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Doug’s Columns Jun-Dec 1990 « Douglas Fisher

Fisher

 

Doug’s Columns Jun-Dec 1990

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, December 31, 1990
ID: 12530517
TAG: 199012310195
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

CLOSING RANTS FOR THE YEAR

Recently I much appreciated the insights in the book, Pirouette, a close critique of Pierre Trudeau’s foreign policy. Its authors are historians Robert Bothwell and J.L. Granatstein, prolific writers whose books range from 1939 to the present, thus including Ottawa’s Golden Age.
They’ve always seemed “Grit” historians, and as such have much company in Canada, much as “Whig” historians in Britain have been numerous and influential. Bothwell-Granatstein have poor opinions of prime ministers John Diefenbaker and Brian Mulroney. Even so, some opinions about the Quebec crisis which they put last week in the Globe and Mail were mindless . . . vapid!
They opened by asserting Mulroney’s renewed readiness for “a massive decentralization of power to the provinces, a Meech Lake accord writ large.” They say the man’s learned nothing from losing the accord. And they insist the vast majority of Canadians want Quebec to stay “so that the country can remain a strong, bilingual federation.”
It would be “an error of historic proportions” for Quebec and a “tragedy for all Canadians” if Quebec chooses independence.
The pair would go “almost any distance” to keep Quebec in. If she goes, they are ready to keep “a light in the window to welcome Quebec back.”
But “any distance” for Bothwell-Granatstein is very short. They were against Meech because it was decentralizing. Mulroney was ready to give anything he gave Quebec to the other provinces. Now he’s ready for a “Meech III” and an even looser federation with even more powers given to the provinces. This is not good enough.
“Any new constitutional arrangement must ensure that the federal government retains sufficient power to shape and direct the economic, social, cultural, trade, defence and foreign policies of this country, from sea to sea. The 1982 Constitution, we believe, did this. The Meech accord did not.”
And the historians close with the idea: “We must get new leaders as soon as possible.”
Do you see what’s mindless in the letter?
Take a look at the sentence about Ottawa retaining power “to shape and direct economic, social, cultural . . . policies.”
Where have these men been? Quebec’s been inching for 30 years toward control of its own social and cultural affairs. And in the past decade, Quebec’s been out to become the primary director of its economic development. And all this has not been just PQ gambits. It’s clearly what Premier Robert Bourassa and the veteran Claude Ryan have been aiming towards.
These Grit historians devastate Mulroney for hatching another mighty surrender of federal powers, laud Trudeau’s constitutional achievement of 1981, vow almost anything to keep Quebec, then postulate a federal regime which Quebec will no longer take. The best I can say for them is that they did not propose Clyde Wells and Elijah Harper as the “new leaders” we must get.
Now to raise another objection, in this case some policing of thought by a CBC interviewer.
Last week on CBC’s Newsworld, interviewer Kathy Wright talked with the Ontario commissioner for Indian rights (a native). She suggested the prime minister should discipline Don Blenkarn, a backbench Tory MP of considerable notoriety.
The commissioner, led by Wright, had said, in effect, that questions about Indians in a constituency letter of Blenkarn’s and the responses were wrong-headed, tilted, and irrelevant.
Wright wanted more. Maybe Blenkarn should be bounced from the caucus and party, maybe required to recant and apologize? To give him credit, the commissioner wouldn’t fully bite.
It happens that I recapitulated here weeks ago some of Blenkarn’s questions to his constituents, mostly those about Quebec’s demands. He had asked if Ontario should go it alone. Were Ontario people ready for the even greater transfer payments the Maritimes would need when Quebec left?
Why wouldn’t a veteran MP ask his constituents such questions? Surely the value of Blenkarn as MP is his experience and directness. Most politicians sidle around tough issues.
As I read Blenkarn’s questions on Indians I knew what the responses would be. Mississaugans, like Canadians everywhere, dislike any other citizens being exempt from taxation. Most have a hunch a lot of their taxes go to native affairs but, despite the billions, complaints get louder and the problems worsen. Suggestively, Blenkarn raised a question both Canadians and natives should ask.
Can natives ever expect much in gainful employment or good, urban living standards when most of them live in small bands, remote and scattered across Canada’s huge hinterlands?
Newsworld’s line tends to be liberally minded, trendy, and pious. But in her interviews, Wright, more than any other presenter on the network, wears the conscience of the just thinker about anything a politician does that is construable as reactionary or without the requisite veneration of guilt about concerns for the environment or society’s treatment of women, children, homosexuals and, of course, natives.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, December 30, 1990
ID: 12530260
TAG: 199012300222
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C5
COLUMN: Backgrounder
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

YOU CAN BET ON IT!//A WILD YEAR AHEAD FOR POLITICS?

Could 1991 be worse for Canada than 1990? Are there even more uncertainties ahead?
Yes, but we could be pulling out of recession by 1992. Our forces in the Gulf may never have to fire at an enemy. And the impatience of Quebec’s seekers of sovereignty may have slowed down, even been turned toward a new try at federal-provincial negotiations.
The first two of those three possibilities will be in the hopes of Canadians through 1991, but, on the third possibility (whither Quebec’s course?) unanimity is missing. Too many Quebecers want out; and a swatch of other Canadians seem to feel this would be a good riddance.
Let’s not stew about such large speculations. Let’s turn to lesser questions on what may or will happen in our politics in 1991 and, where possible, put the likelihood in terms of odds. (See box!) 50-50’s even Steven; 10-1 is a long shot, 20-1 a very long shot; 2-1 is a tempting risk; 1-3 almost a sure thing.
In federal politics three predictions are fairly safe. This will not be a year dominated by any new, major legislation. Secondly, a federal election is a very long shot; so is any exit from office of “you know who.”
In big political topics, there will be a reversal away from the environment, taxation, natives and multiculturalism but not from wrestling over Canada’s survival. Despair will deepen over our falling basics – the resource industries of farming, forestry and fishing – and there’ll be rising contention over spending (and borrowing) our way out of the recession, pushed by an aggressive NDP.
In terms of personalities it is inconceivable any party leader will bestride federal politics with fresh ideas and dynamics but it is obvious the two most significant men for national politics will be premiers Robert Bourassa and Bob Rae. Can the one carry on and, if so, will he slow the pace of sovereignty? Can Rae sustain his fine start in office long enough to help persuade Quebecers they need Ontario and vice-versa?
Every substantive bill of the Mulroney government will be damned strenuously by the opposition but with nothing like the real rancor there was over the GST or the free trade agreement.
A bill which compromises between enemies and proponents of a nationwide pattern for public daycare is likely to be the only new, big ticket for the next session. It would put more federal money behind public places and give better tax breaks to some parents.
A more remote initiative which would cause riots is a bill to privatize the postal service. There won’t be the move so long demanded to wipe out the Indian Act but it may be put as a proposition for a royal commission inquiry. And the abortion schmozzle created three years ago by the Supreme Court will not be legislatively solved in 1991.
It is long odds – 20-1 or higher – there will be a federal election in the year.
There must be provincial elections in B.C. and Saskatchewan, but not necessarily in any other province. In B.C. chances are fair for a tight NDP win, and a romp for Roy Romanow and the NDP is most likely in Saskatchewan. At least for a year or two, such triumphs should help keep Audrey McLaughlin and company high in the Gallups.
Will Brian Mulroney call a surprise election? It’s unimaginable! Nor is it likely any Tory successor would do so, should Mulroney bowl us over with a resignation for the sake of his party. There won’t be an obvious favorite to take over if he should confound us but it would not be a Quebecer. Mike Wilson? Kim Campbell? Perrin Beattie? Who can guess?
Eventualities that might bring an election in 1991 are complex. The prospect would open if Mulroney lost the confidence of the House. This would have to come from caucus defections, more probably by a dozen or so Tory MPs from Quebec to the Bloc Quebecois than from a like number of Alberta MPs to the Reform Party.
If Lucien Bouchard, the BQ leader, should have the numbers to make a House defeat of the government by opposition votes possible, would he join Grits and New Democrats in forcing the dissolution of Parliament and so an election?
Now stop there. It might be, but it might not be, to the independentistes’ advantage to have Mulroney out. That would give an earlier shot at power for Jean Chretien and inject into their domain the campaign push of three federalist parties. On the other hand, the prospect of an English Canada campaign by four federalist parties would appeal to the Bloc Quebecois and to its as yet unofficial other face, the Parti Quebecois.
Such a range of alternatives reflects the fracturing of the “core” vote the two older, federal parties have had. As we turn into 1991, the BQ has destabilized Quebec partisanships, the Reform Party is luring Tory backers in the West, and the NDP leads the national opinion polls, has power in Ontario, is the official opposition in the four Western provinces and is now the only party with a common federal-provincial membership and organization.
And so we come to another matter of odds. Will the current backing for the parties (now roughly showing NDP 36%, Liberals 32%, Tories 14%, Reform 8%, BQ 8%) remain so unpolarized throughout the year?
Without a federal election, bet on it. If it does shape toward one of the two front-runners, which one? Given no big goofs in Ontario by Premier Rae, given Audrey’s handlers keep close to her, it will be the federal NDP. It’s about 3-2 that in the last Gallups of 1991 the NDP will still lead the Liberal party.
Let’s turn from electoral and polling likelihoods to personnel. Will the PM make major changes in his ministry in 1991? Almost a certainty. The doubt is whether he does it before the budget or a month or so later.
What would a major change mean? Surely departures to other roles by three or four of the veteran heavyweights such as Don Mazankowski, Joe Clark, Michael Wilson, John Crosbie, Jake Epp, and Bob de Cotret.
Because most people in and around Ottawa, including Mulroney, haven’t yet absorbed the scale of the surge away from the Conservatives in the west, few realize that out there the deputy prime minister has little water left to walk on. Between assuaging cabinet conflicts and ministering to a foundering farm economy and a receding rural society, Don Mazankowski is out of contact with most westerners. Mulroney and the caucus are in desperate need of fresh thrusters against the Reform Party, and also to counter a strengthening NDP. For the Prairies could it be a revived Mazankowski, a redirected Clark or a promoted Jake Epp? Even rough and ready Harvie Andre? Surely it won’t be Bill McKnight. Bet a small amount and ask long odds that the choice will the hardest of all for Brian Mulroney – Clark.
The successor to Wilson in finance seems obvious, not least because it fits with Mulroney’s game for Quebec. It’s Gilles Loiselle, now head of Treasury Board. Much like Kim Campbell, he is much appreciated in the caucus for his firmness and dexterity in the House. It’s about 4-1 Wilson will leave politics for a major corporate position in 1991, and about 5-1 Crosbie will pack in politics, although Wilson might relish a change to Crosbie’s trade job.
Mulroney does hate to be hard and jettison or switch ministers downward, but he has to do so this coming year. It’s a 50-50 bet that by 1992 10 ministers will have different portfolios and at least six will be gone.
Is it possible Chretien will be far and away the obvious PM-in-waiting by year’s end? No, the odds are about 3-2 on him. Does this mean Tory stock (and Mulroney) will be on the rise? It will depend on whether the major business and financial interests decide the Tories are the best bet to keep Quebec in some association and keep the NDP out of federal power. The judgmental factor for both Mulroney and Chretien will come from how they do against the sweep toward sovereignty.
FISHER’S TOPICS FOR CONJECTURE
A federal election in 1991……………………. 20-1
Mulroney’s resignation in 1991………………… 20-1
A 1991 Quebec referendum on sovereignty…………. 2-1
If held, number voting yes…………………….. 60%
Reaction to Spicer Report – in Quebec…………… None
Reaction to Spicer Report – outside Quebec……… 50-50
Major cabinet shuffle…………………………. 1-3
Drastic excision of ministers…………………. 50-50
Odds as next PM (circa Dec., 1991):
CHRETIEN……………………………….. 3-2
McLAUGHLIN……………………………… 5-3
MULRONEY…………………………………7-1
CLARK…………………………………..15-1
WILSON………………………………… 20-1
Poll ratings of parties (Dec. 1991):
NDP…………………………………….. 36
LIBERAL…………………………………. 33
TORY……………………………………. 16
REFORM………………………………….. 10
BQ………………………………………. 5

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, December 28, 1990
ID: 12529766
TAG: 199012280202
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

THE HILL’S UNSUNG HEROES

This is the season for compliments. Why not seize it to compliment some of the many good members of Parliament? Yes, the vogue is to belittle them, and its offshoot is images of drones and incompetents – not of men and women who serve us well.
Those I mention are a just few of those I would compliment; those who get the bills through and the scrutiny done, rarely with much recognition. They come in alphabetical order. Most are intelligent, have personality, humor, handle their ridings well, and excel at committee chores.
Vic Althouse (NDP – Mackenzie): Canny, wry, good-natured. A great grasp of the land and agriculture.
Lloyd Axworthy (Lib – Winnipeg South Centre): Over-reaching, spread thin, but in policy terms the most purposeful Grit.
George Baker (Lib – Gander-Grand Falls): A 16-year man and a lone wolf humorist with a lovely sense of disproportions.
Bud Bird (PC – Fredericton-York-Sunbury): Ex-minister in N.B., new MP in ’88, prodigious energy, much of it as missionary for forestry.
Don Blenkarn (PC – Mississauga South): Ranks with Svend Robinson as best known, most direct and self-assured backbencher. Top committee chairman.
Don Boudria (Lib – Glengarry-Prescott-Russell): Is outstripping all Rat Pack colleagues in the basics. A model MP in terms of work for House, caucus, region and riding.
Patrick Boyer (PC – Etobicoke-Lakeshore): From ’84 intake, a well-read lawyer, genuine authority on electoral law and the most widely informed and best writer among all younger MPs.
Lee Clark (PC – Brandon-Souris): Genial and thorough, a splendid parliamentary secretary (environment).
Albert Cooper (PC – Peace River): Succeeded a great MP (Jed Baldwin) eight years ago; is the obvious heir to Stanley Knowles as the House MP.
Stan Darling (PC – Parry Sound-Muskoka): Will be 80 next year, a cranky digger and shrewd in appraising opinion and leadership.
Bill Domm (PC – Peterboro): A slogger who fights fairly on issues like abortion and capital punishment.
David Dingwall (Lib – Cape Breton-East Richmond): A cocky partisan who invigorates the caucus, puts bite in the House and should become a great whip.
Jim Edwards (PC – Edmonton Southwest): Somewhat arrogant, with immense presence, fine bearing (like Don Getty); has succinct opinions and dominates in committee.
Maurice Foster (Lib – Algoma): A constructive, good-natured, assiduous journeyman and a real farmers’ friend.
Benno Friesen (PC – Surrey-White Rock-East Langley): A smart, consistent, unobtrusive, conservative gentleman through 16 House years.
Jim Fulton (NDP – Skeena): Who doesn’t like big Jim? Bombast leavened by spoofing. Cheeriest light in a rather dark corner, and no fool.
Deborah Grey (Reform – Beaver River): Always pleasant; capable lady, uncowed by her loneliness.
Bruce Halliday (PC – Oxford): 15 years a quiet, smart, persistent, courteous MP. Splendid, independently minded committee chairman.
Felix Holtmann (PC – Portage-Interlake): No Nice Nelly; busy, bumptious, raucous – a ham – and far smarter than those he exasperates think.
Bob Kaplan (Lib – York Centre): Most balanced among ex-ministers (that includes Axworthy and Herb Gray).
Jean Lapierre (BQ – Shefford): Ex-Grit is the best . . . well, really the only parliamentarian in Lucien Bouchard’s caucus.
Dennis Mills (Lib – Broadview-Greenwood): Delightful gall, fertile mind. An organizational genius but a would-be guru.
Marcel Prud’Homme (Lib – Saint-Denis): The droll dean of the backbench; at 56, 26 years an MP, and still chortling.
Ross Reid (PC – St. John’s East): Ah, so brainy. As with Boyer, it’s unkind comparing him with about 30 of the cabinet.
Svend Robinson (NDP – Burnaby-Kingsway): Superb parliamentarian and a top MP at mastering issues and media coverage.
John Rodriguez (NDP – Nickel Belt): More melodramatic as House and committee actor than Blenkarn, Holtmann or Dave Barrett. Witty!
Guy St-Julien (PC – Abitibi): A plain ex-union leader, a federalist and the prime backbench cheerleader.
Christine Stewart (Lib – Northumberland): Voguish, newer MP, the antithesis to Sheila Copps in style and clarity, and most sensible about foreign policy.
Garth Turner (PC – Halton-Peel): The classic busy bee, annoys almost everyone; prolific as “communicator” and cheeky with the mandarinate.
Ian Waddell (NDP – Port Moody-Coquitlam): A social sort of lawyer; often has off-centre insights and still goes good-natured into battle.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, December 24, 1990
ID: 12600978
TAG: 199012240164
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

IS THE WORLD PASSING US BY?

A few weeks ago columnist Robert Fulford decried the quality of coverage in our media on foreign policy, saying it is done “shallowly and absent-mindedly.”
Responses to Fulford have passed me by. I cannot contradict him, only elaborate. Like him, I come at our foreign policy with a wish to know, not as an expert.
To synopsize, Fulford’s piece had four segments.
He set out the low quality of what is written or said by our journalists in Canada about foreign policy.
He described the failure he and some colleagues had in naming any Canadian reporter to whom one could turn for intelligent appraisals of our foreign policy.
He believes the subject became “whimsically unpredictable” and then just “fitfully interesting” after control of foreign policy shifted from the external affairs department to the Prime Minister’s Office (under Pierre Trudeau).
He thought the appreciations here of changes sweeping Eastern Europe had been “unimaginative and embarrassingly slow” and our debate on the Gulf crisis fatuous and distinguished only in “partisanship and reflexive anti-Americanism.”
This critique is just, but its focus on failing to find “names” misses those responsible for the gulf. My addenda on Fulford’s theme goes to where any analysis of media shortfalls should -to the management of the major, prosperous papers, chains and networks that employ reporters to cover politics and government. This means looking at journalism’s bellwethers -the CBC, CTV, Canadian Press, the Globe and Mail (the “national” daily), Southam, and the Toronto Star.
To become authoritative and be recognized as such needs real continuity in the role, sustained display and some promotion of the journalist. Let’s glance at a few of the “majors.”
Long ago, if one harks back to James M. Minifie, then to Knowlton Nash in Washington, the CBC led in getting correspondents abroad and in bringing them home at years’ ends for display and comment. The CBC remains the leader in effort and presence abroad, although the Globe has more bureaus (for what that’s worth) and the Star is catching up (so far without making its reporters abroad carriers for Star themes).
The CBC is the only outfit with a small cadre of experienced foreign correspondents, men of high quality like Joe Schlesinger and Don Murray and Brian Kelleher who are neither chauvinists nor missionaries. But at home base the CBC has never sustained even one specialist in foreign and/or defence policy for long. It knew not what to do with Ann Medina at home; it let Brian Stewart slide away into pious advocacy. The big spender, The Journal, has kept its foreign affairs analysis steadily at the left of knowledge held by Barbara Frum and Bill Cameron. It reminds me that the CBC sequesters veteran commentators and adroit interviewers like Don Newman and Whit Fraser on Newsworld. It does keep one man, David Halton, on the prime minister, home and away (remember Fulford’s complaint) but only randomly does he chart the courses of ministers or opposition critics of external affairs.
Of course, CTV has invested far less abroad than the CBC and has even slighter focus at foreign policy at home. Its “all-rounders” in domestic affairs double as foreign policy experts, witness the invariably rambunctious assurance of Pamela Wallin and Craig Oliver.
Through its Ottawa bureau The Canadian Press seems to try to give tenure and support to those assigned to foreign policy and defence, but the wire service’s turnover is so great one must go back to Dave McIntosh’s heyday for a CP staffer who stood out in this field (and Dave left CP in 1972).
The Globe symbolizes a grandiose and quite humorous muffing of the part Fulford wants played. Why? Because it so reeks in corporate self-esteem as Canada’s N.Y. Times and/or Wall Street Journal. It’s always trumpeting its stars abroad.
Over the past 20 years Southam has put as much or more in talent and money into correspondents abroad as the Globe. This has given it an informed residue in few papers of its chain, notably in the Ottawa Citizen (with Christopher Young and Peter Calamai). Nevertheless, while the better Southam papers offer more sound column inches on international affairs than any other dailies, none is consistently up on what Fulford wants.
What specialization the Globe has at home is in party politics, or on Quebec and the Constitution, or about finance. The paper hasn’t any foreign affairs authority in Ottawa or Toronto despite bureaus abroad. The latter expansion began nobly with the first placing of a man in Beijing. But the superior reporters abroad like John Burns or Oakland Ross have not come home. More typical, for the Globe, is Michael Valpy, back from Africa to be a compassion columnist.
Arguably, the short shrift given foreign affairs in Canada mirrors a public indifference. But it’s not the journalists’ fault the big outfits with the money have denied the subject time or space.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, December 23, 1990
ID: 12600879
TAG: 199012230269
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C5
COLUMN: Backgrounder
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

CANADA AT THE CROSSROADS//WHAT KIND OF YEAR WAS IT?//UNLESS YOU’RE THE NDP YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW

