On the sidewalk of a run-down back street in Hackney, one of the poorest and roughest parts of London’s East End, a couple of hundred schoolchildren were lined up on a recent cloudy afternoon. Clutching handmade Union Jacks, they peered excitedly down towards the end of the street, and were soon rewarded.By ANDREW PHILLIPS14 min
Battered by one of the most bruising confirmation assaults in U.S. history, Clarence Thomas emerged from his Alexandria, Va., home last week moments after the Senate had voted 52 to 48 to confirm his nomination to the Supreme Court. “No matter how difficult or how painful the process has been,” said Thomas, sheltering from an autumn rain beneath a large black umbrella, “this is a time for healing.” In fact, the legacy of an explosive, nationally televised Senate judiciary committee inquiry into allegations that Thomas had sexually harassed Anita Hill when she was an assistant of his a decade ago seemed likely not to be healing—but bitterness.By HILARY MACKENZIE9 min
Moments before the polls closed in British Columbia, Michael Harcourt was relaxing in a Vancouver Chinese restaurant with his wife, Wibecke (Becky), their 10-year-old son, Justen, and Harcourt’s parents, Frank and Stella. The dinner party, celebrating his parents’ 54th wedding anniversary on Oct. 17, was drawing to a close as Harcourt opened a fortune cookie.By HAL QUINN7 min
Donald Thain has little trouble reeling off a list of staggering blunders by the managers of some of Canada’s largest corporations. Among the most embarrassing examples cited by Thain, who has been a professor at the University of Western Ontario’s school of business administration in London since 1957: • Hamilton-based Dofasco Inc.’s $700-million purchase of Algoma Steel Corp. Ltd. in 1988, an investment that it was forced to write off within three years; • Giant BCE Inc. of Montreal’s diversification beyond its core telephone industry into real estate, financial services and pipelines, only to discover that few of the new businesses were as profitable as communications and that some of them were huge money-losers; • Robert Campeau’s disastrous foray into U.S. retailing in the 1980s, which subsequently destroyed his Canadian real estate empire as his company’s prime properties were sold off at bargain-basement prices to pay off the multibillion-dollar debts that he incurred.
Your cover package on Ken Thomson, which comprised excerpts from Peter C. Newman’s book Merchant Princes, reached new lows of fluff journalism (“Canada’s richest man,” Cover, Oct. 14). Do you seriously think that this idle gossip interests many Canadians or assists them in dealing with important issues? Are Thomson’s transactions on a par with federal transfer payments? Is Gonzo’s death an environmental issue? John Dressler, Williams Lake, B.C. It is wonderful to see that the richest man in Canada believes in being thrifty.
The seminal moment for me in Kingsley Amis’s 1954 novel, Lucky Jim, is when Margaret Peel, the intense, thin academic with a fondness for green paisley skirts and quasi-velvet shoes, tells the young hero about her suicide attempt. Margaret is intent upon instilling pity and guilt in James, who skipped his date with her on the very evening she decided to “drop off.” “And then, just before I went under,” Margaret explains breathlessly, “I suddenly stopped caring.By BARBARA AMIEL5 min
A couple of months ago, I wrote a column in this space on the Price Waterhouse survey that reported ambitious Canadians could increase their disposable incomes by 40 per cent, just by emigrating to the United States. A Toronto-area couple who four years ago moved to Spring, Texas, a Houston suburb, for new jobs have challenged that simplistic notion, their interesting, firsthand observations serving as a warning to any footloose Canadians considering a similar transfer to the cheaper “paradise” across the border.By Peter C. Newman5 min
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.