CANADA

Harcourt’s headache

CHRIS WOOD October 30 1995
CANADA

Harcourt’s headache

CHRIS WOOD October 30 1995

Canada NOTES

PAYING THE PRICE

Federal Health Minister Diane Marleau said that provinces violating the Canada Health Act by allowing private clinics to charge extra fees will be hit with financial penalties as early as next month. Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, whose province stands to lose $7 million in federal transfer payments annually, said that he still hopes to convince Ottawa—which had set Oct. 15 as the deadline for abolishing the fees—to change its mind. “I wish they would leave us alone,” he said. “We are not breaking the law.”

ABETTING SUICIDE

A Nova Scotia woman became the first person in Canada to be convicted of aiding and abetting a suicide. A Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury found Mary Jane Fogarty, 39, of Halifax, guilty of writing a suicide note for her friend, Brenda Barnes, 36, and of providing the insulin and syringes that Barnes used to kill herself in May, 1994. Barnes, who was not suffering from any terminal illness, had tried to end her life at least 35 times. Fogarty, who faces a maximum sentence of 14 years, is to be sentenced on Dec. 15.

$10-BILLION LAND CLAIMS

Estimates released by British Columbia Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Cashore say it will cost Canadian taxpayers about $10 billion—$5 billion in cash and $5 billion worth of land—to reach treaty settlements with 47 B.C. First Nations. The figure is more than double the original estimate put forward by Ottawa in 1993.

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

Jan Reimer, a two-term Edmonton mayor and longtime social democrat, was narrowly defeated by Bill Smith, 59, a wellto-do businessman and consultant. Five other incumbent city councillors went down to defeat as voters—concerned that the Alberta capital is falling behind its archrival Calgary in economic growthelected a pro-business city council. In his victory speech, Smith declared: “This city is going to be open for business again.”

A CLOSE CALL

A Canadian Airlines DC-10 jet carrying 256 passengers bound for Taipei narrowly averted tragedy as it slid off a runway at Vancouver International Airport and braked to a halt just 300 metres from Georgia Strait. Canadian Airlines said that the plane’s pilot aborted the takeoff after detecting a problem with the landing gear. Five passengers were slightly injured while leaving the plane on emergency evacuation slides.

PICKETING PROFESSORS: The 1,100-member University

of Manitoba Faculty Association went on strike in a contract dispute over a proposal that would allow professors to be laid off on short notice in the event of an economic downturn. The professors, who earn an average annual salary of $71,000, say the proposal represents a potential threat to academic freedom and tenure. The strike may set a precedent for campuses across Canada.

Cleaning house

The Oct. 30 Quebec referendum temporarily lost top billing on the province’s newscasts and in newspapers to the saga of Les Habs. After losing the first four games of the NHL season— and failing to make last season’s Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 25 years—the Montreal Canadiens abruptly fired four senior officials, including coach Jacques Demers and general manager Serge Savard. The dismissal of Savard, a former star Canadiens defenceman who had served as general manager for 12 years, came as a particular shock—one that even penetrated Quebec’s political classes. Said Quebec Liberal Leader and former premier Daniel Johnson: “I guess in hockey and politics, part of the job description is that at some point somebody’s going to fire you.” On Saturday, the club reached back into its history and named Réjean Houle as general manager and Mario Tremblay as coach.

In Winnipeg, meanwhile, Jets president Barry Shenkarow confirmed that the team

will leave the city after the 1995-1996 season. Shenkarow said that he and his partners had agreed to sell the club for $87 million to a partnership led by Minneapolis health care tycoon Richard Burke.

Northern upsets

Two cabinet ministers and seven other MLAs went down to defeat in the Northwest Territories election—the last to be held before the scheduled division of the territories by 1999 into the largely Inuit region of Nunavut in the Eastern Arctic and an as-yet-unnamed territory in the Western Arctic. Thirteen newcomers, two former MLAs and nine incumbents were elected to the 24-seat legislature, which operates on a consensus basis without political parties. The legislature will meet in late November to elect a new cabinet and government leader (also known as premier). Three of the returning MLAs—Stephen Kakfwi and Don Morin from the Western Arctic, and John Todd from the East—were widely touted as potential candidates for the top job.