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Julian Beltrame February 5 2001

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Julian Beltrame February 5 2001

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@macleans.ca

Edited by Anthony Wilson-Smith with Shanda Deziel

Anthony Wilson-Smith

Shanda Deziel

Over and Under Achievers

So Bernie, about that red rag

News you can snooze by: Cleaning up Landry! Oh, baby, Celine! It’s no time to be coy, Roy! And adieu to Alberta!

Bernard Landry!: The Don Cherry of Quebec politics unites federalists and sovereigntists in disdain. New motto for federalists: “With enemies like him, who needs friends?”

Lucien Bouchard: Say this for Landry’s soon-to-be-ex-boss: he was easily humiliated, but never humiliating.

^ Roy Romanow: After almost a decade as Sask premier and 30 years of politics, the Big Guy walks off the national stage. Fed-prov conferences won’t be the same anymore.

^ The PM: He wangles an invite to see Dubya at the White House Feb. 5. But will they need an English-to-English interpreter?

^ Celine Dion: Has a healthy baby boy. Great news—just please don’t tell us the intimate details.

^F Alberta separatists: If they do get their way, driving from B.C. to Saskatchewan will be so much faster!

OVERBITES

“We are not for sale. Quebec has no intention of streetwalking for a piece of red rag or anything else.”

-Quebec deputy premier Bernard Landry, in an apparent reference to the Canadian flag, says Quebec won’t fly it in exchange for federal funding

“People were furious, furious, furious. They said,

‘Can you imagine if Jean Chrétien said that about the Quebec flag?’... Even sovereigntists said Canada is our main ally, were not at war with Canada, and we don’t want to be.”

-Robert Gillet, host of Quebec City’s top-rated morning radio show

“Quebec must be the only place in the democratic world where citizens cannot freely hoist the flag of their country. Why isn't there a place for the flag of Canada beside Quebec’s?”

-Jérémie Dunn of St-Hubert, Que., one of many readers of Montreal’s La Presse newspaper who wrote in to protest Landry’s remarks

“I regret that certain people are upset, particularly in English Canada. I apologize for the effect of that choice of words. ... I will try to be polite, moderate and have a better choice of words than I had yesterday. But I will tell [the federal government] what I think about what they are doing.”

-Landry apologizes-sort of

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Not so Frank after all

Here’s a worrisome thought for Nova Scotia’s business, political and social elite: Frank magazine, the satirical Halifax-based scandal sheet, has had it with playing mister nice guy. So, at least, warns David Bendey, who, along with Lyndon Watkins—a former Globe and Mail Report on Business reporter—were the co-publishers and principal shareholders in the biweekly until they sold their shares to staff member Clifford Boutilier, the new publisher, last September. “It may gain an edge,” says Bendey, 57, who is surrendering his editorial role and stepping down as president of Coltsfoot Publishing Ltd., the magazine’s parent company. “We were to some extent a restraining influence on these guys.”

Restraint is hardly the kind of description normally reserved for a publication that dishes the dirt on the rich and famous, makes fun of the fat, bald and

pompous, and publicizes adulterous affairs and messy divorces. Last year, in fact, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia ordered Frank to pay $60,000 to Halifax West MP Gordon Earle after he brought a libel suit against the magazine. But that kind of setback hasn’t hurt readership in Nova Scotia, where Frank's circulation is around 12,000 and the gossip-laden mag remains a guilty pleasure. (Watkins and Bentley started a central Canadian version of the magazine, published in Ottawa, in 1989, and sold it nine years later to editor Michael Bate.) “Nova Scotia is a really wired place,” says Bentley, who is not sure what he will do next. “There’s an understanding down here that it’s people that make the world go round.”

John DeMont

OK. go Touch that Dial!

Unless you live in Newfoundland or British Columbia, the odds are that you've been watching less television recently. A study released last week by Statistics Canada showed that TV viewing reached a two-decade low in Canada in the fall of1999: Canadians watched for an average of21.6 hours per week, a large drop fom the 1988 peak of 23.5 hours. Some other StatsCan findings:

• All age groups and both sexes are watching less.

• Two-thirds of viewing time is spent watching foreignproduced—mosdy American-made—programs.

• Newfoundland and British Columbia are the only provinces where TV viewing hours increased. B.C. residents watch an average of 20.7 hours a week— which is actually below the national average. Newfoundlanders (24.5 hours) and French-speaking Quebecers (25.5 hours) spend the most time in front of the set.

• The key reasons for the decline are more time spent moviegoing or on the Internet, and specialty channels that draw viewers away from traditional networks.

No Its—or Butts

The mega-city of Ottawa has added a formidable weapon as it prepares to ban smoking in all public places later this year. One of its highprofile hires was Marie-Josée Lapointe, a former deputy press secretary under Brian Mulroney. More to the point, the vivacious Lapointe spent the past seven years as communications director for the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers’ Council.

Now, she’ll help persuade Ottawa residents that smoking should be banned from all restaurants and pubs,

Lapointe says she’ll

have no difficulty switching sides. “We never really got involved in the debate over bylaws in municipalities,” she says of her time with the tobacco council. The prospect of seeing Lapointe in her new role provoked a chuckle from David Laundy, the tobacco council’s vice-president for Western Canada. The council’s position on smoking bans is it recognizes people shouldn’t be unwill; ingly exposed to second! hand smoke, but feels that goal can be achieved in other ways—such as by proper ventilation. As to Lapointe, said Laundy: “She’s a professional— she’ll do what she has to.”

Julian Beltrame