What a crock of a year!
1990 began with two crises looming but neither certain nor really feared: Quebec “heading out” and a deep recession. We have both.
In discouragements this year reminds me of 1942, when Japan and Germany were rampant and we and our allies were disorganized and fearful.
We are now perturbed and unsure. Clearly, we are without a leadership that has our confidence. And few of us would disagree that the world beyond us is not so rosy as it seemed a year ago as the ’80s closed. Then we rejoiced that the Iron Curtain nations were surging toward free-vote democracies and free-market economies. But during the year those high hopes turned to spreading chaos.
A year ago the military dictator of Iraq was a hardly noticed menace to world peace. Now he has received an ultimatum with a January deadline from the United Nations. But his removal by armed forces, including ours, has neither the purpose nor the solidarity of Canadians in its favor. And our quavering has its match in most of the western democracies.
GOOD GUYS NO MORE
The Pearsonian era when Canada played an active “good guy” role in the world is several decades back in the mists. As it faded we turned more and more to a fix on our own belly buttons. Such obsessiveness is nurtured by the now pervasive and almost instant networks which report and examine our domestic politics. Given the great scale of government we have, there is always much to follow and brood about.
Somehow this year the mix of governments, personalities and regional grievances overwhelmed the traditional channels of our politics – the parties – and made them seem almost irrelevant.
It’s easy to exaggerate the importance of our political parties, but one or the other of the traditional ones, Liberal or Conservative, has always seemed at hand as a truly national party. The “third” party, the NDP, has reached for national acceptance for the past 30 years. Always it fell short. But this year the familiar, partisan mould has fractured.
A mere two years after electoral triumph, the Tory victors are most unpopular, their leader anathema. Unlike any previous period in our political history, the switching has not turned mostly to the usual alternative, the other old party. This year partisan calculation has become, not three-sided but five-sided.
WARM WELCOME
Preston Manning and his Reform Party, burgeoning in the west since 1988, began to move into Ontario this year to a surprisingly warm welcome. And a year ago who foresaw that Lucien Bouchard and the Bloc Quebecois, dedicated to separating Quebec from Canada, would be functioning with a single purpose within the House of Commons and, in opinion polls, showing a a big following in Quebec.
So the possibilities in party politics became much wilder this year. The old certainties seem blown, perhaps for good and forever. The staunchest Grits and Tories are still reeling from Ontario going NDP. The federal Grits are doubly dumbfounded. Their colleagues lost Ontario and they themselves have not zoomed back in favor in Quebec. Their own counterparts there have pushed them away and literally they ridicule Jean Chretien, the new leader of the federal party.
This relative anarchy in what not long ago were rather durable loyalties might be taken as a rather welcome stage in transition toward a fresh, more flexible politics, with more co-operation and much less of the old game of tit for tat, boast and blame. Those who have long been fed up with the cliche hyperbole and rancor which Mulroney and Chretien symbolize will scorn this sketch of confusion about parties as irrelevant. Would that it were. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet any alternative to choosing leaders and governments.
We have been caught in two crucial dilemmas since the Meech accord failed and then the third-quarter statistical data confirmed we had a genuine recession.
Particularly in English Canada we have been more concerned with the economic than the constitutional disaster. No, not that we really became obsessed enough to get unusual efforts to deal with the still soaring national debt. Rather, our economic fixation was with the GST. The long, intense and often childish harangue in Parliament over the tax mirrored (though bootlessly) the popular contempt for the GST and its sponsors.
To deal effectively with either pending depression or reconciling Quebec and those elsewhere who are hostile to its aspirations surely needs a substantial unity of purpose and around policies. This can only come from politicians.
If things worsen on both fronts, as seems predictable, could there be a muting of partisanship and a coalescing of views and leadership? Surely to weigh the domestic happenings of 1990 is to find that for this we have neither a messiah nor a vehicle at hand for him or her. That is the political message of the year.
The fracturing of the parties has meant more choices. Surely one who is arrogant enough to say we have neither a national leader nor party at hand to lead us through our two crises should set out why any of the four who are not in power – Chretien, McLaughlin, Manning or Bouchard – is unlikely to galvanize us to urgent, common purposes. Such a challenge is really moot only with Audrey McLaughlin and the federal NDP. Bouchard is a negative phenomenon for federalism. In less than six months he’s become electorally significant but just in Quebec. His rise there imperils the pivotal part Quebec seats have played in determining whether we have a Tory or Liberal prime minister.
In short, Bouchard devastates both Mulroney and Chretien, in particular the latter.
Manning and his party are not geared nor aiming for enough candidates east of Manitoba to have any chance of making the next government. Nevertheless, they stand to win seats and portend a “minority” Parliament. And when a federal election finally comes, if it is on the present basis – that is, with Quebec still within Confederation or agreed to a process for negotiating an altered status – the BQ will win seats.
Which brings us to the national party and leader that has done comparatively better than all the others this year, the NDP.
Remember, the NDP is only party left in which membership covers both federal and provincial politics. Now, what the older parties got away from in recent decades is an NDP advantage. By the fall of the year Ed Broadbent was unlamented and forgotten. Mclaughlin has been winning an approving press as a new sort of low key, co-operative, unbelligerent leader.
A BOOST FROM BOB
But even more vital than what McLaughlin now seems, is Bob Rae’s performance in his first quarter as premier of Ontario. He’s been great for the NDP – the most upbeat story in a bad year. Add on the NDP’s recovery to official opposition status in Manitoba, and the polling indicators that both Saskatchewan and B.C. will shortly elect NDP governments. The underpinnings do seem to be falling into place for the NDP in English Canada.
This past month it has begun to seem possible that out of the fracturing of old loyalties and voting patterns a new majority party is emerging. What would have seemed madness last January is not at year’s end: Audrey McLaughlin as the next prime minister. No, I do not foresee it, but who laughs now at the suggestion?
In mid-year we became as much or more intent on the Mohawk warriors and their long challenge to governmental authority than we did to the climactic considerations on the Meech accord and their failure. In year-end hindsight we see that compared to an economy on the rocks and a federation in break-up those genuine dilemmas agitating forward from our half-million natives are not quite so major or imperative. So too with environmentalism.
GREED DECADE?
The predictions a year ago as the ’80s closed were strong on our entering the “green” decade. Environmental policies and deeds were to be the alpha and omega of our politics – federal, provincial, and local! It may still be true for the decade, both in Canada and globally. However, the recent presentation of the federal government’s awaited Green Plan and the “glub-glub” reactions to it are poor auguries for high priority, as are recent opinion polls. 1990 was not a good year for the environment, notwithstanding the acid rain act passed by the U.S. Congress.
My overview of 1990 in national politics has come to a close without much analysis of, or opprobrium for, the prime minister. Surely he is the bane for most Canadians, the political arch villain.
How ends the year with him? It may bowl you over; it surprised me. A few days ago I found him confident, still resilient and more optimistic than he was in mid-summer. He talked about what was ahead, not back. He was savoring new initiatives he has for Parliament and the country. I kid you not.
So . . . Happy 1991.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, December 21, 1990
ID: 12600364
TAG: 199012210247
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

TWO SOLITUDES AND THE CBC

A common point made by those appalled at the CBC’s cuts in local and regional programming and facilities is that the corporation’s grand purpose and effect has been as a unifying force, interpreting Canadians to Canadians, knitting, informing, inspiring us. Right?
It sounds fine, a cogent argument that the Mulroney government should sustain, even increase, the funding of the CBC, enabling it to further our unity.
Yet the country is once again into crisis, and the divisiveness at the heart of the crisis is not new. Although it has been a recurring theme since the Conquest, the dilemma’s present condition is tangibly worse than its last surge in 1980 when the PQ’s referendum on “sovereignty” was voted down in Quebec.
Remember that throughout that crisis, there were critics of the CBC, notably among Trudeau’s reigning Liberals. They pointed to separatist influence on the French-language side of the corporation. And in response, there was much positive talk from CBC executives about the imperative to join talents and programs and end the divergence of our two solitudes.
In the decade since the referendum the CBC has put even more emphasis on covering and interpreting our political issues. Take the Journal. It became a continuing magnet for viewers five nights a week in English Canada. In the past year we in English Canada have also had Newsworld – 24 hours a day, seven days of week, of news and commentary. Rarely have telecasters matched the CBC’s scale and intensity in covering major matters like the failure of the Meech Lake accord and subsequently, the Oka crisis.
This past year the CBC has spent almost $700 million on its English side and $500 million on the French side. Perhaps the CBC has helped unify English Canadians or French Canadians in Quebec, but it obviously has not strengthened or enhanced their common denominators. About the only corporate on-air personality seen on both networks is Robert Scully, and the role he plays as the presenter on Venture is strikingly unlike his role in his interview show for Radio Canada.
Putting it bluntly, the CBC has not been and is not a means for bonding between the Quebecois and the rest of us. One may say, with some equivocating, that “our” CBC is a force unifying English Canadians or Radio Canada is a force unifying the Quebecois. But that’s all. If anything, the CBC is witness to little enduring interest in either community in the other, as well as a slight capacity in cross-programming, even for the news.
Further, if one weighs without bias or rancor the broadly-held attitudes in English Canada towards the federation and Quebec within it, what conclusion do you reach? May we herald the CBC as our unifier? Well, a monolithic or unified outlook on Canada as it is or should be is missing. Rather, there is a majority opinion that is very chary of Quebecois aspirations.
Just consider the spate of Anglos from Newfoundland to the Yukon who view Elijah Harper and Clyde Wells as heroes.
Secondly, remember that only a small minority of Anglos felt the Meech accord was the last chance, that if it failed Quebec was likely to go its own way. The majority disagreed, and applauded the defeat of what all but two first ministers had recommended.
Of course, one may rebut that bad leadership (Mulroney! Or Peterson, or even the likes of Buchanan and Getty) and an uncompromising Quebec premier were responsible for Meech and the present crisis, and that it had nothing to do with the CBC. Fair enough, but the obvious remains: the CBC can hardly be credited with much success in either unifying all the people or unifying just the Anglos.
And so a better case against the cuts would be that neither our private broadcasters nor the Americans nor PBS nor the “educational” broadcasters like TV Ontario, give us the range, quality, and outlook of programs that the CBC does. However, that just leads us back into our political dilemma because what the CBC does most, at least for English Canadians, is political news and commentary.
Now to shift your attention, not so much off the crisis but to a more optimistic opinion on it than mine. D’Iberville Fortier is our commissioner of official languages. A week ago he wrote:
“Language policy will remain one of the cornerstones of any future constitutional arrangement because two languages define our past, our present, and our future together.
“Without accommodation on language issues, Canada as we know it would already have ceased to exist . . . If language reform has faltered, it is because we have done too little, not too much.”
Then he asked: “In confronting other aspects of our national crisis, are we too set in our ways to compromise, too stubborn to change, too old to dream of a new consensus? I hope not, for all our sakes.”
“Hope” it is, but you wonder what’s so hopeful, given the pervasive, underlying antagonism to bilingualism, in Quebec and in the rest of Canada.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, December 19, 1990
ID: 12599747
TAG: 199012190233
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

CHRISTMAS DOOMSAYING

What a season to be jolly. Urgent issues face us and they are hard, hard, hard.
The urgency could be read from the very different reactions – anglo, as against Franco – to Jean Chretien at the Belanger-Campeau commission on Monday.
Most of those to whom I spoke afterward are not from Quebec. Like me they thought Chretien did well, particularly in handling questions. He seemed direct, frank and sensible, particularly in stating the choice for Quebec was simple – federalism or independence. If the latter, the parting would be long, difficult, even nasty, and very costly in economic dislocation and job losses.
Then came the interpretations from journalists and opinion leaders of Quebec. Aside from some small respect for Chretien’s courage and the sheer bravura of his familiar arguments, their assessment was devastating. They said he had offered nothing. He is out of touch. His fear-mongering repeated the scares worked up in the referendum campaign 10 years ago. It was his old line, one he began as a junior MP in 1966 when he hitched his ambitions to Mitchell Sharp, then finance minister.
So, the performance and the reactions to it jerk us back to fundamentals which we should consider. These are some key questions we don’t want to ask . . . yet!
1) What might those of us outside Quebec do to keep her within Confederation? (This assumes something far from certain: That there is enthusiasm outside Quebec for keeping her.)
2) If the Quebecois through their National Assembly persist on independence, who deals for the rest of us? Is it the prime minister (and his ministry) or the prime minister and the other provincial first ministers? Either choice has a looming doubt to it because the prime minister for the next six or seven years is likely to be a Quebecer. (Just thinking about that exasperates those who ask, “What more do they want?”)
3) What modes of governing a post-Quebec Canada would be practical, given our regionalism, and ensure a national survival of an English-speaking country?
Some analysis of Chretien’s performance on Monday indicates how hard it is to come up with ways to convince the Quebecois to also be Canadians. He talked very generally about flexibility and rearranging powers between Ottawa and the provincial governments, indicating somehow that Quebec was by and large a province like the others. He insisted he and his party agreed with the five conditions Premier Robert Bourassa had demanded be embodied in the Constitution. This, even though Chretien had belittled the Meech accord until the last week of its consideration.
Why couldn’t Chretien bring himself to concede that Quebec’s distinctiveness should allow it the control and management over such as immigration, manpower training and medicare?
Surely we understand the answer if Quebecers do not. Chretien is a disciple of Pierre Trudeau. He believes in universal Canadian programs like medicare and old age security and official bilingualism. He believes in a strong federal government. He is chary of any devolution of authority to provincial governments. And he knows the majority of those outside Quebec were against the Meech accord and are not yet ready for any of their politicians to go back to Quebec, figuratively cap in hand, and ask for a Meech II.
Did you note that several times Chretien underlined that he always would be a Quebecer (while also being Canadian)? It was a reminder to the rest us of both Quebec’s magnetism and the remarkably full circle of its life.
I recalled that both Trudeau and Marc Lalonde said even if Quebec chose to go it alone they would be there. I have noted for many years how the CBC, a massive, federal corporation in two distinct parts, English and French, has almost no continuing interplay in programs and personalities or even much joint use of technicians like camera crews. Radio-Canada is distinct and oh, so Quebecois.
After 25 years of “Bi and Bi” the similar solitudes remain in the tinier, more formless, but significant association of the parliamentary press gallery. Ready mixing and continuing exchanges are rare. Although animosities are slight so is much engagement or mutual interest. What tilt in interest there is has always been from the anglos towards Quebec. It can be maddening for those anglos, journalists or otherwise, who try hard to follow Quebec affairs because Quebecers seem so much more sufficient unto themselves than we are.
A journalist had to notice the rough but real parallels in what Chretien said Monday to what Brian Mulroney said Sunday in Buckingham, Que. We must keep the prosperous society we have made together. Separation means havoc for our living standards, a denial of the trends in the rest of the world. Canadians have been good at finding compromises. Ways and means are at hand to keep Canada whole. We must do it.
Yes, yes. But clearly, this is not going to happen without far more concessions to Quebec and it’s plain neither Mulroney nor Chretien is confident enough (in us) to make them.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, December 17, 1990
ID: 12599261
TAG: 199012170244
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

MULTICULTURAL ABOUT-FACE?

Is a major policy change brewing in federal Ottawa? An end to official multiculturalism?
The questions arise from surprising references to “multiculturalism” in Brian Mulroney’s speech as he launched a motion for a parliamentary committee to find means of amending the Constitution.
In 1971 the federal government with all-party backing put multiculturalism in place as policy. It was the second, completing stage to a great venture into cultural adaptation that began a few years before with official bilingualism. Bilingualism and biculturalism were promoted by the Lester Pearson government’s “Bi and Bi” commission.
Pierre Trudeau came to Ottawa an an anti-nationalist. He saw Quebec nationalism as a reactionary force which emphasized the collectivity over individuals and minorities. And so Trudeau became the chief author of official multiculturalism. Even a bitter critic of the policy like me must grant Trudeau had backing from all points of the political and social compass for it. Nowhere did Trudeau sketch his vision better than in a speech in 1972 to a gathering of Ukrainian Canadians.
Trudeau referred to the diverse composition of Canada and how “the moderation which it includes and encourages makes Canada a very special place, and a stronger place as well.
“Each of the many fibres,” he said, “contributes its own qualities and Canada gains strength from the combination. We become less like others; we become less susceptible to cultural, social or political envelopment by others. We become less inclined – certainly less obliged – to think in terms of national grandeur; inclined not at all to assume a posture of aggressiveness, or ostentation, or might. Our image is of a land of people with many differences . . . but a single desire to live in harmony . . . On a planet of finite size, the most desirable of all characteristics is the ability and the desire to cohabit with persons of differing backgrounds, and to benefit from the opportunities which this offers.”
What a wonderful ideal! It demands the noblest from us – as individuals, as communities, as a nation.
Since 1971 multiculturalism has burgeoned. And since 1981 with the patriation of the Constitution and the enshrinement of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canada has become increasingly fractious. Diversity encouraged, diversity rampant, emphasizes the fractiousness. There’s been so much pluralism, a broad sanction that almost everything is relative. Any group, any activity, any belief, has its worth. Common denominators like patriotism have gone.
Multiculturalism and Charter rights have fostered challenges by individuals and minority groups to a host of practices and attitudes – from Sunday shopping to homosexuality to hate talk or hate literature, to abortion, to entry to clubs, to headwear regulations, to mandatories like urine testing or retirement, to inequities of women, the disabled and visible minorities in jobs, in pay, in sports, etc., and to the claims from scores of first nations, the Metis and the Inuit.
The example, par excellence, of the disintegration of such a simple thing as patriotism, a common cherishing of the country, is the refusal of successive Quebec governments and national assemblies to accept either the spirit or many significant particulars of the Constitution deal a decade ago.
Another example is the inability to reach a national consensus on either the seriousness of our deficits and the national debt or concerted actions to end one and cut down the other.
Multiculturalism and the Charter encourage as proper and Canadian any demands for funding, redress, and services from government that any individual or group (even an entire gender) see as their right.
So much diversity; less and less in common; and always contention, always demands and grievances. The classic example from multiculturalism and Charter is the huge backlog of refugees and a massive clearance system which spawns legal fees, the whole based on the right given anyone in the globe who gets to Canada to claim the protection of the Charter.
Now, look! Who’s caught on to all this? Here’s Mulroney on work for the committee on amending the Constitution:
“The impact of regionalism and multiculturalism on Canadian unity and economic development will also be examined. There was a time, and not so long ago, perhaps a decade ago, where the articulation of programs of multiculturalism was hailed as a tremendous answer to many of our problems. Yet now members of those very communities are suggesting to Parliament that there is probably a better way to do it and this must also be examined. It is no longer a shibboleth or a slogan that there are real problems that emerge from policies devised in Ottawa that do not always meet the needs of large multicultural communities. Clearly this government and governments before us and many members of Parliament have been talking too much and not listening enough. We must correct this fundamental deficiency . . . ”
Amen!

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, December 16, 1990
ID: 12598734
TAG: 199012160248
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C6
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER, IN OTTAWA

OH, WHAT A WEEK IT WAS

What a blockbuster week in politics!
The GST through; the Green Plan unveiled; a new federal gambit in the constitutional game; and Jean Chretien an MP again and so fully set for his role on politics’ centre stage.
The Green Plan is literally not much more than a description of all our environmental problems and a wish-list of good intentions. It has had a poor “press.” It is not exciting or inspiring, and its future use will be as a rod to beat this and future federal governments for not acting, not spending.
Brian Mulroney’s new constitutional gambit will help fill public time in English Canada with talk of ways to amend the Constitution. Meanwhile, Quebec’s Belanger-Campeau commission plows ahead with defining sovereignty and how Quebec may achieve it.
Mulroney’s committee is not a direct route to getting another chance for Canada with Quebec. Last week, the advice of distinguished professors Leon Dion and Jacques-Yvan Morin to the Quebec inquiry was disheartening for anglophones. Dion suggested Canada might be given a second chance if English Canadians accepted that Quebec was set on its distinctions; Morin predicted separation would not be messy because English Canada is a synonym for reasonableness. (Ho, ho!)
As for Chretien, he much needs the parliamentary stage he’s regained and a steady performance on it. He will make or break himself as a future prime minister in the daily question periods of the next six months.
In these he must enrage, satirize and master Mulroney. He must overshadow NDP Leader Audrey McLaughlin in argument and content.
Will he? It seems less than 50-50, largely because Chretien was never the star in the House he has been on outside platforms.
Let me predict what’s ahead for the GST. After a contentious run-in through most of 1991 the tax will be a grudgingly accepted routine by 1992 with all provincial governments but Alberta’s ready to co-operate on it with Ottawa. And in the party programs for the next election just the Reform Party will undertake to kill the GST if it attains power. Neither the Liberals who forced abuse of the Senate’s role in the blockade of the GST nor the New Democrats who urged them on will undertake to wipe away the GST.
A bitter Allan MacEachen, naked after failing to find the ultimate blocking ploy, has sworn not to forgive the government and its creature, Speaker Guy Charbonneau. His Grits in the Senate will foul up the passage of all government bills.
Well, this is not the threat it seems. A governmental response is obvious: To use at once its new majority to put procedures for timing and closing debate into the Speaker’s rule book. Also, MacEachen has been screwing up government bills and estimates since early 1985. There’s not been a month of Parliament since then without Grit senators either blocking some bill or threatening it.
Recall the unprecedented drag put on the drug bill or the UIC bill. A daycare bill was scuppered and a refusal to let the free trade agreement through forced the 1988 election. So what’s new about intransigence of Liberal senators? The real difference is their loss of control over the Senate’s agenda and schedule.
The recent anticipation of Senate reform has been much chastened by MacEachen’s refusal to accept that an appointed body should not confound the will of an elected body, no matter what opinion polls say. Senators with the cachet of election make for chronic dissent and parliamentary deadlock. The enthusiasm for a Triple-E Senate may never recover.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, December 14, 1990
ID: 12598303
TAG: 199012140265
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

ENVIRONMENTAL MYTHS VS. REALITY

“Delicate as the shell of a hummingbird’s egg. Must be protected at all costs. Impossible to exaggerate its importance or say too much in its favor. Without it, humankind is lost.”
This ironical definition by Lewis Lapham, editor of Harper’s, spoofs the vocabulary and the kind of certainty demonstrated this week by most of the environmentalists we hear on TV. Their righteousness gagged on the Tories’ Green Plan. Consequently, the overriding impression left is of a rather gutless and much under-funded plan; largely a public relations exercise.
In a recent document from the C.D. Howe Institute, Carleton professor Bruce Doern had a succinct measure of a dilemma fostered by environmental zealotry. He wrote: “Public debate is always a short-hand summation of complex phenomena, so it cannot be condemned merely because it exaggerates. The trick is to reduce the gap between myth and reality so as to encourage the growth of political and economic wisdom.”
Before Robert de Cotret, the responsible minister, unveiled the Green Plan, those who speak for the environment had foreseen fudging and compromise. These friends of the Earth are fierce and absolute. They forced opposition politicians to extremes in echoing their caustic belittling of the plan and its sponsors.
In this partisan game the New Democrats were led by a witty Jim Fulton. While no noisier, they were many clever jibes ahead of the Liberals led by Paul Martin Jr. You can believe, if you will, that either an NDP or Grit government would have been more trenchant.
For all its longwindedness the Green Plan is modest. Spending is rarely particularized. Few specific programs for abatement and repair are ready to go. One wonders why is this so? There has been a federal department of the environment for 19 years. And the ministers who have labored so long over the plan knew it would be hammered by the zealots unless there were many specifics and dollars. Therefore, the reasons for the modesty were powerful.
The first few reasons have loomed large only in this year.
There is the immediacy of constitutional crisis. Canada may split in two or three years. Although the focus is on Quebec, unity elsewhere is exasperated, if not in peril.
There is a serious recession, deepening quickly. The jobless increase by the day. And it’s not just a Canadian phenomenon.
The huge federal deficits and our fast-growing debt load are frightening. Other levels of government are no better fixed financially.
War in the Middle East menaces the world even as the western alliance adjusts to the flux in the communist bloc.
Above all we have a most unpopular federal government and an unprecedented chaos in partisan politics, seen in the lack of a popular, obvious alternative in leaders or parties. The unpopularity owes much to very ambitious initiatives like the GST, the free trade agreement and the privatization or diminution of Crown corporations.
When politicians and the people of a country weigh long-run peril against short-run crises, the choice is clear.
The reshaping of our land, waters and air toward a pristine, durable state must have a massive series of enterprises over many decades. The costs and the commitments are beyond anything in our governmental experience, even beyond what fighting in two world wars required. The wars did rally a patriotic unity, especially in English Canada. The environmental challenges are not doing so.
It is hard and complicated to stop the abuses and escalate the rescue of nature. Slowing, even some ceasing, in the exploitation of natural resources will be imperative. Unfortunately, no economy in the western world is more dependent on the use of both replenishable and finite natural resources. Unfortunately, Canada has rarely been in weaker condition, politically speaking, or more distracted.
Although the Green Plan is not masterful it puts in order the cumulated abuses wrought since Champlain. It outlines our legislative and bureaucratic responses so far, indicating our scientific and technical expertise and their further needs. It has 100 steps or intentions Ottawa plans to take. Most must be done in concert with provincial and municipal authorities. The spending over the next five years totals only $3 billion “in new money.”
Think about that “gap between myth and reality” Prof. Doern wants reduced.
The myth has its truths. Canada is late in dealing with environmental concerns. The zealots and most of the politicians tell us we are overwhelmingly in favor of thorough, wrenching actions and are ready for the taxation and the doing without that will be required.
Our reality is in the Green Plan. We have neither the political consensus nor the economic strength now for much more than token programs and continued exhortations. And the latter we shall have, in plenty.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, December 12, 1990
ID: 12597676
TAG: 199012120235
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

THE CANDID PRESTON MANNING

Putting it in slang, Preston Manning, leader of the Reform Party, let’s it all hang out.
Candor from politicians tends to be fugitive or random. Manning’s forte is candid description of the ways and means to political power.
Manning is gearing the Reform Party for the next federal election (probably to be called for the fall of 1992 or the spring of 1993). A week ago he spoke to his party’s riding association in Calgary Southwest where he plans to run.
(Last election Manning took on Joe Clark in Yellowhead, getting some 11,000 votes, about 6,500 less than the former prime minister. The incumbent in Calgary Southwest is Conservative Bobbie Sparrow. She won in ’88 with 40,397 votes, the Reform candidate taking second place with only 8,316 votes.)
Why has Manning forsaken Yellowhead?
He said he told his Reformers there “it would be inadvisable for me to run in a rural riding again because of the extensive time and travel commitments.”
The decision is sensible. A rural riding with a large hinterland is a harder campaign challenge for any candidate, but particularly for a party leader, and once won requires more service and time than a big city riding.
Also, Manning noted that Calgary Southwest has “one of our biggest and strongest constituency associations.” And it is in the part of the city where he and his wife have the most personal friends.
Manning hoped his constituency members realize he will be a “mixed blessing.” A big-name candidate draws all-out efforts from rival parties and hasn’t much time for local campaigning. “Take nothing for granted . . . the Conservatives will work overtime . . .”
A large chunk of Manning’s speech was for distribution in print to Reformers everywhere. It dealt with how “to find, recruit, encourage and support candidates.” It synopsized a draft package “on candidate recruitment and nomination” which goes to each association. Among the details is this skeletal checklist for use when sizing up potential candidates:
“Personal background; values/motivation; positions on Reform principles/policies; relations with/and acceptability to constituents; relevant knowledge/experience on matters dealt with by federal Parliament; skill inventory; health and fitness; family implications; questions on political vulnerability (skeletons in the closet) and conflict of interest.”
Manning rammed the last item home with this statement: “Questions which if someone had asked and secured answers from PC candidates in Quebec, or Don Getty, might have avoided legal/political embarrassment later on.”
The brief catalogue on the kind of people who should carry the Reform banner in the next election is: “Those who are trustworthy, reform-oriented, able, and electable.”
Manning says: “Find someone the voters in your riding can trust . . . See if you can find people whose primary motivation is public service rather than personal ambition. Use the argument `Your country is in trouble’ . . . Beware of the person who jumps up first, says `I’m your candidate;’ who goes to newspapers trumpeting his or her availability; who joins your executive only to further candidacy. Opportunism can cripple an old party, kill a new party.”
Manning said he’s thinking of printing cards to hand to overly ambitious people who accost him. Its message would be: “He who would be chief among you, let him first render service.”
Then he turned to a matter where cynicism will prevail, especially among the people of the political media. How does one determine if a would-be candidate is a genuine reformer?
First of all, his or her life and relationships should reflect belief and character. “If they don’t practise a principle or pursue a certain policy in their non-political activities there is little chance they will suddenly begin to do so because they’ve been elected . . . ”
There followed this Manning dictum: “That’s why traditional, reactionary conservatives who spend most of their lives resisting change, especially in public policy, are usually the wrong people to reform constitutions, or tax laws or institutions.”
Then Manning turned to a rather unlikely subject for a party leader. He went beyond the securing of sound candidates to a long, sensible sketch of an MP’s functions. He analyzed these under four headings: Representing; legislating; administering; communicating. This was an elementary review of the roles a useful parliamentarian should play, whatever his party. It’s the kind of lesson the great parliamentarian, Stanley Knowles, used to teach new NDP MPs.
Manning is cool toward “recycled politicians from traditional parties who jump on the Reform bandwagon.” He prefers less well-known people, particularly younger people.
“Let us pray,” he said, “that the morning after the election there will sufficient size and quality to build a caucus, a cabinet and a government.”

