The PM's fave new sport

Anthony Wilson-Smith February 19 2001


The PM's fave new sport

Anthony Wilson-Smith February 19 2001

Overture @macleans.ca

The PM's fave new sport

Anthony Wilson-Smith

Shanda Deziel


Jean Chrétien: Scores a political hat trick as he makes nice to George Dubya, scores PR bonanza by leading Team Canada trade trip, and his people dust Paul Martin supporters in caucus fracas. Who loves ya, baby? All the right people—for now, at least.

Valentine’s Day: A reminder that if you don’t hug your spouse often enough, chances are someone else will.

Goin’ fishin’: George Dubya does it, and— surprise!—the PM wants to join him. Good thing the Prez isn’t into jet-skiing, game hunting or sky-diving.

Common sense: Ontario judge blames boss for injuries to woman who drank too much at office party, ignored warnings, got behind wheel of car and got in accident. After all, coworkers could have chloroformed her first.

Supermarket tabloids: Receive the greatest Valentine's gift of all—breaking news about Tom and Nicole!

The economy: So would you prefer a) lower interest rates, which drive the value of our dollar even lower, or b) higher interest rates, which slow the economy still further? And why does it feel like either way, we lose?

His salary? Well tell you—for $400.

Kelvin Ogilvie, the president of Acadia University, doesn’t seem to understand public relations. During his seven year tenure, he’s won kudos for making laptop computers mandatory for all students, but has openly feuded with alumni and the faculty association. Now, controversy is swirling around Acadia’s refusal to reveal the size of paycheques that Ogilvie and other senior administrators receive from the Wolfville, N.S., school. Acadia brass decreed last fall that anyone wanting that info—which most universities provide freely—had to buy the Employee Earnings Information Booklet for $400. That prompted two newspapers to appeal to the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Irene Armstrong, Acadia’s FOIPOP administrator, says the price tag was always “negotiable.”

But the only buyer has been the student newspaper, The Athenaeum, which promptly published Ogilvie’s $173,628 salary. With another $31,249 in pensions, car and housing allowances, that makes Ogilvie the province’s second-highest paid university president. (Dalhousie’s Tom Través has salary and benefits totalling $267,000.)

But that didn’t end the tempest. On Jan. 23, Darce Fardy, Nova Scotia’s freedom-of-information review officer, determined the document price is too high, and gave Acadia 30 days to reconsider. “We will respect the act,” Armstrong said last week. “We just haven’t made a decision how to respond yet.”      John DeMont


Snow’s hottest toy

For those who have mastered skateboarding and snowboarding, its time to tackle the snowdeck. The new toy for cold weather is a snowboard without bindings, topped by a skateboard without wheels. Risers hold the two pieces together. Since the top deck is elevated, the board turns and stops easily: the elevation provides leverage. And because the rider isn’t attached to the board, skateboard-style tricks can be performed on snow. Snowdecks will be cheaper than snowboards and can be used in a variety of locations. Riders honing their skills can even do so in parks and backyards. Burton Snowboards distributed the Junkyard Snowdeck to employees at Christmas, and will hold demonstrations at resorts this spring. Expect a major push of the new snow toy next fall. S.D.

A different kind of Neilson rating

Like many professional snowboarders, Drew Neilson of Vernon, B.C., was a downhill ski racer first. “A James Bond movie got me psyched about snowboarding,” says Neilson. He describes a scene in A View to a Kill, in which Bond “crashes his snowmobile and, to get away, breaks the skis off and snowboards down—shooting people along the way.”

Although Neilson, 26, is one of the world’s top snowboarders, he’s more likely to be found at extreme sporting events like the X-Games than at the Olympics. Neilson’s event of choice, snowboard cross, is not an Olympic sport. In border cross, five participants hurl down a course, hitting jumps and hairpin turns while trying not to knock into one another. The first across the finish line wins.

Neilson was the 2000 X-Games border-cross champion, but this year lost the tide to Calgary’s Scott Gaffney. In Neilson’s semifinal round at the Vermont event, another rider drifted underneath him in the air. In order not to land on him, Neilson leaned back and came down hard on his body and his board—which snapped through the middle. As one of the XGames favourites, going home without the gold was tough for the B.C. boarder. “I had a little bit of a bruised ass,” he says, “and a bruised ego.”


Sure, the Inuit have 100 words for snow —but they now face competition from boarders in racking up terms for the white fluff stuff:

BASE: A firm layer of hard-packed snow covering the bare ground. 

BREAKABLE CRUST: A condition in which the snow surface freezes to a crust with loose snow beneath. This usually happens in spring, following warm weather, wind, sleet or freezing rain.

BULLET PROOF: Super-hard or frozen snow.

CEMENT: Heavy snow found in coastal regions.

CRUD: Varied, inconsistent snow.         S.D.


“My ambition in life isn’t to go fishing with the President of the U.S. A buddy-buddy attitude isn’t appropriate in relations between states. It creates the wrong impression.”

-Jean Chrétien, as Opposition leader in 1993, on how he would behave in office


“We talked about fishing. I could use a few techniques when it comes to small-mouth bass. And one day, if all works well, he could come down and catch large-mouth bass in my ranch.”

-President George W. Bush after his meeting last week with Chrétien. The PM laughed and nodded agreement


“When you need us, we’ll be there.”

-The PM to Bush


“You’ve got a helluva boss.”

-Bush to Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley after the meeting


Diagnosed: Health Minister Allan Rock, 53, was scheduled to undergo surgery this week for localized prostate cancer at Toronto General Hospital. The cancer was detected by regular prostate testing and confirmed by an ultrasound examination and a biopsy on Jan. 5. Doctors say the surgical procedure will effect a total cure and Rock should return to work in six to eight weeks. Alliance MP and former Reform Party leader Preston Manning, 58, returned to Parliament last week after similar surgery in December.

Died: Former Manitoba Liberal MP David Iftody, 44, was a devout Catholic who opposed his party’s views on same-sex benefits and gun control. The former youth-care worker and consultant was elected in 1993 and 1997, but lost his seat in last fall's election. Last week, Iftody suffered a lacerated liver when his snowmobile crashed into a tree at his Lac du Bonnet, Man., home. He died from internal bleeding.

Died: “Queen of the West” Dale Evans, 88, was famous for her partnership with husband and cowboy actor Roy Rogers. They made their first movie, The Cowboy and the Señorita, in 1944 and married in 1947. The pair filmed 35 westerns, often also starring their respective horses, Buttermilk and Trigger, and acted together in three television series. In 1951, Evans co-wrote their theme song, Happy Trails. Rogers died in 1998. Evans died of heart failure at her desert home in California.

Died: Fulgence Charpentier, 103, had an 86-year career in journalism, working for newspapers in Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City. He wrote a weekly column, on a typewriter, for Ottawa’s Le Droit until 1999. Charpentier had a law degree and was Canada’s director of censorship during the Second World War. On his 100th birthday, he said: “If I live until 2001, I will have passed through three centuries. I’ll make the effort.” Charpentier died of pneumonia in Ottawa.

Separated: After 10 years of marriage, Hollywood movie star Tom Cruise filed for divorce from his wife, actress Nicole Kidman. Cruise is seeking joint custody of the couple’s two adopted children. Cruise, 38, and Kidman, 33—who met on the set of the 1990 movie Days of Thunder— were viewed within Hollywood as one of the most secure celebrity couples. Their publicist denied suggestions that the Church of Scientology, to which the couple belong, played a part in the split.