OPENING NOTES

Ottawa gives a present to REAL Women, Patricia Carney goes on a paper chase, and Joe Ghiz stands in line

March 6 1989

OPENING NOTES

Ottawa gives a present to REAL Women, Patricia Carney goes on a paper chase, and Joe Ghiz stands in line

March 6 1989

OPENING NOTES

Ottawa gives a present to REAL Women, Patricia Carney goes on a paper chase, and Joe Ghiz stands in line

STAR-STRUCK HOLIDAYS

On Saturdays, The Toronto Star's usually fat travel section carries about 36 pages filled with ads for exotic vacations. But the section has shrunk to almost half that size since December—when the newspaper published two staff-written articles that were critical of hotel accommodations, food and services in the Dominican Republic and Cancun, a Mexican resort. In response to what they say was biased reporting, 13 large tour operators swiftly withdrew their ads from the newspaper. Declared Jill Wykes, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Tour Operators: "Our members have complained about the Star's treatment of the travel industry for some time." Star editor John Honderich said that newspaper executives and tour operators have held several meetings since that time in an attempt to resolve their differences. Despite the continuing ad boycott, however, Honderich has stressed that the Star will not carry so-called puff pieces that simply promote travel destinations. Selling fun in the sun is a serious business.

A wearisome paper chase in Ottawa

After External Affairs officials dispersed or destroyed 20,000 supposedly surplus documents from her files last spring, Patricia Carney said that the action would make it more difficult to write any comprehensive history of the U.S.Canada Free Trade Agreement.

Still, the former international trade minister returned to Ottawa from Vancouver in mid-February to test the bureaucrats’ claim that they could reassemble the original documents. But, according to Carney, that trial assembly failed to locate such critical material as her scribbled comments on such matters as a 1987 controversy over softwood lumber exports. Added Carney: “I am not making an issue of this because I want to write a book. Because I was involved, I am not the person to

write the definitive book on free trade negotiations.” But she could write about the ongoing paper chase—a task that could last for months.

FRENCH IS A FAMILY AFFAIR

Prince Edward Island Premier Joe Ghiz took French lessons last fall—supposedly to enhance his chances of becoming leader of the federal Liberal party. And, last week, he managed to enrol his four-year-old daughter, Joanne, in French-language kindergarten. But to do so, Ghiz—and 122 other applicants for 103 scarce spaces for their children—had to line up overnight in a Charlottetown school gymnasium. Declared Ghiz after his sleepless wait: “There must be a better way to get your child into French immersion. ”

A helping hand for REAL Women

In a small but significant rebuke to the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, Ottawa is about to provide first-time funding for REAL Women—a lobby group that espouses traditional family values. Many Conservatives say that they were enraged during last fall's federal election when NAC— which received $591,000 last year from Ottawa—spoke out against the Tories and declared that a U.S.-Canadian free trade agreement would harm women. Maclean’s has learned that the secretary of state's department will give REAL Women $21,000 to fund a conference on equality. Thanks, gentlemen.

LOW-POLLUTION ROYAL RIDES

Queen Elizabeth II made a personal contribution to a British antipollution campaign recently—by announcing that the royal cars will use only unleaded gasoline. As 100 schoolchildren looked on near Buckingham Palace, the Queen, who took a basic mechanics course during the Second World War, inspected conversion work on a 1977 RollsRoyce sedan. Still, the British monarch is only following a lead-free trail blazed by her representatives in Canada, where Gov. Gen. Jeanne Sauvé and the country’s 10 lieuten-

ant-governors routinely use cars that require unleaded gasoline. Six provinces favor darkblue or black Lincoln limousines—including British Columbia, which has a well-maintained 1976 model—for their regal representatives. And while Manitoba provides a modest 1984 Ford Crown Victoria sedan for Lt.-Gov. George Johnson, Sauvé can choose from a fleet of five cars that range from a latemodel Cadillac to a 1984 Chevrolet Caprice. Horse-drawn landaus had simpler pollution problems.

SEEKING THE RIGHT TO A SOUTHERN SUN

The Toronto Sun Publishing Corp. has a long-standing ambition to launch a tabloid newspaper in Washington, D.C. But a small community newspaper in the capital has caused an unexpected complication in the newspaper chain's plans: it owns the rights to the name The Washington Sun. Declared Howard Johnson, a spokesman for J. C. Cooke, the newspaper's owner: "We are a black newspaper, which has been in existence for 22 years. We have from 16 to 32 pages, the paper comes out every Thursday, and we are sold through subscription. Now, some group up in Canada keeps calling me and telling me that they want to use my trade name and all this kind of stuff. I have told them that for $10 million they can do it." Stay tuned for further negotiations.

Drilling for royalties

Pelham Humphries left a modest inheritance after he died in a barroom brawl during the 1840s: the title to about 4,000 acres of marginal Texas rangeland. But the discovery of oil on that land in 1901 prompted many of his supposed descendants to file royalty claims that have now reached a staggering $293 billion. To date, such energy giants as Mobil Oil have not paid royalties while drilling on Humphries’s land—because claimants have been unable to prove a direct link to Humphries in U.S. courts. But genealogical researchers from Britain’s famed Burke’s Peerage say that they have identified key documents that will support the claims. Burke’s publishing director, Harold Brooks-Baker, said that 500 of Humphries’s direct heirs could benefit from his firm’s research—adding that the descendants would likely settle their claims for about $63 million. That is still a gusher.

Delay in high office

Paul Frazer, the press secretary to External Affairs Minister Joe Clark, is a prime candidate for a similar post with

Prime Minister Brian Mulroney—a job that has been vacant for three months. Officials say that the delay is partly due to indecision: whether the new aide should report to Mulroney directly or through communications director Bruce Phillips. Insiders add that Phillips himself would leave for a Senate seat—but Mulroney has not yet offered him that plum.