The Globe and Mail covers up, Bruce McNall shoots and scores, and a colonel takes command of the language

December 10 1990


The Globe and Mail covers up, Bruce McNall shoots and scores, and a colonel takes command of the language

December 10 1990


The Globe and Mail covers up, Bruce McNall shoots and scores, and a colonel takes command of the language


Col. Philip Engstad, Commanding Officer,

Canadian Air Task Force in the Middle East, sounds like a true military man: euphemisms in defence of liberty are no vice. Also known as "Moose" because of his stocky build, Engstad has instructed his troops to use such constructions as "potential hostilities" for war, and "potential adversaries" for the enemy. Such usage is in the tradition of NATO, whose

briefers routinely referred to the Soviets

only as "the threat." In a recent interview, the colonel declared: "In an air defence mission, the controlling agency with the overall picture has the tactical control of those air assets he happens to be controlling at the time and he manages them in a tactically sound way." When the con-

fused reporter asked Engstad to explain what a "controlling agency" was, he replied: "When [the Canadians] fly on a mission, they are under the tactical control of the controlling agency for their effective management and co-ordination." The control tower is rewriting the orders.

The voice of an angry artist

Nova Scotia marine artist Graham (Buz) Baker says that he is still so opposed to The National Gallery of Canada’s controversial $ 1.8-million purchase of Barnett Newman’s Voice of Fire last year, that he has written a letter offering the gallery the chance to buy his painting, Oak Island Pirates, for the same price. Baker’s traditional seascapes and landscapes usually fetch about $2,500.

Said Baker: “These people bought the Edsel of the art world.” He added: “The gallery could sell Voice of Fire back to the dealer and pay me $1.8 million for my painting. The government could grab half in taxes, and I would be rich.”

Baker said that he has not received an answer to his letter. Said a gallery spokesman: “We have no

comment to make on the letter except to say that it will be responded to.” And they know a deal when they see one.

Baker: returning the Edsel of the art world


Quebec Lt.-Gov. Martial Asselin recently bought a $38,000 Chrysler Imperial as his official car. But because provincial ministers travel in Chevrolet Caprices worth only $22,000, Supply Minister Robert Dutil questioned whether Asselin was violating government policy. Mark Poirier, the lieutenantgovernor's executive assistant, insisted that his boss is exempt from the same rules that apply to ministers. Said Poirier: “He spends a lot of time on the road and he needs a sturdy car. He also needs a car that is in keeping with his status. "

A town that lacks dhection

Visitors to Sackville, N.S., could be in for a confusing time, especially if they rely on the latest shopper's guide distributed by a local business organization. A street map of the community appears in reverse, and now east is west and west is east. Some local politicians have expressed outrage at the error, and local business people who paid to advertise in the guide were asking for compensation. One merchant said that whoever is responsible for the guide “should hang them heads in shame.” Now, a new map will be inserted into the guide, and county council members say that they will be sure to check the proofs next time.


Toronto artist and freelance writer David Millard says that a drawing of his that appeared in the Nov. 30 issue of the Toronto Globe and Mail was altered. The picture of a procession of naked men and women accompanied an article, also by Millard, about AIDS.

According to the artist, someone tampered with the genitals of one of the male figures in the drawing. “I don’t want to get all hysterical about this,” Millard said. “But I do think it was silly and unnecessary.” Globe Facts and Arguments page editor Philip Jackman defended his

decision to black out

the genitals: “It was

jyst a judgment call on my part. I didn’t

find it offensive personally, but I felt it might offend the readers.” Jackman also said that he was aware of a recent controversy that erupted when a painting by Attila Richard Lukács was mistakenly altered in a similar manner in the Oct. 1 issue of Maclean ’s. He said, too, that he was aware that the Globe gave wide coverage to that incident, which raised allegations of censorship. However, Jackman insisted that the circumstances surrounding his decision were different. Said Jackman: “This was a piece of work commissioned by us. It is not as if we were taking a Leonardo da Vinci and altering it.”


Putting her concerns in writing has worked for at least one beleaguered Soviet consumer. Valentina Kopshina, a worker in Ukraine, sent a letter of frustration to Kondrat Terekh, the Soviet trade minister in Moscow. Wrote Kopshina: "I am desperate. For four years, I have not been able to buy (sorry for being so frank) cotton underwear—the cheapest ones, Article 12004, costing one ruble, 35 kopecks [$2.85]. And I cannot afford the expensive ones, which (for God's sake, sorry again) your wife and the wives of your colleagues wear." Kopshina's frankness evidently touched a chord somewhere in the Soviet bureaucracy, because about a month later, a deliveryman arrived at her door bearing 20 pairs of white cotton underwear. Glasnost pays.

A Tory’s thrilling past

Douglas Hurd, the patrician British foreign secretary who came third in last week’s race for the Tory leadership, has a penchant for steamy prose. In the late 1960s and the 1970s, Hurd wrote seven political thrillers, all published by Hodder & Stoughton. Titles including The Smile on the Face of the Tiger and Scotch on the Rocks, which drew on Hurd’s experiences as a diplomat in China, Italy and at the United Nations, enjoyed modest success. A reviewer in a London newspaper calls the books “some of the most acutely observed yarns of political life in the past 25 years.” But one critic swooped down on such passages as “He slipped into bed and made love to her. Not roughly, but mechanically, thinking of her pleasure as well as his, but not giving more of himself than was necessary” and described them as “totally devoid of style.” But strong on substance.

Playing with cash

Los Angeles Kings owner Bruce McNall recently told a group of Alberta businessmen his version of the infamous

deal with Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington that sent Wayne Gretzky south. Said McNall: “Pocklington had not told Oilers coach Glen Sather about the deal. When he did, Sather hit the roof. Pocklington called to say there was no deal. So, I just wired him $15 million cash. It's pretty tough to give that amount of money back.” A real power play.