OPENING NOTES

John Turner flexes his muscles, a two-language policy for Quebec skiers, and star signs for Soviet readers

February 13 1989

OPENING NOTES

John Turner flexes his muscles, a two-language policy for Quebec skiers, and star signs for Soviet readers

February 13 1989

OPENING NOTES

John Turner flexes his muscles, a two-language policy for Quebec skiers, and star signs for Soviet readers

SAFETY ON THE SLOPES

Quebec's controversial language laws seem clear: only French is permitted on external signs throughout the province. Still, ski resort operators routinely post signs in English as well as French—without incurring penalties. They say that they do so for the protection of English-speaking Quebecers—and the thousands of out-of-province visitors who visit Quebec slopes each winter. Declared Denis Boulanger, the general director of Mont Sutton, a popular resort located 96 km east of Montreal: "We are trying to use common sense. You do not want to put people's lives in danger." And Louis Dufour, who manages Mont St-Sauveur, 40 km north of Montreal, acknowledged that English-language signs helped draw skiers from Ontario. Said Dufour: "We have made an effort to attract them and we want to make sure they are well served." Indeed, the private resorts are following a trail blazed by the province itself at Mont-Ste-Anne, a government-owned resort near Quebec City. There, officials invoke a provision that permits provincial operations to post signs in both languages for safety

and health reasons. Declared Gilles Racine, a lawyer with Quebec's French Language Office: "There are areas in the language question where people close their eyes." Even on the ski hills.

Bumps and nudges on the line

Opposition Leader John Turner left for a 10-day vacation in Jamaica last week—as likely successors quietly prepared for a leadership race if Turner decides to step down this year. Veteran MP Lloyd Axworthy, for one, recently brushed up on a requirement for the top job—proficiency in both official languages—by completing a three-week immersion course in French. And Turner himself bumped into the succession issue when he asked opposition deputy leader Herb Gray to prepare a list of shadow cabinet appointees. According to Turner aides, Gray chose a minor post for Montreal MP Paul Martin Jr. But Turner wanted the rookie MP—and likely rival to Axworthy—to have a more prominent job. As a result, Martin is now the critic for urban affairs, housing and the Treasury Board. Toronto MP Charles Caccia did not fare so well. He had

demanded to stay on as environment critic— or nothing at all—and Turner responded by leaving him as the only member of the 83member caucus without responsibilities. Despite his recent back problems, the current leader can still flex his muscles.

MORE MONEY, MORE CLOUT

Calvin Goldman, the director of the federal Bureau of Competition Policy, has a 250-member staff, an $ 18million annual budget and the legislative power to roll back three recent mergers in the brewing, airline and energy industries. Still, Goldman wan ts more money in order to attract top legal and industry experts. Without such an infusion of funds, the highpriced corporate lawyers and consultants who match wits with his staff are certain to continue using a nickname that cruelly defines Goldman’s inadequate clout: Low-Cal.

KEEPING IT ALL IN THE FAMILY

Michael Dukakis will not seek re-election as the governor of Massachusetts in 1990—and his withdrawal virtually assures that a Kennedy will occupy the governor’s mansion. But the state’s leading political family still has to choose between two cousins who are interested in the job: congressman Joseph Kennedy II, the son of the late Robert Kennedy, and Edward Kennedy Jr. According to family members, Joseph, 36, is frustrated by the slow pace of events in Congress,

where he has represented Boston’s 8th District for three years. And although he is less politically seasoned, Edward Jr., 27, is a rising political star who did a good job running his father's successful re-election campaign for senator last fall. One potential solution: Joseph seeks the governor’s job while Ted Jr. maintains a family tradition by running for Joseph’s congressional seat—once held by their uncle, John F. Kennedy. Never mind the voters, this is strictly a family affair.

Good signs for glasnost

Traditionally, the Communist party of the Soviet Union has firmly rejected what its ideologues term the ‘‘false sciences” of religion and astrology. But, in a bow to popular tastes, Moskovskaya Pravda, the official newspaper of the Communist party of Moscow, has recently begun publishing an astrology column. Indeed, the newspaper describes columnist Eremei Pamov as “a master of the magical sciences.” But that deviation from MarxistLeninist dogma may prove to have been politically correct: in his first column, Pamov predicted a good year for glasnost.

Beauty and the brain

During the U.S. presidential campaign, some critics said that Dan Quayle and his wife, Marilyn, had reversed a stereotype: she was the brains of the family, while he was the dumb blond. That characterization has persisted as the couple adjust to their new roles in the fishbowl world of official Washington. Last week, in fact,

Quayle appeared awkward as he prepared for his first official trip: a three-day visit to Venezuela and El Salvador. He did so by personally conducting a briefing on the journey—a task that is usually delegated to an aide—and then insisted that reporters refer to him only as “a senior official.” Meanwhile, Darryl Patrick Wright, a Montreal makeup artist whose expertise has gained him access to such celebrities as actress Cheryl Ladd, said that Quayle’s 39-year-old wife followed a fashion style that was 20 years behind the times. Declared Wright, who prepared Marilyn’s makeup on inauguration evening last month:

“She should cut three or four inches off her hair. It just isn’t appropriate for a woman of her age.” Added Wright:

“She’s trying to imitate Jackie Kennedy and she’s no Jackie.” Lloyd Bentsen, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Quayle’s job, has already suggested that Marilyn’s husband is no Jack Kennedy, either.

HIGH LIVING ON A BUDGET

Raisa Gorbachev's penchant for designer dresses and silk blouses has drawn criticism from less-affluent Soviet citizens. But in a recent article in a Soviet youth magazine, editor Vitaly Korotich revealed that Mikhail Gorbachev can afford to indulge his wife's tastes because he earns $36,000 per year. That is one-sixth the amount paid to George Bush, but, like Bush, Gorbachev enjoys free accommodation, subsidized food and the use of vacation homes. Still, Raisa's shopping expeditions would clearly strain many budgets. Among her souvenirs from a 1984 visit to London: a $2,300 pair of earrings that she charged on her American Express card. A few more charges on that scale would leave Mikhail with very little play money.

WEDDING BELLS FOR A MINISTER

Environment Minister Lucien Bouchard is about to end his

bachelor days and marry Audrey Froleich, an accountant from Los Angeles. The Feb. 17 wedding to the daughter of a West German father and a French mother will be the second

marriage for the

50-year-old minister. He met Froleich—who is about 20 years younger than Bouchard—two

years ago during a flight to London from Paris where Bouchard served as Canadian ambassador. Bouchard and Froleich had connecting flights to Calgary and Los Angeles respectively. But Bouchard—who had simply said

that he worked at the Canadian Embassy—had swiftly become separated from Froleich in the crowded airport as officials whisked him off to a private lounge. Still, his future bride managed to re-establish con-

contact three weeks later by sending a letter to the Paris embassy. The ambassador was impressed.