Opening Notes

Opening Notes

The joy of being Anglo

BARBARA WICKENS July 21 1997
Opening Notes

Opening Notes

The joy of being Anglo

BARBARA WICKENS July 21 1997

Opening Notes

BARBARA WICKENS

The joy of being Anglo

Being called a tête carrée —the disparaging Québécois term (literally, square head) for the English— does not always elicit a laugh among Quebec anglophones. Unless perhaps George Bowser and Rick Blue are the ones doing the name-calling. The two musical satirists go one step further on July 17 and 18 with their “Woodstock for Square Heads/Fête Carrée.” At two shows during Montreal’s Just For Laughs international comedy festival, they will ask the audience to look the part and don white, square-shaped bags on their heads. ‘We’re saying ‘Lighten up,’ ” explains Bowser. The idea behind the skits and songs, adds Blue, “is to celebrate being an Anglo.” To that end, about 60 Quebec “Anglo icons” are getting in on the act in the

July 18 show. They include Gazette editorial cartoonist Terry Mosher (Aislin), former federal Liberal MP Warren Allmand and jazz pianist Oliver Jones, who will help belt out a Bowser & Blue song that begins: ‘We are here to stay, we are têtes carrées.” Festival CEO Andy Nulman says he had no trouble lining up the big names. “The bigger they are,” he says, “the easier they were to convince.” The show may well live up to at least part of its billing: “The largest gathering of Anglos since the referendum rally... and twice as funny.”

'Anything goes'

Talk about going from one extreme to another. Five summers ago, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority threatened to revoke the liquor licence of a beer garden at the Buffalo Days fair in Regina because the entertainment included women wearing spandex outfits doing aerobics. Too risqué, said the authority, pointing to regulations that forbid exotic dancing in licensed establishments. That was then; this

is now. Nude female dancers in Saskatchewan bars currently writhe on the laps of patrons while liquor commission officials shrug their shoulders and police look the other way. That is because a February court decision struck down liquor regulations banning exotic dancing as an unconstitutional infringement on freedom of expression— and created a legal vacuum. “We don’t have any rules like they do in Alberta,” says one proud employee at a Saskatoon bar. “Here, anything goes.” But as dancers and bar

patrons freely express themselves, some politicians, upset by what they see as a plunge into moral depravity, are calling on the provincial government to do something. Other provinces such as Ontario, they note, have successfully banned lap dancing. “It’s inappropriate, it’s illegal and it has to stop,” says Tory MLA Dan D’Autremont. But unless a ruling from the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturns the lower court decision, the latest extreme in Saskatchewan watering holes will bump and grind on.

Open mike meets open mouth

/t was just a friendly conversation between like-minded pals, making disparaging remarks about the disorder that reigns at a mutual friend’s place. The problem: the gossips were heads of government— Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and his Belgian counterpart, Jean-Luc Dehaene—and their unguarded comments about U.S. President Bill Clinton could be heard over an unintentionally live microphone at the NATO summit in Madrid last week. Some of Chrétien’s comments, made in French as the NATO leaders cooled their heels waiting for Clinton to arrive late at a ceremony:

About the quid-pro-quo demands of American legislators:

your country and my country, all the politicians would be in prison. Because [American politicians] sell their votes. They sell their votes. You want me to vote on NATO? Then you have to vote to build me a bridge in my constituency.’ That’s what’s unbelievable. It’s all done for short-term political reasons to win elections.”

WORD FOR WORD

On defying the United States:

“I make it my policy. But it’s popular. The Cuba affair, I was the first to stand up [unintelligible]. People like that. You have to do it carefully, because they’re friends.”

On Clinton and Congress:

“He goes to Haiti with soldiers. The next year, Congress doesn’t allow him to go back. So he phones me. OK. I send my soldiers. Then? Afterward, I ask for something else in exchange.”

On the Canada-U.S. salmon quota dispute: “We have a problem with the fisheries in ‘ ' British Columbia. So I meet him in Denver.

