The Week That Was

The Week That Was

April 8 2002
The Week That Was

The Week That Was

April 8 2002

The Week That Was

‘This terrible violence’

"Let me help you up," one survivor said to a wounded woman lying in the twisted rubble of the seaside hotel in Netanya, Israel. “How can you help me?” the woman told him. “I don’t have legs.” The crowd of 250 people had gathered for a Passover seder, the ritual meal that marks the start of the weeklong Jewish holiday. Many of them were still getting seated when a Palestinian man carrying 40 pounds of explosives studded with metal scraps arrived. “What are you doing

Power plays

Getting a seat in the House of Commons was looking like a major headache for new Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper. Calgary Southwest, the safe Alliance riding held until recently by Preston Manning, seemed the obvious choice. But Ezra Levant, a former aide to both Manning and former leader Stockwell Day, already had the nomination sewn up and

here?” a desk clerk shouted at the intruder. Seconds later, the blast ripped through the banquet hall, killing 22 diners and wounding more than 130-the second-deadliest suicide attack in 1V2 years of the second Palestinian intifada.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rebuffed international calls for restraint, and, in retaliation, Israeli soldiers launched a direct assault on Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah. Tanks fired directly at his office, while Arafat hid in a windowless room. Later, with

initially refused to step aside. But at week’s end Levant reconsidered, leaving the way clear for Harper to run in a by-election that Jean Chrétien has called for May 13.

Massacre in France

A gunman opened fire at a city council meeting In the Pahs suburb of Nanterre, killing eight people and wounding 19 others. He was wrestled to the ground by a group of offi-

a machine gun at his side, he called world leaders to demand they take action to halt the Israeli raid. “They want me under arrest or dead,” Arafat told reporters. “But I am telling them I prefer to be martyred."

Earlier in the week, the Arab League had unanimously endorsed a Saudi-inspired plan for Middle East peace during a meeting in Lebanon. The so-called Beirut Declaration offered Israel full peace and normal relations with its Mideast neighbours in exchange for complete withdrawal from occupied Arab land, the establishment of a

cials, and later identified as a local resident with a history of psychological problems. The man later jumped to his death from a fourth-storey window while being questioned by police. The attack focussed attention on the No. 1 issue in the current presidential election campaign: crime. Conservative President Jacques Chirac and socialist Lionel Jospin, the current prime minister, have promised a crackdown.

Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a fair solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees. Arafat, who did not attend due to fears Israel might not allow him to return, endorsed the plan.

A Sharon adviser called it “a very interesting development-something that should be pursued.” But, as one foreign ministry spokesperson said, “After the horrible thing that happened, it’s very hard for us to speak about peace.” As the tanks rolled into Ramallah, it was clear that even thinking about peace was a difficult prospect.

Testifying against Mom

Police informer Stéphane Gagné, a former Quebec Hells Angels member, began testifying in the doublemurder trial of gang leader Maurice (Mom) Boucher. Boucher is accused of ordering the 1997 killings of two Quebec prison guards in an attempt to destabilize the justice system. Gagné, formerly a loyal follower of Boucher, has acknowledged taking part in the murders.

The Week That Was

The shifting PQ

In a speech to the Quebec Community Groups Network, Premier Bernard Landry said that Englishand French-speaking Quebecers have achieved linguistic peace. “Quebec is probably the most multilingual place on this planet,” Landry said, sidestepping the issue of the decline of French in Montreal and demands by Parti Québécois hardliners for tougher language laws. The next day, Jean-Pierre Charbonneau, the province’s minister of intergovernmental affairs, said that the question of sovereignty has been placed on the back burner. “Is public opinion ready to engage in an intensive debate?” Charbonneau asked. “The answer is, No."That was a little too much for Landry, who subsequently said it was still his duty to pitch Quebec independence, even if it costs his party votes.

The hardest word

Shirley Heafey, the head of the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMR said the Mounties should have apologized for pepperspraying protestors at the 1997 APEC summit in Vancouver. “An apology now would still be appropriate,” she said. A spokesman for the force said Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli has accepted that the RCMP made mistakes at the summit, but has no plans to apologize.