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, December 10, 1990
ID: 12597141
TAG: 199012100236
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

BUT IS OTTAWA A HOCKEY TOWN?

The local Ottawa media have gone wild over the award of the NHL franchise to the capital. Their enthusiasm has overlapped and almost buried the mourning and rage over the CBC cuts.
In my experience no other major community in Canada comes close to matching Ottawa in either facilities for games and recreation or in the percentage of those who participate. By and large the facilities have easy access and user fees are mostly negligible. But such welters of activists in largely white collar sports are almost certainly disadvantages to the franchise winners. The bent in the capital is to widespread activity in sports like Nordic and Alpine skiing, canoeing, swimming, riding, cycling, tennis, squash, badminton, and golf. This activity mirrors a community with more than the usual number of university-educated and middle-high income people.
The junior hockey franchise in Hull has been well backed by fans, that in Ottawa fairly well, but less so than 10-20 years ago. (Both franchises have been well managed.) The long, slow slide in hockey’s following at the gate in Ottawa has had its parallel in the declining fortunes of the CFL’s Roughriders. At both junior hockey venues one finds a much higher proportion of francophones than in the general population, sustaining my impression that in the capital and the Outouais hockey is very much the French Canadian’s enthusiasm.

There will be widespread reverberations from the Supreme Court decision which reinforced 65 as the portal age for official retirement. Although the ruling will satisfy most trade union leaders and please most major employers, including governments, a reverse reaction will roll.
The liberally minded will lionize the two women justices who dissented and who backed a straight application of the Charter against compulsory retirement and in favor of the individual, not evading the Charter for the sake of a collective good.

If a New Democrat is on your Christmas gift list consider a beautifully laid-out pictures-and-quotations book titled Touched By Tommy. It was put together by Ed and Pemrose Whelan, Box 31076, Regina, a couple long active in the CCF and NDP.
The subtitle is “Stories of hope and humor about Canada’s most loved political leader, T.C. Douglas.” The pictures are excellent, well chosen, and they’ll jog any loyalist’s memory. The brief text and most of the quotations are apt and none is really critical. Throughout, the emphasis is on Tommy in Saskatchewan and remembered by party activists of that province (and for me, not nearly enough is on the man as national leader and parliamentarian).

Last week’s Hill Times had a big spread on “Women in the press gallery” by news editor, Katie Malloy. The sum of its facts and quotations from women journalists who work in the gallery suggests that the traditional male domination of both the institution and political coverage continues but is slipping.
Sexual harassment remains a problem of working on the Hill for some of the women journalists but it doesn’t seem to be critical, even though a wire service reporter says: “And I have had guys up here suggest to my face that I was less feminine or that I was a lesbian because I didn’t encourage them when they were coming on to me.” When this reporter was harassed by a male member of the gallery she found “the common response was, `If she can’t take the heat she should get out of the business.’ ”
A quarter of the press gallery’s 350 members are female. When I hit the Hill in 1957 the proportion was only 1/40th. By 1975 it was 1/15th. The trend is there, and a heavy balance toward male students in schools of journalism has levelled out. If the trend continues, two-thirds of such students will be female by the year 2000, and by then the women should be at least 50-50 in the gallery.

R. Warren James, author of a new book from Douglas & McIntyre, People’s Senator (“The Life and Times of David A. Croll”) makes it clear at the start this is not a hagiography despite his admiration and long friendship with Toronto’s most famous and respected senator. I could sense James did try to keep a balance, and what one might call “the facts” of Croll’s long career (he’s 90) are put straightforwardly.
What I didn’t find was nearly enough portrayal of the fiercely partisan Croll who rarely missed a chance to savage or undercut anyone not a Grit. And in his own party, in particular in its Toronto reaches, only a few decades ago Croll was notorious for ruthlessness on his own behalf.
The Croll I perceived at work as a senator has clearly been one of the few great senators of modern times, rating with the late Arthur Roebuck and Salter Hayden or with Eugene Forsey. He has also been far too cranky, self-centred, and devious to be limned as the white knight of the poor and the aged.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, December 09, 1990
ID: 12596888
TAG: 199012090301
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C3
COLUMN: In Ottawa
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

WILL SENATORS HAVE A CAPITAL TO PLAY IN?

Once the capital, always the capital?
One need not go abroad to Bonn or back to Babylon to know that capitals can fade away or be moved. Once Kingston was capital of the Canadas.
So let us turn to our national game. High in the rationale given after the National Hockey League’s award of a franchise to Ottawa interests (owning the team name, the Senators) was a phrase: “The capital’s marquee value.”
That is, Americans wherever they live are more likely to know the name Ottawa as Canada’s Washington, than have a clue about the likes of Hamilton or Saskatoon.
It seems a sensible proposition and a partial explanation for this particular award. One wishes the franchise were a guarantee of Ottawa as the Canadian capital in all the years ahead. It’s a fair bet the governors of the NHL, including the five Canadian ones outside Quebec, neither thought much about either Canada as we know it fragmenting in the next few years or Ottawa ceasing to be the capital of what is left of Canada after Quebec departs.
Putting a hockey franchise into our national crisis is silly if you believe, as some of us have since last June, that the failure to attain the five demands which the Quebec government and the National Assembly insisted must be in the Meech accord would set our francophone compatriots in the province off on a short, straight road to “sovereignty.” And such “sovereignty” is really a softish euphemism for political independence.
Political independence for Quebec will force drastic alterations in the governing of the rest of the country, federally and provincially.
However much an anglophone in Canada beyond Quebec may want Canada to continue with a central government of some strength based in Ottawa, with all its parkways, mandarinate and national institutions like museums and galleries, such has little certainty.
It is most likely the 30,000 francophone public servants (and their families) who now either live and/or work in Ottawa, or in the Outouais across the river, will be drawn by their pride, language, and expertise to serve the government for the new Quebec state.
Although francophones only constitute about 24% of Canada’s population, not only is their relative proportion in the federal service somewhat higher than that, they are even more concentrated in the National Capital Region. To take most of them out of Ottawa would be like excising the West Island from Montreal. Far lesser cities!
Do you conceive that any of Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien, Audrey McLaughlin or Preston Manning has the force, imagination, and following to rally Canada post-Quebec? Not I.
Do this. First, survey the premiers from Bill Vander Zalm through Don Getty to Gary Filmon to Joe Ghiz and Clyde Wells. Second, register the genuine hostility in both the West and the Maritimes to central Canada and Ottawa.
Do you believe either the current provincial leadership or the feelings and mind-sets of Maritimers and Westerners about the prime minister augur a strong government in Ottawa after Quebec leaves? The alternatives would be either a looser federation with a far less centralized administration and perhaps with a peripatetic federal legislature or several independent states (Ontario? B.C.?) and some smaller provinces begging statehood to the south.
Last week I spent hours watching the televised proceedings in the Outouais of the commission which the Bourassa and the National Assembly has given until spring to examine and map Quebec’s constitutional destiny. It was chastening for a hopeful federalist. The combined esprit, camaraderie and forcefulness for sovereignty confirmed for me that the Quebecois will have voted themselves out of Confederation before the Ottawa Senators have their new rink.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, December 07, 1990
ID: 12596332
TAG: 199012070298
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

CBC’S FUTURE IN JEOPARDY?

The CBC cuts are even more a cause celebre on Parliament Hill than in Windsor or Calgary or Sept Isles.
And the CBC case, even more than VIA Rail or Air Canada or Canada Post, now symbolizes the Mulroney government’s allegedly right wing ideology and is being exploited as such by Liberal and NDP MPs. This is the ultimate proof of reactionary bias.
The cuts fuel the anti-Mulroney hostility among the scores of associations and the millions of Canadians who believe in public ownership and what might be called a public sector culture.
Late Wednesday my path crossed that of a veteran Conservative MP. I asked if he was worried.
He shrugged. “What more had we to lose?”
Sure, his leader and party are blamed for the CBC cuts but what were the choices? If the government had come up with the $100 million more in funding for the coming year which the CBC needed to keep going as it is, there would have intense rancor in the caucus.
And I would read the issue of the CBC within the government party just like that. Most of the PC MPs believe their perilous unpopularity stems mostly from the baleful consequences of the huge deficits and crippling debt charges. They have wanted far more program cuts than there have been.
This MP admitted what has been clear for several years: The CBC in general, but in particular its mighty and pervasive news and public affairs operations in English, is unpopular with Tories. Then he made the wry point that the cuts leave intact this core element in the corporation’s network services. The National, The Journal and Newsworld all march on.
Of course, there is real feeling in the government caucus about the CBC cuts. It is less joy that an enemy has been smitten than a grim satisfaction that the arch critic and all-pervasive interpreter of governments and politicians now faces the brute consequences of what has been bedevilling them – the high annual deficits, the debt load and a major recession.
In the last year thousands of Canadians have lost their jobs but only one recent burst of such losses – the military base closings in P.E.I. and Manitoba – caused anything near the sudden uproar and the ripple of apprehension across the land as this abrupt news from Gerard Veilleux that some 1,100 CBC employees, a tenth of the work force, will be gone by April 1 and a clutch of local CBC programs and operations are chopped or curtailed.
The intense exploitation of the CBC cuts by the Liberals and New Democrats hardly mirrors their absolute backing and approval for the corporation as it has been functioning. My prediction is, however, that the matter as a major talking point will fade over Christmas but will hurt the Tories until they are thrown from power.
Most MPs have been keenly aware of both the growing dominance of the CBC in news gathering and interpretation of politics and its relative decline as the front-runner in other programming, particularly as cable has come to over two thirds of Canadian homes and offers so many channel choices.
Nowhere is this more evident than on and around the Hill. In 1960 the CBC had four members in the parliamentary press gallery. In 1970 it had nine. The last gallery list showed that 93 of some 340 members worked for the CBC, 43 for Radio-Canada, 50 for CBC English. (The “national” newspaper has just 10 members.) As of a few months ago the CBC (including its French arm, Radio-Canada) had nine camera crews for assignment to Hill politics.
With such numbers and talent CBC English news and network current affairs programs like The Journal have become the prime interlocutors, the main brokers, certainly the cutting edge if you want, in interpreting Canadian politics.
Such dominance by the CBC in political affairs fuelled two recent columns by Marjory Nichols of Ottawa Citizen which argued the time had come to dismantle an agency funded largely by a government that has such reach and penetration with what governments do or seem to do. There was little open response to her arguments, notably not from ministers or from more than a few NDP MPs. But CBC employees have been most aware of her line. Some dismissed her to me as “off her rocker.” A few worried she was expressing exactly what PC MPs had in mind and what many leaders in private broadcasting and publishing would like.
These cuts may be another stage on the way to what Nichols advocates. Thousands friendly to the CBC think so. This seems an exaggerated worry to me in the light of the far more cataclysmic scenario looming for the CBC and English Canadians in Quebec’s determination for sovereignty.
Over a third of the CBC’s budget (some $400 million this year) goes to Radio-Canada. Is the sovereignty aim just a fugitive issue? If not, the CBC’s future is in jeopardy. The state of Quebec will be wanting Radio-Canada facilities and personnel in two or three years.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, December 05, 1990
ID: 12595636
TAG: 199012050261
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

A TRIO OF TROUBLING TOPICS

Some recent happenings regarding the environment, the Montreal massacre and our less-than-beloved Constitution are bothersome.
Let’s begin with the Montreal massacre. Its first anniversary was so much replayed and analyzed on TV and in print.
What explains the dearth of information and speculation on Marc Lepine’s family past? It would seem to offer more rationale for his murdering than we have been given.
His father was an immigrant from North Africa who once was active in Arab political causes and committed to the mores of a society in which women have a position that our society has considered as inferior and discriminated against. One Montreal journalist (on The Journal) suggested Lepine’s much-abused childhood was not unusual in Canada, as though brutal, child-battering dads are commonplace. Ridiculous!
Just from Quebec’s demography, we know Arab and Muslim views on the subservient role of females and the authoritarian role of a father have surrounded a minuscule portion of Quebec’s youth. Yet blame for the killings has been loaded on fathers and males generally while the likelihood is never mentioned that culturally and religiously ingrained views were factors in shaping the murderer’s terrible determination.
On the Constitution, one must wonder how inadequate “buying time” is to explain the prime minister’s slow, clumsy facing of the awful dilemma created last June when Meech was lost.
Five months! Five months to dream up two, tangential endeavors on the Constitution – Keith Spicer’s forum and a parliamentary hunt for a new constitutional process.
Quebec announced its commission in the summer. Its inquiry has been full bore for weeks. What seems a boost for “sovereignty” will be under consideration by the National Assembly in the spring.
Meantime, Premier Bob Rae of Ontario is a complement to Brian Mulroney’s hesitation. He wants the first ministers convened to talk about the economy. He reckons it’s a Constitution’s essence. That’s a compelling thought, but it doesn’t chew into what’s underway in Quebec. Rae might recall a precedent set by Premier John Robarts in 1967 with “the Confederation of Tomorrow” conference.
It’s getting late. Rae should be daring, even asking Robert Bourassa to a conference on the comparative costs of association and separation to Ontario and Quebec.
There are indications the environmental crusade is stalling. West Germany was the locale where the Greens first organized for electoral politics and got seats in legislatures. But after a dozen years of legislative activity, the Greens will be without seats. Last week their vote fell below 5%.
A month ago California rebuked environmentalists in elections. A state with more people than Canada in its often smoggy domain, it has been a world leader in launching and supporting new enthusiasms. Much in the spirit and the themes of environmentalism were born and nurtured by Californians.
For decades ballot initiatives in the state have let interest groups put proposals before voters. This year the environmental zealots fashioned an omnibus initiative, nicknamed the Big Green. The voters rejected it.
In Canada several incidents suggest the movement is losing force.
To begin with the symbolic, last week the saint of our environmental movement, David Suzuki, was figuratively taken apart as an exaggerating popularizer, not a scientific leader, by the science writer of our “national” newspaper.
Or consider the last major opinion polling (Star-CTV-La Presse). It showed environmental concerns were seriously bothering less than a tenth of respondents whereas concern over jobs and the economy was very high.
Take the witness from Saskatchewan’s imbroglio with Ottawa over the Rafferty-Almeida projects on the Souris River. Even New Democrats (who concede primacy in environmental piety to no other party) admit public opinion in the region is for the dams and the province’s rebuke of procedures demanded by Ottawa has strong backing all across Saskatchewan.
Take the long, internal wrestle inside the Mulroney administration to produce its long promised, encyclopedic environmental plan. It’s a mere 21 years since Ottawa set up an environmental directorate that became the core two years later of the federal department of the environment. Since then Parliament has passed bills almost yearly and reorganized agencies as environmentalists demanded more and more.
Indeed, it has seemed the movement had become as much our conventional wisdom as have motherhood and multiculturalism. Few in business, industry or journalism, and none in politics, have strongly opposed or criticized the green movement.
Well, next week the government in Ottawa at lasts unveils its full green plan. Bet that the Friends of the Earth, etc., will condemn it for “lack of teeth” and inadequate funding. Nonetheless, the indicators suggest the plan will quickly slip down the list of national priorities until good times return.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, December 03, 1990
ID: 12595112
TAG: 199012030258
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

FAR TOO QUIET ON THE HILL

Sketching the political condition of Ottawa is hard.
There is some contradiction between the tenor and pace of the House of Commons and the rest of the country.
We know the nation seethes with grievances like bad leadership and the GST. So when Parliament resumed this fall we expected bitter, embattled sittings. We were wrong.
It’s true the House has not been a Sunday school. The opposition’s assertions in question period are fierce. In debates most opposition speakers condemn. They depict a country well into ruin, and a confused, improvident, yet skin-flint government led by a detested man.
The responses of ministers and the remarks of government MPs have largely been stock stonewalling that matters are in hand and far from as grim as portrayed.
What’s missing is genuine heat or real force. These are politicians doing their rituals – rodomontade older than Confederation. No sense of excitement or of deep anxiety. No hard focus on calamities ahead, either for nation, region, or political parties. Instead, they are going through the motions, filling time.
Waiting for what? That’s hard to figure. Sometimes it seems as if the people on the Hill are just waiting for the night’s TV news or another opinion poll.
There are three caucuses on the Hill. Each has a multiple of four or five in immediate staff people. Not quite apart from the biggest caucus, but above it, is the ministry with its many clots of staff. And there’s the large PMO crew. It has strategical roles in shaping the senior mandarinate’s work on policies and timing. Thus, well over 1,500 people are always into some sort of politicking on or by the Hill.
No one, not even the best of reporters, ever has a perfect reading on the mood or psyche of this mob in all its clusters. Most of us assume that within each circle scheming and worrying will be underway. What comes through to me now, however, is a sense of suspended animation. Nowhere can one sense any certainty, any concentration of aims.
This apparent inertia within the various partisan circles may be a thin skin over much urgent thought. I doubt it, especially on the nation-buster; that is, a quarter of Canada’s people, plus their landscape, are readying to leave, likely within a year.
My best phrase for political Ottawa is “running on the spot.” And another sport buzz-phrase, “burned out,” is my tag for the political teams. Burned out on national unity!
Recall the scores of meetings, the hundreds of hours in sittings, the thousands of pages in briefs and reports. Less finitely, conjure the cascade of platitudes, assurances and banal compromises that have gushed out from the unity issue for a quarter century since it first flowered with Lester Pearson’s “Bi & Bi” commission.
It seemed just a decade ago that peace-loving Canada had attained a modern equivalent of the victory scored by Union forces over the secessionists in the the U.S. Civil War. Without force, and by ballots which rejected the PQ’s referendum on sovereignty.
Within two years this victory was crowned for the liberally minded by the recapture of our Constitution and the implanting in it of the Charter of Rights. Recall that all federal parties were strong for the Charter, and it was stacked on top of their previous enthusiasm for a bilingual Canada.
The triumph of federalism, personified by Pierre Trudeau (though he was not alone in it) now seems as brief as Neville Chamberlain’s famous “Peace in our time.”
Through its provincial politicians and its national assembly Quebec insisted it was not “in” the Constitution. There were amendments and additions it must have. Brian Mulroney, as prime minister and Quebecer, in concert with Premier Robert Bourassa, set out to emplace these requirements. The rest of the premiers agreed, signing the Meech Lake accord. Sadly, there were processes to be undergone and time-frames met.
Election turnovers broke the first ministers’ unanimity on the accord. The circus of argument and persuasion raged both outside the process and within it. This culminated in last June’s televised epic of defeat for the accord. The largest heroes in English Canada for the accord’s defeat – Elijah Harper and Clyde Wells – became anathema in Quebec.
Mulroney was more flummoxed by the defeat than his co-sponsor, Bourassa. The premier quickly took the obvious step, loosing a fast, embracing review and report on what Quebec should do about Canada.
There followed on the collapse of Meech the protracted crisis of the Mohawk Warriors. This transfixed the attentions and also drained the energies of the politicians. The latter were very aware a vast public was as involved in the Oka drama as they were and just as critical of them as with Meech.
And so burn-out after years of debate and a long, fruitless summer of conflicts with little resolution mean a Hill enclave that is not reacting as if the initiative has gone over to Quebec. It’s the same old buzz, although there may not be another federal election.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, December 02, 1990
ID: 12594829
TAG: 199012020294
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C3
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER, IN OTTAWA

WE CAN’T KEEP ‘EM DOWN ON THE FARM

The annual publication Taxation Statistics (for 1988) is out. Much like the auditor general’s annual, it prompted a brisk flurry of stories about the highest-paying jobs, the wealthiest communities, the number of millionaires who evaded income tax, and the ratio between tax revenues from individuals and corporations.
After such a burst, this complex book of 348 pages, rife with tables, slid into limbo, to be used mostly by tax accountants and senior mandarins in the federal and provincial governments.
This year the communities with the highest incomes are Mont Royal (in Pierre Trudeau’s Montreal) and King (north of Toronto).
The medical profession (at $113,810 average) had a 17% income edge over dentistry, which shaded law, which was nicely ahead of accountancy.
Teachers and professors were mid-line in 1988 at $40,869 and farmers were low level at $18,290.
The 1988 ratio of revenues from individuals and from corporations was just over 6:1, i.e., $83 billion to $13.1 billion. In 1957 the ratio was 7:6, or $1.5 billion from individuals to $1.3 billion from corporations.
Although I often browse through the book and its predecessors I would recommend it only to those who love figuring and making comparisons between regions, cities, occupations, age groups, and the sexes.
I came to Ottawa as an MP in 1957 from teaching, and the first grand debate in the House was on cash advances for grain farmers. The tales of duress from western MPs were many and harrowing. To confirm the farmers’ suffering I went to the horse’s mouth for their income – the taxation annual. My first comparison was of respective numbers of farmers and their taxable returns by provinces; the second one was to compare farmers with teachers.
Way back then there were almost three times as many farmers as teachers and professors. Farmers’ average income ran at just over half that of teachers. By province, the line from high to low for the average farm income ran from Saskatchewan to Alberta to B.C. to Manitoba to Ontario to Nova Scotia to Quebec. And the scandal in all this was only whispered about because to raise it meant torpedoing a party’s future in Quebec.
This was the multitude of ruses, including ready receipts from parish clerks, which meant very few Quebec farmers were ever taxable, whereas the prairie grain farmers, fixed within wheat board rules and delivery quotas, couldn’t flim-flam about cash received.
As a broad generalization, any scanning of the tax data on farmers in any province, but most notably on the prairies, makes one realize why we are down to only 250,000 farmers (slightly less than the number of teachers). It is also clear Quebec farmers no longer have any greater ramp in donations over other farmers.
There will be a lot fewer farmers within a decade because most farmers are over 40 and a lot are over 65. A bleakly small proportion are from 20-40 years old. Other lines of work like teaching, nursing, plumbing, and carpentry must lure farm people with their relatively higher incomes, not to mention greater security.
To close this tax data sketch, you may like to know that 13.2 million out of the 17.6 million returns in 1988 had deductions at source; that 4.02 million were returned in French; that immigrants filed 65,000 returns, emigrants 12,600; and returns were presented for 101,000 deceased taxpayers.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, November 30, 1990
ID: 12594262
TAG: 199011300272
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

