Canada

Canada Notes

December 18 2000
Canada

Canada Notes

December 18 2000

Canada Notes

Canada

The search for plundered art

The National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario announced they have works in their collections that may have been plundered by the Nazis. The National Gallery has 100 works whose ownership during the time of the Nazis is unclear, while the AGO has 20. Both institutions said they will post the suspect works on the Internet, as other galleries and museums around the world have done.

Off the streets

Quebec’s crackdown against biker gangs continued with the arrests of two leaders of the Rock Machine, Marcel Demers and Frederic Faucher, and 13 other gang members in a sweeping drug investigation. Earlier this year, Maurice (Mom) Boucher, the leader of the Hell’s Angels in Quebec—with whom the Rock Machine has waged a bloody six-year turf batde—was also arrested. Quebec has stepped up its fight against the gangs since the Sept. 13 shooting of journalist Michel Auger, who often wrote about bikers.

Fire hazards

The Canadian Transportation Safety Board issued safety recommendations for dealing with in-flight fires, stemming from its investigation of the 1998 crash of Swissair Flight 111 off the coast of Nova Scotia. Although investigators have not pinpointed the cause of the crash, it is clear that a blaze broke out in the doomed plane. Among the recommendations: crew must land as soon as possible when smoke is detected, and planes need more sensors and firefighting equipment.

Talks cool down

Three days of talks in Ottawa to negotiate an international deal to fight global warming ended with little progress. In 1997, the international community agreed in principle to reducing greenhouse gases at a meeting in Kyoto, Japan. But Canada and the United States want a flexible agreement that would, among other things, allow countries to claim or trade socalled emissions credits—issued, for example, because of forests that absorb carbon dioxide. The European Union wants strict cuts imposed domestically.

Winter vigils for 14 lives cut short

Mourners in Ottawa and other cities remembered the 14 women massacred by Marc Lépine in 1989 at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique. But controversy erupted as Charles Rackoff, a University of Toronto professor, compared the memorials to Ku Klux Klan propaganda in an e-mail attacking radical feminism. The university did not discipline Rackoff because of its tradition of free speech.

Ripples from the federal election

The fallout continued as members of the Canadian Alliance, the NDP and the Conservative party took stock of the federal Liberals’ strong Nov. 27 election victory. Continuing the hard line he has always adhered to, Joe Clark, whose Tories won the minimum 12 seats to retain party status, said any merger with the Alliance, a long-discussed possibility, would have to be “on our terms”—in effect, a reverse takeover by the Conservatives. Stockwell Day, meanwhile, avoided re-

sponding to Clark in his first post-election address at a Winnipeg fund-raiser. Instead, he attacked the “arrogant and corrupt” Liberals, while taking some of the blame for the Alliance’s lacklustre performance in winning 66 seats— only six more than in 1997.

As for Alexa McDonough, she said she was committed to staying on as NDP leader, at least until the party’s convention in the fall of2001. But after the NDP’s poor showing—it fell to 13 seats from 21—some activists have been calling for McDonough to step down and for the party to abandon the middle course she tried to chart and return to its leftist roots.

A call to save the children

According to“Sacred Lives,” a 97-page report sponsored by Save the Children, thousands of native children and teens are working in the sex trade and make up a disproportionate number of prostitutes in places such as Winnipeg—as much as 90 per cent. The aboriginal authors of the report, Melanie Mark, 24, and Cherry Kingsley, 30, who was herself a prostitute, said children must reconnect with their culture. The report calls for a national strategy to address the problem.