Speaking of Alberta and oil, as we have been at Maclean’s in preparing this week’s cover stories, the editorialist felt a flood of anecdotes coming on. They offer a parallel to the current surge of activity in the oilpatch, perhaps a parable on the fickle nature of an industry where good fortune may swiftly turn to bad.
Barbara Amiel is bemused by my attempt “to pin ‘mental illness’ on the young Conrad Black,” who grew up to become her husband and a guest on my radio program (“Something to be optimistic about,” Nov. 15). Black writes in A Life in Progress that for 15 years he suffered from attacks of obsessive fear.
A Canadian stood at the supermarket checkout counter, feeling uncomfortable and not knowing why. He was just back from three weeks on the Pacific Rim, including a week in Indonesia. Maybe that was it: the sudden awareness of the vast consumer choices open to him as a Canadian was giving him guilt pangs as he regarded the mass of stuff he had placed on the conveyor belt.
Houses in the old eastern Ontario with automatic weapons fire. Bullets have ripped through the mill town have been sprayed doors of the city’s recreation centre, and in October a shopping mall was bombed. Last week, just as things were settling down in Cornwall, a powerful blast devastated the mall again—this time completely gutting the building.
Ontario Court Justice Jean MacFarland ruled that her colleague, Judge Walter Hryciuk, 58, should be removed from the bench because of his “sexist and demeaning” behavior towards women. MacFarland headed an inquiry into allegations that Hryciuk had sexually harassed three women, including a former court reporter who claimed that he had grabbed her buttocks at a 1991 Christmas party with such force that his finger penetrated her vagina.
As a veteran of demonstrations against the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, it was the kind of guerrilla tactic that Ontario NDP Premier Bob Rae might once have appreciated. At the end of an otherwise peaceful protest outside the Ontario legislature last week, angry members of the Ontario Federation of Labor (OFL) broke through a police barricade and began hammering on the oak-panelled doors of the building.
Two. It is a number Conservatives keep coming back to even as they began last week to think how they might revive their party. Two. The square root of four. One and another one. This, the party of John A. Macdonald, with two seats in the House of Commons.
Conservative Leader Kim Campbell talked about life after her election defeat in Toronto last week with Maclean’s Ottawa Correspondent Warren Caragata. Excerpts: Maclean’s: Are you going to stay as leader? Campbell: It’s really hard for me to make a long-term decision.
The education millennium will be a little later in coming to British Columbia than originally planned. Inspired by a provincial royal commission in 1988 and first set in motion by the former Social Credit government, the education plan called “Year 2000” had lofty goals.
IN TRADITION-BOUND JAPAN, A REFORMER IS CHALLENGING THE OLD POLITICAL ORDER
Like many Japanese of her generation, 31-year-old Keiko Matsura has never really paid much attention to politics. There didn’t seem to be any point: after 38 years of uninterrupted rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the prospects of meaningful political change appeared, at best, remote.
Violent protests erupted in the occupied Gaza Strip after Israeli troops shot and killed the commander of the military wing of the Muslim militant group Hamas, which is trying to derail the Israeli-PLO peace accord. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that the Jewish state might have to delay its planned troop withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho, scheduled to begin on Dec. 13.
He is, to put it mildly, an unlikely crusader for reform. A direct descendant of a samurai family with more than 600 years of governing experience on Japan’s south-western island of Kyushu, Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa is the privileged scion of one of the country’s most aristocratic and powerful clans.
Lois McKnight has been “on and off’ welfare for the past 30 years. During that time she has struggled on her own to raise six children—two of whom are now welfare mothers themselves. It’s a cycle, she says, that is “hellish hard” to break, which is why the McKnights—and thousands of other poor families in Wisconsin— are now worried.
A controversial new law in Wisconsin will deny welfare to able-bodied people who have not found work after two years of job training. Should Canadian governments enact similar legislation? Here is what some Canadian activists had to say about the idea: Patrick Johnston, executive director of the Ottawa-based Canadian Council on Social Development: “The U.S. approach is based on the assumption that people are lazy.
The two boys came from broken homes, and almost everyone who knew them, from friends to neighbors to teachers, concluded that Robert Thompson and Jon Venables were deeply troubled. They frequently disrupted classes, skipped school and picked fights with their peers.
Although Canadian banks have often been accused of having sheep-like instincts, their financial results for 1993 show little evidence of herd behavior. Last week, two of the Big Six banks reported record profits for the year ended Oct. 31, and one reported a turnaround.