PROVOCATIVE QUESTIONS

Don Blenkarn, the veteran MP for Mississauga South is not an archetypal politician. His opinions are so open and blunt.
This week Blenkarn sent out In Touch, his constituency newsletter. Such missives from MPs are routine and have been for three decades but few are as frank as Blenkarn’s. In this issue he fixes on the big issues: Quebec and Indians. His themes and the seven questions he put to his riding would get a rise from more than Mississaugans.
Blenkarn has four brief chapters before the questions. First, on current public discontents; second, on the Indian problem; third, on the economy; and last, on a Canada without Quebec.
The post-Meech crankiness is clear: David Peterson overturned; the Bloc Quebecois ranting in Parliament; Robert Bourassa refusing a part in federal-provincial meetings and with an inquiry due to report on Quebec’s future role next March; provincial nationalism surging in the West, the economy plunging; and Ottawa so debt-laden it cannot buy unity with grants, transfers, etc.
Since Elijah Harper rose to say “No,” in the Manitoba Legislature and since Oka, the native issue is unavoidable.
Ottawa, says Blenkarn, “spends more money on more programs than ever before. Canadians of native origin have all the rights and privileges of `ordinary Canadians’ plus reserve rights, treaty benefits, free post-secondary education, medicare, housing and, while on the reserve, have no obligation whatsoever to pay either federal or provincial taxes.
“Poverty, substance abuse and suicide are an unacceptable part of the daily pattern of life to many native people. Despite the money paid out, native people exist in conditions that are totally unacceptable to most of us. Their condition cannot be allowed to continue. It is a blight on Canada.”
Blenkarn thinks more spending is small help, and while he finds the natives’ call for land settlements understandable “land alone, unless worked, developed, and made to produce, will not do anything to solve the problems of poverty.”
He argues most work and the opportunity for mental and physical satisfactions are in modern commerce, science, art and leisure, most of which “exists throughout the world in cities.” Reserves which cloister people in the boondocks, far from most Canadians “may be behind the sickness of spirit evidenced in most native communities.” And so, “We need a fresh look at the problems of aboriginal Canadians.”
Blenkarn grants that the economy is soured and that governments are strait-jacketed by debt charges. He defends privatizations, cuts in the federal work force and changes at Canada Post, and calls for patience and less “poor mouthing Canada” because “it takes time for changes to wash through to the bottom line.”
The MP says he “would hate to see Quebec leave Canada” and “we in Ontario must rethink the position we would take if Quebec were to propose to separate. A Canada without Quebec is a Canada where Ontario would represent over half the population and well over half the national product.
“What kind of government would we want? Would we want a strong, central government, a parliamentary system or a congressional system? Would we be better off if Ontario became an independent country? Who pays the debt? Would we share a common currency or tariff with a `Republic of Quebec’? Should Ontario join the United States?”
And so Blenkarn gets to the seven “guideline’ questions he wants his Mississaugans to answer. He says he will inform cabinet and the PC caucus of their views.
1. Do you believe we ought to increase our budget expense for aboriginal people? Yes — No — Undecided —
2. Do you believe aboriginal people ought to pay taxes like `ordinary Canadians’ do? Yes — No — Undecided —
3. Do you believe a generous guaranteed annual income program might be a more realistic way of supplying justice to native people than the present hodgepodge of bureaucratic and treaty transfer programs? Yes — No — Undecided —
4. Would you be in favor of an independent Quebec associated with Canada sharing only a common currency with common market arrangements like the European Common market? Yes — No — Undecided —
5. Do you believe that Canada’s assets and liabilities (including our national debt) ought to he shared with an independent Quebec on a per capita basis? Yes — No — Undecided —
6. Do you believe that a Canada with all other nine provinces and two territories would be a viable nation? Yes — No — Undecided —
7. If Quebec leaves Confederation would Ontario be best advised to join the U.S. as an American state? Yes — No — Undecided —
Those are provocative questions. Consider giving Blenkarn your answers.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, November 28, 1990
ID: 12593661
TAG: 199011280243
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

NO SAVIORS ON POLITICAL HORIZON

Who would be the best leader for Canada at this time?
It is worth reflection while we await a causal factor lacking in the present discontent with leaders. It is the dearth of demands, open or veiled, in the political population for alternatives. Even the levering of Margaret Thatcher from office through caucus dissent has not inspired much here on how our prime minister might be brought to resign.
Perhaps some of Canadian discontent is over-drawn, even spurious, certainly rather regionalized. While it is fed by media fixation on any voice or group with a grievance, the never-ceasing, always changing mix of contempt for our governors may either overstate the genuine rage at Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien, his normal alternative, or keep jarring any concentration on simply getting rid of either or both. That is, the discontent is muddled because there are so many personalities and grievances to be angry about.
Certainly, recent opinion polling shows that despite the likelihood Quebec will soon challenge the rest of Canada with a form of association approaching independence, outside Quebec more Canadians fear deep recession or the effects of the GST.
The same polling even showed that debt-defying Pierre Trudeau, 71 and out of power for seven years, is a more welcome choice as prime minister than incumbent leaders. What a cruel commentary on his acolyte, Jean Chretien.
It is remarkable that no one of even the most modest status within the reigning party has suggested publicly that the PM consider early retirement, but it is even more surprising that when MPs canvass their party’s dilemmas no one pops up as a clear alternative or even as a lightning rod for discontent.
Yes, one finds that the remarkable about-face in Conservative fortunes between early 1988 and the fall electoral victory is recalled as a rather forlorn pointer to 1993.
Yes, one can get talk going of eventual replacements, but not within a context of any immediacy.
Yes, occasionally veterans of caucus and party will wish Don Mazankowski were more ambitious but such thoughts peter away, usually with the piety he would make the perfect “interim” leader and prime minister while the party took itself to a leadership convention.
Yes, there are glints that once the grand goal of the GST in place is reached, both the PM and his caucus may well turn to deadly serious weighing of a resignation and alternatives.
A further aspect in the inner opinions of anglophones within the government caucus and that of the official opposition is odd but clear. In neither group is there strong fear of any other party’s leader. Tories think Chretien their main chance. Grits feel the same about Mulroney. And it is the brute messages of the Reform Party and the firming base of the NDP in Ontario in particular, but also in Saskatchewan and B.C., which bothers the old parties’ adherents, not Preston Manning or Audrey McLaughlin.
A few weeks ago in conversation with authors Christina McCall and Stephen Clarkson over their volume on Trudeau, we got to his capacity to stand out, to loom over other politicians, carrying the respect of even those who detested him as a person or a prime minister. They suggested not another man or woman has recently emerged in Canada in any field of endeavor who has Trudeau’s leadership impact, either directly or implicitly in personality and style.
In the chat on a saving leader we had quickly turned to look outside those in electoral politics. Afterwards, other prospects, in and out, ran through my mind, with an emphasis on someone who could rally English Canada.
For the Tories, why not Michael Wilson or even Peter Lougheed (62)? Possible, yes, but dubious.
Has Perrin Beatty blown what seemed a sensible, long-range aspiration five years ago? Yes.
Is Mulroney’s own favorite as future leader, Jean Charest, too young, too compromised? Yes. And lately Barbara McDougall has been a whiner. And while Kim Campbell mirrors competence she is not very magical or mysterious.
Oddly, to look long and hard in fields outside politics – say in business or the universities or the higher professions or the media – does not prompt many alternatives to Mulroney and Chretien. For Mulroney one thinks of, then passes by the likes of Tom d’Aquino or John Crispo or Roy Megarry. The same for Chretien, in either Bud Estey (71) or David Suzuki or Maud Barlow or Mel Hurtig.
Even more oddly, the best I can conjure for both Tories and Grits are presently ambassadors in top posts – tough, seasoned, and informed in both domestic and international matters. My suggestions are Derek Burney (50), now in Washington; and Yves Fortier (55) at the UN. Burney was once a Tory, Fortier once a Liberal.
Ignore the hurdles to such switching. Burney for Mulroney; Fortier (or Trudeau) for Chretien? It makes a good dream while we await a Heseltine.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, November 26, 1990
ID: 12593125
TAG: 199011260223
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

THIS ROUND’S FOR THE READERS

Over the years, a columnist sees a few patterns in the mail drawn by his pieces. While today’s mail is snarky, it’s still true that many more write who approve than disapprove of a column or columns. The ratio runs about 4-1.
Over the last two decades I’ve noted a slow decline in correspondence. I now get about half of what came in during the 1970s. One reason may be TV’s effects. Most who now write refer to a person or argument which they have just seen and heard on television. For example, those reacting to Barbara McDougall on immigration more often mention her clips on TV than my stuff ridiculing her double-speak on refugees.
TV is politically provocative for far more people than a column, but a viewer finds it harder to rebut or approve a TV item than to get to a columnist. So mail and calls, usually very topical, still come in. My excerpts are from three responses to recent pieces on “redress” and on natives’ culpability for their own situations. Firstly from Kenneth Taylor of Toronto on my “costing” of Japanese redress and Mohawk grants.
“You’re a real numbers man. Unfortunately, your numbers can’t begin to translate the psychological and emotional agony experienced at various times by Canada’s mistreated native peoples and our wronged Japanese-Canadian friends.
“Only the arithmetical mind of a white man could/would attempt to attach a dollar value to human degradation and despair. Would it really matter if David Suzuki were a millionaire? Does this really have any bearing on the symbolic pittance he rightly claimed for the kind of psychological torment you could only imagine? Perhaps the problem is that you are incapable of imagining how you would feel if you had experienced some of the pains inflicted on various Canadian minorities in the name of white man’s justice.
“If you were a native Canadian, born into typically impoverished surroundings and often humiliated by paternalistic government, would you not seek justice by reasserting claims to land which was, in essence, robbed from you? The `what would I do if I were in his/her place’ test is a valid one, and your self-serving numbers game fails this test . . .
“The plight of Japanese-Canadians is well documented, both through primary and secondary sources. The plight of Canada’s native peoples may not be so well researched; however, it can be understood via one’s imagination and compassion. Your analysis with numbers lacks both . . . Your thinking appears shallow . . . ”
The next excerpt is from a Canadian woman of Japanese stock who claimed and got $21,000 from the federal government as one removed under the War Measures Act from the B.C. coast in 1942.
“You imply that we were not wronged. What do you really know about what happened to us?
“Most of us were so traumatized we did not want to talk about it for years. Many of us did not want financial compensation because no government could afford to make good our losses. It would be a token. Some Japanese-Canadians had become so un-Canadian that they feared just such a reaction as yours. They survived by being inconspicuous and they did not want to call attention to themselves.
“While you were on the West Coast waiting to be jumped by fifth columnists, I was being transported to Winnipeg. The family were only allowed to carry 150 lbs with them. We left our farm, our home with everything in it and our dog. We never saw any of it again. In Winnipeg, we were dumped into the old immigration hall with no privacy and broken plumbing. At least we had rusty water some of the time. Those unfortunates who were promptly sent off to the sugar beet farms usually had chicken coops with no water. Did you think we should have been starved, tortured, and gassed as well?
“Don’t lay the guilt of the Japanese army on me. I am a Canadian and the Japanese have less respect for me as an overseas Japanese female than they would have for you. You must be seriously unwell to be so uncharitable and so confused.”
Nick Daquano of Mississauga was once a “Zombie,” drafted to the army in late 1941 and discharged 45 months later. He writes: “After all these years someone has spoken for us, the Zombies (despicable, horrid word).
“Canada under Mackenzie King gave all the call-ups an `option’ to serve in Canada or go overseas. I took the option of staying in Canada. For this I’m being discriminated against, as you may read in the minutes of the Senate’s veterans’ affairs committees. My human rights are being insulted and abused by ignorant people.
“During the war the government degraded us further by having `active’ soldiers wear an insignia to separate us from them even though we were exercising the option it gave us.
“My MP, Robert Horner, ignores my calls and letters. Can you direct where I can protest effectively? We are still being denied allowances and services, and at the Senate committee last June it was moved that benefits for overseas veterans be extended to those who served in Canada but excluding `those who refused overseas service.’ I didn’t refuse. I was about to be sent. I was on embarkation leave when the war in Europe ended.”
Daquano has a case. Forty-five years after being forced into service, then officially scorned and pressured, he is without the rights of most other ex-soldiers.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, November 25, 1990
ID: 12215838
TAG: 199011250273
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C6
COLUMN: In Ottawa
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

MORE TORY DEFECTORS ON TAP?

Such different political cats, Patrick Nowlan of Nova Scotia and David Kilgour of Alberta. Each is a worthwhile MP, but . . .
Both are dissidents from the federal Tory caucus; both detest several of the government’s policies, in particular the GST. Each is looking toward a new partisan attachment: Kilgour to the Liberals; Nowlan to the Reform Party.
There seem few regrets among Tory ministers and MPs over Kilgour’s departure, and some relish at what he may do for the Liberals if they take him. It is easy to respect Kilgour’s diligence and drive but hard to warm to him because of an almost punctilious manner and a nearly visible halo of righteousness.
For Nowlan there is an exasperated regret among all MPs. He is much liked for his warmth and bounce. Many think he has had a lousy deal in recognition and appointments in the caucus from a succession of Tory leaders from Robert Stanfield through Joe Clark to Brian Mulroney.
Pat won his father’s seat 25 years ago. He came as a replica in size, good nature, and fun as a talker to his dad.
George Nowlan is memorable. He would rate as “best liked” among his fellows with George Hees or the late Don Jamieson. But Nowlan, Sr. had gravitas beneath his rollicking humor. He drew men to him for counsel and leadership.
His son is not quite so compelling nor was he ever able to get ahead of Bob Coates or Elmer MacKay in the party’s Nova Scotian pecking order.
Nowlan’s departure to be, for now, an “Independent Conservative” won most media attention for his bluntness about his party’s dishonesty in reversing itself in power on where it stood when out of power.
Kilgour was in the news again through the release of his new book, Inside Outer Canada. It won quite a few appreciations in the papers.
Inside Outer Canada is by and large a westerner’s lament over our current difficulties, caused by too much power and self-concern in Ottawa for the views and economies of Ontario and Quebec. A prating sourness pervades the text and one wonders if any party and leader could ever please this man.
Both Nowlan and Kilgour are being huzzahed by editorialists for brave honesty at a time which such qualities are scant in Ottawa, and there’s the usual moralizing and speculation whenever such defections occur.
The moralizing fixes on the binding, gagging effects of party discipline and loyalty to the leader. It idealizes a politics where the public, riding associations and caucus hierarchies accept the principle of a free, open choice by MPs on every issue.
The speculation ranges on who else might next part from the caucus. Pat Nowlan left on his own volition but he’s been unhappy with his leader and government policies for far longer than Kilgour and his fellow Albertan, Alex Kindy, who were rather willingly read out of the caucus last April.
Are more Tory defections in train? Could enough MPs switch or bail out to deprive the prime minister of his control of the House votes?
Not as I can read the caucus scuttlebutt. It does, however, suggest several potential dissenters, one in rural Alberta and two in the Metro Toronto region. These seem to be MPs desperate over mean constituency critics and their certainty of electoral defeat.
The same sources do say there is muted fretting over a dozen or so members of the caucus of Quebec. What will they do when the report comes from the Quebec inquiry on the province’s future vis-a-vis Canada? These were the MPs most wooed by Lucien Bouchard and his handful of ex-PC MPs who now form the Bloc Quebecois caucus (with two Grit renegades).
The persuasions of the PM and ministers Benoit Bouchard and Marcel Masse stayed them. The majority caucus has a surface assurance. Now!

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, November 23, 1990
ID: 12215263
TAG: 199011230285
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

CATCHING UP WITH QUEBEC

The obvious becomes more so. As the grand commission on Quebec’s future takes and queries witnesses and briefs, any lingering hopes for Quebec in Canada as we have known it fade away.
And, as the “forum” group captained by Keith Spicer bubbles forth with its encyclopedic terms, it is apparent that most Canadians outside Quebec are unaware the familiar politics, with institutions such as the federal Parliament, is in its last year or two.
In assigning the Spicer role, the prime minister rejected urgency and the use of his ministry and MPs. Both Brian Mulroney and Spicer made it clear the definition of Canadian aims about Quebec was not for elected politicians. Such exaltation of “the people” over those they have elected is not the course taken by Premier Robert Bourassa and Quebec.
It is as though the PM has forgotten the term “sovereignty association” was hatched 23 years ago in Bourassa’s living room, and that in his exile in the late ’70s Bourassa believed Quebecers would go strongly for the association concept if it included a common federal Parliament of elected members, endowed with certain specific powers.
One mentions such aspects of Bourassa, surely a most cautious man, to indicate how far ahead of us Quebecers are on this fundamental issue. Inexorably, at a minimum we shall get to much-altered political arrangements and practices.
We must begin debating the “at a minimum.” It is so clear from opinion in Western Canada, manifest in the surge of the Reform Party, that there will be objections to giving either an interim or a post-Quebec government in Ottawa as much powers as it has under the present Constitution.
To put it bluntly, western premiers and legislatures will not join in common cause to have Mulroney (or Jean Chretien) negotiate either the terms of the future association with Quebec or direct the process of the new arrangements needed with Quebec either departed or in a radically altered association.
The genius of Canadian politics has been the often far from noble one of compromise. Compromise was the genius of Sir John A. Macdonald and Mackenzie King. Even Pierre Trudeau compromised in the bargained denouement to the patriated Constitution a decade ago that left Quebec “outside” and, consequentially to Meech Lake.
Compromise as the quintessence of our politics and continuity ended with the triumph of Clyde Wells and Elijah Harper over the Meech Lake accord. And they, whether one approves or disapproves, did have majority sentiment in Canada outside Quebec with them in seeing Meech as too much a pro-Quebec compromise.
The initiative is with Quebec. Its government may choose a referendum on sovereignty association. Or it may simply sponsor a motion declaring sovereignty, setting up a long debate, then a vote in the National Assembly. The motion could have fairly exact instructions for negotiations with the rest of Canada, perhaps with the federal government, perhaps with the leadership of the rest of the provinces. The distinction in such latter choices is fairly clear.
On the collapse of the Meech accord both Premier Bourassa and the leader of the Parti Quebecois in the National Assembly, Jacques Parizeau, declared an end to Quebec’s participation in first ministers’ meetings. Henceforth, it would be one-on-one with the federal government in all dealings, in particular on Quebec’s role and destiny vis-a-vis Canada.
This has a brute simplicity but is rather wrong-headed. It’s Quebecers assuming the rest of the provinces will accept a master role in constitutional affairs for the government in Ottawa. That’s most dubious.
Do you believe all the premiers will agree to the prime minister and his advisers alone handling Quebec’s move to sovereignty association or further? Never!
The deal to come will be complex. Much of it will be most significant to each province and its government.
Think what the new Quebec will do to the balance of representation in Parliament. Or think of the implications to the provinces in apportioning the federal debt or finalizing pension and unemployment insurance liabilities or settling the maintenance and use of the Seaway. What about a common currency? If so, what role and make-up of a central banking institution to handle monetary policies? What policies and programs should prevail in post-Quebec Canada regarding bilingualism?
Imagine Alberta or B.C., let alone the Bob Rae government in Ontario, accepting that the severance of Confederation as we’ve had it for a different federation will by and large be in the hands and minds of Mulroney and Bourassa. Yet the pace and willpower in the sovereignty drama in Quebec strongly indicates this pair must face such negotiations before the prime minister has to go to the people in 1993.
Consider the grim imports of a federal election. The traditional major parties are in disarray, largely because of Quebec. A massive anti-Quebec vote in anglo Canada is almost as sure as a calculated indifference within Quebec to the contest.
Surely it will become clear that an interlude of some months is imperative. It will allow Mulroney and the premiers the time to agree, if they can, on a common response to the new dispensation which Quebec will want. The PM gave eight months of the time away to the Spicer forum, and while it hears our platitudes and frustrations, Quebec is determining her terms.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, November 21, 1990
ID: 12214610
TAG: 199011210248
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

FORGIVING GERMANY

The revision of our past is my topic for today. There is much of it going on.
The obvious revisionism is in a surge of apologies from high places (along with promises of redress) for deeds of former federal governments, particularly in wartime.
Another splendid example is in a new book, the massive, well-illustrated Chronicle of Canada. It is certain to find a place in most school libraries and to be the “source” for tens of thousands of social studies’ projects.
The form of presentation in the Chronicle is engaging: A chronological series of items written as news stories in a daily paper – from pre-history to the near-present. This provides a “you are there” immediacy that is usually vivid; for example, Jacques Cartier finding his way up the St. Lawrence.
The format allows for a wide variety in the items; for example, ranging far wider than politics and exploration and into archeology, sport, art, literature, etc. Each item stands on its own. There isn’t allowance (or a need) for continuity within topics. Fittingly, the editor-in-chief of the project, Elizabeth Abbott, was once a wire-service reporter.
Much is made in the introduction of a bevy of historical consultants who guided the project. Their leader, Maurice Careless, was a historian at U of T for four decades. His crew is sterling enough in repute to convince teachers in primary and secondary schools that here is a publication they can trust. And in a general sense they will be right; but there is another aspect to the presentation which will deceive a lot of users, particularly young ones.
To redress the wrongdoings and inadequacies of past Canadians the editors and consultants have seen fit to manufacture a number of stories and, in particular, to add data and significant interpretations, which were not at hand at the time of the particular stories. In short, a lot of the stories are written with hindsight, and not just the hindsight of facts worked up by researchers but the hindsight of current opinions and trends.
Such revisionism may be justified as inculcating an understanding of a past inhumanity, of far less refined, more brutal attitudes to issues and causes we now take differently.
In consequence, the Chronicle has a batch of stories following Pearl Harbor in 1941 about the problem created by the scatter of Japanese and Japanese Canadian fisherfolk and market gardeners along the Pacific Coast. The stories emphasize the wicked unfairness and assault on basic freedoms implicit in the forced movement of these families into the interior of Canada. In the Chronicle the items on the removal have more space and prominence than the threat to the U.S. and Canada of the Axis powers and, in particular, of Japanese imperialism.
Two other themes which the stories in the book weave into a national guilt we must all share have to do with native people and with immigrants, especially would-be Jewish immigrants.
Hindsight emphasizes the greed, arrogance, cruelty of the white pioneers and the settlers and their indifference to native rights. The stories enlarge on the magnificent cultural heritage, the intrinsic sagacity and the neat affinity of the native people with nature.
A plain consequence of these three themes – mistreatment of Japanese, natives and Jews – is that young readers or those unfamiliar with what the particular eras meant to those living in them, get a distorted view of Canada as it really was. Progress, coming very late, is inserted again and again into times when those alive did not have their minds’ eyes cocked on the future. This is an overlay of self-righteousness and patronizing from today on our predecessors and their needs and institutions. Generally speaking, it was not the way it was.
My protest is rather like King Canute with the tide. “Progress” and righteousness in Canada will go forward. For example, there should soon come from the prime minister an apology for the internment by the federal government of so many Germans and German Canadians during the two great wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45. After the Japanese, Italians, and Galicians must come the Germans.
To aid Brian Mulroney in his apology in our name to the Germans I offer him a poem by the late Berthold Brecht, a great German poet and playwright. The poem, War Has Been Given a Bad Name, is a splendid opener for talking redress – that the Germans knew not what they did.
“I am told that the best people have begun saying
how, from a moral point of view, the Second World War
fell below the standard of the first. The Wehrmacht
allegedly deplores the methods by which the SS effected
the extermination of certain peoples. The Ruhr industrialists
are said to regret the bloody manhunts
which filled their mines and factories with slave workers. The
intellectuals,
so I hear, condemn industry’s demands for slave workers
likewise their unfair treatment. Even the bishops
disassociate themselves from this way of waging war; in short
the feeling
prevails in every quarter that the Nazis did the Fatherland
a lamentably bad turn, and that war,
while in itself natural and necessary, has, thanks to the
unduly uninhibited and positively inhuman
way in which it was conducted on this occasion, been
discredited for some time to come.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, November 18, 1990
ID: 12213851
TAG: 199011180248
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C5
COLUMN: Backgrounder
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

OTTAWA’S TRAVELLING SALESMAN//BRIAN MULRONEY’S TAKING HIS MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE. SO FAR, IT’S A HARD SELL

