The Week That Was

THE FINAL FAREWELL

April 22 2002
The Week That Was

THE FINAL FAREWELL

April 22 2002

The Week That Was

THE FINAL FAREWELL

The naysayers spoke of public indifference. But Britons proved them wrong as they paid their respects to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. As many as 400,000 lined London streets as her coffin was taken to lie in state at Westminster Hall. Waiting in queues for up to 12 hours, people forced officials to keep the hall open day and night. “We are the silent majority,” one mourner said, “voting with our feet.” On the evening before the funeral, her four grandsons, led by Prince Charles, stood guard in a 20-minute vigil over the Queen Mum’s coffin. In a televised broadcast, Queen Elizabeth II said she was “deeply moved” by the outpouring of affection.

Accompanied by the massed pipes and muffled drums of 13 regiments, the Queen Mum’s coffin was then taken the short distance to Westminster Abbey. There, Irish Guardsmen slowly carried the coffin-covered with her personal standard and topped with her crown and

a wreath from her daughter-toward the altar. After the funeral, a million people came out to watch as the coffin was transported to Windsor Castle. There, at St. George’s Chapel, she was buried beside her husband, King George VI, who died in 1952. The ashes of their daughter,

Princess Margaret, were also interred there.The Queen, the surviving member of “Us four," as George VI called his family, had the wreath from her mother’s coffin placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey-where the Queen Mother placed her wedding bouquet 79 years ago.

POMP AND SPECTACLE

Maclean’s Hazel Willis, a native of Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire, England, flew home to be among those paying their respects to the Queen Mother. Her observations from behind the barriers:

The Queen Mother’s funeral on April 9 was a triumph of organization and spectacle, as we knew it would be. The weather was on her side as the sun broke through the overcast morning. Nurse Collette Eames and her sons Jonathon, 14, and Matthew, 9, were among the

onlookers. They made the trip from their village of Whitfield, 450 km north of London, because the boys had never been to the capital and because, Eames said, she was overcome by “an overwhelming sense of history and that this was an opportunity of a lifetime.”

The crowd was respectful, but cheery. We were there, after all, to say goodbye to a lady who had lived a long, full life. People were moved not so much to tears as expressions of sympathy for Queen Elizabeth II and her family, and sincere appreciation for all that the Queen Mother meant to the nation. They chatted about another big question in Britain-why does Tony Blair act so presidential—and speculated about the future of Camilla Parker Bowles, who attended the funeral at the Queen’s invitation. Amid the pomp and pageantry, it was evident that the mismatched union of Charles and Diana produced the two royal stars of tomorrow, princes William and Harry, who, given time, should ensure that the royal family lives to reign another day.

‘REMEMBERING THE SACRIFICES MADE’

Paul Métivier of Ottawa lied about his age when he enlisted in the artillery at 16. Now a 101-year-old veteran of the First World War, he was among the dozens of soldiers, dignitaries and spectators who commemorated the 85th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge at the War Memorial in Ottawa and in northwestern

France at the soaring Vimy monument. "I feel good that people are remembering the sacrifices that were made,” the frail, retired civil servant said as he braved a cold spring morning in the nation’s capital.

The ceremonies, with a trumpeter sounding the last post and a piper skirling a lament,

marked that blustery morning on April 9,1917-Easter Monday that year-when the Canadian Corps stormed the ridge, a key bastion of the German front line in France.

Four Canadian divisions, fighting together for the first time, took only three days to seize the entire ridge that had frustrated British and French armies through repeated attacks. The Canadians suffered 10,000 casualties, including 3,598

dead. The victory soon took on mythic proportions, with historians saying it forged Canada as a nation. Veterans Affairs Minister Ray Pagtakhan, noting that most of the veterans of the war have died, said Canadians must never forget the story of Vimy Ridge and the men who fought there. “The torch of remembrance," he said, “is now passed to us for our children and our children’s children.”

Another murder charge

Investigators found human remains at the Port Coquitlam, B.C., pig farm that has become the focus of the investigation into the disappearances of 50 women from the seedy streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It was the first time that police, who previously said they were collecting DNA samples at the farm, confirmed they had found body parts. But authorities did not identify the remains, and declined to say whether the discovery was directly related to another murder charge laid last week against Robert Pickton, 52, who co-owns the farm with his siblings. Pickton—already charged in the deaths of five missing women-was

charged with the first-degree murder of Andrea Joesbury, who was 22 when she disappeared last June. Pickton’s preliminary hearing will begin on Nov. 4.

