ROBERT SHEPPARD,Shania Twain,Gwyn Morgan January 20 2003


ROBERT SHEPPARD,Shania Twain,Gwyn Morgan January 20 2003

SO WHO’S GOT ZIP? Panache, momentum, fire in the belly, a little pepper in their socks? The ballots are in. Well, the e-mails at least, from Maclean's writers, bureau chiefs, editors and a scoopful of outside notables. All for this, the first annual, semi-serious, hardly scientific ranking of who to watch in 2003. Canadians whose moment is now.

The Ziplist? Perhaps, but let’s not get carried away. Fashions change, buzzwords, too, thankfully. So just to be helpful we’ve also included a modest accounting of those who have fallen from political, business or (pop) cultural grace as a tepid wind puffs change across our cheerfully dysfunctional land. Which brings us to Paul Martin.

The putative prime minister, barnstorming through the Liberal party like a Hollywood celebrity, Martin was pretty well the unanimous choice for the ranking’s top spot. Barring some momentous misstep, this is the year (Nov. 15, Toronto, Liberal leadership convention) he takes the prize, fulfilling the ancestral dream. But what does this say about us Canadians? He’ll be 65 by the time he’s PM, he can be blazingly incoherent at times, and he has more political IOUs outstanding than a Louisiana sheriff. Still, he’s a solid guy and a proven deficit-fighter with a social conscience. He may even be that rare individual who can straddle the country’s regional solitudes. But what gives his nearly perpetual campaign its watchability is that it personifies a sea change in Canadian politics.

The opposition Canadian Alliance has a new leader, the studious Stephen Harper. The NDP selects a successor to Alexa McDonough this month. The Tories, the party of Confederation, have a date with leadership destiny at the end of May, assuming they can find anyone to run. And the Bloc Québécois? Who knows, but many of its key people seem to be contemplating a jump to Quebec politics where an election is rearing into view. By this time next year—in the high elbows run-up to a federal election—all of the major parties should have new leaders, new agendas, and a new set of irritants to shove down each other’s throats.

Move down our list and it soon becomes clear that most are there because they represent a turning of the page. I’m not sure we planned it that way. We started out looking for the buzz-worthy and ended up with a bunch of Canadians who are trying to make a difference. Especially when it comes to real hard-nut problems like drug addiction in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, elder care, native employment and, dare we say it after years of lip service, the environment.

Oil patch biggie Gwyn Morgan makes the top 10 not just because he runs the world’s largest independent oil and gas producer, or because of his vigorous anti-Kyoto politics. But also because his company, EnCana Corp., has become a pacesetter in capturing and redirecting greenhouse gases back into underground caverns at one facility, a process that has lured the world literally to its door to admire.

Lists, of course, are a modest conceit to inflict order on an unruly world. And this watchlist for 2003 will surely be overtaken if Canada goes to war with Iraq. In that event, the spotlight may well shift to Washington’s favourite cabinet minister, John Manley, the anti-Martin option for some Liberals; or to neophyte Defence Minister John McCallum, a cheery economist who admits he sometimes confuses Vichy with Vimy Ridge. Or more likely to the dedicated men and women of the armed forces.

Leave war out of the equation, however, and our watchlist tosses up some interesting asides about this unsuspecting country. For one: Vancouver has become a hotbed of social experimentation, from rightist Premier Gordon Campbell to the crusading new mayor, Larry Campbell, to Anglican Bishop Michael Ingham, who has sparked a world debate with his willingness to sanction gay marriage. For another: Winnipeg (quelle surprise) is something of a cultural incubator, from Nia (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) Vardalos, to funky Motown revivalist Remy Shand (not listed, but certainly watchable), to concert violinist James Ehnes, poised for a breakout.

Another sea change is that our list is not nearly as chockablock with big business names as past attempts to chronicle the country’s movers and shakers. There’s reason for that. As sister publication Canadian Business recently reported, 2002 was the year when the country’s super-rich took it in the chops. The 100 richest Canadians lost a collective $9.2 billion last year. Chump change, for some. But it was a lowering tide that stranded a lot of boats.

