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A look at Labrador with artist Scott Goudie

High-speed Internet reaching around province

MHAs to be sued Marshall says province will take politicians to court to get money owed IVAN MORGAN


he province is preparing to sue the MHAs implicated in the province’s spending scandal for constituency allowances they overspent, The Independent has learned. Finance Minister Tom Marshall says a year has passed since the scandal broke, and he has met with lawyers in the Justice Department and told them it’s time to bring the matter to a head. He says lawyers with Justice have been in discussions with the lawyers for former MHAs Ed Byrne, Jim Walsh, Randy Collins, and Wally Andersen. Percy Barrett, says Marshall, is representing himself. “I have asked them to advise the lawyers for the MHAs and Mr. Barrett that unless this matter is settled in short order that the statements of claim will be issued and the matter

will be determined by a judge,” Marshall tells The Independent. The province filed a statement of claim this week against Bill Murray, the House of Assembly’s former director of financial operations at the centre of the spending scandal, stating that he must repay money that was improperly disbursed by him when he was employed by the legislature. Asked why the statements of claim are being filed with the court before the RNC criminal investigations are complete, Marshall says the police probes are separate from the civil actions. “We have been advised by the auditor general these monies are owed to us. The comptroller general has indicated these monies are owed to us and we’re simply suing to get the money back. That part has nothing to do with criminality,” says Marshall. “Here we are talking about monies that are owed. And if the monies are See “Criminality,” page 2

Cod damn Fifteen years after the moratorium, cod stocks are in dismal shape and rural Newfoundland loses people by the day, but there’s still optimism STEPHANIE PORTER


n July 2, 1992, then-federal Fisheries Minister John Crosbie announced what many already knew or feared: a moratorium on the northern cod fishery. Effective that night, the ban on cod fishing immediately put 30,000 Newfoundlanders out of work. Protesting fishermen hurled abuse and attacked the doors of the room at the Delta hotel in downtown St. John’s, trying to get into the press conference — angry they weren’t included, and insulted by the $225-aweek compensation they were offered for the first 10 weeks of the closure. “Everyone thought our lives were going to end that day,” says Mary Coombs, mayor of Trepassey. She worked in the town’s now-defunct fish plant at the time, and realized her job, and those of many of her neigh-

bours, was about to end. “I remember watching the news and your heart was just pounding and oh my goodness … it’s really hard, girl.” Although the actual announcement was an unparalleled blow to the province — economically, socially, culturally — it wasn’t a surprise. Many fishermen, already devastated by poor catches, had been calling for serious action by Ottawa. In March 1992, a high-profile flotilla of fishing boats went to the Grand Banks to protest foreign overfishing; hundreds attended a provincial demonstration in Toronto. There were renewed demands for custodial management; then-premier Clyde Wells called on Ottawa to establish a police force to patrol the Grand Banks. In March, the province launched the now familiar And no fish swam… poster to raise awareness about the fragile state of a 500-year-old industry. See “It’s a lifeline,” page 8

QUOTE OF THE WEEK “One of the joys in life is tormenting horse’s asses like Loyola Hearn ... that drives me.”

— St. John’s Mayor Andy Wells. See page 4.

Colleen Quigley models a dress by St. John’s designer Sara Hodder.

Nicholas Langor/TheIndependent

Geo fabulous

International fashion journalist Jeanne Beker to host rockin’ runway show MANDY COOK


hen local promotional guru Sheilagh Guy Murphy met up with her old acquaintance, FashionTelevision host and FQ magazine editor-in-chief Jeanne Beker recent-

ly, she knew opportunity had come knocking. Inviting Beker to a cocktail party at her St. John’s home, she rang up her designer friend Barry Buckle and offered him a once-in-a-lifetime chance to show off his sewing skills to the fashion maven. “I called up Barry and said ‘Look, why don’t you get a bunch of designers together and a few models and slap a bit


Daria Snow, 14, young tennis champion

of your clothes together and come over?’” she says. “Jeanne Beker had just come from Paris from Karl Lagerfeld’s show and she came in … I said ‘Well you think you saw something in Paris — wait till you get a load of this.’” The resulting impromptu runway show made a lasting impression on

Voice from away . Book review . . . . Woody’s wheels . Don Power . . . . .

See “Beker’s rock,” page 2

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JUNE 22, 2007

To fix, or not to fix

That is the question Randy Simms says we should ask ourselves about fixed election dates


’m starting to have second thoughts about fixed election dates. I know, I was one of those people who argued for a change in the way we do politics and, like most, I heralded fixed election dates as a good thing. Many people have felt for years that allowing the premier to do his polling and pick a good time to go to the polls is unfair to the opposition and, by extension, unfair to the voting public. Danny Williams put an end to that argument by passing legislation that provides us with a fixed election date. The parties will go to the polls Oct. 9 whether they like it or not. If the governing party is in a popularity tailspin come October it will not matter and if the opposition faces complete annihilation than so be it. Most political pundits have praised this change in our electoral process and have applauded the governing Tories for making the move. Fixed dates for elections are considered a good thing, but it should be noted that such a move brings with it a downside as well and it’s this downside that is causing me to reconsider my position. For one thing, elections that were once three weeks in duration are now


Page 2 talk going to run for about a year. If the past several months are any example to go by all the political parties have been in election mode since last Christmas. The recent sitting of the House of Assembly seems to confirm it. There was a lot more posturing, negativity and gamesmanship than we are used to and we have to conclude this is driven by the impending election. Just look at all of the nominations that we have witnessed in recent weeks. Every time you turn around another nomination is being held. The parties now view selecting their candidates early as a positive and those parties without candidates in place long before Oct. 9 will viewed as weak and ineffective. It’s as if the first party to have 48 candidates in place is the winner and we know nothing could be further from the truth. Yet, I am almost sure we will see a news release from

one of the parties soon advising the electorate that all of its candidates are in place for the October vote. Do I need to mention the complete debacle we had this year with byelections? It did seem to be overkill to run off five byelections when we knew that within months we would be going to the polls in a general election. It cost candidates, political parties and the provincial treasury hundreds of thousands of dollars to run the byelections. We did it so a district could have representation for a few months. Somehow I don’t think our democracy is under any threat and people could have well survived for a few months without an MHA, but that’s an argument for another time. Is it fair to say that fixed date elections will mean more government spending then normal? It may be hard to say for sure. This is going to be our first experience with it, but the recent budget was the biggest spending budget in our history. No doubt one reason for this can be directed toward the rush of dollars the province saw this year, but one can’t help but think that when the budget was being written, Oct. 9

It’s as if the first party to have 48 candidates in place is the winner and we know nothing could be further from the truth. was on the minds of the writers. Maybe we have been influenced too much by American politics, but “pork”, as it is called, is not unknown to us and prior knowledge of when your job is going to come under review has to be a big motivator to open the wallet. Is that prudent? Another concern with fixed election dates could be voter burn-out. With election campaigns running for months instead of three or four weeks voters may be more apt to tune it all out. The end result being even less people going

to the polls on Oct. 9 then ever. Increasing the level of voter apathy here would be the worst thing that could happen. At least with the guessing game of When will be call it people were kept interested. With the mystery and suspense taken out of the picture it could all become a big yawn. Some people think it’s not fixed election dates that we should have, but fixed terms for members. You know how that works. You get two or three terms in office and you are not allowed to run again. I disagree with that concept completely. If you want to run you should be allowed to run and be elected as long as people want you. If I had to chose between fixed election dates or fixed terms, fixed dates would win out every time. Fixed election dates are now a part of the political process in our province and it’s not likely to change. But did it improve our democratic process or did it cause it hurt? Voter turnout will tell all. Randy Simms is host of VOCM’s Open Line radioprogram.

Beker’s rock and roll days in St. John’s From page 1 Beker. In an e-mail fired off from her Blackberry en route to Toronto from Ireland, she writes about the fun and fashionfilled evening. “All these gorgeous models, in all these funky clothes, just marched up the stairs and started strutting it. It was fab … and the designers were on hand as well. I adored meeting them and witnessing their wonderful energy. What spirit! Truly creative.” Encouraged by Beker’s response — telling Buckle that the local designs were as good as anything she had seen abroad — Guy Murphy approached Beker about hosting a future charity event for the Anna Templeton Centre for Craft, Art and Design. Beker jumped on board immediately. She is slated to host the Fashion That Rocks runway show at the GEO Centre in St.

AN EVENING SEMINAR THAT WILL HELP CHANGE YOUR LIFE! Are you... Stuck in a career dilemma? Facing tough decisions? A student feeling lost?

John’s June 22, and is eager to witness the “future of fashion. “This is the heart and soul of what fashion’s all about (or should be all about): Pure, unbridled, creative expression. I can’t wait to take it all in … courage, fearlessness. I love the edge of these young talents.” Beker’s connection to Newfoundland stems from three years spent in St. John’s during her “rock ’n‘ roll” days as an arts and entertainment reporter for CBC radio and a student of mime. She says there weren’t many restaurants in the capital city in those days so she would host “wild” dinner parties instead, dancing to Stevie Wonder cranked up on the stereo. These days, she says she makes regular visits to a friend’s summer home in Bauline, soaking up the local culture, hiking the East Coast trail and puffin and whale watching. As for her Newfoundland couture collection, Beker says her sweaters and socks from the Newfoundland Weavery are “tops” and their woven shawls “sublime.” She says the now defunct Wenches and Rogues was one of the first local stores to feature cool Canadian designers, but adds there are now many more inspiring shops cropping up. Beker says fashion is a tough business and new, young designers must be willing to stick to their vision and fight to survive in a sometimes ruthless industry. Perhaps the presence of the sharp and incisive eye of one of the world’s top fashion journalists can guide this province’s fresh talent in their future careers, says Guy Murphy. “The quality of the designers coming out of the Anna Templeton Centre can hold their own with anyone so to have an international fashion celebrity — a knowledgeable person — to come and appraise their work is more than we could ask for.” Tickets for Fashion That Rocks available at the Anna Templeton Centre’s temporary location, 152 Water St.

Finance Minister Tom Marshall (right).

Paul Daly/The Independent

‘Criminality is a totally different issue’ From page 1

“Career and Life Skills for Our New World of CHANGE” Wednesday, June 27, 2007 Holy Heart Auditorium 7:00 P.M. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. ADMISSION $2.00 Students / $4.00 Adults

Tickets available at: The Model Shop (285 Water Street) B&B Snacks (27 Blackmarsh Rd.) Also available at the door

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lawfully owed to us then we’re going to sue to get those monies back. They could be owed to us through inadvertence; there could be no criminality involved. “Criminality is a totally different issue.” Marshall says those implicated may owe the money through negligence or incompetence. “It’s like if you drive a car drunk down a street and you smash into somebody’s house,” says Marshall. “That person, he wants money to pay the damages to fix the house, and police may feel laws have been broken and they may lay criminal charges: two different things.” Asked if the province will be issuing statements of claim against the five MHAs implicated, Marshall’s response is blunt: “Unless they pay us.” In all government is looking to recoup $4,408,618 — $2,651,644 from Murray, as well as $170,401 paid to Unique Keepsakes, a company owned by Murray and/or his wife.

Ed Byrne

Paul Daly/The Independent

The five MHAs have been overpaid a total of $1,586,573: Ed Byrne, $467,653; Randy Collins, $358,598; Wally Andersen $344,465; Percy Barrett $117,286; James Walsh, $298,571. The severance packages for the retired MHAs and Murray are being held back pending the completion of investigations by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

JUNE 22, 2007



Berkley Reynolds took these pictures of Salmon Cove, Conception Bay, where he maintains an old homestead as a summer home.

SCRUNCHINS A weekly collection of Newfoundlandia In totally wicked news this week … Tara Oram, a 23-year-old singer from Hare Bay and one of 10,000 dream chasers from across the country who auditioned for this season’s Canadian Idol, made it to the Top 22. Tuey or T, as Tara’s known, has been a professional singer since the age of 18, splitting her time between Ontario and Newfoundland. Her sound is country — bay country, more specifically (the best kind of country). According to the Canadian Idol website, Tara’s favourite food is a cold plate. “It’s a Newfoundland dish that consists of salads, turkey, Jell-O, dressing, and lettuce,” she says. “It’s all served cold in two paper plates taped on top of each other! Mmm!” The first person Tara called upon learning she made the Top 22 was her mother back home in Hare Bay. Tara bawled on national TV when her mother picked up. (God love her — because the audience will.) Move over Craig Sharpe, take a bow Sexy Rexy, there’s a new Idol in town and she’s quite a gal … SQUID SQUAD Hare Bay, Bonavista Bay made the news in November 1981 when a giant squid washed up on its shores. The socalled “Squid Squad” — a team of Memorial University academics led by Dr. Frederick Aldrich, a marine biologist — went to the outport and retrieved the creature, which was almost eight metres in length and weighed 120 kilograms. In his account of the Hare Bay mission, Aldrich wrote that the giant squid wasn’t long dead after his squad got to the scene. “When I held the sucker-armed clubs of the manal portion of each of the paired tentacles, the suckers closed on my fingers and held.” He’s a braver man than me. I wonder if Hare Bay cold plates include giant calamari … JILL PILL Young Newfoundlanders are making a name for themselves all over these days. Jill Mackey Coldwell, 31, of St. John’s earned a bronze medal recently in her “tall figure” class at the Canadian National World Qualifier Bodybuilding, Fitness and Bodyfitness Championships in Toronto. I bet a giant squid would have trouble keeping a hold of our champion Jill, who’s from Town but lives in Sunnyside near Come by Chance. “I guess that gives me duel citizenship,” she says … COMEBACK KID The National Hockey League gave out its annual awards this week, with Sidney Crosby walking away with most of the hardware. The Toronto Star came out soon after with a list of awards it would like to see. Most valuable player for the money, Crosby of the Penguins ($850,000 US); Least valuable player for the money, Alexei Yashin, Islanders ($7.6 million US); and Comeback player of the year, Riverhead, Harbour Grace’s own Daniel Cleary of the Red Wings. The

John Crosbie

ered.” The oil and gas won’t be much of a surprise when it’s discovered …

Jill Mackey Coldwell of St. John’s at the Canadian National World Qualifier Bodybuilding, Fitness and Bodyfitness Championships in Toronto.

Best excuse award went to Chris Pronger of the Ducks, who had this to say after getting a one-game suspension for hitting Detroit’s Tomas Holstrom in the head: “Of course I’m going to hit him in the head. He’s quite a bit shorter than me. It’s just law of physics.”

Darren Langdon

FIRE AND ICE The book, Shooting from the Lip, Hockey’s Best Quotes and Quips, includes a gem from long-time NHL enforcer, Deer Lake’s own Darren Langdon. “I’m on fire,” said the onetime Canuck tough guy after getting an assist for his first point in 32 games. Langdon’s father is also quoted: “He (Darren) was mild-mannered and I don’t know how he ever got into the tough-role business. He was not a rough kid. The rough stuff must have come from his mother’s side of the family.” SICK, IN THE HEAD Are fighting Newfoundlanders as tough as they once were? Not according to the latest issue of The Muse, Memorial’s student newspaper. Students are apparently ready to revolt because the student health centre is charging $10 for a sick note, which is required to be excused from labs and exams. A spokesman for the students’ union says they plan to “fight” the sicknote policy. (Would that fight go ahead of the fight to end wars like the one

going on in Afghanistan or the fight to end starvation in Africa?) A spokesman for the health centre told The Muse the sick notes are legal documents and students won’t take them seriously if they’re free. (Next there will be a charge for a bathroom note, which raises the question what happens if students can’t pay.) A spokeswoman for the association that represents the province’s doctors says sick notes aren’t insured under MCP, and doctors, therefore, have every right to charge. So much for free health care … DEAD WEIGHT In the news business we call this time of year the silly season, a time when story pickings are slim indeed. Page 3 of The Muse includes a story on how the Queen Elizabeth II Library apparently isn’t sinking under the weight of its 2.5 million books. The building just looks shorter as graduates get older …

BUY LOCAL Here’s a skill-testing question for the provincial government, which recently launched a “Buy fresh, buy local” advertising campaign. Why did the province choose not to include the only locally owned provincewide newspaper in the media buy? Couldn’t resist … RIGGED AND READY Speaking of ads, the Newfoundland Ocean Industries Association, which held its annual petroleum conference in St. John’s this week, recently released its membership directory. The 120-page book includes a Government of Newfoundland and Labrador ad that points out how more than 2.7 billion barrels of oil and 10.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas have already been discovered off our shores. At the same time, “geoscientific data” shows another six billion barrels of oil and 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas remain “undiscov-

CAKE WALK John Crosbie appeared before the Senate finance committee in Ottawa earlier this week to ask Senators to pass amendments that will force the federal government to honour the Atlantic Accord. Crosbie said Ottawa is deliberately confusing the public and media by linking the Accord with equalization payments. “It’s very discouraging that it gets mixed up with equalization … we are not trying to have our cake and eat it too. We haven’t had the frigging cake yet.” Crosbie said he will continue to support the Conservative government, but he won’t accept “any codswallop” that the Accord is not being changed. (Codswallop isn’t in the Newfoundland Dictionary, but I’m confident to say it’s not eaten with cake.) A columnist with The Record in Waterloo, Ont. gave his two-cents worth this week on the equalization debate, writing that “have-not” provinces want to keep the “gravy train” flowing from the “have” provinces. The columnist wrote that former Liberal PM Paul Martin caved into pressure not to have equalization payments clawed back because of offshore oil revenues. “This was a coup for the people of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, effectively letting them have their cake, eat it, and have it smothered in whipped cream sent from Ontario and Alberta.” Is there any more of that cake left, because I never got a piece …

This is Alison Black, Concertmaster for the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, with her most prized possession. No, not the ring… the violin.

Alison Black. Diamond Design Ambassador.

Terrace on the Square, Churchill Square 754-9497 Store Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00am to 5:30pm


JUNE 22, 2007

Political heavyweights


Stressful world of politics a challenge to health: politicians By John Rieti The Independent


elvin Parsons still remembers the heavy time of 16- to 18-hour work days, a hectic travel schedule, cabinet meals of turkey dinner and oversized sandwiches, a smoking habit and the mornings when he would wake up feeling like he had never gone to bed. When Parsons became a politician in 1999 he was already a big man, but says he packed on the pounds while holding two portfolios and the stress that comes along with them. “It crept up on me … you tend to be eating on the run, involved in your work, having long days … you forget about yourself,” Parsons tells The Independent. The health of politicians has been in the news lately. St. John’s Mayor Andy Wells recently had a stent, a wire-mesh insert to keep arteries clear, implanted. And other public figures, including Intergovernmental Affairs Minister John Ottenheimer, have decided to retire, citing health as one of the reasons. Two years ago, when Ottenheimer was Health minister, he collapsed on a plane flying from St. John’s to Gander. He had to be airlifted to hospital in St. John’s where he had a pacemaker implanted during an emergency surgery. He says at the time he was “pushing to the limit” in dealing with the many obligations of his job — from being an MHA to holding a major portfolio. He says it’s not uncommon for politicians to risk their health for their jobs and that he has seen colleagues come to work physically unfit. Ottenheimer was reported to have the flu at the time of his heart attack. “Maybe at times we do not pay sufficient attention to our health and maybe we think we can just live forever … the reality is that we have to keep ourselves in check and make sure there is a balance in our lives,” says Ottenheimer. “That kind of event certainly makes a person more conscious of their personal health … you’re forever mindful of it.” Wells has a more pragmatic view of his

health. “You can’t sit around wondering what you’re going to do, you just gotta get on with your life and one day you’re not going to get on with your life,” he says. For Wells, that meant attending the NOIA conference days after his release from hospital and feuding with federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn. “One of the joys in life is tormenting horse’s asses like Loyola Hearn … that drives me on,” says Wells. Since undergoing a by-pass surgery nine years ago, Wells says he’s been a “posterboy” cardiac patient and is planning on getting back to his workout regime at the YMCA next week. “I lift weights, I work out, I can bench press 200 pounds, do a hundred sit ups, do work on the bike, work on the rowing machine, walk my dogs … but apparently if you got bad arteries you got bad arteries.” Wells says the stress of being a public figure had nothing to do with the 95 per cent blockage in his artery, but is happy to point out he hasn’t suffered any lasting heart damage from his operations. LIFESTYLE CHANGE Parsons also managed to get his health under control before it could do any damage. “I decided on Jan. 6, 2003 that I was going to make a lifestyle change, so I quit smoking and joined Weight Watchers,” says Parsons, a decision he still keeps true to. Once 273 pounds, he has lost 76 pounds. He now exercises an hour a day, either running, weightlifting or swimming, and brings his own lunches to work. Parsons says health is a common topic around the lunch tables of Confederation Building, and he has encouraged many colleagues to take on their health challenges. The Confederation Building has a gym employees can use, operated by the department of Transportation and Works. However, many politicians continue to live an unhealthy lifestyle and many are overweight, something Parsons says can impact decision-making. “I feel (being healthy) helps me be more physically and emotionally acute,” says Parsons.

