The Week That Was

The Week That Was

A sober Klein vows to change his ways 'one day at a time'

December 31 2001
The Week That Was

The Week That Was

A sober Klein vows to change his ways 'one day at a time'

December 31 2001

The Week That Was

A sober Klein vows to change his ways 'one day at a time'

“I think I have the ability to fight this devil and win.” So said Ralph Klein, during an emotional news conference at which the Alberta premier acknowledged a 30-year problem with alcohol. Klein’s admission came on the heels of an impromptu and widely publicized early-morning-hours visit on Dec. 12 to an Edmonton men’s hostel, during which he berated people in the lobby. Klein immediately tried to explain his outburst by saying he had

consumed “some drinks” at a dinner party that night. But at a Dec. 18 news conference, he went further, tearfully telling reporters he had a drinking problem that had interfered with his ability to do his job-and had made him think about resigning in the wake of the homeless shelter incident.

Klein, 59, vowed to stop drinking, with the support of his wife of 29 years, Colleen, and to stay on as premier. “I think I have the ability to

carry on with the job,” he said. “I am going to go as long as I possibly can and hopefully end this journey without having another drink. One day at a time.” Albertans, meanwhile, appeared to be supportive. “Ralph can run the country half drunk better than the other people we have in charge,” said one caller to a radio phone-in show.

Should Ralph Klein have resigned?

www.niacleans.ca

Unfriendly neighbours

Relations between India and Pakistan-never good at the best of times-deteriorated even further in the wake of the Dec. 13 suicide attack on the national parliament complex in New Delhi. India blames the assault-in which 14 people, including all five attackers, died-on Pakistani militants who are fighting to separate Kashmir from India, and accused Pakistan’s intelligence service of sponsoring it. Officials in Islamabad denied the allegations, saying India was not interested in finding out the truth but was trying to avoid talks on Kashmir. Since their division into separate nations

Amit Bhargava/AP

Protesting in New Delhi

after independence from Britain in 1947, Islamic Pakistan and majorityHindu India have fought three wars, two of them over their competing claims to the disputed region, which is mostly Muslim. Each of the nuclear-armed nations put its army

on high alert on Dec. 18, with India

saying war was a legitimate response to the suicide attack.

Feeling better?

When the tally is in for 2001, Canada’s total health spending will likely have broken the $ 100-billion mark for the first time—an average of $3,298 a person. According to the calculations by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, an independent agency that answers to ministers of health, hospitals, drugs and physician services take the lion’s share. Total health spending for the year is expected to account for 9.4 per cent of GDR up from 9.1 in 2000 and tying Canada with France for

third place, following the United States and Germany.

Who’s in charge?

Chastised both at home and abroad, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat followed up his television appeal for an end to suicide attacks against Israel by arresting 15 members of his own security force and closing more than two dozen offices of the militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. But with the clampdown generating little support in Palestine or the Arab world, even Israeli reaction was difficult to gauge. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres suggested Israel will end its tank-led blockade of cities when it feels Arafat’s Palestinian Authority is taking charge. A more hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reiterated the right to make military incursions into Palestinian territory in pursuit of terrorists. Sharon also told British Prime MinisterTony Blair that several recent attacks on Israel were carried out by groups directly linked to Arafat.

Off death row

To some, he is a vicious cop killer, to others a victim of a racist frameup. But as of Dec. 19, Mumia AbuJamal, 47, was no longer condemned to death row. In a ruling that satisfied neither camp, U.S. Federal Court

Judge William Yohn threw out the death sentence for the former Black Panther who was convicted in 1982 of the 1981 mur der of Philadelphia police officer

Daniel Faulkner. Yohn ordered a new sentencing hearing-but refused to grant Abu-Jamal a new trial. His lawyers, noting they have new evidence to clear him, described the ruling as only a partial victory. The officer’s widow, Maureen Faulkner, called Yohn “a sick and twisted person.”

Million-dollar man

Scott Paterson, the once high-flying investment banker who was fired recently from his post as chairman and CEO ofYorkton Securities Inc. ofToronto, agreed to pay $1 million to the Ontario Securities Commission. Yorkton will also make a “voluntary payment” of $1.25 million.

The settlement deals were struck following an 18-month investigation by the regulator into the financing of small companies by Yorkton that were conducted, both sides agreed, in a “culture of noncompliance” with conflict-of-interest rules. Paterson’s actions, while not breaking securities law, were "contrary to the public interest.” Paterson is not allowed to work for a securities firm for two years.

