The Week That Was

The Week That Was

March 4 2002
The Week That Was

The Week That Was

March 4 2002

The Week That Was

A team divided

Jean Chrétien and the country's premiers wrapped up 10 days of travel to Russia and Germany last week, calling their Team Canada trade mission a success. Debatable, given that 41 contracts worth only $312 million were signed-and given the scuffle that erupted over the 1997 Kyoto accord. Under Kyoto, Canada is to cut greenhouse gas emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels by 2010. But during a media conference in Moscow, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein produced a letter calling on the federal Liberals to back away from ratifying the accord.

Klein says that to meet the Kyoto targets, Alberta’s oil and gas companies-the mainstays of the provincial economy but major producers of greenhouse gases-would be badly hurt. Ontario Premier Mike Harris said he supported Alberta’s position because the United States, the province’s major trading partner, has refused to sign the accord. But Quebec distanced itself from Klein’s initiative, and later went a step further, saying that Alberta should pay the lion’s share of the cost of greenhouse gas reductions because it produces the most emissions.

And Manitoba’s Gary Doer and Saskatchewan’s Lome Calvert both said they support the basic principles of Kyoto. At week’s end, Klein apologized for the letter.

Goodbye Eatons

It’s the final farewell. After 133 years, the Eaton name will no longer grace any retail stores in Canada. Sears Canada Inc., which bought the bankrupt Eaton’s department store chain in 1999, said it will close or convert the seven remaining stores by summer. Sears renovated and relaunched the stores, deapostrophized as Eatons, in 2000 as upmarket outlets. But the expense of the refit and the onset of recession undermined the business plan,

at a time when discounter Wal-Mart is the darling of the retail industry. Analysts also said middle-market Sears never managed to create the high-end cachet Eatons needed. Five stores will be converted to Sears outlets. The future is undecided for two located in malls that already contain a Sears. Hello, Wal-Mart?

Liberal infighting

A caucus meeting turned into a shouting match as critics of Industry

Minister Allan Rock jeered him over his dispute with Finance Minister Paul Martin. At issue is the timehonored tradition of leadership candidates signing up new supporters en masse in advance of a vote.

Rock refused to back away from his charges that more restrictive membership rules, which Martin’s people are fighting for, are skewed to favour their candidate. Rock did, however, distance himself from Warren Kinsella, one of his advisers, saying he was “appalled” by Kinsel-

la’s attacks on two pro-Martin MPs. Kinsella, who has apologized, implied that moves byToronto-area MP Dan McTeague and Ontario caucus chairman John McKay to restrict membership drives-which have generally focussed on ethnic groups-could exclude minorities.

Pig farm murder arrest

RCMP arrested Robert Pickton in the case of 50 missing women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and charged him with two counts of first-

The Week That Was

degree murder. Police found the remains of two people on the Port Coquitlam, B.C., pig farm they have been searching since Feb. 6. Pickton, 52, is one of two brothers who owns the farm. Police said they expect to spend several more months searching the farm.

What alliance?

Canadian Alliance leadership candidate Grant Hill suggested former party leader Stockwell Day has been dishonest and isn’t fit to lead the party. Going on the attack, Hill accused Day of hypocrisy for criticizing him and Stephen Harper,

another candidate, for trying to make “backroom deals” -even as Day himself was seeking a deal with Hill.

Ipperwash lawsuit

Outgoing Ontario Premier Mike Harris launched a $15-million libel suit against the Globe and Mail. At issue is a Dec. 14,2001, article that he says falsely accused him of giving police orders that resulted in the 1995 shooting death of native protester Dudley George at Ipperwash

Provincial Park.The Globe says it plans to fight the suit.

Killer dogs

In a case that has rocked Los Angeles, testimony began in the trial of lawyers Marjorie Knoller and her now-estranged husband, Robert Noel.The two are charged with involuntary manslaughter, keeping mischievous dogs and, in Knoller’s case, second-degree murder in the death of their neighbour, Diane Whipple—fatally mauled to death by the two huge Presa Canario dogs the couple kept in their apartment. The dogs, known to be favoured

Desperate measures

Just hours after Israeli warships and helicopter gunships pounded targets across the West Bank and Gaza Strip in a new wave of reprisal attacks, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced plans to set up special “buffer zones” to protect Israelis. Sharon, who is under intense pressure to act amid the worst sustained violence in nearly 17 months of conflict, gave few details about the scheme. But his comments were widely

interpreted to mean he would put slices of Palestinian-ruled territory bordering the Jewish state back under Israeli military control to increase security and prevent the movement of suicide bombers into the country.

Last week’s fighting, in which more than 60 Palestinians and Israelis died, left international peace efforts in tatters. The Israeli attacks came after Palestinian gunmen killed six Israeli soldiers on Feb. 19 near Ramallah. Palestinians said 12 of those killed

by Israelis in the pre-dawn reprisal raids were policemen. Four people were also killed in a missile attack on Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat’s seaside compound in Gaza. Despite that, Arafat reiterated his call for a Palestinian ceasefire, and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said during a visit to Spain that a negotiated settlement was the only way out of the morass. But Sharon appears to increasingly believe that separating the warring sides is the only solution to the violence.

The Week That Was

guard animals by drug dealers, were owned by Paul Schneider, 39, a white supremacist prison inmate who had been legally adopted by the couple and was allegedly running a “war dogs” breeding operation from prison.

Milosevic on the stand

A 67-year-old ethnic-Albanian farmer sat three metres from Slobodan Milosevic at the former Yugoslav president’s war crimes trial in The Hague and accused him of being responsible for "unimaginable atrocities" in Kosovo. Fehim Elshani o. said Serb soldiers I attacked his village = in March, 1999,

1 rounded up 20,000 people, shelled them in the dead of night and extorted thousands of dollars to let them leave for Albania. But Milosevic won a victory of sorts when tribunal judges excluded testimony from the prosecution’s senior investigator, saying it was based on hearsay. Kevin Curtis was to testify about the sites where Serb forces allegedly murdered ethnic Albanians.

Body count in Georgia

Investigators continued to find corpses and human remains in sheds, vaults and pits surrounding the Tri-State Crematory in Noble, Ga. Since the case first came to light on Feb. 15, more than 240 bodies of people who were supposed to have been cremated have been discovered. Crematorium owner Ray Brent Marsh, who took over the business in 1996, has said his incinerator was not working for some time. He has been jailed on 16 counts of theft and deception.

Sky wars

Canadians will find more discount air travel choices come summer, even though an investors’ group has abandoned plans to resurrect bankrupt carrier Canada 3000. Air Canada said its discount airline Tango would expand its summer schedule, in line with CEO Robert Milton’s prediction that Tango will drive the company’s growth. And Conquest Vacations, one of the country’s largest tour operators, and Skyservice Airlines Inc., which briefly ran Roots Air last year, said they will team up to provide 74 domestic flights a week at competitive rates. A group associated with defunct Royal Aviation Inc. has also said it will be in the no-frills game.