Quebec cable and printing magnate Pierre Karl Péladeau graces our ranking of the unzipped for the debt burden that has kept him twisting in newspaper headlines. But he is there almost as proxy for other once lustrous stars—Edgar Bronfman Jr., gold baron Peter Munk, ex-BCE boss Jean Monty, multi-investor Gerry Schwartz, to name just some. This is not unexpected at a time when the stock market is behaving like a wilful child, and a broad defrocking has encompassed everyone from priests to accountants.

We’d like to pretend that there is some coherent rationale to this list-making. Alas, it is merely a group-inspired confection of hidden gems, stand-ins and conspicuous achievers coming into their own. Why Rohinton Mistry and not Margaret Atwood on the watchlist, when she has an almost certain blockbuster coming out in the spring? No slight intended. Atwood is clearly the Queen of CanLit and will not be dethroned in her lifetime. But Mistry arguably captures the new spirit of our writing and cultural identity: Canada as the preferred address for the best the world has to offer.

A similar debate, if you are so inclined, can be arranged around pop singers Shania Twain and Celine Dion, who has slid over to the dark side of our list-making. Both are storming back to the spotlight after a motherhood break. Both have insinuating husband-managers, great pipes, legions of fans, and live largely out of the country. But Shania is more than just a stand-in for the number of pop divas we seem to inflict on the world. With her powers of dress-up she has revolutionized the country/pop video. But she has done it in a way that is obviously and charmingly make-believe. With Celine, who renewed her wedding vows in an opulent Arabian nights ceremony with camels and belly dancers, and who has now taken up residence, Elvis-style, in Las Vegas, on a huge contract to make the desert Versailles more (pardon?) family friendly, you can’t be sure anymore where the make-believe ends.

1 I Liberal PAUL MARTIN. The apparent Tomorrow’s Man, despite his many yesterdays. A geriatric steamroller, riding high atop the longest-running leadership contest in Canadian history, a coup d’état in slow motion. Must manage expectations.

2 I Vancouver Mayor LARRY CAMPBELL. Inspired a TV show (Da Vinci’s Inquest) and then a glorious city down on its luck. Municipal politics are suddenly sexy. And Canada’s next big social experiment—facing up to drug addiction—is on track for Vancouver’s hard-case Downtown Eastside.

3 I MICHAEL INGHAM, Anglican bishop in British Columbia, touched off a firestorm for 70 million fellow congregants with his continued willingness to sanction gay marriage. Debate—for and against—is raging from Canterbury to Sudan. More than just a symbolic nod of the mitre. Canadian social experiment number 2.

4 l TERRIE O’LEARY. Martin’s long-time aide and sounding board. One of the few who can match him toe-to-toe in outbursts, she is back from four years (good reviews) at the World Bank. Ottawa braces for a female éminence grise (well, blond in her case) who will be first among backroom equals.

5 l GWYN MORGAN Calgary-based CEO of EnCana Corp. (the largest Canadian-owned oil and gas producer), foe of Kyoto, biggest dog in the oil patch. The new face of big business opposition to half-baked Liberal schemes. Doesn’t hurt that he’s got a decent environmental record of his own, even a bit of swagger.

6 l RALPH KLEIN, second biggest dog in the oil patch. Lovable rogue and lively healthcare maverick. Prone to occasionally strange musings, like wanting to declare pollution a natural resource. Still, undisputed king of the Ralphs, an Alberta-based political party once called Progressive Conservative.

7 l ADRIENNE CLARKSON. Governor general, doyenne extraordinaire, armed forces morale booster. Also, the only one who can stop Jean Chrétien from calling a regime-extending snap election in a fit of pique.