The federal Competition Tribunal authorized Canadian Airlines to sever its partnership with Air Canada in the Gemini computerized reservation system. As well, the federal government appointed Stanley Hartt, a former aide to Brian Mulroney, to act as a facilitator to clear up “broad commercial issues”— including the Gemini deal—that are outstanding between the two airlines.
No wonder this political season— when the battle for votes switched from being a spectator to a blood sport—gave birth to an unusually rich harvest of political books. These are some of the more noteworthy entries: Faultlines: Struggling for a Canadian Vision (HarperCollins, $26.95).
Small producers are poised to withstand booms and busts
Calgary has always been a city of dramatic extremes. Geographically, it sits at the point where the big sky of the Prairies gives way to the hulking Rocky Mountains. And in the icy grip of the harshest winter, a warm Chinook wind blowing over those mountains can produce a complete thaw within hours.
The only thing that Grant Billing and J. R. Ewing share is a passion for the oil and gas business. Unlike J. R., the flamboyant character in the long-running TV series Dallas, Billing is a wry accountant who favors crisp cotton shirts, suspenders, platter-sized belt buckles and snakeskin boots.
David O’Brien was, in his own words, prepared for the worst when he arrived in Ottawa to meet the new Liberal minister of natural resources on Nov. 18. As the incoming chairman of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, O’Brien represents a powerful industry lobby group.
In a poem entitled Calgary Now, the West Coast poet George Bowering wrote that “this city of narrow stores, ruled by preachers selling oil, extracts unreasonable love from its victims.” That love has endured despite some sobering set-backs over the years—big and small.
In Paris, the famous view from the elevated Place de la Concorde has changed. Now, there is the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe—and a huge sign reading ATOM EGOYAN. Until the end of the year, the Jeu de Paume art gallery is capitalizing on French fascination with the Canadian director by running a retrospective of his films, which include Family Viewing (1987) and The Adjuster (1991).
A snag has been struck in the ongoing Americanization of sports in Canada. The usually hat-in-hand Canadians are turning out to be altogether too progressive and constructive. This pains David Stern, the widely deified commissioner of the National Basketball Association.
Two Canadian hockey players finish their careers in Russia
To North Americans, the influx of Russians to the National Hockey League is no longer a novelty— most teams now have at least one economic refugee from Russia earning big-dollar contracts for skills honed under the now-defunct Communist system.
Considering the absurdly high salaries paid to modern professional athletes, there did not seem to be much money separating the National Hockey League and its striking on-ice officials last week. The 58 referees and linesmen skated off the job Nov. 15 to back their demand for improvements in non-salary benefits that would cost the NHL a yearly total of $1.5 million, then offered to accept less than half of that a week later.
Just how bad can life in the National Hockey League (NHL) get? Consider the disastrous end of the 1992-1993 season for the Ottawa Senators, one of five expansion teams the league has added in just three seasons. The Senators finished the 84-game regular schedule with a measly 10 wins.
In song, dance, and language, Cape Breton is rediscovering its old-country Celtic roots
On the tiny stage, an impassive white-haired man and an exuberant young blond woman bow their fiddles in unison. The setting is a popular Halifax bar, but on this November night the atmosphere seems more like that of a dance at a Cape Breton parish hall.
The white wooden farmhouse on the east coast of Cape Breton held 20 years of memories for Ronald Caplan. But there was no time to mourn when his 140-year-old home burned to the ground in July. The next issue of Cape Breton’s Magazine, the journal of photographs and oral history that he had been publishing from his home since 1972, was only three weeks from the printer’s shop.
It was only with the Second World War that radio became a serious news medium. Before then, radio—public and private—took its news mainly from The Canadian Press wire service, a creation of the country’s newspapers, if it did not steal from the papers directly.
A leading suffragette was irrepressible to the end
As a child playing on her parents’ Ontario farm, Nellie Mooney often entertained her Irish father, John, with imitations of her mother’s stodgy Scottish aunts. The laughter usually subsided, however, when her disapproving mother appeared.
An author criticizes ‘victim feminism' and pushes for more women to pursue power
Having determined that the restaurant does not offer free-range poultry, free-range meat or free-range anything, Naomi Wolf begins searching for a meatless item on the menu. The 31-year-old American feminist author is in a fancy French eatery in uptown Toronto, talking up her new book and running on adrenaline.
They are everywhere around us. They creep soft-footed, stealthy in their vigilance. They emerge from the woodwork. They hide behind the hedges. They now have us surrounded. They are the Political Correctness Police. One cannot wake peacefully in the morning, or go to bed content at midnight.