The political look of 1989

Allan Fotheringham January 16 1989

The political look of 1989

Allan Fotheringham January 16 1989

The political look of 1989



The mist clears from the cloudy crystal ball. The entrails on the floor form discernible shapes. The future appears before us and it is predictable. The figures and events of 1989 stand out in black and white, the news makers of the coming year.

More people in Washington will sight Elvis Presley than see Vice-President Dan Quayle.

Premier Gary Filmon will get down on his knees every night to give thanks to Premier Robert Bourassa, who has saved his political career and his job.

John Turner, after surgery to correct his persistent pinched nerve problem, will announce later in the year—before his party’s Oct. 20 convention in Calgary—that he does not plan to lead the Liberals in another election. He will ask the party to prepare a leadership convention for 1990. He will then join the Vancouver law firm of Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy as a senior partner since the boss of the firm, Frank Murphy, convinced him to take the brave gamble of running in Vancouver Quadra in an attempt to show Western Canada that the Liberals still cared and—since it didn't work—Murphy owes him one.

The Stanley Cup final will be between the Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary Flames. Calgary will win.

The person attempting a takeover bid of the Southam empire, whose stock is currently zooming and fascinating Bay Street, will prove to be Conrad Black. Conrad thinks about Southam 24 hours a day. In fact, he thinks about Southam more than he thinks about the French Revolution.

Brian Mulroney will get a decent haircut. Ronald Reagan will go back on the mashedpotato circuit, commanding up to $100,000 per speech, thereby fulfilling his congenital wish to outshadow George Bush whenever convenient.

The two most-watched performers in the House of Commons will be Dave Barrett, for his entertainment, and Paul Martin, to see if he has the right stuff to challenge Jean Chrétien for Turner’s crown. Watch for dark horse Brian Tobin.

Harold Ballard, capping the farce that has made a joke of the team of Syl Apps and Gordie Drillon and Babe Pratt and Sweeney Schriner and Bill Barilko and Garth Boesch and Turk Broda, will appoint himself coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bob White, still smarting from his too-preemptive strike against Ed Broadbent immediately after the election, will lie low to counter the impression that he is too nakedly ambitious. The attempts to dissuade Stephen Lewis, the most articuláte man in Canadian public life, from his vow never again to return to politics will fail. Lome Nystrom will quietly pursue his French lessons. Kamloops’s Nelson Riis, with the expanded B.C. power base, will be a strong contender, which will greatly amuse Joe Clark, since Riis once pondered jumping to the Tories.

John Crosbie, going nowhere upward in the Mulroney cabinet (signalled strongly by the

appointment of law-school dropout Clark as interim justice minister rather than Crosbie), will revert to his turf and succeed the jumpy Brian Peckford as head of the Newf Tories, since the premier is antsy to get into private life and make some money.

Bill Vander Slap will compare himself to Albert Schweitzer, Gandhi, Sir John A. Macdonald, Donald Trump, Allah, Rudolph Valentino and Mother Teresa.

Jean Chrétien will grow increasingly impatient as Turner delays his parting as long as possible, attempting to paint Chrétien as a man of the 1960s in a leadership race to be decided in the 1990s. Chrétien will not be taking English lessons.

Jacques Parizeau will get down on his welltailored knees every night to give thanks to Robert Bourassa for reviving his political life and the separatist movement.

George Bush will get the dates of Easter and Christmas mixed up.

Barbara McDougall, in the impossible Immigration portfolio, will confirm her standing as the nearest challenger to Perrin Beatty as next Tory leader, as Mulroney, at the urging of Mila, will surprise all by announcing that he will not seek a third term and retreat to Montreal, well away from those press gallery wretches who don’t give him no respect.

Sean Penn will punch someone, Elizabeth Taylor will marry someone, and Robin Givens, who says she doesn’t want any money, will sue Mike Tyson.

George Bush, on his first visit to Ottawa as president, will announce he will do something about acid rain. Brian Mulroney will not ask him to sing When Irish Eyes Are Smiling on the Parliament Hill lawn.

Senator George Mitchell of Maine will begin his drive to become the Democratic candidate in 1992.

The rate of suicides among young native Indians will increase even more. The government of Canada will say nasty things about apartheid in South Africa.

George Bush will not do anything about acid rain.

The Mulroney cabinet will grow increasingly nervous as it awaits a book by Pat Carney, who, aside from being a former skilled journalist, has a sense of humor and knows where most all the bodies are buried.

Allan Gotlieb will make a lot of money as a “consultant” when he sets up his Toronto law practice.

There will be small wars, scandals, ship sinkings, plane crashes, and people will fall in love.