BARBARA ANN SCOTT KING
Barbara Ann Scott King's husband, Tommy King, phoned me last Sunday evening at 9.50 pm.
He said: "Barb died 20 minutes ago. You are the only person I am calling tonight. Will you make the announcement and act as our spokesperson?"
Janet and I worked the phones until 1.00 a.m. and managed to make the major national newscasts at 11 p.m. and the front pages of major newspapers the next day. The outpouring of media coverage was awesome.
An old hand from the Parliamentary Press Gallery told me that he had never seen such press coverage since World War 11 ended.
Canada's Sweetheart, Canada's Queen of the Blades was dead at age 84
Ottawa Sun columnist, Sue Sherring, wrote that I had lost "the kid sister I never had and I was the big brother she never had".
Tommy called me Thursday morning the first thing. He was steeling himself up for Barb's Visitation later that afternoon. Despite his great loss, he asked me what I was feeling.
I told him I was "in denial".
He replied: "You are a great wordsmith. That's exactly how I feel but I couldn't think of the word "denial".
Tommy and Barb were married for 57 years and it was a marriage ordained in Heaven. Tommy's every waking moment was advancing Barb's career.
Tommy King need not walk three paces behind his Queen. He was a heavy hitter in his own right in the United States. For 26 years, he was the Chief Operating Officer of the Kennedy family's Chicago Merchandise Mart - the largest such emporium in the world.
Tommy told me once:
"To put things in perspective, Tiger Woods won the world's top four golf titles – the Master's, the PGA, the U.S. Open and the British Open. But, he didn't hold those titles in the same calendar year. Barb won the world's top five figure skating title in the same year when she was only 18. She won the Canadian, North American, European, World and Olympic championships in the same year."
When Barb returned home in triumph, 70,000 people lined the sidewalks to salute her. The population of Ottawa at the time was 300,000.
She turned professional in 1949, succeeding Sonja Henie in Ice Capades. Her salary was $150,000. The value of money doubles every seven years so you can imagine what $150,000 is in today's purchasing power.
The first thing she did was to establish the St. Lawrence Foundation to disburse 15 percent of all her earnings from skating and endorsements to skating and various charities.
People ask how Barb and Tommy embraced Janet and me as family.
When the Kings moved to Chicago after their wedding, Barb slipped under the radar.
Twenty years ago, being an inquisitive columnist, I asked myself: what ever became of Barbara Ann Scott? Where is she? What is she doing?
Even though I had the office next door to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and met royals, prime ministers and presidents, I was still in awe of achievers.
Dave Best, a friend who had worked for the Olympic movement, supplied me with Barb's phone number.
It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I dialed the King residence.
Barb answered herself. I introduced myself and she said: "Just a moment. I am in the kitchen baking Brownies and an armadillo just walked in. I will put him back outside."
We talked for and hour.
Not a day went by over the next 20 years that we did not talk or email.
I wrote columns about her and my Ottawa friend, Judith Yaworsky, says that my columns breathed new life in Barbara Ann Scott. In effect, I gave her a second life. She said my writing made Canadians sit up and appreciate just what a national treasure she was.
Barb was laid to rest near her home on Amelia Island, Florida, today. The Kings moved to Amelia Island near the Georgia-Florida border when Tommy retired from the Trade Mart.
At the Minto Skating Club's 100th anniversary black-tie dinner, Janet and I were her guests at her table. When she spoke briefly to thank Minto for the warm welcome, she said: "MINTO IS MY SKATING CLUB. CANADA IS MY COUNTRY AND OTTAWA IS MY HOME."
Tommy followed here with a 30-second announcement: "THIS MORNING, BARB AND I DONATED $100,000 TO THE MINTO CLUB FOR SCHOLARSHIPS AND THE MONEY IS IN THE BANK".
That was just one small example of the philanthropy of Barb and Tommy King.
AN OLYMPIAN COFFEE TABLE BOOK
(click to buy it online)
Olympic Silver medallist, pairs' figure skater, Frannie Dafoe, 81, has labored mightily and well for more than 10 years and brought forth a mountain of a book on the history of skates and skating.
FIGURE SKATING AND THE ARTS encompasses a sweep of eight centuries and was launched November 16th at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club. U.S. figure skating legend, Dick Button, was there. Barbara Ann Scott and her husband, Tommy King, sent flowers.
Frannie's partner was the late Norris ("Norrie") Bowden. Together, they won four Canadian titles (1952-55), two World Figure Skating Championships (1954-55) and a Silver Medal in the 1956 Winter Olympic Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
They had the wrong timing and bad luck to skate when Cold War politics infiltrated judging. A Canadian journalist who followed competitive figure skating closely cracked that some of the eastern bloc judges were so crooked that when they died they had to be screwed into the ground.
Frannie and Norrie and the Austrian pair of Elizabeth Schwartz and Kurt Oppelt both finished with four first place votes. The Hungarian pair of Marianna Nagy and Laszlo Nagy skated so poorly they had no chance of finishing in the medal round. They had no second place votes, four third place votes, two fourth place votes, one fifth place vote and one sixth place vote.
Yet, a Hungarian judge awarded Hungary a first place vote and Canada a third place nod. There but for the Grace of God and the complicated scoring of ordinals went Gold for Dafoe and Bowden.
The crowd, which had grumbled throughout the judging, became unruly and pelted the judges with oranges. The ice had to be cleared three times before the competition could continue.
Throughout it all, Frannie maintained her stoic class and poise and never complained.
A Canadian pair - Barbara Wagner and Robert Paul - swept the competition in Squaw Valley in 1960, scoring seven firsts from seven judges. Otto and Maria Jelinek, 18 and 17, respectively, defectors from Czechoslovakia skated for Canada. They finished fourth by a whisker behind Nancy and Ronald Ludington of the U.S.
The Jelineks had better scores than the Ludingtons save for a seventh place finish vote from Switzerland, which skewed ordinals in favor of Bronze medallists USA.
Two years later in 1962, armed with Canadian passports, the Jelineks returned to Prague, a nation they had fled, and won the World championship.
In Calgary in 1988 there were 11 judges and seven gave upstart Canadian Elizabeth Manley first place finishes. Katarina Witt, the Gold medal winner, skating for the German Democratic (GDR - East Germany) earned only three firsts - two of them from Soviet Russia and the GDR.
Was Liz Manley robbed of Gold or what?
The pre-competition favorite, American Debra Thomas, the only skater to beat Katarina Witt in five years, finished a disappointing third. Her best scores were two second place votes. The U.S. and Canadian judges both ranked her fourth. The GDR and Soviet Russia ranked her fifth and fourth respectively.
Debra Thomas began her routine with a triple toe loop and landed badly. She missed two more triples, once touching the ice with her hand to keep from falling. She became the first black athlete to win a medal in the Winter Olympics.
Frannie and Norrie were trail blazers in pair's figure skating. They went where skaters had never gone before. Their athletic movements and choreographed routines - a twist lift, a throw jump, a catch lift, a pressure lift, a "leap of faith" and an overhead lasso amazed the skating world.
Some of their moves were later declared illegal.
The Toronto Globe and Mail noted:
"They failed to reach the top of the podium because of questionable judging."
The World Championships that followed Cortina were even worse. Dafoe and Bowden were told there would be seven judges, including one from neutral Switzerland. When they stepped on the ice, they saw nine judges.
Years later, Frannie recalled: "Of course, the two judges were hand-picked. They were friends of the Austrians. It was game over as soon as we saw that."
The Canadian pair skated in Cortina as if they had wings on their blades but the Gold medal went to Austria.
Afterwards, Jacques Gerschwiler, the Austrian coach, visibly upset, said:
"I want to shake the hands of the true champions."
A majority of the coaches at the event petitioned the International Skating Union to declare the competition null and void. The ISU refused. At the closing banquet, when Dafoe and Bowden were referred to as "the most outstanding skaters", the Austrian team rose en masse and left the building.
Instead of returning home to be greeted as heroes, Dafoe and Bowden, were suspended by the Canadian Figure Skating Association (CFSA). They were being punished because Norrie Bowden went public and vocal about politics in skating.
Frannie had said nothing to ruffle feathers but was hit by a ricochet from Bowden's actions.
It would be 10 years before the ban was lifted, allowing the Canadian Silver medallists to pursue post-skating careers as judges. Even then, the CFSA told Dafoe she didn’t have enough experience to judge at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games.
Two weeks before the World Championships in Ottawa, they changed their minds and asked her to judge there.
"At that point, I wasn't really sure I wanted to be a judge any more."
There was an abundance of riches awaiting Frannie after skating. Along with Canadian dancer and choreographer, Alan Lund, she designed costumes for 18 musicals at the Charlottetown Festival. Concurrently, she spent 39 years as a costume designer for CBC-TV programs.
She also designed costumes for Stars on Ice and for super-star Toller Cranston's TV special, Strawberry Ice.
She was head hunted to design and stitch up 650 costumes for the closing ceremonies at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. After a successful trip to New York to buy material, she learned she wouldn't be assigned workroom staff to make the costumes.
With just four months before D-Day, she called on all her figure skating fiends who could thread a needle.
Frannie comes from a medical family. Her grandfather was a much-loved family doctor in small-town Madoc, Ontario, halfway between Ottawa and Toronto. Her father, Dr. William Alan Dafoe, was a Toronto obstetrician. Her uncle, Roy, was a country doctor in the small town of Callander on Lake Nipissing on the fringe of northern Ontario's mining belt.
On May 28, 1934, at 2.30 a.m. Dr. Roy Dafoe entered immortality.
He delivered the Dionne quintuplets - the first quints known to have survived infancy.
Dr. Dafoe and Elzire Dionne suspected she was carrying twins. The quintuplets were born two months prematurely and their combined weight was 13 1/2 pounds. They were identical twins created from one single egg cell.
Mrs. Dionne reported having cramps in her third month and passing a strange object, which may have been a sixth fetus.
The five babies were not expected to live. Dr. Roy followed expert instructions from his older and more experienced obstetrician brother - who had driven to Callander from Toronto - keep them warm, feed them water from an eyedropper, bathe them in olive oil and leave them alone.
Another source states the babies were fed a formula of cow's milk, boiled water, corn syrup and one or two drops of rum.
The quints became a marketing sensation and promoted scores of products. Carnation milk ads claimed the babies thrived on their product. The truth is the babies disliked it and refused to drink it.
The night the quintuplets were born was the night a Toronto newspaperman also entered immortality. He was an editor "on the rim" at the Telegram. He took a 'phone call from someone who claimed to be a "stringer" for the Tely from the daily North Bay Nugget.
The heads-up call of the birth of quintuplets was dismissed as a hoax from one of his drunken pals at the Toronto Press Club. He hung up the 'phone.
He blew a world scoop and became Right Marker on the Goats' Parade. It would be a decade later before an Ottawa Journal night editor joined him. He gave the bum's rush to a man who claimed to be a Russian defector with more than 110 secret documents from the embassy code room. They would prove there was a network of Russian spies operating in Canada and the United States.
The man the Ottawa Journal turned away was Igor Gouzenko.
The Liberal Government of Ontario, led by Premier Mitch Hepburn, legislated a shameful piece of legislation, which deemed the Dionne parents to be unfit. For nine years, the five girls were wards of the province and displayed like circus freaks.
They were Canada's biggest tourist attraction - bigger than Niagara Falls. More than three million tourists found their way to Callander/Corbeil to view them. They enriched the province's treasury by much needed $500 Million during the depression of the "Dirty Thirties".
The Dionne quintuplets and their family saw little of the $500 million or the millions generated from endorsements. Nine years of their lives were taken away from them by a carnival like life style.
In 1998, three surviving 64-year old quints were living together on subsistence pensions. Ontario's Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris awarded them an ex gratia lump sum payment of four million dollars. The Premier was careful not to open his shirt lest his heart fall out.
Frannie remembers driving to Callander with their father to see the quints.
"We saw them with the paying public but never met them."