And they’re off

The long-awaited insurance wars began with a friendly bid by Sun Life Financial Services of Canada Inc. for Clarica Life Insurance Co.

On Jan. 1, Ottawa will allow rivals to take over midsized insurers like Clarica under rules laid out after

most major firms abandoned mutual ownership by policyholders and went public.Toronto-based Sun Life offered $7.3 billion for Clarica, headquartered in Waterloo, Ont.

But many analysts expected competing bids, possibly from Winnipegbased Great-West Lifeco Inc. and Manulife Financial Corp. ofToronto.

Villeneuve’s secret

Jacques Villeneuve deserves an Academy Award. The 1997 Formula One world champion hit the slopes with a heavy heart but put on a happy face on the weekend of Dec. 14 to 16 while hosting the Grand Prix 24h de Tremblant in Quebec-a celebrity charity ski race that raised $300,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Only hours before the event, Villeneuve, 30,

Argentina's deadly economic protests

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of many of Argentina’s largest cities, including the capital, Buenos Aires, to protest the government’s handling of the economy. At least 20 people were killed and hundreds injured in widespread rioting and looting that on Dec. 19 prompted President Fernando de la Rua to declare a 30-day state of siege. The emergency declaration

allowed authorities to suspend most civil liberties while giving police greater powers to make arrests. On Dec. 20, Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo, whom many Argentines blame for failing to puli the economy out of a fouryear recession that has seen unemployment top 18 per cent, submitted his resignation. Hours later the president himself resigned.

learned his friend and mentor Craig Pollock was forced to resign as managing director from British American Racing, the team the two created in 1997. (He’s being replaced by Subaru world rally boss David Richards.) Although Villeneuve said he “was gutted” by the news, he and Pollock decided to keep it a secret and not spoil the weekend.

It was the first time Villeneuve hosted a 24-hour charity ski event in Canada, using the same format of his successful European event now entering its fourth year. And he was joined by personalities like singer Roch Voisine and fiancée Kimberly Bemis,TV star Shaun Ben-

son (The Associates) and Olympic gold medallist Myriam Bédard.

When Pollock’s departure was announced on Dec. 17, Villeneuve turned his attention back to his day job. Winless since 1997, the StJean-sur-Richelieu native might now be tempted to leave the struggling team. “For sure it's a difficult moment,” said Villeneuve at the BAR 2002 launch, which took place on Dec. 18. “But it is not a team of just one man-it’s a team where there are many people and we have to continue.” And there is a silver lining: Villeneuve said Pollock will resume working as his personal manager, as he was before BAR was started.

Canada joins the hunt for bin Laden

With the Taliban defeated after 73 days of fighting, the war in Afghanistan became a manhunt for terrorist Osama bin Laden-although the quarry appeared to have vanished. U.S. helicopters flew night missions through mountain valleys in the Tora Bora region of eastern Afghanistan while Afghan fighters, backed by U.S. and British forces, continued their sweep of caves in the region. But according to some intelligence reports, bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar may have crossed into northern Pakistan. That prompted a senior U.S. official to issue a blunt warning. “Any country,” said deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz, “that would harbour bin

Laden would be out of their minds.” In an attempt to discover bin Laden’s whereabouts, the U.S. military interrogated prisoners belonging to his Al-Qaeda network. Meanwhile, increasing evidence came to light that Al-Qaeda reached into Canada. According to The Toronto Sun, Marwan Al-Shehhi, 23, one of the hijackers of the jetliner that crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, lived in a Toronto highrise just months before the attack.

More than 12 tenants, shown pictures of Al-Shehhi by the RCMP, recognized the suicide pilot. A second suspected Al-Qaeda terrorist now being held in the U.S., Nabil al-Marabh, lived in the same

building in an apartment rented by his uncle, Toronto businessman Ahmad Shehab, who is also under investigation.

In Afghanistan, 40 members of

Canada's elite Joint Task Force 2 commando unit were deployed near Kandahar to join the search for bin Laden. As many as 1,000 Canadian soldiers are also poised to join a UN peacekeeping force of 5,000 troops. And military action against bin Laden spread outside Afghanistan as troops in Yemen clashed with militants linked to the terrorist, leaving 12 people from both sides dead and 22 wounded.

In Brussels, where he was addressing NATO, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld welcomed the Yemeni action and issued a sombre warning, saying terrorists could wreak “destruction in London or Paris with nuclear or biological weapons.” Such fears only added to the urgency of the continuing hunt.