8 l SHANIA TWAIN. Still the one. No longer resides in Timmins, Ont., but a potent symbol for a country (this one) that seems to have cornered the market on pop divas. Returns from a two-year mommy sabbatical to top the charts. Powerful midriff and looks good in a toque.

9 I DAVID BROWN, The chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission is transforming a once lapdog corporate overseer into a Bay Street pit bull, maybe even the national regulator. More feared right now than David Dodge, micromanager of the low-interest economy.

10 I STEVE NASH. A legit Canadian-born NBA superstar whose team, the Dallas Mavericks, may just go all the way. Fire-wagon, uh, basketball.

11 l RBC chairman and CEO GORDON NIXON. Big year, biggest bank, not overly exposed in the risky loan arenas. Doesn’t need to play the merger game or take crap from Ottawa. The go-to guy for Bay Street quotes.

12 I ROBERT MILTON. Plane-spotting president of Air Canada. Arguably the most unpopular CEO in Ottawa, in the media and with the flying public. But he gets you where you want to go and, unlike almost all the other big carriers, he’s in the black and moving in on his small-fry competitors.

13 I MARIE LABERGE, Quebec literary phenom and populist saga writer, scorned by the literati, but her trilogy outsells even Harry Potter in Quebec and is soon to be translated.

14 I JOHN MANLEY, anti-royalist minister of everything, for now. Putative leadership runner-up, he’s got a weird hand to play. Martin’s people don’t much like him, but the White House seems to think he’s the cat’s meow. Has trouble dealing with banks and hockey clubs. Still, he’s the one to gain if the front-runner makes the big stumble.

15 l PAUL TELLIER. From trains to planes, one of Canada’s top, ultra-connected CEOs jumps ship. He leaves revitalized CN Rail for terror-stricken plane (and train) manufacturer Bombardier. But does this mean Ottawa will finally open its purse to all those fast-train dreams for Central Canada?

16 I STEPHEN JARISLOWSKY, the shareholder’s shareholder (along with buddy Claude Lamoureux, head of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan). A sharp-eyed grey head, Jarislowsky spearheads the long overdue uprising against shoddy corporate practice.

17 I BRIAN MULRONEY, the blue in blue chip. No, he won’t run again but he’s the only Tory who can still get under the Grits’ skin, and wrangle an invite to Bush clan shindigs south of the border. A mentor to Quebecor’s Pierre Karl Péladeau (good luck there). His directorships are to die for.

18 I CHRISTINE SINCLAIR, 19-year-old soccer whiz with a killer instinct. A star of the Canadian team that nearly upset the powerful Americans last summer in Edmonton, she sets Gretzky-like records wherever she plays. Awaits vindication at the World Cup for women this fall in China.

19 I KEN THOMSON. The hermitic moneybags is using his huge art collection, and the promise of more largesse to come, to give Toronto and the Art Gallery of Ontario a facelift. Just a guy from the neighbourhood, he has even managed to lure Toronto-born, internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry home for the fun.

20 I CHRIS HADDOCK. TV producer, series creator, writer/director, he’s the driving force behind top-rated Da Vinci’s Inquest, and has a pile of new projects on the go. Canada’s Aaron (The West Wing) Sorkin, minus, of course, the taste for magic mushrooms.

21 I ROHINTON MISTRY. A terrific writer, with real staying power, among so many now to choose from (it’s been a good run for CanLit). Also represents the finest of our multicultural society and shouldn’t be stopped at anyone’s border.

22 I DOMINIC D'ALESSANDRO. Manulife’s supremo. Businessman of the year in some quarters and definitely on the scene-changing, acquistion prowl. Tough-minded insurance boss (forced Indonesia to back down from nationalizing Manulife assets). Primo connected in Liberal Ottawa.

23 l LARRY TANNENBAUM, emerging sports mogul. This should be the year he takes over the Toronto Maple Leafs and basketball Raptors, now that senior partner, ex-grocer Steve Stavro, is feeling the pinch. The prize is the huge Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment cash box. Alas, probably not the Stanley Cup or even the NBA playoffs.

