OPENING NOTES

Lucien Bouchard revises history, Jeanne Sauvé will get tea and cookies, and Newfoundland picks up a large tab

January 15 1990

OPENING NOTES

Lucien Bouchard revises history, Jeanne Sauvé will get tea and cookies, and Newfoundland picks up a large tab

January 15 1990



CHANGING THE GUARD

Ottawa will bid an official farewell to Jeanne Sauvé on Jan. 26 in a viceregal send-off that is scheduled to include a 21-gun salute and an honor guard inspection at CFB Uplands. Then, at the conclusion of ceremonies that will last about 45 minutes, the retiring Governor General and her husband, Maurice, will board a Challenger jet and embark on a 35-minute journey—to Montreal. According to a spokesman for the secretary of state's office, that ritual—with tea and cookies for about 50 guests—has been staged for other outgoing governors general, including Edward Schreyer and Roland Michener. Meanwhile, Sauvé's successor, former Tory cabinet minister Ray Hnatyshyn, who is to be sworn in on Jan. 29, recently hinted that he may rescind one of the more unpopular orders of Sauvé's tenure: barring the public from the grounds of Rideau Hall, the Governor General's official residence. Declared Hnatyshyn during a farewell party at his former law firm: "I guess if the Berlin Wall can come down, the gates can be opened."

A joint departure from Globe

After 10 years, social affairs columnist June Callwood resigned from the Toronto Globe and Mail last month, in part, she said, because she grew tired of persistent reports that publisher Roy Megarry was cool towards her liberal-leaning column. The departure of her husband, sports columnist Trent Frayne, also influenced that decision: according to Callwood, Globe management told Frayne that 1990 would be his final year at the newspaper. But Frayne, who now writes a monthly column for Maclean’s. chose instead to resign last October. Callwood, who first met her husband at the Globe in 1942, noted that there had been an unforeseen symmetry to their leave-taking: Frayne’s obituary of hockey great Doug Harvey, which he had roughed out several months earlier, ran on Dec. 27— the same day as Callwood’s final column.

CHALLENGES ON THE AIRWAVES

After Fidel Castro banned several Soviet magazines that criticized Stalinism last July, the Voice of America swiftly responded to that action by including excerpts of the censored material in radio broadcasts to Cuba. Castro has refrained from jamming those broadcasts, but spokesmen for the U.S. government service say they will inaugurate similarly styled TV programs to Cuba this month with some trepidation. If Castro activates his jamming transmitters in retaliation, U.S.-based radio broadcasts could be disrupted as far west as Iowa.

Chilly reminders of the Cold War

Despite a marked thaw in relations, U.S. and Soviet diplomats in Washington and Moscow are still feeling some Cold War chills. Indeed, state department spokesmen want the Kremlin to bear the $290-million cost of demolishing the incomplete U.S. Embassy in Moscow—because the Soviet-built structure is riddled with listening devices. Similarly, Soviet officials told Maclean’s that they are still removing bugs from the new, U.S.-built Soviet Embassy in Washington. And that superpower standoff will last until the mid-1990s: by agreement, one country cannot take over its new chancellery until the other does the same.

THE TAB FOR HOSTING ‘CHRISTINA’

The mystery of "Christina," a seemingly mute girl who was apparently abandoned outside a St. John's church, focused worldwide attention on Newfoundland last July. But police later learned that Christina was Rochelle Scholl—a 19-year-old from Portland, Ore., who, say U.S. doctors who have treated her, suffers from a personality disorder. After Scholl returned to Portland on Nov. 1, a government spokesman estimated that the provincial department of social services had spent $3,000 on her care. But documents that the St. John's Sunday Express newspaper obtained under the provincial Freedom of Information Act show that the total cost to the province was 12 times higher—$36,759.43—for items ranging from a lawyer to represent her to a trip to the movie Ghostbusters II.

POLITICS AND HIGH DRAMA

Federal Communications Minister Marcel Masse has spent several weeks trying to persuade artists that the federal government has no plans to curb the Canada Council’s autonomy. His efforts follow recent comments made by Revenue Minister Otto Jelinek that Ottawa will soon begin to exert control over the council’s grant dispersals. (The council, which supports 827 arts organizations across Canada, received $92.6 million in federal funding during the 1988-1989 fiscal year.) Jelinek said that he was particularly angered by the fact that Buddies in Bad Times, a Toronto-based theatre group that presents dramas with homosexual themes, has received several council grants in recent years. Despite Masse’s conciliatory efforts, however, representatives of 21 Canadian arts organizations expressed concern that the culture minister failed to issue an outright rejection of Jelinek’s prediction. As a result, many council supporters say that they are nervously awaiting a second act in the political drama.

Back on the beat

She was dismissed with 29 others as part of cost-cutting measures at CTV in March, 1987. And after a yearlong dispute with the network, Helen Hutchinson accepted an undisclosed termination settlement last spring. Now, the newscaster, who had hosted W5, CTV’s current affairs show for nine years, has returned to the airwaves—at CBC Radio, where she is doing what she terms “odd jobs,” including filling in on the World at Six newscast. Call it a new look for a familiar voice.

Revised history lessons

While showing off the sights of Charlottetown last fall, John Joe Sark, captain of the Micmac Grand Council, escorted a guest to Province House, the site of a pivotal 1864 conference on the Confederation. There, recalled Sark, he encountered a Parks Canada slide show that he said contained racist slurs. The controversy-causing segment of that history program: Henry VII of England’s command that John Cabot bring Christianity to “heathens and infidels” during a 1497 voyage to the New World. Sark launched a campaign to have the passage deleted, and last month federal Environment Minister Lucien Bouchard complied. Bouchard also promised to delete any similar remarks in other Parks Canada programs—while arguing that the passage was a historical reference to all non-Christians and not specifically to native peoples. Compromise is the mark of a good politician.