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John Geddes February 21 2000
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Overture

John Geddes February 21 2000

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@macleans.ca

Anthony Wilson-Smith

Shanda Deziel

Over and Under Achievers

SeeJ ane run

Politicians take the limelight. See how much attention a billion bucks can buy?

♦Jane Stewart: Need we say more?

Jean Chrétien: PM smirks, snickers, while easily deflecting weak opposition questions on GrantScam. But the Little Guy’s Big Ego is showing through. ♦Joe Clark and Preston Manning: Two leaders MIA as House of Commons resumes crucial sitting. Moral for Liberals: with enemies like them, who needs friends?

Lucien Bouchard: Everyone from exadviser Jean-François Lisée to Gilles

Duceppe says Yes side can’t win a referendum, but Jacques Parizeau wants one. With friends like them, who needs politics? California dreamin’...

♦Toronto cops: Controversial, now-cancelled True Blue union fund-raising campaign nets only $80,000—and telemarketers keep four-fifths of total. Now, that’s a True Crime.

♦Tiger Woods: After six straight PGA tournament wins, so hot he’s banned from many golf pools.

♦Avery Haines: Newly famous trashtalking ex-CTV newsreader, beatified by other journalists, is hired by Citytv. But will she be so riveting when she knows she’s on-air?

Word Watch

Cyberspace explorers have their own vocabulary. Examples from The New Hacker’s Dictionary;

Hacker: A person who enjoys exploring details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities.... [Or] a malicious meddler who tries to discover

sensitive information by poking around. The correct term for this sense is cracker. Warez: Widely used to denote cracked version of commercial software-a version from which copy protection has been stripped.

Phreaking: The art and science of cracking the phone network (for example, to make free long-distance calls).

FBI: a bugs life

Overview

After last week’s assaults on some of the wired world’s biggest online sites, it’s an obvious question: how safe are your software and operating systems? The answer isn’t always reassuring, according to a report this month by the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center. It says several popular programs—including America Online’s AOL Instant Messenger and Corel’s Linux system—carry a “high risk” of vulnerability to penetration. In both cases, it says, the bug has been “discussed in news groups and Web sites.” On the other hand, Microsoft’s Windows 95 and 98 editions are classed as low-risk, although they carry a “security vulnerability” that could cause e-mail programs to crash. The report, updated every two weeks, is available at www.nipc.gov.

A Royal wedding?

Overheard

Has John Cleghorn had enough? It’s been a tough two years for the Royal Bank CEO, despite some $3.5 billion in profits. A planned merger with the Bank of Montreal—which would have put Cleghorn, 58, in charge—was shot

down by Finance Minister Paul Martin. In November, Cleghorn was criticized for plans to cut some 6,000 jobs despite those profits. Now, some people think he might an-

nounce retirement plans at the bank’s

annual general meeting Feb. 23. One associate says, “I don’t think he will,” but adds, “only John knows— and maybe he isn’t sure.” Should he retire, possible successors include Peter Currie, the bank’s vice-chairman and CFO, and Dominic D’Alessandro, CEO of Manulife. But others say the soft-spoken but iron-willed Cleghorn wants a blockbuster deal before he goes— such as a merger with a major American financial institution. Such a Royal wedding, says a source, would cap Cleghorn’s career. It would also, if regulatory hurdles could be avoided, constitute a heartfelt thumb of the nose from Cleghorn to Martin.

Home alone? Not in Canada.

Trend Watch

Before the present uproar over her department’s spending habits, Human Resources Minister Jane Stewart was supposed to make her mark spearheading the Liberals’ so-called children’s agenda. Last fall, she said she would consider dual-income families as the norm. “It’s not June and Ward Cleaver anymore,” she declared, referring to the model TV family of the ’50s in which the mother stayed home.

Well, maybe it is. Most Canadian families with young children do still live that way, according to a 1994-1995 survey by Statistics Canada of parents of 3,909 twoand three-year-olds. Here’s where the kids spent daytimes:

• At home, usually with Mom: 55.6 per cent

• At a babysitter’s house: 18.5 per cent

• At a regulated day-care centre: 10.4 per cent

• At home with a nanny, relative or family friend: 9.6 per cent

• In regulated day care run out of a private home: 3.7 per cent

• Other arrangements, or not accounted for in survey: 2.2 per cent

John Geddes

Overbites

Earlier this month, Madonna appeared on The Rosie O’Donnell Show and had this exchange with the host about the Canadian-made, Golden Globe-nominated movie The Red Violin:

Rosie: “You see all the art films, you probably saw The Red Violin:

Madonna: “No, the trailer for that looked horrible.”

Rosie: “Yeah, it was made somewhere nobody even knows. ...”

“You know, I have always felt that governments cannot pick winners, but losers can pick governments.”

Paul Martin, federal finance minister, in an interview with the newsletter High Frequency Economics

Over the Air

Sue Johanson, host of Sundau Night Sex Show on WTN:

“I listen to anything by Enya or Leonard Cohen. My favourite songs are Amazing Grace by Tom Jackson, Crying with k.d. lang [and Roy Orbison] and We’ve Got Tonight by Bob Seger.”

Joshua Jackson, star of WB’s Dawsons Creek (airingon Global TV):

“I just bought Coltrane’s My Favorite Things and some Howlin’ Wolf. But I mostly listen to [bluesman] Ben Harper.”

Paul Tellier, chief executive officer, Canadian National Railway:

“Gosh, I have [Latino pop star] Ricky Martin’s CD playing in my Jeep. My wife gave it to me for Christmas.”

The first flag day

Once Over

The red-and-white Maple Leaf became Canada’s official flag on Feb. 15, 1965. Thirty-five years later, retired diplomat Geoffrey Pearson, son of then-Prime Minister Lester Pearson, recalls his father’s efforts to make it happen:

“My father wanted Canada to have its own flag since he was a soldier in the First World War: it was a symbolic way to demonstrate we were no longer a colony. And there were people in his office from Quebec who said it was essential to national unity. He knew Dief [Progressive Conservative Leader

John Diefenbaker] would be bitterly opposed, but that was no problem. My father knew he could win.

“He chose to first propose the idea to a Royal Canadian Legion group in Win-

nipeg: they were against it, and they booed him and gave him a very, very hard time, because they had all fought under the old Red Ensign. The flag had been an issue for years: certainly, there was a lot of talk around the time of Mackenzie King that it was time we as a country had our own flag. But when it came time for action, politicians wouldn’t touch it, because it was too emotional. People thought my father was mild-mannered and bent too easily, but

on this subject, he was very determined. He had promised this in his election platform, and that was it.

“He didn’t talk a lot about the flag after it was introduced, but it was clear he was extremely proud. The flag is such a part of our lives now that it’s hard to recall how controversial it all was. I don’t think that often about my family

connection. But sometimes when I’m overseas, I see kids with it sewn into their backpacks, and it makes me feel very proud, to see young people with such a visible sign of pride in their country.”