Dan Rather gets top treatment, Joe Clark faces an uncertain future, and Velcro becomes a surgical tool

August 12 1991


Dan Rather gets top treatment, Joe Clark faces an uncertain future, and Velcro becomes a surgical tool

August 12 1991


Dan Rather gets top treatment, Joe Clark faces an uncertain future, and Velcro becomes a surgical tool



Since 1979, the year he became prime minister, Joe Clark has represented the Alberta riding of Yellowhead. But the Reform party's stunning popularity throughout the West has political pundits in both Ottawa and Alberta speculating that Clark, now constitutional affairs minister, may switch to a safer riding for the next federal election. Political insiders have told Maclean's that the Conservative party's own polls show Clark trailing the Reform party in Yellowhead. In 1988, Clark carried the riding with less than half the popular vote—and Reform Leader Preston Manning came second. Ron Wood, a spokes-

man for Manning, says that his party is confident that their candidate will win if Clark runs for the fifth time in Yellowhead. Said Wood: "We could run a dead dog in Yellowhead and it would win if it had a Reform party collar." Some sources say that Clark is eyeing the riding of Edmonton Southeast. They add that its large and diverse ethnic constituency would likely support the former external affairs minister. In fact, the Tories may well relish capturing Edmonton Southeast for another reason: the riding's MP is David Kilgour, the maverick who left the Conservative fold last year to sit with the Liberals. His move has outraged many Tory support3 ers in Edmonton Southeast. Asked to Í comment, Donald Doyle, Clark's press I secretary, would only say: "Rumors are u rumors. I fully expect that [Clark] will run in Yellowhead next time."

Only his stylist knows for sure

Spokesmen at CBS News are curiously mute on the subject of a recently added credit to the evening newscast—for Dan Rather’s hairstylist, Anne Sampogna. Roy Brünett, a media spokesman for CBS News, refused to give details about Sampogna’s hiring. He also denied knowing whether Rather, who is clearly sporting darker hair, has it dyed. Brünett said that "lighting” may account for Rather’s new look. Rather is the only major U.S. network news anchor who has his own credited stylist. A spokeman for NBC News said that Tom Brokaw has “a good head of hair. He

kaw has good just lets it fall where it falls.” And at ABC, a spokesman for Toronto-born news anchor Peter Jennings said, “He combs his hair himself.” In Canada, CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge does not have a personal stylist, nor does CTV’s Lloyd Robertson. Unfortu-

nately for Rather, whose $3-million salary has been reported to be in jeopardy because of consistently low ratings, the new hair has not helped. ABC’s World News Tonight continues to be the American newscast of choice. Hair today, gone tomorrow.


Czechoslovakia-born media mogul Robert Maxwell is known for his litigious ways. Last month, he announced his latest target: the Londonbased newspaper The Independent. According to the Maxwell-owned Daily Mirror in London, the publisher is suing The Independent for libel after it ran several articles about his company’s financial problems. Although neither Maxwell nor the newspaper will comment, the lawsuit puts Maxwell in the unique position of suing a newspaper that is owned by a consortium of shareholders—including himself.


Once shrinking, the list of candidates to replace Stevie Cameron as co-host of CBC TV’s news show the 5th estate has apparently grown to three. Until recently, network sources say, executive producer Kelly Chrichton had narrowed her choice to two CBC stalwarts: former Marketplace co-host Norma Kent and As It Happens radio reporter Trish Wood. But now, a new contender has emerged: Nancy Wilson, a reporter for CBC TV’s The Journal. At one time, Pamela Wallin, who recently became the cohost of CTV’s Can-

ada AM, was in the running as well. The post became vacant in May

when Cameron left the show after only one season. Cameron, who for seven years was a political columnist for Toronto’s Globe and Mail, herself admitted that she was ill-suited for TV. Executive producer Chrichton was unavailable for comment about her replacement. But senior producer David Nayman confirmed that Kent, Wood and Wilson are all top contenders. Said Nayman: “One of them will probably end up on the show.” The slow business of show business.

Estate sale

Retired graphicarts businessman William Craig of Montreal is calling it the “auction of dreams.” But several Quebecers have severely criticized Craig’s plan to sell off the personal belongings of renowned singer and poet Félix Leclerc, who died in 1988 at

the age of 74. In 1973, Craig bought Leclerc’s house in Vaudreuil, 40 km southwest of Montreal, for $42,000. And since 1988, Craig has been trying to persuade the Quebec government to buy the whole estate, including Leclerc’s personal effects. But Craig said that he never got what he considered “a fair offer from the government or from another suitable purchaser.” And now, he and an associate, Conrad Brunelle, have scheduled a public auction of Leclerc memorabilia on Aug. 17 and 18. He has even printed a 36-page catalogue of items. Selling for $2.50 on Montreal newsstands, it includes 241 items ranging from furniture to manuscripts. Said André Boulerice, arts and culture spokesman for the opposition Parti Québécois: “In Europe, everything relating to great artists is religiously preserved. It is tragic that this is not the case here.” Countered Craig about the scheduled sale: “It’s too bad, but at least this way many Québécois will be able to own something of Félix Leclerc.” For considerably more than a song.

Peekaboo surgery

First needles, then staples. Now, medical science is adapting another household item for surgery—the stickto-itself fastener best known as Velcro. According to Dr. Dietmar Wittmann, associate professor of surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, a Velcro-like material works especially well during complicated abdominal surgery. It allows doctors to repeatedly open incisions for further treatment. There is just one hitch for the experimental technique: approval from the Food and Drug Administration, which Wittmann is currently seeking. What next?


British author Peter Moyle's current best-selling travel book, A Year in Provence, and its sequel, Toujours Provence, have helped attract hundreds of tourists to southeastern France. But some residents of the idyllic region, who include British writers and artists, are clearly unhappy about their home turfs newfound popularity. Said author Paul Eddy: 'The most exciting thing that used to happen here was watching the cherries grow. Now, we have become a kind of mecca, with people turning up every day." But Mayle, who also lives in Provence, says that he resents the criticism. Declared Mayle about the increased tourism: “People are looking for nice places to spend their money. I'm not sure thaf s a bad thing."


Anew series of collectors’ cards may give the likes of

baseball’s Kelly Gruber and Dennis Martinez a run for their money. The U.S. Customs Service recently issued trading cards featuring its fielders and catchers—the fourlegged kind who sniff out illegal drugs.

The cards, which showcase 81 stars of the service’s Canine Enforcement Program, include an

action photo of each dog as well as such “vital statistics” as breed, age and most notable drug bust. U.S. Customs developed the cards after officers, who frequently demonstrate the dogs’ abilities at American schools, re-

quested a more permanent anti-drug message for the kids. The first edition has been such a hit that a second back-to-school edition is expected to come out next month. A U.S. Customs spokesman

stressed that the trading cards are not intended as a commercial venture. Two Fidos for a Rex?