OPENING NOTES

Albert Gore praises Canada, Sheila Copps riles Ontario Liberals, and Alan Wells strikes a blow for brotherhood

February 24 1992

OPENING NOTES

Albert Gore praises Canada, Sheila Copps riles Ontario Liberals, and Alan Wells strikes a blow for brotherhood

February 24 1992

OPENING NOTES

Albert Gore praises Canada, Sheila Copps riles Ontario Liberals, and Alan Wells strikes a blow for brotherhood

SITTING DUCKS

Sometime in the next 18 months, Brian Mulroney will likely call a federal election. And as the deadline approaches, rumors about old and new faces who might declare their candidacy are gathering steam. Maclean's contacted a few of the people who are keeping the rumor mills busy. Former Ottawa mayor Marion Dewar confirmed that she is considering running for the NDP in the Ottawa Centre riding. Said Dewar: "I am thinking about it." But James Coutts, former principal secretary to Pierre Trudeau, responded with a categorical "No, no, no" to speculation that he may run for the Liberals in Toronto's

Spadina riding, where he lost in a 1984 attempt. Said Coutts: "There are more plots in Spadina than there are people." He added: "I am almost completely inactive politically." Other familiar faces to watch include Manitoba NDP MLA Elijah Harper and former Liberal defence minister Barnett Danson. But the most colorful prospective candidate is undoubtedly Eugene Whelan, the garrulous former minister of agriculture under Pierre Trudeau, who says that at 67 he is thinking about a comeback. He added that he does not know if he will try for the Ontario riding of Lanark/ Carleton, near Ottawa, or his old riding of Windsor/Essex. But he expressed confidence in his enduring popularity. Declared Whelan: "I haven't made up my mind one way or the other. But wherever I run I think I can beat the sitting candidate no matter who it is."

Homage to the home team

The economy is ailing, an election is looming, but the biggest news story this year for many Washington residents was the Redskins’ Super Bowl victory. And it is fitting that the cherished football trophy that has gone to Washington three times in the past decade should be prominently displayed by one of the city’s most enthusiastic Redskins fans. Duke Zeibert, a close friend of Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, owns a posh downtown restaurant called Duke Zeibert’s, which he bills as “the home of the Redskins.’’ Indeed, Zeibert was so sure that his favorite team would win this year that he spent $2,700 building a new trophy case before the game on Jan. 26. Other cases hold the Redskins’ Super Bowl trophies from 1983 and 1988, as well as a collection of the team’s memorabilia. Zeibert, who says that in the restaurant's 42-year history he has en-

tertained such celebrity clients as Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and George Bush, accompanied Cooke on his chartered 747 to Minneapolis to witness the big win. Says Zeibert: “In this city, the Redskins are more important than the White House.”

AS GOOD AS GOLD

Trading national lapel pins is a popular pastime at the Olympic Games in Albertville, France. But Maclean’s correspondent Andrew Phillips discovered another use for the tiny collectibles. When Phillips missed a shuttle bus for the 90-minute trip through the mountains that would have taken him to La Plagne, site of the bobsled and luge runs, a dispatcher summoned another 60-seat bus that took Phillips, the lone passenger, to his destination. The fare for the extravagant trip: a Slovenian team pin that Phillips was wearing on his lapel.

A LIBERAL CONFRONTATION

Outspoken Liberal MP Sheila Copps appears to have been in vintage form at the recent Ontario Liberal leadership convention in Hamilton, her home town. She mounted a vocal and tireless campaign in support of the initial frontrunner, Murray Elston, who finished second to Lyn McLeod in a race decided by only nine votes out of the 2,336 cast. Liberal sources say that Copps’s tactics infuriated some delegates. One observer claimed that on Feb. 7, the day before the vote, Copps privately threatened to

dismiss Michael Klander from her own riding executive if he failed to line up behind Elston. But

Klander, who had originally supported dark-horse candidate Charles Beer until his elimination, jumped instead to McLeod’s camp. Klander later confirmed that Copps had confronted him. But he declined to divulge full details of their conversation, which one Liberal source characterized as a “browbeating.” And Klander told Maclean's that he and Copps have since resolved their differences. But Copps denied that the incident even took place. She added: “I was working the floor like everybody else.”

Brotherhood and sisters

Alan Wells, a younger brother of Newfoundland Premier Clyde Wells, says he plans to resign from the Rotary Club in Prince George, B.C., because of its recent decision to admit women. But Wells, 52, an insurance underwriter who had been a member since 1981, denies that he is a male chauvinist. I have no problem with women, ” he told Maclean’s. “But I don’t want to join a sorority, and I don’t think they should join an all-male club.” Added Wells, saying that he has received a lot of support: I’ve lost count of how many women have said to me, ‘You’re 1 OO-per-cent right. ’ ”

TURBULENCE IN THE AIR

The flight that spirited politicians and journalists from Ottawa to Vancouver for the final weekend Renewal of Canada conference was, according to some passengers, a voyage of the damned. The atmosphere in the crowded business-class section was so stifling that Shirley Carr, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, was airsick for the entire five-hour flight. The in-flight movie, Other Peoples' Money, about greed and corruption, did little to alleviate the gloom. However, Dorothy Dobbie and most of the constitutional committee that she co-chairs flew first-class. When NDP member Lome Nystrom was asked what he was doing up front, he replied: "Well, you know, we NDP like to bring everybody up to the same level.”

Hard times in Haiti

When 19 Haitians occupied Canada’s embassy in Port-au-Prince last November, Ambassador Bernard Dussault and a staff of five moved to his luxurious mansion set on a hillside overlooking the city. But despite the palatial surroundings, carrying on official duties is proving difficult indeed. A security force of five Canadian military police and two RCMP officers also share the residence. Although the standoff at the embassy ended Dec. 31, Dussault and his staff have been unable to return there because of threats to their lives. Three of the embassy’s original staff returned to Canada last fall, but the 13 men and women who remain are usually without water or electricity and sleep two to a room. Declared Dussault: “The pool is not working, the electricity is not working, you have to get in line in the morning to take a bath.” Still, duty calls. The ambassador recently spent an entire Saturday combing the street markets to find enough chicken to provide dinner for 12 official guests. Dussault says that he is making the best of it. “I love camping,” he said. “It’s great.”

LONG-DISTANCE HOUSE CALL

Some American politicians oppose adopting Canadianstyle medicare—an election-year issue—arguing that it is often less efficient than the U.S. private-enterprise system. But Democratic Senator Albert Gore has nothing but praise for Canadian

medical expertise. -

After Gore’s son, Albert, then she, suffered nerve damage to his

right arm in a 1989 car accident,

he flew the boy to Toronto to see neurosurgeon Alan Hudson of The Toronto Hospital. And soon after, Hudson travelled to New Orleans to perform a three-hour operation with a top U.S. surgeon that successfully restored

the use of the boy’s arm. Said Hudson: “I pushed him to have the surgery in New Orleans for political reasons. After all, I wouldn’t be thrilled if Mulroney went south for an operation.” Gore added that the two sur-

two surgeons who operated on his son are “head and shoulders above

everyone in the field.