A papermaking machine caught fire on June 19 at the Abitibi-Consolidated mill in Grand Falls-Windsor, taking firefighters four hours to extinguish. The damage is expected to keep the plant closed for three weeks. Paul Daly/The Independent

Naming names An aid to reading the Green report By Ivan Morgan The Independent


n his report on the province’s political spending scandal, Chief Justice Derek Green did not list the names of any of the people who were members of the Commission of Internal Economy, the group of politicians who governed the House of Assembly and made key decisions that led to the scandal. In his report Green wrote, “One of the dangers of describing something as a systemic failure is that there is a tendency to ‘de-personalize’ the nature of the problem. We should never forget that a systemic failure is always, at its root, a failure of people.” Green says he was focussed on “the nature of the responsibility, the nature of the failure,” which is why he did not name names. “It’s not hard to do the math, I suppose. Anyone who wants to can do the research if they are interested in that. But as I said it wasn’t the focus of my report, so I didn’t need to do it,” Green tells The Independent. Listed below are key dates in the spending scandal and the names of the people who were members of the Commission of Internal Economy at the time. The committee normally sat from one fiscal year to the next. In March 2000 auditor general Elizabeth Marshall decided to do a legislative audit of the House. She was prevented from doing so after the legislature quickly changed the IEC Act in May 2000. Members of the committee at that time were: Speaker Lloyd Snow (Liberal) Chair; Deputy Speaker Gerald Smith (Liberal); Robert Mercer

(Liberal); Beaton Tulk (Liberal); Tom Lush (Liberal); Paul Dicks (Liberal); Joan Marie Aylward (Liberal); Kevin Aylward (Liberal); Loyola Sullivan (PC); Tom Rideout (PC); and Ed Byrne (PC). This was the largest committee in some years, with 11 members, a far cry from the average seven-member committee. In 2001-2002, reports Green, the level of excess claims jumped to $280,000 from $80,000 the year before. Members from April 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002 were: Speaker Lloyd Snow (Liberal) Chair; Robert Mercer (Liberal) Deputy Chair; Tom Lush (Liberal); Joan Marie Aylward (Liberal); Kevin Aylward (Liberal); Loyola Sullivan (PC); and Ed Byrne (PC). Two years later, in 2003-2004, Green reports that the level of excess claims peaked at $480,000, and then declined significantly. The committee was disbanded on September 29th when then premier Roger Grimes called an election. The members for that year were: Speaker Lloyd Snow (Liberal) Chair; Mary Hodder (Liberal) Deputy Chair; Tom Lush (Liberal); Robert Mercer (Liberal); Joan Marie Aylward (Liberal); Kevin Aylward (Liberal); Loyola Sullivan (PC); and Ed Byrne (PC). For the period from October 1995 to March of 2006, the longest serving members of the committee were former Speaker Snow (nine years), Ed Byrne (nine years), Loyola Sullivan (eight years), Kevin Aylward (seven years) and Percy Barrett (six years). All have since retired, although Barrett only announced his retirement last week.

JUNE 22, 2007


Speaker not releasing information until legal opinions rendered By Ivan Morgan The Independent


remier Danny Williams may say the Green report into the political spending scandal will “usher in a new era of accountability,” but Speaker Harvey Hodder is taking baby steps towards that goal, waiting for legal opinions on how to proceed. Hodder refuses to release information requested by The Independent, even after legislation touted as making the House more transparent and accountable was passed late last week. “It’s not that I am saying yes or no, I am just simply saying that until these matters are addressed, it’s not appropriate that we do it on individual cases,” Hodder tells The Independent. “We have to develop a policy on it and while I am committed to openness and transparency we can’t do it piecemeal.” In January The Independent asked Chuck Furey, then chief electoral officer and commissioner of member’s interests, to reveal the charities where he was donating his MHA pension. A condition of being hired to the $125,000-a-year position was that he donate his pension to charity to avoid “double dipping” in the public purse. Furey refused to turn over that information, and The Independent requested it from Hodder. Hodder said he would look into the matter. Contacted after Furey abruptly resigned in May, Hodder said he had the information confirming Furey donated his pension to a registered charity, but was unwilling to reveal the recipient, citing privacy concerns. The Independent again requested the information this week. Hodder is still holding on to the information. “I am not going to jump into a decision on these things until after

we have received all the advice that we need to have before there are decisions made.” Hodder says he has spoken to legal advisers and guidelines will be developed over the next number of weeks to give guidance to the House management on issues such as The Independent’s request. He cannot say what the timeline for these guidelines will be. “The act passed last Thursday and it is only today that we are making actually a list of things that would have to be addressed and the development of guidelines forward,” says Hodder. “The matter has only been discussed this morning between the clerk of the House and myself.” Hodder says there are many factors that are being looked at by his legal advisers. Issues regarding the retroactivity of the legislation is a concern, as are privacy issues. “For example — the fact that the premier donates his salary to charity. Is the fact that he chooses to do that with his own funds, is that an issue that should be divulged to the public?” asks Hodder. On the other hand, he says Green’s report says members of the House should not use constituency funds to make donations. Should members who have extra funds not donate them to charities or to good causes or to groups in their district either? “These are the matters that the legal advisors — both for the executive branch and for the Speaker’s office — are in the process of looking at now,” says Hodder. “What other legislation is in need of amendment to facilitate the work of, I guess, the House and also to implement the entire report of Mr. Green. “That’s all being looked at and in due course we will do everything that is required to be done.”

Off the payroll Bill Murray resigns from provincial civil service By Ivan Morgan The Independent


he man at the centre of the province’s spending scandal officially resigned on June 1, The Independent has learned. Bill Murray, the house of assembly’s former director of financial operations had been on paid leave — his salary is estimated at more than $70,000 a year — from the job he was suspended from in June 2006. As a long-time provincial employee, Murray is also entitled to a severance package, although that is being held back by government, says Speaker Harvey Hodder, consistent with the government’s actions regarding the five MHAs also implicated in the spending scandal. All are currently under investigation by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. “The same practice that applies to the


he president of the province’s teachers’ union hopes government is finally paying attention. Kevin Foley says the upcoming school year will be a critical “transitional” year in dealing with teacher frustrations over workload. The past year has been a tough one for the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association. Its relationship with government was strained by a series of controversial television ads the teachers produced and aired on local stations addressing issues — like workload — that teachers felt the government were not addressing. Foley says, for the first time in the association’s collective bargaining history, money was not the primary issue. “Workload was the No. 1 priority — by far — of teachers right through the province,” Foley tells The Independent. There are focal points in the system that need fixing, says Foley. Special service teachers, speech pathologists, guidance counsellors, educational psychologists — the people who actually support the classroom teacher — are overburdened, many with twice the recommended caseloads. They need support, Foley says. He says the union has spent several years trying to make that point to government. In February 2006, the Williams administration paid down $1.95 billion in outstanding debt in the teacher’s pension. While teachers appreciated the pension payment, Foley says the union made it “very clear” that the No. 1 issue still went unaddressed. Hence the television ads, which ran

from mid-December 2006 to midFebruary of this year. “The ads came about because teachers had identified the workload, and the needs of neither the teachers or the students being actually met.” Foley said the public had a love/hate response to the ads. “We’d show these ads to teachers and their initial reaction was to applaud, because they knew somebody was actually interpreting what was actually happening,” says Foley. A union survey showed people in the province felt better informed on educational issues than they were before the ads ran, he says. The survey also indicated “a lot of support” for teachers. Foley says even though government decided this year to keep on teachers who might have been laid off due to declining enrolment, the fundamental issue was still not addressed.

Collins, and Percy Barrett have resigned their seats as MHAS. Jim Walsh, a former MHA defeated in the 2003 provincial election, was appointed to the federal Transportation Safety Board. He was placed on paid leave from that position — which has a salary range between $104,900 and $123,400 a year — after the auditor general identified him as having overspent his constituency allowance while he was an MHA. Between 2003 and 2004, Walsh filed signed claims totalling $289,169, which is $228,169 in excess of the $61,000 ($30,500 per year) he was allowed as a MHA. Walsh also collects a provincial pension for his time as an MHA and cabinet minister. Wally Andersen is the MHA for the district of Torngat Mountains.


MP Norm Doyle was in St. John’s on Monday, June 18, to announce $1 million in federal funding for the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. Doyle says he has been lobbying for funding for the cathedral, a national historic site, for three years. The cathedral’s conservation society will determine what the money will be used for, but Doyle says it will continue renovations on the two towers and stained glass windows. Nicholas Langor/The Independent

Upcoming school year crucial: NLTA By Ivan Morgan The Independent

members applies to him (Murray) as well. In other words, his severance is held until there is a determination, and that determination will depend on the process that’s being followed in conjunction with the investigation that’s being carried out,” Hodder tells The Independent. He says Murray has been treated appropriately. “You have to look at the realities. That’s common in these kinds of matters.” Murray was suspended when auditor general John Noseworthy discovered more that $4 million in questionable disbursements issued by him. This week the provincial government issued a statement of claim against Murray to recoup those funds. Five MHAs are also under investigation by the RNC for their role in the spending scandal. Ed Byrne, Randy

Teacher allocation and the new method of dealing with the individual needs of the students — the ISSPPathways model — are major problems in the system, according to Foley. He says a commission was struck by the minister to look at each of these topics. The NLTA is awaiting the recommendations, and it appears government is seriously looking at basing teacher allocation on need. Foley says the minister is saying this coming year will be a transition period “where we will lead into that. “If that is the case, I have to say from my perspective that would be a good thing,” says Foley. “We would be very supportive; we would be very much willing to work with whomever in the department or government or whomever to allow that to occur.”


JUNE 22, 2007

Behind the mask F

or this week only this column has been renamed the Fighting Ooga Booga. I can’t help myself, not with the wicked tribal mask The Independent got our hands on recently. Made of teak, the mask has green eyes and fangs, and would come in handy for Danny, who’s no doubt tired of contorting his face into the dirty looks he gives for a living. The premier could dance around his eighth floor office in the mask whenever a vicious mood strikes him, dancing a jig and jabbing the air with an oar from a rotting dory at a likeness of Steve, our evil mainland nemesis. No worry of the wind changing and a dirty look becoming permanent with a mask on. Taxpayer money well spent. The Ooga Booga mask was imported from Asia by JAS Enterprises, one of the St. John’s companies tied to the House of Assembly spending scandal. “Questionable payments” of more than $2.6 million were made to three companies — JAS included — for untendered trinkets like lapel pins, gold rings, and fridge magnets (my


Fighting Newfoundlander favourite is the one with the picture of the adorable Newfoundland dog and Labrador retriever) over a sevenyear period. JAS is owned by the family of city businessman John Hand, who’s a friend of Bill Murray, the House of Assembly’s former director of financial operations. The Independent has been knocking on Mr. Hand’s door as of late, but no one’s answering. Former associates of Hand say the Ooga Booga mask, along with dozens of other mass-produced Asian knickknacks, were imported by JAS over the years (no word on who paid for what). Politicians were also outfitted in the best cheese money can buy. Murray is on the hook for $2.6 million. I wonder where he spent it all? Bill was in the news again this week when the province filed a civil

suit against him to get its money back. Poor ol’ Bill not only allegedly made questionable payments to companies owned by his buddy, $140,000 was also allegedly paid to a company owned by him or his wife. If that wasn’t allegedly bad enough, Murray allegedly “grossly overpaid” five Members of the House of Assembly in constituency allowances. According to the statement of claim, Murray was responsible for “100 per cent” of the claims and, as a consequence, was in “reckless disregard of the limits.” In fact, the statement of claim reads that Murray “failed utterly in the professional or dutiful discharge of his responsibilities as a trusted manager,” bringing the House and public service into “disrepute.” Murray is pretty much the spending scandal’s whipping boy, which is convenient considering there’s a looming provincial election. Days after the release of the 1,311-page Green report — which didn’t name a single political soul — Murray’s name and picture were flashed across the CBC supper-hour news. More civil suits are reportedly to follow against the five MHAs who

are implicated, just not right yet. It’s interesting to note how the suit against Murray was filed days after he went off the government payroll, a year after the scandal broke. (Ain’t government jobs grand?) It’s also worth noting the court action against Murray began while the police are still investigating him. The province may be guilty of premature litigation. Murray was represented last summer by well-known lawyer Averill Baker, although not any more. Murray won’t do interviews; neither will his lawyer. Speaking on behalf of her thenclient, Baker told The Independent last July that Murray is innocent of the allegations against him and only did what politicians directed him to do. Baker said Murray pointed the finger of blame on MHAs on the Internal Economy Commission. Further, she said the one time Murray tried to dispute an expense claim he was shot down. “I simply don’t understand about my client being ganged up on or blamed for this in that the one time he did try to dispute a claim he was told, ‘Look, who are you to ask me about this? Who are

you to ask me what this is for.’” The auditor general even dropped into the Waterford to see Murray after he checked himself in, a meeting Baker deemed as inappropriate considering her then-client was in a weakened mental state. With no public inquiry, the media is left to figure out what happened. Which is a tad difficult when no one’s talking. It’s almost a year since Speaker Harvey Hodder told MHAs to keep their mouths shut about their constituency allowances. The way Hodder figured it, politicians had no way of knowing what information police would need as part of their investigation. The thing about a Constabulary probe is that if police don’t lay charges, the details of their investigations are usually never made public. A hell of a lot of questions must be answered before the spending scandal fades away. Politicians and bureaucrats must be held accountable. Either that, or they should all, each and every one, be issued an Ooga Booga mask when they’re elected to office to hide behind.

YOURVOICE ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if our families were intact?’ Dear editor, What is being done to ensure the stability and survivability of family life here in Newfoundland? Yes, I am one of hundreds, perhaps thousands (and if you think I’m exaggerating, spend a few hours in St. John’s airport) of Newfoundland women who are tolerating life in this province while their husband/boyfriend/significant other breezes in and out of their life “on rotation.” And yes, I mean tolerating — not enjoying, not embracing, and not content thinking about the money their loved one is making in Fort Mac or on an oil rig in Alberta or Nigeria. “On rotation” — what does that mean? Six and two? Twenty one and eight? Month on, month off? These terms have taken on a certain significance and understanding to Newfoundlanders. Whatever the “rotation,” it all means the same thing — living alone, eating alone or raising kids alone most of the time. Or maybe these women are like me — newly married, without any kids. And yes, since everyone keeps asking, we’re “trying for kids.” My husband FedEx’s home his sperm periodically so I can try to reproduce. Sorry, you’ll have to excuse the sarcastic tone. Seriously, what effect is the absence of a whole generation of men having on family life here in the province? Are divorce rates up? Are people unhappy? Are mothers frus-

trated with parenting alone? If it was necessary to do a socio-economic study in Labrador for the Voisey’s Bay project, why is no one looking at the impact of the absence of fathers on a whole generation of Newfoundland and Labrador children who see their fathers only periodically? Why is no one concerned? I don’t understand. Instead, Danny Williams is obsessed with getting his own way with the oil companies. If he were truly concerned with this province, he would make a deal, even if it was less than perfect, that would bring some new opportunity to this province and maybe bring some people home. And what about new funding allocated to attracting foreign/international trades people and skilled professionals to the province? I think it is a wonderful idea. Maybe one of these newcomers we’re dedicating money to (instead of trying to figure out a way to get Newfoundlanders back in the province) will bring me a child from their home country since my husband isn’t home long enough for us to try for our own. No, I’m not about to break into a country song about “my man” being gone. I’m not high-maintenance and I don’t need hand holding. I can tolerate this situation, but wouldn’t it be nice if our families were intact? Deidre Puddister (trying to be Deidre Williams), Bay Bulls

‘The character and largesse of our people’ Dear editor, Congratulations! I really enjoyed Ivan Morgan’s May 15 column, Racism lessons from the Truxtun. I also applaud his writing style. The story of Lanier Phillips, one of the survivors, is such an inspiring one — every time he speaks he gives so much honour to our people. At the recent christening of the USS Truxtun DDG 103, he once again referred to the humanity of our people in a special documentary produced for the reception.

In conversations I had with very senior officers while in Pascagoula, Mississippi, the U.S. Navy and the people of south Mississippi gratefully acknowledged the character and largesse of our people. I sincerely hope Lanier’s story will reach the Big Screen very soon. To that end, I thank you for keeping this wonderful story of our history in print. Wayde Rowsell, Mayor of St. Lawrence


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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

‘That really moved me’ Dear editor, I love The Independent — it is a fantastic newspaper. I wanted to drop you a short note to say how much I enjoyed Pam Pardy Ghent’s June 15 column, Pop stopped to smell the roses. It was

beautifully written and very elegant. I especially liked the section where he asked to go back in for one final look around the house — that really moved me. It is writing like this that makes me buy your paper every week. I also want

to say how much I enjoyed Amanda Hancock’s article, Out of Africa, in the May 15 edition. It was lovely to read and I learned a lot. Ian Davidson, Clarenville

ation. The Atlantic Canada lobsters, on the other hand, and in true Atlantic Canada fashion, saw a group of their own trying to imitate what the Quebec lobsters had done to save themselves, but instead of making a ladder they grabbed their leaders by the tail and pulled them back into the pot. You see, they did not want to offend anyone and were satisfied to stay in their place.

The article from an Atlantic Canada newspaper essentially agreeing with Stephen Harper and his new government’s broken promises sure looks to me that even after all these years we Atlantic Canadians haven’t learned as good a lesson about politics in Canada as the Quebec lobsters did about their situation. Michael E Power, Paradise

Lobster lessons Dear editor, A recent piece appeared in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald newspaper by Dan Leger, director of news content, under the headline, The Atlantic Accords: Time for truth-telling, in which he arrived at a conclusion: “What we are demanding is unfair. Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador should be content to get their fiscal capacities to the national average and then allow sharing of their resource wealth.” The piece reminded me of a story about Quebec lobsters and Atlantic Canada lobsters, which went something like this: It seems that a large group of Quebec lobsters and Atlantic Canada lobsters found themselves caught in a large lobster pot. They noticed a hole at the top. The Quebec lobsters immediately took advantage of the hole and used their ingenuity to form a ladder with their own bodies, allowing them to climb on each other’s backs and escape the situ-

‘What education is all about’ Dear editor, A June 15 letter to the editor (Canadian military sinks to ‘new low’) by Jean Dandenault of Holyrood, who described himself as a “concerned and saddened parent,” expressed concern about the military’s visit to his child’s school. First, let me say that like many Canadians I sometimes wonder about Canada’s role in Afghanistan. Our history as peacekeepers sometimes seems out of step with our involvement in the conflict. I’m also “saddened” every

time I see another young man or woman being killed in any conflict. The writer seems to suggest, however, that the military should not visit our schools with this kind of presentation as it might offend their children’s, or indeed their parents’ sensitivities. Perhaps it might expose them to an unpleasant aspect of life. I would suggest that children learn from this kind of presentation like any other. I would be very surprised if a child makes a decision at nine years of age to join the army. Let’s get serious here — soldiers

and war are a part of life. We have a responsibility as parents to guide and direct our children and provide them with information, as do the schools. This is what education is all about. Maybe we should turn off our TVs or hide newspapers. To use the writer’s logic maybe we shouldn’t have the police or fireman or other dangerous occupations make presentations in case the children may choose those careers down the road. Paul Green, St. John’s

JUNE 22, 2007


The constancy of traffic lights

Ivan Morgan remembers junior high — when the end of the street was no longer the end of the world


ong ago I’d lie in my bed in my room and fret over the troubles only Grade 7 could bring. I was 12. My house was in what is now the Aquarena parking lot, except then we lived in the country — OK, not quite the country, but we had cows. I had left the safety of elementary school for a tumultuous junior high school — half kids from the courts (the few who were Protestant that is) and half from the ’burbs — except, of course, the Catholics. Being kids, we were still not too sure what the difference was yet. We weren’t paying attention. For all the stress this school — Bishop Abraham Junior High — could generate, I knew at day’s end my Mom had supper made, there was TV (we had colour on both channels) and I had the safety of my room and my bed. And as always, I would look out my big bedroom window across the fields and over the ’burbs to Rabbittown. I would watch a set of traffic lights far off


Rant & Reason in the distance, set in the middle of the twinkly jumble of street lights, porch lights and warm yellow windows, doing what they did — red … green … yellow … red … Unwavering. Predictable. Comforting. Eternal. Summer, winter, fall and spring. If I woke at three in the morning … switch, switch, switch and switch again. They were so far off in the distance. I’d wonder about the people who lived near those lights. Who were these mysterious adults out so late they needed traffic lights at two a.m.? How did they work — that eternal, precise switching? I was 12. I was changing. Sweet Jesus I was changing. Puberty? Like getting hit by a bus in excruciatingly slow

YOUR VOICE Sympathizing with soldiers Dear editor, While I sympathize with parents in Holyrood over the incident in which young soldiers proudly showed kids from Grades 4-6 the tools of their profession, I also sympathize with the soldiers who have been accused of promoting recruitment for their ranks. The question is why should our Armed Forces be regarded as an evil necessity and not receive the praise and admiration like those in any profession? Those young men and women are putting their lives on the line for us, and have every right to display the tools of their trade. If we wage war, we should know the realities of it above and beyond the pomp and pageantry of military parades. The school made apologies for failing to tell parents in advance about the military visit. One has to wonder if a visit by a vet or a hair stylist would warrant advance notice. War is a fact of life and war requires soldiers and weaponry. Mankind has been at war since he left the Garden of Tranquility. But nothing will be solved by

Dear Mr. Minister: On June 5-6, 2007, I attended an oil and gas conference in western Newfoundland and I was informed to my extreme annoyance that apparently your department has funded a research programme in western Newfoundland offshore/onshore geological structures through the University of Kentucky. Please confirm that I am delusional and that this is not true. I will be sitting at the head table with you at

Cathy just because. We pretended we were on our way somewhere, but blushed every time she turned her head. I pretended it was no big deal to be so deep into the city on my own. Cathy turned and laughed at us. I remember the resounding clunk of her front door closing behind her, leaving us cold in the street. Standing at an intersection suddenly feeling foolish, I looked out over the city, across the valley and I saw my house. My house, behind the fields, set in the trees. Long bulldozed, it is a place so secure in my memory the actual sticks and paint — now gone — seem irrelevant. And I remember wondering what was for supper. Young boys are not philosophers. Then, above my head, I heard an electric buzz-click. A bus lumbered by, flash image — old ladies in plastic headscarves grimacing out of the grey

windows at the dreary shops — and two urchins standing on the sidewalk. Green light. Cars whooshed by. And then it clicked. Green … yellow … red. Here I was at the other end. Not the end of the world. Nothing mysterious, just a grimy St. John’s street. And though my world was growing, at that moment it started shrinking. My buddy shoved me with his shoulder. “It’s a traffic light, dickwad.” I laughed and grabbed him by the coat, pretending to throw him in front of a Mammy’s delivery truck. Teen boys never show weakness. The driver swerved and hollered a word I can’t use here, but it made us laugh. My buddy hollered back he could do it to himself. The truck skidded to a stop in the middle of Merrymeeting. And that was us, gone, laughing as we ran. I pretty much get the world now. That was the moment it started.


