OPENING NOTES

BARBARA WICKENS June 26 1995

OPENING NOTES

BARBARA WICKENS June 26 1995

OPENING NOTES

Defending a neutral position

The bimonthly publication of the Quebec Bar has started to raise revenue with advertising inserts. But some subscribers are not amused about three paid messages in the June 15 issue of Le Journal du Barreau from the Parti Québécois government’s Secretariat of Restructuring. With such titles as “Complete control over taxation offers new perspectives,” “Quebec lost more than $11 billion between

1983-93” and ‘Trade with a sovereign Quebec: the United States wants continuity,” the inserts take an optimistic view of the effects of separation.

Soon after the edition reached Le Journal’s 24,000 subscribers—including Quebec judges, journalists and the bar’s 16,000 members—complaints began flooding the bar’s Montreal office. “Some people feel the inserts weren’t appropriate,” acknowledges editor Léon Bédard, who adds that it was his decision alone to include them. “After all,” he explains, “they don’t promote hatred, violence or racist ideas, and they come from a duly elected government.”

But a former president of the 146-yearold Quebec Bar says he is shocked by the inclusion. “It would be terrible if the bar took a direction that threatened its exemplary neutrality,” says Denis Paradis, who was its president in 1993-1994 and is now the Liberal MP for Brome/Missisquoi. Annie Chapados, a Montreal lawyer and executive assistant to the bar’s current president, Jocelyne Olivier, agrees. “Categorically, the bar has no position whatso-

ever in the referendum debate,” she says.

Officials at the Secretariat, however, seemed surprised by the reaction. ‘We’re very satisfied,” says René Blouin, chief of staff for Richard Le Hir, a lawyer who is the PQ minister for restructuring. “The insert delivered the pertinent documents to the appropriate audience.” That delivery route may now be shut down. We’re re

viewing our policy towards ads such as these,” says Bédard. “After all, the members of the bar have every right to decide what goes in and what doesn’t.”

The slippery slopes of the Olympics

The 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics have certainly had a strong effect on the Olympic movement. The Norwegians, with their expressions of good sportsmanship and small-town smiles, had put some of the original spirit back into the Games. Last week in Budapest, Hungary, where International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials gathered to decide which city would host the 2002 Winter Games, everyone was invoking the spirit of Lillehammer. Glitzy presentations were out, and there would be no bad-mouthing of other cities, all the bidder cities insisted.

No whispers, then, that Salt Lake City’s reserved Mormons might take away the punch bowl and dampen the celebrations. Or about Quebec’s looming sovereignty referendum, or

Honorable

mentions

It is a rite of spring: universities across Canada launch thousands of graduating students into the world, degrees in hand. At the same ceremonies, the schools also recognize a select few who have made significant contributions to Canadian life with honorary doctorates. The last in a Maclean’s sampling of this year’s honorary-degree recipients:

Avie Bennett, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Toronto-based publishing

company McClelland & Stewart, whose authors include such prominent Canadian writers as

Margaret Atwood, Nino Ricci and Alice Munro. (University of Toronto.)

i. Roméo Dal-

commander, Canadian Land Force Command, who in 1993 took command of the United Nations Observer Mission in Uganda and Rwanda. (Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto.)

Celia Franca, the dancer, director and choreographer who founded The National Ballet of Canada in

Toronto in 1951 and The National Ballet School in 1959. (Carleton University, Ottawa.)

its loss of the NHL Nordiques, or its recently downgraded debt rating. Quebec City Mayor Jean-Paul L’Allier said that he would not countenance any talk about Quebec political problems, “just as I have never used religious character to speak of the candidacy of Salt Lake City,”—thus speaking of it. René Paquet, president of Quebec City’s organizing committee, also took a shot at Salt Lake after he kept getting quizzed about his city’s less-than-steep downhill course. “It’s easier to reshape a mountain than it is to put snow on a golf course,” he said about the Utah capital’s winter’s warm spells. When it came time to vote however, the IOC must not have heard: Salt Lake City was awarded the Games on the first ballot, the first time in 30 years the voting was over so quickly.

A moving tale of a determined swimmer

Quebec City hockey fans were understandably upset when their beloved Nordiques left town. And the public support that enabled Winnipeg to keep its National Hockey League franchise only added insult to injury. But now a 13-year-old Winnipeg girl wants to make a trade in Quebec City’s favor. Shayna Nackoney, the reigning Manitoba junior synchronized swimming champion, wants to move to the other provincial capital to fulfil a dream. “My

goal is to make the Canadian national team,” says the Grade 7 student. “But I’ve gone as far as I can go here. Quebec City is the best place for me.”

The teenager came to that conclusion last summer while training with Quebec City’s Synchro Elite, one of Canada’s top swim teams. She fell in love with both the city and the training program of Elite coach JoJo Carrier Thivierge, who also coached Olympic synchronized swimming champion Sylvie Frechette on the Canadian team. After returning home, Nackoney and her father, Stephen, 46, began planning their move to Quebec City, taking private French lessons and putting their house up for sale. Stephen even wrote an open letter to a Quebec City newspaper asking for help in finding a job. “We’re hopeful that something will materialize,” says the self-employed single parent. If he and his only child do make the move to Quebec City, they are likely to find a warm welcome. “We’d love to have Shayna on our team,” says Carrier Thivierge. “If she’s surrounded by the right people, she has the potential to go very far in this sport.”

Early accounts of a steely determination

Even as a child,

Jean Chrétien showed a steely determination in pursuing his goals, says journalist Lawrence Martin, whose biography of the Prime Minister will be published this fall by Lester Publishing. As Martin regaled a breakfast meeting of the Canadian Booksellers Association in Toronto last week with anecdotes from Chrétien: The Will to Win, it became clear that some details of Chrétien’s childhood and early adult life

were conspicuously absent from the Prime Minister’s 1985 autobiography, Straight From the Heart. According to Martin, who spoke to Chrétien’s family and former neighbors in Shawinigan, Que., the future Liberal leader was very worried, as a preteen, by his short stature and demanded that one of his older brothers, who is a doctor, give him a drug to make him grow.

Another episode, says Lawrence, illustrates his subject’s tenacity. Miserable at St. Joseph Seminary, the Trois-Rivière college where his father had sent him, a 14-year-old Chrétien feigned a stomach illness until he was sent home to recover. His father called in a doctor, who said he would hospitalize the by-now frightened adolescent. But there was no backing down for Chrétien. He continued to claim he was sick and, soon after, a surgeon removed his perfectly healthy appendix. It seems that Martin’s subtitle, The Will to Win, may be an understatement.

BARBARA WICKENS