John Intini,Shanda Deziel,Brenda BranswellDecember42000
Over and Under Achievers
To have and Hab not!
Ihe While House: the end of the beginning! Parliament: the beginning of the end! Pie Grey Cup: where to begin? The Habs: end over end!
The U.S. electorate: Yogi Berra used to say, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Sooooo ... is it over?
The Canadian electorate: It’s ooooverrrrrr!!
The Montreal Canadiens: Hockey’s most storied franchise? It’s over. Les Canadiens sont blaaaah.
♦ The Grey Cup: Admit it—you like to watch. For at least one weekend a year, what would you do without Canadian football to kick around anymore?
♦ Drivers with cellphones: Ontario talks about banning the practice. Suggested punishment for offenders: send them all to movies together—and then phone ’em, one at a time.
♦ 102 Dalmations: Say, if they just round up 49 more, they could form a majority in the next Parliament!
Crime solver: eau de cochon
Pigs may never fly—but their ability to sink may be a big help to those in search of clues at aquatic crime scenes. This fall, Ontario’s Niagara-area police and university researchers from Simon Fraser University deposited six pig carcasses in Lake Ontario in hopes they may provide a clearer understanding of how bodies decompose underwater. “Pigs are the closest thing to a human we can get,” says Gail Anderson, a forensic entomologist at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser, who is leading the study.
Divers from the Canadian Coast Guard and the RCMP check the carcasses several times a week to identify patterns of decomposition— something Anderson says is vital in determining time of death. This is done by using underwater samples and videotape footage. Anderson then compares the degree of decomposition of the pig to a human victim found in the same area.
Over the past decade, Anderson has provided expert opinion in about 20 criminal investigations each year. Her aquatic study resulted from her close relationship with B.C. police: they often queried her about the impact of water in the decomposition process. Until then, there had been few studies in that area. The Lake Ontario study, funded by the Canadian Police Research Centre, is part of a larger project that began last spring in small streams and rivers in British Columbia. It marks the first time carcasses have been released to depths of 50 to 100 feet. The carcasses used range in weight from 50 to 150 lb. and are donated by local butchers. “We don’t want enormous pigs because if you have a 300-lb. pig you have a 300-lb. gut rather than a 300-lb. man,” says Anderson. They just have to weigh enough so as not to float.
Over the flir
Get back, Canada
“Good ol’ Air Canada,” sang John Lennon in 1969 after learning he could get a nonstop flight from Freeport, Bahamas, to Toronto. Lennon and Yoko Ono had been married a week earlier in Gibraltar, and wanted to continue their bed-in/ peace demonstration/honeymoon in North America. But a prior marijuana conviction meant Lennon couldn’t land in the United States, so they settled for the next best thing. “If we said anything in Canada,” Ono explains in a new CBC documentary, John and Yoko’s Year of Peace, “we knew right away it would go to the United States. Also, they were very liberal people: we just knew that Canada would accept us.”
The documentary follows the couple as they staged bed-ins in Toronto and Montreal and took an impromptu tour of Ottawa with a University of Ottawa student council president named Allan Rock. “Imagine yourself as a 21-year-old kid,” says Rock, about his afternoon with Lennon and Ono, “you’re driving your VW, there’s a Beatles’ song on the radio—I think
it was Get Back—and John Lennon is in the backseat singing along.” The second half of the documentary tells of two other trips Lennon and Ono made to Canada later in 1969. In December, the couple came to organize and promote a pop music festival. The concert was to take place outside of Toronto and Lennon even floated the possibility of a Beatles reunion for the occasion—but the project eventually fell apart.
The documentary airs on Dec. 3, on CBC Newsworld, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Lennon’s death. Most of the footage, says director Paul McGrath, hasn’t been seen in 30 years. But John and Yoko’s message is relevant today. “For the time that they were here,” says McGrath, a former rock critic who wrote Lennon’s obituary for The Globe and Mail, “more people pronounced the word peace than had probably pronounced it seriously ever before. Their job was to change how people thought: I think they did that.”