"On the way Dad apparently was driving too fast and was stopped by police in Callander. He was asked for his name. Of course, he said he was Dr. Dafoe and the officer said:
'And I'm the king of France'.
"After great explanations and with much glee from the back seat we were on our way. Dad was very defensive of the officer and told us we should not have laughed at him".
This, then, was the world of part make-believe and part reality from which Frannie Dafoe emerged.
United States ' figure skating legend, lawyer and TV commentator, Dick Button, wrote a thoughtful, urbane and erudite Introduction to her book.
Button was a bookend to Canadian icon, Barbara Ann Scott.
He was a two-time Gold Medal Olympian (1948 and 1952) and won the U.S. title seven years in a row and the World crown five years in a row.
Barbara Ann held an edge over Dick Button. He held the world's top five figure skating titles but did not win them in the same calendar year. In the space of just a few months in 1948, Barbara Ann won Canadian, North American, European, World and Olympic Gold.
Button writes: "There is an old saying that one cannot know where one is going unless one knows from where one came".
This book honors the creative instincts of centuries' past and reminds us of what is possible. It's a reminder that the fabric of our lives needs multiple facets of creativity. The author has drawn on her own experience and passion for the sport as a World Champion competitive skater and a designer. She has sought out collectors and collections of skating art and memorabilia to amplify this sweeping saga, which she offers back to the world of the fine art of figure skating."
Frannie's book is proof that even with simplicity there can be majesty. There is economy in her prose. Her treatment debunks the age-old adage that one picture is worth a thousand words. The 325 black and white and color plates in her book are worth millions of words.
The oldest picture is of a 1225 skate excavated in Amsterdam. There is a woodcut circa 1505, a piece of glazed English porcelain circa 1770, a Belgian tapestry circa 1553, Dutch oils and engravings and Delft pottery from the 1500s, a Dutch leaded glass window circa 1532, an oil by Paul Gaugin, sculptures by Canadian Dr. Robert Tate McKenzie and artifacts from museums and art galleries around the world, including China's.
Contemporary entries include memorabilia and photographs of and from Peggy Fleming, Katarina Witt, Dorothy Hamill, Torvill and Dean, Barbara Ann Scott, Sonja Henie, Dick Button, Tenley Albright, Don Jackson, Kurt Browning, Andy Warhol, Brian Orser, Toller Cranston, Disney Corporation, Bata Shoe Museum, Getty Archives, Harvard University, Maria Jelinek, Hallmark, International Olympic Committee, Skate Canada, NBC and other nooks and crannies of skating history.
Frannie has pulled back the cobwebs from eight centuries to publish a masterly work, which should enjoy a long shelf life.
It sells for $45.00.
To parody a West End London billboard for the smash hit musical Les Miserables:
IF YOU CAN'T BUY A TICKET, STEAL ONE.
(click to buy it online)
War - An Extension of Diplomacy?
Hip replacement surgery prevented me from standing at the Cenotaph this year to salute proud veterans and those who have gone before.
I was relegated to watching the Armistice Day ceremony on television.
All sorts of phantasms raced through my mind.
I was taken back to the months I spent in Camp Borden, parade square bashing and becoming familiar with every piece of weaponry in the the army's arsenal - Bren guns, Sten guns, .303 rifles, 9 mm pistols, 3.5 inch anti-tank rockets, PIATs (Projectile Infantry Anti-Tank) and #36 and phosphorous grenades.
We were checked out on every conceivable vehicle - 60 hundred-weights, Field Artillery Tractors, Jeeps, Hydramatic trucks on user trials, Bren Gun carriers and 10-ton Diamond T tank transporters.
I spent two college summers at the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps' School in Borden. We were given a choice - 1-2-3 - of where we wanted to be posted for our Third Phase. I chose Canadian bases in France and Germany as first and second choices and Whitehorse as third choice.
I ended up in Aldershot, in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley, as a Supply and Services Officer attached to the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Black Watch Regiment. But, I was lucky. I could have ended up in new camp Gagetown in Oromocto, New Brunswick, living under canvas and coping with torrential rains. The first summer Gagetown opened there was so much rain that a mobile laundry and bath unit (MLBU), the size of a Greyhound bus floated away.
My thoughts went back to my Da's four years at the front in the Great War - the war to end all wars.
He enlisted in 1914 with a Field Artillery unit in Sydney, Nova Scotia. After basic training in England, he was sent to the front. He was promoted to Corporal. But, the 22-year old farm-boy felt he wasn't ready for command and requested that he be reduced in rank.
Over the next few years, promotions came quickly and he wound up with three hooks and a crown - a Sergeant Major.
On November 2, 1918, nine days before the Armistice, a German shell dropped in on his battery. He was the lone survivor. He was spared because he was standing behind his horse, which was also killed. Da's lower legs were riddled with shrapnel.
He spent Armistice Day, 1918, in a field dressing station. He was a non-drinker but he made an exception. Part of the folklore in our family is that he got ripped on French wine and had such a hangover he never touched another drop so long as he lived.
He didn't become a temperance crank. His younger brother, my Uncle Sandy, lived in Watertown, Mass., and made an annual summer trip to the ancestral acres in the latest Pontiac Catalina. I can hear Da say:
"Sandy will be down next week. I'd better buy a flask!"
I'd reply: "A flask? Jeez, Dad, Uncle Sandy spills more than that when he's shaving."
Sandy determined in his early 20s that living alone on a 500-acre farm on a hillside across the road from a Bras D'Or lake was not for him. My late brother liked to say the farm was so poor that one day he saw a rabbit crossing it and it was carrying a lunch can.
Uncle Sandy lined up a sponsor, paid the $25.00 head tax and applied for U.S. citizenship. He changed his name from MacAdam to McAdam - the better to pass as Irish in the Boston Area.
Uncle Sandy terrorized the Cape Breton square dances and box socials in East Bay and Big Pond. He is the only man I have ever known who could play the fiddle, step dance and chugalug a quarter of beer at the same time.
Da never talked about the horrors of trench warfare, catwalks and shell holes filled with a quicksand type of mud.
My college roommate and best friend in Glace Bay served with me in Camp Borden. One day, Da overheard us complaining about having to shave in cold water while away from camp on exercises.
"Cold water?" he harrumphed. "I had to shave with spit."
For the next 40 years he made an annual visit to Camp Hill Hospital in Halifax where doctors still found another of 140 pieces of metal that had worked its way to the surface. Veterans' Affairs sent him a return bus ticket. He was awarded a small monthly payment (four percent) under the War Veterans' Allowances Act ("the burned out pension").
Every month he received a cheque for $4.00. He never cashed a single one. An officious Veterans' Affairs officer phoned him, advised him it had been noted he had a pile of un-cashed cheques and that he planned to pay Da a visit.
My father was six-feet, two inches tall and weighed 220. Fortunately, for the bureaucrat there were only two steps leading up to the front door and he'd only bounce once.
I have some memories of his service - portrait photos of him in uniform displaying three stripes and a crown, a lapel pin (For Service at the Front), his standard WW1 medals and two bronze medals the size of the old .50 cent piece won in a sports meet.
One medal is for a First in the Shot Put and the other is for a Second in a relay.
The reverse of the medals reads: SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE.
I gave the two sports medals to his grandson, Lane, who is with Sport Canada.
In the pecking order of war, I am a hawk.
Canada has never started a war or backed away from one when freedom was threatened. Canada has always been ready, aye, ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with its allies.
Tough farmers and miners became fierce warriors. The Germans called the kilted Cape Breton Highlanders "the ladies from Hell".
One apocryphal story deals with Churchill meeting his War Cabinet in the underground bunker.
Churchill threw out a rhetorical question:
"How do we get to Berlin before the Russians"?
A general replied:
"Prime Minister, just make it out of bounds to the Cape Breton Highlanders".
In the heart of most young Canadians in two world wars the heart of a warrior beat.
Across the border in the United States, a hitherto isolationist nation rallied to arms.
The original Rat Pack was a bunch of W.C. Fields' drinking pals. War affected them deeply. One day, Fields, Lionel and John Barrymore, artist John Decker and author Gene Fowler, after a day of boozing, in full battle dress, went off to enlist.
Lionel Barrymore took his wheelchair along in case he was given an immediate overseas assignment. John Barrymore told the recruiting sergeant he was only 19. Gene Fowler rhymed off a military history more impressive than General Pershing's. Fields requested duty as a commando.
The recruiting sergeant looked at this over-the-hill mob and asked:
"Who sent you? The enemy?"
Fields had a ready answer for every situation.
His solution was to have the Heads of State of warring nations face one another in the Rose Bowl. Each would be armed with a shopping bag filled with horse puckies.
War is too important for generals and this has been driven home to me by British generals who were largely responsible for many of the great debacles of military history. Beaumont Hamel, Falaise and The Charge of the Light Brigade are but three British follies.
One has to wonder about the British military mind when one reads about foppish British officers preparing to go into battle by packing full Mess kits, golf clubs, cricket bats, hampers of delicacies such as jugged hare, plovers' eggs and vintage clarets, brandies and ports from Fortnum and Mason's.
Then, there was the young British subaltern who turned to the Duke of Wellington and uttered: "My God, Sir, they’re firing on the Guards".
The man who takes the cake was the British officer who led his troops into battle carrying an unfurled umbrella.
- 30 -
KRIS DRAPER - GRINDER
Kris Draper's skates were retired after 17 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, 20 games with the original Winnipeg Jets, two full seasons with Moncton Hawks of the American Hockey League (AHL) and 46 games with Adirondack Red Wings, also of the AHL.
He is unique in professional hockey in that he scored goals in the American Hockey League and National Hockey League BEFORE playing Major Junior A in the Ontario Hockey League with Ottawa 67s.
The Ontario Junior Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires drafted him in the fourth round of the 1988 OHL Priority Selection.
However, he did not report and played two full seasons – 1988-89 and 1989-90 – with Canada's National Team. He was only 17 in 1988.
He was Winnipeg Jets' third round draft choice – 62nd overall – in the 1989 Entry Draft.
In 1990-91 he played seven games with Moncton Hawks of the AHL and scored two goals. The Winnipeg Jets brought him up for three games and he scored once. He was sent down to Ottawa 67s and had 19 goals and 42 assists in 39 games.
Draper can lay claim to playing in the NHL, the AHL and the Junior OHL in the same year in 1990-1991.
He knocked around the NHL and the AHL with Moncton and Winnipeg before winding up with Adirondack Red Wings in 1993-1994.
Adirondack sold Draper to Detroit Red Wings for one dollar in 1993. He had 20 goals and 23 assists in 46 games with Adirondack.
Doug MacLean, the General Manager of the Adirondack club and a former Red Wings' assistant coach was responsible for the trade.
Thus began a 17-year career as a "grinder" with the Red Wings. He appeared in 1,157 games, scored 163 goals and assisted on 203 others - a pretty good return on a one-dollar investment.
He also racked up 790 penalty minutes.
In 2003-2004 he was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy, named after a former general manager of Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. It was given to the player exhibiting the most skill in the defensive aspect of the game.
The selection is made by a jury of Professional Hockey Writers and has been awarded 33 times to 21 different players.
Kris Draper skated in fast company. Bob Gainey won the trophy the first four years it was awarded. Jere Lehtinen, Pavel Datsyuk and Guy Carbonneau won it three times and Mike Peca, Rod Brind'Amour and Sergei Federov all won it twice. Federov also won a companion cup to his Selke Trophy - the Hart Trophy as the Most Valuable Player.
Bobby Clarke, Doug Gilmour, Steve Yzerman and Ryan Kesler were also one-time Smythe Trophy winners.
Kris Draper is the last of the "grinders" who came to play every night.
DEFEAT FROM JAWS OF VICTORY
Allow me to preface these post mortem musings by stating that my choice for leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in Ontario was Frank Klees. Garry Guzzo recruited me and the three of us met over coffee in the Bay Street Bistro.