making our dedicated young soldiers feel as if they are somehow besmirched, and may or may have not allowed some student to pull the trigger as he, the soldier, held the weapon. If parents really want to create a positive learning situation for their kids, teach them the difference between defensive wars and offensive wars, and the values of peace. Continue to teach them about world poverty, and the inequity across this globe as people of all ages die from starvation, disease and war while their misleaders (sic), driven by fanatical egos, sacrifice everything decent to a god of destruction. Teach them to share and love one another. Teach them to respect all people and cultures, and to wish the best for those as for themselves. We are the most creative life form on the planet with the greatest potential for making our planet a green one, environmentally and economically, but we must learn to think of others, and to recognize that the earth and its bounties belong to everyone. Aubrey Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor

‘Please confirm that I am delusional’ Editor’s note: the following letter was written this week by St. John’s Mayor Andy Wells to federal Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn, with a copy forwarded to The Independent.

motion. Not something you got over fast. Nope. It took a decade just for the physical end of it. The emotional? I’ll let you know. But always, late at night, red … green … yellow. Never changing. They shimmered in the summer heat, disappeared in snowy February gusts. Good times, bad times, I could lie and watch them. The red was longer than the green by 15 seconds; I learned that when I got a fancy new watch for my birthday. And as I grew, so did my freedoms. By Grade 7 I was sophisticated. I could walk to my new school, past the end of Rabbittown. And here we were, my buddy and I, after school on a typically cold grey St. John’s afternoon — could have been November, could have been June — following Cathy Murphy down Merrymeeting because … well because. That puberty thing again. (Sorry Cathy — I know that’s you real name. Wanna sue us? Take a number). Suave lads that we were, we followed

the NOIA conference in St. John’s this week and I want an answer from you regarding this matter. I find it extremely disconcerting that you have not had the courtesy to respond to my letter of May 30. I can only conclude that you think you can evade your responsibilities as minister. In this, of course, you have much in common with your colleague, (Loyola) Hearn, who also has refused to respond to the same letter of May 30. To paraphrase Richard Nixon: “It’s not going to play in Peoria.” And, it’s not going to play in St. John’s. I look forward to having lunch with you. Andy Wells, Mayor

Newfoundland and Labrador fur breeders are currently battling Aleutian disease, which does not affect humans and can kill animals, in one of the province’s 24 mink farms. The provincial government does not yet know how the virus made its way onto the island. The fur industry is estimated to be worth $70 million annually, according to the CBC. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Power column ‘portrayed the essence of jealousy’ Dear editor, I was never a hockey fan. My brother-in-law informed me, young Daniel Cleary of Riverhead, Harbour Grace was playing for the Stanley Cup this season. I became very interested in the sport and became a big Cleary fan. Every game he played I was sitting next to my brother-in-law. Sometimes our cheering became so loud the neighbours checked in to see if all was well. I was proud of Daniel as if he was my own son. Of course, most people in Newfoundland and Labrador feel proud when our own Newfoundland and

Labrador children work hard, give their best efforts, and make it to the top. Daniel has also become an inspiration for today’s youth. What more could our province ask from a boy? After reading Don Power’s column (Wings clipped, thankfully) in the May 25 edition of The Independent I shook my head in disbelief. His article did not impress me. It showed a lack of sensitivity to Daniel Cleary, Daniel’s family and especially to the people of Harbour Grace, whom he called morons. It was cruel and rude. In my opinion, Mr. Power’s piece of writing did more dam-

age to himself than it will ever inflict on any member of the Cleary family or the people of Harbour Grace. It portrayed the essence of jealousy. To me the article indicated Mr. Power is stuck in the 1980s. At that time, young Daniel was a boy who had just stepped into his teenage years. It is not too late for Mr. Power to grow up. Maybe Daniel could give him a few tips to get started, although I strongly feel that Daniel outgrew him a long time ago. Gladys McDonald, Holyrood

locate its facility other than on prime property in a residential neighborhood. It would appear that nothing has changed in 65 years. The U.S. military came here in 1942 and built an airport to the north of the city. Normally, the military base, of which the airport is a part, is located adjacent to the airport. Not here. Oh no, the U.S. military was given permission to build on what is now some of the best real estate in St. John’s and nobody questioned it. Well, I am now questioning the deci-

sion to maintain a military presence in Pleasantville. It is not necessary and all land that was once occupied by either U.S. or Canadian forces should be reclaimed for other uses. I would urge all city councillors, members of the House of Assembly representing St. John’s districts, and our two Members of Parliament to request a review of the decision.

Military presence in Pleasantville questioned Dear editor, As a long-time resident of the Pleasantville area of east end St. John’s, an area that is appropriately named, I was invited to attend an information session on June 12 at the Pleasantville Legion on plans to redevelop a large part of the land inside the boundary of what was Fort Pepperrell. The land in question is now owned by Canada Lands Company and is used by National Defence as CFS St. John’s. While the meeting was short

on substance, it did generate a number of questions dealing with issues such as increased traffic flow in the area, and the need for adequate consultation with neighbouring citizens. From my point of view, however, the whole exercise was flawed from the beginning. National Defence has already decided to construct a major new facility that ultimately will be right in the middle of a residential neighbourhood. The decision evidently was taken without consulting any-

one, least of all the citizens, many of whom have lived in the area for 40 years. Ward Coun. Art Puddister, who was present at the meeting, stated that the City of St. John’s has no jurisdiction to question the decision. If that is true, then I think that our city council has failed us once again. Surely a strong representation by the city would be considered by National Defence? The fact is that there are many other venues where the department could

Edgar Williams, St. John’s

JUNE 22, 2007


JUNE 22, 2007



What happened?

From page 1 “Still, we knew that it was going to close, but we weren’t believing it,” remembers Coombs. “You were hearing it, and you talked about it, but you just didn’t think it was going to happen. Right up until the last minute, the very last day, no one believed it. “How could you? After years and years and years, where was everyone going to go? What was everyone going to do?” Fifteen years have partially answered those questions. Once a vibrant fishing community, Trepassey now relies on a handful of businesses and a slowly growing seasonal tourism industry for survival. The town now counts about 750 residents, less than half of what it did a decade ago. Indeed, the population of Newfoundland and Labrador was at an all-time high of 580,000 in 1992. With the end of the cod fishery began the tumble that continues today — according to the 2006 census, there are now 509,000 residents in the province. With the ready availability of well-paid full-time work in Alberta and elsewhere, the flow of out-migration won’t likely slow any time soon. Fifteen years later, new species of fish and new industries have become important to the province. Many rural communities struggle; the northeast Avalon, for one, is booming. There is already a generation coming of age that never knew the cod fishery the way it was — that aren’t waiting around for it to come back. In 1992, Crosbie said he was closing the cod fishery for two years. Few people believed the species would recover in such a short time — but fewer still imagined that, 15 years later, the stocks would still be in such desperate shape. ••• “That was just plain stupid,” says Leslie Harris, one-time president of Memorial University and chair of the 1990 independent task force into the state of the northern cod stocks. “No one ever thought — well, I suppose someone might have been foolish enough — but very few people thought we were talking about two years. “The two years was just silly politics, it meant nothing.” Harris admits he thought the fish, even by his most conservative predictions — “given some sort of restraint on our part and given some sort of careful management” — would have been on their way back by now, in spite of any environmental changes. As it stands, the offshore stock has shown virtually no recovery; inshore, there are some positive signs. Harris knows from his own experience that fisheries science is not precise and the ecosystem involved is complex and ever changing. “It just goes to show, when we’re fooling around with nature we don’t really know what we’re doing and we’re as liable to do something that’s exactly wrong as we are to do something that’s exactly right.” He’s more pessimistic about the future of the codfish than he once was, saying he has “great difficulty” believing the stocks will be even allowed to recover. He fears the management and conservation lessons of the past 15 years are still not taken to heart. “We will convince ourselves that it’s abundant when it’s not and we’ll begin killing again as soon as indications are there there’s something to kill.” On that, retired fisheries scientist George Lilly hedges his agreement. “I would suspect that, even if we see a small recovery in the offshore, there will be a very serious demand to get back at it,” he says. “The general take on this nowadays is that it doesn’t matter what state the stock is in, as long as it’s on an upward trend we seem to believe it’s OK to fish. “Who knows? We could very well get into it as soon as some fish start reappearing. It’s all a matter of politics.” Harris also questions Ottawa’s commitment to solving the crisis, citing a lack of resources for researchers and short-sighted management. “I don’t think Ottawa ever took very seriously trying … to really conserve the Newfoundland fisheries,” he says. “I think they’ve had a feeling, as with the Newfoundland outport, that the sooner they were gone, the better. “I think that’s still (the attitude). I think Ottawa generally has looked on the Newfoundland fishery as the source of poverty and misery and something to be gotten rid of as soon as possible. “And I think they’ve done a very good job, in that respect.” •••

Andrew Shea, mayor of the Town of Fogo, says Fogo Island, off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, is as reliant on the sea for its fortunes as ever. But the demise of the cod fishery also brought about a fundamental change in the industry. “Before, with the cod, everybody was heavily involved on the same level,” he says. “But now we’ve got those with big quotas making big money, and those who can’t survive at it.” Now crab is the mainstay of the island, with shrimp pulling up a close second. Although Shea maintains the fishery is the present and future of his town, he’s well aware there may be a time limit on that. As in the cases of many outports across the province, the Fogo population is dropping — particularly the younger population. And those that stay aren’t showing much interest in a life tied to a fragile resource. “When I taught school in the late’70s, we had a drop-out problem, everyone would drop out to go to work at the fish plant,” Shea says. “Now nobody does, nobody see it as a career at all. “You know, if you go to the plant, you’re struggling to get 14 weeks to get your unemployment and kids don’t want that anymore.” Back in Trepassey, Coombs sees the same thing. “When we were younger, we didn’t think about stay-

Moddox Cove Fisherman Sam Lee

‘It’s a lifeline’ ing in school — we just thought about getting out to go work in the fish plant or out in the boat.” She says it’s already becoming difficult to find people to pitch in when work does come up — in St. Mary’s, a 25-minute drive down the shore, there is still an operational fish plant. According to Coombs, the operators had to go to Harbour Breton to find people to work there this summer. Even as she sees her community grow quieter, Coombs says she’ll never leave — in love with the place, the peace, and the life she’s built. Shea, too, is committed to his town. But — as everyone learned all too well — he knows that the local fortunes could turn on a dime.

“After this many years, if the (moratorium) carried on much longer, there’s not going to be many people left to go at the cod fishery it does come back,” says Shea. “They’re going to be out of it and then it’ll really be gone. “But it’s got to be the fishery. The only reason we’re here is the fishery … if it ever goes, we’re in very serious trouble. It’s a lifeline.” ••• Provincial Fisheries Minister Tom Rideout says he has to be an optimist — his position demands it. “Under every circumstance, one has to believe that fish is a renewable resource,” he says. “Certainly the

Former federal Fisheries minister Ross Reid

recovery has been disastrous to this point in time … but yes, we believe the stock will at some point increase and eventually back to historic levels. That’s certainly not happening in the short term and nobody has a handle on when that might be.” Rideout says lessons have been learned — he believes fishermen and harvesters are being listened to by managers and scientists more than they were 20 years ago. And he sees a better understanding of the need for sustainable practices within the industry, and improved co-operation between the province and DFO. Then again … “We went through this problem with overfishing,” he says. “Did we

learn any lessons from that? If you look at what happened in the crab fishery since the moratorium, you’d have to conclude that we didn’t … we went off right, left and centre, licensing new plants, more capacity and putting new strains on the resource. “From a management perspective, we’ve still got a lot to learn.” Earle McCurdy, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ union, says he also sees more cooperation between fish harvesters and science and management — he names the sentinel cod fishery as one example. He, too, believes strongly in the future of the fisheries, including cod, in this province. Indeed, he says,

Leslie Harris, author of the 1990 report on northern cod stocks.

nothing else has yet to come along — with the “scattered exception” — to provide any sort of basis for the survival of communities off the Avalon Peninsula. “In terms of the structure of the industry, we have rebuilt it to a fair extent since then,” he says. “Harvesters have come up with other options … though the processing sector and plant workers haven’t recovered at all.” In the end, he says, the demand for the sea products of Newfoundland and Labrador still exist — and as long as it does, there will be a viable industry. “The world still needs our fish and we have a lot of fish products out

there that are in demand and the consumption of seafood is still on the upswing — there is a future there,” he says. “But for how many, and what has to happen, what has to change to compete with the job opportunities in Alberta for example … but I think that’ll find its own level over time.” ••• Ross Reid succeeded Crosbie as federal Fisheries minister. Not only was he around for Crosbie’s 1992 announcement, but he had to follow up himself by closing a number of the remaining cod fisheries in Atlantic Canada, effectively handing out another 21,000 pink slips.

Former federal Fisheries minister John Crosbie

“I make no bones about it. I didn’t get very much sleep the night before,” Reid tells The Independent. “You understand the impact, you know … it’s communities and families and all that sort of thing.” And the impact was immense back then, and Reid says the province has yet to recover fully, even today. “We’ve gotten over it, to some extent economically, 15 years later, time deals with some of that,” he says. “And some are much better off … not everybody, not by a long shot. But the psychological, the cultural impact, that will be there for a long time. “It had a real impact on an awful lot of people in this province … it was their culture, it was their history, it was their community. And maybe part of the problem was that we always believed it would be there anyway. Certainly it’s a kick in your reality when all of a sudden you realize it’s not.” Rideout himself has trouble believing that a decade and a half has gone by, that already there “are teens out there who will never know the fishery I knew. “It seems like it was yesterday when Crosbie made that fatal announcement,” he says. “But a lot has changed in the province, a lot has changed in the fishery, and the face of rural Newfoundland I hazard to say will never be the same as a result of it.”

Earle McCurdy, president of the FFAW All photos Paul Daly/The Independent

Retired Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientist George Lilly has studied the northern cod for decades, and continues to, now as a scientist emeritus. He says he’s not sure where John Crosbie’s two-year moratorium plan came from — certainly not from studies done by DFO scientists. “Nobody saw it anywhere else, it just appeared attached to the minister’s announcement on July 2, 1992. It’s hard to say why it was there. It may have been nothing more than a political necessity … they were all under great duress at the time.” Lilly says to imagine the stock’s return in two year would have been “quite a leap of faith.” Today, the offshore cod stocks are in “dismal shape,” says DFO research scientist John Brattey — the numbers continued to decline even after 1992 and have yet to show encouraging signs of coming back. Scientists now believe the offshore stock will take decades to rebound, if they ever do. The inshore fish are faring slightly better — enough that a small inshore fishery was opened in 1998, only to be closed in 2002 as the fragile stocks showed signs of slipping away again. “Then it looked like it started to improve again, but hasn’t gotten to the peak of 1998,” Brattey says. In 2006, a very small fishery — 2,700 tonnes — was opened again. “We reckoned that removed about eight per cent of the stock — while it didn’t knock it down, it certainly was noticeable,” says Brattey. “It’s not for us to say whether it should have stayed closed … but there was tremendous pressure on Minister (Loyola) Hearn to open it, which he did, and referred to it as a one-year pilot.” Brattey hasn’t heard if there will be any inshore cod fishery this year. This year’s recreational fishery, which was also open last summer, has also yet to be announced. In 1991, the year before the moratorium was announced, the northern cod catch was 123,000 tonnes, and was worth an estimated $700 million. (By contrast, less than 16,000 tonnes were landed in 2005.) There is no single or simple answer for the collapse — or for the lack of recovery. It’s a complex issue, which all stakeholders are still trying to work through. Some are quick to lay the blame on Ottawa for its mismanagement; on domestic and foreign overfishing; on hungry seals. As Brattey points out, there have also been major changes in oceanographic conditions, including a cooling in the late-’80s. “There are lots of theories but no definitive explanation that everyone is accepting,” says Brattey. “Some believe the fish moved — there were some changes in the oceanographic conditions … others believe there was this very big increase in natural mortality in the ocean — they simply disappeared.” Either way, says Brattey, very few cod are surviving in the offshore to be old enough to reproduce — they must be at least four years old, but are most productive at six or eight years of age. “For some reason, the removal of the fishery wasn’t enough (for recovery), nature kept chopping away at it. It really fooled everyone.” He points out the situation is not unique to northern cod — other species in the area have been affected as well. American plaice and caplin, for example, have also suffered serious declines; whereas shrimp and crab have increased. Arctic cod have also increased in abundance, and moved further south. “For some reason, nature is trimming off all the excess that we used to capture. And if we start fishing, even at low levels, we’ll just knock it down. “There’s no end to this, not in the short term. It’s going to take multiple generations to rebuild.” Although Lilly says there needs to be “a lot more review” of the understanding of the science and economies of the fisheries, he says there has been a significant amount of work done, and knowledge gained. “You have various fish harvesters that say we don’t know what’s going on with the science and we need a lot more money … to some extent there’s truth in that — you can always do a lot more, and there are serious constraints in terms of money and people and that’s very true. “But for a time period there, there was a lot of effort being put into the science of cod and I think it was very well understood. And people were saying the scientists didn’t know what was going on and were using that as an excuse for ignoring the science.”

JUNE 22, 2007


Gut-founded I

’ve been noting the number of times “guts” and “gutless” have been used in columns and letters to the editor in newspapers of late. My count is at 16, though I’m sure I missed some in the out-harbour journals. The words just about always refer to Newfoundland’s Conservative MPs in Ottawa, all three of whom have not taken what is seen as the proper proNewfoundland stance in dealing with Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty. Brian Jones of The Telegram came a step closer, branding the Liberal Opposition in the House of Assembly as “gutless” too, although they in fact supported the true doctrine. If they had done otherwise, they would have been eviscerated. But in the main the gutless ones are said to be Loyola Hearn, Norman Doyle, and Fabian Manning. They were supposed to resign from their party and sit in obscurity as independents to make a point to Harper. I can’t recall the MPs of the past — Liberals Bill Rompkey or George Baker — being asked to resign during the 1980s, when Trudeau made

PATRICK O’FLAHERTY A Skeptic’s Diary his grab for offshore resources and Newfoundland was in a similar uproar to what it is now, but Hearn, Doyle, and Manning have to make the “gutsy” move and jump ship. It’s easy enough to type out a demand for Hearn’s resignation, or get on Open Line and prate about it, but how many commentators would do what they’re telling him to do if they were in his position? With his limo, salary, influence, perquisites? Well, I can’t speak for them. I’d be out in a flash! (Wink, wink.) Just to keep to the “gut” theme, when the Romans wanted to see into the future they consulted augurers, who tore out a beast’s entrails and examined them. If, say, no heart could be found, as happened on the day Julius Caesar was murdered, that was a warning to be

heeded. We have different methods now. One is to “crunch the numbers,” which is what Professor Wade Locke is continually up to at Memorial before he informs us where we will be in 10 or 15 years time if we go this way or that way. The way will depend on the price of oil and a number of other economic variables, some of which Locke can’t know. I actually envy Professor Locke and his style of economics, i.e., the kind that is in the business of telling what is going to happen. How much easier it is to say what will happen in 2032 than to say what happened in 1932. (Believe me, I know how hard the latter is.) And if your projections about 2032 are wrong, who will remember? But put in print what 1932 was like and generations of students and readers will rightly question and revise it. Then there is Gwynne Dyer’s system of prognostication, which was on exhibit June 16 in St. John’s. He simply announced what he thought the future held, one part of which was that America was “on a collision course”

YOUR VOICE ‘No more disrespect, Mr. Wells’ Dear editor, St. John’s Mayor Andy Wells is an intelligent man, he knows how to get things done and I believe that he really does care about our community. But why does he waste so much of our energy and money on his big bully show? And why do we let him? I’m sure it sells papers and it’s good for a laugh now and again, but it’s very expensive entertainment if you ask me. When we allow Wells to act so disrespectfully, and to normalize bullying as the way to get things done, what message are we sending to our children? It’s time for us, the citizens of St. John’s, to

with China — a gloomy scene to contemplate. He did say, however, that he was foretelling “what might happen, not what’s bound to happen,” to quote The Telegram story. Everyone listening to him must have been relieved to hear that! Saying what might happen is something we all can have a shot at, and when I was around the bay last week Henry Butt and I killed an old goat and found four kidneys. I hesitate to give a definite interpretation, but if Four Horses of the Apocalypse were soon to appear on the Outer Ring Road I would not be in the least surprised. My final point today isn’t directly about guts, but a stomach does come into it. Some of my friends were surprised by the headline in the June 13 Telegram, “Sir Robert Bond still hampered by ice.” I can’t say I was. Repeated attempts have been made during the past decade to get Sir Robert to leave The Grange, resume his place at the head of the Liberal party, and save the country. Hon. W.F. Lloyd and I went, oh, half a dozen times to get him to come out, but he refused, pleading

illness, the expected visit of his brother, or some similar pretense. A few months ago his excuse was he was hampered by ice. Now he’s saying he’s still hampered by it! It’s true we’ve had icy weather of late, but surely not enough to prevent a man coming in from Whitbourne. I suspect the real reason he won’t return is that he’s lost his customary optimism. The last time we saw him Mr. Lloyd spoke of “duty” and “public service.” “Service!” Sir Robert roared, “Is that what they’re calling politics now? Who was that Andersen fellow in Labrador serving when he overspent his constituency allowance by hundreds of thousands of dollars — not to mention Byrne in Kilbride and Barrett and Collins and the rest of them? Don’t talk to me of service.” He then headed off to his grotto, saying “he turned his back on the loathsome business … it all made his stomach churn over,” or words to that effect. Patrick O’Flaherty is a writer in St. John’s.


say no more. No more disrespect, Mr. Wells. No more wasting our community’s resources for your own prestige and amusement. No more. LEAVE THIS BULLY Fellow citizens and taxpayers, it’s time for us to leave this bully standing in the school yard for a while until he realizes that it’s time to play nice, or he won’t have any friends. Mr. Wells, it’s time for you to live up to your true potential as a leader and a force for positive change in this city and this province. Scott Morton Ninomiya, St. John’s

Corporal Stephen Frederick Bouzane, of the Third Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, was one of three soldiers killed Wednesday when the vehicle they were traveling in struck an improvised explosive device on the main road on a supply route west of Kandahar City. Cpl. Bouzane was born in Little Bay, Notre Dame Bay. He was 26.