End of The Magazine
Don’t expect the CBC to tell you, but the division of its nightly TV news into two segments—The National with Peter Mansbridge and The Magazine with a different host—is toast. At the start of the federal election campaign, the network switched to a format that sees Mansbridge anchor the full hour, interviewing guests and introducing segments. That,
CBC insiders told Macleans, is now permanent. The move comes after Brian Stewart, who has been anchoring the Mag, asked to return to reporting full time. The co-host arrangement has had ups and downs, ranging from the glory years of Barbara Frum and The Journal in the 1970s and ’80s to the tumultuous pairing of Mansbridge with Pamela Wallin to the uneven performance of Hana Gartner prior to Stewart’s solid work. CBC officials are tinkering with the new format, to be announced in January. Meanwhile, the Mag appears to have come to an appropriate close: the last guest interviewed by Stewart was CBC lifer Mark Starowicz—who dreamed up the separate documentary format.
The number of Canadians travelling outside the country con tinues to grow—and the car remains the favoured means of transport, according to a recent study by Statistics Canada. About four million Canadians travelled to foreign countries in September, an increase of 0.2 per cent over the previous month. Most Canadians visiting the United States—the favourite destination—did so by car, but air travel is gaining in popularity: a record 451,000 Canadians trav| elled by plane south of | the border to the United “
States for at least one night in September, up 0.1 per
cent from the previous month. Same-day cross-border car traffic by Canadians went up 0.5 per cent in September to slightly less than 2.3 million, while the number of car excursions by Americans to Canada jumped 3.3 per cent from the previous month to 2.2 million. StatsCan says that “stabilizing gasoline prices and a continued strong American economy may have contributed to the growth in American traffic.”
Geddy Lee’s rush
In the head-banging world of rock music, Toronto’s Geddy Lee, 47, longtime lead singer and bassist for the group Rush, is an icon. But despite the group’s hard-driving sound and Lees trademark banshee wail, he is known among friends as a soft-spoken, devout family man with highly sophisticated tastes in wine, music and art. Last month, Lee released his first solo album,
My Favourite Headache, produced with old friend and noted k. d lang collaborator Ben Mink. Lee talked to Macleans about how his tastes have evolved:
“When I was young, I defined myself within the confines of the band. Over the years, my interests have expanded by opportunity. In a rock band, you travel a lot: that can be a problem or you can make that work for you. When I got keyed up before concerts, a good place to find quiet was in art museums. Every big city has one. I would look at paintings, note the artists I like, and go read up on them. I like the work of Milton Avery; there’s a lot of Canadian art I enjoy, and I’m now very into the German expressionists. My other
tastes grew in the same way. My wife [Nancy] and I spent some time in Provence [France] last year, exploring and trying the wine. It was nice and low-key, and I was only recognized about once the whole time. In terms of what I listen to, my tastes are everywhere: in contemporary stuff, I’m into Radiohead, Soundgarden and Björk, but I have a real fondness for old, smoky jazz—stuff by Hoagy Carmichael and Ella [Fitzgerald]. As for my own music, some artists don’t like their old stuff, but I’m comfortable with pretty much everything I’ve done with Rush. I never felt constrained by the band, so this album was a change, but not a breaking away. It’s less angular, more funky, with more layers, and broader harmonization. If I go solo again, I wouldn’t mind an acoustic album. But we [Rush] plan to get together again to record, and I very much look forward to that.”
It’s common knowledge that Jean Chrétien is not a beloved figure in his home province. He’s often maligned in the media and ridiculed by sovereigntist politicians—which may explain why a collection of his more maladroit statements is flying off shelves in Quebec bookstores. Assembled by Montreal freelance journalist Pascal Beausoleil, Les Chrétienneñes contains 100 memorable Chrétien quotes. Some are bizarre, such as the time during the 1997 election campaign that the PM warned of the dangers of a child playing with nuclear arms. Others may draw a chuckle. When a journalist asked Chrétien about the Constitution, he responded: “I can’t answer you. I’m not a lawyer.”
(In fact, he is one.) The book has sold 10,000 copies since its late-September launch—in a province where any book that sells more than 3,000 copies is considered a best-seller. “People like laughing at him. He’s a bit of a clown,” says Beausoleil, 23, who doesn’t mince words on the subject of Chrétien. He vowed to keep showing up at Chrétiens appearances in Montreal until the PM signed the book. Beausoleil said Chrétien did so in November outside a Montreal radio station—“I imagine because he wanted to get rid of me.” Last week, Beausoleil was considering a second volume—but that may depend upon the election result.
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