Pointing the finger

Michael Farnworth, the former B.C. cabinet minister in charge of gaming, testified that Glen Clark personally intervened to keep Dimitrios Pilarinos’s casino licence application from being rejected. The former premier is on trial for breach of trust, facing allegations that he helped Piladnos in return for renovations

done on his house and cottage. Clark has denied any involvement in the casino affair. But Farnworth testified that, after a private talk with the premier, he reconsidered Pilarinos’s request, which he wanted to reject. He also said that, had he known the extent of Clark’s relationship with Piladnos, he wouldn’t have conditionally approved the casino application.

Change by degrees

Global warming is already disrupting the earth, says an article in the current issue of Nature magazine. According to the report done by a group of scientists from Europe, the United States and Australia, the earth has warmed by 0.6°C over the last century, a seemingly infinitesimal increase that has already devastated coral reefs and helped spread mosquito-borne

illnesses such as malaria by widening the insects’ habitat. “We are only at an early stage in the projected trends of global warming,” the scientists warned.

A record award

The Ontario Court of Appeal ordered a wealthy salesman to pay $36,000 in monthly child support to his four children-the highest such award in Canadian history.The 41-year-old man and his wife, whose identities are protected under a publication ban, separated in 1997 when he was making $1 million a year. Soon after, his income rose to $4.1 million. The support payments include $3,000 a month for skiing and golfing expenses for the children.

Ruling against bullying

In a landmark case, a 16-year-old girl was found guilty of criminal harassment for her part in bullying Dawn-Marie Wesley, an Abbotsford, B.C., Grade 9 student who was so tormented she committed suicide in November, 2000. A second girl was acquitted of uttering threats.

The ruling, after an emotional weeklong trial, is the first that holds schoolyard bullies to account.

Discord for Dion

Celine Dion stood by her man,

René Angélil, after he was accused of raping a woman. A lawsuit filed in a Las Vegas court on March 19 by Yun Kyeong Sung Kwon and her husband Ae H. Kwon alleges that, in March, 2000, Angélil, 60, fondled Kwon in an elevator at the Imperial Palace, then followed her into her room and raped her. The suit asks the court to overturn an unspecified cash settlement the Kwons reached with Angélil in June, 2000. Dion,

34, who expressed frustration that she and her husband could not publicly defend themselves because of a gag order, said the allegations “don’t stand up.”The scandal arose just as Dion launched A New Day Has Come, her first album after two years of selfimposed retirement during which she and Angélil had their first child.

Afghan tragedy

An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale struck northern Afghanistan, leaving thousands homeless and killing an estimated 1,200 people. That death toll was far less than what

was originally feared, thanks in part, relief officials said, to the primitive, single-storey mud-brick homes that are predominant in the area and generally collapsed without burying their occupants. Aid efforts were initially hampered by a strong series of aftershocks,

one with a magnitude of 5.1. Some foreign-policy experts said the tragedy gives Western governments a chance to bolster the legitimacy of interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai by ensuring that aid is funnelled through his fledgling government.

The Week That Was

Las Vegas police are investigating the allegations.

Taking on Washington

The dollar fell and Ottawa came under pressure to offer relief to forestry workers in the wake of the U.S. Commerce Department’s March 22 decision to impose 29-per-cent duties on Canadian lumber. But how to respond to Washington? Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal suggested Canada should consider a harder line with exports crucial to the United States, such as energy. But International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew said Canada should not risk an ail-outtrade war, and should fight the softwood ruling at the World Trade Organization.

Slam, bam, pow!!!

Watching violence may beget violence—that’s the conclusion of a study by U.S. researchers published in the most recent edition of the journal Science.The researchers found that teens who watch a great deal of violent television shows are more likely to become violent adults. “Our findings suggest that, at least during early adolescence, responsible parents should avoid

permitting their children to watch more than one hour of television a day,” said Jeffrey Johnson of Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Johnson, who led the team of researchers studying families in two upstate New York counties, added: “The evidence has gotten to the point where it’s overwhelming."

Shut up and drive

According to a national study done by the Ottawa-based Traffic Injury Research Foundation, half of Canadian motorists are strongly in favour of a ban on using cellphones while driving. “Cellphones are becoming synonymous with distracted driving,” said Dave Beirness, author of the study and a senior scientist at the foundation. He noted that only 10 per cent of drivers strongly oppose any ban.

