OPENING NOTES

Romantic links for Pierre Trudeau, Mikhail Gorbachev meets a guru, and the Royal goes to Disney World

June 18 1990

OPENING NOTES

Romantic links for Pierre Trudeau, Mikhail Gorbachev meets a guru, and the Royal goes to Disney World

June 18 1990

OPENING NOTES

Romantic links for Pierre Trudeau, Mikhail Gorbachev meets a guru, and the Royal goes to Disney World

A PEACEFUL MEETING

During his May 29 visit to Ottawa, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev met privately with such luminaries as Pierre Trudeau, Ed Broadbent, Jeanne Sauvé and Eugene Whelan. But he also held an unpublicized 10-minute meeting with Sri Chinmoy, a New York City-based guru who says he specializes in "meditation and inner peace." Chinmoy, 58, who describes himself as "a truth-seeker and a God-lover," said that Gorbachev is "very soulful and has a compassionate heart." Chinmo/s delegation presented the Soviet president with a leather-bound book containing 456 letters, which included messages from 108 Canadian mayors and four provincial premiers. The guru also composed a song for the occasion. Said Chinmoy: "I composed this song about him and read it out line by line. He was quite pleased and he said we must work together for world peace. In conclusion, I said to him, 'May the Soviet Union and Canada divinely grow and supremely glow/ " Appropriate wishes for two nations that could use a period of inner peace.

A cola war takes to the rails

As the country struggles to stay together, Pepsi Cola Canada has come up with a new way to promote national unity. The company has leased a Via train, painted the cars to look like Diet Pepsi cans and set off on a crosscountry odyssey that it says will help “convert tens of thousands of Diet Coke drinkers to the bettertasting diet cola—Diet Pepsi.”

The train will be in Quebec City on June 22, the eve of the deadline for ratification of the Meech Lake accord. But, in Quebec, Pepsi may be preaching to the converted. It was the cola of choice there in the 1930s because it came in 12-ounce bottles, compared with 6.5 ounces of Coca-Cola at the same price (five cents). Indeed, some Anglos still refer to French-Canadians dis-

paragingly as “Pepsis” because of their softdrink preference. But now, more than ever, name-calling should be a thing of the past.

DISNEY-STYLE

SERVICE

The staid image of the Royal Bank of Canada is succumbing to a Mickey Mouse philosophy. Susan Dunn, the Royal’s special-projects manager, has patterned the bank’s new employee-orientation program in Toronto on one used at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Dunn said that she was looking for "something upbeat.” But, she acknowledged: "It does seem a little odd. People’s perceptions of bankers are so serious, and here we go off to Disney World to learn how to train and motivate people.” One reason to laugh all the way to the bank?

The horrors of horticulture

The annual National Rhododendron Conference began on June 7 in St. John’s, Nfld. And although everything was ready for the usually colorful four-day show, the flowers were not. Said Diane McLeod, a horticulturalist at Memorial University, which is sponsoring the event: ‘7 guess right now spring is about two weeks late. We will only have some early, early varieties in bloom.” But there is still hope. Said McLeod: “There are quite a few blossoms just ready to burst. You can see color in the buds. In a few days, we might see a difference. ” For rhododendron lovers, it may be too little, too late.

ACTION BEHIND THE SCENES

As the Meech Lake deadline looms, most Canadians are watching the major participants involved. But Maclean ’shas learned that a former prime minister is keeping busy behind the scenes. Pierre Trudeau, who lives in Montreal, has been seen recently in Ottawa, the site of the constitutional talks. Indeed, observers have romantically linked the former PM, who is an opponent of the Meech Lake accord, with Deborah Coyne, Newfoundland Premier Clyde Wells’s constitutional adviser. An observer described Tru-

deau as Coyne’s “hands-on mentor” on constitutional issues. Meanwhile, Trudeau plans to attend the Liberal leadership convention in Calgary on June 23 to congratulate front-runner Jean Chrétien, if he wins, and to bid former leader John Turner farewell. Organizers say that Trudeau is planning to take advantage of the gathering of party faithful to sell copies of his book Towards a Just Society. But the reunion should also serve as a symbolic display of party unity. New friends and old enemies make strange bedfellows.

ANOTHER BLOW TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Stamps of approval

Ronnie Hyson, an 18-year-old Sackville, N.S., high-school student, has learned a lesson in parliamentary pettiness. Hyson, who is prime minister of a model parliament at Millwood High School, recently invited the province's lieutenant-governor, Lloyd Crouse, to read the speech from the throne at a mock opening ceremony. Crouse agreed—but changed his mind after he read a draft of Hyson's speech. The reason: it called for the abolition of the Queen's representatives in Canada. When a Crouse aide called to object, Hyson removed the offending passages, but Crouse still declined—and refused to comment. Hyson said that he is bewildered by Crouse's reaction. "I changed the speech," Hyson said, “but, as prime minister, it's my right to write it." Hyson's first taste of politics may be his last.

Who’s who in Ottawa

Two heads are better than one—especially if they belong to twins. And Harvey Cashore, an Ottawabased journalist, has an advantage over his Press Gallery colleagues. The 25-year-old Cashore’s twin brother, Benjamin, has just been hired as NDP Leader Audrey McLaughlin’s legislative policy adviser. But Harvey, who is currently helping fellow journalist John Sawatsky research a biography of Brian Mulroney, said that he is too busy to consider infiltrating the upper ranks of the NDP. Benjamin, too, said that he has no interest in posing as his brother to get closer to the Prime Minister’s Office. “I don’t even like Tories,” he said. Still, people who know the Cashores say that they look so much alike that they are often mistaken for one another. Even Sawatsky, who has known both for years, says that he still has difficulty telling them apart. The possibilities for deception are intriguing.

Newfoundland Premier Clyde Wells’s anti-Meech Lake stand apparently has found favor with some Canadians.

According to Edward Hollett, the premier’s special assistant, his St. John’s office has received more than 14,500 letters from across the country. And, said Hollett, “They are overwhelmingly in favor of the premier’s stand. ” But the vote of confidence has a drawback. To cope with the flood of mail, overtime costs have risen to $25,000. Popularity has a price.