OPENING NOTES

Lucy Maud Montgomery reincarnated, Erik Nielsen tells all, and Don Getty has second thoughts about the Senate

July 31 1989

OPENING NOTES

Lucy Maud Montgomery reincarnated, Erik Nielsen tells all, and Don Getty has second thoughts about the Senate

July 31 1989

OPENING NOTES

Lucy Maud Montgomery reincarnated, Erik Nielsen tells all, and Don Getty has second thoughts about the Senate

OTTAWA UNBUTTONED

For many Ottawa politicians the publishing event of the season will likely occur on Aug. 21—when former deputy prime minister Erik Nielsen's autobiography is scheduled to hit the bookstores. Entitled The House Is Not a Home, the book covers a political career that began when Nielsen, a Whitehorse lawyer, won election to the House of Commons in 1957—and ended with his abrupt 1986 retirement from Parliament. During his time on the government benches, Nielsen's penchant for secrecy won him the nickname Velcro Lips. But author Walter Stewart—who helped write the book—said that the autobiography is remarkably candid. Said Stewart: "It is Velcro Lips unbuttoned. It contains revelations that, even to someone like me who covered much of the period that we are dealing with, are mind-boggling." Stewart added that the book will not win a rave review from Brian Mulroney. Said Stewart: "It is not excessively flattering of the Prime Minister." Nielsen himself has said little about the book to date. Old habits die hard.

Script changes in Charlottetown

Moira Dann’s latest work is currently playing at the Charlottetown Festival: a play inspired by Anne of Green Gables’ author, Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Still, when the University of Guelph—which owns the rights— refused Dann’s request to use Montgomery’s own words from her published journals last spring, the Halifax playwright had to set about rewriting the work. The one-act play, entitled Maud for Myself, now stars actress Laurel Smyth as a struggling writer who believes that she may be Montgomery’s reincarnation. Indeed, director Walter Learning maintains that the university’s refusal ultimately generated a better play.

Said Learning: “Our thanks to those who withheld the rights.

Without their lack of co-operation, this would not have been possible.” A life is what you make it.

SLOWING DOWN FREE TRADE

Carla Hills is Washington's most powerful trade official. But some U.S. officials say that the special trade representative has had little time recently to work on the Free Trade Agreement. Last week, the former secretary of housing and urban development spent six hours testifying before a congressional committee that is investigating mismanagement within HUD—after her tenure there. In the meantime, such issues as Canadian pork exports—which the Americans argue receive unfair subsidies—await Hills's undivided attention.

Using bread as a bargaining chip

Canada could harvest almost 33 million tons of wheat this year—but key U.S. officials say that they have quietly asked Ottawa to use that large crop as a weapon against terrorism. They say that they did so on the basis of U.S. intelligence predictions that failing harvests in Syria will force Damascus to buy U. S.—or Canadian—grain. The Washington, D.C.-based officials add that the United States is prepared to sell wheat to Syria—if Damascus expels Palestinian nationalists who they say blew up a Pan American jetliner over Scotland last December. Food supplies are a powerful influence on foreign policy.

LOBBYING FOR OLYMPIC TENNIS

Juan Antonio Samaranch is an avid tennis fan and he was clearly pleased when the sport was one of the successes of the 1988 Seoul Games after a 64-year absence from Olympic competition. Still, the president of the International Olympic Committee may not have the thrill of seeing Spanish tennis ace Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario compete for Olympic gold in their home town of Barcelona, site of the xxv Summer Games. That is because IOC rules ban sporting links with South Africa—and the powerful Association

of Tennis Professionals has scheduled two tournaments there for 1990. And as the IOC prepares to list the sports for the 1992 Summer Games, association spokesman Brad Harris said that the ATP would not cancel the South African contests “without good cause.” Without such a cancellation, however, Samaranch could find it difficult to keep tennis in the Olympics. Said Canadian IOC representative Richard Pound: “I do not think the IOC will put the Olympics at risk for one sport.” The ball is in Samaranch’s court.

TURN LEFT AT THE SWASTIKA STREET SIGN

On second thought

Some officials in the northern England community of Bolton, an industrial city of 250,000, are threatening to seek revenge for losing the latest round in a court battle over the construction of 300 luxury houses. The town council argues that the proposed subdivision is not suitable for a traditional common near the city's centre. And the council has not accepted the latest setback with good grace. For one thing, councillor Guy Harkin wants to dampen sales in the development by naming its streets after such Nazi leaders as Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goring—the German air force commander who sent waves of bombers to attack British cities during the Second World War. Living at the corner of Hitler Avenue and Goring Walk might be difficult.

A price tag on history

With its life-size historical streetscapes, the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Que., promised to be a crowd pleaser when it opened June 29. But since the museum began charging admission on July 4, 300 visitors have demanded—and obtained—a refund of their $4 entry fee. The reason that many have given: only 45 per cent of the museum’s 178,000 square feet of exhibition space is ready for public viewing. Meanwhile, the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa last week began charging a $2 admission fee, following new guidelines that seek to make such federally funded institutions more cost-effective. War museum officials candidly acknowledge their hope that a similar demand for refunds will force the government to scrap such fees. Said museum spokesman Faye Kert: “I hope that the figures will show that charging admission seriously affects our numbers.”

The Alberta legislature began debating one of Premier Donald Getty's pet projects last week: a bill that would see

candidates for the province's six Senate seats chosen by popular election. But some Conservative and opposition members predict that Getty will eventually shelve the proposed legislation. One reason: the Tories' growing concern that many voters might show their disapproval of the government's performance—by electing a candidate from the right-wing Reform party.