A hard line

U.S authorities said they will seek the death penalty for Zacarías Moussaoui if he is convicted. Moussaoui is charged with conspiracy in the terrorist attacks of Sept, 11. He was in custody when the 19 hijackers struck, having been arrested in August on

immigration charges. (Instructors at a Minnesota flight school alerted authorities about Moussaoui after he told them he only wanted to learn how to fly a Boeing 767, not land or take off.) Moussaoui is a

French citizen of Moroccan descent. In France, where the death penalty was abolished two decades ago, officials said they will withhold evidence from U.S. authorities that might result in his execution.

Clothes and the law

Lawyer Laura Joy’s blond hair and stylish wardrobe have been known to raise eyebrows in Windsor legal circles. But a V-neck top under a dark pantsuit turned into a confrontation over just how much skin should be allowed in court. The showdown began when Joy, 39, who has practised law in the southern Ontario city for 10 years, arrived to represent a client on an assault charge.

Ontario Court Justice Micheline Rawlins, 50, took one look at Joy’s outfit and told her, “I cannot hear you. You know what’s wrong. Go and read the dress code.”

A standoff ensued. Would Joy cover up, or would Rawlins relent? Joy agreed to wear her top backwards, but in the end the judge put the case over to another I day and the fight spilled out of the courtroom. “Obviously, it would i be a lot easier just to change,”

” Joy told reporters. “But I felt that I have to take a position.” That drew a blunt response from Judge Rawlins: “They don’t have to look at my cleavage, I don’t have to look at theirs.” What cleavage, Joy fired back: “I was not showing any breast and I don’t have large breasts, quite frankly.” With Joy scheduled to appear before Rawlins again, observers were expecting the fight to continue.

But another judge was assigned to sit in, leaving the case of the notso-plunging neckline unresolved.

Can child pornography have artistic merit?

In John Robin Sharpe’s collection of stories, Sam Paloc's Boyabuse: Flogging, Fun and FortitudeA Collection of Kiddiekink Classics, children are raped, tortured and beaten. They love it so much they come back for more. Appalling?

Of course. But a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled last week that Sharpe’s writing, while disgusting, had artistic merit, and found him not guilty on two child pornography charges. The 67-year-old was still convicted on two other counts of possession of child pornography relating to hundreds of photographs, and may be facing jail time. But it was Justice Duncan Shaw’s ruling on Sharpe’s writings that ignited a firestorm across the country. Sharpe, wearing a white

turtleneck and blue blazer, was jubilant as he left the court. The retired city planner, who lives in Vancouver, first came to trial in 1998-Justice Shaw presiding.

At the time, the judge found Sharpe guilty of possessing child pornography for the purposes of distribution or sale but acquitted him on charges of simple possession of both photos and his writings, arguing that Canada’s child pornography law violated charter guarantees of free expression.

The Crown took that decision to the B.C. Court of Appeal, which upheld the earlier ruling. The case then went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which on Jan. 26,2001, sided with the Crown, striking down the lower court ruling and ordering

a retrial. But while the Supreme Court upheld the child pornography law, it said private works of the imagination should be exceptedand also cited artistic merit as a consideration. At Sharpe’s retrial in January, university professors called to testify in his defence likened the stories in Boyabuse to the works of literary greats such as Charles Dickens and James Joyce.

But one psychiatrist who works with sex offenders testified that Sharpe’s writings, which have been printed in homosexual publications and sold through gay bookstores, including Little Sisters in Vancouver, were among the most violent he had ever read. And child advocates now fear the ruling will embolden pedophiles by giving them legitimacy. Rosalind Prober, president of the children’s advocacy

group Beyond Borders, says the courts have “created giant loopholes. Sharpe is writing it for like-minded individuals and his purpose is a sexual one, not an artistic one.”

According to John Dixon, president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, common sense prevailed in Shaw’s decision. “Photographs made possible through the sexual use of actual children ought to be prohibited,” Dixon said. “But writings ought to be freely distributable among adults no matter what fantastic or imagined content.” As Sharpe left court he saw himself as something of a hero. “I look at it as something I have done for my fellow Canadians,” he said.

“I want to make this a freer country.”