Brian Mulroney was instantly up-beat and then thorough when asked his reasons for the splurge of appearances across Canada, in particular the rash of question sessions and interviews.
The chance to ask him this came fortuitously, and though I did not expect any penitential reasons or a hint this was a calculated facing of his much quantified unpopularity, the prime minister’s enthusiasm was surprising. It was exactly that of a confident leader who was merely shifting up his pace toward the perfectly natural and attainable goal of carrying the country for the third time. Not a glint of being beleaguered or confused.
Gall, of course, is a required staple for a politician. Even with it, they get wounded. They hurt when criticism is fierce. In Mulroney’s case he’s been much savaged. It goes beyond gall to a sort of bravery in forcing contacts and confrontation, particularly as a leader of a nation can readily rationalize busy work inside the covering web of formalities and respectfulness inherent in the high office.
At least to me, Brian Mulroney was not shrugging off the criticisms – even the cruel, personal stuff – as largely the consequence of a media bias against him although he does mention that in a matter-of-fact way. His defensiveness has only occasional touches of “my fault” to it, although he did concede to me he might have done more to symbolize frugality and thrift by examples from those topping the federal Leviathan.
Rather, the Mulroney acceptance that his unpopularity is real (though he thinks somewhat exaggerated) is couched in a statement like, “We have had to do a lot of unpopular things,” and its trailer, “We haven’t got our story through to the people.”
Vigorously peripatetic prime ministers are not rare. Neither is the theme that real achievements are not being recognized. Several times, but notably in late 1961 and early 1962, John Diefenbaker roamed the country, determined to get the “true” story told; those achievements which an antagonistic, pro-Grit media wouldn’t present.
Mulroney’s model as a teenage politician was the Chief, and like that worthy he simply knows that if he can get to the people he can win them. And, like his first hero in politics, Mulroney simply knows that if he can get people to listen he can win them over . . . again!
Lester Pearson as prime minister also struck the theme of failed messages in 1965. He was nothing like Dief or Mulroney as a domestic wanderer, but he did get out of Ottawa at times to emphasize that the gossip and distortion of “scandals” there, exploited by the Tory leader, were obscuring brave and worthy legislative and managerial deeds.
Even Pierre Trudeau sought many audiences and display chances in 1973 and early 1974 as he worked to supplant the image of him as cerebral and aloof with one of a shy, unassuming prime minister, dedicated to public service. Recall how Margaret came on to imprint this theme on Canadians? Ah, if only we knew him as she did we would love him.
So roving performances by prime minister are nothing new under the political sun. There are details, however, in Mulroney’s view of the values which show what a total (though not necessarily complete) politician he is.
In rough order of the telling, here’s the way he sized up his cross-country travelling to me.
– He has always enjoyed and been stimulated by the open, campaign side of politics. He relishes it still, and so does Mila. (“Oh, she’s alert.”)
– He has to take his own reading of opinion and mood from reaction to him which he can see and hear in a variety of places, crowds, and scenarios such as radio or TV “hot lines.”
– While he takes opinion polling that is available very seriously, including that done privately for him, he knows it is neither infallible nor set in concrete. That is, Canadian opinion on politicians is very volatile.
– Simply getting out of Ottawa and his routine’s confining drudgery became possible as well as essential this fall. Up to the Meech accord climax, into it, and after its failure, he had been mired in papers and detail, briefings and visitors, choices and decisions, all of which made such travel difficult.
– Wherever he goes in Canada he plans his time so he fills various roles, including that of leader of a party with local MPs, defeated candidates, new candidates, party officials and associations – all of whom need his encouragement and chances to sound off to him and to raise money through his presence. He never forgets the need to carry the party flag, fill the coffers, and buck up flagging loyalties.
– At each community visited, the prime minister can meet municipal politicians and local leaders, including those who speak for business, ethnic, cultural and social associations. These encounters prime him on various issues and grievances. He believes he gives back to those met a sense of who he is, where he’s at, and the government’s directions.
– Usually in each province he visits the chances are seized for discussions with provincial ministers and his own ministers and their bureaucrats about shared programs or common problems. Many people don’t realize that many federal departments have staff in the cities across Canada and crossing their paths improves their morale.
– Mulroney believes, and his MPs and party loyalists confirm, that the fairest exposition he and his policies get arise from TV and newspaper reportage at the locales visited. So much attention given him by the media on the Hill is adversarial, taken from the House tapes or comments made nearby. These items reach people by the millions across the country through the networks. And the same networks highlight his travels.
As with their Hill packages, the network staple is those disaffected with him. Any pickets, chanters, and shouters, belligerent or passive, get displayed. But in local, early evening newscasts when he’s in town, what he says or does gets a fair exposition. He already has witness from two cities he has visited that such exposure can allay antagonisms and clear misunderstandings, notably on the GST. (He expects the GST will be a plus factor for him within a year or so of its introduction.)
– Taking part in radio or TV phone-in shows is challenging. To his knowledge his staff or his local partisans do not try to ensure he gets an easy ride. And the general civility of those who speak to him tells him he’s not the total pariah his rivals assert. The exchanges give him in a crude way what plain citizens far from Ottawa feel about the Canadian dilemmas. As example, he points to callers who have told him they hadn’t appreciated the failure of the Meech accord would usher in a catastrophe for Canadian unity.
– Finally, just the appearance, the exposure, and what is said and done, including the heckling and blockading, serves to ease the pent-up need some people have to shout it out. He senses that a community feels after he has been in it, and its citizens have had their run at him, that he knows they are there and what they think.
At least in my mind, all the chat we had about his travels related to Canada outside Quebec. Almost certainly he doesn’t make quite this distinction, although I sensed what has been obvious for a long time: He is considerably more comfortable and easier within himself when in Quebec than elsewhere in Canada.
It’s risky, and perhaps unfair to the prime minister, but my guess is that on our fundamental issue of a sovereign Quebec and the response to it from outside Quebec, Brian Mulroney as yet hasn’t a plan. One thing he’s seeking and assessing in his travels is the depth of antagonism to Quebec aspirations. (Keith Spicer’s citizen’s forum is also his stalking horse in this.)
The prime minister does not dare say it yet, but what I think he’s heading toward is another federal promotion of a new accord. It would have to be a Meech, plus-plus. It would be something for negotiating against the recommendations which will be coming from the commission Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa has underway. It could be a proposition he could take to other Canadians, perhaps through provincial premiers, but more likely through national referenda.
In brief, I read the prime minister is not giving a whit of thought to retiring soon nor even brooding much about his unpopularity.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, November 16, 1990
ID: 12213499
TAG: 199011160263
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

THE BOOK ON `HONEST’ BOB

So far so good for Bob Rae, the new premier of Ontario.
Perhaps “very good” and “surprisingly good” are the right phrases for the 42-year-old leader of the first NDP government in Ontario.
There is always a sweet period of grace for a new and unexpected leader of a fresh government. But in this case there seem unique elements in the favorable responses to Rae by many whom one would have expected to be hostile.
As example, at a large social occasion in Toronto loaded with middle-aged men and women of wealth, I heard positive remarks all around on Rae without looking for them, or their reverse. Adjectives abound: Honest, sensible, modest, patient, serious, well-educated, well-spoken, decent. So do colloquialisms like “He seems to have his head screwed on right.” Or, “So refreshing to hear a man who isn’t trying to con you.”
One businessman of renown noted Rae even seemed to have a respect for the dollar. Another told me: “The guy’s going to be great if he doesn’t let the nuts like Bob White run him.”
Clearly, Rae is profiting from his ingrained, sober sense of proportion and its unwillingness to exaggerate either prospects or promises. Gosh, I have heard an elderly Nova Scotian compare his attributes with those of Bob Stanfield!
It’s probable that much of the approval Rae has had comes from the contrast he makes to the knowing glibness of Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and David Peterson, joining with the growing wish in our discontent for someone both different and without bombast.
A new book gives some useful perspectives on Rae, even though it has just a single paragraph about him.
Promises to Keep, subtitled “A political biography of Allan Blakeney” is well done, straightforward and non-idolatrous. It’s author is Dennis Gruending, the publisher Prairie Books. The writing is easy, not too scholarly, not too “journaleasy.”
The subject of the book has substantial similarities to Rae in style and personality, aside from a commonalty as Rhodes scholars, Oxford graduates, lawyers and taking up socialism in their teens.
The book is must reading for dedicated New Democrats. (And are they not all dedicated?) It gives detailed, believable narratives of such major aspects of the NDP story as the ousting of beloved Woodrow Lloyd as party leader in Saskatchewan, the rise and fall of the Waffle movement and the sharp, persisting cleavage between Blakeney as premier and Ed Broadbent as NDP federal leader over Pierre Trudeau’s constitutional run in the early 1980s.
Somewhat indirectly, the book also gives a reader a useful reprise on the track record of all NDP premiers from Tommy Douglas through Lloyd in Saskatchewan, Ed Schreyer through Howard Pawley in Manitoba and David Barrett in B.C.
Stodgy and cautious are words often used to describe Blakeney and the careful, rather frugal government he led from 1970-81. The same words certainly fit Schreyer and the government he led in Manitoba from 1969-77 and, with some squeezing, they fit Pawley and his government of 1981-85. Of course, the words are inadequate for the flamboyant premiership of Barrett in B.C. from 1972-75 and, however careful and responsible the administrations led by Douglas in Saskatchewan from 1944-61, the premier himself was one of the rare spellbinders in Canada’s political story.
Author Gruending does not evade or skim past the criticisms of Blakeney from both partisan foes and from many in the New Democratic Party, especially those in the federal cadre and caucus.
In particular, Blakeney’s NDP critics limned him as fixed on balanced budgets and very thorough bureaucratic organization. These combined to form an exasperating care in appraising and advancing new initiatives, for example, with women’s rights and needs.
Blakeney as premier too often deflated hot issues such as environmental concerns over mining uranium or native grievances. His sins were too much legalism and concern over the balance sheet and the economy rather than social and cultural priorities.
Perhaps worst in a political leader, Blakeney displayed too short and cool a range of emotions to the public. In his inordinate seriousness he often ignored grand opportunities for scoring points on predecessors or current partisan rivals. He was seen by many active NDPers as more concerned with tidiness and agreement, orchestrated by him and his mandarins, than letting either his ministers or the party organization and the riding associations have much leeway.
Doesn’t much of that precis ring echoes of Bob Rae as he unfolds as premier? What follows is from Gruening’s last paragraph. It’s more a hope than an epitaph for Ontario’s premier. See if you see the similarities I do.
“Blakeney never talked much about dreams. That was one of his failings as a politician. His greatest strength was not as a leader who could, by vision or rhetoric, inspire and revitalize the people’s movement which had been the Saskatchewan CCF. . . . It’s not easy to maintain a co-operative ethos amid the individualism of North America. Blakeney is a principled pragmatist, a decent, extremely capable man, who gave intelligent and honest government . . . He once said that he would like to be remembered as someone who `ran a good shop.’ . . . It’s a promise he kept.”

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, November 14, 1990
ID: 12212894
TAG: 199011140251
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

W5 EXPOSES MEDIA BIAS

One hopes the segment of last Sunday’s W5 program (CTV) about the Indians of Osnaburgh and the pitfalls of advocacy reporting will become cassette fare for schools of journalism.
Eric Malling cornered the chief of the Osnaburgh band and together they replayed the ballyhooed visit last summer of Bishop Desmond Tutu for which the band and George Erasmus, First nations Chief, arranged and paid.
W5 intersliced the questions and replies with replays of moments in the visit or newly-taken scenes at Osnaburgh.
Malling was relentless in facing the chief with the misrepresentations in the visit. He destroyed item by item the evidence which the chief put to Tutu of desperate straits and an uncaring government.
Malling showed there was no truth to allegations “sacred ground” was to be flooded, that band children had no choice but to drink polluted drinking water, that a grandmother with three kids had to live year-round in a tent-shack and that all band housing was sub-standard and hard.
(The truth is the government has built several hundred houses at Osnaburgh, and the natives have burned some 80 down.)
In brief, a host of misrepresentations of the situation at Osnaburgh reserve was foisted upon the country through news coverage of the Tutu visit to Osnaburgh. That was the detail of W5’s documentary.
But through the details ran three themes or arguments:
l) It is vicious of native leaders to castigate the various federal governments we have had for their treatment of Indians by comparing them to the South African governments in their treatment of blacks and their imposition and maintenance of apartheid. Here there has been nothing like the violent repression, discrimination, and loss of individual freedom.
2) However many failures and boondoggles in the programs and the spending by the federal government for Indians and Inuit, Ottawa has tried hard for years to help improve the health, education, and economic lot of natives, particularly of this band. Much money has been flowing into the Osnaburgh band council for disposal as the band chooses. There have been improvements and failures, many of the latter by the natives, not the federal bureaucracy or a discriminatory society nearby.
3) Reporters’ sympathies firm up on the side of the natives, against politicians and bureaucrats with responsibility for native affairs. In consequence, objectivity and fairness lose out to advocacy. Native spokespersons’ claims get uncritical attention. And so the TV crews and print reporters who went in for the Tutu visit played out their advocacy, missing what might best be called the facts.
The Malling assault on Indian untruths and easy manipulation of the media is intriguing because of its parallels in the Oka drama, especially the last act with the Warriors, attendants, and reporters corralled in the “detox” centre enclave.
A few weeks after the Warriors surrendered, a CBC TV crew from Ottawa went into Oka and the two larger Mohawk reservations and came out with evidence that most of the “brave” reporters in the enclave and even those around the perimeter had missed a lot of data and opinion which would have shown how untruthful, destructive, irresponsible, and bullying the Warriors had been, and that most of the band members disagreed with their strategy and tactics. In short, advocates for the cause were unreliable as reporters of a tense situation involving the cause. In the coverage of Oka-Caughnwaga imbroglios the outstanding, unobjective reportage came from Globe & Mail people, although CBC Newsworld and CBC TV-Montreal were not far behind in skewing.
My own fix on Osnaburgh is personal. I first hit the place in 1938 when an old Junkers of Western Airways stopped on its way from Pickle Lake to “the tracks” to load pickerel and a few bales of fur. Back then less than a hundred Indians were at Osnaburgh. About a hundred more were a score or so miles away at Pickle Lake and Doghole Bay. Most were fishermen, trappers, and hunters, semi-nomadic, living mostly out of tents. TB was rife, infant mortality very high, and almost none of the children were in any kind of school. From 1957 to 1965, as the local MP, I got to know it well.
Today the band numbers over 800. The birthrate is very high; the mortality rate far below what it was in the ’30s. There are 140 houses now and another score are being built. There’s a large school and a modern recreation centre. Also, there are social and criminal problems galore.
Early in the ’80s in one 14-month period 20 band members died violently. As many as 16 houses have been torched in a year. A “crisis intervention centre” had to be set up to deal with drunkenness, rape, gas sniffing, wife-beating, etc. Very few adults of the band have full-time, gainful work. Economic development in the region is slight, its prospects bleak. And what is doing regionally – some mining, pulpcutting and hauling – has never interested Indians or vice-versa.
Malling’s reprise of Tutu’s visit was not a denial of a community with bad problems, many of them endemic, and reflections of isolation with welfare the economic staff.
But turning this around shouldn’t mean lying about a government or not facing one’s own destructive bents.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, November 12, 1990
ID: 12212393
TAG: 199011120262
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

WE’RE CRUSHED BY PUBLIC DEBT

A citizen in Kingston suggested I run a boxed figure below each column giving what the net public debt is that day, alongside that for the day of the previous column.
Unfortunately, no one can guarantee me the figures. Last week, however, the finance department issued topical data about the federal deficit that drew little notice, favorable or otherwise. I synopsize it so as to underline the gravity of the debt.
In effect the deficit for the first half of the current fiscal year is running some $3 billion lower than in the first six months of the 1989-90 year.
Further, the so-called “operating balance” is $5.3 billion better than for the same period a year ago.
What’s the operating balance? That’s the plus (or minus) figure of difference between what the government spends on programs and takes in in revenues. Thus the federal government took in $5.3 billion more than it spent on programs from April to September.
Great? Not really. Over all of last year the “operating balance” was $9.8 billion.
The rub is that charges on the public debt which the government must meet are not program spending. Last year these charges ran to $38.8 billion. And so the budgetary deficit ran to just under $29 billion.
Yes, the Mulroney government now is spending less on programs than it takes in. It achieved that goal in the fiscal year, 1987-88. Yet the public debt charges that year were $29 billion, almost $10 billion less than last year.
Even more aggravating and dour, the total public debt in 1987-88 when the Mulroney government got a surplus in its operating balance was $300 billion. At the end of 1989-90 – i.e., two years later – it was over $358 billion. The debt charges are the killer.

All the news telecasts last Wednesday chose as prime item the ploy of Svend Robinson’s trip to Baghdad with a Grit and a Tory MP. The story won repetition on Thursday though lower down in most newscasts. A fascinating aspect of the junket proposition was largely missed – the clever way Robinson seized and ran with an initiative underway by two Liberal MPs, Christine Stewart and Lloyd Axworthy. Oh, Svend’s our Jesse Jackson, a non-pareil at cadging media attention, especially TV.
On the same Wednesday seven MPs representing all three parties wound up several months work by presenting to the House and a press conference a report on The Forests of Canada; The Federal Role. This readable though detailed report was the consequence of dozens of witnesses and the close advice of some of Canada’s leading foresters.
In a nutshell, the committee set out to advise the new federal department of forestry what it might or should so. Even more important, the MPs dug into the rising and vital dilemma of a country with a strong, emotional environmental movement and an economy in which forestry and forest products are the basis of our most economically significant industries.
At the least, this report was about a vital subject. Was it a good report? Is there much in it the general public should know? Well, the only way any citizen is going to know about the report is to get a copy from an MP. The great medium, TV, left it alone. Not a mention on any TV newscast.
Was the print medium any better? Take the national newspaper. In its Report on Business Thursday the Globe had a CP story of some 200 words, clear enough but spare, so spare. Less than a handful of reporters were at the committee’s press conference whereas the scrum around or trailing Robinson was several score strong.
Now this is the way the world turns. The flash gets the air and the column inches. We can shrug resignedly over such a penchant. The bother is that through TV and the dailies in the past few month we’ve had so much on politicians as in low repute, scorned by a cynical citizenry as self-aggrandizing and corrupt. Self-indulgent, lazy, two-faced, obsessed with perquisites and their own security.
But it’s clear these boondocks MPs worked hard and well, very concerned about our future forests and jobs. They should have dragged Svend, the media master among MPs, into their committee.

The new booklet, Barbed Lyres, put out by KeyPorter Books, is a collection of satirical or ironical verse, most of it canted left and anti-American and taken from This Magazine. About a third of the verse is catchy and grin-prompting, which isn’t bad in this genre.
There are two spoofs or put-downs in the booklet of Peter Mansbridge and spouse, he the CBC National newsreader five nights a week, she the CBC’s “national reporter” under the name Wendy Mesley. The fix on this pair of innocuous, rather banal prattlers is paralleled in almost every issue of Frank magazine. It sends up Peter-Wendy with doctored photos and wicked cutlines or derision at their appearance, ignorance, and self-importance. In short, the scorn for politicians has spread over to those in TV who talk about them, and however prominent and well-paid they are, they are so defenceless.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, November 11, 1990
ID: 12211930
TAG: 199011110140
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C6
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER, IN OTTAWA

SUCH `DECENCY’ CREATES A FARCE

Here’s a classic case of directed, official laxity. It mocks the law. It’s costly to taxpayers. It stems from a response to a minister’s imperatives that radiates down in a federal department. It was created by protests from church groups. It’s abetted by occupational idealism in lawyers.
The minister is Toronto’s own Barbara McDougall. The particular church groups are in Buffalo and Lackawanna, N.Y. The lawyers are mostly in Toronto.
This scenario of heart-tugging multiculturalism is an episode in the drama created by our openness to refugees. It began last month when the immigration officers at the Canada-U.S. border crossing of Fort Erie-Niagara, some 15 in number, were told by their regional office to cease interviewing arrivals at their workplace who claimed they were refugees.
Consequently, instead of an immediate “examination” interview of the self-asserted refugee, if necessary through an interpreter, once the arrival says “Refugee!” the officer takes down the applicant’s name and an address in Canada where he or she expects to stay. This information is put on a sheet that has an instruction printed in English. The instruction directs the person to report within a fortnight to an immigration office for examination. Then the officer photocopies the sheet, gives the copy to the “refugee” and files the original in a box at the border office.
Most of the arrivals have an address in Toronto. Most are met at the border after they get their sheet by an agent or friend or relative who is waiting with a car. Most will later “show” for the initial examination because the “sheet” in itself is not enough to get them onto welfare. Welfare access comes for a “refugee” with a paper showing he or she has been examined and arrangements made for medical and security checks.
Once past this “examination” hurdle the “refugee” is into a system now so profitable for lawyers who serve the “refugees.” The system’s now framed by the very costly, slow, and easy Immigration Review Board (IRB). This $60-million-a-year showcase of nice Canadianism is presided over by Gordon Fairweather, the ex-human rights chieftain.
The IRB track record indicates that about 90% of those waved through Fort Erie will win approval, and most who do not will exploit legal recourses which mean they’re in Canada and on to her benefits for good.
How many now streaming through Fort Erie- Niagara are genuine refugees? The officers I talk to estimate at least 80% are bogus. Phony refugees!
What are the numbers? More refugees and purported refugees come through Fort Erie-Niagara than any other port. In 1989 there were some 7,000. This year that figure was surpassed by September.
What’s the original country for most of the current and recent flow? Somalia! And to a much lesser degree, El Salvador, and to a very slight degree now, Sri Lanka.
How do so many Somalis pop in to Fort Erie-Niagara? It’s through a business built up by agents, most of them earlier “refugees.” The word is abroad to entrepreneurs that becoming a Canadian is as easy as getting to one of our ports and saying “refugee.”
I began with churches and McDougall, the immigration minister. Why?
Those I spoke to say she has her mandarins spooked by her insistence on (a) more immigrants; (b) no actions which cause accusations by clergy and lawyers of her hard-heartedness.
Church groups in the Buffalo area have become depots of care and charity for those from the Third World who first make it to the U.S. as visitors or students but who stream to friendlier Canada as refugees. It is very hard to convert visitor status into refugee status in the U.S., and government welfare is far harder to get.
So many migrants – Somalis, in particular – were coming to Fort Erie that our officers (and interpreters) could not process them as they came. A backlog built which found hostel-like services in several northern New York churches. Swamped by the “refugees” the American pastors demanded our authorities act. Do the decent thing!
And so the new dispensation. It does clear “refugees” through. (It also flouts our immigration laws.)
We now have a very costly bureaucracy for refugees and a system and practices which encourage bogus refugees and gives them a Canadian future.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, November 09, 1990
ID: 12211628
TAG: 199011090214
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

IS PM RUNNING OUT OF TIME?

