Private eyes, they’re watching you

Shanda Deziel,Sharon Doyle Driedger March 18 2002

Private eyes, they’re watching you

Shanda Deziel,Sharon Doyle Driedger March 18 2002

Private eyes, they’re watching you


Shanda Deziel

Amy Cameron

A woman drops off her child at school and then gets her hair cut.

In the afternoon, she goes to the gym and then meets a man-not her husband-for a drink in a hotel bar. She is followed the entire day, not by the typical dark, smoky image of a hardnosed PI, but by the most unassuming people imaginable-two middleaged, mild-mannered women.2

Amanda Haddon and Genevieve Benedet, both 41, are the team behind Ground Force Investigations. They can blend in most anywhereincluding hockey arenas, hair salons, bars, grocery stores, schools and shopping malls. And they have found other ways that their sex is an asset in a profession dominated by men.“People don’t suspect us,” says Haddon,

“because women are naturally nosy.” Both of these Burlington, Ont.based private eyes had some experience in investigating before opening their own agency in 2000. British-born Haddon (whose maiden name is, believe it or not, Bond) worked at MI5, British intelligence, in London before moving to Ontario with her Canadian husband in the early '80s. Benedet, who always wanted to be a lawyer, took courses in criminology and then went to work at an Oakville, Ont., detective agency before hooking up with Haddon. Both women have children and have found that their job is compatible with family life-they make their own hours, taking on as much or as little work as they please, and their kids think it’s pretty cool.

Their cases range from background checks and suspected adultery to locating missing persons and integrity testing in the workplace. And they have discovered they are quite suited to the job. Women, they say, tend to observe details in a way that men sometimes miss-what their subject is wearing, what they buy at the store, how many times they use the bathroom. In addition, people coming into their offices find them unthreatening. “Men tend to interrogate. Women tend to interview,” explains Haddon. “People are coming to you under great stress.” Adds Benedet: “And it is very difficult for them to talk to a male.” One part of their job they don’t like: going through people’s garbage.

Over and Under Achievers

A Princely manor

Bill Graham and Jean Chrétien: So what is the government saying about Israel? Foreign affairs minister waters down criticisms on the fly, takes heat anyway. PM delivers a blandly pro-Israel speech a few hours later, basks in cheers. A mixed message is a muddled message.

4* Gary Doer: Manitoba premier admits provs have to fix their health policies, not just howl for more money from feds. Sensible. Unheard of.

Ogopogo: Lake Okanagan monster ready for a $32-million movie close-up. Canadian Bruce “JFK” Greenwood signed to star. Move over, Nessie.

Stewart Phillip: Penticton, B.C., chief protests “exploitation” of Ogopogo, pushes for references to the native legend to be dropped from movie. But don’t cool creatures cross cultures?

The West Wing: A surprisingly good rendition of 0 Canada at birthday party for First Lady, but President Bartlet et al. talk through it.

4Ê* Prince: Buys a $5.5-million Toronto house. Should liven up Street Formerly Known as The Bridle Path.

Amy Cameron

Liesi-von Trapped in her role

Charmian Carr is a

mother, grandmother, actor, author of two books, interior designer.

But to most, and especially to The Sound of Music fans, Carr will always be Liesl-the beautiful 16-going-on-17year-old daughter of the

von Trapp family. In Toronto for the second-season opening of the blockbuster Sing-A-Long Sound of Music show, Carr was immersed in all things Liesl once again. And with patience, charm and a lunch of rare steak In front of her, Carr, 59, finished some familiar song lyrics started by Maclean’s Assistant Editor Amy Cameron:

How do you solve a problem like...

“answering questions about Liesl as though it were the first time you’ve ever been asked?”

When I was 16 going

on 17... “I wasn’t as young and naive as Liesl was. And I would never have been so bold as to go after Rolf.”

Small and white, clean and bright is the best way to describe... “my

little Emma. My granddaughter. She is small and white and very bright.”

I must have done something good when... “I decided to give up acting and have two daughters.”

When you read you begin with A-B-C, when you act you begin with... “a lot of luck and good genes.”

The hills are alive.. .“with the sound of money for 20th CenturyFox.”

Riding the wave of T Bone mania

The hottest producer in pop music-if that’s the right term for the soulful bluegrass of the 0 Brother, Where Art Thou? CD-is T Bone Burnett. And nobody is happier about the wave of acclaim for the American studio legend than Cameron Strang, the Canadian co-president of Burnett’s brand-new label, DMZ Music. The deal to create DMZ as a joint venture with Columbia Records was finalized in mid-February-just in time for the T Bone-mania that spread in advance of this year’s Grammys, where Burnett, 54, was named producer of the year for the 0 Brother soundtrack. The filmmaking Coen brothers-Ethan,the movie’s producer, and Joel, its director-are also partners in DMZ.

Strang’s credentials for joining forces with the likes of Burnett and the Coens were earned in the cultish world of indie recording. About six

years ago, the Vancouver lawyer decided to pursue a music-lover’s dream by founding New West Records Inc. The company succeeded on the strength of its rootsy artists, including honky-tonk hero Billy Joe Shaver and bluesman Delbert McClintonexactly the sort of acts Burnett respects. DMZ will be driven by the same taste for the authentic, but with Burnett’s creative stamp. “T Bone’s T Bone,” Strang says. “He has an identity and personality all his own."

Strang, 35, has been heading New West out of Los Angeles for over three years, and plans to stay in L.A. as he moves to DMZ. But his ties to home will give the prestigious new label a Canadian connection. In May, Strang plans to bringT Bone to Vancouver for the New Music West festival, an annual showcase for up-and-coming musicians. Memo to Vancouver bands: start polishing your demo tapes.

It’s not easy being green

It’s the longest consecutively running St. Patrick’s Day parade in the

worldThis March 17, Montreal’s Irish community, all decked out in shamrocks, will parade down Ste-Catherlne Streetforthe 178th yearin a row.“The torch is passed on through the generations,” says the city’s parade director Stephen Dowd. “We’re proud of our Irish roots, that’s what keeps the parade going.” Well, that and a stubborn determination to march on through snow, sleet and political controversy.

In the newly published The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick’s Day, authors Mike Cronin and Daryl Adair tell how the Montreal parade persisted despite concerns over, among other things, Fenian uprisings, and how, in 1877, Toronto dispensed with the annual ritual after violent clashes between Catholics and Protestants, but resurrected its parade in 1988. An engaging mix of history and lore, The Wearing of the Green looks at St. Patrick’s Day festivities around the world. It also explores the Celtic myths that have grown up around the saint-a Roman Briton-as the anniversary of his death evolved

from a religious feast to a boisterous secular event, notorious for green beer and “Kiss Me I’m Irish” buttons.

St. Patrick’s Day has lost much of its spiritual meaning, but that, the authors suggest, is one of the reasons it’s thriving. “It’s a day when everybody can be Irish,” says Cronin-even the Caribbean band playing Danny Boy on its steel drums through the streets of Montreal.

Sharon Doyle Driedger