Madame [Secretary of State Madeleine] Albright meets my foreign affairs minister. Let’s say that we’re asking 20, they offer 16. So I say, ‘Oh, let’s slice it down the middle.’ He says, Yeah.’ So that’s one problem out of the way. The negotiator says no. And the negotiator says, T cannot accept this without the consent of 35 different organizations that all have veto powers.’ That’s how the country works.”

Celebrity season

With summer finally in full swing, Cape Breton residents can look forward to the annual ritual of celebrity spotting. In recent years, a number of film and music stars—including Jack Nicholson, Alan Arkin,

Paul Simon and Billy Joel—have bought summer homes in the region, most of them opting for properties near the spectacular shores of Bras d’Or Lake. Paul McCartney has been sighted yachting on the same lake (and may also have bought property, according to uncon-

firmed local reports), while Kevin Costner and John Kennedy Jr. have driven the Cabot Trail, which snakes through the Cape Breton Highlands. The stars are drawn by the same things as everyone else—wonderful sailing and breathtaking scenery. But most of all, they appreciate the relative anonymity they can have while visiting the area. “It was part of the understanding we had,” says Philip MacRae, who spent two decades working as a harbormaster on Bras d’Or Lake until 1996. “One of the reasons they come is that pretty well no one knows they are here.”

Israel in summer is hot—for ice hockey

Canadians take their love of hockey wherever they go—even into the steamy heat of an Israeli summer. For the first time, hockey is included in the Maccabiah Games that got under way this week for the 15th time since 1932. Sometimes referred to as the Jewish Olympics, the Maccabiah is the thirdlargest sporting event in the world, with more than 5,500Jewish athletes from around the globe competing in 43 events embracing everything from archery to water polo. Organizers expect the Canadians—with four NHL players on a team coached by Stanley Cup-winning Jacques Demers—to dominate hockey opponents from the United States, Ukraine and Israel. They are competing on the host country’s only full-sized rink—in the Canada Centre, a sports facility in Metulla on the Israeli border with Lebanon, built with the help of donations from the United Israel Appeal of Canada. Organizer Jeff Budd, who moved to Israel from Toronto four years ago, predicts a last-place finish for the Israelis, mainly expatriate Canadians and Russians. But that at least will save him from a case of divided loyalties. “I have to cheer for Israel, even if I know Canada is going to smoke them,” says Budd. “But the final will be Canada-U.S., so I’m OK”

Passages

REVOKED: The boxing licence of Mike Tyson, 31, for biting the ears of Evander Holyfield, 34, during their heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas on June 28; by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The commission also levied a $3-million fine on Tyson, who did not attend the hearing, but was in a

New York City suburb buying a $250,000 Ferrari. Tyson may reapply for his licence in a year, but there is no guarantee the commission will return it. Nor is Tyson likely to fight elsewhere: many of the state commissions that

regulate boxing in the United States have said they will respect the Nevada sanction, as did the Canadian Professional Boxing Federation.

CONVICTED: Former beauty queen Danielle House, 20, of assault causing bodily harm to a woman during an incident at a Memorial University bar in St. John’s, NfId., in October. A provincial court judge gave House a suspended sentence, placing her on a year’s probation. Immediately afterward, organizers of the Miss Canada International pageant had House return her crown. House plans to appeal the court’s ruling.

QUASHED: The acquittal of Tory Senator Michel Cogger, 58, on charges of influence-peddling; by the Supreme Court of Canada, which has ordered the case back to court. Cogger, who was charged in 1993, was acquitted by a Quebec court judge on the grounds that he did not have a “guilty mind.” After the Quebec Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the decision in 1996, the Crown appealed. As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, Cogger can either return to court to fight the charges or plead guilty.

SIGNED: Vancouver Grizzlies centre Bryant (Big Country) Reeves, 24, to a sixyear contract extension worth up to $90 million. The deal makes Reeves, a seven-footer from Oklahoma, the highestpaid athlete in Canada. It also sets the standard for the NBA’s other free agents in 1998, particularly Toronto Raptors point guard Damon Stoudamire, 23, who was the NBA’s rookie of the year for the 1995-1996 season.