My association with the Tory party goes back to student days at St. F.X. University. My roommate, Lowell Murray, was leader of the Conservatives in the Model Parliament. For the first time in 103 years of Liberal rule on campus, Lowell formed a Tory Government.
Lowell became Prime Minister. Brian Mulroney and I served in his cabinet. Bob Higgins acted as Governor General and Lowell suckered him into wearing a red guardsman's tunic and a bearskin Busbee.
In our four St.F.X. years together, we sold the Brooklyn Bridge to the naive Saint John, New Brunswick, native several times.
But, Bobby matured and was our Class President in each of our years, Student Union President, Life Class President, a star football end, (a convert from English Rugby) and a Varsity goaltender.
He entered the seminary to study for the priesthood but leaped over the wall after a year.
Bobby went on to earn a law degree, marry Miss Canada, Rosemary Keenan, win a seat for the Liberals in the New Brunswick Legislature, win his party's leadership and come within two seats of unhorsing Richard Hatfield's government.
He resigned from the Legislature to accept a seat on the bench of New Brunswick’s Supreme Court.
Lowell and I soldiered on in the 1956 Nova Scotia provincial election when Robert L. Stanfield ousted Liberal Premier Henry Hicks, unpopular successor to the great Angus L. Macdonald. "Angus L" was Premier for more than 20 years and died in office. His daughter, Oonagh Brigid, was a St. F.X. classmate.
Lowell managed the successful 1956 campaign of Bill MacKinnon, later a Legislature Speaker, in Antigonish. Bill knocked off Liberal heavyweight Colin Chisholm. I was in Fredericton working as a reporter for the Daily Gleaner.
But, I was hooked on politics and my next job was as a spear-carrier for Premier and Education Minister Bob Stanfield in Halifax. I lived in a room on Oakland Road, off Robie Street near Oxford Street, and took a #23 bus to work.
The bus picked up Bob Stanfield along the way and he would sit with me. Neither of us was a gifted conversationalist and the short bus ride was harrowing.
However, it didn't hurt my image to be seen walking into our office building with the Boss.
The next stop was Ottawa where I was an executive assistant to Allister Grosart and a spear-catcher for Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. Grosart was national director of the P.C. Party and "The Chief's" eminence grise.
Shortly afterwards, on the recommendation of P.C. Student Federation Vice President, Brian Mulroney, Justice Minister Davie Fulton hired Lowell as his Chief of Staff. Two junior members of Fulton’s staff were Marc Lalonde and Michael Pitfield. Mulroney was a Law student at Laval and worked summers as an aide to Alvin Hamilton.
Diefenbaker loaned me out for provincial campaigns in British Columbia and Saskatchewan and the deferred 1963 election in Cornwall, Ontario.
I've worked in every federal and provincial election since.
Fast forward to 1984.
I traveled with Opposition Leader Brian Mulroney for the 55 days of the 1984 campaign.
One morning, our bus stopped at Queen's Park to pick up Premier Bill Davis who would spend the next few days barnstorming rural Ontario with us. As "Brampton Billie" boarded the bus he was drawing on a curved Sherlock Holmes type Meerschaum pipe.
Three paces behind was his 23-year old aide, John Tory, and he, too, was sucking on an identical pipe.
Thereafter, I found it difficult to take John Tory seriously.
In Tim Hudak I saw a clone of John Tory. The two of them managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
As John Diefenbaker was wont to say: "They had the Otto Lang (federal Liberal cabinet minister). If there was a field with three cow flaps on the ground and they were crossing that field, they'd walk in all three."
Ontario PCs are now faced with a moral dilemma over what to do with Hudak. Since he increased the number of seats his party won, he may want to stay on. But, it is obvious to me he doesn't have the right stuff.
The Ontario P.C. Party would not be in this situation had it chosen Frank Klees as its leader.
I cannot believe that Ontario voters re-elected a man who turned Ontario into a have-not province.
Tom Van Dusen died early Saturday morning, an hour after suffering a massive stroke.
In Tom Van Dusen's house there were many mansions - Press Gallery reporter for the Ottawa Journal, author of several books, political aide, federal Progressive Conservative candidate, loving husband of gifted artist Shirley (Hogan) Van Dusen, father of seven successful children and, last but not least,original engineer on the steam locomotive train into the Gatineau.
Tom ran twice in Gatineau against incumbent Liberal Dr. Rodolphe Leduc.
He finished second to Dr. Leduc in 1962 - 7,983 votes to Dr. Leduc's 10,135. The 1962 election was not a memorable one for Tories anywhere. Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's 208-seat majority was reduced to minority government status.
Tom's campaign captured voters' imagination and their attention when he introduced a steam locomotive into the Gatineau while soliciting votes.
He faced Dr. Leduc again in the 1963 general election and wound up in third place - 5,861 votes to Dr. Leduc's winning majority of 11, 589. Dr. Leduc was succeeded in 1965 by Liberal Dr. Gaston Isabelle.
Tom's career as a political reporter began in 1947 when Mackenzie King was Prime Minister and former Manitoba Premier, John Bracken, was Tory Leader. Before Bracken would accept the Party's leadership, he insisted that the name be changed from Conservative to Progressive Conservative.
Low key Tom made friends on both sides of the Commons Chamber. Someone once said that the only way Tom could possibly appear more relaxed is if his spine was removed.
He sat up all one night with CCF Member of Parliament, Clarie Gillis, who represented Cape Breton South. Clarie and Tom were knocking back a few quarts in the old Windsor House tavern on Queen Street when Clarie dropped a waiter with a single punch. Tom held his hand while he fretted over reading about the incident in the next day's paper.
Indeed, it did appear - on Page One.
The upshot was that Clarie's majority was increased in the next election. Had he lost the punch-up, it could have been a different kettle of fish.
During the Diefenbaker years, Tom was Chief of Staff to Labour Minister Mike Starr, a former Mayor of Oshawa. They made a formidable team. Mike ran his portfolio flawlessly and introduced many progressive pieces of legislation - including the highly popular and successful Winter Works program.
Tom was Mike's wordsmith and subscribed to KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid. Mike Starr's speech paragraphs were always one short sentence long. I logged on to Tom's speech shorthand myself.
Tom was largely responsible for implementing live television to the House of Commons. Tom and Liberal cabinet minister Alan J. MacEachen were the two chief architects.
Later, Tom and his long-time friend, the late Greg Guthrie ("The Major") became Opposition Leader John Diefenbaker's most trusted lieutenants. When 'The Chief" hit the ceiling, they, along with MP Bob Coates, were the only people who could handle him and talk him down.
Tom's political career continued during the tenure of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. In 1987, he became the PM's eyes and ears as the senior aide responsible for liaison with the Caucus.
The Van Dusen dynasty began in Wychwood in Aylmer. Every time one of the seven children was born Tom had an addition to their rambling house built. Later, the family moved to a rambling property in Russell.
When all the children had left the nest Tom and Shirley moved to the city. He began to lapse into dementia and spent the last two years in St. Patrick's home.
Tom and Shirley lived on Cooper Street, a couple of blocks off Elgin Street. Before she was unable to give him the care and supervision he required, Shirley would press some money on him and send him off to Elgin Street for breakfast. He was a familiar face in one particular restaurant. One day Shirley received a 'phone call from the owner of the restaurant.
After he had eaten breakfast, Tom told the owner he had no money.
Not to worry! The owner told Shirley there was no hurry to bring the money in.
When Shirley asked Tom what had happened to the money she gave him, he said he met a homeless person on Elgin Street who needed the money more than he did.
"So, I gave it to him".
Rest in well earned peace, old friend!
JOHN DIEFENBAKER AND THE KKK
The late Prime Minister John DiefenbakerÕs puppet master, eminence grise, National Director of the Progressive Conservative Party and national campaign manager, Allister Grosart, swore that the course of Canadian politics was changed the night DiefÕs car broke down.
Diefenbaker was a partner in a small but extremely well known and successful law practice in the hamlet of Wakaw, Saskatchewan. He had an enviable record as a defence lawyer in capital murder cases.
In the 1950s he successfully defended a railway brakeman who was the fall guy when Canadian soldiers were killed while en route to the West Coast and Korea.
Years later, as Prime Minister he and his wife, Olive, were riding in an open convertible during an election parade. A man on foot kept pace with the slow moving vehicle.
It was the brakeman he had defended.
His former client said: ÒYou donÕt remember me, Sir, do you?Ó
DiefÕs reply: ÒYes, I do and you havenÕt paid your bill yet!Ó
The night his mighty Packard car gave up the ghost he was on his way to a rally of the Ku Klux Klan.
In the 1920s and 1930s the Klan had branches in Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia but those three provinces combined could not equal the influence of the KKK in Saskatchewan.
The Klan toppled a Saskatchewan government, established 100 Klaverns across the province and boasted 40,000 Klansmen. SaskatchewanÕs population was 750,000.
A rally in Moose Jaw in 1927 attracted 10,000-hooded Klansmen. The village of Woodrow had a population of 218 and 153 residents were members of the KKK.
The Klan attracted rural, white Protestant members who feared African-Americans, southern Europeans, Roman Catholics, Jews, Bolsheviks, communists and labor unions.
The Klan made its presence known by the ritual burning of crosses.
Premier Jimmy Gardiner led the charge against the Klan from 1928 onward. He alleged it was a tool of the Conservative Party. The KKK and the Conservative leader J.T.M. Anderson denied GardinerÕs charges and countered that Klan membership was composed of Liberals and Progressives as well as Conservatives.
The Conservatives and Progressives won enough votes from the Anglo-Saxons and Protestants to defeat the Liberals.
A web site records that by 1928 the Ku Klux Klan could boast of the allegiance of eight Mayors, 11 village clerks, seven Reeves, 12 secretary-treasurers, 37 councilors, chiefs of police, ministers, World War One veterans, doctors, teachers, justices of the peace, and lawyers.
Scores of Orangemen were also part of the Saskatchewan KlanÕs power base.
ÒIt could even count on the occasional support of R.B. Bennett, the Conservative Leader and future Prime MinisterÓ.
Why was the leader of SaskatchewanÕs Conservative Party (1936-1940) interested in the Klan? Was he lining up support for his successful run for a House of Commons seat in Lake Centre in 1940? Was he building bridges for his candidacy? Was he inclined to join the KKK?
Allister Grosart didnÕt have the answer. We will never know what prompted him to set out for the meeting. We will never know if the carÕs breakdown was a blessing. 30
One of the most under-rated players in the Canadian Football League was the late, great Ottawa Rough Rider Number 70, Bobby Simpson.
Bobby always listened to his mother.
When the New York Giants were salivating over his pass catching prowess, she advised him to stay in Canada because heÕd be a big fish in a small pond and Òbesides the money is better in CanadaÓ.
Bobby played a dozen years with the Riders and he was an All-Star in four different positions. He played both offence and defense and won awards for both.
At one time or another, he held every pass catching and touchdowns scored record in the book.
He was also a basketball Olympian. He played for CanadaÕs Tillsonburg Livingstons in the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki.
He had hands like a pair of catcherÕs mitts. His fingers were so long they seemed like fire hoses as they were uncoiled to make yet another impossible catch. His touchdown record stood for years until Terry Evanshen broke it.
Bobby was one of the most popular men in all of Ottawa. He was loud. He was brash. He was profane. He was always in a good mood and exuded contagious positive vibes.
If there had been a contest for the most popular man in Ottawa, Bobby would have won it hands-down.
Voters in Ottawa West elected him as their Alderman.
He bought the ÒLocandaÓ restaurant on Laurier Avenue from Paul AnkaÕs family. He misread the mood of OttawaÕs night people. He opened Club 70, a nightclub above the restaurant and soon learned that a nightclub in Ottawa was an idea whose time had not yet come.
He was too, too generous dispensing free drinks and tearing up dinner tabs. After an evening of carousing on the Hill, MPs Arthur Maloney, Russell Keays, Jack Horner, Lucien Grenier, Terry Nugent, John MacLean, Murray Smith and backroom types such as yours truly and Paschal Hayes would repair to the Locanda for filet mignons and all the trimmings.
