CANADA

Canada NOTES

December 4 1995
CANADA

Canada NOTES

December 4 1995

Canada NOTES

N.W.T. GETS NEW PREMIER

Don Morin, a Métis entrepreneur, was chosen premier of the Northwest Territories in a majority vote by the 24 members of the territorial legislature, which operates on a consensus basis without party politics. Morin, 41, who represents the Western Arctic riding of Tu Nedhe, is an eight-year veteran of the legislature and a former minister of public works. He said the new administration needs to reduce the government’s $38-million debt and refocus spending on children and education.

RED CROSS IS NOT SORRY

The Canadian Red Cross is still refusing to apologize to the thousands of Canadians who received AIDS-tainted blood from the society in the 1980s. “I just don’t understand why the ‘A’ word is impossible to utter,” asked inquiry head, Justice Horace Krever. But Douglas Lindores, secretary general of the Red Cross, told the hearing that his job was to defend the organization, until “some action requiring an apology is proven.”

SHEILA COPPS DEATH THREAT

A Hamilton man accused of threatening to kill Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps was held in custody after making a brief court appearance. Thomas Frederick Sejevick, 44, issued his threat on Nov. 16, while visiting the office of Copp’s mother, Hamilton Aid. Geraldine Copps. Sejevick became irate after an office worker refused to give him information about the minister.

PARKINSON'S VICTIMS AIDED

Doctors at Toronto Hospital said that some patients with Parkinson’s disease are showing significant improvement after undergoing a procedure that involves surgeons drilling a hole through the skull to destroy overactive neurons believed to be the cause of the disease. New computer technology allows doctors to pinpoint the exact location that malfunctions in the brains of Parkinson patients.

A KILLER STRIKES AGAIN

Police in Vancouver say that a letter threatening the wife of Vancouver Canucks captain Trevor Linden was likely written by the same man who killed 16-year-old Tanya Smith on Oct. 14 and raped her friend Misty Cockerill, also 16, of nearby Abbotsford, B.C. The rambling letter threatens the lives of Christina Linden and two others. It also makes several references to the Smith case, in which the killer later phoned the police to taunt them over the murder.

Making deep cuts at the CBC

Amid concerns about its future, the CBC’s president, Perrin Beatty, announced that the network will cut nearly $227 million from its $1.4-billion budget in 1996. The cuts will eliminate nearly 2,800 of the 9,000 jobs at the CBC. At the same time, Beatty said that the CBC will drop all of its prime-time American programming by September, 1996. Beatty said that Canadian viewers can watch U.S. shows on a number of other television outlets and that the CBC should be doing more to promote Canadian content. Although the move to eliminate U.S. programs will cost the CBC ad revenues, Beatty said they would be made up through “efficiency measures.” Jim Byrd, vice-president of English television, said that several new Canadian shows are in development and a number of new dramas will be tested this winter.

But representatives of CBC unions argued that the spending cuts are far too large to be offset by changes in the network’s programming mandate. Arnold Amber, vice-president of the Canadian Media Guild, said that the cuts are so deep that the CBC will no longer have the manpower to produce top-flight programming. “We’re at the edge of disaster,”

said Amber. Still, Beatty said that the federal government’s decision to cut spending across the board had to include the public broadcaster. ‘We have to face the problem,” said Beatty, “that the Canadian debt problem is not going to go away.”

Gun law passed

After a last-minute plea from relatives and friends of the 14 women who were gunned down by Marc Lepine at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique on Dec. 6,1989, the Senate approved controversial gun control legislation that will require Canadians to register virtually all their guns by 2003. The upper chamber rejected Conservative amendments that would have softened the legislation passed in June by the House of Commons. The new law, which Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said would help distinguish Canada from the United States, will allow police to trace guns that are stolen and later used in crimes. But opponents of the bill say the registration of firearms will be costly and inefficient and that the new law will impose a hardship on many people in rural areas, such as farmers and native people, who use guns regularly.