OPENING NOTES

TOM FENNELL April 10 1995

OPENING NOTES

TOM FENNELL April 10 1995

OPENING NOTES

A LEGEND HITS AGAIN

America’s pastime has truly become one of Canada’s more visible exports. First, the Toronto Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series and, now, one of baseball’s greatest hitters has come north to publish his thoughts on the game. Former Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams told Maclean’s that when he was contacted by New Minas, N.S., writer Jim Prime, he agreed to help him write a book that profiles many of baseball’s greatest hitters. Said Williams: “Jim pushed hard and wanted to do it in Canada.” Hit List was released in Canada last February by Torontobased Stoddart Publishing, which is now looking for a publisher in the United States. Williams may have had another reason for feeling comfortable with a Canadian publisher. In 1959, he bought a fishing lodge near Blackville, N.B., and has spent many summers there fishing for Atlantic salmon. Williams, who was the last player to bat .400 in a season, is also preoccupied by the strike that has shut professional baseball down since last August. “It makes me sick to think that the owners and the players can’t get together,” said Williams. “They’ve hurt the game.” But then, fans now have more time to read about their heroes.

COMING UP MOSES

Growing up poor on Montreal’s St. Urbain Street, Moses Znaimer used his $200 in bar mitzvah gifts to buy a television set for his family. Forty years later, anyone who doubts that the mav-

erick president of Toronto’s City TV is still besotted by the tube can be set straight by a threehour CBC special this Sunday night called TVTV: The Television Revolution. Co-written and hosted by Znaimer, the show is his $l-million valentine to the medium that has been his lifework and passion. Not surprisingly for a man whose initials appear all over his City/MuchMusic productions, including his personal MZTV museum, one scene features the young

Moses taking delivery of his original set. That testimonial to TV’s formative powers may be of interest to a CRTC hearing in Edmonton this week looking into his purchase of Alberta’s educational Access channel from the province for $1. In fact, Znaimer has been so busy expanding his broadcast empire—setting up an Argentinian version of MuchMusic and launching his new arts channel, BRAVO!—that TVTV is three years late arriving on the airwaves. Said CBC executive George Anthony: “I’ve said to Moses over the years, ‘Gee, it would be great to get this on the air before everybody’s dead.’ ”

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER

In a 194-page encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of Life), Pope John Paul II instructed the world’s 960 million Roman Catholics to uphold church teaching against the “crimes” of abortion and euthanasia with nonviolent means and issued a stern critique of capital punishment. Excerpts:

A new cultural climate is developing and taking hold, which gives crimes against life a new and—if possible—even more sinister character.

There is a temptation to take control of death and bring it about before its time, “gently.”

Such a culture of death, taken as a whole, betrays a completely individualistic concept of

freedom, which ends up by becoming the freedom of “the strong” against the weak who have no choice but to submit.

The nature and the extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity... when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society.

Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection.

Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to co-operate formally in evil.

anitoba Premier Gary Filmon, campaigning for the province’s April 25 election, smiled as he lined up a tough shot to the corner pocket in a Winnipeg lounge (left). But when the Tory premier’s aides realized he was inadvertently posing in front of a bank of slot machines, they jumped into the background to obscure the controversial backdrop (right). NDP Leader Gary Doer said the premier’s aides had good reason to be upset. Gambling profits of $386 million added :o the provincial purse will allow the government to produce its first balanced budget in two decades. They want to give the impression hat they balanced the budget with i steady hand on the financial Hier,” said Doer. “But actually, the )ooks were balanced by gamblers’ lands on the slot machines.” And he NDP, along with the Liberals, lopes that the incident has Filmon behind the eight ball.

TURBOT ON THE RIDEAU

In the midst of the Canada-Spain fish war, at least one Ottawa restaurant has discovered that fish politics can also be good business. The Clair de Lune in the capi tal's popular Byward Mar ket is doing a booming trade serving turbot to pa trons who appear to have suddenly developed a taste for the once obscure bottom-feeder. Three weeks ago, after Canadi an authorities seized a Spanish fishing vessel off

the Grand Banks, restaurant owner Adel Ayad began offering his patrons turbot à la Portugaise, smothered in tomato sauce, black olives and garlic. Now, the restaurant is offering turbot sautéed in Spanish onions. But because the season for fresh turbot only lasts about a month, Ayad says people who want to sample the besieged fish should quickly reserve a table at their favorite seafood restaurant. An increasing number of Ottawa residents appear to be doing just that. “We have three times more people ordering turbot than before,” said Ayad. As for the government’s turbot conservation measures, Ayad added: “At least we’re buying turbot that is a minimum of five or six pounds.” Fisheries Minister Brian Tobin would be pleased.

ORANGE COUNTY SEES RED

A s California's Orange County struggles to cope with its recent bankruptcy, it is battling to avoid trying one of the most notorious criminal cases in the state's history. Charles Ng stands accused of murdering 12 people in northern Calaveras County in 1985. Arrested in Calgary in July, 1985, the 34-year-old former U.S. marine was eventually returned to California after fighting extradi lion for almost six years, and the case was transferred to Or ange County. But while the state has agreed to defray most of the costs of prosecuting Ng, which have already hit $8 million, the county's public defender's office says it still wants nothing to do with the case because it is anticinatin~i

high overhead costs that would not be covered by the state. "This will be the most expensive trial in California history," said chief deputy public defender Carl Holmes. "And we are hav ing to investigate a crime 650 km away." Justice may be blind, but it is rarely free.

TOM FENNELL