Naturally, no bill was ever presented and Bobby kept the bistro open until the last man was standing Ð usually long past the legal closing hour.
Despite his prodigious feats on the football field, he is best remembered for the ÒsleeperÓ play he executed in the 1960 Grey Cup game. The Riders were trailing and a dejected Bobby Simpson appeared to be leaving the field, heading for his bench, carrying his helmet by the chinstrap.
When the ball was snapped he was a few feet behind the line of scrimmage and almost at the sidelines.
Simpson came to life.
Quarterback Russ Jackson hit him with a bullet pass and Bobby streaked, unmolested down the sidelines and into the end zone.
With but a few minutes remaining in the game, the TD gave Ottawa the Grey Cup.
The touchdown counted but the Canadian Football League outlawed any future ÒsleepersÓ.
Bobby always guffawed in his best Gee Whiz fashion when he was reminded of that magic moment.
He said: ÒYou wouldnÕt believe how many people still stop me and tell me they were in Lansdowne Park that afternoon and saw the play. Thousands, literally thousands, told me they were at the game and it was one of the most exciting finishes they had ever seen.
ÒI never had the heart to tell them that the 1960 Grey Cup game wasnÕt played in Ottawa.
ÒIt was played in Toronto.Ó
Myths have become realities in today's society because the media and the man in the street accept their existence without question. With each passing year, without dissent, they become more deeply embedded in history and culture.
How many times have you read or heard that Roman Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned. A fire that raged for six days and seven nights destroyed 70 percent of the city.
That's definitely a non-starter because the violin wasnÕt invented for another 1,500 years.
The real skinny is that Nero led fire-fighting efforts and opened public buildings and his own gardens as temporary shelters. He imported grain and supplied it to his subjects at a fraction of the normal cost.
Closer to home is the myth that the schooner displayed on Canada's 10-cent coin is "BLUENOSE".
The designer, Emmanuel Hahn, used three salt bankers as his models.
The design is a composite.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalized Paul Revere in his poem.
"Paul RevereÕs Ride" is a stirring epic poem of a six-mile ride on horseback from Boston to Concord and Lexington to warn New England revolutionary colonists that the British Redcoats were coming.
Paul Revere did not ride alone. He was accompanied by William Dawes Jr., a young Boston shoemaker and part of the way by Dr. Samuel Prescott.
Not far from Lexington, the British captured the three riders.
Paul Revere was pulled from his horse. Dawes and Prescott spurred their mounts over a stone wall and escaped across the open countryside. Dawes became lost in the dark and was thrown from his horse.
The horse ran off and Dawes was forced to walk back to Lexington.
Dr. Prescott was familiar with the countryside and slipped past British patrols. He rode on to Concord alone.
He was the only one of the three to complete Paul RevereÕs "midnight ride". Paul Revere never did complete the ride to Concord.
Later, Dr. Prescott joined the militia and served at Ticonderoga. Then, he signed on as a ship's doctor on an American privateer that was captured by the British off Nova Scotia.
He was taken to Halifax and imprisoned in the "old gaol on the west or upper side of Hollis Street".
His prison was a long, wooden, one-storey former sugarhouse "50 to 60 feet in length" that housed 300 prisoners in cramped, unsanitary conditions. Ethan Allen and James Lovell are said to have been confined there as well.
The jail was rife with vermin and disease.
Dr. Samuel Prescott died there at age 26. He was buried in a Potter's Field grave in Halifax's original burial ground, north of Jacob Street.
A statue of Paul Revere on horseback stands in front of the Old North Church in Boston. William Dawes is a footnote on a small plaque in the courtyard. There is no mention whatsoever of Dr. Samuel Prescott.
There is an accepted scientific axiom that no two snowflakes are alike.
Not so, says Dr. Nancy Knight of the National Center for Atmospheric Research who has seen two identical flakes under a microscope and published her findings in the American Meteorological Society bulletin.
If you can envisage a box two feet square and 10 inches deep it contains one million snowflakes. Multiply by millions and millions of square miles and multiply this by the billions of winters since the dawn of time.
There are unimaginable googols of flakes and the odds are some are twins.
Another myth is that if you take an infinite number of monkeys, arm them with an infinite number of typewriters and an infinite amount of time eventually they will write the complete works of Shakespeare or all the books in the British Library.
If so, scientists in Devon, England, are off to a slow start. Their control group of monkeys Ð six of them Ð were left with a keyboard for a month in a zoo enclosure.
They passed their days urinating and defecating on the keyboard and partially destroyed it. Their contribution was five pages of the letter "S".
Comic Bob Newhart reported some positive progress:
"To be or not to be Ð that is thegrrdnm 2Splkt".
That's OK, but the breakthrough is not bilingual!
Who was the first man to fly through sound?
If you answered Chuck Yeager put on the dunce's cap and go sit on the stool in the corner.
At least three fliers exceeded Mach 1 before Yeager. He was first to do it IN LEVEL FLIGHT. Luftwaffe night fighter Hans Mutke, flying a pure jet Me262, USAF Major George Welch and civilian test pilot, Chalmers "Slick" Goodlin, all did it dives in prop planes.
"Slick" Goodlin was an American born in Pennsylvania. When he turned 18 in 1940 he boarded a bus for Hamilton and joined the RCAF. He flew Spitfires during WW 11 and Spits, Me109s and C46s for Israel as a mercenary.
Goodlin described breaking the sound barrier as "like a 20 mm cannon going off".
In September, 1946, he was a test pilot for Bell and flew the experimental X1. The X1 was released from the belly of a B29 at 36,000 feet. If the afterburners didn't kick in, he was toast. The X1 had no ejection capacity.
It was the closest thing to a suicide mission next to a kamikaze run.
Goodlin asked Bell for $150,000 but Bell demurred. They could get a hillbilly air force captain for $300.00 a month.
Yeager was indeed a hillbilly with rough edges. The night before his historic flight he and his wife, fuelled with copious shots of booze, went hell raising on motorcycles. Yeager crashed into a fence and injured his arm and shoulder. He concealed his injury because he did not want to be scrubbed. The pain was so intense he had difficulty squeezing himself into the tiny X1 cockpit.
When the B29 dropped him at 36,000 feet and his burners kicked in he accelerated to Mach .965. His acceleration stopped and then jumped to Mach 1.06. He was supersonic for 18 seconds.
Later, a red-faced air force museum amended the citation for his achievement as first to break the sound barrier IN LEVEL FLIGHT.
German night fighter pilot Hans Mutke lifted off the flight deck at Lagerlechfeld on April 9,1945. He was 36,000 feet over Innsbruck when he went into a full power 40 degree dive.
His air speed indicator came to a full stop at 682 mph. His standing orders were not to exceed 589 mph. When he landed, the Me262 was an accordion. Rivets had popped and the wings were crimped and corrugated.
Forty years later, Dr. Hans Mutke was living in the United States and he was given access to classified U.S. documents. It was then and only then he realized he had flown through the sound barrier.
Major George Welch was one of only several American pilots to get a plane in the air at Pearl Harbor. He shot down four Japanese attackers. Later, he became a leading American "ace".
In 1947, flying an F86 Sabre jet, he rolled into a 40 degree dive Ð four Gs at full power. He pulled out at 25,000 feet. On October 14, 1947, his sonic "ba-boom" rattled and broke windows. Fifteen minutes later, he heard Chuck Yeager's sonic boom.
Last but not least Ð Charles Lindbergh was first to fly across the Atlantic.
Wrong British pilots Alcock and Brown had made it across seven years earlier but a team of U.S. Navy pilots had hop scotched across before anyone else.
Back on the ground, there is an old wives' tail that you should not drink milk when eating lobster.
As a past winner (glutton) of the lobster eating contest at the Shediac, New Brunwick, Lobster Festival I always have milk with my cold lobster and as we say in Cape Breton: "I haven't died a winter yet".
ITÕS BROKE! FIX IT.
That insightful political philosopher, ÒPogoÓ said once: ÒWe have met the enemy and it is usÓ.
CanadaÕs present health care system is a dogÕs breakfast of expensive and fragmented provincial health plans, which was not the original intention of the Pearson Government.
It is not a universal and portable national health plan. It is a mlange of 10 different delivery systems.
A 911 emergency ambulance call that costs $45.00 in Ontario costs $650.00 in Nova Scotia.
Acupuncture is covered under plans in Quebec, New Brunswick, Alberta and British Columbia but not in the other six provinces.
Acupuncture is the proven 5,000-year-old primary health choice of two billion people Ð almost a third of the worldÕs population.
In 1972 New York Timesman ÒScottyÓ Reston accompanied President Richard Nixon on his historic visit to China. Mr. Reston had to undergo an emergency appendectomy and there were post-surgery complications.
Chinese doctors remedied the complications using acupuncture. The Time columnist wrote of his experience and his column appeared on Page One below the fold.
Acupuncture had arrived in North America.
Acupuncture is a painless pill-free treatment that works. It leaves so-called Òwestern medicineÓ behind in its dust. Acupuncture has taken healing science to plateaus where it has never been before.
Western medicineÕs answer is to throw pills at a health problem.
Simple thin, sterile needles inserted in several of slightly more than 350 points have brought relief and cures for Lupus, Migraine, Macular Degeneration, detached retinas, CrohnÕs, malignant growths and tumors, tinnitus, and a dozen other afflictions Ð drug free Ð cures that have eluded pill-oriented ÒWestern medicineÓ for centuries.
A close friend will receive his final Òwestern medicineÓ treatment (# 7) for Macular Degeneration next week Ð seven needles inserted directly into the eyeball. The very thought sends shivers up my spine. Acupuncture needles are inserted away from the eyeball and relief is usually achieved in 3-4 treatments.
One patient, a retired public servant, spent two years searching for a cure for her Macular Degeneration. One treatment was essentially a form of dialysis and cost $18,000.00. It was unsuccessful.
Dr. Zhaoqi Guo, an Ottawa acupuncturist has found the Rosetta stone that has eluded Òwestern medicineÓ for centuries. He has unlocked the mystery of Macular Degeneration and is batting 1,000 Ð curing 29 of 29 cases he treated.
A 30th case was only partially successful because the patient had an existing tumor behind his eyeball.
On average three treatments by a skilled doctor of acupuncture at a total cost of $120.00 brought about a 100% cure.
Medical schools cast a jaundiced eye at acupuncture as if it were voodoo. But, many afflictions are indigenous to North America because of diet and life style. Asians do not experience these same diseases largely because of a different diet and different life style.
The ÒcureÓ usually involves abstention from certain ÒwesternÓ foodstuffs. One man who spent three years in a wheelchair with legs swollen like stove pipes was cured of Lupus totally after two months of acupuncture treatments. He and his wife holidayed in Florida one winter and he decided to celebrate and go off his diet. One meal was enough and the original pain and swelling returned. He flew back to Ottawa for emergency acupuncture to reverse the relapse with one acupuncture treatment and a firm resolve to adhere to his diet.
Another well known Ottawa newspaper figure suffered for 16 years from severe migraine Ð vomiting, the need to avoid all noise and light and blinding headaches. She had one acupuncture treatment and has not had a migraine headache for a dozen years.
It has been estimated that the minute a sufferer shows up at an Emergency Ward the meter starts ticking and starts at $250.00. One acupuncture treatment costs $35.00.
Yet, ÒWestern medicineÓ continues to ignore the health and cost benefits of a simple Oriental cure.
I was bowled over to learn that OttawaÕs hospitals employ 12,000 workers and 1,350 doctors in addition to 2,000 volunteers. Billions are spent on health care and it is difficult to turn on TV without viewing an auction or a begging bowl appeal.
My experience with OttawaÕs health care system began in 1959 Ð eight years before a national health plan was enacted into law. We provided our own health insurance and Blue Cross was usually the provider.Employers and employees normally shared the inexpensive cost of premiums.
Governments were not involved, which reminds me of the three old promises: I put a cheque in the mail; IÕll still respect you in the morning and IÕm from the government and IÕm here to help you.
