OPENING NOTES

Brian Peckford takes out his pen, Melbourne Gass relives history, and the Reichmann brothers hope for the best

June 12 1989

OPENING NOTES

Brian Peckford takes out his pen, Melbourne Gass relives history, and the Reichmann brothers hope for the best

June 12 1989

OPENING NOTES

Brian Peckford takes out his pen, Melbourne Gass relives history, and the Reichmann brothers hope for the best

LESSONS IN SKEPTICISM

For Melbourne Gass, leader of the Prince Edward Island Progressive Conservative party, it was a case of history repeating itself—in reverse. One hour after the polls closed in the P.E.I. provincial elections on May 29, CBC TV proclaimed Gass to be the winner in the riding of 2nd Queens. But when CBC reporter Marlene Stanton, who was stationed in Gass's New Haven living room, coaxed him to deliver an acceptance speech for the cameras, he replied: "It is early. Let's wait and see what happens next." Then Gass held Stanton at bay for 45 minutes before tentatively beginning to celebrate. But

no sooner had the festivities begun than Gass received a report from his campaign workers that CBC computing staff had mistakenly reversed the voting tallies for Gass and his Liberal opponent, Tourism Minister Gordon Madnnis. Then, as the embarrassed reporter apologized, Gass explained his earlier reluctance to celebrate. He said that he had been "fooled once before," when he first sought a seat in the federal riding of Malpeque in 1979. Driving home on the evening of that election, Gass heard on CBC Radio that Liberal Donald Wood had won the seat. But when he arrived home 10 minutes later, the same station was announcing that it had erred and that Gass was in fact the winner. Said Gass: "After that, I never ¡ump to conclusions, whether they say I have won or lost." For some politicians, skepticism comes with the ¡ob.

COMING CLEAN IN CONGRESS

After nearly a year of investigations into the finances of U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright—who announced his resignation last week—several of his fellow congressmen have been extra careful this spring when filling out their annual financial disclosure forms. Republican Alex McMillan of North Carolina, for one, listed 128 gifts that he had received in 1988, including three pairs of overthe-calf executive socks and a copy of the book Honest Graft—a study of congressional ethics pracices. Better safe than unemployed.

Moving-day uncertainties

When Canada’s Reichmann brothers began construction of the ambitious Canary Wharf office project in London, England, in 1987, many analysts predicted that the flashy, $7-billion development would bring new life to the city’s tawdry East End. But with the complex’s first tenants— including stockbrokers Merrill Lynch—scheduled to move in next summer, several of those same experts are asking hard questions about the long-term prospects of the project. Their central concern: that London’s existing rail networks will not be capable of carry-

ing the projected 50,000 employees scheduled to work at Canary Wharf by the mid-1990s. Indeed, the Docklands Light Railway—the only current direct rail link to the site—can carry only 2,000 passengers each hour. In the face of that potential problem, the Reichmanns

are now bracing for a report, due next month, in which the British government will announce whether it will help to fund a new rail line to the site. In London, even the wealthy are not immune to commuter headaches.

A double standard in the skies

Virgin Atlantic Airways Inc. was named Young Company of the Year in Britain for 1988, and the flamboyant tycoon who runs it has taken that citation to heart. Virgin owner Richard Branson— who counts Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher among his friends—announced he will restrict future applications for the job of flight attendant to people aged 36 or younger. And although Branson has claimed the restriction is designed to ensure that people are served by an enthusiastic cabin staff, many passengers might question whether the company will be run enthusiastically. The reason: Branson himself is 38.

YOUNG AND TO THE POINT

They were famous for their work—and their friendship. And now, a discovery by author Patricia Bradbury has shed new light on American writers E. B. White, author of the children's book Charlotte's Web, and James Thurber, former writer at The New Yorker magazine. In April, Bradbury unearthed the Otter Bee, a newsletter created by the two men when they spent the summer at Camp Dorset, 190 km north of Toronto, in 1930. And excerpts from the newsletter—which appear in the June issue of Toronto-based Cottage Life magazine—demonstrate the direct style for which both writers would become famous. A description of a journey, for one, reads, "We wandered off the trail a little, our bacon is gone but the peanut butter is holding out." Life is easy in the summertime.

LEAPING INTO THE FOURTH ESTATE

Since Brian Peckford resigned as premier of Newfoundland on March 31, he and two of his former employees have launched new careers in journalism. For his part, Peckford is writing a weekly column in the St. John’s Sunday Telegram. But the former Springdale high-school English teacher has had a few problems perfecting his style. Commenting on a purported squid shortage in Newfoundland waters, Peckford wrote, “There hasn’t been any squid for so long.” Still, he acknowledged to readers that most of

the writing he had done in recent years was “the real bureaucratic kind.” Meanwhile, his former press secretary, Frank Petten, has founded his own newspaper, The Shoreline, with Peckford’s former executive assistant, Judy Brown, as its general manager. Based in Long Pond, the weekly community tabloid is distributed free to 7,005 homes. Now all that remains to be seen is whether Newfoundland’s newest journalists will use their platforms in print to set the record straight about their years in the political arena.

Suds and sexism

The U.S. Coalition of Labor Union Women has put The Golden Beverage Co. of Irvine, Calif., at the top of its

annual list of organizations offensive to women. The source of its anger: Golden’s Nude Beer, whose labels feature one of 56 well-endowed women wearing bikini tops that can be scratched off with a thumbnail. Said union representative Sandra Pope: “It is time to scratch this beer off America ’s shopping lists. ” But Gold officials declined to trim their claws.

A trade show with a difference

The merchandise was as varied as the array of buyers and sellers last month when international arms dealers displayed their wares at the Covert and Operational Procurement Exhibition in Baltimore. Among the items for sale: video recorders the size of cigarette packs, submachine-guns built into briefcases, video cameras with lenses the size

of pinholes and remote-control surveillance vehicles. And according to Florida businessman Carl Meadows, who organized the show, at least three Canadian exhibitors—whom Meadows discreetly declined to identify— were on hand to promote goods that included firearms training systems and explosive entry devices. Meadows also told Maclean’s that

Canada “was well represented” by buyers from both the public and private sectors, who shopped beside military officers from such repressive states as Chile, Peru and South Africa. Has happiness become a warm gun?