Is there any usefulness in perspectives, forward or back, on the deep unpopularity of the prime minister and his government?
Not much! We’re not very historically minded. And there are good, immediate reasons why we draw back from shaping probable futures. It’s shaking when one does it.
Clearly, the PM is buying time now and doing his brave public behavior bit to sustain an impression that our present and rising dilemmas are not acute.
So … can he get through to the election he must call in 1993? It’s possible, in fact very likely, but it’s not a certainty.
It’s possible, despite the malice about Mulroney, because one cannot imagine civil disorder in Canada reaching a tempo near insurrection which would force him out.
And so to those who ask the likes of me: “Can’t we get rid of him before 1993?” I have either to say “No!” or get into weighing prospects ahead in 1991 that might radically shift the current discontents.
On what’s ahead, one fair prospect for ’91 is a strong consensus from the present Quebec commission on the province’s future that declares for political sovereignty. Such a recommendation seems likely. Once it’s out, the federal political “game” changes radically. Why so?
Simply because most politicians outside Quebec in the three federal parties are not ready to face such a move, nor are most of their constituents, many of whom still see the failure of the Meech Lake accord as a great victory.
Also a Quebec on the move unilaterally to political sovereignty deprives the prime minister of legitimacy. As we all know well, he’s very much a Quebecer. That was his “ace” in his winning the Tory leadership and in the crucial electoral backing he got in 1984 and 1988.
It’s apparent, of course, that a Quebec intent on political sovereignty would be almost as shaking for the Liberal leader even though he will be coming into Parliament from neighboring New Brunswick.
Bluntly put, there’s not much efficacy in either Mulroney or Chretien for their parties or for the electorate outside Quebec if the provincial leaders and parties of that province choose to move ahead on political sovereignty.
So that is one scenario, and not a happy one for all those anglophones who haven’t readied themselves, says as Preston Manning has, for Quebec’s move to a different relationship. This seems sure to develop well before 1993. It could well shake Brian Mulroney from the tree of power. Why? Simply because it would be unacceptable for Canadians outside Quebec that he would be their leader in negotiating the new deal with Quebec.
Of course, it’s hard to separate political sovereignty from economic sovereignty. Quebec seems heading for approval of political sovereignty but perhaps with a rider to negotiate some continued economic association. This does open up the prospect of referendums, federal or Quebec or both, on such arrangements. This might give Mulroney possible initiatives but they would be hairy.
In early summer I mentioned here that, although Brian Mulroney’s long grip on the Tory parliamentary caucus was not yet threatened by internal dissent, for the first time there was considerable talk among PC MPs on whether he would or should run in another general election and on leadership alternatives. Since then, in an odd way the central item in the general anathema against Mulroney and government, i.e., the GST, has been bonding the caucus in adversity and muting the criticisms of the MPs. Just as oddly, so have the sadder consequences emerging from their winning issue of the last election, i.e., the free trade agreement with the U.S..
Some Tory MPs, clearly inspired by the prime minister in caucus, have been cherishing a belief their party’s and Mulroney’s fortunes will be reversed, based on (a) Chretien and McLaughlin as unprepossessing alternatives to the electors; (b) the GST being in place, functioning, and so rapidly forgotten.
What these MPs had not been factoring into their hopes was the pace and breadth of the recession. Nor had they or Mulroney seen that the Liberals under Chretien would come out at this stage with guarantees that if they are elected to power they will do away with the GST and either cancel or renegotiate the free trade agreement.
In short, the Tories now face problems and need strategies for matters a lot more complex than Brian Mulroney as an obvious choice over Chretien and McLaughlin. What are the problems?
For sure, there is how to get the economy turned around quickly.
For sure, there are several years more of defending both the GST and the FTA.
For sure, there is the unresolved matter each party hates to linger over, i.e. how to master deficits and the great debt load.
And above all, there’s the Quebec-Canada issue, crystallizing unilaterally in the province towards a decision by the end of 1991 to fracture.
Of course, what has just been sketched of the dilemmas of Tories and Mulroney gives too much form to what is a welter and confusion about leadership and alternatives and over policy choices. Such confusion is not all in the governing Tories. It’s there among the Liberals and New Democrats, particularly about Quebec.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, November 07, 1990
ID: 12210800
TAG: 199011070101
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

PM MAKES THE WRONG APOLOGY

How exasperating for me that on the evening I was in tears over the most moving film of remembrance of World War II I have seen Brian Mulroney should be apologizing “for all Canadians” for the internment of several hundred Italians and Italian-Canadians during the war. (Remember? Canada was at war with Germany, Italy, and Japan.)
The film is The Sweetest Spring, a recalling of the liberation of Holland (above the Maas River) by Canadians in 1945. It’s showing on CBC-TV Thursday night. It uses the great Nova Scotian painter, Alex Colville, as entry point and story line for the commemoration of the spring by the Dutch and by Canadian veterans. Colville’s a very young 70, and 45 years ago he painted Canadians from the Rhine to Friesland. The script is literate; there’s modest brevity to the themes of victory won through sacrifice and of a people still vividly cherishing their liberators. The photography and the music are superb, and the few “talking heads” are articulate and analytical.
Watch the Canadians as they march through the warm, cheering crowds of Apeldoorn (last May). Oh, so much the boys of long, long ago. However nostalgic they made me, they, like me, are of that racist generation, wrong-headed abusers of rights and freedoms whom Brian Mulroney has been apologizing for to the organized ethnics of those nations with whom Canada was at war.
I am one Canadian for whom the PM did not speak to Italian Canadians. This is not my slur on Italian or Italian Canadians. My reaction is the same as it was to his similar, fulsome apology (plus $350 million cash redress) to those Japanese and Japanese Canadians evacuated from the B.C. littoral in 1942.
How far will the lunacy go of re-framing history? Of politicians apologizing for the acts and views of politicians of a previous generation, taken with the approval of their citizens during times of great stress?
If such stuff goes on, think of the many misdeeds of Mulroney and government which some prime minister around 2030 AD may feel like redressing.
Ethnic pandering, a syndrome in all three federal parties, is offensive to many of us who’ve been around. I was as a soldier on Vancouver Island after Pearl Harbor. Most islanders were distraught at the grim news from the Philippines, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Fears were rife of fifth columnists, of Japanese raids and rapine. The war for us seemed almost lost.
I wish these latter-day apologists for predecessors of long ago would stop ethnicking and turn to considering redress for Canadian men and their families who served in World War II and subsequently had little or nought from Ottawa.
Three groups spring to mind: (a) merchant seamen; (b) mothers and fathers of servicemen killed in action who were not their sons’ dependents at the time; (c) the “Zombies” who were sent overseas in early ’45 despite official promises that they had been drafted only for “home service.”
Following victory in 1945 the Canadian government wanted the large merchant marine created in the war to go on. And so merchant seamen were refused the demobilization services, gratuities, and opportunities for those in the armed services. Keep merchant seamen on ships, not off to higher education or taking farms. Yet, in ratio terms, death for merchant seaman was likelier than for those in the uniformed forces. Submarines made sailing as dangerous as bombing the Ruhr or bearing a rifle in an infantry platoon.
The merchant seamen had no military hierarchy or continuing associations, and post-war, no Canadian Legion to fight for them, or admirals or generals to make their case. (Ironically, our merchant marine was almost dead by the 1960s.)
The seamen were forgotten “heroes” of Canada’s war, at the time and afterwards. Access to the benefits veterans got came late or not at all. Today’s small remnant of a few thousand seamen still is not co-equal with veterans of the armed services.
A few thousand, quite elderly parents of those Canadians killed in action in the war are in poor economic circumstances. They’ve never had anything in money from Canada for their lost loved ones, say like the $21,000 each just given by Mulroney to Japanese Canadians for their evacuation.
As for the Zombies, it’s bothersome human rights advocates like Clayton Ruby and Svend Robinson have ignored their injustices. They’re a natural cause for the righteous. True, they were mostly just Canadian-born youths and most of them may want to forget this painful period in their lives. Seeking redress would recall the discrimination and opprobrium laid on them by actions officially encouraged. Not only were tens of thousands drafted into uniform, training, and assignments far from home by the authority of the National Resources Mobilization Act, they were pushed and harassed to “volunteer” for active service by the military from top generals to every drill sergeant at home depots.
Thousands of Zombies broke under the pressure and “went active” and overseas to the fronts. But not enough did to keep our infantry regiments near normal strength. Thus in the winter of 1944-45, volunteers or not, Zombies were ordered overseas, and some were killed or wounded in the battles west of the Rhine in March 1945.
Mulroney and Wilson could nicely redress all three groups for little more than they’ve given to Japanese Canadians.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, November 05, 1990
ID: 12210589
TAG: 199011050265
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

THE PAYDIRT IN PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

Poring over the federal public accounts each year is rarely exciting. One bogs in the four volumes of figures by the millions under thousands of headings. Out of such drudgery I got some data which touches two controversies: (a) federal spending on redress to “wronged” Japanese Canadians; and (b) some grants last year to the Mohawk at Cornwall, Chateauguay and Oka.
Case (a) arises from an order-in-council, 1988/89, which stated:
“Whereas, during and after World War II, persons of Japanese ancestry in Canada were subjected to, on a systematic basis, discriminatory actions taken by the government of Canada under the War Measures Act, the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945, and other related transitional legislation solely for their race, the government of Canada has offered $21,000 to any person of Japanese ancestry who suffered from such actions.”
In Volume No. 2, Part II, of the Public Accounts for both 1988/89 and 1989/90, there is the above statement, followed by a long list of names which suggests almost every one of the 22,800 or so of Japanese ancestry evacuated from the B.C. coast in 1942 who is still alive felt he or she “suffered.” The books for these two years list some 15,570 names as getting $21,000. The bill to March this year for this redress stood at $326,979,000. Next year’s list will be much shorter for obvious reasons, and the final bill should be about $380 million.
It is marvellous that as many as 15,570 are alive from the 23,000 odd evacuees of 48 years ago. Canada in 1942 had a population of about 12 million. Today it’s more than double that. And deaths have been inexorable. As example, almost 45% of Canada’s World War II veterans are dead. These were people in their prime, not children, not elderly. On the other hand the evacuees where composed of children, youth, and adults to the elderly, yet only about 25% of them have been unable to claim their `ex gratia’ $21,000.
The high numbers of those who’ve taken the cash should help erase the national guilt. Clearly, the experience was not generally life-shortening, whereas some veterans’ organizations (e.g., Hong Kong vets) have argued war service shortened the life expectancy of many who served (quite aside, of course, from the some 50,000 who were killed).
On the personal side you may wonder if superb achievers such as our environmental messiah, David Suzuki, or Tommy Shoyama, the great bureaucrat (d/m Finance), or Margaret Lyons, the ex-chief of CBC radio sought and got their $21,000. Yes, they have.
Case (b). The same volume of accounts lists particular grants by the federal government to aboriginal bands and associations for various programs.
The sharpest, nation-raising acts by aborigines came last summer from the Mohawk warriors of Akwesasne (Cornwall), Kanesatake (Oka), and Kahnawake (Chateauguay).
You might assume from the Warriors’ violence and emotion that these were the most aggrieved, the longest-suffering native bands in Canada. This may be, but the Public Accounts reveal that the three bands compare very favorably to other native bands in seeking and getting grants of federal funds. As a rough cast, only the Cree of Quebec and the Mohawk in south-central Ontario seem to do as well or better.
To appreciate such dollar data one should know that the band at Oka is medium sized, numbering about 1,000; the other two bands are large ones, about 5,000 at Akwesasne, the same at Kahnawake. Also, each of these three bands had a high ratio of claimants for Indian status under the recent legislation to redress status lost by native women who married whites. That is, there’s been much social interchange between members of these bands and those in the nearby white communities. Further, data which is admittedly crude on both employment in the market economy and job skills in the various bands suggests the Mohawk ones are well above the average.
Although grants and subsidies for bands may be under a dozen federal departments, most are listed under Indian Affairs, Secretary of State, and Health & Welfare.
Here’s what a lumping of what the three Mohawk bands in the eye of the storm got last year in grants under a dozen programs:
(a) alcohol and drug abuse programs: $1,256,000.
(b) for community health representatives: $318,000
(c) for employee pension benefit plans: $571,000.
(d) for administrative services: $290,000.
(e) for design, buildings and operating community services: $10,740,000.
(f) for care, rehabilitation, and preventative services: $1,910,000.
(g) for social assistance: $4,300,000.
(h) support for post-secondary educational services: $2,350,000.
(i) support for elementary and secondary school services: $10,100,000.
(j) for economic development: $320,000.
(k) for Indian economic institutions: $164,000.
(l) for negotiating self-government: $222.000.
(m) grants for administration: $1,800,000.
The sum of such particular grants to these three bands of some 11,000 natives came to about $35 million last year. Mistreatment? Callous? Not so!

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, November 04, 1990
ID: 12210178
TAG: 199011040216
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C3
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER, IN OTTAWA

WELCOME TO MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

Do you know specifically what Brian Mulroney has asked the Spicer gang to handle, analyze, and report upon in eight months?
Here it is, and each issue of his charge is followed in brackets with my instant cynicism on it.
PM: The goal is for Canadians to talk not just to an appointed panel but to each other about the country’s future. Consensus is created by people; we have learned it cannot be imposed by governments. This is an initiative for the people and of the people. Our objective is to get Canadians talking to each other about the values and characteristics and . . . interests of this country.
(Such cant demeans honest populism. It ignores our history and our complexities. It’s buying time and a bail-out. Is it for want of talk or interchange of opinion that Canada is fractious and fracturing? Is there a mother-lode out there of oracular wisdom? Why do we have politicians and parties, so many interest groups , and the highest ratio of governmental bureaucrats in the Western world? Because the folks “out there” have wanted a politics that responds with funds or services to almost every righteous or grieving voice.)
PM: Canadians will be invited to discuss the relationship between Quebec and the rest of the country, and the accommodations required in today’s Canada for the needs of both linguistic majorities and minorities to be respected.
(Guess what a replay on bilingualism, official or unofficial, will elicit in Western Canada. The honest answer, which neither panel nor the PM, Chretien, and McLaughlin could accept and follow, is that official bilingualism hasn’t worked well, is overdone. Much of it outside Quebec is irrelevant, inside it it is a mere side issue to the Quebecois.)
PM: Canadians will be encouraged to re-examine the impact of regionalism and multiculturalism on Canadian unity and economic development.
(Regionalism is most durable. It’s why provinces have had so many powers and such loyalty from their people. Are English Canadians outside Quebec ready to sacrifice regional authority to a central one which will govern post-Quebec Canada? This is the key issue, because the Quebecois will never accept it. As for “multiculturalism”, a concept of the ’60s, crafted to ensure the Liberals ruled in Metro Toronto ridings, its consequences are irremediable. Most Canadians under 50 are either ignorant of or reject what was there in Canadian heritage or history. To them the old Canada was narrow, red-neck, and racist. Its prejudices had to give way to a global ideal in which people of any and every language, ethnicity, and religion are of equal value in Canada. The mosaic is seen as far superior to the Canada in its Dark Ages before the 1960s. BUT multiculturalism’s theory and practice are not unifying.)
PM: The Forum will facilitate contacts between aborginal and non-aboriginal Canadians to discuss how the aspirations of Canada’s First peoples can be met, within the Canadian constitution.
(Surely the aborigines’ demands are clear. Give them land and cash settlements and sovereignty. Unload our guilt. Let them go! All 500,000 or so of them in their 602 bands and First Nations.)
PM: Canadians will be invited to consider what in contemporary society is best done by governments and what by individual Canadians.
(Easy! Set up the debates and the phone-in votes which have Tom D’Aquino vs Mel Watkins; Stephen Devis vs John Bullock; Izzy Asper vs Pat Watson; Pierre Berton vs Conrad Black.)
PM: How to ensure that the country’s institutions, particularly parliament, designed in the 19th Century, will work in the 21st – and, at the same time, whether the division of responsibilities among the federal and provincial governments needs to be changed.
(Again, drag us further from the Dark Ages. As well, settle the first, continuing, and for forever the key issue of all those a a federation has. At least the Spicer gang begins with the brilliant idea of a triple E senate.)

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, November 02, 1990
ID: 12209750
TAG: 199011020243
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

FEDERAL PANEL BUYS PM TIME

Call it a panel or inquiry or commission, what Brian Mulroney announced yesterday buys him and an unpopular government half a year’s time while he gets the GST through and working and there are some better economic signs.
With Bourassa’s formal colloquium on “whither Quebec” underway, Mulroney has had to move even though he and (one thinks most English Canadians) would like to leave the fundamental issue in the background.
This federal enterprise will seem deadly in its repetitiousness however stagy and extrovertish its personnel seem. Why? Because it’s all been said and done before.
Canada has so many functioning associations, groups, councils, committees, etc. which must make presentations on this subject. You know the legion of outfits in so many fields: Religious, environmental, feminist, native, labor, legal, academic, youth, business, charitable, cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and so on.
Remember previous criss-crossings of the nation to hear the voices of the people. Recall the mighty Bilingualism and Biculturalism enterprise of the mid-’60s, the special parliamentary committee on the constitution of 1971-72, the Pepin-Robarts task force on Canadian unity of 1977-79, the parliamentary committee on the constitution of 1980-81, and the several committee junketings of MPs and of senators last year and early this year, occasioned by an apparent need to review the Meech Lake Accord.
Same topic. Same sort of folks talking. Same result … words, words, at least until Quebec’s review comes forth and Bourassa, if he’s still around, decides what to do with it.
Oh, add this. Mulroney’s latest enterprise also buys “hang” time for any constitutional propositions from Jean Chretien and his Grits and Audrey McLaughlin and her New Democrats. And it’s possible – though highly unlikely – that the boring nature of the panel’s progress could be knocked awry by Preston Manning and his Reformers. Say, if Manning appears and advocates clearly that Quebec must decide now if it goes or stays, and if it stays “these” are the terms English Canada demands.

Parliament’s auditor general, Ken Dye, is only 54, 11 years from normal retirement age, so what’s sending him back to B.C. next March after what most fair observers would say is a good decade’s work at the post?
The answer is in the Auditor General Act passed in 1977. The Trudeau government put a term of 10 years on the appointment. Before this act, auditors general would hold the post “during good behavior” and a Diefenbaker appointee of 1960, Max Henderson, had served until he was 65 in 1973 although he was wildly unpopular with Liberal cabinets and the administration and not even beloved by opposition MPs.
Trudeau replaced Henderson with J.J. Macdonnell, the “father” of the “value for money” auditing in Ottawa which Dye has carried on and sharpened.
The 1977 act also provided (a) “once having served as the Auditor General, a person is not eligible for reappointment to that office; (b) an A G in his term may only be removed by the passage through Parliament of a motion from the cabinet.”
How unpopular is Dye with the Mulroney government? Not very. Most ministers respect him and his office, even as they fret about what his audits may say. Certainly Dye is nothing like the ogre to the cabinet which the late Sunny Jim Macdonnell was within three years of his appointment. After 15 years of the “value for money” concept the mandarins mostly bleat internally about it as interference in “the political process.” Further, they have baulked both Macdonnell and Dye (and the House public accounts committee) in their persistent pitch for the right to release each audit report as it is done, in place of the annual orgy of a few days duration when the massive “annual” comes down.
Until March Ken Dye will be canvassing for a job in the Lower Mainland, and he told me it may not be easy, simply because the publicity and national aura he’s had as A G will disqualify him with some employers who’ll see him as either too big or too controversial for their operations.

It was fortuitous, at least to me as a military buff, that the criticism in this year’s A G report on the armed forces’ “medical support system” and its lack of war readiness came as I was under shock from detailed revelations of previous unreadiness in World War II that caused much agony and hurt to groups and individuals and is quite unknown to most Canadians, even those who were adult at the time.
What’s most disconcerting in the book by historians Terry Copp and Bill McAndrew, Battle Exhaustion (sub-titled “Soldiers and psychiatrists in the Canadian Army, 1935-1945”) is more than the obdurate simplicity of the military command to matters of soldiers in “shell shock” or with a “lack of moral fibre.” When over 20% of the casualties in the Italian campaign became the reality which even the sternest discipline and punishments could not lower, the army began to improvise, and typically, the process was not begun at the top but with the infantry regiments at the front. By war’s end there was both much humanity and sensible procedures for those who couldn’t hack the danger and the killing and the wounding. Then most of what was learned was dropped and the same costly unreadiness was there again in the forces sent to Korea.
I think Defence Minister Bill McKnight should have read Battle Exhaustion before he belittled Ken Dye.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, October 31, 1990
ID: 12209174
TAG: 199010310238
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

MCDOUGALL’S BRAVE NEW PLAN

The pollsters of CBC-Globe say only 16% of Canadians favor an increase in immigration. Yeah! Would it be the same 16% which would vote for Mulroney’s Tory party?
Who knows, but we shall have Mulroney in office for another 24 to 32 months, whereas Barbara McDougall has put in place a new five year Plan for immigration. Is this self-claimed, “wise” choice by the immigration minister from Toronto the jim-dandy she says?
Firstly, is the timing astute or grotesque? Canada is on the edge of what will be a bad winter, economically and politically. A recession is deepening, perhaps to a full-blown depression. There are more and more jobless. Yet the Plan has big increases in new arrivals set, from 200,000 this year to 220,000 next year and then to 250,000 a year.
McDougall touts her Plan on faith – it’s “good for Canada” – not on economic arguments. We know she and colleague Michael Wilson are good friends but in the name of reason why would he agree to this dicey, costly Plan without asking for or making a thorough economic analysis?
Of course, there’s the usual smart-ass, partisan tale of why Wilson and company swallowed the Plan: That McDougall sold the cabinet on its alleged electoral merits. When questioned at a press conference on this, her embarrassment was clear and she did not deny it outright.
Look at the “refugee” part of the Plan. Such ingress will rise from the current 42,000 to 53,000 in 1995. Yet the refugee schmozzle is with us now: A backlog of 150,000 claimants already here, more slipping in and the bureaucracy already choked with it all. Yet our generosity is to grow even more.
McDougall is deceptive (putting it mildly) in her promise to “restore the traditional balance” among the three streams of immigration (the family, refugee and independent categories) by redefining “the family” using the criterion of real dependency.
Some instant analysts say the minister, by tightening the definition of family, will give more scope for the “independent” class which once had the largest share of the immigration flow. Not so. Check the figures in the Plan. Over the next five years the ratio of newcomers who will be able to use family ties to bypass fully or partially the selection criteria will grow from the present 42.25% to 46.2%. The traditional, i.e. long range, share of entrants with family ties ran from 30% to 40%.
Here is more deception. The Plan promises “adjustments” in the independent category to ensure more skilled workers and steps to ensure the selection process better responds to national and provincial manpower needs and aims.
Check the Plan carefully. It does not have an appreciable increase for the proportion of independent immigrants. In fact, the share will fall some 10% in the first two years and by 1995 will only be a tiny bit (2.3%) higher than now.
Want more pretense? McDougall says the Plan embodies the results of an “extensive consultative process” with organizations and individuals across Canada. What a process! In it, MPs didn’t count. McDougall ignored the standing committee on immigration of the House of Commons. It recommended freezing immigration at current levels. Of course, she also ignored public opinion. Polls invariably show that Canadians do not want expanded immigration, and they favor “independent” immigrants over family and refugee categories.
It may be very brave to go against public opinion (Mulroney says it is) but if McDougall’s Plan passed cabinet and caucus muster because of her line that increased immigration should be popular and would elevate Tories over the Grits and NDPers with the ethnics, then her colleagues are cretins – even her fellow Torontonians who simply love ethnics.
Further, McDougall’s consultation with provincial governments was inadequate, judging by their apprehensions over the Plan and its added costs in education, training, medicare and welfare. It’s a foolish omission given the provinces share constitutional responsibility for immigration.
But most people will miss the most hidden fraud. It swings round the “federal integration strategy.” Some $200 million is provided for training newcomers in the official languages. “It is our responsibility as a government,” smarms McDougall, “to ensure that policies and programs are in place which allow people to integrate quickly and comfortably into Canadian society”.
Integration? Quickly? Surely this is vicious and un-Canadian, and at odds with the Mulroney government’s multicultural policy. Over at the department of secretary of state, Gerry Weiner is busy funding all sorts of language studies and training for 72 (!) “heritage” languages. While McDougall wants the newcomers to learn French and/or English, Weiner’s spending his millions promoting such languages as Amharic, Aymaran, Bambara, Bengali, Cariban, Igbo, Karanga, Lingala, Swahili, Telugu, Tigrinya and Urdu to the more popular Romanian, Hungarian, Korean, Cantonese, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Arabic and even to extinct languages like Aramaic, Sanskrit and Classic Greek.
Of course, your columnist jests, sardonically, to underline the morass in immigration and multiculturalism into which politicians have dragged us with their half-baked idealism and chase after ethnic votes. The good/bad news is that with the recession, by mid-1991 the Plan will be let slip away.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, October 29, 1990
ID: 12208681
TAG: 199010290236
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