Small is beautiful.
Two of the best hospitals in the Ottawa area were the Riverside and St. Louis Marie de Montfort. My two sons were born in Monfort and went there later to be stitched up or encased in plaster after hockey injuries.
I recall vividly one early morning at Walkley Arena when I was coaching house league bantams. My prize winger, Jim Peplinski, took a puck in the mouth and I drove him to the Riverside for stitches.
The first person we met in a corridor was nurse Loyola Peplinski, JimÕs mother.
We morphed from small community based hospitals to huge, impersonal Goliaths such as the Civic and the General. The Civic is Dickensian in scope and ought to be razed and sub-divided into smaller specialty treatment centers.
When I lived in London I awakened one morning with a swollen eyelid. I was referred to the Prince CharlesÕ Eye Clinic where I paid a fee of two Pounds Sterling over and above the National Health Plan tariff.
That was 1988 and a fee of two Pounds Sterling was sufficient to ward off lead swingers and hypochondriacs. Perhaps Canadian hospital administrators should follow suit and levy a small fee per emergency visit.
My wife, Janet, and I had three occasions when we were overnight patients in the Ottawa system. On all three occasions we left the hospital with infections we did not have on entry.
Janet picked up a staph infection and was forced to take a torpedo a day for 14 days. I was discharged with a bladder infection and took antibiotic capsules three times a day for a week.
On another occasion, Janet had a violent nosebleed that would not stop. On the elevator of our condo unit, she suddenly had a dreamy look on her face and spiraled to the floor. I caught her and carried her into our unit, which was only a few feet away.
I called Dr.Peter Davison, our long-time family physician, and he said immediately Ò911Ó. Off we went by ambulance. Janet was in a wheelchair with an ÒURGENTÓ tag hanging from her lapel.
The receiving desk assigned her to a cubicle 20 feet down the hall where I wheeled her. Six hours later she was still in that same wheelchair with that same red ÒURGENTÓ tag displayed prominently.
Patients came and went. to the cubicle.Finally, I went back to the receiving desk where five nurses were having a chin wag. I asked what was happening and was told JanetÕs file was down in the cubicle. I knew this was not so because an attendant told me they hadnÕt received it.
Finally, after a search of a cluttered work area, the file was found and I was told it would be sent down. I was fuming and I said: ÒdonÕt bother sending it down. I will carry it downÓ. The nurses saw I was angry and didnÕt challenge me. I was handed the file.
As I walked back to the cubicle, I shot over my shoulder: ÒBy the way, when they filmed the movie, ÔOne Flew Over the CuckoosÕ NestÕ, did they shoot it here?Ó
Fifteen minutes later, JanetÕs nose was cauterized and the flow of blood was staunched. We learned later that she was within a few percentage points blood loss of becoming comatose and a few more percentage points away from death.
The root cause was the full strength aspirin Janet took daily for her heart. She substituted a baby aspirin thereafter and there was no recurrence.
A month ago, two days into our move into new digs. I took a twister off a steep ramp in our underground parking garage. I couldnÕt move. I was in excruciating pain.
Thanks to Rogers we had no telephone. Despite a booking and confirmation, RogersÕ installer was a no-show (he showed up seven days later). A tenant found me writhing on the cement floor and I asked him to contact Janet four floors up.
He phoned 911 from the managerÕs office and off I went to Bedlam on Carling Avenue. The last time I had such a backward view of along the canal was when I was founder, manager and one-third owner of Piccadilly double decker sightseeing buses.
I have never experienced such pain as I did when the radiology team rolled me off a gurney onto the X-Ray table.
The right hip was broken and I was # 1 for surgery. That was 8.30 p.m., June 3. The surgery took place around 11.00 a.m., June 6. For almost three days, I suffered.
My entrance meds list showed I had reactions to Tylenol 3 with codeine and common aspirin. For 10 days, the medical staff at the Civic force-fed me painkillers in tablet form Ð Tylenol 3. That was clearly incompetence on the part of the Civic.
The result was nine days of painful constipation which was finally alleviated by the combined efforts of Dr. Davison and Scott Watson, our friendly Main Street pharmacist.
Barbara Ann ScottÕs husband, Tommy King, broke his hip shortly before I broke mine. We compared notes daily by Ôphone. Barb and Tommy live on Amelia Island on the Georgia-Florida border and they are 45 minutes away from Jacksonville and a Mayo Clinic satellite.
Tommy had surgery within two hours. I asked him how many days he had pain. He said:
By this time we were calling ourselves ÒThe Corsican BrothersÓ.
I said: ÒJeez, Tommy, I was in a teaching hospital where they are just a notch above using leeches. Do you think it is possible the trainee orthopedic surgeon forgot to take my new artificial hip out of the box?Ó
One of the trainees,unaccompanied by a mentor, was a young North African who was barely old enough to shave. IÕm not bigoted but I feel most comfortable when an older Marcus Welby look-alike is at the foot of the bed.
Tommy and I had a great chuckle when I told him about the ÒAll In The FamilyÓ episode when Archie Bunker was in a hospital bed awaiting next day surgery. The surgeon who was to perform the surgery entered his room to explain the procedure.
She was tubby and so black she was reflective. ArchieÕs eyes shot out like organ stops. The doctor attempted to allay his reservations by telling him she was experienced.
She said: ÒMy last job was plucking chickens for the colonelÓ.
When I see the salary schedules of the hospital administrators at the Ottawa hospitals, the only word that jumps into my mind is ÒobsceneÓ.
Combine the salary of the President of the Ottawa Hospital with another $200,000.00 and you could buy an MRI machine.
Are all those Vice Presidents really necessary?
Hospital staff is liberal (wasteful may be a better word) with disposable material because it is paid for by OHIP.
I ate better out of hay boxes in the bush when I was on a scheme as an Officer cadet in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps Officer Training Corps (COTC) during my college years.
Dr. Davison told me that the Ottawa Hospital budgets $3.20 per patient per day for meals and CanadaÕs penal system budgets $20.00 a day per prisoner.
Ontario entrepreneur Frank Klees (he married the daughter of former Ottawa Mayor George Nelms) is a Member of the Ontario Legislature and a former Minister in the Harris Government. Frank wanted to buy MRI machines privately and make them portable Ð ferry them from community to community Ð bring MRIs to the people and cut waiting times.
The McGuinty Government blocked him.
He also got short shrift from the Quebec Government.
Yet, for approximately $775.00 an Ottawa resident can cross the river and have an MRI done same day in Gatineau Ð same hour if you play for the Senators. I can only guess that Ottawa hospitals bill OHIP $775.00 for each MRI done in an Ottawa hospital.
I guess I should consider myself lucky that I am mending and that stupidity and incompetence are not contagious.
If politicians were sincere about teaching our dollars to have more cents, theyÕd conduct a searching no sacred cows probe into the mess health care has descended into.
A single federal-provincial health plan is not the catÕs meow or an answer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with parallel quasi-private plans. If OHIP allows X-number of dollars for a certain treatment it should not be the governmentÕs business where the X dollars are spent.
If the waiting time in Ontario is unacceptable and there are immediate openings in Buffalo, Niagara Falls or Left Overshoe, Minnesota, the patient should be free to choose and be allocated dollar credits to spend on legitimate treatments.
If you really want to bring the cost of health care kicking and screaming into fiscal reality, IÕd have no trouble having a good hard look at a means test.
If a General Bullmoose obviously has the readies to pay for his own health bills he shouldnÕt be forced to be a drain on the health care pot. All I would offer him would be a deduction for his personal income tax return.
OHIP cards are too accessible. When my late brother was an acting parish priest in a black parish in Chicago he told me bogus OHIP cards were being sold for $200.00. I heard a horror story about how 69 Middle East immigrants with the same surname used the same OHIP card.
Policing in Ontario is slack. It has been said there are 600,000 illegal OHIP cards out there. Then, there are newcomers to Canada Ð legal and illegal Ð all entitled to OHIP benefits. I could go on and on and onÉÉ
Parking fees Ð a daily max of $13.00, which, in many cases is a tax some families can ill afford. It doesnÕt take long to reach the $13.00 maximum because of the outrageously high half-hour rates.
You may depend that the maximum will be reached very quickly because of long waiting times in Emergency. I would favor a free parking regimen for patients who have their tickets stamped by Emergency personnel and I would favor a system where family members have their fees discounted when they visit a family member.
CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN
When I read the Bourque Newswatch coverage of Jack Layton's massage in Toronto 15 years ago, I thought of the two massages I received at a Sheraton Hotel spa in Toronto during the 1988 Economic Summit.
I had been experiencing extreme neck pains, which were exacerbated on my flight from Heathrow to Pearson.
My massage at the Sheraton differed from that of Mr. Layton's. The joint wasn't raided by Toronto vice cops.
I have to accept Mr.Layton's avowal that it was a massage and only that Ð no extras.
If it were otherwise, I would not feel comfortable handing the reins of power to someone who patronized a rub club and didn't get laid.
I also thought of similar circumstances when Defence Minister Bob Coates resigned his portfolio when it was revealed he patronized a strip club in Lahr, Germany.
A quarter of a century later, I still believe that Bob should have weathered the storm and not resigned. I was the last person he spoke to before he parted the curtains in the House of Commons, took his seat and announced his resignation.
I tried in vain to persuade him not to resign but he said he preferred to die from one swift stroke of a sword rather than a million pinpricks.
After Coates made his statement of resignation, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney walked him out of the Chamber and out of Centre Block with his arm around his shoulders.
Mulroney had only been Prime Minister for a couple of months. To this day, I am convinced that veteran MP Erik Nielsen leaned on him to fire Coates. Guess who Coates' successor was in the senior portfolio?
Jack Layton was on his back, totally naked. Bob Coates was fully dressed in a business suit enjoying a Scotch and Water after appearing as Guest of Honour at a very dull Mess Dinner.
I've had to sit through four or five formal regimental bun fights when I was an officer cadet in training at the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps School OfficersÕ Mess in Camp Borden.
They raise the description of dull to yet a higher plane.
After the dinner in Lahr, Coates asked the Officer Commanding if he could borrow his car and driver to go for a quiet nightcap. The GeneralÕs driver took Coates and two aides to TiffanyÕs.
Over the next few weeks the incident in Lahr was blown into epic proportions.
There were strippers sitting on Coates lap.
Coates was carrying ultra-secret NATO docs.
CoatesÕ aides were having it off with the resident strippers.
Untrue! There were no strippers present Ð only soft porn movies on wide screens.
Months later, Coates sued Southam for libel but when the legal meter hit $180,000 he had to throw in the towel.
Southam called me as a Witness during Examination for Discovery. My wife, Janet, and I bumped into Coates in London, England, and we spent several evenings together over dinners. We stayed at the Sheraton Park Tower at Knightsbridge where Bob was also registered.
During Discovery I came to have a full appreciation of John DiefenbakerÕs advice that you never ask a question if you donÕt already know the answer.
Ottawa lawyer Richard Deardon and a Halifax lawyer named Murrant represented Southam.
They attempted to have me agree TiffanyÕs in Lahr as a sleazy bar. Janet was a longtime travel agent and agency owner and traveled widely. The lawyers tried to have me testify TiffanyÕs was a blind pig Janet would never frequent.
Then, I remembered DiefÕs advice and a piece of intelligence House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Major General Gus Cloutier had given me.
I didnÕt lose my temper and in a carefully modulated voice told my interrogators:
ÒTiffanyÕs must be an OK bar because the brass at Lahr took Barney Danson and J.J. Blais there when they were Defence Ministers and Ed Schreyer when he was Governor GeneralÓ.
After being grilled for three hours, the last words I heard from the Southam team were:
ÒThank you, Mr. MacAdam. No more questionsÓ!
When Coates served as MP for Cumberland, Nova Scotia, he and Cape Breton MP Bob Muir shared unpretentious digs they paid for out of their annual $2,000 non-taxable allowances.