What Newfoundland soldiers die for Dear editor, I am writing in response to the June 15 letter to the editor, Canadian military sinks to ‘new low’, by Jean Dandenault of Holyrood. Like its author I am shocked and outraged, not at the Canadian Forces, but at the people who write in and criticize their methods, purpose and current actions. In the letter the author was outraged that the Forces showed up to his daughter’s school in a recruitment drive, and later asks how many more Newfoundlanders will die due to this indoctrination. It’s not just the author, but it seems to me that a large number of people in our country seem to be getting our mission in Afghanistan confused with aggressive American foreign policy in places such as Iraq. I do not support the war in Iraq, but I gladly support our efforts to bring those responsible for 9/11 and other mass-murders to justice. What do these people think Newfoundland sol-

diers die for? They die defending freedom, democracy, and to preserve the Canadian way of life, including our ability to write criticizing letters to the editor. Would the author been equally as outraged if it had been police officers or firefighters that had shown up to his daughter’s school? Those professions both get Newfoundlanders killed in the line of duty, and for the same reasons — to protect the people. There’s a nice quote I found on the Internet the other day concerning our troops overseas, and I’d like to say it on behalf of all of us who are proud of what our boys are doing, “If you don’t stand behind our troops, you can gladly stand in front of them”. Ryan Woodford (A proud Newfoundlander and Canadian citizen), Herring Neck

JUNE 22, 2007




Columnists and editors who live in glass houses … Dear editor, I thought it was more than a little amusing that Ryan Cleary made reference to the Jean Poutine incident — yet again (Scrunchins, June 15 edition) — on the next page after Randy Simms incorrectly spelled the name of former U.S president Ronald Reagan. If you Google Ronald Regan you will get a response that says “did you

mean: Ronald Reagan” so I guess even intellectually superior Canadians sometimes make mistakes. I guess we should keep in mind that “people who live in glass houses ...” Keep up the good work. Scott Hancock, St. John’s

What Canadians don’t understand about equalization Dear editor, When federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty responds to a reporter’s question as to why a cap should be placed on the equalization payments to our province he smugly replies that when Newfoundland and Labrador surpasses the fiscal capacity of Ontario and Alberta the cap should apply. I’m sure this sounds perfectly reasonable to most Canadians and they question why the province does not accept this argument. What they do not understand is that the Finance minister makes no distinction between fiscal capacity and wealth and I am sure he knows the difference just as Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who’s an economist, knows the difference. While our fiscal capacity is increasing we still remain with the highest unemployment rate

in the country — 15 per cent — and the second highest per capita debt. We would be only too pleased to forego equalization payments if our unemployment rate and our per capita debt were the same as Ontario and Alberta, the two wealthiest provinces. You would think the mindset and policy of any federal government would be to develop a formula that would result in provinces no longer requiring equalization payments. Instead, the policy of this government is exactly the reverse and designed to keep provinces dependent on these payments If we were allowed to keep the revenues from our own — and I emphasis our own — nonrenewable resources we would no longer require equalization payments in a few years’ time. Burford Ploughman, St. John’s

‘Good luck in the next election, Mr. Hearn’ Editor’s note: the following letter was written to Loyola Hearn, the province’s representative in the federal cabinet, with a copy forwarded to The Independent.

Rachel Guy works with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans.

Under the rubble St. John’s native Rachel Guy volunteers to help rebuilding efforts in New Orleans; finds the soul of the city still survives By Rachel Guy For The Independent


riving into New Orleans late at night is like driving through the television pictures of August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina decimated the city and most of the Gulf region. Two years later, New Orleans is still in ruins, and for the visitor expecting to see a vibrant city full of jazz music, restaurants and bars, it came as a nasty shock. I had come to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds houses for people in need. The group operates across North America, including in Newfoundland, giving loans, labour and materials to build decent housing. Like many people watching the horrible pictures that were broadcast from the Superdome and around New Orleans, I wanted to do something useful. Habitat provided food and board for volunteers like me, as well as tools and instruction. As an architecture student, I was also interested to see how the city was being rebuilt in the wake of such a disaster. On the cab ride out to Habitat for Humanity headquarters in St. Bernard’s Parish, we passed through the Ninth Ward, one of the worst affected neighbourhoods. My taxi driver was a 350-pound Sierra Leonian named Joe, and he was nervous about driving around at night. “The police give you problems out here,” he said, checking the rearview mirror. Over a million people left the region after the hurricane, and in the aftermath, only half of the city’s 400,000 people have come back. It shows. The streets were dark, the houses were empty, and the city smelled like a warm swamp. Traffic lights were twisted and blinking in the wrong direction. Shops were boarded shut, roofs sagged in, and the only sign of life was the occasional cigarette butt glowing from a doorstep. Joe told me thousands of GPS signals are still coming from cars and trucks that were washed into the sea. As we drove further down the St. Bernard Highway, the only places intact and operating were the Murphy Oil refineries and the military base. It was an eerie introduction. Camp Hope is a converted elementary school that is now being used to house volunteers. Bunk beds line the walls of former classrooms, and dinner comes cafeteria-style. The volunteers in my room were from all over the United States and Canada. There was Pat, a retired real estate agent, whose daughter had died of cancer, who was donating musical instruments to a school. There were Silicon Valley software designers, unemployed factory workers, Chicago blues musicians, Iowa farmers, evangelical church groups, and bus loads of students coming down after exams. A group of navy cadets from Annapolis ran five miles on the levees every morning before starting work. A guest actor on CSI: New York put in time hammering siding. Everyone was happy to put on old clothes and

get dirty. What a lot of them had in common was a feeling of shame. As George, a retired philosophy professor, said, “The first people to arrive here six days after the hurricane were Mounties from Canada. That’s an important point. We are supposed to be the most powerful country on earth, and yet we can’t help out our own people.” The next morning with the thermometer hitting 90, our work crew drove to the house of Erica LeJune and her family. Erica and 30 members of her family escaped in two camper vans just before the hurricane struck. When they came back, they found their houses, cars, trucks and fishing boats destroyed. Like many Cajun people in the area, the LeJune family are shrimp fishermen. Though they had insurance, without a boat, Erica’s husband Darren and her two sons couldn’t go to work. Being from Newfoundland, I could appreciate how tough it was for fishermen to be out of work and out of hope. Two years on, none of the insurance money had come through, and six members of the LeJune family were living in a small trailer provided by the federal government. Water and sewer still hasn’t been restored, so everyone uses port-a-potties and water tanks in their front yards. It was easy to work hard for them, and it was hard work. In addition to hauling bags of concrete and lumber, we had to watch out for black widow spiders, water moccasin snakes and fire ants. The volunteers didn’t complain. By the end of the week, we had put down foundations, finished the framing and started with the rafters and siding. The family helped out too. Darren brought over some catfish and crayfish, and Erica cooked them up on a big grill in her driveway. The neighbours brought us cold drinks, and sometimes played the fiddle to keep us entertained. Over and over again, people in New Orleans told us how much it meant to them that we hadn’t forgotten them. At the checkout of Family Dollar, the cashier waved us through, saying “Don’t worry about the money, y’all are helping us out.” Beigniettes, or French donuts, appeared at our breakfast tables, dropped off by a ladies’ church group. In the bars and pubs, drinks were often free, and in restaurants like Casanova’s Seafood, we had to argue to pay the bill. During my last week there, the jazz festival began, and musicians and tourists alike began to energize the city. All of a sudden, marching bands appeared on street corners, college kids were drinking oversized daiquiris in the streets, and middleaged couples piled into Harrah’s casino. The Voodoo tours were back in business, and musicians like Harry Connick Jr. and Wynton Marsalis mingled with the crowds on Bourbon Street. The spirit of New Orleans was still there after all, buried underneath the rubble. Do you know a Newfoundlander or Labradorian living away? Please e-mail

Mr. Hearn, I read an article on the VOCM website recently stating that you plan to “stay silent no longer in the ongoing dispute with the province over the Atlantic Accord.” The article went on to quote you as saying, “from now on if someone pushes me I will push back.” All I can say is that I have respected you and your stand on issues for years. As an avid political junkie I have followed your career with interest. That said, I can only assume you are clutching at straws with the current situation. You and your counterparts have claimed that voting for the federal budget was the only option.

Voting against it would cause you to be kicked out of caucus where you could accomplish nothing. This past week we saw Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey do just that, with the result you predicted. All I can say is did it ever occur to you or any of your fellow caucus members that if the three Nova Scotia MPs, three Newfoundland and Labrador MPs and seven Saskatchewan MPs had all shown the backbone to do what was right, your lord and master Stephen Harper, with a minority government, could never have ejected 13 members? This is a situation where, as B. Franklin once said, if we do not hang together we will surely hang separately. Good luck in the next election, Mr. Hearn. Fight back against your own people if you must, but remember, eventually you will have to face the voters. Good luck with that. Myles Higgins, Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s

JUNE 22, 2007


Plane speaking Province considers water bomber options By Ivan Morgan The Independent


he provincial government is looking at options for its fleet of six CL-215 water bombers — replace, refit, or a combination of the two. Almost $20 million has been set aside in this year’s budget for the planes. With aircraft stationed in St. John’s, Gander, Deer Lake, Stephenville, Goose Bay and Labrador West, the fleet is 25 years old, and decisions have to be made now on its future, says Cluney Mercer, assistant-deputy minister of Transportation and Works. “There has been no upgrading to this water bomber fleet in probably 25 years,” he tells The Independent. Of the six planes, Mercer says two are not candidates for a refit, and are nearing the end of their lifespan. The other four can be upgraded by replacing the aircraft’s piston engines with new turbinedriven engines, which will extend the life of the planes by upwards of 25 years. The piston engines, he says, are nearing the end of their operating life, parts are harder to find (although the province maintains a $3-million inventory), as is fuel for piston-driven planes. Mercer says turbines are also more fuel-efficient. A new plane — the comparable model is called a 415 — is a little larger, says Mercer, and costs up to $32 million. A cabinet decision on how to apportion the $20 million is expected “sometime this summer” in what Mercer says will be the first part of a larger strategy. He says the decision may be to refit the four that can be refitted, and replace the other two. He says the CL-215 is still “the water bomber of

choice,” and many jurisdictions in Canada and other countries still use them. Bombardier, the plane’s manufacturer, has started the process of making upgrade “kits,” but Mercer says they are 16-18 months away from having them ready. “If you are going to commit yourself to upgrading to turbine engines, then we have to make a decision and we have to put a down payment in place this summer to get ourselves in the queue to have engines manufactured.” If that decision is made, Mercer says the province will take delivery of the first kits in 20092010. The actual work would have to be done in the off-season, so Mercer says the fleet may see its first turbine-driven water bombers in 2011. The fleet is operated by pilots hired on a seasonal basis, working six months of the year. The province’s average water bomber pilot has more than 10 years experience, and is between 45 and 60 years old. There are no female water bomber pilots working in the province. Newfoundland and Labrador is part of a national co-operative group that loans out aircraft if there is a low risk of fire in the province and high risk elsewhere. If another province needs the places, that government pays rent on the craft for the duration — the only revenue the aircraft can generate. Other than that, Mercer says, the planes are a straight expense. “It’s a price we pay to protect our resource and our communities from forest fires.” Mercer says the last couple of years have been quiet, with the average bomber seeing 100-120 hours of flying time per season. A busy year, he says, can see a plane spend 400 hours in the air.

St. John’s Free Press, St. John’s, 1877

AROUND THE WORLD The brig Juliet, of Waterford, from Cadiz to Burin, out thirty-six days; on the 23rd May was spoken to by the Caledonia steamer from Halifax, homeward bound. The Captain wished to be reported in St. John’s, stating that the day previous he had taken from off an iceberg the crew of a vessel bound from England to Newfoundland. The Caledonia was going at the rate of 11 miles an hour, and he could not distinctly hear the name of the vessel wrecked. — The Royal Gazette, St. John’s, June 21, 1842 AROUND THE BAY Icebergs attract tourists, but cod-traps attract icebergs. This fishing season to date has seen a continual menace by the impudent palaces of ice harassing the fishermen. Bramwell Sheppard of Stag Harbour and George Budden of Little Seldom lost their valuable cod traps to the icy monsters. Strong tides prevented many fishermen from removing their nets from the water as the silent moving mountains floated along the coastline. — Fogo Island Profile, July 3, 1969 YEARS PAST In consequence of the prevalence of unfavorable winds the great bulk of the Labrador fleet have not yet been able to start for the scene of the summer’s operations. We trust that this detention will not turn out to be injurious to the interests of the voyage. We wish our friends a speedy start and a good fishery. — The Morning Chronicle, St. John’s, June 17, 1880

EDITORIAL STAND I wonder what mischief is afoot on the Peninsula these days? The big guns are noticeably silent all of a sudden. Ah well, as the old saying goes, “No news is good news,” so I suppose we can safely assume that nobody is giving us the shaft or that our jealously guarded rights are not being tampered with. Still, it is interesting when the pot boils over into an old-fashioned controversy such as we had this spring over the allocation of herring quotas — even if the pot is only a “teapot” as one writer put it. So if anyone out there has any scraps of info which may get us “in the limelight” again, by all means pass it along. We could sure use the attention — I’m beginning to think that all the fuss over the Port au Port peninsula is passé and some other cause has been embraced by the media. — The Reporter, Stephenville, June 18, 1980 LETTER TO THE EDITOR Dear Editor — We solicit your help in attracting suitable students to our craft training program. As these courses are fairly new they are not yet well known. It is felt that all over our Province there are potential craft workers who should know about these training opportunities. We are looking for students with artistic ability and aptitude for crafts. Students who in future could earn their living by the proud work of their hands. Can you help us by directing this information to any such talented people who are under your care? Signed, Anna Templeton — Fogo Island Profile, July 3, 1969 QUOTE OF THE WEEK The dullness usually prevalent in our thoroughfares at this particular season, was somewhat dispelled last evening by the appearance of some “dancing bears.” The interesting animals referred to, created quite an excitement amongst our towns-folk, being for the time, the centre of attraction, even to “children of larger growth.” — The St. John’s Free Press and Semi-Weekly Advertiser, June 21, 1877



Some rural Newfoundland and Labrador communities still do not have access to high-speed Internet service.


Internet service providers By John Rieti The Independent


ural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador are connecting to the Internet faster than ever as service providers Persona and Aliant expand their high-speed coverage. Kevin Peters, vice-president of marketing and sales, says Persona is spending $39 million to install fibre optic cable in small communities. He estimates over the next eight months 100 more communities throughout the province will gain high-speed access, a drastic improvement from dial-up Internet service or none at all. “The communities are the ones who can really respond to that the best … it just brings them on par with the rest of the province, the rest of the country and for that matter the rest of the world,” Peters tells The Independent. Persona is just completing work in the Clarenville area, allowing towns like Newman’s Cove, Deep Bight, Sunnyside and

Paul Daly/The Independent

extend high-speed coverage to outports

27 others in the region to get high speed for the first time. Peters plans to travel to the region this week to meet with the local economic development board to discuss the opportunities fibre optics allow. He says some towns have requested fibre optic hookups that would allow call centres to operate there. “The biggest thing I see is an opportunity to promote economic development in these communities,” says Peters.

The company received $5 million from Industry Canada to help ease the installation investment. The provincial Department of Education also funded Persona, spending $5 million to provide 70 schools across the province with Internet access. High-speed Internet is also vital to the 1,600 students who use the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation to take high school courses like advanced math and world history on the Web.

“Well over 100 communities will receive these services and I don’t think Aliant, or anybody for that matter, is investing anywhere near that type of dollar or infrastructure or employment,” says Peters. Aliant is also expanding their cable (DSL) Internet coverage in the province and the rest of Atlantic Canada, says Brenda Reid, manager of communications and public affairs. In 2007 the company has spent $80 million on expanding its network and it has spent $360 million since 2000. “We think the importance of having broadband access for everyone in rural and urban Newfoundland and Labrador, through all our serving territory, is incredibly important,” Reid says. “It’s good for economic reasons, for educational reasons, so that’s why we continue to expand the service into all of the communities that we serve. “We’re not there yet, but we’ll continue with our expansion plans for sure.” See “Hooked,” page 14

Luxurious tax break for resorts Provincial investors to get ‘piece of the action’: finance minister By John Rieti The Independent


ewfoundland is preparing to kick back and become more luxurious with the addition of a $32-million, four-star resort planned for Steady Brook in the Humber Valley on the island’s west coast. Humber Seasons Limited, the project’s developers, will be the first company to take advantage of the provincial department of business’ provincial resort property investment tax credit. Finance Minister Kevin O’Brien says

the 45 per cent tax credit will encourage developers to fill a gap in the province’s tourism industry — highend resorts. “(Tourism) is a big part of our economy, so we see a big area we can develop,” O’Brien tells The Independent. It’s not just the Humber Valley hot spot that could benefit from the credit. “We have had a great response to the announcement, we have other developers now who have contacted the Department of Business for other jurisdictions and regions of the province … we see this spreading out,” says

O’Brien. To qualify, companies must agree to several financial clauses and meet building criteria such as size and number of rooms. The resorts must also achieve a four-star rating from Canada Select, a national accommodations rating program. Currently, there are no four-star resorts in the province, although there are several four-star accommodations like bed and breakfasts. Canada Select defines a resort as having four or more rooms under one roof, each with a private three-piece

bathroom, at least one full service dining room and recreation services on premises. Humber Seasons Ltd. could not be reached for comment about its building plans. The company is a subsidiary of FK Developments, an Irish company. “They (FK Developments) have been very busy in the tourist industry and these kind of developments in Ireland … I believe they have some developments in Dublin,” says O’Brien. He says the resort will be divided into condominium units, which Humber Seasons will market to provin-

cial investors who can operate their space as a time-share. “This enables Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to own a piece of their own tourist industry, to get a piece of the action,” says O’Brien. He says time-sharing is becoming more popular in the province, and it’s also becoming big business. O’Brien says the cost to the treasury will depend on how much investors put into the project, but he says government won’t spend more than $22.5 million per year on the project. john.rieti@theindependent


JUNE 22, 2007

‘Hooked up tomorrow, if not yesterday’

Exotic locales

Adventure cruises make outports and Labrador coast ports of call By Mandy Cook The Independent


very fall, the residents of Francois on the island’s southwest coast start stockpiling partridgeberry duff and molasses scones in preparation for about 100 international visitors coming ashore, almost doubling their population. The tiny community of 135, and the high-spirited kitchen party they host, is a highlight on the itinerary for the European, Australian, American and Canadian passengers travelling aboard one of the so-called “adventure cruises” specializing in the circumnavigation of the island portion of the province and trips up the Labrador coast. Francois mayor Kim Courtney says the $10 they charge per head at the two or three parties they host each fall when the cruise ships dock at the community’s wharf results in a cash injection the residents don’t have to raise themselves. “The cruises are very important because what we do … whether it’s a church organization or the community recreation centre or fire department

whichever … we take turns hosting these cruise ships and by doing that each organization gets profit from it and they put things into the community that’s needed here,” she says. “The recreation centre needed new equipment so this is money that really helps the community.” Mississauga-based Adventure Canada is one of the cruise lines sailing into Francois during its journey around the island. Operations manager Cedar Bradley-Swan says the expedition cruise has been gaining in popularity since the company first offered it in 1994. She says in 2002 they averaged 50 passengers per cruise and this year they’re maxing out around 100 on their small but comfortable chartered vessels. Specializing in the educational and historical aspect of travel, she says their cruises are more like “onboard learning programs.” Passengers delight in provincially hired experts, such as Memorial biologist and birder Bill Montevecchi, to guide them on the way. “You can go around Newfoundland and think it’s just beautiful,” says Bradley-Swan. “But there’s no actual

“We take turns hosting these cruise ships and by doing that each organization gets profit from it...” Francois mayor Kim Courtney contact and that’s what really seems to make it for people is that personal experience with the staff and the people on shore and I think that’s what really helps people fall in love with Newfoundland when they go on one of these tours.” Amy Flynn, marketing co-ordinator at Cruise Newfoundland and Labrador, says 35 communities will be visited by small adventure cruises this season. Ships will call at communities ranging from Nain to Red Bay to Fogo Island to Ramea during the typical adventure cruise season of midSeptember to October. Halifax-based Polar Star Exped-

itions and Adventure Canada are sold out for this year, with fares ranging from $2,995 to $7,445 depending on occupancy and choice of seven or 10day cruise for Adventure Canada’s programs. Flynn says passengers are most satisfied with the level of interaction with the province’s ambassadors: locals in the communities who welcome the curious visitors with open arms. “The companies say people come here for the wilderness and they hear about L’Anse aux Meadows and Gros Morne, but they always walk away with a great appreciation for our people, especially when they visit some of the southcoast communities like Ramea and Francois — the whole community opens up.” It’s exactly what Courtney says she wants visitors to take away from their experiences at her proud and hospitable community. That, and a riproaring good time. “There’s a time set (to return to the boat), usually one o’clock and there’s never a time when people don’t have to pick up people lagging behind at the community centre. You can safely say they enjoy themselves.”

From page 13 Aliant also received money from Industry Canada to develop Internet connections in rural areas. Along with its cable Internet, Aliant offers satellite high-speed, which is the most expensive method of delivering the Web, but sometimes the only way to connect remote communities. The main problem Aliant and Persona face is the cost of setting up networks for relatively small markets. Although the price of high-speed varies based on number of services purchased, Peters estimates most pay about $40 per month for access. He says Persona doesn’t raise the rate for rural communities, despite the thousands of dollars worth of fibre optic cable it takes to link them to the provider. These days it seems the Web can’t spin its way to rural communities fast enough. “The mayors and MHAs who contact me on a regular basis would like to have their communities hooked up tomorrow, if not yesterday,” says Peters.


