Opening NOTES

Opening NOTES

RAE CORELLI August 10 1998
Opening NOTES

Opening NOTES

RAE CORELLI August 10 1998

Opening NOTES

JAMES DEACON

Now that researchers in Scotland and Hawaii have cloned sheep and mice from adult animals’ cells, human clones may not be far behind. A Quebec-based cult that maintains extraterrestrials brought the first life to earth, now claims it will be able to achieve this feat in the next two years. Clonaid, a Bahamas-incorporated company that was founded by Claude Vorilhon (aka Rael), leader of the Raelian religion, claims its researchers could begin cloning humans by the year 2000—if the firm can raise $2 million for research. Brigitte Boisselier, a self-described biochemist who is scientific director for Clonaid, says the company plans to generate the necessary funds by charging fees to clone pets, including dogs, cats and horses—all species that have never been cloned before—starting this fall. Boisselier, who is based in Lyons, France, concedes that the firm has no laboratories of its own so far, and says it is contracting research work to scientists in countries where human cloning would be legal. Scores of infertile and homosexual couples, she claims, have approached Clonaid about having children

by cloning. The Raelians, who purport to have a worldwide membership of about 40,000, ultimately hope to be able to transfer a cell donor’s memory and personality to the clone. “The Raelian religion is a religion of science,” adds Boisselier. “Human cloning is a way to eternal life.”

CAPITAL CONFIDENTIAL

He looks fit and relaxed, he clearly enjoys his work, and his Liberals are comfortably ahead in the public opinion polls. But could it be that Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, at 64, is thinking retirement after 31 years in federal politics? True, he has mused that he may try for a third term, a discouraging thought for leadership aspirants like Finance Minister Paul Martin and Health Minister Allan Rock. But what has federal Grits wondering about their leader’s plans is the news that he is transforming the beloved, rundown summer cottage on Lac des Piles, Que., 150 km northeast of Montreal, where he and his family fish, water ski and traditionally watch electionnight returns, into a permanent year-round home. “It is not going to be Rancho Lac des Piles,” declares an aide. In fact, once the renovations are com-

plete, a comfortable, though less-than-lavish, two-bedroom bungalow will stand on Chretien’s land. The Prime Minister is no absentee owner; whenever he makes a visit to his home town of Shawinigan, he drives over to the lake to see how construction is progressing. The sooner the better as far as he is concerned. All the carpenters and contractors have made the residence uninhabitable this summer. And the cottage has always been an important getaway for Chrétien, a place where he can escape the pressures of running the country by tooling around the lake on his Sea-Doo. Is he getting ready to give up the luxury of 24 Sussex—and his official summer residence on Harrington Lake—for the rustic delights of the cottage? The leadership hopefuls can only pray that Chretien’s Lac des Piles house becomes a home.

EMPORIUM

According to Statistics Canada, the average number of persons behind bars in Canada on any given day is 33,935, of whom 14,155 are in federal penitentiaries and 19,780 are in provincial or territorial prisons. The average daily cost of keeping a convict in jail: $119.45. The number of offenders living in the community under supervision: 9,550.

GOLDFARB POLL

Although residents of British Columbia shop in the United States more frequently than other Canadians, they are also more likely to say they will be shopping there less in the future. The percentage of adult Canadians who said they will shop south of the border in the next 12 months:

More often

average

5

3

4

2

Canada

Less often

9

12

73

20

18

56

10

8

78

10

19

64

3

3

90

5

7

81

Neither more nor less often

Never

Colrll’arh Consultants I.imiter]

DOUBLE TAKE

Brian Dickson

The past 18 months have not been filled with experiences that Brian Dickson would care to revisit. First, his left leg became swollen, which—given the fact that he lost most of the right one on a Normandy battlefield during the Second World War—was a major handicap. “Doctors gave me pills which weren’t worth a damn,” says the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Further medical investigation revealed cancer of the esophagus. “They said: Well, you have a choice of living for three months or having your esophagus removed.’ So it wasn’t a very difficult decision.” Today, 14 months after surgery, 82-year-old Dickson’s health has improved, and he hopes to resume riding the Morgan horses that he and his wife, Barbara, stable on their farm 40 km west of Ottawa. “For now, I’m just swimming,” he says.

The Yorkton, Sask.-born Dickson, a onetime Winnipeg corporate lawyer, left the Supreme Court in 1991 after 18 years, but has had little time to explore retirement. He headed a

panel on defence policy that recommended the creation of a special investigations unit, which has since looked into allegations of sexual and other misconduct against the military. And old soldier Dickson admits to being distraught over the scandals that have dogged the armed forces, beginning with the death of a teenager in 1994 at the hands of Canadian troops in Somalia. “During the work I did for the department,” he says, “I was very impressed with the officers and other ranks.”

At the moment, technology is an absorbing interest. “I’m learning about the computer,” he says. “I spend half my mornings learning how to work it.” And what does he miss about the bench? “Everything,” says Dickson. “I’d love to be there again.”

RAE CORELLI