Jack Layton and his MP wife were paid more than $43,000 to share a $2,000 a month apartment close to Parliament Hill.
Together, their Parliamentary salaries total in the range of $370,000.
Together, they cost the Canadian taxpayer close to $1.25 million: $630,000 for Jack Layton and $530,304 for his wife, Olivia.
As Leader of the NDP he has a draw of $100,000 from the national party and a $1.5 million office budget.
The Laytons have come a long way since the days they both sat on Toronto City Council and earned total salaries of $100,000 a year.
That wasnÕt chopped liver but they werenÕt content with just $100,000.
A Toronto newspaper blew the whistle on their real estate scheme to get into subsidized housing. Olivia ChowÕs mother was an unemployed immigrant and a taxpayer-funded house was registered in her name.
The Laytons lived in an $800 per month, three-bedroom unit in a housing co-op for years until a Toronto reporter exposed the fiddle.
When I see Jack LaytonÕs benign countenance IÕm never sure if it is a smile or if his lips are permanently twisted from sucking at the public teat.
THE LAST WORD
DonÕt believe all the numbers you read. I am familiar with one Ottawa Aldermanic campaign where a candidate ran a textbook campaign. His army of workers ferried more than 525 little old ladies to advance polls and election day polling stations. On election night, his final tally was 436 votes opposed to 1,105 for the incumbent.
Some ethnic signs in Ottawa appear to have escaped the language Taliban. The Chinese arch on Somerset Street is unilingual Chinese. For those of you not conversant with Cantonese or Mandarin, the Chinese characters simply spell CHINATOWN.
Close by on Preston Street, overhead signs in flowing script advise you that you are in LITTLE ITALY (English only).
Years ago when Governor General Jules Leger was incapacitated by a major stroke, his Chatelaine, Gaby, slipped into the role of surrogate and filled many of his appointments.
She was a francophone pur laine.
She dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts on her visits.
For an official visit to Sydney-Glace Bay she insisted that her limousine be a non-smoking Fleetwood Cadillac and that the chauffeur be fluently bilingual.
Cape Bretoners honoured her wishes. Her driver was impeccably turned out and spoke English and Gaelic.
WHERE'S THE BEEF?
When a Parliament is dissolved every item on the Order Paper vanishes Ð Government Bills, Private Members' Bills, Starred Questions, etc.
A new Parliament opens with a clean slate.
This is no excuse for political party to ignore unfinished business entirely. But, this is exactly what has happened since Day One of this current election campaign.
All Canadians are being given are vague promises of new programs with hefty price tags attached.
Not one party is promising less government or spending cutbacks.
My personal philosophy of government is: as much as is necessary and as little as possible. I wish governments would stop doing things we are quite capable of doing ourselves.
Years ago, I can recall being in Mel MacKay's antique shop in South Gloucester and Mel had a 1906 Ottawa telephone directory. Would you believe that the Government of Canada had six telephone listings?
When I came to Ottawa to work as a Diefenbaker apparatchik in 1959, Prime Minister John DiefenbakerÕs PMO was a small suite in East Block. The budget for his staff of seven was $78,000.
He also seconded two External Affairs officers and borrowed a messenger from the House of Commons.
The job top-up for being Prime Minister was peanuts. He was given a modest car allowance and living accommodation at 24 Sussex Drive. He was required to kickback $5,000 of his stipend for yearly rent.
Members of Parliament were all jammed in Centre Block Ð two to an office. They shared a secretary who was a Sessional employee and was paid only when the House sat.
An MP was paid $8,000 and also received a $2,000 annual tax-free allowance. The only transportation allowance provided was a free pass on Canadian National or Canadian Pacific trains. While on board, the MP paid for all meals and sleeping berths.
Most provinces gave an MP a complimentary pass for bus travel.
MPs were required to pay for all long distance calls and secretaries were warned, under paid of death, not to accept collect phone calls from the riding.
It would be almost 20 years before MPs had access to a WATS (wide area telephone service) phone system. MPs had free telephone service.
I was working for backbench Red Deer MP Gordon Towers and used his allowance for office equipment to buy the first FAX machines on the Hill Ð one for Ottawa and one for his riding office.
At the time Commons Speaker Jeanne Sauve was locked in a turf war with Sergeant-at-Arms General Gus Cloutier. She chipped away at his responsibilities by trying to place a newly created office of Administrator over him.
The first Administrator was public servant Art Silverman. He pounced on me like a ton of bricks. He said the House of Commons would only pay for one.
What was Gordon Towers, M.P. going to do with one FAX machine? We didnÕt know anyone else in Canada with a machine save his riding office in Red Deer.
It took six months and the intervention of Opposition Whip Chuck Cook, Shadow Transport Committee Chair Pat Nowlan and the all-powerful MembersÕ Services Committee.
When Mulroney became Prime Minister he reinstated all of Gus Cloutier's duties and gave him a promotion and a raise.
The one bright star in an MPÕs firmament was the heavily subsided Parliamentary Restaurant, which served up 5-Star meals for a pittance - $1.35 for a dinner selection of Atlantic Salmon, Brome Lake Duckling, Kamloops Trout, Alberta Beef.
Malcolm (Vic) MacInnes won Cape Breton South for the CCF in 1962. Married with children, he mused publicly that an MP couldn't live on $10,000 a year. The average salary of a coal miner or steel worker back home was around $3,000 a year.
MacInnes was toast after the 1963 election.
When there were government ordered austerity cuts, Diefenbaker ordered a $1,000 reduction in the operating subsidy of his official residence, including a $300 cut in his food bills.
After a weeklong state visit to Mexico, he turned in a personal expense account for $102.04 and, following a Washington visit he turned in a voucher for $5.68.
Just before embarking on a trip to Britain he told his secretary he should have some "walking around money". She handed him a $20 bill.
Fast forward to 1988. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was making a half-day visit to London as part of his visits to the capitals of nations who would attend the 1988 Economic Summit in Toronto.
I was Press Officer at the High Commission and the bean-counters consulted me as to what the PM's needs were. I told them he was a modest man and some soda water, chocolate bars and newspapers in his suite would be sufficient.
I donÕt know how the bureaucrats managed but in the space of seven hours they spent 39,000 Pounds on creature comforts 'for the PM'. Had that number leaked out guess whoÕd have ended up carrying the can for the profligacy?
I wish that this current crop of leaders would stop telling me what new programs and what new acronyms they intend to implement. Are there not enough items of unfinished business to keep them busy?
Whatever happened to measures to deal with dual passports?
Whatever happened to measures to stem the flood of unqualified immigrants and refugees?
If an MP looks to recognize the impact immigrants are having on crimes within society, just let him or her read the daily papers and see the surnames of the perpetrators.
Does Canada really need uneducated, unskilled immigrants who do not speak either official language?
When will the government realize that multiculturalism doesnÕt work and canÕt be fixed? Look south to the melting pot approach to integrating immigrants.
In concert with the provinces and medical and dental associations can recognition of professional skills earned abroad be fast tracked in Canada?
Bilingualism is a self-inflicted train wreck. A Cape Breton Scot who speaks English only will never have the opportunity of winning a job competition in the federal public service.
Wasn't the original concept of extending bilingualism keyed to "where numbers warrant"?"
Janet and I managed a few days in the best city in the world recently Ð London.
Brits look upon or down on Canadians as boring cousins who say "THANK YOU" to ATM machines and whose first question at a job interview is about the companyÕs pension plan.
I wonder what their reaction would be if I told them of the millions of dollars Canada gives to the Bloc annually.
The Bloc fields candidates in each of Quebec's 75 federal ridings. Should it enjoy national party status when it does not run candidates in any other province or territory.
Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe is fortunate he does not have to send out a single fund raising letter.
Why bother raising funds the hard way when Elections Canada and the House of Commons shovel millions of dollars you.
There once was a Government and an Opposition in the Commons. Now, splinter parties like the Bloc and the NDP enjoy the same standing in the House as the Official Opposition.
When Elizabeth May was fulminating about being denied room on the platform during TV debates I Googled Elections Canada list of political parties since Confederation. In case you are interested, there have been 135 and every one would be entitled to participate in TV debates.
New York Governor Al Smith was the first Catholic to run for President of the United States. He was no match for the DemocratsÕ powerful vote getter, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
One of the dirty tricks played against Governor Smith was the sleazy whispering campaign that if he won the Pope would move into the White House.
Al Smith may have lost the election big-time but not his sense of humor. He told reporters he sent the Pope a one-word telegram:
Political leaders who have their sights on moving into 24 Sussex Drive or Stornoway on Acacia Avenue would do well until all the votes are counted before they issue instructions to the movers.
A week before Election Day, based on polls in Quebec, NDP Leader Jack Layton is experiencing visions of sugar plum fairies dancing on his lawn.
The last time the NDP spiked in Quebec was in the 1980 general election.
Quebec voters gave the socialist party 272,284 votes.
It was the NDPÕs misfortune to come up against the second coming of Pierre Trudeau.
It was akin to shooting fish in a barrel. TrudeauÕs Liberals carried 74 of QuebecÕs 75 seats. The lone Opposition MP elected was Tory Roch Lasalle. He won in Joliette by a slender margin of 389 votes Ð 22,280 votes to 21,891 for his Liberal opponent.
The NDP finished in second place in 38 ridings. Progressive Conservatives even ran behind the Rhinoceros Party in two constituencies.
It was difficult to take the Rhinos seriously but they did field more than just a corporalÕs guard in Quebec.
They were a colorful band of campaigners. They didnÕt take themselves seriously and a few listed their official occupations as comedian, clown, dreamer, thinker, unemployed, puppeteer, humanist, poet, teacher, musician and student.
ÒBugsÓ Bonnier ran third in Laval des Rapides against Jeanne Sauve and captured 2,152 votes to the future SpeakerÕs 33,317.
Tory Marc Legris with 1,572 votes and 6.47% of the popular vote was fourth.
ÒScrewdriverÓ Gingras ended up with 687 votes compared to Andre BachandÕs winning 20,022 ballots.
In Outremont the RhinoÕs Serge Beauchemin out-polled Tory Henriette Guerin 2,564 votes to 2,134.
In Laurier, David Berger won with 66.66% of the popular vote. A Rhino came second, an NDPer third and a Tory fourth.
Some of the Liberal majorities were just short of obscene.
Pierre Bussieres led the slaughter with 42,569 votes. The NDP candidate was runner-up with 7,388 votes.
Monique Begin was another Liberal to poll more than 40,000 votes. She won with 42,228 and the NDP trailed in second place with 7,358.
Only across the river in Hull did the NDPÕs candidate reach double-digit numbers. Michel Legere had 10,059 votes compared to incumbent Dr. Gaston IsabelleÕs 27,938.
Francis Fox won by a majority of 30,000 and change as did 17 other Liberals.
Four years later, Liberal majorities were all for naught. Brian MulroneyÕs ÒRainbow CoalitionÓ reduced their numbers from 74 seats to 17.
Rod Blaker was a likeable political animal. He held the working class riding of Lachine from 1972 to 1984 Ð winning four elections against formidable opponents such as Raymond Rock, John Pratt and Peter Blaikie.
Blaker always polled more than 50% of the popular vote Ð from a low of 53.29% against heavyweight Tory MP John Pratt to highs of 59.74% and 63.3% against high profile Tory national officer Peter Blaikie.
The Layton family were gilt edged Liberals in Quebec. Jack LaytonÕs grandfather, Gilbert Layton, was a former Quebec cabinet minister.
JackÕs father, Bob, was a political activist for the Liberal Party of Canada and ran unsuccessfully in 1972 for the Liberal nomination in the riding of Vaudreuil.
In the 1980s he joined Brian MulroneyÕs Progressive Conservative Party and was elected to the House of Commons in 1984 in west end Lachine on the island of Montreal.
He served as Minister of State for Mines in MulroneyÕs first cabinet from 1984 to 1986 and, later, as National Caucus Chairman. He was re-elected in 1988 and retired from politics in 1993.