The Newfoundland Ocean Industries Association held its annual conference in St. John’s from June 18-22 in St. John’s. In an opening address June 18, Premier Danny Williams announced the provincial government has resumed talks with oil companies to get the Hebron project back on track. Federal Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn was expected to deliver a confrontational speech the same day, but his flight from Ottawa was diverted due to fog. Over 700 delegates attended the conference. Paul Daly/The Independent

JUNE 22, 2007



JUNE 22, 2007



Sarah Pyndji, a Grade 12 student at Prince of Wales Collegiate in St. John’s.

Paul Daly/The Independent

‘A good place to start’ By Sheena Goodyear For The Independent


arah Pyndji, 17, could not just sit by and watch as poverty, violence and AIDS devastated her home continent of Africa — so she came to St. John’s. “I wanted to know what Canada’s doing right that Africa’s doing wrong, or not doing at all, you know?” she says. “Because it seems like here the youth are encouraged. But in Africa, they have no hope at all.” Growing up in the world’s poorest and most AIDS-ridden continent, Pyndji had it better than most. Her mother and father had the money to send her to a good British school and they always encouraged her to follow her dreams — which is why she is now a grade 12 student at Prince of Wales Collegiate. A year and a half ago, Pyndji told her parents she wanted to study in Canada. A family friend told her Newfoundland was a safe province with a quality education system. St. John’s proved to be a far cry from

Grade 12 student Sarah Pyndji plans to use what she learns in St. John’s to help her African peers. Meantime, she’s educating Newfoundlanders she meets about the continent she comes from Bukavu, the city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where Pyndji grew up. “When I came here I obviously got a culture shock, like everyone who moves to Newfoundland from somewhere else,” she says. “My life was not like every other teenage girl’s here. I’ve seen things that other people haven’t seen. I know stuff that other people don’t know, or even come close to knowing.” Pyndji’s home was just 25 kilometres from the Rwandan border when the genocide broke out in 1994. In just three months, over 800,000 Rwandans — about one-and-a-half times the

population of Newfoundland — were slaughtered. Pyndji’s uncle was among the mostly ethnic Tutsi victims killed by Hutu militia. “The Rwandese would run to our houses from the border. They would run all the way from Rwanda to Congo, walking for days to the Congo, running away from all the turmoil. They would knock on our door asking for food and shelter,” she says. Soon after the genocide began, Pyndji’s father took a job in Uganda, and her family moved to escape the violence. When Pyndji first came to St. John’s, she

was shocked to find many of her friends had never heard of the tragic events in Rwanda. “I’ve paid witness to a lot of stuff, and you come here and it’s like people don’t know this,” she says. “It’s amazing. It’s just different. It’s all different.” Pyndji has made a lot of friends since she came to Newfoundland. She has educated them about the problems facing Africa. She has grown to love her host family, and her school. She has even decided to pursue her post-secondary education in St. John’s. “I was going to go to Toronto, but I changed my mind last minute, and I want to go to MUN. I think there’s a lot of opportunity for me here in Newfoundland. It’s a small place, but it’s a good place to start what I want to do. I think I could get a lot of chances here,” she says. Pyndji wants to study English and political science at MUN, then pursue a humanities degree in Ontario. Armed with an education, she says she will return to Africa with a non-governmental See “Africa’s,” page 19

New and improved? George Street may receive makeover money By Mandy Cook The Independent


lthough neither City Hall nor the George Street Bar Owner’s Association know much about a pot of money that may be invested in the popular St. John’s party strip, a local restaurant owner has plenty of ideas of how to spend the cash. Chris Dunne, owner of Mexicali Rosa’s on the west end of George Street, says he would like to see the

renowned drinking destination steered more in the direction of a family-friendly and pedestrian-oriented thoroughfare. Unconcerned with competition from other eating establishments, he encourages more restaurants to set up shop. “At one point in time (George Street) was known more as a bar district and it wasn’t known so much as a place to go to eat,” he says. “Whereas (now) if people are going to go out to eat, they can simply come down, park the car, walk

around grab a coffee until they come upon a place they like.” As far as a concrete plan goes, there isn’t one. Municipal planning officials aren’t prepared to talk about George Street’s future yet, and Mayor Andy Wells says the revitalization plan is all still “very preliminary. “There’s some possibility of relocating the bandstand — I don’t think that’s a very good location anyway,” he says. “I can’t stand that stupid Stalinistic park that we put in there … that’s horrible.

That was a mess right from the start. I don’t think that’s part of the plan but I’d like to haul it out of there and put in something a bit more aesthetically pleasing. It’s horrible concrete and steel and its neo-Stalinist, I call it.” Ian Chaytor, of the bar owner’s association, also says planning is in the preliminary stages. He says the association recently received the 130-page report from the city and has yet to discuss it with their executive, but says the plan will take an all-encompassing approach.

“This report is about the whole revitalization of George Street right from the convention centre right to Water Street,” he says. Dunne says he welcomes any kind of investment in and around his restaurant and is keen to showcase the area as a gathering place for tourists and locals alike, a destination where people know they will encounter a variety of shops and attractions such as one would find See “Modern face,”page 18

JUNE 22, 2007




SCOTT GOUDIE Visual Artist


cott Goudie, a St. John’sbased visual artist and jazz and blues guitarist, has been painting his longtime muse, Labrador, for the past 27 years — and sees no reason to stop. Indeed, he says he will continue to do so till the end of his days. Asked about his preoccupation with the Big Land, Goudie is ready with a studied response. “Because it’s not ruled by humans,” he says matter-of-factly. “You don’t see people in my Labrador pieces because it’s untouched. It’s just the way what earth was before humans do what they do — they just change everything, the landscape, and no matter how hard they try there is pollution and waste and when it’s left on it’s own it’s fine. We’re the ones that kind of fool it up.”

Goudie’s new pastels will be on exhibition at the Christina Parker Gallery from June 21July 12. The new works are on black Arches paper imported from France, Goudie’s favourite surface for drawing. He loves how the colour “sits up on it and jumps at you,” an example of which is Cape White Handkerchief. From the enviable position in a skiff on the open sea, Goudie renders the image of an iceberg resting off, and dwarfed by, 1,500-foot rock cliffs. The crystal of the ice is tinged blue, while sun rays pierce the clouds, striking the berg and radiating out from its centre position in the frame. The steep incline and point of the purple cliffs is inversely reflected in the glint off the water’s rippling surface. Goudie says water is almost always featured in his work — a continuous challenge to the artist who says he is his own worst critic. “Landscape’s important of course, so are the atmospheric

skies whether it’s daytime or nighttime,” he says. “But water, I’m fascinated with water because it’s really hard to paint water because it changes every second and I like that about it, so you’ve got to try and freeze frame it in your mind and you can only do that by being there.” Being there is a top priority for Goudie. He says he was lucky enough to hitch a ride in a helicopter over Labrador in order to sketch and photograph the spectacular mountain ranges and dramatic fjords. He says Labrador is one of the planet’s last undiscovered wildernesses and he has now witnessed everything from the Labrador Straits to the northern tip. In August Moon, Back River Pool II, Goudie returns to the island at Salmonier, where he keeps a studio on the river. As the eye readjusts from the powerful glare of the full moon, the impenetrable woods materialize in the night. The moon, trained on the water like a cosmic spot-

light, illuminates a ribbon of lapping waves. Goudie, a devoted fisherman, has studied the scene countless times. “Back River Pool is where I caught my first salmon when I was 10 or 11 years old. I was fishing with my dad and my brother. It’s a special pool for me — it has a lot of memories. Whether I catch a fish not, I don’t care,” he says. Goudie features another moon in Dawn, Big Island, Saglak Bay. The sun is rising in the east and the remnant of a crescent moon remains in the sky, a sliver of nightlight in the awakening sky. A tiny iceberg in the extreme right of the image almost registers as an afterthought — a blip compared to the 3,000 feet of sheer rock buttressing the ocean. Goudie points out that the berg is big, 600 feet high big, but nothing close to the cliff. He puts it in perspective for the viewer. “Everything in Labrador is big.”

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

“Modern face” for George Street From page 17 in any major city in Europe, Mexico or in Canadian cities like Montreal. “I really like the idea of daily entertainment whether it’s buskers or free entertainment over on the stage at central George Street but general entertainment features on the street, whether it’s kiosks or a little market perhaps,” he says. “If George Street was shut off entirely to traffic and it was a market, people selling little trinkets, gadgets, homemade things, Newfoundland novelty items, I think that would be an excellent idea.” Dunne says it would be “brilliant” to close the street to traffic, limiting deliveries to a certain time in the mornings, and lining the street with bricks and cobblestones, trees, grass and benches. It would also increase his deck space so more of his customers could eat outdoors. Wells says the aim is to put a “modern face” on the party destination and the effort will be cost shared between the City of St. John’s and the George Street Bar Owners’ Association.

George Street in St. John’s

Nicholas Langor/The Independent

JUNE 22, 2007

Africa’s really going to change



From page 17

organization to build centres aimed at educating and encouraging African youth. “It’s not only me who wants to speak. I know there are lots of other Africans who want to have the chance to speak, so I want to give them that chance and make sure that they can do it,” she says. “I love human rights. I love to see people taken care of. I love to see people help other people. I know that you don’t have to be a big person; it’s the small person in the community and in society that makes a difference.” She also hopes to use the youth centres to promote AIDS awareness. In 2006, more people became infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa alone than the rest of the world combined. “AIDS is something else that the youth can stand up against,” she says. “They don’t know how to protect themselves. They’re very confused.” Pyndji remains optimistic. She says education will give young Africans the strength they need. “I think when the youth stand up, Africa’s really going to change.”

The Art Stoyles Band (left-right) Len Penton, Hugh Scott, Art Stoyles, Bob Rutherford and Gayle Tapper played at the Masonic Temple in St. John’s June 19 to officially launch The World Accordion to Art. Stoyles has been a figure on the local music scene for close to 60 years and a one-time member of Figgy Duff. The CD offers a sampling of Portuguese tunes learned from sailors of the White Fleet, as well as traditional Newfoundland and other tunes, which have found their way into Stoyles’ repertoire. Nicholas Langor/The Independent

A funding fiasco? You don’t necessarily need to sacrifice one theatre for another SEAN PANTING

State of the art to someone who’s never built, owned, or run an arts-based business before seems like a bit of a stretch, no matter how successful he is. It also ignores the enormous contribution the LSPU Hall has made to the arts in this province with its continuing development of talent and new work. In addition to being the single most important theatre we have in those terms — which should be quite enough for anyone — the Hall is also a major historical landmark. There’s more to be considered in this situation than which building brings in more tax dollars on paper, and Andy and Co. know it. On top of all that, weaseling out on

a $500,000 commitment is just plain wrong. In the current political climate, councilors would be wise to remember how testy their constituents are right now about politicians making promises and failing to honour them. Next, all this hullaballo assumes the LSPU Hall and the Capitol would somehow be in direct competition with one another. That is simply not the case. Having a 500-seater in the downtown is a great idea, and the two theatres can coexist and thrive if they find a way to work co-operatively. Right now, there is what you might call a venue gap here in Town, one a spiffy new 500-seater would fill nicely. At the moment you can play to 50 or 70 people tops at the Rabbittown. Once you’ve outgrown that, you can try to fill just under 200 seats at the Hall. The next stops beyond that are the Arts and Culture Centre or Holy Heart at 1,000 seats — lovely places to



t’s been a fun week or two in the glamorous and exciting world of St. John’s theatre. Was it a new show opening? A big star in town? No indeed. In fact the ripples of excitement (and frustration — and hot, blazing anger) were emanating outward from city hall. When our illustrious mayor suggested the city reconsider its longstanding commitment to give half a million dollars in renovation funding to the LSPU Hall and instead pump that cash into Paul Madden’s new Capitol Theatre, you could hear the howls of protest all the way to Clarenville. And with good reason. It’s a terrible idea. First off, yanking the half million they’ve already committed to the Hall in favour of giving it to someone else is pure stupidity, both practically and politically. And handing half a million dollars

put off a show presuming you can fill them to capacity and pay your expenses. For a company working on a shoestring (pick one — they all do) that’s a very big, very risky presumption. Speaking of risky presumptions, there have also been suggestions tossed around at City Hall that they get more directly involved in the running of the Capitol Theatre once there is one. You’d have thought the fiscal nightmare that is the Mile One would have turned council off these sorts of business ventures forever, but what do I know? I’m just an artiste. One thing I do know is that would cost a fair chunk of change. The figure you hear most often is $300,000 a year, but as the current problem very nicely illustrates, questions of funding are always a little nebulous. Chalk it all up to speculation. So we come back to the alwayssticky question of who gets what at the expense of whom. I don’t know if it’s

because we’re all so used to competing for limited resources or city council’s adorable tendency to turn everything into a knock-down drag-out fight to the death, but issues like these always seem to get framed in an “us versus them,” “artists versus capitalists,” “me versus you” kind of way. It’s unhelpful, it’s unnecessary, but unfortunately that’s how it always seems to get done. The fact is, we don’t have to sacrifice the Hall in order to get the Capitol up and running, and doing so would be pointless anyway. The best way for everyone to survive this is for the Hall to form a relationship with the Capitol in the same way it has with Rabbittown, the Arts and Culture Centre and all the other theatre venues big and small. Getting sucked into a further war of words isn’t going to do either side any favours. Sean Panting is a writer, actor and musician living in St. John’s. His column returns July 6.

For every question there is an answer.

Hope through education, support and solutions.

We’re here.


JUNE 22, 2007


You will be moved Festival 500 promises to be an event to remember


his will be the greatest show on earth, announces Peter Gardner, Festival 500’s executive director. “Instead of seeing performing elephants and pretty women on horseback what will thrill and amaze you is we have these amazing choral singers sharing their voices in one grand performance.” The grand finale of Festival 500 is the closing ceremonies, and the show’s organizers say they have outdone themselves again this year. “As it should, our closing ceremonies will bring the entire event together,” Gardner says, adding he finds it difficult to express how “huge” the event actually is. The closing celebration will be huge in terms of the 1,400 participants scheduled to sing at the same time on stage in Mile One. The event is also huge in the quality of acts it has attracted — Anuna, a group of Celtic stars from Dublin, and Newfoundland ’s own Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers will be on stage to bid adieu to the five days of celebrating the art and joy of singing. The event is a huge creative endeavour. “Imagine the choreography that has to go into a performance of this magnitude,” Gardner says. There has been an incredible financial investment as well. “Mile One wasn’t built for choral singing so we needed to invest in equipment to make it sound like a concert hall.” Gardner says the investment isn’t about making anything any louder — just clearer. “No matter if you are in the front or near the back, the music will sound great. We needed to have everyone experience the same exceptional concert, so we made that investment,” he says. Gardner stresses the grand finale will be one stirring event after another. “While singing is the most natural thing in the world to do — we sing to send children to sleep, sing when we are sad, sing when we are happy, hum because we are nervous, and whistle because we are worried — singing is also something that can just grab you and affect you the way nothing else can. “You just can’t put in print what it sounds like to hear music that moves you, but we all know that feeling,” Gardner says.

Kevin Blackmore

He promises the people who attend Festival 500’s closing ceremonies will be moved. Kevin Blackmore of Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers became involved with Festival 500 simply because he’s a big fan of choral music. “I literally gave my services to the festival so I could attend all the concerts and workshops,” he says. “The most wonderful things happen at these festivals and it is a dream come true to have a week’s worth of this right here.” Besides performing two pieces of their own — including their popular Saltwater Joys —Blackmore and the boys will provide some lighter fair throughout the

show. “There will be some planned things, some improvised stuff — we will draw on our ability to be flexible so you never know,” he chuckles. On a serious note, Blackmore says being involved with Festival 500 will lend some “sophistication” to Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers. “Our public image in the music community is not taken as seriously as we would like and being involved with this will give us some desired legitimacy.” Blackmore says the international reputation the festival enjoys — one of quality and excellence — makes it an “easy bandwagon to jump on.” Gardner says the grand finale concert

of this year’s Festival 500 is the only time anything of this magnitude can be experienced — not only here at home — but anywhere in the world. “Hearing a choir of this magnitude sing and then joining in yourself for the singing of the Ode to Newfoundland will move you if nothing else ever has,” Gardner says. Cheryl Hickman, an internationally known soprano from Newfoundland, will also be performing as a soloist at the conclusion of Festival 500. Gardner encourages everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to hear one of our best local performers sing — accompanied by a full symphony orchestra and hundreds

of singers from all over the world. The show will be a spectacle from the moment you enter Mile One until the second you leave, he promises. Gardner hopes the general public will be moved to experience all that Festival 500 has to offer. “I would hate to think that anyone would miss this and then have regrets, because anyone who comes will be moved,” he says. “I want people to say, ‘Well now, that sounds like it might be something so I better come and see what all this is about,’” Gardner says. “They won’t be sorry they did.” — Pam Pardy Ghent

JUNE 22, 2007


These are not my bones Michelle Butler Hallett’s short story collection beautiful, believable and chilling The Shadow Side of Grace By Michelle Butler Hallett Kilick Press, 2006. 157 pages.


e live in a nightmare where light plays on our eyelids,” Michelle Butler Hallett writes in the Q&A section of her official website; the statement is intended as a justification for the violence — both physical and psychological — that permeates her debut short story collection, The Shadow Side of Grace. “A nightmare where light plays on our eyelids” is as apt a phrase as any to describe the 13 stories that constitute this collection, as well as the balance Butler Hallett strikes between morally depraved and redemptive forces in her fiction. Her characters often do horrible things, to others and to themselves. In The Mercy of His Means, the first story in the collection, hospital orderly Keefer Breen discovers his disturbing potential for violence. “You’ve got capacities you don’t even know about,” his father’s friend warns him. Towards the end of the narrative, the observation proves true as Marsh reacts explosively to his perceived humiliation at the hands of his girlfriend and the classbased disapproval of her doctor grandfather.

MARK CALLANAN On the shelf It goes on: in Astigmatism, three 14year-old boys sexually molest a young girl; in Courtiers, a man confesses to having informed on his innocent countrymen in Stalinist Russia in order to protect his lover from the police. “The list of names I’d spit to keep her safe was as long as my love for her,” he says. Towards the end of the story, he yearns for a similar fate: “I dream there is something solid to arrest, exile and death, something more to touch than my long respectable solitude.” Characters recur throughout these stories, appearing in roles of varying importance, weaving separate narrative strands together, and pulling taut the fabric of the larger fiction: the short story collection itself. Butler Hallett leaves no loose threads. Her sentences have a chilling beauty about them, gaunt and hauntedlooking things from which we can not look away. In Late Lunch, for instance, a writer engages in surreal battle with her muse who comes in the form of a herring gull to haunt her every waking hour. The

effect is comical, yet at the same time, menacing. Of the gull/muse, Butler Hallett writes: “She hovered in front of my face, wings not blurred like a hummingbird’s but flapping in slow thought, and off her wings came dead fish, salt air, untreated sewage, high blue sky, bare water, sudden fog, corruption, blood.” Trail Marks and the aforementioned Courtiers are written as dramatic monologues. The former is a stunning piece of ventriloquism in which Butler Hallett gives voice to a tough-talking female journalist who, as a child, used to immolate herself with boiling hot teabags. The narrator is seated in a hotel bar, soliciting drinks from some unknown stranger in exchange for a partial history of her life: “I hid, and I caused a lot of trouble. In the woods behind — Ireland? Good God, no. Newfoundland. The accent only comes out when I’m tired. I’ve worked very hard on that. Jet lag. You going to buy me another drink or not? I don’t give up my stories for free, you know.” One of the greatest periods of moral depravity in the history of modern civilization, the political executions, Gulag

POET’S CORNER Caplin Season By Bertille Tobin It’s caplin season in Newfoundland, Silver is scattered on every strand, Grey fogs are stealing in from the sea — Gulls are crescents of ivory, As they wheel and soar and scream their joy O’er plenteous food stores the waves deploy, Whilst in gardens cloistered lilacs exhale Sweetest of scent through the misty veil. Over the roads to the waiting fields Is brought the wealth that the ocean yields, And, e’en through the “wee sma” house of night, Carts rumble as if in furtive flight; Also in homes as meal-time nears

Silver transmuted to gold appears; The frying-pan being the magic vat, Where small fish sizzle in boiling fat. It’s likely chilly, with wind from the East, But it brings an epicurean feast, As well as the fertilizing aid, Which Providence seems to have kindly made Accord with the Newfoundland farmer’s need, In furthering growth of varied seed, So in waning June or early July, The caplin seines eager toilers ply. This poem won an honourable mention for the 1945 O’Leary Newfoundland Poetry Award. Appears in Poems of Newfoundland, edited by Michael Harrington.

internments and ethnic deportations committed by Stalin’s Bolshevik government, forms a chilling undercurrent in The Shadow Side of Grace. “I can’t intrude here. This is not my history.

These are not my bones,” the young Canadian teacher says to his Russian friends in I May Tell All My Bones — they have just uncovered human remains under a house in Mtsensk. Ultimately, Butler Hallett’s point is that this is our history, these are all our bones. Every last living member of the human race is implicated in the violence of the whole; we are united by our capacity for acts of brutality, either through our actions or inaction. She does not attempt to explain such instances so much as provide them with a context, thereby demonstrating how frighteningly close we all come, at times, to doing things antithetical to our own sense of the good. This is a truly chilling work of fiction — for what it says about the world we live in, for what it says about our own relative sense of morality, and for how it says these things: beautifully and convincingly. The Shadow Side of Grace is as close to the bone as you’re likely to get. Just don’t expect it to be a comfortable read. Mark Callanan writes from St. John’s.

JUNE 22, 2007


Amiel is standing by her hubby and her ex CHICAGO By Rosie DiManno Torstar wire service


Barbara Amiel Black, arrives at the Dirksen Federal courthouse in Chicago May 31.