24 l TONY COMPER, CEO, Bank of Montreal. Not a swath-cutter like his predecessor but his steady-as-they-go approach makes BMO lots of money while competitors with grander rhetoric stumble. With the smallest of the big-five banks, he could be kingmaker when merger mania starts anew.

25 I TED ROGERS, cable magnate and corporate risk-taker. What do you say about the boss (he owns this mag and so much more)? A constant accumulator and maybe patient enough to win the big prize in the Cracker Jack box: a concordat with Quebec’s Vidéotron cable people. If only he didn’t like money-losing professional baseball so much.

26 I Chief Justice BEVERLEY McLACHLIN of the Supreme Court of Canada. Ranch-reared chief of a feisty, socially fearless top court. One that’s been formed in her own upwardly striving image.

27 I ANDRE CHAGNON, philanthropist sans égal, and a quirky one to boot. The retired Quebec cable TV magnate has plunked $ 1.4-billion into a charitable trust to fight obesity, drug addiction and world poverty. Soon he will be doling out $100 million a year to his pet projects, and may even change some government agendas en route.

28 I MURRAY EDWARDS, self-made Calgary tycoon, community activist and a bit of a Liberal fixer in a not very Grit-friendly environment. A late-in-life newlywed (might he mellow?), he’s still the bellwether for where Alberta’s smart money is going.

29 I ROB PRICHARD. Superbrain president of the Toronto Star empire (before that the University of Toronto in its glory years) now has money to spend on big-ticket media acquisitions (CTV anyone?). That is, if he doesn’t get sidetracked—Star man wooed by Ottawa!—by the siren call of politics.

30 I HENRl-PAUL ROUSSEAU of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. An embarrassing year on the books and a massive bloodletting in the ranks. But he’s made the machine probably more strategically aggressive now that it’s leaner and meaner.

31 I JAMES EHNES Manitoba-born Juno award-winning classical violinist—and newfound darling of the BBC Symphony Orchestra—seems poised for a breakout year. Plays with everyone from Sir Andrew Davis to funky voicemaster Bobby McFerrin.

32 I COLM FEORE, balding Shakespearean actor, nails Pierre Trudeau’s quirky character in a miniseries and then entertains the Queen. He’s approaching iconic status.

33 I SAKU KOIVU. All right, he’s a Finn. But as the cancer-beating captain of les Canadiens, he is also pure inspiration on ice.

34 l SCOTT GRIFFIN. Gatsby-like millionaire, retired industrialist and poetry lover establishes an $80,000-a-year poetry prize and then rescues artsy publisher House of Anansi, spirit of a generation. Deeds, as a wise man once said of poems, to make the soul just.

35 I JEFF WALL, B.C. photographer, takes New York’s chattering class by storm and continues to change the way people look at pictures.

36 I IZZY ASPER and sons, opinionated media emperors—Global TV, the National Post, citified newspapers hither and yon. Prefer bully pulpit to employee relations. Still, what’s the point of owning a megaphone if you don’t bray into it every so often?

37 l TERRY MCBRIDE, Vancouver-based CEO of Nettwerk Records. Can he do for emerging songster Avril Lavigne what he did for Sarah McLachlan and Barenaked Ladies: link fresh stubborn talent with the marketing moment?

38 I New York-born Buddhist teacher ANE PEMA CHODRON resides at Gampo Abbey in rural Cape Breton, from where her books and tapes extolling the benefits of Tibetan Buddhism have struck a chord with the spiritually malnourished around the world. May be Canada’s best-selling author.

39 I BRETT FINLAY, University of British Columbia biochem genius, is on the verge of creating a cattle vaccine to stop the spread of E. coli. Great news for the Third World and hamburger lovers.

