Opening Notes

Fighting for more coverage

TANYA DAVIES April 13 1998
Opening Notes

Fighting for more coverage

TANYA DAVIES April 13 1998

Fighting for more coverage

Opening Notes


Hockey players must wear pads to avoid broken bones. Baseball players must wear cleats so they will not fall when they run. Female beach volleyball players must wear bikinis because—well, because the Swiss-based International Volleyball Federation says so. Though male players can wear baggy shorts and tank tops. Now, the women are not only scantily clad but up in arms. Discrimination, they say.

The mandatory clothing rule was enforced at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, where beach volleyball debuted as a medal sport. “The women had to wear their bikinis on the medal podium, while the

men wore their countries’ award uniforms for the ceremony,” says Kristine Drakich, a Toronto-based volleyball coach who represents female players for the federation.

Drakich has put forward a recommendation to the federation on behalf of all the volleyball players to alter the rule. “The federation needs a wake-up call that these women are Olympic athletes,” says Marg McGregor, executive director of the Ottawa-based Canadian Association for Women and Sport and Physical Activity. “They aren’t cheerleaders.”

Follicle follies

With a Russian presidential election only two years away, the semi-serious “follicle theory” is starting to surface again. Since the days when Lenin—who was bald—ruled the old Soviet Union, leaders have alter-

nated between those with chrome domes and those with hair. Since Yeltsin is “follicly” blessed, his replacement should be hair-challenged to continue the pattern. Let the campaign for a bald president begin.

Cyber scoops

Move over U.S. muckraker Matt Drudge. Canada now has its own political mudslinger, Pierre Bourque. The Bourque Newswatch, a Web site ( that spills the beans on confidential capital information, debuted in February and has become a must-see for Ottawa political junkies. Bourque has found the secret to ferreting out gossip on Parliament Hill: stick a rumor on the Internet and wait for the response. “If I put up a story about a political party, I get loads of e-mail from people on the Hill,” says 39-year-old Bourque. “Some are furious

with me, but there are lots who want to tell me more.”

Bourque is no amateur cyber-snoop. The author of three books about the Internet, he writes a column in the parliamentary weekly The Hill Times, served as an Ottawa alderman in 1991 and ran unsuccessfully as a Liberal in the 1993 federal election. But Bourque insists his scoops show no Liberal bias. He claims to have broken the story that Hugh Segal was plotting a Tory leadership bid, with the support of pollster Allan Gregg and Senator Norman Atkins. “I’ve had surprisingly few complaints,” Bourque says of his scoops. “But I’ll confess, I can’t use the bulk of what I get.”

A $5-million blunder

SaskPower has blown a fuse. Last year, the Crown corporation sold a subsidiary, Channel Lake Petroleum, to Alberta’s Direct Energy Marketing Ltd. for $15.6 million, about $5 million less than SaskPower officials and the board had expected. The reason? Deputy premier Dwain Lingenfelter explained in the legislature last month that senior SaskPower officials approved and signed the third and final agreement—which contained a lower price than previous drafts—without reading it. The whole affair has proved embarrassing to the ruling New Democrats, and a boon to the opposition.

The legislature’s Crown corporations committee has begun examining the sale and operations of Channel Lake. Says Lingenfelter: “This government is extremely disappointed in the events.”

To the moon with some Canadian help

The race to the moon—what could be more American? Well, it is an oftenoverlooked fact (at least according to U.S. folklore) that Canadians played a large role in the U.S. bid to beat the Russians. In the 1960s,

NASA imported more than 25 technicians and engineers who had been working on Canada’s Avro Arrow until its scuttling in 1959.

Among them were Owen Maynard, chief engineer for the Apollo project, and Jim Chamberlin, who helped design the space shuttle.

Cut to 1998, and another space program—this time on TV—also owes a lot to Canadian talent. From the Earth to the Moon, a 12-part mini-series created by actor Tom Hanks, debuted on April 5 on HBO in the United States and on The Movie Network in Canada. Recreating the Gemini and Apollo projects in exhaustive detail pushed the budget up to $92 million, making it one of the most expensive television series in history. On-

Foley: Canuck actors and crew

screen Canucks include Wendy Crewson, Matt Craven and Dave Foley, who affects a flawless Texas accent for his portrayal of astronaut AÍ Bean. Behind the scenes, Canadian master modelmaker Nick Proach designed the scale replicas for the special effects, and Paul Fjeld, official artist on the ApolloSoyuz test project, was technical adviser. Meanwhile, Canadianborn screenwriter Graham Yost (Speed) —son of longtime TVOntario movie host Elwy Yost—did triple duty, serving as production supervisor, writing an episode and cowriting another with Hanks, and making his directorial debut with episode 5, airing on April 19.

Sitting in the director’s chair, Yost says, was “sort of a condition” of working on the mini-series. ‘Tom went to bat for me with HBO and told them to give me a chance,” says Yost. “It was a great experience.” Call it one small favor from Hanks—and one giant step for Yost.



1. Pandora, Anne Rice (3)

2. The Street Lawyer John Grisham (2)

3. Paradise, Toni Morrison (1)

4. Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland (4)

5. Birthday Letters, Ted Hughes (5)

6. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (6)

1. The Underpainter, Jane Urquhart (8)

8. Larry’s Party, Carol Shields (7)

9. Barney’s Version, Mordecai Richler (10)

10. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy


1. The Gift of the Jews, Thomas Cahill

2. Talking to Heaven, James VanPraagh (5)

3. Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach (1)

4. The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley and William Danko (6)

5. Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt (2)

6. The Cult of Impotence, Linda McQuaig

7. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (3)

8. Reflections of a Siamese Twin John Ralston Saul (8)

9. The Man Who Listens to Horses, Monty Roberts (4)

10. The Warrior’s Honour, Michael Ignatieff

( ) Position last week Compiled by Brian Bethune

Undies, undertakers

Toronto lawyer Sylvia Mulholland’s second novel, Lingerie Tea, is a black comedy about lawyer Claire Cunningham, who is stuck planning a lingerie-themed wedding shower for an unpopular colleague. But when her co-workers start mysteriously dying, Claire realizes she has more than just a party to worry about.

The wings of love

City of Angels is a Hollywood remake of the1987 German film Wings of Desire, directed by Wim Wenders. Angels stars Nicolas Cage as Seth, an angel who falls in love with a mortal heart surgeon, Maggie (Meg Ryan). The two agonize over their strange relationship until they realize that to be truly happy, they must sacrifice everything familiar for love.

Top movies in Canada, ranked according to box-office receipts during the seven days that ended on April 2. ( In brackets: numbers of screens/weeks showing.)

1. Titanic (185/15)..............................$2,200,330

2. Grease (112/1)................................$1,105,540

3. Wild Things (134/2)...........................$968,560

4. The Man in The Iron Mask (173/3).....$925,660

5. Primary Colors (109/2).......................$631,310

6. Good Will Hunting (99/15)..................$591,640

7. As Good as It Gets (103/15)................$488,680

8. The Newton Boys (97/1)......................$395,440

9. U.S. Marshals (99/4)..........................$364,530

10. Mr. Nice Guy (130/3)............................$233,230