REUTERS/John Gress

iss Manners is firm on this: exes should never be seen at the remarriage of their former spouses, no matter how amicable the divorce. Alas, the arbiter of etiquette is mum on whether a previous husband might acceptably show up at trial of the current husband of his earlier wife. The situation is further complicated — or perhaps simplified — when one of the parties is a paid observer of the human condition and the trial is a media event. Conrad Black, lord and tycoon, is a co-defendant in this fraud etc. trial, approaching its verdict climax. Barbara Amiel is the glamourous Mrs. Black and lady of the manors, a paragon of wifely devotion in the courtroom. George Jonas, author and columnist, is the former husband, now twice removed through subsequent nuptials of the endlessly nubile Barbara. Trial chroniclers have pronounced approvingly on the palpable intimacy between the Blacks, meaningful glances and gentle gestures, how gallant he is toward her and how attendant she is toward him. This ordeal seems to have strengthened their commitment to one another, although the inside betting line is that she will vamoose with alacrity should he be convicted, an uncharitable prediction. What few have seen, though, is the tenderness Amiel shows toward Jonas, purportedly the woman’s Svengali in a previous chapter of her well-documented life, the one who shaped her mind en route to intellectual and polemical stardom. Mr. and Mrs. Jonas were once the “it” couple in Toronto’s thin glitterati firmament, partners in celebrity and professional output, even coauthoring a true-crime book. Surely, Amiel would exclude Jonas from her infamous “vermin” characterization of journal-

ists covering this trial. Jonas, as has said, will be writing about the trial at some point. Presumably, he will be privy to the inside scoop. Monday morning, Jonas sat next to Amiel in the first row of spectators, an area assigned to family. After lunch, she carefully secured a seat in the media benches for her ex-husband. During breaks, Jonas frequently disappears into the family’s refuge room, more often even than Conrad by Amiel’s side. There is a tangible covenant there, and they present very much like an old married couple, Amiel solicitous of Jonas’s physical enfeeblements. The pen he might wield as authoritatively as ever, but Jonas is no longer the leather-clad Turk astride a motorcycle. His right hand shakes, his vision is poor and he walks haltingly. You know, they make an enduring, endearing couple. And whatever etiquette rules are being broken, it must be all right with Conrad Black, who may shortly be seeing a lot less of Amiel than might Jonas. Courtrooms are extensively about family and loyalty — spouses and parents and children coalescing around an accused. It was no different in Toronto last week, when kin crammed to see loved ones as scores of defendants were arraigned following the Driftwood Crips gang sweep. Of course, many of those accused are facing weapons and narcotics-related charges and police claim the alleged criminal enterprise was worth about $1 million. In this case, there are no guns — smoking or otherwise. And for the four men in the docket, the alleged criminal enterprise rounds out at about $60 million. Nor is Amiel exactly a baby-mother, although maybe not so vastly different in her experience from the complex domestic entanglements of the Jane-Finch ladies. The other afternoon, when Conrad departed the courthouse in a van, Barbara slipped into a taxi with George.

TV stars hawk fiction fashion By Vinay Menon Torstar wire service


ood news for the world’s fashion-forward nurses. This fall, Katherine Heigl, who plays medical intern Isobel “Izzie” Stevens on Grey’s Anatomy, will release a line of health-care apparel. “Katherine Heigl is a role model for many women, especially in the health-care industry,” says Barry Rothschild, chief executive at Peaches Uniforms, the manufacturer. “It is only natural for them to want to emulate her style.” Ladies, is this true? The KH Collection is being promoted as “the first designer fashion line for the healthcare industry.” (Somehow, I feel no need to ask if that is true.) The collection will capture Heigl’s “vibrant on-screen and off-screen personalities.” Meaning, after luxuriating in the “flattering silhouettes,” “hip colours” and “cool prints,” there’s an excellent chance you will: a) fall in love with a patient, b) sleep with a co-worker or, c) bawl unconvincingly for no apparent reason. Designed for women who work in hospitals, clinics, dental offices, labs and spas, the KH Collection features garments priced under $25, each made from “high-quality, soil-release fabrics.” Potential advertising tagline: “Look resplendent even when covered in somebody’s vomit!” Don’t misunderstand. I have nothing but

respect for the dedicated pros who toil inside the health-care system. And it’s rather endearing that Heigl is endorsing scrubs when other celebrities are shamelessly hawking premium scents, denim, purses, shoes and accessories. But aren’t we dealing with a fictional TV character? Earlier this year, AG Jeans released a line of clothing inspired by the characters of Entourage. As actor Jeremy Piven told Entertainment Weekly: “It feels like people look to our show for clues on what’s hip and now. Entourage is like a fantasy, and if you can’t be Vinnie Chase or part of his entourage, you can dress like them.” Yes, now you can own a pair of Castro Green Walker Bottoms! But for $178, you probably shouldn’t wear them to the restaurant when slated for dishwasher duty. In the past couple of seasons, in an effort to create new revenue streams and extend brands, shows such as The O.C., Zoey 101 and That’s So Raven released clothing lines based on characters. What we have in 2007 is a two-tiered merchandise system: products linked to actual celebrities and products linked to the fantasy worlds they inhabit. Jaclyn Smith’s clothing line has been selling steady at Kmart for more than 20 years. This makes perfect sense since Smith, best known for her role on the original Charlie’s Angels, may have encountered consumer resistance post-’85 had she released a line of “Kelly Garrett” bellbottoms, polyester blouses and

blue mascara. Still, is actual celebrity merchandise spinning out of control? Justin Timberlake launched his William Rast line last year. Madonna recently released a second collection at H&M. Victoria Beckham has an upcoming TV show and a new line of jeans. You can lounge around in Elle Macpherson’s lingerie (you know what I mean). You can downward dog in Christy Turlington’s yoga wear. You can approximate JLo’s much-ballyhooed butt in something from her Sweetface line. You can strike an insouciant pose like Kate Moss, though the contraband is optional. The celebrity designer list continues to expand at an alarming rate: Sarah Jessica Parker, Sean Combs, Hilary Duff, the Olsen twins, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Kylie Minogue, Mandy Moore, Beyoncé, Sienna Miller, Gwen Stefani ... So maybe Heigl’s upcoming line is not such a bad idea. As the actual celebrity market saturates this could usher in a more creative age of TV licensing: The Hiro Nakamura Samurai Sword Sheath. Monogrammed Big Love robes for the polygamist who already has everything. Oversized Hurley beach wear. Soon, other TV characters could leave their marks in the real world. The Tommy Gavin Collection of Firefighter Uniforms. The Dwight Schrute Business Suit. Gil Grissom’s Casual Friday Line For Glum Forensic Scientists. I mean, who couldn’t use a pair of Jack Bauer Torture Trousers?

Castro Green Walker Bottoms from AG Jeans, $178



Kelly Jones recommends keeping a variety of teas in your house to appeal to any guest.

Nicholas Langor/The Independent

Cup of tea? St. John’s shop offers world of flavours for the tea drinker in everyone By John Rieti The Independent


elly Jones has enjoyed bedtime cups of Red Rose on Random Island, delicately sipped green tea in Singapore, searched through thousands of tea leaves at an expo in Atlanta, and brought a world of taste back to her store on Water Street in St. John’s. Jones operates Britannia Teas, a store she named after her grandmother’s town on Random Island. There, tea was always hot from the pot on the stove and served six times a day. “I think everyone has that in their family here … people like to have a cup of tea to slow down, it’s more about relaxing than running,” Jones tells The Independent. She recommends all households keep a variety of tea on hand to appeal to the taste of any traveller.

Her essentials include an Assam, or black tea, a green tea like her popular Gunpowder Green, a jasmine tea, an organic rooibos from South Africa and some pure herbals like mint. Britannia Teas sells a number of teas in each of the five major types — black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong and yellow tea — from all over the world. They range from classic teas like earl grey to exotic jasmine dragon tears, named after their balled up leaves. Every tea in the store is sold loose, which Jones says is the best way to coax flavours from the leaves. There are many tricks to serving different types of tea, says Jones. For one, never pour boiling water over green tea because it burns the leaves and produces a bitter taste. Jones’ store also specializes in teapots and cups — because the process of serving the tea is just as important as the drink itself. Jones says Beehouse,

a colourful line of pots with built-in diffusers from Japan, is one of the more popular brands. For an eye-popping display Jones recommends a blooming tea served in a glass pot. When the ball of leaves is steeped in hot water it unleashes its flavour — and a flower that blooms in the pot. Jones says tea is becoming more popular as people realize its health benefits. Rooibos tea, which Britannia sells in plain organic as well as crème de caramel and Belgian chocolate flavours, is naturally caffeine-free and loaded with anti-oxidants. But while Jones’ tastes have become more sophisticated — she now opts for a cup of smokytasting Lapsang Souchong instead of Tetley — the social side of tea drinking is still important to her. “Growing up my favourite time was having a cup of tea at night … everybody chatted about the day and you’d have a story,” says Jones.

JUNE 22, 2007


New headache chart


Better education urged for doctors, sufferers alike By Barbara Turnbull Torstar wire service


new chart summarizing headache and migraine symptoms is available for doctors’ offices, pharmacies and clinics, with a printable version online for all sufferers. Headaches and migraines cost billions each year in Canada on wasted procedures, unnecessary X-rays and MRIs, and workplace absenteeism. Much of that could be saved with proper diagnosis and treatment, according to Brent Lucas, with Help for Headaches. “There is often confusion in the medical world about whether it’s a headache or a migraine,” he says. “This poster helps … people to learn the differences so they can embark on a treatment strategy with their own physician.” The poster lists pain location, severity, frequency and duration typical with each category of headache and migraine. It includes one of the most common types: medication overuse headache — chronic and neardaily pain caused by abusing overthe-counter or migraine drugs. “Physicians don’t get a lot of training in medical school around headaches and migraines,” Lucas says. The poster is not intended to replace a physician’s advice, he says, but to be an educational tool. Pharmaceutical company Merck Frosst, which sponsored the poster, estimates 3.4 million Canadian adults suffer from migraines, which are ranked as one of the most disabling illnesses by the World Health Organization. For information or a poster, see

Cauliflower blossoms on the grill By Susan Sampson Torstar wire service


auliflower needn’t swim in cheese sauce this summer. Here’s a healthier alternative:

GRILLED CAULIFLOWER KEBABS Adapted from More Grilled to Perfection by Chris Knight. Red curry paste is sold in supermarkets.

• 1 head cauliflower, cored, cut in two-inch florets • 1/2 cup coconut milk • 2 tbsp lime juice • 2 tsp red curry paste • 2 tsp salt + more to taste • 1 tsp granulated sugar Soak six long wooden skewers one hour in cold water. Add cauliflower to large pot of boil-

ing, salted water. Cook three minutes, until softened. Drain in colander. Spray with cold running water until cooled. Drain well. Pat dry. Divide among skewers, poking florets at an angle lengthwise to secure. In measuring cup, stir together coconut milk, lime juice, curry paste, two teaspoons salt and sugar. Brush lib-

erally on florets. Preheat barbecue to medium-high. Oil grill. Grill cauliflower on direct heat, uncovered, turning frequently and basting liberally with coconut milk mixture, six to 10 minutes, or until golden-brown, tender but firm, with char marks. Sprinkle with salt if desired. Makes six servings.

17 foods to try before you die By Amy Pataki Torstar wire service

STREET FOOD Throw caution, and hygiene, to the wind.


TRUFFLES Trained pigs and dogs root out these astoundingly fragrant tubers in European forests. Fresh black truffle shavings elevate any dish to heaven. White truffle oil does in a pinch.

o many foods, so little time. It’s a challenge I face every week, deciding where and what to eat. Recently, British food writer Anna Longmore compiled a list in Arena magazine of the 50 foods you should try before you die. Guess that narrows it down. But Longmore didn’t eat any of the items on her list. Not the elk heart, duck embryo or crispy pig’s ear. Deliciousness must be vouched for. Here’s my list, shorter but fully endorsed. These are must-eats: foods that will please your palate, expand your mind and gratify your soul. They are not chancy mouthfuls to gross out your friends. (Although I’ve eaten my share of those, from insects to fish sperm to snake.) Most are readily found in our restaurants and food shops. So dig in, the clock is ticking. KOBE BEEF SASHIMI If you’ve only had Kobe beef as a burger, then you’re missing the point. The point is fat. The richly marbled flesh is more white than red — in Japan, the grading goes from one to 12; our topgrade Prime would rate a five — and cooking melts the fat away. Try it raw, shaved into paperthin slices, and surrender to the texture. SCALLOP ROE Oyster bars sometimes serve scallops on the half-shell. Pounce. When raw, their briny sweetness is intensified. The fat, orange comma of coral attached — as hermaphrodites, both sexes contain roe — is even better, like caviar but more delicate. LANGÓS This Hungarian snack of deep-fried dough could’ve resulted from a one-night stand between a beavertail and a pizza crust. At its best, it is a pebbled golden disc, crunchy and puffed, brushed with crushed garlic and consumed with icy beer. Sadly, good langós is hard to find out of its native land; if you come across one, please let me know. PICK-YOUR-OWN PRODUCE Consider yourself lucky if you’ve eaten a sunwarm tomato straight from the vine. Cherries, apricots or blueberries you’ve plucked taste a hundred times better than their supermarket cousins. LE RIOPELLE DE L’ISLE A triple-crème Quebec cheese with a blooming white rind like brie and a creamy paste of gentle funkiness. Like butter gone wild. HORSE Sweeter, leaner and redder than beef. Eating horse is traditional in other countries and legal in ours. Don’t be squeamish.

SALSIFY A rare root vegetable with mild flavour and an elegant, tapering form. Worth seeking out. BONE MARROW Wobbly, greasy and incomparably rich. A bistro staple. Scoop out the centre of boiled or roasted beef bones yield and spread the marrow on toast; sprinkle with fleur de sel. Osso bucco also yields delicious marrow. BITTER GREENS Wake the taste buds with a dandelion salad or steamed rapini. Or do like the Greeks and tuck into a plate of cold horta, wilted bitter greens tricked out with lemon and garlic. Most refreshing. ANYTHING COOKED OVER A WOOD FIRE REAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR Forget the $5 supermarket kind. That’s just wine vinegar coloured with caramel. Real balsamic is made only in Modena and Reggio Emilia, where it is aged at least three years in wooden barrels for complexity. Treat yourself to a bottle marked “tradizionale,” which pours out like dark, tangy syrup and can be eaten with a spoon. REAL WHIPPED CREAM I’ll always have a soft spot for Reddi-Whip, especially when squirted directly into the mouth while standing in front of the open fridge door. But real whipped cream, the soft peaks lightly sweetened and kissed by vanilla? No contest. SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK Eat a spoonful straight from the can. Betcha can’t stop at one. AFTERNOON TEA There’s something enormously civilized about a pot of loose-leaf Darjeeling, a plate of cucumber sandwiches (crustless, of course) and a pair of warm currant scones slathered with Devon cream. Wide-brimmed hat and gloves optional. FOIE GRAS Mired in ethical controversy — Chicago banned it from restaurants last year owing to concerns about animal cruelty — the fattened livers of force-fed duck and geese are singularly delicious; they make an unbelievably silky terrine. Eat it here while it’s still legal.

JUNE 22, 2007


Raising the flagstone M

ary Diamond of Diamond Landscaping in Steady Brook near Corner Brook says much has changed when it comes to landscaping. “In the 14 years that we have been in business there has been a shift in what people will put into their yards — they spend more time on them and in them and they certainly spend more money,” she says. Gone, thankfully, are the days when old tires and railway ties were considered the makings of flowerbeds and retaining walls, she says. Beyond being environmentally unfriendly, old rubber and dirty train-track ties just didn’t look natural in a yard. Besides that, Diamond continues, such material didn’t last. “We see people who are looking for a product that does the job while looking great. They want something that lasts and one that is easy to maintain,” she says, adding flagstone and interlocking stone walkways and drives are keeping the company quite busy this season. “We do ponds and retaining walls in flagstone, we are designing flowerbeds in Allan Block stone.” Flagstone, which was once used to make a wall behind a wood stove or a fireplace inside the home, has now become popular outside the home, Diamond says. Flagstone is so versatile, she says. “It is long lasting, it looks beautiful and it looks natural because it is natural — stones belong outside, so flagstone just fits right in with any landscape.” While using flagstone or interlocking stones can require a large upfront financial investment, Diamond says it will save you money in the long run. “I have never known flagstone to crack, but if it did you only have one piece to replace as opposed to an entire drive or walk if it was concrete or asphalt,” she explains. Have a small oil spill in your driveway? If you have a flagstone drive or one made of interlocking stone getting rid of the mess is as easy as replacing the damaged stones. “Laying interlocking stone and flagstone in and around decks, patios, retaining walls and flowerbeds has really taken off in Newfoundland,” Diamond says. Darrell Roberts, manager at Ornamental Concrete Ltd. in St. John’s, is also having a busy season. “You can’t get anything that looks more natural than stone and when you see it used in a garden or in a drive it immediately improves curb appeal — it looks great,” he says. Roberts deals with pre-cast stone products that are “more durable” than pavement or concrete, he says, stressing proper installation is key. “If you install anything correctly it will last longer, and these are products you can install yourself so paying attention to the guidelines are important.”

A flagstone walkway is an elegant touch. Paul Daly/The Independent

Roberts says Ornamental Concrete has a showroom where homeowners can get ideas for their homes and gardens. “We have Allan Block and Wedge Stone that look amazing around flowerbeds,” he says. Products are available in a variety of colours, Roberts says and all are easy to work with. John Tuach of Newfoundland Flagstone in Pynn’s Brook says using stone in a garden is increasing in popularity each year. As it should, he adds. Flagstone can be placed around the most elaborate home or used around the simplest and it will fit right in, he says. “Stone is a prestigious product that just happens to be accessible to everyone.” — Pam Pardy Ghent

Breathe through a straw for 60 seconds. That’s what breathing is like with cystic fibrosis. No wonder so many people with CF stop breathing in their early 30s.

Please help us.

1-800-378-CCFF •

JUNE 22, 2007


By Bernadette Morra Torstar wire service


hat’s cooler — tennis or golf? Tennis has the fashion-crazed Williams sisters — Serena once played the U.S. open in $40,000 diamond hoop earrings — and the ultrachic Anna Wintour, who rises at the crack of dawn to whack balls before heading to her office at Vogue. Golf hasn’t had much going for it in the women’s style arena. But that’s changing. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Alba and Heather Locklear are said to be hitting the greens. Style-concious players like Michelle Wie, who played in Sunday’s LPGA championship wearing a hot pink minidress, are bringing some snap to the sport. And frustrated golf divas are launching their own collections. Lynda Hipp is the designer of Lija (pronounced lee-zha), a snazzy golf line that features sophisticated colours and graphic prints. “Ten years ago when we started, women’s golfwear looked like miniature menswear — boxy polos and pleated shorts,” Hipp says from her Vancouver headquarters. “But women are not shaped like boxes.” So she cuts slimming cashmere-blend hoodies, tapered rosebud print polos, and long flat-front shorts in psychedelic graphic patterns. “I really follow the fashion trends,”

Models display the fall 2007 line of golfwear from Lynda Hipp’s clothing brand, Lija.

Cleatsvspleats New gear for golfers bring fashion to the green Hipp says. “I look at interior design, I shop L.A. and New York. I look at the runways. And I roam the streets of Paris; that’s where I get a lot of inspiration.” Of course you won’t be seeing Balenciaga-style metal leggings and other out-there items on the links. “Golf is still relatively conservative. It’s an old

game with ideas of how you have to present yourself. So we don’t step too far outside of the box.” Dress codes — such as collared shirts and shorts no higher than five inches above the knee — are adhered to. Still, younger players don’t want to look like their grandfolks.

“We’re cool but we’re golf-course friendly,” says Geoff Tait, an ex-golf pro and co-founder of Quagmire Golf. When Tait and partner Bobby Pasternak launched Quagmire last year, they were aiming at 20-something men and women like themselves. “We saw kids playing golf in Abercrombie and

Fitch and Quicksilver … so we decided to bring that surfer, skater look to golf.” The label has turned out to have broad age appeal and is already carried at 100 stores. “I haven’t golfed once this year,” Tait laments. “Our heads are spinning.” Spring looks include plaid and seersucker flat-front shorts and crinkled skirts, “like you could wear to the beach,” Tait says. “Nobody else has done anything like that for golf. “ Not Rosemary Brdar. She launched Birdie Girl Golf (, a collection of golf bags and accessories for women, after falling in love with a golf nut. “I want to bring some edginess to golf,” says Brdar, who is also a hairstylist at the Rapunzel salon on Irwin Ave. “Players are younger and more fashion conscious. They are into clothing and hair.” Current styles include a sexy black patent duffle with pink trim and a camouflage print golf bag with hot pink graffiti. “It’s more surf and wakeboard inspired than a traditional golf look.” Birdie Girl is carried at Golf Town and branching into the U.S., Japan and Europe. “I founded this company with a single, stubborn mission: To create a line where women were the focus, not the second thought,” says Brdar. “Women need golf accessories that make them feel as fabulous as the latest designer handbag or sexy stiletto heels.”