40 I Chief CLARENCE LOUIE, one of a slew of entrepreneurial native leaders, has a new B.C. winery, Nk’Mip Cellars, to add to his list of can-do projects. Could this be why the Osoyoos band has virtually zero unemployment?

41 l STEPHEN HERBERT, president and CEO of the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto, has helped transform the “Jewish nursing home on Bathurst” into a world leader for senior’s care. For good measure he runs a top research facility that is breaking down the mysteries of the human brain.

42 I STEPHEN HARPER, buttoned-down Canadian Alliance leader, masters the art of lowering expectations. A must-watch even if it’s like ogling paint as it dries.

43 l MILTON WONG, Vancouver financier and cultural bridge-builder, manages to make money even when doing good. When his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in the early 1980s, Wong fought back in a variety of ways, including saving the struggling breast-screening company ALI Technologies. His wife recovered and the company was recently sold, netting Wong 20 per cent of the $536 million price.

44 l VICTOR YOUNG, ex-bureaucrat and fish tycoon, someone whose own life experiences have mirrored the ups and downs of Canada’s most hardscrabble province. His provincial royal commission on Newfoundland’s future should touch everything from fish to hydro to the unyielding exodus of the young and talented. Due June 30. Happy Canada Day reading.


1 l JEAN CHRETIEN. He stayed too long at the party. 

2 I CELINE DION. Pop diva hunkers down in Vegas, the music world’s equivalent of the Canadian Senate.

3 l CLAUDE VORILHON. The sex-obsessed leader of the Montreal-based Raelians, champions ET and human cloning, gives free love a bad name.

4 I ATOM EGOYAN. Take a filmmaking note from Avril Lavigne: “Why ya have to go and make things so complicated?”

5 I ALLAN ROCK. Photogenic Toronto lawyer, learned French, held top cabinet jobs, only to be shot down by gun control.

6 I IVAN FECAN. CTV’s wonder boy in empire retreat, closes news bureaus, fires stalwarts,

may lose deconverging media partner, the Globe and Mail.

7 l ERNIE EVES. The Ontario premier mushes headlong toward an election, but what does he stand for? Ditto Quebec’s Bernard Landry.

8 l JIM CARREY. Exported funny guy starts taking himself way too seriously. Please, Ace, make us laugh again.

9 I PIERRE KARL PELADEAU, Once Quebec’s great business hope, the cable and printing magnate caught the convergence bug and is in danger of pulling the full (Jean) Monty.

10 l DAVID AHENAKEW. Saskatchewan native leader’s anti-Jewish rant shows racism knows no colour line. Sets back the self-government cause.

45 I GEOFFREY BALLARD, geophysicist, inventor, businessman, Richmond, B.C.-based father of the fuel-cell industry. Is this the tipping point, the year when the petro-economy shifts gears to clean-air hydrogen alternatives for cars, buses and small power plants? Welcome to the Kyoto-ized world.

46 l NIA VARDALOS, Winnipeg-raised, one-woman showstopper. Her My Big Fat Greek Wedding takes a continent by storm and sparks an industry. Can distinctive ethnic fare survive the big melting pot to the south?

47 l DR. BRIAN DAY, for-profit Vancouver surgeon and clinic operator. An iconoclast whose expansion plans are running smack into Roy Romanow’s medicare dreamscape.

48 l New Brunswick Premier BERNARD LORD. Articulate and worth listening to. But not quite so influential now that he’s staying in Moncton for the foreseeable future—at least until federal Tories sort themselves out.

49 I THOMAS FUNG, shopping-mall developer and one of the newest of the mini-media moguls. His Fairchild Media Group runs two television networks, including Chinese language pay-TV. With competition now gearing up in the ethnic media, we get to see what he’s made of.

50 l MARC-ANDRÉ FLEURY, acrobatic young goalie with a winsome smile, captured the hearts of hockey fans and the top-player award at the recent World Junior Championship in Halifax. Sure to be a franchise-shaping pick in the June draft, especially in this era of the aging NHL netminder. *