In 1984 he commanded 51.65% of the popular vote and a 9,145 vote margin over his Liberal opponent. His winning edge in 1988 was just 734 votes, 1.29% of the 51,006 votes he split with Liberal Victor Drury.
Bob Layton was married to Doris Elizabeth Steeves, a grandniece of William Steeves, a Father of Confederation. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer and enjoyed full recovery. His son, Jack, announced on February 5, 2010, that he, too, was stricken with the same cancer as his father.
The NDP carried 26 ridings in 1979, 32 in 1980, 30 in 1984 and 43 in 1988 Ð but were skunked in Quebec.
The political landscape might have been different in 1979-1980 had Prime Minister Joe Clark been less principled.
His Tories held 136 seats in the 282 seat House. The combined Opposition held 146 seats. The Liberals had 114, NDP had 26 and QuebecÕs Social Credit Party, led by Fabien Roy, held six seats.
With Fabien RoyÕs six votes in any non-confidence vote, Joe ClarkÕs government would enjoy 142 seats, one seat more than needed to form a majority.
But, Fabien RoyÕs price was too high for Joe Clark. To be recognized as a national party, his Socreds must have elected 12 MPs. He asked Prime Minister Clark to bestow the perqs of a national party on his band of six and Clark refused.
All six Socreds voted against Joe ClarkÕs government and the final vote in the House was 146 to 136.
Exit Joe Clark.
Enter stage left Ð Pierre Trudeau.
Shooting fish in a barrel was humane compared to the fate of the Tories and NDP.
Conservatives finished second in 31 ridings and the NDP were runners-up in 36.
Conservatives finished third in 39 ridings the NDP wound up third in 27 seats.
Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. The Trudeau Liberals didnÕt even allow the Tories and NDP the fallback privilege of saying they were close.
The NDP surge in Quebec could be the death knell for the Bloc.
A half-century ago, Winnipeg MP and strategist, Gordon Churchill, advised his Leader, John Diefenbaker, he Òcould win without QuebecÓ. For once, ÒThe ChiefÓ listened to advice.
In 1957, Quebec gave Diefenbaker nine seats. Brian Mulroney told me once that Quebec is always one election behind the rest of Canada and that the province likes to be with a winner.
In 1958, Quebec gave Diefenbaker 50 seats he really didnÕt need because the rest of Canada awarded him both ears and the tail Ð 161 seats. He only needed 133 for a majority and breathing room to appoint a Speaker.
The massive turnout at advance polls has political pros scratching their heads. Normally, a large turnout is a signal that voters are ready to throw the rascals out.
But, who are todayÕs rascals?
Who will electors punish and who will they reward?
Does Jack LaytonÕs sudden surge in Quebec mean Quebecois are poised to throw the Bloc out? Obviously, Conservatives are not targets in Quebec because they have so few seats and Liberals are not much further ahead.
Have Quebec voters finally come to their senses, realizing that a one-trick pony party whose one goal is separation does little to advance QuebecÕs interests?
DROPPING THE PILOT
Sebastian Dangerfield, J.P. Donleavy's scurrilous character in his book, "THE GINGER MAN", is quoted as saying that life is tough but it is fair.
The scenario that was played out by the Ottawa Senators' ownership is a textbook example of the vicissitudes that befall an NHL Coach of a team of under achievers, riddled with serious injuries.
My association with professional hockey, albeit semi-pro, dates back to the year I stayed out of college because my father, a coal company machinist, couldn't afford to have two sons in college at the same time.
My main beat over a winter was covering Bud Poile's Glace Bay Miners at home and on road trips to Sydney, Halifax, Moncton, Saint John and Charlottetown.
In that era, player-coach Poile ran ALL hockey operations. Using his extensive connections with pro hockey, especially Detroit Red Wings, he assembled the team.
His manager, Izzy Hyisky booked buses, hotels and meals, purchased equipment and looked after box office receipts and the payroll.
Their responsibilities were seamless and their duties did not clash or overlap.
Somehow, over the years, the role of General Manager (GM) has grown. Instead of being a bean counter and an administrator, the GM became THE MAN. He selects the players, signs them to contracts and turns a done deal over to a Coach.
The Coach has no choice and, as a Texas football coach said once, "you have to dance with the one what brang you".
Cory Clouston had to dance with a few stiffs that Bryan Murray brang him. Couple this with major injuries to Kuba, Spezza, Alfredsson, Leclaire, Foligno, Fisher and others and you have a perfect storm.
Then, there is the extensive litany of those, headed by Zdena Chara, who got away and are making their marks with other NHL clubs.
I am an original Senators' season tickets holder (Section 27, Row H, Seats 15 and 16)in the Civic Center.
Until Craig Anderson was stolen away from Columbus Blue Jackets a couple of months ago, the only serious goaltender Ottawa could depend on was Dominik Hasek. Alas, he was injured competing internationally and, for all intents and purposes, was lost to Ottawa.
How Mr. Eugene Melnyk handled the Bryan Murray-Cory Clouston tandem have overtones of Pontius Pilate washing his hands of a bad situation.
It also parallels the old British joke about the stiff upper crust Brit male, the imposing dowager from the shires and her yappy, snarling poodle aboard a BritRail train.
The lady, her impedimenta and her poodle took up almost the entire bench seat and left little room in the compartment for the toff to sit.
When he attempted to move the dog, it bit him and snarled. He took the dog by the scruff of her neck, pulled a window down and dropped her off the train.
The dog's owner went ballistic. She screamed! She fulminated! She ranted! She raved!
A quiet observer taking in the scenario remarked:
"He threw the wrong bitch out!"
Methinks, Mr. Melnyk dropped the wrong pilot. Given the talent, the injuries and Mr. Murray's reluctance to bring farm club players up from Binghampton, Cory Clouston did a remarkable job.
He paid the extreme price for Bryan MurrayÕs foibles.
Rumors persist that Cory Clouston lacked people skills in "the room" and that some players resented him. Tough luck! Those over-paid, under achieving few probably feel, thanks to Mr. Murray, that their long-term, multi-million dollar, one-way contracts render them bullet-proof, impervious to discipline and direction.
Last year, I felt like sitting in a warm tub and opening a vein if I heard Bryan Murray say once more that all Ottawa needed "a puck moving defenceman".
He reminded me of Voltaire's attitude towards defending the fortress at Louisburg:
"Why bother with the stables when the manor house is on fire?"
Mr. Murray's attitude towards graduating juniors and drafted college players is old school. On his watch, where would Steve Stamkos, P.K Subban, John Tavares, Logan Couture, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe and Dustin Byfuglien have wound up when they turned pro Ð riding the buses or dusting the pines in the American or Western Leagues?
Mr. Melnyk may have had the Midas touch in the pharmaceutical industry but his acumen in the business/sport of hockey is, as Mary Poppins said, "a puzzlement".
Personally, I would have escorted Bryan Murray into the sunset and handed him a gold Timex with a Senators' crest for a dial. Or, at the very best, offer him a one-year contract Ð not three. I would also send him a strong signal by renewing Cory Clouston's mandate with a new two-year contract.
It isn't Cory CloustonÕs fault that he was placed with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. 30
by Pat MacAdam
"Big Cy" MacDonald was Glace BayÕs answer to Will Rogers.
One of his many boasts was that he was born in Catalone, a village near the fortress of Louisburg. Cy maintained his ancestral community was so small it could not afford to have its own "fool".
"So, we all had to take turns!"
No self-respecting royal court of the 16th and 17th centuries was without a court jester or a fool to amuse the monarch.
I have a "fool" in my family tree. Over 300 years ago in a small village in the Highlands of Scotland, near Oban, John MacAdam discharged his musket at a longboat full of British Marines.
The Marines came ashore, torched the village and carried off all the sheep.
Thereafter, and to this day, John MacAdam and his descendents became known as "The Fools".
The British Marines spared the life of John "The Fool".
St. JohnÕs, Newfoundland, had more than its share of "fools".
Newfoundlanders believed that their "fools" were special and that they had been touched by the hand of God. Many were crippled or mentally retarded.
Locals called them "queer sticks".
Best selling author, Morris West, called them Clowns of God.
St. JohnÕs was home to "Silly Willy", a.k.a William Murphy who died in 1960. "Silly Willy" was an inveterate mourner and, in the days when coffins were carried by horse-drawn hearses, he was first to be seen trotting behind the hearse.
Newsreel shots and newspaper photos of the corteges of St. JohnÕsÕ distinguished departed on their way to the graveyard invariably captured "Silly Willy" with his head bowed reverently.
He was a harmless soul who terrorized shop clerks arranging window displays. When kids taunted him he took chase and scared the daylights out of them.
"Trotters" McCarthyÕs physical infirmity rated him mention in RipleyÕs "Believe It Or Not". "Trotters" was unable to walk but he could trot at a fast running pace.
Tommy Peddle was known as "Tommy Toe" and he was a familiar face on Water Street. Nobody knows where the nickname came from. He was a World War 1 navy veteran who took to drink when he returned home.
Another St. JohnÕs "fool" was Dr. Neal. He had no degree of any kind but maintained he was the illegitimate son of the Prince of Wales who visited St. JohnÕs in 1870. He did bear a striking resemblance to the Prince who later was crowned Edward V11.
Dr. Neal made a fire station his headquarters and walked to all the funerals he could attend. He wore a firemanÕs hat and carried a cane made from a discarded umbrella.
Another retarded clown of God was Dickie Magee, better known as "Stinky". He imagined he was a reincarnated Sherlock Holmes and entertained his listeners with involved stories of robberies and murders he had solved for the London constabulary.
Caroline Bowdin never appeared in public without being covered with brightly coloured ribbons from head to toe. She married a "fool" named "Flipper" Smith and Johnny Burke immortalized them both in his folksong, "The KelligrewÕs Soiree:"
"Jim Brine, Din Ryan, Slipper Smith and
I tell you boys we had a time
At the KelligrewÕs Soiree!"
My home town of Glace Bay, with a population of 25,000 the largest town in Canada, was home to Peter George, David, Johnnie Lauchie, Roddie and a few others.
None of them was violent or a drinker.
Peter George was my first cousin. He was a perfectly developed baby in a family of nine children. One morning my Aunt Katie had him tucked under her arm when she fed a small shovel of coal into the kitchen stove. There was a blasting cap in the coal and it blew up. The stove cover hit Peter George on the head and caused permanent brain damage.
He walked about town all day, rain or shine, sleet or snow, and was never seen without his gray double-breasted suit, shirt and tie. His pockets bulged with pens and White Owl cigars. During summers he hitchhiked or mainly walked 15-30 miles to spend a week or so with our aunt on the Meadows Road or our cousins Joe Jim and Elizabeth MacNeil in Johnstown.
Peter George was as strong as an ox. He had such an engaging personality locals were always stuffing $1 and $2 bills in his pocket.
During his teens David had the misfortune to soil his linen while down town. Thereafter, he was known as "Chocolate Pants".
Johnny Lauchie was a walking rugby encyclopedia and the unofficial mascot of the Canadian rugby champions, Glace Bay Caledonias, an assembly of tough coal miners, many of them World War 11 veterans who served with the fabled "CB Haitch", the CBH Ð Cape Breton Highlanders.
Perhaps apocryphal is the story of the time Prime Minister Winston Churchill threw out a question to his War Cabinet:
"How do we get into Berlin before the Russians?"
The answer came back:
"Make it out of bounds to the Cape Breton Highlanders!"
Roddie suffered from a form of epilepsy as well as being mentally challenged. He liked to hang around construction sites and help the carpenters. One day, while shingling a roof, he fell two storeys to the hard ground below.
Workers rushed to his aid but Roddy assured them:
"IÕm all right. I had to come down for more nails anyway".
The clowns of God enjoyed intelligence on another dimension. When I look back at those I knew, I think their native cunning is superior to some contemporaries I met in politics.
Once, I bumped into one of Prime Minister Joe ClarkÕs advance men in Winnipeg and we repaired to a hotel bar neither of us had ever been in before.