EVENTS JUNE 22 • Teddy Bear Picnic with Terry Reilly, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, admission free, please bring non-perishable food item. • The Nickel Independent Film Festival, LSPU Hall/RCA Theatre, 3 Victoria Street, St. John’s, 753-4531,, until June 23. • Celtic Crossroads Concert, Gower Street United, St. John’s, 8 p.m. • From Greig to Gershwin, concert, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, St. John’s, 8 p.m. • Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay, Diane Whelan Soccer Complex, Paradise, until June 24, interested volunteers contact Amanda Puddicombe, development co-ordinator, 7541399. JUNE 23 • Nature Photography Workshops with Dennis Minty of Minty Nature Photography, level 1, June 23-24, level 2, June 31-July 1, Cupid’s Haven B&B, Cupids, Conception Bay, 528-1555. • Viva Lost Elvis, comedic musical tribute to Elvis Presley, Saturday and Sunday nights throughout summer, Majestic Theatre, 390 Duckworth Street, St. John’s, doors open 6:30 p.m., 1-877-661-3023. JUNE 24 • Dance Studio East presents The Gypsy Princess, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. JUNE 25 • Hire a Student Week, hosted by The Service Canada Centres for Youth in Newfoundland and Labrador, promoting student employment, until June 29. • Summer Youth Camps, youth ages 5-8 and 9-12, June 25-Aug. 31, full and half day camps available, MUN Division of Lifelong Learning, 737-7979. JUNE 26 • Finding Your Purpose, lecture with Edith Lynch, 7-9 p.m., six-week seminar, meeting once weekly until July 24. • Eastern Edge Gallery Open Workshop, participants bring materials to be recycled to create artworks with recycling expert, 72 Harbour Drive, St. John’s, 12-4 p.m. JUNE 27 • When Larry Met Sally the Girl from the Bay, dinner theatre, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays throughout summer, Majestic Theatre, 390 Duckworth Street, St. John’s, 7 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m. • The Subtitles at Folk Night, Ship Pub, St. John’s, 9:30 p.m. JUNE 28 • 25th Annual Alumni Golf Tournament, Terra Nova Golf Resort, register now, 737-4354 or 1-877-700-4081, IN THE GALLERIES: • Opening of 2007 Annual Members Exhibit, Craft Council Gallery, Devon House Craft Centre, St. John’s, June 24. • Fridge Works: Children’s Art Exhibition and Workshops, Eastern Edge Gallery, 72 Harbour Drive, St. John’s, until June 25. • Catherine Beaudette’s Mushrooming, Pouch Cove Gallery, 14 Grushy’s Hill, until June 30. • The Battery: People of the Changing Outport tells the story of The Battery, of dramatic social, cultural and economic changes occurring in many outport communities, The Rooms, level 2, 9 Bonaventure Avenue, St. John’s, until Sept. 3. • Brian Jungen’s Vienna, giant sculpture in the form of a pristine whale skeleton suspended from the gallery’s cathedral ceiling, The Rooms, until Sept. 16. • Finest Kind, sampling display of Newfoundland’s stories of nationhood, World War I, and life on the land and sea through artifacts, artwork, images and documents, The Rooms, until Sept. 16. • Natural Energies by Anne Meredith Barry (1931–2003), including 90 works created since 1982, until Sept. 30.

What’s new in the automotive industry

JUNE 22-28, 2007


Can the sun come standard? Bold design, an available 260-hp engine and a soft top that drops in seconds. Introducing the 2007 SKY Roadster: welcome to a bold way of seeing the world. Saturn’s first-ever roadster is built for high performance and a pure adrenaline rush. With a decidedly sophisticated look inside and out, the SKY is your front row seat to the open road. There's no limit to the comfort available in a SKY. From available leather appointed seats, three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel and six-speaker sound system with CD/MP3 player to standard power windows, locks and mirrors, XM Satellite radio, standard OnStar® System and security system you can drive in the style, safety and comfort you deserve. And of course, there's the unbeatable enjoyment of cruising with the top down. The SKY isn't the limit. It's only the beginning. Nicholas Langor/The Independent

Sting of the Super Bee NOON, MONDAY, JUNE 11

The racing Charger also required an aerodynamic rear spoiler to improve handling. Under he last thing Tony (my crew chief/sales the strict guidelines, the street version Charger associate) said to me, “It’s 425 horse- also had to have one. Only serious, classic-car power, zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds, there’s aficionados would recognize the Charger as no limiter on the motor and she’ll do 170 mph.” having the distinction of being the first I’m increasingly finding myself in American car sold with a wing on the these situations and I’m loving it. back. When I called Tom Woodford’s in St. Recently, the rebirth of the Hemi John’s and requested a Dodge Charger (an abbreviation for “hemispherical they rolled out the red carpet and put combustion chamber”) was met with me in a rare, top-of-the-line Super critical acclaim. Die-hard fans of the Bee. The car is number 973 from a most recognizable racing engine in limited production of 1,000 and it’s a history welcomed it like a long lost machine that flaunts its heritage. friend. Put it this way, you couldn’t have Chrysler used the Hemi in a dozen MARK written a story about a new Super Bee different models of its vehicles right WOOD since 1971. It’s famous for being up to 1971. In 2002, the car company WOODY’S unveiled its modern, slimmer 5.7-litre Dodge’s limited production, muscle car insignia — with heavy emphasis of the engine and by 2005, WHEELS version on the muscle. Their most notorious introduced a multi-displacement sysengine — the 426 (seven litre) Hemi tem, which chooses either four or all — was really only sold to the public in 1966 to eight cylinders automatically. satisfy NASCAR rules stating that only producIn other words, the smart Hemi. tion vehicles are to be used for racing — the In 2005, the new 6.1 litre Hemi was available original “race-what-you-brung” clause, no spe- as a street-and-race technology option in four cial factory treatment. different models, although it’s standard equipThat’s how 425 horsepower became socially See “Like a dream,” page 29 acceptable.


2007, Dodge Charger Super Bee # 973


JUNE 22, 2007

Electric vehicle maker may get wish as McGuinty sees light By Tyler Hamilton Torstar wire service


ENN Motor Co. may be headquartered in Toronto, but the maker of electric vehicles can’t sell its product in Ontario. That could soon change. Premier Dalton McGuinty now says he’s intent on amending outdated legislation that forbids the use of low-speed electric vehicles in the province. He said he didn’t want the current rules to be an “impediment” to what’s viewed as an environmentally friendly transport technology. “I’m sure there were good reasons at one point in time to prevent electric cars from being on Canadian roads, but we’ve got to find a way to ensure that our regulations don’t become an impediment from doing what’s right for the environment,” says McGuinty. He adds that it makes no sense for a local company to produce a car that can’t be driven in its home province but is widely accepted — and sold — throughout the United States. “I’m going to allow them to drive these things in Ontario.” It’s unclear, however, how quickly he plans to move. McGuinty and Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield are expected to meet today with officials from ZENN Motors to talk about rule changes. The premier said he also wants to convince the company to move its vehicle assembly facility from Quebec to Ontario. Ian Clifford, chief executive officer of ZENN (Zero Emission No Noise), credited former U.S. vice-president Al Gore for drawing McGuinty’s attention to the issue during a lunch in late April during the Green Living Show in Toronto. Gore asked Clifford how sales of his electric cars were doing in Canada. “I told him we can’t sell them here, and he said ‘What? That’s ridiculous,’” recalls Clifford, adding that he explained to Gore how provincial legislation prohibited use of the vehicles on public roads, mostly for safety reasons. “Gore took me by the shoulder and marched me over to the premier and right in front of McGuinty’s face,

ZENN Motors electric cars are currently banned in Ontario.

said, ‘Premier, do your part, it’s crazy that you can’t drive these electric cars in Ontario.’ McGuinty said ‘Let’s set up a meeting.’” Trevor Parker, president of Iclectric, a Toronto-based distributor of electric lawn mowers, boats and other vehicles, said a petition was also circulating at the Green Living Show asking the premier to change the law. But Gore, he added, put McGuinty on the hot seat. “He (the Premier) should have

done this two years ago, so we’ve got some catching up to do,” says Parker, adding that emission-free electric vehicles are the future of transportation as cities and provinces attempt to battle climate change. ZENN Motors has doubled its U.S. distribution network to 33 retailers since January. Shares in the company, which recently changed its name from Feel Good Cars and trades on the TSX Venture Exchange, soared 12 per cent yesterday ahead of the

meeting with McGuinty. EVs don’t release emissions, but some critics argue the pollution is merely shifted to burning coal and other fossil fuels that generate electricity for charging its batteries. A recent study out of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, however, concluded that charging a hybrid-electric (or electric) vehicle with coal power releases fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a vehicle running on gasoline.

Such technologies could prove effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Clifford said it would be great if he could drive one of his company’s own cars to work. “The irony is painful,” he says. “We get tonnes of inquires from across Canada. We have cars we can sell in Ontario today. It’s hugely frustrating that we can’t do that today.”

JUNE 22, 2007


Memories of full service L

et me relate to you the sweetest sure can’t get any service at a service sound in the world. It station. Now, regardless of is the “ding ding” of the weather, I have to get out the bell when you roll over of the car, punch in answers the hose at a full service gas to endless questions, get my station. Forget the ice cream hands all stinky and hope I truck music that has my turned off my cell phone so I youngest son salivating like a won’t blow up like on that Pavlovian dog, forget purring news show I saw. kittens, cooing babies or genI used to take out my frustle breezes. trations on the actual pump, LORRAINE I want that bell that signals cursing under my breath and SOMMERFELD someone else is going to yelling at the endless scrub the bird poop off my infomercials they provide for windshield. my viewing pleasure. Until Of course these days, that the day I learned they can sound is just a distant memohear me. A disembodied ry. Now, you can get magazines, dis- voice asked if I needed any help. posable cameras (and diapers), ice Maybe not in the conventional sense, I cream sludgies and nachos, but you replied.


Like a dream From page 27 ment on the ‘07 Dodge Charger Super Bee. It’s a wild looking car, available only in Detonator Yellow, accented with strategic, flat-black stripes and the Hemi logo on the hood scoop. The package is unmistakable, everyone knows there’s something serious going on when it rolls down the road. It’s an absolute blast to drive, there’s nothing subtle about it. The showcase of the car, naturally, is the 425-horsepower engine and I was extremely cautious about letting it sing. I was fine in traffic, just barely touching the gas, but when the road opened up a bit I let the tachometer creep up to 2,500 rpms and it surged with power. The potential brute force of the Super Bee was something I had to explore on the highway. I hung with traffic for a while, doing 100 kph, no radio on, windows down a bit so I could listen to the exhaust note and took in the moment. It was like a dream, the Charger was in production again and I was cruising out the highway in No. 973 Super Bee. Time to make a memory, something to boast about later on in life, something to write about now. I pulled over to the side of the road like I was taking a phone call and let the road clear right to the top of the hill on a long stretch. Remember the “Has that got a Hemi in it?” television commercial? You’re about to find out. With an empty road I let her sing to the top of 5,000 rpms in two gears, and I was already going too fast. What a beautiful sound, the dual exhausts of a legendary muscle car singing a five-second tune about life in the fast lane. As I left the highway I noticed a couple of kids in a parking lot stopped dead in their tracks, watching the Super Bee intently and listening to the Hemi. I goosed it for them and made their day. Then I cruised through the twisty backroads, pretending to elude the sheriff with a trunk load of moonshine. We have to thank NASCAR for today’s race-inspired Dodge Charger Super Bee. They made the rules. Mark Wood of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s has recently taken to sliding across the hood of his truck and crawling in through the window.

I used to love going to the gas station with my parents. The man would pop the hood and check the oil, and if my Dad gave the OK, he’d add a can of Quaker State. With a funnel. I loved the practiced motion, and the man-banter about 10W30 versus 10W15. My Dad was a Quaker State man. When no one was looking, I’d hop out of the car and try to set the bell off myself. It rarely worked, as I’m guessing it took more than 45 pounds in a pair of Keds. When it did work, I’d get told to get back in the car. I used to wonder where the gasoline came from, and just what those two little red balls were spinning around in. When my Dad explained that the gas came from underground, I wondered why we didn’t just put a pump at the house and

pump away whenever we needed to. I was in awe at the gas jockey’s ability to snap the nozzle off right on the even money. I used to think I wanted to do that. I learned to be careful what I wished for. But of course the best part was the cleaning of the windshield. My sisters and I would make faces out the window as the lad cleaned it, and we would point out any missed spots. We would make very long “ewwwwwwwwwwing” sounds if they had to scrub away at a particularly nasty blob. I’m sure they thanked us under their breath. On long road trips the windshield would look more like a Jackson Pollock painting than a window, and we’d cringe as the squeegee would scrub away at the bug graveyard clinging to

the glass. But when you pulled away, you felt you had actually made a difference. Your car was cleaned up and topped up, mysterious, important things had been checked, and you headed out renewed. Now, I wonder the best way to get nasty stuff off the windshield — while it’s still wet? when it’s dried? I park my vehicle under a large tree that is apparently the Legion Hall for every bird in the neighbourhood — this is not an idle question. If I can’t find the hose, I proceed to use half a container of squirter stuff with the wipers madly flapping at full speed. And reminisce of gentler times when it was someone else’s job.

Auto firms get new lease on research GREEN PROGRAM LIKELY TO HELP PARTS PLANTS PLAN FOR FUEL-EFFICIENT CARS, SAYS AUTO UNION CHIEF By Rob Ferguson Torstar wire service


uto-parts companies hurt by slumping sales at Canada’s Big Three automakers are most likely to benefit from Premier Dalton McGuinty’s promised new $650 million green manufacturing fund, says Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove. The drop in business with their major customers has made it more difficult to bankroll research and development, the union leader said after McGuinty made a campaign-style announcement of the program beside the assembly line at a General Motors plant. “This is going to be an opportunity for businesses — the parts suppliers, tool and die shops, and machining shops and others — that have a lot of ideas on the drawing board,” Hargrove says. But it’s too early to say what part companies, big and small, along with major automakers and other manufacturers of green technologies, will have to do to qualify for assistance because details of the Next Generation Jobs Fund haven’t been finalized yet. “We’ll sit down with a number of sectors and work out the best way to set up the parameters,” McGuinty says, acknowledging the program won’t be ready until after the Oct. 10 provincial election. “It takes a while to set things up.” The admission prompted Progressive Conservative MPP Laurie Scott to charge the premier “is using taxpayer dollars to make election promises.” New Democrat environment critic Peter Tabuns called the program “vague” and questioned how much it will mitigate the 175,000 manufacturing jobs lost since the Liberals took office in 2003. Auto industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers says the $650 million program is a better “carrot” to industry than the federal government’s “feebate” program, which rewards buyers of vehicles with the most fuel-efficient engines —

A GM hydrogen fuel cell vehicle sits behind Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty (L) as he announces the creation of a $650 million automotive green fund to encourage investment in environmentally friendly technology, at a news conference at the GM Oshawa Assembly Plant, June 19. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski

which are mainly made outside Canada. “The vehicle and parts companies have too many choices in front of them and considerable risk as to which technology or fuel will yield the best result,” he wrote in a note to clients. “McGuinty recognizes that each company should be encouraged to pursue the technologies or solutions that best suit their individual strategies.”

The fund will “help enormously” when companies make a business case to develop or commercialize a new product, said General Motors vice-president David Paterson, noting green technologies already in some cars include engines where half the cylinders turn off during highway driving to reduce fuel consumption by 30 per cent. Other possibilities for the future

include more lightweight composite materials to boost fuel efficiency and car parts made from soy oils instead of plastics. “Basically you’re creating a biological plastic” that produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, says Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association.


JUNE 22, 2007

WEEKLY DIVERSIONS ACROSS 1 Start for colon or circle 5 Crooner Dusk (“Back in Town”) 9 Sultanate on Arabian Sea 13 Lid 16 Greek island 17 Turkey to Taiwan 18 Cavity 19 Tree feller’s tool 20 Jane Eyre’s author (2 wds.) 23 Can metal 24 Raved 25 Trick 26 (Lewis) Carroll’s real name 28 Period of note 29 Fall in drops 31 Billy Bishop’s hometown: ___ Sound, Ont. 33 Glittery fabric 34 Buddhist temple 35 Eric Peterson’s hometown: Indian ___, Sask. 36 Place for pampering 37 Grace closing 39 Group of related ecotypes 42 “My Fair ___” 44 Halloween mo. 45 Chinese dynasty 46 City with Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame

49 Sound of ice in a glass 52 Baby carriage (Brit.) 54 Winter illness 55 Scotch and ___ 56 River of E France 57 Empty 58 Pouting grimace 59 “Full many a ___ of purest ray ...” 60 Manager 62 “Until the ___ of time ...” 63 Line up (with) 64 Cotton hosiery type 66 Scoffed 68 Help 69 Salty expanse 70 Not behind 71 All-powerful 75 Prepare to smell the roses 77 Veto 78 Dissembler 79 Tee preceder 82 Soft cheese 84 Impressed 86 Cry out 87 Midnight number 88 Atrocious act 90 Kill 92 Jubilant 95 Upon: prefix 96 It’s normally about 37 degrees C (2 wds.) 99 Minister’s title, briefly 100 Rim


101 Undesirable plant 102 Great balls of fire 103 Date 104 Politician Bob and family 105 Do not 106 Hawaiian dance DOWN 1 African desert 2 Originate 3 Death in Dieppe 4 Man or Wight 5 Small rug 6 Straddling 7 Bind (2 wds.) 8 Bar bills 9 Cry of discovery 10 Monet’s world 11 Man. town with giant “Sunflowers” (Van Gogh) 12 Requirement 13 Pets (3 wds.) 14 Self-evident truth 15 Tubular pasta 16 Peter Robertson’s invention: socket-head ___ 21 Most curious 22 Start (a show) again 27 Gathers patiently 30 Knock 32 “It ___ the best of times ...” 35 Pawn 36 Thailand, once 38 Provincial rep.

40 Fool 41 Sudan’s neighbour 43 Song of cowboys and Swiss mountaineers 46 Quebec’s official flower: ___ flag iris 47 Regret 48 Nominate 49 Taxis 50 “First lady of the guitar” 51 Lacking empathy 52 Enough water for a duck 53 Relieved (of) 54 Tab on a key ring 57 Notch 58 Noon in Normetal 61 Dog with plumy tail 63 Bring bad luck 64 Salacious stare 65 Journalist Hanomansing 67 City with Sugar Loaf Mountain 68 Among 69 Less fresh 71 Pull a fast ___ 72 Tot’s cage 73 Olive ___ 74 Of a printed passage 76 Asian temple 80 Mountain range (Span.) 81 Teams 82 Immigrants to S. Africa 83 Calcutta coin

85 Shim 86 Ivory with a carved profile

89 Canadian diamond mining company 91 Obscene

93 Tie 94 Alaskan island 97 Affirmative

98 Cottage time in Ont. Solutions page 32

Brian and Ron Boychuk

WEEKLY STARS ARIES (MAR. 21 TO APR. 19) Your efforts to keep the lines of communication open pay off. Expect to hear news that could help you achieve one of your long-held objectives. A relationship needs more attention. TAURUS (APRIL 20 TO MAY 20) That vexing situation might be causing the sensitive Bovine to see red. But bide your time and collect all the facts before confronting the suspected troublemaker head-on. GEMINI (MAY 21 TO JUNE 20) Curiosity can be a double-edged sword. You should, indeed, learn more about a person who is now in your life. But be diplomatic; probing too deeply, too soon, can backfire.

CANCER (JUNE 21 TO JULY 22) Your financial picture improves, but you still need to shop cautiously and resist going on a spending spree. Your present restraint helps you avoid potential money woes down the line. LEO (JULY 23 TO AUG. 22) Your Leonine leadership skills are put to the test when you’re asked to take command of a difficult situation that urgently needs resolving. A friend from the past offers to help. VIRGO (AUG. 23 TO SEPT. 22) Your Virgan inclination to offer unsolicited counsel could create hard feelings. It’s best to wait until you’re asked for your advice before dispensing it so freely. LIBRA (SEPT. 23 TO OCT.22)

A misunderstanding delays your chance to straighten out problems at the workplace. But an explanation soon helps settle things to everyone’s satisfaction. SCORPIO (OCT. 23 TO NOV. 21) Home improvements are favoured. Make a list of what needs to be done, and get started. Consider donating things you no longer use to a worthy charity. SAGITTARIUS (NOV. 22 TO DEC. 21) Use your innate horse sense to help you make the right move with a major purchase. Be wary of those who try to rush you into making a decision. CAPRICORN (DEC. 22 TO JAN. 19) Ease up on that penchant of yours to reshape the world according to your specifications. Be more tolerant of those who have different

views of what life is all about. AQUARIUS (JAN. 20 TO FEB.18) A series of fluctuating circumstances continues to dominate your current aspects. Remember to stay focused on the positive possibilities that these changes can bring. PISCES (FEB. 19 TO MAR. 20) You can get things done better than most people. So don’t let those naysayers douse your enthusiasm. Get back in the swim and start making waves as only you can. BORN THIS WEEK: You have a natural talent for bringing people and elements together. You’d make a fine research scientist, pharmacist or even a master chef.

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

(c) 2007 King Features Syndicate, Inc.


INDEPENDENTSPORTS Serving up champions


Daria Snow among province’s young tennis players excelling at Atlantic level By John Rieti The Independent


Daria Snow, 14, practises at the Green Belt tennis courts.

Nicholas Langor/ The Independent

he cold, vacuum-sealed bubble of Green Belt tennis club in St. John’s fosters the province’s top young players, an incubator filled with serves, volleys and ground strokes. Daria Snow, 14, has spent almost her entire life amidst the flurry of fuzzy green tennis balls, and has become one of the province’s top female players. Snow says she “fell in love” with the sport at the age of seven, but tennis touched her life before her memory even began. Her mother Karen has a photo of her holding a racquet at age two. Snow’s aunt, Krista Manning, was one of the top three players in Canada in her prime, and her grandfather is the legendary tennis coach and athlete Tony Manning, who got her started in the sport. The elder Manning will be honoured with an award from Tennis Canada this year for his coaching efforts in the province and the foundation he built for the sport. He’s taught his granddaughter well. Feet shuffling and sliding across the coarse court, Snow is in constant movement during rallies, resisting the urge to pause for rest. As a baseline player, she relies on long, accurate shots to keep her opponents running around the court. Snow is happy to admit she can’t beat her aunt yet, but her style of play has dominated girls her age in Atlantic Canada. She has never lost a tournament in Newfoundland and Labrador, and has won every Atlantic Championship, indoor and outdoor, since 2005. Danny Da Costa, director of Tennis Newfoundland and Labrador, estimates there are 150 junior players in the province and he is hoping new community outreach programs will bring more kids to the sport. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians currently hold five of the eight Atlantic junior championships, from boys under-12 to girls under-16. Snow’s first step to repeating her Atlantic title will be the provincial junior tournament, scheduled for this weekend at Riverdale Tennis Club in St. John’s. Sixty players are expected to compete, including some stiff competition from the Gander team. Da Costa is putting the pieces in place to make Snow’s goals possible. When he moved to the province from Toronto he knew about tennis’ history in the province and the potential of some of its athletes. This summer, Da Costa has started a provincial training centre that will allow eight players to practise with high-quality coaches and physical trainers for 20 hours a week. “The idea behind the program is to get them to a higher level, to a national level,” says Da Costa. Tennis training is a mix of honing swing techniques and shots, running to build speed and proper footwork and repetition. Snow cools down from her 6 to 8 a.m. morning practice by returning shots from a partner with the same stroke, delivering the ball to the same target on the court. Along with the training camp, Snow plays with the under-16 boys group four times a week, competes in weekend tournaments and schedules games when she can. She’s already setting goals for nationals, where she is currently ranked 23rd. Mainland tennis is a “whole different ball game,” according to her mother, with Ontario and Quebec players dominating. The quietly confident Snow won’t back down from the competition. A trait her family shares — from the tennis court to board games — is an intense competitive spirit. Snow is shy when she speaks, but sincere, reducing a complex sport to a simple emotion: “I just love tennis.”