IMMIGRATION OVERLOAD

There’s little candor and some fraud in the arguments of the immigration plan for 1991-95 unveiled last week by minister Barbara McDougall.
In essence, this government, carrying on the immigration emphases of the Liberals, has got two kinds of newcomers far out of tilt with what most Canadians want in immigration or which best fits our economic and social needs – those who come here as refugees and as family members.
These distortions have short-changed skilled applicants, particularly those from the familiar source countries of Europe. So the Tories have schemed up a multiple-year plan which both disguises and continues the excesses.
To better appreciate the calculated ruse in the new plan one must begin with our refugee schmozzle. It has overloaded our system, strained our charitableness, and is costing us a fortune with its tens of thousands of dubious, “now-in-Canada” refugees. In the next column we’ll get to the fraud which McDougall is fronting.
It’s outrageous that the whole world is learning of official Canadian brutality with refugees through a brief to the United Nations Committee for Human Rights by the Canadian Inter-Church Committee for Refugees.
The brief’s author, George Cram, accuses Canada of “inflicting psychological torment” on the many thousands of people in the refugee “backlog,” forcing family breakdowns and suicides. In fact, says Cram, the current processing of refugee claims is the biggest mass violation of human rights in Canada since Japanese Canadians were interned during World War II. Such hyperbole is Mulroneyism.
Churchly indignation rises from religious morality and its keen sense of decency, but this particular endeavor is wrapped in a misplaced sentimentality. Skidding membership and empty pews force our churches out of parishes and congregations to new causes, not in redeeming sinners through Christ but attacking official and corporate wrongdoing.
The Cram mission matches well with the interests of the lawyers who specialize in the cause of would-be refugees in condemning Canada as a “racist” nation, its policy “worse even than the human rights violator.” Imagine! Canada has dared to try selecting refugees according to “what is good for Canada, rather than what is good for refugees.”
My view of the growing band of immigration lawyers is shaped by an experience of a would-be-refugee.
The young man came to Canada on a visitor’s visa hoping somehow to short-circuit the regular channels in securing landed immigrant status. Finding this rough going, he sought out an immigration lawyer. After officials of Ontario’s legal aid told him that as a visitor he did not qualify for financial help to cover his legal costs, his lawyer adviser straightened him out: Declare yourself a refugee. As a refugee claimant you are entitled to legal aid (and the lawyer to his fees).
But this is absurd, said the young man. In my country the regime is now democratic, without a trace of political persecution. Irrelevant, said the lawyer; we drag it out for a few years in the courts and the board, then we’ll see.
That capsule of a real story has all the elements of the swamp of our immigration and refugee policy, which the new plan continues.
At the root of our refugee debacle is the 1985 decision by the Supreme Court in Singh et al that gave a right to each applicant for refugee status to have a personal hearing on the merit of his or her case. (Another great victory for the Charter!)
And so anyone in the world who decides to settle in Canada and who utters the magic word “refugee” to our officials is automatically let in and adds to the growing refugee backlog.
This is the first step in the legal circus which the churches call psychological torment. The would-be-refugee is entitled to a lawyer, who submits the billing to legal aid offices. He or she is also entitled to welfare payments and to medical and hospital care – all sustained by the public purse. Many refugees take part in the underground labor market for cash wages untraceable by Revenue Canada. Some marry Canadian citizens to raise the “humanitarian” content of their claim.
News of such Canadian generosity sped around the globe. Overnight Canada became the haven for discontented people with the gall to do something about it.
First came the “oppressed” from the Caribbean, then the “persecuted” Turks, then the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” from Portugal, the “boat people” from Sri Lanka and many more. All through the “Open O Sesame” of the word refugee.
They swamped our officialdom. Two years ago with the backlog of pending cases at 100,000, the Tories recalled Parliament, declaring a national crisis, and passed new laws to stem the flood.
This brought new mechanisms to deal with the refugee flood. The Immigration Refugee Board has not come cheap. Today it has 261 members supported by a staff of 500 at a cost of $80 million a year.
Oh, Canada. Did all the manpower and money dent the problem? No. If anything, the backlog is bigger. Today it’s about 150,000 and counting. And with it goes the burgeoning army of immigration lawyers and the outraged voices from our church halls and manses.
Will the new policy solve the refugee dilemma? No. It just carries it on, as my next column on Monday will demonstrate.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, October 28, 1990
ID: 12694850
TAG: 199010280205
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C6
COLUMN: In Ottawa
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

FOR POWER AND FOR GLORY

How did the SOB make it to a late death bed in 1988 without a great, public hue and cry against him?
This question came to me when reading Paul McKay’s new book, The Roman Empire, subtitled “The unauthorized life and times of Stephen Roman,” (Key Porter Books).
The question stays with me. The rogue revealed by McKay makes Harold Ballard a Goody-Two-Shoes. He was bullying, arrogant, obsessive, religiously intolerant and ideologically reactionary.
A Slovak, Roman was 16 when he came to Canada in 1937. He died our uranium king with richer deposits in Saskatchewan and Australia than in his original lode at Elliot Lake. And the market spoke to his repute by rocketing up the shares of his two main companies when he died.
We are always too respectful of bumptious “self-made” tycoons like Roman and Robert Campeau; in particular, our politicians are. Roman was not subtle in most of his threatening. Perhaps most threats he made to politicians worked just because he was ready paymaster for many of them.
What was he seeking? Money, contracts, influence, respect and glorification of Slovaks and the Roman Catholic Church as he saw it. He helped create and defend an international uranium cartel, kept unions down, ran mines which neglected safety and environmental standards and winkled exorbitant contracts with Ontario Hydro. Grit or Tory, he’d bully or wheedle either.
The one politician who balked him well at least once was Stephen Lewis. Roman got respect and his enterprises cozening in both Tory Queen’s Park and Liberal Ottawa.
Steve Roman is gone; neither his corporations nor the uranium industry have a rosy future. So what does The Roman Empire give a reader beyond a racy sketch of a mean-minded egotist ingloriously pushing to the top? Well, you see why ambition and wealth in Canada turn so readily to manipulating politicians. You discover a sub-rosa interplay between corporate interests, politicians and bureaucrats which is often vicious, sometimes corrupt and rarely open and examinable.
And you get a fairly unjudgmental narrative of the beginnings, development, stabilization and latter day eclipse of uranium in Canada and the world.
Rogues make for good reading. McKay’s expose is not latter-day bravery. As a reporter with the Kingston Whig-Standard he covered Roman critically well before 1988, at a time when Roman (much like Robert Campeau) threatened libel actions at the hint of a revealing story.
It was a great change of pace to turn from Steve Roman writ black and large to 1759: The Battle for Canada (McLelland & Stewart) by a former politician and ex-celebrity of the 1960s, Laurier Lapierre. This too is a racy, fast-paced account. The former McGill historian and NDP candidate gives us a coherent day-by-day account of the 85 days from the arrival of the British fleet (bearing Wolfe’s army) before the citadel of Quebec to the capitulation of the French after the defeat on the Plains of Abraham. Victory, putting it mildly, had not been inevitable.
Lapierre as public figure was melodramatic and intensely personal, both about his own loves and hates and about what he knew he was as a French Canadian.
This vivid, unhistorical side is also interspersed through the “days,” mainly by chats between author Lapierre and Count Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, one of the unlucky Montcalm’s supporting cast who survived the Seven Years’ War and went on to world fame as traveller. There’s a movie script in this book, starring Bougainville and Lapierre.
Lapierre has created a most readable, popular story of “the Conquest” and put a rather topical message into his last words with Bougainville.
“We, the Canadians, meant nothing to either of you. We were just pawns in your relentless and obsessive search for `la gloire’ . . . We had built something of value here, in the St. Lawrence valley and in the lands of the Great Lakes; even in Louisiana and Acadia. But you, the French, betrayed us, had us pillaged and killed, and left us here in the rubble. The English did not behave any better, but at least they stayed on, helped us to rebuild, and when it became time to choose between us and their colonies in the south, they opted for us. We owe you hardly anything. We owe the English a survival of sorts.”
Fair enough!

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, October 26, 1990
ID: 12694646
TAG: 199010260225
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

MOTOR MOUTH MULRONEY

In his sashay this week to B.C., Brian Mulroney showed his instinct for reading public opinion and taking quick advantage of it without considering the longer range effects of his lines.
Take the contradiction between statesman and Tory buffoon in the differences of his presentation of the blockade of the GST by Liberal senators.
On the one hand, we saw a high-minded PM before high school students. He took the high road: The will and mandate of Canada’s paramount institution, a ministry with the confidence of an elected House of Commons, being balked by appointees of former governments.
On the other hand, we witnessed from B.C. the PM ridiculing childish examples of behavior by some Liberal senators and making cheap cracks which a prime minister should leave alone – especially one who has just given the senatorial plum to the likes of John Buchanan and Janis Johnson.
Worse, the PM belittled Jean Chretien at length. True, Chretien has been cutting about him. Yes, Chretien is not attaining the public constituency he was thought to have, but his situation and unpopularity pale beside those of the prime minister.
Even now Mulroney doesn’t understand that in their current discontent most Canadians see him as the archetypal, hyperbolic Phogbound. He cannot leave alone the instant edge and personal satisfaction he gets from topical partisan shots, yet just such stuff explains what has destroyed him as a respected and reputable politician. He doesn’t understand that the partisan “game” he plays so archly with Chretien has brought many voters to consider the NDP, the Reform Party, and the Bloc Quebecois. As one of the younger Liberal MPs told me this week: “Sure our leader is a problem to us. But, in the same way, so is Brian Mulroney.”
But a more portentous stupidity of Mulroney in B.C. was not his wallow in partisanship but his bull-of-the-woods entry into a century-old issue there – aboriginal entitlement or native land claims.
There’s a lot of history to this issue and several reasons why it is far more difficult than in other provinces or in the territories where so much land is unsettled and unused by humans.
B.C. is by a good stretch the richest of Canada’s governmental blocs in terms of natural resources. Further, and for complex reasons, it was the one governance within British North American and in the Confederation of Canada in which “treaties” were not made or sustained with native tribes and bands.
It’s worth noting that much of Ontario came within the scope of federal treaties well past Confederation, but nothing parallel was happening in B.C. because government after government there (including the NDP government of the early 1970s) took the position that aboriginal entitlement to land had been extinguished when the province was a colony.
Of course, many native people in B.C. over many decades have disagreed with such a position. There have been many court cases over it and, as a generalization, the decisions have been inconclusive. In the province itself the Indians have had many protagonists among non-Indians, perhaps the most outstanding being former NDP leader and former justice, Thomas Berger, but (again as a generalization) there has not been such a widespread sense of guilt among non-natives as elsewhere, perhaps because comparatively speaking the Indians of B.C. have done somewhat better than their fellows in the other provinces in living standards, education, etc.
So colonial history and subsequent legal cases did not give native land claims in B.C. anything like the authority they have elsewhere in the country – from either past understandings or a widespread readiness to right the wrongs of the past. Therefore, it was a grand feat for native lobbying, a sympathetic public opinion, and federal pressure that the government of Premier Bill Vander Zalm recently agreed to negotiate a process of settlements for lands and other entitlements (like user fees) with representatives of the tribes or bands and the federal government.
Given the scale of native claims and the long exploited, but still very rich resources of the province in forests, minerals, fisheries and wild life, the cost of even reasonably minimal arrangements with the claimants will be a very large charge upon taxpayers. In a ballpark sense, if the square miles and dollars come near what the natives of Alaska or those of Northern Quebec got not long ago, the bill in B.C. will run to the tens of billions. (Obviously, while the land concessions would be much smaller than in Alaska or Quebec, the cash payoff would have to be far higher.)
So our PM sashays west. He reads post-Oka public opinion as much in favor of generous and quick settlement of Indian claims. And so he hurrahs into this scenario the assertion that the B.C. government must share with Ottawa the dollar costs of the settlement. Not surprisingly, Vander Zalm went through the roof.
With the first curtain about to rise on the B.C. discussions Mulroney was shortsighted and stupid to hand B.C. an open invoice. For starters, substantial provincial lands will have to be deeded to native bands. Such awards mean much redress for expropriated properties and businesses. The cash cost will be high but is now imponderable. What premier, fool or not, would agree at this stage to a cost-split and exacerbate an electorate already tax-angry?

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, October 24, 1990
ID: 12694348
TAG: 199010240236
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

DAM NONSENSE ROCKS THE PMO

Contradictions abound in the fight between Ottawa and Saskatchewan over the Rafferty-Alameda dams project.
Hasn’t Premier Grant Devine been the friendliest and most supportive of all provincial leaders to the PM? Yes, far more consistently than Alberta Premier Don Getty, even more than John Buchanan, until recently premier of Nova Scotia.
Hasn’t the mutuality of interest between Devine and Brian Mulroney paid dividends for the premier? Yes, including some huge payouts to western grain growers, mostly in Saskatchewan, and the creation of the western economic diversification program, backed with hundreds of millions of dollars.
Take the truly major policy initiatives of the Mulroney government – the free trade agreement with the U.S.; the Meech Lake accord; even the goods and services tax. Devine has been the best of all the premiers from the PM’s viewpoint. The relationship between Grant and Brian was “first name” well before the latter defeated John Turner in 1984, and the man who made and has since bridged the relationship is Len Gustafson.
Who’s Len Gustafson? He’s a busy, talkative, “super-friendly” man with a long interest and participation in Christian evangelism. He was a successful farmer, contractor and salesman in Macoun, Sask. who became the PC MP for Souris-Moose Mountain in 1979. By the time Joe Clark “blew” the 1980 election Gustafson was sure his party needed a new leader, one who could do better in Quebec, and he had already determined whom it should be. Yes, Brian Mulroney.
In the early ’80s Gustafson was the key Saskatchewan MP in the small band of MPs who advanced in caucus and in Prairie riding associations the idea of Mulroney as alternative to Clark. It wasn’t Bill McKnight, who later became Mulroney’s first minister from the province. McKnight earned that boost as a campaign manager for Devine in his winning run for a legislative seat and the premiership of Saskatchewan in 1982. But Gustafson was “talking” Devine and Mulroney to those of us in Ottawa who would listen as early as 1981. Thus it wasn’t any surprise when the new prime minister in 1984 made Gustafson his parliamentary secretary and has kept him there.
Each morning Mulroney is on the Hill he sees Gustafson and each time he walks down to the House, the stocky farmer is at his shoulder. The respective ease each has with the other is a marvel to see. Tory MPs will joke that even with them Len chats up Brian’s virtues. There’s been so much turnover in the PMO that it’s fair to say Gustafson has been longer and closer there to the PM than anyone else.
In the Mulroney-Gustafson relationship there’s more than having adulation at hand. Gustafson lives and breathes agriculture, much as Gene Whelan used to, and Mulroney pays attention to his ideas in the field, just as Trudeau did with Whelan.
Now let’s turn to the PM’s parliamentary secretary and the issue which has the two friendliest governments in Canada at odds over the Rafferty-Alameda project. Bob de Cotret, Mulroney’s environment minister, has sworn to make the province abide by the court ruling for an environmental review. Devine has now counter-suited and ordered the contractors to push on, to the outrage of environmental groups and the NDP and Liberal MPs.
Last week, on an opposition day, Simon De Jong (NDP Regina-Qu’Appelle) moved a motion and got a debate urging the government to revoke Saskatchewan’s licence for the project. About a score of MPs spoke or intervened. Gustafson’s remarks were intriguing because he’s both bridge between Mulroney and Devine and the project’s in his riding. He began:
“The area I serve and that the Rafferty-Alameda dam is in is a very dry area. I happen to be the chairman of the task force on drought during the most severe drought period that hit our country with the exception of the 1930s. We are a semi-arid desert area . . . in Southern Saskatchewan. Our rainfall is approximately 12 inches a year and when we have drought years, five and six inches a year.”
Then Gustafson sketched the success in every way of the great Gardner and Diefenbaker dams. He then spelled out the backing for the project in the region (his figure is 95%). To those who talked about “fish” stocks said: “My farm is six miles from the dam. There are very few years when one cannot walk across that river absolutely bone dry. Yet . . . here in debate in committee, in this House, and across the country we have people talking about a situation about which they have absolutely no understanding.”
Gustafson asked his MP colleagues to realize no one has proven in any way that the project is environmentally unsound. He asked their help in putting through a new government bill with more effective and reasonable guidelines for environmental reviews of major projects. Of course, he was asked if he supported de Cotret, if he approved of the province pushing on, and he sidestepped such stickiness by again advocating new environmental guidelines. That is, Gustafson denied neither Devine nor de Cotret, but his last words were:
“Let us get on with this project.”
It’s hard to believe the Devine-Mulroney axis will break over Rafferty-Alameda, yet the PM backs de Cotret and Gustafson cheers getting on with it.
If de Cotret kills Rafferty-Alameda, does Mulroney lose his top fan and companion?

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, October 22, 1990
ID: 12694116
TAG: 199010220238
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

BOOKS, BOOKS AN’ MORE BOOKS

Publishers are a score ahead of me in new books with political connotations. Here are “thumbnails” of seven of them with a rating of satisfaction from 1 to 10.
Official Secrets, subtitled The Story Behind the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, by Richard Cleroux (McGraw-Hill Ryerson.) The author is a competent writer, one of the many award-winners who’ve fled the latest newspaper Titanic, the Globe and Mail.
He’s strong on immediacy and raciness, rather like tabloid coverage of secretive outfits such as CSIS and its predecessor, the Security & Intelligence branch of the RCMP. There is much anecdotal form stuff on operations and problems of CSIS but the book’s worth for me is in the picture of who is in CSIS and how they are organized – linked to the ministry, the “review” committee and Parliament. Rating: 6.5
Culture, Communication & National Identity: The Case of Canadian Television, by Richard Collins (U of T Press paperback.) This is a substantial, academic, and semi-heretical analysis of whether the TV we’ve had for forty years has built or ruined Canadianism. For serious readers on TV, this book complements and rather contradicts another, even larger (but racier) U of T paperback of last spring, When Television Was Young: Prime Time Canada, 1952-1967, by Paul Rutherford.
Rutherford sees TV in Canada as failing to meet what its enthusiasts wanted from it in nation-building and cultural enrichment, not least because Canadian viewers demanded and got from politicians lots of choice (and so multi-channelled cable systems and most American shows.) Collins is heretical because he thinks the nationalists over-stress the American saturation, especially of sitcoms and movies, and miss the robustness of what we have in both English and French Canada. In short, it’s good we don’t haven’t a strong, single, national identity.
Our diversity is an advantage, not curse. Our acuteness in self-doubts has led us to create strong, linking political institutions and communications with a complimentary and pervasive penchant for TV news and public affairs programming (and viewing!) Ratings, 7 for Collins’ book and Rutherford’s.
Parcel of Rogues: How Free Trade Is Failing Canada, by Maude Barlow, illustrated by Aislin (Key-Porter Books.) A great Christmas cake of anti-American, anti-Mulroney materials, cooked up by one of our best-spoken Liberals.
If you detest Mulroney, fear Americans, glory in truly Canadian unions, believe that at the heart of true Canadianism is caring for each other through universal programs of health, education, pensions, and welfare, this is your source book.
Use it to persuade your fellows to vote out both Mulroney and free trade with the U.S. next election. I rate the book at 5 because its line is not mine, any Canada Firster would give it at least an 8.
At Face Value: The Life and Times of Eliza McCormack/ John White by Don Akenson (McGill-Queen’s University Press.) Oh, how I enjoyed this fictionalized romp about real-life Canadians of a century ago from Queen’s historian Akenson.
He hasn’t convinced me totally that John White, who served the riding of Hastings East as MP from 1871 to 1887, was a transvestite and former prostitute. But man or woman, his John White is a goer and his life strange and mysterious.
The tale is of eastern Ontario town and county politics and of Ottawa. Its cast has the great Sir John A. Macdonald, and Mackenzie Bowell who sponsored White (and succeeded MacDonald as PM). The novel happens to touch on several interests of mine, like Egerton Ryerson, the founder of Ontario’s school system, the Orange Order in Ireland and Canada, the Mohawks of Deseronto, early mining around Madoc and Marmora, and lesbianism in the Victorian period. Rating 9.
A Life On The Fringe; The Memoirs of Eugene Forsey (Oxford University Press). A keeper, if you’ve a feel for politics. At 86 and at last lionized as a Canadian hero (in English Canada) this once pest to academic authors and imprecise politicians has built a book from what he’s more superb at than even constitutional nit-picking – anecdotes and cameos of people, causes, and issues.
Forsey has a splendid memory of persons, mannerisms, and issues long gone or with us still. A few weeks ago I asked him about Barbara Cass-Beggs, a woman of his age range and in CCF circles of the ’40s who died last month.
He was dismissive and impatient with me: “Barely remember her.” Long pause! Then, woosh, his memory chips clicked and out came a clear, concise anecdote of an encounter he had with Mrs. Cass-Beggs over communism in a do-good group some forty years ago. He had a cool estimate of where the woman was as a socialist (idealistic and fuzzy!) and as a musician (remarkable!).
Anyway, buy and read. He’s worth it. Many reviewers feel there’s too much modesty in “on the fringe.” They’re wrong and the title’s right. Forsey became incomparable by putting his sharp mind to digesting history and scholarship. At this you work alone. He hasn’t been a leader, nor an at-elbow advisor to the mighty, nor an influential economist. Now he has a wealth of admirers but he was never one for disciples.
He too much loves to have the record straight for long affinity with politicians or parties. In short he’s unique, much like a very different yet somehow similar Stanley Knowles. Rating, 9+.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, October 21, 1990
ID: 12693982
TAG: 199010210281
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C6
COLUMN: In Ottawa
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

CASH MAKES WRONGS RIGHT

Ah, the gall and ingenuity of organizations wanting in the public trough.
Such cynicism arose after reading copies of two letters to Brian Mulroney which were reprinted in the September issue of The Hualian Journal, a Toronto periodical printed in English and Chinese.
The letters reveal a sharp disagreement between two associations of Chinese: One claims to be “national,” the Chinese Canadian National Council or CCNC; the other is “local,” the Confederation of Metropolitan Toronto Chinese Canadian Organizations or CMTCCO.
The crucial letter which I highlight is from Gary Yee, national president of the Chinese Canadian National Council. He wrote Brian Mulroney to rebut a letter to the PM from the president of the CMTCCO, Ping T. Tan, who had earlier told Mulroney the so-called “national council” or CCNC had no right to represent all Chinese Canadians.
At the core of this Yee-Tan confrontation is the issue of “redress” or, put another way, righting history’s wrongs with cash.
With vigor, the CCNC has been pursuing apologies and cash from Ottawa for immigrants and their kin from China who had to pay a federal head tax to get into Canada (from 1885 to 1923).
The critics of the CCNC, in particular the CMTCCO, think this chase for cash injures relations with other Canadians. And so Tan wanted Mulroney to know that “groups such as the CCNC represent only one sector of the community, and they do not speak for the community, let alone represent the community.” Further, the Metro Toronto Chinese wanted the PM to know of their concern at “the growing hostility towards minority communities, particularly that toward new immigrants.”
What did Tan mean by this? In the past five years the most numerous ethnicity flowing here has been Chinese. Tan wanted Mulroney aware that those long in Canada feel the incoming flood, especially from Hong Kong, is antagonizing many Canadians. And the redress campaign for cash, coupled with tales of monied Hong Kong immigrants, exacerbates such antagonism.
Naturally, Yee of the CCNC stormed back. In his letter to the PM he refers to Tan’s “well-known close relationship to the Chinese consulate.” In short, just a fellow traveller of the Red regime. Yee assured Mulroney the “community” is not fragmented. The CCNC is “the national umbrella group for 29 independent member organizations represented in every province. We are truly national and non-partisan.”
Yee reminded Mulroney the CCNC has led the redress struggle and has over 2,600 head tax certificates registered. And, “we have also established the National Redress Alliance together with the National Association of Japanese Canadians, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the National Congress of Italian Canadians.”
Of course, the organized Japanese Canadians brought off their redress gambit several years ago. They got $21,000 each for those forced to move from the B.C. coast by the federal government in 1942. (Total cost to taxpayers over $300 million.)
Now those who claim to speak for Italians and Ukrainians interned here during the wars want similar redress and, of course, the CCNC is after money and apologies from Parliament for past official racism, particularly the head tax on Chinese.
Yee was forceful with Mulroney. “This redress must be resolved in the `expeditious manner’ of which you have spoken.” And, “Only the CCNC can legitimately and effectively achieve a just and reasonable resolution of this issue.” Then he warned Mulroney:
“With all due respect, it will be poor political judgment and harmful to the community for (Multiculturalism Minister Gerry) Weiner or anyone to make futile gestures to `negotiate’ with or offer encouragement to diverse local groups or partisan groups or any other self-proclaimed national groups. Such tactics did not work with the national association of Japanese Canadians and I can assure you that it will not work with the CCNC.”
Yee closes: “I trust we will be seeing some meaningful action soon from you or Mr. Weiner.”
Will he? My hunch, based on interpreting gossip from the government caucus, is that the PM will not move in the remainder of this mandate to cash compensation for either the Chinese head tax or the wartime internments. Money’s very short and Tory multicultural enthusiasm is on ebb tide.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, October 19, 1990
ID: 12693704
TAG: 199010190256
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

A LIBERAL DOSE OF GOSSIP

Liberal MPs do not want to be quoted on what a few will say off the record about the blockade shenanigans against Tory bills by their caucus confreres in the Senate.
They disapprove, and not merely because so much attention is on the other place. They think the antics discount their party leader and suggest appointees from the Trudeau past are far more effective against a bad government than they have been.
Further, the party is hurting because Jean Chretien is not yet in the House and seen each sitting day as a working leader and the prime alternative to Brian Mulroney. Instead, the intense focus on Allan MacEachen with his assurance, the aura he radiates of rational command, plus the respect for his acumen, even from the Tory enemy, imprints the message on the public mind that he, not Chretien, calls the shots.
Much as most people in the West detest the GST and want it blocked permanently, the antics of both Liberals and Tories in the Senate are fine stuff for Preston Manning and his burgeoning Reform Party. Drastic change for the Senate comes right after “tough love” treatment for Quebec in the appeal Manning’s program makes in the West. One reason Chretien romped to victory over Paul Martin, Jr. and Sheila Copps was his alleged populist appeal in the West. Such appeal isn’t heightened with Trudeau’s old gang under MacEachen so raucously in evidence.

