OPENING NOTES

John Crosbie travels on the cheap, Stanley Hartt returns from exile, and John Turner hears an echo

December 26 1988

OPENING NOTES

John Crosbie travels on the cheap, Stanley Hartt returns from exile, and John Turner hears an echo

December 26 1988

OPENING NOTES

John Crosbie travels on the cheap, Stanley Hartt returns from exile, and John Turner hears an echo

SHUFFLING THE DECK

Opposition Leader John Turner shuffled his staff last week, offering Christmas promotions in two key positions—while at the same time doubling his personal work load. Even though the size of the Liberal caucus increased by more than 100 per cent after the Nov. 21 federal election—to 82 members from 40—Turner has decided to assume responsibility for the onerous task of finance critic. That job was formerly held by Raymond Garneau, who lost to the Tories in the riding of Montreal-Ahuntsic. Meanwhile, Stephen Hastings, who directed the advance men during the leader's national campaign tour, will become deputy to Peter Connolly, Turner's principal secretary. And speech writer David Lockhart takes over from Carleton University political science professor Robert Jackson as senior policy adviser. In a pinch, Lockhart could even make phone calls for the overworked leader. The reason: he earned money in college by working as a stand-up comedian and he does a devastatingly accurate impersonation of his boss.

Going south in vintage style

Derek Burney will become Canada’s ambassador to the United States on Jan. 1—and his wife, Joan, is already trying to shift the spotlight from their highly visible predecessors, Allan and Sondra Gotlieb. To that end, Joan Burney has bought a rare, chromeladen 1955 Dodge Mayfair hardtop club coupe. She made the purchase from refinishing expert Douglas LeBreton, the husband of Marjory LeBreton, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s deputy chief of staff. LeBreton’s hobby has generated other sales to Ottawa insiders: two years ago, he delivered a restored, 1966 cadet-blue Ford Mustang to Bonnie Brownlee, the principal secretary to Mila Mulroney. LeBreton said that he will complete work on the Burneys’

turquoise-colored vintage car next week—in good time for their inaugural entrance into Washington.

COLD BEER FOR THE SYMPHONY

The Christmas season is the busiest time of year for the 70 members of the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra. But practice sessions are popular—because there is often a 50-litre keg of “Old Abby” beer on hand. Indeed, Island Breweries president William Rix said that he sometimes donates a keg of the locally produced beer to the musicians. Declared one horn player: “Our rehearsals are well attended since the brew is ready and waiting for us. I find a couple of steins keep me and my hom in tune.” Or so it sounds.

On the trail of a celestial spy

The space shuttle Atlantis completed a four-day secret mission on Dec. 6—but U.S. officials refused to confirm that the craft had been carrying a spy satellite. Still, a 35-year-old Toronto energy technologist said that a worldwide network of 200 amateur astronomers linked by telephone and computer had tracked the shuttle as it deployed a satellite that may now be surveying much of the U.S.S.R. Ted Molczan said that, while members of the group had tracked other satellites in the past, this month's pursuit marked the first time they had shadowed a secret mission. Little Brother is watching, too.

INTRIGUE IN THE RED CHAMBER

For Tory officials, the idea has the merit of rewarding public service while providing an aggravation for Senate Liberal leader Allan MacEachen. In the past, the dour Cape Bretoner has annoyed Prime Minister Brian Mulroney by delaying key legislation—including passage of the Tories’ Free Trade Agreement with the United States earlier this year. As a result, some Conservative officials are now considering a plan to promote former trade ambassador Simon Reisman to the Red Chamber. There, the staffers

say, Reisman’s presence would remind MacEachen of the Liberals’ failure to stop the FTA during last month’s federal election campaign. He could also continue to be the pact’s strongest defender against Liberal attacks. Still, Reisman himself scoffed at that scenario last week. Declared Reisman: “I don’t believe there’s anything in that. The occasional public servant has been made a senator; I don’t know if they’ve done the system much harm, and I don’t know if they’ve done it much good.” He may provide the latest test.

HUNG OVER AND LOOKING FOR LOVE Back in the fold

Many attend classes nursing hangovers—or occasionally skip lectures because of drinkinduced headaches—while others boast of their active sex lives. But one out of every two Ontario college students reports that finding true love is difficult. A recent study that focused on the personal habits of the province's university students—according to the author, the most detailed ever undertaken in Canada—found that 40 per cent of the undergrads had missed classes because they were hung over. Fully 30 per cent of the students had smoked cannabis products during the past year—but only five per cent had used cocaine. Louis Gliksman, a London, Ont.-based psychologist with the provincially funded Addiction Research Foundation, said that he had polled 4,911 students (60 per cent of them women) at four schools across the province. He discovered that while 20 per cent of the respondents claimed to have sex at least three times each week, half said that they had never fallen in love. Apparently, it is not because of a lack of looking.

Trade Minister John Crosbie won the frugaltraveller award from Auditor General Kenneth Dye last week. While serving as transport minister during the 1987-1988 fiscal year, Crosbie submitted the federal cabinet’s smallest bill for travel expenses: $885. But one other Newfoundland politician, at least, clearly believes in travelling in style. Indeed, Milton Peach, the province’s minister of housing, spent $32,000 on a single expedition last summer. Peach, his wife, Joan, and Edward Power—one of his top officials at the time—spent 32 days touring Western Europe gauging the effects of offshore oil development on local accommodation. Their conclusion: Newfoundland could handle an oil boom. Peach did say that one lunch tab in Stavanger, Norway—for $662.56—was “outrageous.” The size of the tip was not revealed.

Crosbie: a frugal traveller

The high cost of lunch

Stanley Hartt is leaving Montreal and returning to a city that he considers more exciting: Ottawa. Indeed, friends

say that Hartt had bored them by repeatedly comparing the two cities after he resigned a $130,000 position as deputy finance m4inister in order to double—at least—his income in a Montreal law practice last May. But as chief of staff to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Hartt will have to deal with the problem that caused his exile: making ends meet on a shrunken salary.