Opening NOTES

July 1 1998

Opening NOTES

July 1 1998

Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES

The revenge of the street hockey moms

As Nepean, Ont., residents celebrated local hero Steve Yzerman’s Stanley Cup win last week with the Detroit Red Wings, three local mothers were mounting a power play of their own. After an anonymous neighbor complained to the bylaw office in May about local kids playing hockey in the street, the group went on the offensive to pressure city hall into amending the 25-year-old bylaw banning what amounts to a Canadian tradition. They have collected more than 300 signatures endorsing supervised road hockey on safe streets, and have the public support of Yzerman’s family.

Chris Yzerman, 26, says that his brother, Steve— who won the Conn Smythe Award for playoff MVP —spent hundreds of hours playing road hockey as a youth. “It was instrumental in his development, and I can’t see why a bylaw is needed,” says Chris, a journalism student at Ottawa’s Algon-

quin College, who still lives in the area. “Kids simply have to be taught common sense.” During a meeting with the mothers last week, some city councillors acknowledged that they played road hockey as kids, but argued that dangers to children playing in the street outweighed any benefits. A decision will not be made until October, which left one of the activists, Memi Lapointe, ready to drop her gloves. She promises the group will lobby provincial and federal politicians if necessary. Says Lapointe, a 35-year-old mother of three road hockey enthusiasts: ‘We’re in city council’s face and we’re not going away.” Spoken like a true hockey mom.

CAPITAL CONFIDENTIAL

As long as there was still doubt that Joe Clark would throw his hat into the federal Progressive Conservative leadership race, many prominent Tories were reluctant to come out of the closet as backers of the ex-prime minister. Now, with Clark widely expected to announce his candidacy in Calgary on June 25, that initial shyness has disappeared. A group of past and present Alberta MLAs—chaired by former Alberta cabinet minister Dennis Anderson—has formed a draft Joe Clark committee. Moreover, a raft of federal Tory caucus members is expected to be there when Clark announces this week— even though new party rules may reduce the influence of the “name” backers, giving more power to the rank and file.

Leading Clark’s contingent will be Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison—who once considered a run at the job himself—and New Brunswicker

John Herron. The group is also expected to include Manitoba MP Rick Borotsik, Newfoundland MP Norman Doyle and New Brunswickers Gilles Bernier and Jean Dubé, the last also a caucus member who had been considering a run at the position and is expected to announce his support for Clark. Even Clark’s campaign manager bears a familiar Tory name. Victoria pollster Ian McKinnon’s father, Allan, was defence minister during Clark’s nine-month government back in 1979-1980.

Hugh Segal’s well-organized campaign can claim its own PC lineage. Segal boasts the backing of a list of former cabinet ministers from the Brian Mulroney years, including Barbara McDougall, as well as former Ontario premier Bill Davis. For hard-core junkies of the once-powerful party, a leadership campaign is hard to resist.

Remembering a UN contribution

Even the most exalted of reputations needs constant tending. Consider John Humphrey, the unsung author of the first draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, who this summer is being honored posthumously with a major exhibition at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre to mark the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the document. Until 1989, the author of the declaration was widely accepted to be René Cassin, the French diplomat who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968 for his work ensuring it passed. “That bothered John,” says Margaret Künstler Humphrey, whose husband was the first director of the human rights division at the United Nations. “But he was far too modest to ever make an issue of it.” Instead, that was left to his literary executor, John Hobbins, now assistant director of McGill University libraries who, while looking through Humphrey’s private papers in 1988, discovered his first draft of the document. Despite protests from the French government, Hobbins published his findings in the annual McGill University libraries’ journal, Fontanus, a year later.

Since then, he has tended the flame of Humphrey’s reputation—just weeks ago firing off a missive to the New York Citybased Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute after discovering that its official Web site for the 50th anniversary credited the first draft to Cassin. But Hobbins had no role in the next honor for Humphrey— a 45-cent commemorative Canadian stamp set to be launched in the fall. A flood of letters from admirers, including former federal New Democratic leader Ed Broadbent, convinced Canada Post to waive its usual requirement that a person be dead a decade before being honored with a stamp. Humphrey, who died in 1995 at age 89, is gone but definitely not forgotten.

DOUBLE TAKE

Kerrin Lee-Gartner

For seven years, Kerrin Lee-Gartner was among the elite of downhill skiing, consistently placing in the top 10 on the World Cup circuit. But she had only one podium finish, a third, before going into the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics. And so victory was as unexpected as it was sweet when she blazed down the perilous Roc de Fer to win gold—Canada’s first Olympic victory in the downhill event. Now retired from the sport and a mother of two, the 31-year-old is amazed that she ever took on the course. Last year, she was back at the French slope—still considered one of the toughest women have ever raced—to film a retrospective piece for the CBC, for which she does ski commentary. “I skied the downhill and really couldn’t believe I raced down there,” says Lee-Gartner with a laugh. “I thought, I must have been a little bit crazy the day I won that gold.”

After her Olympic win, Lee-Gartner mounted the World Cup podium seven more times. But after Austrian Ulrike Maier crashed and died in a race in Garmisch, Germany, in January, 1994, Lee-Gartner faced fear for the first time. “I was already married, and my new goals were to have children and raise a family,” she says. “I didn’t want anything to come in

the way of that.”

In December, 1994, nine months after retiring, she and her husband Gartner— now manager of the men’s national ski team—had their first child, Riana. Their second, Stephanie, is almost 2. The Calgarybased mother and her husband are developing a condominium at the Fernie ski resort in southeastern British Columbia. They might move there next summer—which would mean an even slower pace for someone known for lightning speed.

MARY NEMETH

GOLDFARB POLL

As Canada Day approaches, patriotism will come to the fore. The degree to which people agree with the statement '7 am proud to be Canadian":

Total percentage of adult

Canadians B.C.

Atlantic

Prairies Ontario Quebec Canada

Agree strongly 80 88 92 90 50 89

Agree somewhat 15 11 8 8 33

Disagree somewhat 4 1 - 1 12

(¿oUlfarl) ( on-iillauiI ¡milt'd

Disagree strongly 1

Data collected in January and February, 1998