When the waitress came to take our orders, I ordered a cappuccino. My friend, the rocket scientist, told the waitress:
"IÕll have the usual."
She looked at him as if he had two heads.
When I read about the bollix Prime Minister HarperÕs handlers are making of his campaign, itÕs little wonder he is dropping in polls. The thing that bothers me most is that the PM is following their game plan.
Election campaigns are not the time to hide inside a glass bubble. The public and the press want to see an approachable warm body Ð not Mackenzie King in a suit from Moores.
Voters are sick and tired of negative caterwauling and personal attacks.
They would welcome politics of reason and hope.
IÕve always believed that if something is broke, you fix it.
Thus far, all the leaders have skirted incendiary issues that cry out to be fixed. Are these leaders so naive as to believe that announcing new programs, which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, is what voters want to hear?
Who are the real "fools" ?
POLITICS A MATTER OF BREAKS AND MISTAKES
by Pat MacAdam
History shows that politics in Canada, like hockey, is a game of breaks and mistakes.
When the gremlins are lined up against you, say goodnight, Dick.
U.S.Vice President, Richard Nixon, had the advantage of incumbency in his 1960 presidential campaign against Senator John F. Kennedy. But, gremlins dictated otherwise.
Nixon was a terminal victim of MurphyÕs Law: anything that could possibly go wrong did.
The same can be said of Prime Minister John DiefenbakerÕs 1962 campaign when his numbers plummeted from a landslide 208 to 116 seats Ð a loss of 92. MurphyÕs Law galloped in Seven League boots. Anything that possibly could go wrong did.
I was a junior spear-catcher at the time and I gave The Chief a wide berth because his mood was usually foul. The only people who were capable of stroking him were CBC-TV directors and producers Ð Patrick Watson, Reeves Hagganüand Cameron Graham.
Arriving at 208 out of 265 seats in 1958, The Chief had to be content with a minority of 112 seats to Mike PearsonÕs LiberalsÕ 105 along the way in 1957.
Senior Diefenbaker advisor, Winnipeg MP Gordon Churchill, prepared a game plan for victory and in it he boldly told The Chief he could win without Quebec. So, why waste shoe leather and campaign funds on a lost cause. The Diefenbaker Conservatives had elected nine Quebec MPs.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper could do well to heed Gordon ChurchillÕs advice, too. In 1963, I chartered an Air Canada Viscount for The Chief for his one and only campaign visit. He hoped to have photo ops with the Mayor of Quebec City and the Cardinal but they snubbed him. Dalton Camp was national campaign manager and he told Conservative and Creditiste candidates in Quebec: "if you canÕt win, take a Grit down with you".
I remember Laval law student Brian Mulroney telling me that Quebec was always one election behind the rest of the country. He was so right. In 1958, Quebec sent 50 Tories out of 75 MPs to Ottawa. The Bloc should not have 2/3 of the Quebec seats. Prime Minister Harper couldnÕt make any changes while he was in a minority position but it would be a different kettle of fish if he held a majority. He could change the ground rules so that the Bloc does not receive the generous federal funding it does unless it becomes a truly national party and fields candidates in provinces other than Quebec. It is silly to throw money at a one-trick pony whose only goal is separation from the rest of Canada.
In the decades I have been a bit player on the national scene I have only seen one minority Parliament that worked. It worked because most of the legislation it passed was catch-up.
The "short Parliament" of 1957 was a veritable cornucopia of much needed and most welcome farm legislation Ð Crop Insurance, cash advances on farm-stored grain, Prairie Farm Rehabilitation, acreage payments, drought relief, irrigation (South Saskatchewan Dam), price supports, farm credit.
Old age pensioners were not forgotten nor were veterans. He introduced simultaneous translation in Commons debates. Federal Government cheques became bilingual and shortly afterwards he appointed CanadaÕs first French-Canadian Governor General.
He introduced a Bill of Rights in Parliament.
He left no stone unturned in canvassing every department to improve standards of living and qualities of life.
Mike PearsonÕs corporalÕs guard of 48 MPs still believed the Liberal Party was the natural governing Party and perhaps they also believed in the Divine Right of Kings. After all, the Liberal Party had ruled over Canada since 1935.
The wall between opposition and obstruction was breached by four Liberal Privy Councillors Prime Minister Diefenbaker called The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Ð Mike Pearson, Jack Pickersgill, Paul Martin Senior and Lionel Chevrier.
Civility and camaraderie went out the window. The air in the Commons chamber was poisonous.
It was the beginning of the publicÕs contempt for their elected representatives. Then, that decline was exacerbated by the introduction of live TV coverage. Every Opposition MP had his chance to play silly buggers, live on TV, to impress the voters back home.
I was working on the Hill churning out bumff for several MPs Ð Bob Coates, Gordon Towers and Ron Stewart. When Brian Mulroney won the party leadership, some veteran MPs were afraid heÕd be eaten up by John Turner if Old Blue Eyes won his partyÕs leadership. John had been out of politics for several years and was associated with a Toronto law firm. I knew instinctively after his first press conference as Liberal Leader and Prime Minister that he was rusty.
He booted a question about the Manitoba Language Question and dismissed it as a provincial matter.
During the televised LeadersÕ TV debate, Mulroney eviscerated him. Ontario Premier Bill Davis said it was the most electrifying 23-seconds of political TV he had ever seen. When John Turner told Mulroney "he had no option" he looked like a deer caught in the headlights and the game was over for him. Even though Mulroney had an insurmountable lead, he campaigned like someone possessed. The Writ period was 55 days and we made 150 take-offs and (thank God) 150 landings and we also traveled by our private bus for days in southwestern Ontario and eastern Quebec.
One morning, two days before voting day, we left the Ritz hotel at 6.00 a.m., made stops in Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, Sault Ste Marie, Thunder Bay, Kenora, a major rally in North Bay for incumbent MP Moe Mantha and concluded with a midnight rally for Claudie Mailly at Gatineau airport. Claudie won. We were back at the Ritz after 20 hours of non-stop campaigning.
If you donÕt learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it. MPs donÕt realize that every day, little by little, they are tarnishing their escutcheons. What other explanation can there be for the raucous behavior of the Rat Pack Ð Sheila Copps, John Nunciata, Brian Tobin, et al, during the Mulroney years?
When I attended St. F.X. University, we had Model or Mock Parliaments. Elections were held and the national parties looked upon results as bellwethers. They sent their top guns down to speak to the student body Ð George Drew, Gordon Churchill, David Lewis, Doug Fisher, Bob Stanfield, Douglas Jung, Paul Martin Senior, et al. For 103 years Ð the lifetime of St. F.X. Ð Liberals won every election until 1956 when Lowell Murray toppled the incumbent Grits.
Parliament was a one-day happening. Lowell invited Brian Mulroney and me to join his cabinet. Then, he suckered the President of the StudentsÕ Union, Bobby Higgins, to be a surrogate Governor General and read a Speech from the Throne. Lowell persuaded Bobby to wear a scarlet tunic and a bearskin Busbee. Later in life Bobby was elected to the New Brunswick Legislature and came within two seats of toppling Richard HatfieldÕs entrenched government.
The Speaker of our Parliament was the urbane and erudite Father Malcolm MacDonell, a history professor. Behind his back, his nickname was "The Moose?" Why, I will never know because he was one cosmopolitan dude.
I donÕt know how sly Lowell managed a poker face when he referred to the Liberal Leader of the Opposition as "having the political acumen of aÉ of aÉ of aÉ MOOSE".
All good clean fun. Civility reigned. There was no rancor, no mean spirited behavior.
The Wild Geese
by Pat MacAdam
During IrelandÕs 1848 "troubles", the Crown accused nine young rebels of treason and sedition. Several, William Butler Yeats' so-called Wild Geese, were on the run and were tried in absentia.
Before he placed the traditional black cloth on his head and sentenced all nine to death by hanging, the judge asked if there was anything anyone of them wished to say.
One rebel, Thomas Francis Meagher ("Meagher of the Sword") was an Irish nationalist and Leader of the Young Irelanders.
He spoke for all when he said:
"My Lord, this is our first offence, but not our last. If you will be easy with us this once, we promise, on our word as gentlemen, to try to do better next time. And next time, for sure, we wonÕt be fools and get caught."
The judge was outraged. He sentenced them to be hanged by the neck, to be drawn and quartered, their bodies to be disposed of in quicklime and their skulls displayed on pikes atop Dublin Castle.
The hue and cry over such cruel and barbaric punishment reverberated throughout the British Empire. The outcry was such that Queen Victoria exercised the power of clemency and commuted the death sentences to transportation and exile to Van DiemenÕs Land, "down under", on the other side of the world.
In 1874 a document was placed before Her Majesty. It was signed by Charles Gavan Duffy, Prime Minister of Victoria. Victoria was astounded that a deported convict had been elected a Prime Minister "down under".
Victoria asked of her Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli:
"Is this not the same young man whose death sentence we commuted?"
Disraeli replied: "I donÕt know, Mum, but I will make inquiries."
He was indeed the same Charles Gavan Duffy who had been transported to a penal colony 26 years earlier.
In later years, the Queen knighted Charles Gavan Duffy and a few years later he was awarded a KCMG Ð Knight Commander of Michael and Gregory. One of his sons, Frank Gavan Duffy, was Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. Another son, George Gavan Duffy, was President of the High Court and a grandson was a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
She instructed Disraeli to: "find out what happened to the other eight "!
The other eight were:
Thomas Francis MeagherÕs wealthy merchant grandfather, also named Thomas, was born in St. JohnÕs, Newfoundland. In later years, he served two terms as Mayor of New York City. His son, another Thomas, was the father of the convicted rebel "Meagher of the Sword" who by now was a brigadier-general in the United States Army. He saw action with the Fighting 69th New York State Militia at Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Antietam.
U.S. President Andrew Johnson, who became President when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, appointed Meagher Acting Governor of Montana.
False reports of drunkenness dogged Meagher throughout his military career but Major General George B. McClelland scotched those malicious rumors in his reports.
Currier and Ives immortalized "Meagher of the Sword" in a lithograph of him on horseback at the 1862 battle of Fair Oaks.
Against the wishes and advice of his family and friends, he married the daughter of a convicted highwayman.
He drowned in the swift running Missouri River when he fell overboard from the deck of a steamboat into 12 feet of water. Even then, his detractors scoffed that he was probably drunk. His body was never recovered.
His drowning occurred on July 1, 1867, the day the new nation of Canada became a reality.
Rebels Terence Bellew McManus and Patrick Donahue were also brigadier-generals in the U.S. army.
At his Trial in Ireland, McManus attracted attention for his statement:
"It was not because I loved England less, but because I loved Ireland more".
John Mitchell was a prominent New York City politician. His son, John Purroy Mitchell, was elected Mayor of New York at the outbreak of the First World War.
Mitchell Sr. and Meagher split over the issue of slavery and Mitchell went south to the capital of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.
Richard OÕGorman was Governor of Newfoundland.
Morris Lyene served as Attorney General of Australia and Michael Ireland, another transported convict, succeeded him.
The ninth rebel fled Ireland to America on a commercial steamer, disguised as a Catholic priest. His cover was nearly blown when a shipboard romance blossomed during the passage and the young couple asked him to marry them.
History does not record how he managed to extricate himself from the situation but one historian guessed he was a quick thinker and told the couple that ship-board marriages were within the purview of the shipÕs captain only.
Landing in the United States, he founded successful newspapers in Boston, Philadelphia and Montreal.
He was elected to CanadaÕs House of Commons and Prime Minister John A. Macdonald invited him to join his Cabinet as Minister of Agriculture, Immigration and Statistics. Later, he was a delegate to the Quebec and Charlottetown Conferences, which led to CanadaÕs Confederation in 1867.
The life of this young Father of Confederation was cut short by an assassinÕs bullet on downtown OttawaÕs Sparks Street.
The ninth rebelÕs name was Thomas D'Arcy McGee.
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