OPENING NOTES

Norman Spector falls from grace, John Turner has a house for sale, and John Crosbie speaks out of turn

December 23 1991

OPENING NOTES

Norman Spector falls from grace, John Turner has a house for sale, and John Crosbie speaks out of turn

December 23 1991

OPENING NOTES

Norman Spector falls from grace, John Turner has a house for sale, and John Crosbie speaks out of turn

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED

Federal Fisheries Minister John Crosbie has lost none of his penchant for irreverence and wit. But the member for Newfoundland's St. John's West riding pushed the bounds of good taste during a speech in Charlottetown on Dec. 6. Addressing a predominantly male audience of about 400 at a Tory fund raiser, Crosbie, as usual, peppered his prepared speech with jokes and other asides. At one point, after detailing how his party had reduced the number of "adult women living below the poverty line," Crosbie added: "If there are any adult women in Canada." Later, he noted that there are 950,000 more

women in Canada's workforce now than there were in 1984. Then he adlibbed: "Is it any wonder Canada is in trouble?" The audience roared with laughter, and Crosbie turned to his companions at the head table and declared: "Oh my God, I'm going to be in trouble now. Ah, to hell with it." Prince Edward Island Tory Leader Patricia Mella says that she was "taken aback" by the remarks, although at the time she giggled. And the incident was the subject of an Island open-line radio program last week during which callers, many of them men, registered their disapproval. P.E.I. Federation of Labor president Alexander MacKay has demanded a g public apology. Said MacKay: "The re| marks were insensitive and insulting i towards all women, particularly on the ^ anniversary of the Montreal massacre of 14 young women."

Selling a home away from home

Although John Turner vigorously opposed the Free Trade Agreement during the 1988 federal election campaign, the man who was prime minister for 80 days in 1984 now has reason to hope that in one case, at least, trade between Canada and the United States thrives. The December issue of the New Hampshire-based regional general-interest magazine Yankee includes an article that profiles the historic Turner family dwelling, a 2V2-storey clapboard house on the St. Croix River at St. Andrews, N.B., that is currently for sale for $375,000. According to real estate agent George Matthews, most potential buyers have been Americans. The article calls it “a fabulous piece of property” and explains that the house overlooks an island where, in 1604, Samuel de Champlain and his men suffered their first Christmas in the harsh New World.

Turner, who inherited the house from his mother, explained that he and his wife, Geills, spend the summer at her family cottage at Lake of the Woods in Northern Ontario. Said Turner: “It’s a historic site. If anyone wants to buy it, they can buy it.”

WINNIPEG

WARMTH

Winnipeggers, accustomed to gibes about their city's cold climate, are taking a cartoon in the Dec. 9 issue of The New Yorker in stride. The four-frame drawing by Roz Chast depicts “Frederick's of Winnipeg”—a spoof on the lingerie in the Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogue. The Winnipeg version offers such items as down-filled pyjamas and an Electric Granny Gown." Said Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce president Stephen Childerhouse: “If we dressed like that, our birthrate would be way down. ” He added: “We have other ways to keep warm. ”

■ven at the best of times, the Prime Minister's Office is a nerve-racking place to work. And now, with Brian Mulroney’s government in disarray, the new target for private criticism by many Tories is Norman Spector, 42, the Prime Minister’s cerebral chief of staff. Despite his 15 years as a civil servant, the man who was a key strategist behind the failed Meech Lake accord lacks the widespread contacts in the Ton,’ party that can help douse political fires. Spector’s behind-the-scenes critics include Constitutional Affairs Minister Joe Clark and Paul Tellier, clerk of the Privy Council. Clark blann d Sp» ctor for an outcry last month when the government first suggested—before abandoning—plans for a referendum on its constitutional proposals. .And Tellier accused Spector of poor drafting of a section of a current package of constitutional proposals dealing with economic issues. Last week, many officials, who had earlier denied reports that Spector would resign, refused to comment. Spector, too, declined to comment. If he leaves or is reassigned, his likely successor is Hugh Segal, 41, whom Mulroney hired as a political adviser last July. Segal and Spector—both bilingual Montrealers who attended the same high school—have worked together well despite their different styles. Segal’s outgoing management style contrasts sharply with Spector's aloof manner. Segal, a former principal secretary to then-Ontario Premier William Davis, has close ties with Toronto-area Tories, who now complain that they lack influence with Mulroney. But because of the climate surrounding constitutional issues in the PMO, any chief of staff faces a daunting challenge: to build a consensus among the Prime Minister’s advisers—and in the rest of the country.

The lure of Tennessee

The Chamber of Commerce in Knoxville, Tenn., has ventured into unfamiliar territory in its campaign to attract industry. In September, it mailed a newsletter to 400 Canadian companies urging them to relocate in Knoxville. “Dear Canadian Manufacturer,” the letter began. “Because of its strategic location with Interstate 75,81 and 40 converging within Knoxville, its traditionally non-union, productive labor force and its positive business climate with competitive taxes, Knoxville can provide the economic environment where your company can prosper.” One of the recipients of the letter, however, was the left-wing—and vociferously pro-union—This Magazine, a Toronto-based political and literary journal. Editor Judy MacDonald said that she found the incident “funny, but disturbing.” And chamber president Jack Hammontree said that he could not recall who sold his organization its Canadian mailing list. But he acknowledged that “it contained some companies we did not recognize. Obviously, this was one of them.”

HEAD-HUNTING AT TVONTARIO

Friday, Dec. 13, was the last day of Bernard Ostry's tenure as chairman of the publicly funded TVOntario. It was also the day that the network's board of directors met to draw up a shortlist of successors. Topping the list of rumored candidates for the chairman's job is Mark Starowicz, executive producer of CBC's The Journal. And Maclean's has learned that Ontario's NDP government is considering splitting the $110,000-a-year job in two—creating both a chairman and a chief executive officer. CBC insiders say that Starowicz, who launched The Journal in 1982, has been considering a job change for some time. Others rumored to be on the shortlist include veteran journalist Ann Medina and Toronto Star columnist Gerald Caplan.

THE NAME IS THE GAME

To commemorate Queen Elizabeth iis 40th anniversary on the throne next year, the British Broadcasting Corp. prepared a lavish television documentary series and an accompanying 240-page book.

But when advance copies of the book

arrived last week -r—

at the Toronto offices of its Canadian distributor, McClelland &

discovered a caption under one photograph that identifies the dignitary applauding the Queen’s July 1,1990, Canada Day speech as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. In fact, the man in the photograph is Governor General Ramon Hnatyshyn. To correct the error, BBC employees now face the dauntof cutting

the erroneous page out of 10,000 copies of the book and glue ing in a replace ment-alI by band.

Said McClelland &

Stewart’s vice-president of sales, Christopher Keen: “The BBC are