Bullying and suicide

Emmet Fralick, a popular 14-yearold student in Halifax, committed suicide after reportedly being bullied repeatedly by a gang of teenagers. According to Fralick’s schoolmates and some adults who knew him, the gang was demanding money from the boy, perhaps as much as $80 a day. Fralick’s death is only one of a number of recent developments to draw attention to the problems of bullying and harassment in schools. Earlier last week, the B.C. Human

Rights Tribunal ruled that North Vancouver school officials discriminated against a student by failing to stop homophobic attacks against him in the mid-1990s.

Security woes

Security experts reacted with alarm to reports that sensitive details about Canadian locations that will be used for the G8 summit on June 26 and 27 have been available on the Internet since Feb. 22. The information includes 32 diagrams showing buildings around Calgary and Kananaskis,Alta., including the exact positions of surveillance cameras, meeting rooms and security stations. Experts called the Web site a serious breach of security-

and an embarrassment for Canada. Canadian authorities said the site posed no threat-then had the materials pulled.

Peaceful comments

Velupillal Prabhakaran, whose Tamil Tigers have been fighting since 1983 to create a separate homeland in northeastern Sri Lanka, made his first public appearance in 12 years to say he was “sincerely and seriously committed to peace.” While the rebel leader said he wasn’t ready yet to abandon demands for an independent Tamil state, he hinted he may settle for internal autonomy. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe welcomed the comments, which came after a

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

Greenpeace activists climbed atop the roof of Ralph Klein’s Calgary bungalow and set up two 100-watt solar panels. They made the gesture, they said, because of the Alberta premier’s opposition to the Kyoto Accord, an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases that Ottawa is being pressured to ratify. Solar power is the sort of clean, renewable energy the accord will foster, according to the environmentalists who later complied with police by disassembling the panels. Klein-who believes the Kyoto agreement will result in job losses and force Albertans to pay higher energy bills-has said he will not allow the province’s economy to be crippled by it.

But what angered him about last week’s stunt was the fact that his wife Colleen, who was in the house alone with their dog Jessy, was frightened by the commotion. “Nobody’s home ought to be public property," said Klein, who declined to press charges.

Norwegian-brokered ceasefire in the civil war that has claimed more than 64,500 lives. Analysts said the development could mean that peace talks scheduled for May could succeed.

Chaos in Venezuela

After violent street protests in which at least 13 people died and some 110 were injured, Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, resigned under pressure from the country’s military. The bloodshed came on the third day of a general strike that business and labour groups had called to protest new management that

Chavez appointed at the state oil monopoly, Petróleos de Venezuela. Pedro Carmona, the head of Venezuela’s largest business association, accepted a military offer to lead a transitional government.

Crimes and war

Vlajko Stojiljkovic, who was interior minister in charge of police in former president Slobodan Milosevic’s regime, shot himself in the head in front of the parliament in Belgrade. His suicide attempt-at week’s end Stojiljkovic remained on life support-came after politicians passed legislation clearing the way for the arrest and extradi-

tion of war crimes suspects. Last week also marked the creation of the International Criminal Court, the first permanent international tribunal to deal with war crimes. It will be based in The Hague.

Don’t pack yet

The Mexican senate threw a wrench into President Vicente Fox’s plans, denying him permission to visit Calgary, Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco. It was the first time the country’s legislature, which must approve all presidential trips outside of Mexico, stopped a leader from travelling abroad. Many senators said the move was in reaction to Fox’s growing coziness with the United States. Fox’s relationship with the U.S. is “inconvenient and unfruitful,” said one legislator.

Shredding Andersen

The Arthur Andersen partner responsible for massive documentshredding at Enron Corp. pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.

More significantly, David Duncan, who was fired from the accounting firm in January, agreed to become a star witness in a pending criminal trial against his former employer over its auditing of the bankrupt energy company. Analysts said the deal made it harder for Andersen, which laid off 7,000 U.S. employees last week, to try to negotiate its way out of the criminal charges.

BCE’s battles

Shares in beleaguered telecom giant BCE Inc., a staple of many Canadian mutual funds, slipped even more over concerns about the debt of its subsidiary Teleglobe Inc. The stock, worth $34.60 on March 14, had fallen by nearly a third to $23.97 by April 12. BCE said it was considering its options on the international long-distance carrier, including debt restructuring. On another front, BCE’s Bell Canada phone company announced an aggressive campaign to take on rival Telus Corp. on its home turf in B.C. and Alberta with the formation of a new company, Bell West Inc.