noticeable as Prunty’s, Quackenbush will ensure the opposition doesn’t have a free ride at the other side of the court. “Katherine is a big part of our defence. She’s a great athlete who works hard at the end of the floor,” says Partridge. “That’s her focus.” As was the case in each of the past few seasons, many are predicting that the battle for AUS supremacy will once again come down to Memorial and Cape Breton University. The schools have become bitter rivals in recent years, with each school topping the other in the past two conference title games (Cape Breton won in 2003-04). However, Partridge says the schools will be joined by at least four more teams in the fight to claim the AUS women’s banner. “Cape Breton certainly has established themselves early in the year (they recently beat MUN at the Raptors Invitational). We’ve done some good things, Dalhousie has done some good things and then St. Mary’s, UPEI and UNB have had solid pre-seasons as well. Those six teams are looking like legitimate contenders,” says Partridge. “It looks like the league will be tough overall.”

Fog Devils worth cheering for


ometimes it can be hard to stand behind a team with a losing record, especially when they have twice as many losses as wins. Sports fans can be a fickle bunch, myself included, so quite often a team’s record dictates its number of faithful followers. But there are exceptions to the rule, and I believe one of those exceptions currently calls Mile One home. The St. John’s Fog Devils are at the bottom of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League standings with six wins and 13 losses (as of press deadline). But a closer look at the team indicates the


The game hometown fans have much to cheer about. For starters, the Fog Devils have a winning record on home ice (again, as of deadline) with five wins and four losses. Included in the wins were some of the most exciting games Mile One has seen since it opened in 2001. Among the more thrilling moments

were Anthony Pototschnik’s shootout winner in the home opener versus Lewiston and the two-game sweep of Gantineau — a team ranked No. 4 in the country at the time (Nov. 5). The wins over Gatinueau were particularly fun to watch, for a number of reasons. First of all, the line of Oscar Sundh, Scott Brophy and Nicolas Bachand was dominant from the time the puck dropped Friday until the final buzzer sounded Saturday. In the Saturday game alone they combined for four of the team’s five goals, looking very much like a trio that can match up with any line in the Q.

Combining the finesse of Sundh, the hustle and playmaking abilities of Brophy and the chippy, rugged effort Bachand brings to the rink every night has been one of Réal Paiement’s better moves this season. Watching Ilya Ejov play back-toback strong games in net was also a pleasure. I was happy to see Paiement stick with Ejov even after the Fog Devils signed Matthew Spezza. As I’ve said before, the more Ejov plays, the better he is going to get, and he proved that by coming up big on several occasions in the wins over Gatineau. In addition to the individual efforts

that stood out, it was also exciting to watch the hard work put forth by the entire team. Coming off a tough road trip where they were blown out on consecutive nights, the Fog Devils returned home to face one of the best major junior teams in Canada. Few would have been surprised if the home team folded their tent and took another pair of beatings at the hands of Gatineau. Instead the Fog Devils out hustled their opponents in every aspect of the game and came away with two very important wins. See “Hard working,” page 30


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