Opening NOTES

Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES May 3 1999
Opening NOTES

Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES May 3 1999

Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES

Picture perfect

Richard Ouellet, the mayor of the tiny Quebec village of St-Simon-de-Rimouski, moves in exalted circles—and has the photos to prove it. The 65-year-old Ouellet has had his picture taken with hundreds of well-known figures, including seven Nobel Peace Prize winners—among them Nelson Mandela and the late Mother Teresa. His other photos feature him with tenor Luciano Pavarotti, soccer legend Pelé and a host of entertainment and sports celebrities and politicians. How does Ouellet get the rich and famous to pose with him? His formula includes staking out hotel lobbies and not being shy about calling the contacts he has made during his 22 years as mayor of the village, 240 km east of Quebec City. “For me,” says Ouellet, “it’s not enough to see them in the newspapers or on television.”

In March, the tenacious mayor rode a bus for almost eight hours to Ottawa to have his picture taken with visiting Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Ouellet had used a previous meeting with Jean Pelletier, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s chief of staff and a former mayor of Quebec City, to set up the photo opportunity.

Ouellet is still hoping to add to his collection, especially a photograph with the Pope. “For me,” he says, “the summit would be meeting Pope John Paul II.” So far, one of his favourites is his photo with

Montreal Canadiens great Jean Béliveau, though Ouellet adds, “they are all unforgettable moments.” He keeps most of his pictures in envelopes, although a treasured 20, including the Nobel laureates, hang on a wall in his guest bedroom. “When visitors wake up the next morning, they say: “We’ve slept in good company.’ ”

Living the life of Gretzky

On the first day of the rest of Wayne Gretzky’s life, he got up, took his daughter, Paulina, to a school outing, and then had breakfast with his agent, Michael Barnett, and former coach, Edmonton Oilers’ president Glen Sather.

Gretzky then went bowling with the New York Rangers at the team’s farewell function. In fact, it was an off-season week like any other for Gretzky.

Despite No. 99’s retirement, his various sponsors—Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Zurich Insurance Co., Post cereals,

Hespeler hockey equipment and McDonald’s among them—all plan to continue to feature him in advertising campaigns and at corporate functions.

Then there are all the honours awaiting Gretzky. As NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced at Gretzky’s last game on April 18, his jersey number is being retired—and

not only by the league. The Ka’a’gee-tu First Nation, based near Hay River N.W.T., is retiring the number 99 from its community hockey teams to honour the positive role model Gretzky provided for youth. Then the Great One was nominated for membership into the Hockey Hall of Fame, bypassing the customary three-year waiting period after a player retires. The selection committee will vote on Gretzky’s early inclusion this week. The accolades continued when the House of Commons unanimously approved a motion to create a Wayne Gretzky commemorative stamp. And Gretzky helped break one more record before he left the ice: Hockey Night in Canada had an average audience of 2.2 million people for its coverage of his final game in New York City—the highest regularseason audience in the history of the show. So while he is gone, Gretzky will not soon be forgotten.

EMPORIUM

The number of adults in either a federal prison or a provincial or territorial jail on any given day in 1997-1998: 32,970 Percentage of federal prison population who are female: 5

The average age of inmates in provincial and territorial institutions: 32

Of federal prison inmates: 33

The amount spent by federal, provincial and territorial governments on the adult corrections system in 1997-1998: $2.08 billion

GOLDFARB POLL

In the past, a surprising number of Canadians surveyed believed it was OK to cheat on taxes: fully 36 per cent said it wasn't “morally wrong. ” By percentage of 1,400 adults:

Atlantic Total B.C. Prairies Ontario Quebec Canada It is morally wrong to cheat g4 67 73 61 58 70 on taxes It is not morally wrong to cheat 36 33 27 39 42 30 on taxes

DATA COLLECTED FEBRUARY, 1998 Coldiarb Consultants l imited

Conflict on the UBC campus

The pepper spraying of students at the University of British Columbia during the 1997 APEC conference may have raised the hackles of college radicals, but that outrage has now been eclipsed by another campus controversy. This time it is focused on the university’s former president, David Strangway, who is trying to develop a private university in Squamish, B.C.—while still collecting his annual $176,415 salary from UBC. Leaders with the student society are so upset about Strangway’s plans, that last week they filed a formal complaint with the province’s ombudsman.

After 12 years as president of UBC, Strangway, 64, left his job in 1997. His contract allowed two years’ leave with pay, which will

end this June. Last year, he worked with UBC’s current vice-president of external affairs, Peter Ufford—who took a one-year paid leave of absence—to establish a business plan for Strangway’s dream: a small private university where students would pay approximately $25,000 a year in tuition. Senior administrators at UBC determined there was no conflict of interest in having the two men work on the project while on the university’s payroll. And UBC’s conflicts administrator also gave it the thumbs-up. “What I was doing was widely shared with other people,” says Strangway, who hopes to open the school in three years. “There is no way there is any kind of threat to UBC.”

But students and some faculty members fear a private university will siphon resources away from UBC. “It does potentially speak of some kind of conflict,” says political science professor Philip Resnick. Life on the UBC campus is certainly never dull.