Racing in Rio St. John’s runner trains in sauna; holds keg parties to run half-marathon in Brazil


aren Stacey got strange looks when she entered the sauna at the Aquarena recently. While many people enter the sauna to relax and unwind after a workout, Stacey did the opposite. She entered the sauna in her running clothes, and proceeded to do sit-ups, push-ups, squats and other forms of exercise. In 40 degree Celsius heat. Some folks may have thought the St. John’s runner had gone mad, but there was a method. Stacey and friend Jill Newhook were preparing to run a halfmarathon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the only place in St. John’s to replicate


Power Point the hot conditions they can expect was the sauna. “I took to going at weird times,” Stacey said this week, before departing on a 27-hour travel marathon that takes her through Halifax, New York and a red-eye to Brazil prior to the June 24 race. “I’d go very early in the morning, like

quarter to six, or at 3 in the afternoon, so there’s no one around. “I’ve been doing a regular 25-minute workout in the sauna, and I’ve really acclimatized, because I found last weekend to be cooler temperatures. It’s good training.” Training she was used to. But this trip was for a different reason. Stacey and Newhook are part of Team Diabetes. As part of the deal, the pair had to raise $6,100 each, of which a portion paid for their flight and accommodations. The remainder — about 70 cents on every dollar — goes to fight diabetes in Newfoundland and Labrador. The hard-

Stop a heart attack before it starts. Your support is vital. Research into the root causes of heart disease and stroke will help millions live longer, healthier lives. As a leading funder of heart and stroke research in Canada, we need your help. Call 1-888-HSF-INFO or visit

est part of this half-marathon, Stacey noted, was fundraising. “Raising the money was the hardest part for us,” she said, noting Newhook was “the organizer, I’m the social butterfly.” The duo did everything to gather donations, from silent auctions and wine tasting (very successful) to selling fishcakes and cookie dough (not so much) to keg parties (most successful.) “The fishcakes went OK, the cookie dough went OK, but the keg parties were a big hit,” Stacey said, thanking the folks at Blue on Water and Molson for their assistance.

“I’m 26, so a lot of my friends like to socialize. You could say they prefer keg parties to cookie dough.” A former member of MUN’s crosscountry running team, Stacey figures her legs will be like cookie dough after the race, which she hopes to finish in 90 minutes — the length of time it took her to win the St. John’s half-marathon in May. “The race to me is the big thing,” she stated. “The whole focus of this trip is the race. I tapered this week. I’m eating right. I want to run 90 minutes.” See “Townies,” page 33


JUNE 22, 2007

The Zen of salmon fishing In part one of a two-part series, Paul Smith remembers the first salmon he ever landed PAUL SMITH

The Rock



o you think you’re a dedicated woods person. You hunt and fish and canoe as much as anybody you know. That’s the clincher — you do as much as anyone you know. We all think we are big fish sometimes, but eventually realize how small our pond has been. Then the pond gets bigger and we start crawling towards the top again, soaking up skills and knowledge from others along the way. It’s those experiences that flood the banks of our little ponds and make us better. After all, it’s not the destination that counts, but the journey. These are the defining days that remind us we have much to learn and true excellence lies at the distant end of a very long and bumpy road. Outdoor Zen, so to speak. My fly-fishing journey has been long and bumpy, but so much fun. The greatest rewards have been the friends I’ve made and the wonderful places the journey has taken me, both near and far from home. It began when I was just eight years old. I came home from the last day of school and burst though the back door, waving my report card. I think it was Grade 2 and I had made some pretty fair grades. I remember it well because I had switched in mid-March from a Roman Catholic school in Marystown to the protestant school in St. Anthony. All the books and curriculum were different and I had struggled to catch up for final exams. (Yes, in those days we wrote final exams in Grade 2.) My parents must have had confidence in me. Before my father even looked at the report card, he handed me a brand new fly rod and reel. He said, “Paul my boy, we’re going salmon fishing.” I can’t remember which excited me more, going salmon fishing or the rod itself. I drifted off into dreamland that night a very proud boy, with the rod propped against my bedpost. And we did indeed go salmon fishing. In those days, salmon runs on the Northern Peninsula were prolific despite

Salmon fishing in Quebec.

the commercial fishery. Dad and I knew next to nothing about fly or salmon fishing but we managed to catch around 20 salmon in a week of fishing at Big Brook. I remember my first fish. There was a particularly productive pool perpetually crowded with anglers from south of the border. I remember thinking they talked really funny. I wanted to fish where the fish were, and no fancy dressed sports with southern drawls were going to stop me. I slithered out between their wadered legs and perched myself on an outcrop of cliff strategically located for catching salmon. Kids can get away with antics on a river that would result in others being tossed in the drink. My mother, who was watching me from the sideline while Dad fished downstream, came rushing to apologize

Paul Smith photo

for my rude behaviour. “Ah, that’s OK, we’ll let the boy fish there for a while and try his luck,” was all they said. I think they were feeling guilty for hogging the pool. So fish I did, skittering my Black Silvertip across the ripples the way Dad had shown me. After just a few unproductive casts a silver swirl engulfed my fly and a mighty tug nearly pulled the rod from my hands. Startled, I jumped up and down as line peeled from my reel and my adversary went head over tail across the water. “I got one, I got one,” came my battle cry. Everybody on the river stopped fishing to watch the very excited little kid playing the King of Gamefish. Dad came running upriver to coach and — most importantly — keep me from falling in the river. The Americans were

shouting advice and taking pictures. After about 15 minutes of commotion, my salmon tired and a kind Mr. Fox from Charleston, Virginia netted my prize. I was officially a salmon fisherman. Dad and I totalled seven fish that day, taking a break just long enough to cook up a riverside feed of salt beef and cabbage on our Coleman stove. Well, as you might imagine, Dad and I got a little puffed up over our success and figured we knew a thing or two. We were two decent-sized fish in a very small pond. I fished for salmon on and off throughout my youth but mostly stuck to trouting as well as bass, pike and pickerel angling during summer vacations with my sister in northern Ontario. After a hiatus of maybe eight years, I decided to take a salmon holiday with a

friend of mine who knew nothing — I was the “expert.” We were both MUN students and had a week to kill in August before returning to our studies. The destination was Gander River, around Glenwood. The plan was to sleep on air mattresses in the back of my pickup truck, which had one of those fiberglass caps with sliding windows in the sides. We set up camp, such as it was, on the Appleton side of the river above the old railway trestle. There were some pools right by our camp and we could also fish the main pools beneath the Queen Elizabeth Bridge on the TCH. My pond was about to get flooded. More next week. Paul Smith is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast living in Spaniard’s Bay.

Solutions for crossword on page 30

No place like home for TFC By Garth Woolsey Torstar wire service


Solutions for sudoku on page 30

e it sports or theatre, a good read or a fine meal, the rule of thumb is this: Leave them satisfied, but wanting a repeat, more of the same. Faced with a six-week road trip following the June 16 game against tough (allegedly) FC Dallas, Toronto FC left a record (allegedly) turnout on a 4-0 high. Six weeks can be an eternity in sports: Beating FC Dallas 4-nil is no mean feat but one that seemed impossible when Toronto got off to its 0-4 start with successive losses of 2-0, 40, 3-0, 1-0. The home team is now off on an extended road trip, thanks to their stadium being used for the FIFA Under20 championship. Six weeks from now, anything is possible, but recent

form suggests Toronto is ahead of the curve that normally afflicts expansion teams. Soccer is a sport especially governed by the old home-field advantage. It is not unusual for teams to be next to unbeatable at home but mediocre on the road. It is why home teams have so often won the World Cup — Uruguay in 1930, Italy in 1934, England in 1966, Germany in 1974, Argentina in 1978 and France in 1998. Toronto is now 4-3-0 at home, 0-31 on the road. Those are indisputable numbers, unlike the attendance ones — if there were really 20,156 there last weekend, some had to be disguised as several hundred empty seats. Not that those who showed up didn’t enjoy themselves, as usual, or were not appreciated by the home

The quick-on-the-uptake fans, after Bosh’s image was projected on the big screen, quickly broke into a round of “Let’s Go Raptors.” Nothing gets by them, or on this day goalkeeper Srdjan Djekanovic. team. Toronto’s average home attendance has been running second only to the Los Angeles Galaxy. Out there, they

have the prospect of Posh and her husband arriving later in the season; FC had Bosh (Chris) and his entourage on hand yesterday. The quick-on-the-uptake fans, after Bosh’s image was projected on the big screen, quickly broke into a round of “Let’s Go Raptors.” Nothing gets by them, or on this day goalkeeper Srdjan Djekanovic. Midfielder Ronnie O’Brien, who used to play for Dallas, said he encountered some fans visiting from there and told them: “Look at this!” as in this is the way a soccer atmosphere is supposed to be. “It’s a credit to the city,” he says. With six games on the road, through New England, Kansas City, Salt Lake, Chicago, Houston and Columbus, O’Brien said the most important thing is “you have to have the same mentality you have at home … you have to play to win.”

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JUNE 22, 2007


Dodgers’ Martin shows he’s a real Canadian, eh? By Richard Griffin Torstar wire service


ow important an event was the Canadian debut of Dodgers catcher Russell Martin? Put it this way: the only other time the Raptors’ former dressing room at the Rogers Centre had been utilized for baseball this year was a press conference for the Red Sox’s Daisuke Matsuzaka and the horde of Asian media. For Martin, the young Canadian born in East York and educated in Montreal, June 19 marked the second. “It’s good to get attention for the right reasons,” Martin says. “If it was because I did something wrong, I wouldn’t be happy about it, but I’m playing pretty well this year and I’m getting some attention for the all-star game, so it’s a good reason.” When Martin homered to left-centre in the sixth inning, his second hit of the night, there was polite applause from nationalistic Jays’ partisans, but particular celebration in one section on the Dodgers’ side of the stands. It made sense. Bigger even than playing in Toronto was the fact that 40 of Martin’s relatives made the trip from Montreal to see his first big-league game on Canadian soil. It was obvious that everything is new and a thrill for the 24-year-old former fan of the Expos and Jays. He admits that he, long ago, circled this series on his schedule. “It was in the off-season and the travelling secretary emailed and said, ‘Get your passports done. We’re going to Toronto,’” Martin recalls. “Right off the bat, I was really excited to be playing at home in front of the home fans.” Martin has already had his share of controversy. His patriotism was cast into doubt when he turned down an invitation to play for Team Canada at the World Baseball Classic in the spring of ’06 in order to stay at Dodger camp and impress new manager Grady Little, trying to earn a

starting job. Baseball Canada was not amused. “It was definitely a tough thing not going and representing your own country,” Martin admits. “You always want to represent your country. It’s something that might not come around again. Next goround, hopefully I’ll be healthy and ready to go.” Team Canada manager Ernie Whitt says Martin and Pete LaForest are the two best catchers from this country he has ever handled. Martin only ever played for him in qualification tournaments, not the Olympics or the W.B.C. But the decision did not immediately pay off, with Martin being sent to TripleA. When he got his chance to start in early May he made the most of it. Martin confirmed he belonged with the big boys in a May 21 game against the Angels. In just his 14th start behind the plate, the rookie paid a mound visit to the veteran Derek Lowe. Instead of deferring, Martin got in his grill and threatened not to leave the mound until Lowe calmed down and showed he was ready to resume his normal game. No fear. “I just thought that’s what I needed to do,” Martin shrugs. “Luckily, Derek Lowe’s a good dude and he didn’t get too angry at me. I was too wrapped up in the game at that point, but he talked about it after. And I was like, ‘Did I really say that?’’ This year, thanks to an aggressive Dodgers campaign featuring “Vote for Martin” stickers and T-shirts, he is the NL leader in all-star voting among catchers. His new-found Hollywood celebrity and the admiration of his home country have not gone to his head. “I appreciate it,” Martin says under his breath, quite sincerely, as he got up to leave at the urging of his public relations man. “It’s my first press conference. Nice.” Huh! Nice! Hope that he can remain that way. Of course, he’s Canadian.

Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin (L) talks with pitcher Brad Penny during the first inning of their MLB interleague baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto June 19. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese

Townies once again From page 31 Whether that can be done in 40degree heat remains to be seen. Whatever her final result, Stacey, a St. John’s kinesiologist, says helping diabetes (and fighting childhood obesity at the same time) has been a gratifying experience. She also figures the experience gained in Rio will help her with future races. And if this trip is successful (she and Newhook will extend their visit until July 4), then maybe she’ll be back to plan more keg parties. ADDRESS OF CONVENIENCE? I’m not sure if anybody else noticed,

but recently, Softball Canada named its list of players being considered for the association’s senior men’s national team. As has been the case for the past decade or more, the potential lineup is sprinkled with Newfoundlanders. Colin Abbott of Portugal Cove has captained the team for a number of years, while Freshwater’s Stephen Mullaley is a relative newcomer to the scene. There are two other Newfoundland players on the extended roster: Rob and Sean O’Brien. Since the turn of the century at least, these two boys have lived in Ontario and played their ball all over North America. Whenever they’re listed on this roster, an Ontario town is listed

under “hometown.” However, last week, before Canada played New Zealand in a couple of exhibition matches, the O’Brien boys were both listed as having St. John’s as their hometown. Technically it’s correct. But I just wonder, was that change made with an eye to the Canadian senior men’s national championship coming up in August here? Is this an address of convenience for the O’Briens? They are two of the country’s top players, no doubt. Why suddenly are they so keen to have St. John’s listed? Maybe it was a technical glitch all those years Ontario was listed.


JUNE 22, 2007

Ripples from Ottawa shuffle By Damien Cox Torstar wire service


olitical intrigue in Ottawa is served daily with coffee and the morning paper. But when it involves hockey’s Senators, not the Senate, it’s worthy of more than a passing glance or a dismissive wave. Make no mistake about it, John Muckler believes he was betrayed by Bryan Murray in no less fashion than poor Peter was by Belinda, stabbed in the back at the same time the deposed Senators GM thought he was in the process of negotiating a new contract for his coach, Murray. There was evidence of disagreement, certainly, all season long. During the Eastern Conference final, Murray was asked one day about the many seeming miscalculations about the Senators’ season that somehow turned out right, including the failed attempt early in the season to establish newcomer Alexei Kaigorodov as the team’s No. 2 centre. “Well, I never thought he was going to be able to do that for us,” interjected Murray. Murray, undoubtedly, will have a very different version of events from Muckler, just as Rick Dudley and Jay Feaster will forever differ on their executive shuffle in Tampa, Fla., several years ago. This stuff isn’t that unusual in a hockey world filled with very ambitious men. But the bitter feelings can last and last. Part of the Muckler-Murray story, it would seem, is just how much damage was done by the manner in which the Senators fell meekly to the Anaheim Ducks in the Stanley Cup final. All that seemed so good before the final went sour when the Ducks started leaning on the Senators. Suddenly, the absence of Zdeno Chara seemed yawning and the failure to land Gary Roberts meaningful. It was so bad that owner Eugene Melnyk needed somebody to blame. Since Murray had helped to build the powerful Ducks, it apparently made sense to Melnyk that Murray had more hockey brains. This is the type of stuff, of course, that Toronto hockey fans are used to

Former Ottawa Senators head coach Bryan Murray, who has been appointed general manager, reacts during a news conference in Ottawa June 18. The Senators fired general manager John Muckler on Monday, less than two weeks after the Nation Hockey League team was comprehensively beaten in the final of the Stanley Cup. Chris Wattie/Reuters

like smog in June and naturally you can expect that Muckler’s name will immediately surface as a candidate for the senior hockey position that the Maple Leafs have been kicking around for months. While former Penguins GM Craig Patrick is another name in the mix, hiring Muckler would take the enmity of the Battle of Ontario to another level. Interestingly, on a day when the two Ontario teams were part of the

hockey chatter, so too was the franchise that, in Jim Balsillie’s grand scheme, might yet join the Sens and Leafs in the province. By peddling exclusive signing rights to Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen to the Philadelphia Flyers for a first-round draft pick, the Nashville Predators communicated to the rest of the NHL that they might be vulnerable during this period between Craig Leipold’s sale of the team and Balsillie’s planned

acquisition. If you believe Hartnell’s a $4 million (all figures U.S.) winger and Timonen’s a $6 million blueliner, then the Flyers made out like bandits, getting both before any bidding wars could start July 1. But the deal might equally suggest that Nashville has no intention of spending money to retain talent or upgrade its roster until a new owner is in control, something that might not happen for months.

That, of course, won’t help the nascent Save-the-Predators efforts in Music City, which works to Balsillie’s favour in that fans might be less likely to buy season tickets this summer and less likely to buy more next season if the team is significantly weaker. No tickets, no lease. Rev up the moving vans. So in Ottawa, Toronto and, yes, Hamilton, there were NHL transactions worthy of taking notice yesterday.

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JUNE 22, 2007


Blue Jays mail bag By Richard Griffin Torstar wire service Q: Despite J.P. Ricciardi’s inability to acquire a legitimate third starter and the injuries to Roy Halladay, Gustavo Chacin, B.J. Ryan and Brandon League, the pitching appears to be holding up its end. How can a team of such reputed “bangers” not hit on a continual basis? By my count, the Jays have lost 16 games so far this season where the opponent scored five or less runs. Ben Prestianni, Newark, Delaware A: You can now add A.J. Burnett to the list of the walking, or make that the throwing wounded. The actual Jays count was 18 losses in which an opponent has scored five runs or less. Too many. The Jays record when they, themselves, score five runs or more is 24-7. That’s in 69 games and that’s not enough offence. The disturbing fact that you point out so astutely is that the Jays have managed to score five or more in just 45 per cent of their games. This team of supposed bangers was built and promoted over the winter as a lineup that would overpower the pitching shortcomings, scoring seven-plus runs per night to contend against the big boys of the division. Instead they have resembled and seemed as dangerous as the bangers on your plate next to the mashed potatoes and gravy at an Irish Pub. The Jays have scored seven-plus runs in 18 starts into the middle of the Dodgers series, or a piddling 26 per cent. Enough stats. The culprits for the lack of offence, in order of culpability, are Vernon Wells, Frank Thomas, Injuries and Gregg Zaun. If Wells, Thomas and Zaun begin to get their numbers back to normal, the magic number of five runs per night that has already produced a .774 win percentage can be attained. Add to that a returning Lyle Overbay and Reed Johnson and this team can finish in the mid-80s in terms of victories. Q: Maybe I’m just looking for a gunman on the grassy knoll, but why do I get the feeling that Sal Fasano was designated for assignment because some service time clause was going to kick in on his contract. To me, Fasano, despite

his poor stats, is a better catcher than Jason Phillips and the Blue Jays pitchers appeared, from my seat in rec room, to look better with Sal behind the plate than Phillips. What gives here? Gern Blanston, West Hill, Ont. A: Sal Fasano’s appeal to fans is that he is the ultimate “everyman” in a world of athletic studs. His droopy Fu Manchu moustache and his abundant girth gave him personality. He also has a genuine, great, self-deprecating outlook on the game and on life. Heading to the shower after having caught a game, he would invariably look to the writers and quietly ask, “Do you want to talk to me?” If the answer were yes, then he would head back to his locker and patiently answer all questions before heading back to wash off the honest sweat of his chosen profession. Contrast that to A.J. Burnett and Tuesday’s “I’ll talk to you sometime this week” attitude regarding his current shoulder injury. Gee, thanks. In World Wrestling Entertainment terms, if Fasano is Mick Foley (Mankind), then Burnett is The Edge. As for the puff of smoke from the grassy knoll, with regard to Fasano, I don’t think so. Entering this season, the 35-year old needed 35 days of service in the majors to reach his sixyear status as a genuine, bona fide free agent, rather than just a released or non-tendered one that has been his lot in life to this point. When the Jays let him go in San Francisco, he had earned 45 days and is eligible to sell himself on the open market in November. There is no other clause involved. As for a comparison to Jason Phillips, the bespectacled one has a history with John Gibbons and that might be enough to separate the two. If you matched them up in a modern pentathlon for catchers, Fasano would win the throwing, game-calling and receiving portions. Phillips would win the batting, while the 40metre dash would be a toss-up, better timed with an hourglass than a stopwatch. But don’t blame the Jays for their decision on designating Fasano for assignment. Seven other teams have reached the same conclusion. After this year, if he’s not back up between now and the end of the season, he’ll resurface somewhere. He always does.

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F E AT U R E D H O M E 9 9 R E N N I E S M I L L R O A D Rennies Mill Road is one of St. John’s most sought-after addresses. For the first time in 30 years, no. 99 is for sale. Magnificent grounds; approach from the stone steps, or by the private laneway, and drive to the rear of the property. Surrounded by mature trees and gardens, across from Rennies Mill River and backing onto the park. Two fireplaces dance flames through the expansive living and dining rooms. Main floor den backs onto the private deck and garden setting behind this property. Plenty of space, high ceilings, and Rennies Mill grandeur. A great home for showing your art collection or raising a family, at an address where most families spend decades. Nicholas Langor/The Independent

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