Some interpret the move to the Liberals of David Kilgour, an Edmonton MP (and John Turner’s brother-in-law) as opportunism. He’s turning from Tory to Grit for a chance to be a cabinet minister after the next federal election, rather than more years in opposition if he had turned to Manning and the Reform Party.
This is unfair to Kilgour. Over his 11 years in the House he showed more open, sympathetic interest in Quebec’s aspirations and in thorough bilingualism for Canada than any other western Tory backbencher, and neither his interests nor character would bear with the Reform Party’s strictures on bilingualism beyond Quebec. On the other hand, Kilgour will not be much easier as a caucus bedfellow for left-wing Liberal MPs such as Manitobans Lloyd Axworthy and David Walker than he was with Alberta Tories like Harvey Andre and Jim Hawkes.

John Turner hangs onto his seat in the House even though his participation in either caucus or Commons and its committees is negligible and would be difficult anyway because of the edgy disaffection between him and Chretien.
Why does he stay? Probably it’s for the income, travel entitlements, and secretarial help while he re-establishes the lucrative law practice he needs. It’s hard to imagine it’s to keep his Vancouver riding from going to the NDP or the Reform Party, and it’s even harder to imagine what positive contribution he can make in the House.
Despite expressions of his love for Parliament repeated again and again, Turner was never a strong presence in the House after he became a major minister in 1967. For example, as leader of the official Opposition he was much less evident and active than predecessors such as Joe Clark, Robert Stanfield and Lester Pearson.

It’s probably because John Nunziata was seen as too extreme and rather half-baked in his candidacy to replace Turner as Liberal leader that he seems so unimpressive now and is taken much less seriously than he used to be by other MPs. Whereas Paul Martin now is credible as a front-rank politician and Sheila Copps seems far more taken to the hearts of the Liberals. If she chooses to go for it, she will be the favorite for the Ontario Liberal leadership. And, somehow, through the federal Liberal contest Tom Wappell (Scarboro West) rose in respect from merely the anti-abortion candidate to an appreciation as a serious MP with much common sense.
But Nunziata? Even Sergio Marchi, his florid, cliche-mongering, fellow Italo-Canadian from next door in York West has bounded past him on the Liberal ladder.

Of course, there’s been a tendency for many generations for those holding seats in the House of Commons to express superiority to mere appointees in the Senate. But in the Senate’s present, strident circumstances such superiority has been transferred there.
In the shouts and badinage caught by the Senate sound system or that occasionally get printed in Hansard, one hears or sees scorn from former Liberal MPs for Lowell Murray, the government leader there, and many recent Tory appointees such as Michael Meighen and Janis Johnson who, proverbially, have not been able to get elected as dogcatchers.
It’s enough to choke on when such jibes come from the likes of Peter Stollery. Remember him? The globe-girdling MP from Toronto Spadina was wafted by Pierre Trudeau into the Senate in 1981 as the first step in getting clever adviser Jim Coutts into the House and cabinet. Coutts failed, but Stollery won 29 years of senatorial salary (and trips!)

How much more in charge has MacEachen been than Murray? The government leader was unable to get those who switch Senate mikes on and off to amplify him during a two-hour whirl at being heard last Monday.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, October 17, 1990
ID: 12693380
TAG: 199010170233
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

THE SENATE’S WARRIOR SOCIETY

Enjoy parallels? Try some between the barricades of the Mohawk Warriors at Oka and Chateauguay and the blockade in the Senate of the GST and other government aims by Liberal senators led by Allan MacEachen.
First, neither the Warriors nor the Liberal senators (as senators) were ever democratically chosen by any constituency. That is, the “status” natives who belong to the two bands did not choose the Warriors to lead them by any free vote. The Warriors were self-appointed defenders of both the Mohawk and of all natives. The Liberals were all appointed years ago by four prime ministers of the past and for this great occasion they have appointed themselves to stop an unpopular, though elected, government because of a wonderful cause and an overwhelming public demand.
The reality seems to have been that some three quarters of those on the bona fide band list at Oka did not approve of the Warriors’ actions or the barricade and guns, but willy-nilly they had to accept the consequences of such actions, not least through some very forceful intimidation.
The Warriors justified themselves primarily with the merits of their cause and the immense support their actions drew from natives all across Canada and the sympathy which rolled in from concerned citizens. A host of groups and associations – church, women’s, peace, labor, legal and civil libertarian – demanded the Quebec and federal governments do something good for the natives. The Liberals have reams of letters and petitions, which matches the backing given the Warriors.
The media, one grants, is not quite so present or omniscient at the Senate. TV is a bit hobbled because most of its Senate coverage is not direct. Also reporters or the producers are not quite so sure of the cause’s righteousness, nor the merit in mere appointees being so obstreperous. True, TV crews did take directions once from Sen. Jacques Hebert and surged into the Red Chamber. (Hebert does seem the “Lasagna” in the Grit Senate cast.)
Just like the Warriors, the Liberals have easily justified their bellicose means despite the lack of that legitimacy which accrues to politicians from a general election. Above all, their justification is the sheer awfulness of the GST. The evidence, they insist, is overwhelming. Most Canadians do not like the GST and want it killed before birth.
Brian Mulroney, figuratively speaking, charged the Grits’ barricade when he named the extra eight senators. It was comparable to the armed Quebec police charging the barricade at Oka. So, like the Warriors, the Grits had to take extraordinary measures. And these had to go even further when a tool of the abusers, the Speaker of the Senate, broke a sacred rule dignified by a century of usage and observance and called a vote.
The Grit warriors had to stop further Senate proceedings. And, just like the Warriors at Oka, then came their ultimatums: The outright refusal to accept either the ruling or the Speaker; and the declaration there could be no surrender until the government abandoned the hated GST.
Remember how the Warriors demanded an “a priori” recognition of a Mohawk nationality, outside a Canadian nationality, and a judicial condoning of any illegal acts by an assurance of no prosecutions.
Of course, the Loran Thompson of the Grit warriors is clearly Allan MacEachen, rather above most of the fray but obviously the director by right of earned reputation. Both men are wily, dodgy and not always at hand. MacEachen can do what he does because he proved himself to Grits long ago through some 10 crafty years of running the House of Commons; Thompson paralleled this in building fortunes through smuggling and gambling enterprises, not just for himself and a few Mohawk cronies but for the cause of Mohawk nationhood and sovereignty.
Grit Leader Jean Chretien is clearly the George Erasmus to the senatorial blockade: Like the First Chief of the Assembly of First Nations he is not absolutely sure of himself but he has had to be both supportive of the blockade and repeatedly apocalyptic about what Mulroney’s doing to destroy Canada. Also, like Erasmus, Chretien’s cheerleading gives one the impression he was swept along by the higher righteousness of MacEachen, rather than deciding on the blockade.
Let’s match further: Royce Frith, the Grit floor leader, almost always present and the consistent partisan, is much like the Mohawk character known as “Mad Jap.” John Stewart, the procedural expert, seems like Joe Deom, periodically appealing for reason and to history.
The most intrepid of all, of course, is Jacques Hebert, very like the ever-defiant, always brave Lasagna. Phil Gigantes, with his kazoo and bells, is the “Noriega” character, with his machineguns. Joyce Fairbairn, newly roused from a rather taciturn anonymity, plays an Ellen Gabriel role.
And an equally offended and distraught pair, Dave Steuart and Bud Olson, remind me of Billy Two-Rivers and Joe Norton, fierce and simple.
Naturally, our role-matching must turn briefly to the other side of the barricades where clearly the Tom Siddon character is Lowell Murray. The soldiers and their officers who spoke to TV crews are the extra imports who may eventually turn the tide of struggle. Speaker Guy Charbonneau parallels that unacceptable collective, the Quebec Surete. Of course, Mulroney, as befits him well, plays top villain in both dramas.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, October 15, 1990
ID: 12693125
TAG: 199010150219
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

THE OLD GANG’S STILL IN CHARGE

A lot of us are taken with Mikhail Gorbachev, but the sentimental favorite of westerners is Vaclav Havel, the charming red-headed playwright, who almost overnight went from a communist jail to the Prague Castle as president of Czechoslovakia.
Havel is disarming in his political naivete. His mannerisms are refreshing, his turns of phrase so elegant he makes Canadians envious: Could we not have such a leader?
Of course, we want to believe through Havel that the democratic revolution in Czechoslovakia cannot turn sour the way it seems to have in Romania and Bulgaria. Yet there are disturbing signs an unreserved faith in Havel is premature.
My suspicions were roused recently by a lone picket in front of the Czechoslovak embassy just outside exclusive Rockliffe Park. The picket was an 18-year-old student, not from Carleton University, but from Prague. Her crudely lettered poster warned any guests of the new ambassador:
“Are you aware that you are guests of – until recently – an active member of the Central Committee of the Communist party of Slovakia?”
This student is a guest in the local Czech community, convalescing here from injuries inflicted by communist police during the riots last November at Wenceslas Square. Her target was Rudolf Schuster, the new ambassador. Until recently he was a major figure in the communist nomenklatura. The girl’s vigil in Ottawa was inspired by an open letter in the respected Prague daily, Lidove Noviny (Aug. 2) by Milos Suchma, president of the Czechoslovak Association of Canada. The letter amply detailed such charges about Schuster.
My sources in the Czech community say Suchma’s missive would have created a far more visible boycott by the exile community in Ottawa if Suchma was not so ambitious to corner the Czech portion of the market in Ottawa’s newest industry – aid to Eastern Europe funded by the federal treasury.
In the embassy itself, a recently appointed counsellor was recalled home after a few weeks on the job. He’s a lawyer who spent the past 20 years as a common laborer for his stand against the Soviet invasion of 1968. So a communist clique stays influential in the Prague diplomatic headquarters. My sources say any changes in the personnel of the Ottawa mission are more cosmetic than real. “The same gang” is still in charge and the Soviet Embassy continues to send its Czechoslovak colleagues great bouquets of red carnations.
The alleged “spirit” of Havel and reform is no more obvious in Washington than in Ottawa. The embassy there is in the charge of another luminary of the Czech Communist party, a lady named Klimova.
Are these two communist ambassadors just isolated goofs by Havel, a political novice?
A Montreal Czech-Canadian architect, Milan Havlin, does not think so. In a recent open letter to Havel he dismissed the democratic reforms as a deceitful comedy authored by the ablest of the Czech contemporary playwrights, Havel himself.
More warnings are coming directly from Prague. The non-communist press is printing letters with a common thread of disenchantment with the new, supposedly democratic regime.
Take two samples from Lidove Noviny:
“Civic Forum (Havel’s creation) won elections de jure, but the Communist party is the victor de facto” (Sept.4).
“Today we have among us people who are responsible for murders and crimes against humanity, such as judges and public prosecutors, investigators, prisons guards, prison commandants and their superiors, who keep receiving their high salaries and pensions” (Aug. 25).
The daily Svobodne Slovo keeps printing letters under a heading “We are afraid to sign.” These complain of the continuing persecution and discrimination in the workplace by Communist party bosses.
A Czech Catholic theologian, with many years in a uranium gulag in his resume, wrote from Prague to an acquaintance of mine: “Nothing has been completed or solved and the whole so-called revolution seems to be deliberately left ambiguous and murky so that the former masters could remain masters, and more so.”
Such would seem to be omens of a revolution stalled or crippled from inside, not one in progress. Perhaps these are seeds of a counter-counter-revolution still to come. One must doubt the grip on the state by the world’s political darling.
Is Havel a political leader with an intricate strategy to co-opt the Communist nomenklatura as the only way to achieve his greater design of a new, democratic society. Or is he a mere actor fulfilled by applause from the world’s intellectuals and a front for the same old gang.
I remind myself that Czechoslovakia produced the principled president-philosopher Thomas Masaryk and his contemporary, the archetypal, ever-acting, very amoral survivor, the Good Soldier Svejk.
As for Canada, we should insist the reforms in Prague become real before economic aid is offered. Meantime, a fair strategy would be to spend the modest sum assigned ($40 million over three years for all Eastern Europe) by beefing up our staffs in Czechoslovakia (as we did by opening a consulate in Ukraine’s Kiev). Then we could both hear the disenchanted and offer the still-oppressed some chance at a better life here.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, October 14, 1990
ID: 12692959
TAG: 199010140218
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C4
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

THE REVIEWERS AREN’T ALWAYS RIGHT

It is the season – and the year – for new books which put present and previous politics to the fore.
Before touching on two new ones which have already been booted around by reviewers, let me compensate for a piece of mine a few weeks ago in which I overused two nasty reviews by the oral historian, Barry Broadfoot, of Pierre Berton’s latest blockbuster, The Great Depression. One of Broadfoot’s rip-and-sneers was in the Globe, the other in the Ottawa Citizen.
A university student called to protest not just that Broadfoot had been mean but to argue that, as a popular historian of sorts, he was the last man entitled to crucify Berton. She suggested I look at comments about each man in either Carl Berger’s second edition of The Writing of Canadian History (1987) or Vol. 4 of Literary History of Canada (1990).
I did, and these excerpts bear on either Berton’s popular histories or Broadfoot’s best-sellers Ten Lost Years (1929-1939) and Six War Years (1939-1945).
In the Literary History, Shirley Neuman writes this about Broadfoot’s oral histories:
“The sequence of many voices frequently emphasizes their individuality and moves the reader, as does his focus on the detail of his subjects’ experience at the expense of the larger configurations of historical events they are participants in and often uncomprehending victims of. Readers, however, have no way of monitoring the distortion introduced by Broadfoot’s radical selectivity (sometimes only a few sentences an interview). The brevity of speech of many of the `participants’ and the fact their words often seem to be those best calculated to manipulate our sentiments suggest we be wary . . . “These works are Broadfoot’s construction of their ostensible subjects whose textual position is one of passive compliance with his narrative . . . and . . . should alert the reader to the exploitation of class stereotypes in all his work.”
Berger in his book wrote: “The writers of history who have best responded to the popular curiosity about history have come from the world of journalism, not the university. Academic historians whose books were printed in one or two thousand copies condescendingly relegated those writers whose works sold in the tens of thousands to the status of `amateurs.’ In reality, it was the academic historian who devoted themselves only part-time to writing history and the popular writers who depended on the sales of their books for a living . . . “In any case the appeal of `popular history’ rested on the telling of a gripping story, entertaining narrative, vivid characterization, a sense of drama, or the exposure of human foibles and frailties. Sometimes it could also serve the purpose of national feeling.”
Berger goes on to cite Berton and several of his major works. All the points in those last two sentences quoted are applicable (as I read it) to The Great Depression. Don’t let Broadfoot put you off.
In any case, bad reviews do not always cripple sales of a book. Six months ago when I referred readers interested in an analysis by a businessman of where Canada has been going wrong to William Gairdner’s The Trouble With Canada, it had had some very snide reviews. Reviewers seemed to be left wing or liberally minded and so saw the book as a dense, right-wing rant. The book did not have a huge advertising campaign behind it and Gairdner was not the focus of many radio and TV interviews. One assumes it was by word of mouth that the news spread.
Slowly, the book caught on and has been on several of the best-seller lists for many weeks; on one for some 22 weeks.
All of which brings me to new books by colleagues in the parliamentary press gallery, Michel Vastel, a Frenchman long in Canada, and Michel Gratton, Sun columnist. Both Vastel’s The Outsider: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and Gratton’s Still the Boss: A Candid Look at Brian Mulroney, have been savaged in the Globe and in other dailies and magazines.
Vastel’s fixation of Trudeau’s early years and on the French-Canadian side of his milieu is far from kind and this seems terribly enraging to the former prime minister’s anglo fans, particularly those from Montreal. All I want to tell readers is that though it does not compare favorably with the new Granatstein-Bothwell book on Trudeau’s foreign policy or the Clarkson-McCall book about Trudeau just being released, it still is worth reading for anyone who wants to know why Trudeau is not the archetypal French Canadian.
As for Gratton’s book, his topic, worked over for the second time, is a politician clearly as detested or feared by Canadians as Trudeau ever was. It won’t make you admire Mulroney but it could help you appreciate why he remains where he is and must not be counted out of politics until the last definitive vote is taken.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, October 12, 1990
ID: 12692745
TAG: 199010120237
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

THE SENATE’S WILY MESSIAH

It’s taking longer for the federal Liberal empire to crumble than it took the Ontario Liberals to sweep 95 out of 130 seats (in 1987) and blow power three years later.
Meanwhile, on Parliament Hill, the Liberal senators are fussing and fuming through days and nights, sparked by Allan MacEachen into refusing to accept the results of the general elections of 1984 and 1988.
May I preface my views on the tragedy and farce in the Grits’ last stand by admitting a long-held bias – the Canadian Senate should be abolished and not resurrected in any elected guise. Or, put another way, whatever Canada needs it’s not another talk-shop forum whose members have a claim to initiate and legislate policy. Why, not even elected MPs, let alone the public, give any attention to most speeches in the House.
Also, long ago in this column, most of the blame for the contretemps the government faces with MacEachen and company was laid at the prime minister’s door.
Since Brian Mulroney’s first parliamentary session as prime minister, late in 1984, MacEachen has tilted, taunted and delayed the government in its legislative and spending programs, using the Grits’ long-held control of the red chamber. The delay four years ago on one bill alone (the patent drugs act) was warning enough. When MacEachen’s gang blocked the free trade bill in 1988, Mulroney ought to have moved to close further balking of elected politicians by appointed ones.
It wasn’t that Mulroney lacked open advice. Again, your columnist pointed out several years ago that the constitutional device of adding eight extra Senate seats was at hand for use. Well-executed, it could ensure the incumbent government a passage through to law of its legislative undertakings.
It would seem the PM misread MacEachen’s absolute dedication to the Liberal party and his complement in the ingrained belief of most Senate appointees of St. Laurent, Pearson, Trudeau and Turner that Liberals are the natural governors of Canada. Liberals are the ones truly responsible for turning back or out those who through occasional whims of the electorate, interrupt such good governance.
Readers! You may see the sarcasm of exaggeration in the previous paragraph. No? If you think so you have not known as I have the wheel-horses of the federal Liberal party, in particular those rewarded with the highest of all Grit trophies – a Senate post with pay and perks until 75. With a few, very few, lamented exceptions (like Sen. Everett) MacEachen today is a political messiah leading true believers.
Does MacEachen know what he’s about? Who else has been an active partisan on Parliament Hill for over 37 years, 19 as a minister, and several times the savior of the party leader and caucus from losing in Parliament or on the hustings?
Some years ago one of MacEachen’s adoring place-persons fingered me as the writer culpable (in 1963) for a long-running, unfair canard about MacEachen, that he was “lazy and unambitious.” Well, long ago, in the late ’60s and early ’70s, when he was Lester Pearson’s, then Pierre Trudeau’s House leader, I was using the adjective “wily” for MacEachen.
Checking newsclip files now I find “wily” remains the most used tag for MacEachen but there are many others, mostly synonyms for wily: Adjectives such as shrewd, dour, secretive, cautious, careful, scheming, contemplative, lonely, enigmatic, private, canny and machiavellian; and nouns such as tactician, proceduralist, and sage.
MacEachen’s long utility to his party rests on active skills well-used, not just brooding and scheming. He’s authoritative in the most arcane yet useful subject in politics, i.e., parliamentary procedures, including the constitutional aspects of such.
Also, he gained his right to lead Liberals and speak for the true believers through use of his speaking skills. Choose any sort of parliamentary speech, from the dullest, most time-filling of homilies to partisan rousers to felicitous elaborations on great occasions to thorough exposition of complex legislation, MacEachen can and has obliged. From such stuff over many years the right to be the federal Liberal party’s central strategist and tactician was forged. And given his many parliamentary successes and rare failures (notably his second budget) MacEachen is far and away the best of leaders for the last gasp. Why just to mention Royce Frith or Joyce Fairbairn or Michael Kirby – busy senators and all tigers behind MacEachen – is to appreciate how high and far the Cape Bretoner looms over colleagues and, course, over the inept Tories.
There’s been no finer tribute to MacEachen’s genius than the way he’s galvanized even the most laughable of Trudeau’s Senate appointees.
Wags have called the two kookiest of these, Jacques Hebert and the voluble ex-Greek, Phil Gigantes, “Trudeau’s revenge” on the Senate. Well, they’re vociferously to the fore in these crisis days. And, believe it or not, even Ed Lawson, the ex-Teamster boss, has showed up for MacEachen.
But most inspiring of MacEachen’s feats is Colin Kenny. This ex-speechmaker for Trudeau, rose and read a speech in the Senate in the middle of a long night. So ended six years of Kenny silence. Of course, he has spent much of that time finding ways to boost senators’ emoluments.
The power which moves the Lawsons to attend and the Kennys to speak is awesome. And Mulroney should have read this power long ago.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, October 10, 1990
ID: 12692407
TAG: 199010100225
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

OVER TO YOU, MR. SPEAKER

With rancor rife on Parliament Hill it’s not the time for recapturing the rules of the House of Commons. Much of the day-to-day House is adolescent and raucous, a behavior model the senators down the hall took to last week without any learning curve.
A month ago I had reminded Harvie Andre, Brian Mulroney’s House leader, of his reputation for abrasiveness, and he assured me the PM knew his government had lost far more than it had gained over the past six years by being conciliatory, by turning the other cheek.
There could be no return to the relative decency in the House before the Grit Rat Pack made daily slanders a routine. Both ministers and Tory backbenchers had been at fault for not giving more aid to the Speaker. Each time an opposition MP prefaced a question or a statement with an accusation of dishonesty, deceit or stupidity he or his colleagues should object, using a point of order or of privilege.
Since that interview Andre, with slight help from Tory MPs, has tried to stop a few longer rants and several times pointed out some questioners were abusing the rules. But after the first fortnight of sittings the best that can be said is that Speaker John Fraser has recognized the problem but not what he might do about it. Snips from Hansard show Andre’s general ploy and Fraser’s self-qualified helplessness at abuse of the rules.
On Sept. 27 Andre made one move after a rowdy question period.
“Mr. Speaker, I would like . . . to indicate my concern about what happened here in the question period. We had a situation where the member for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte (Brian Tobin) made the statement the government was deliberately misleading the Queen. You . . . asked that he withdraw the statement. He then withdrew the word `deliberately’ but said we were misleading the Queen. You then asked him to further withdraw. He then did that.
“The net result of that particular question was to leave on the record those accusations. That language is prohibited by virtue of our practices . . . Those kind(s) of accusations cannot be made. Having therefore, in a political sense, for the editorialization of the cameras succeeded, the member for Cape Breton-East Richmond (Don Dingwall) then went on to make remarks about the Governor General being involved in perhaps illicit activities, or what have you, with the government . . . Your Honor then quite properly asked him to withdraw. He did withdraw, and Your Honor thanked him for it.
“My point of order is this. It is on the record, it is done, it is out there. The net result is to make that sort of thing an acceptable procedure because it accomplishes what was intended . . . totally contrary to why we have these rules in place.
“Now, Sir, I do not know what the immediate answer is to the problem. One of the consequences of what happened was an increase in the disorder in the House . . . “Perhaps, Sir, I could suggest that maybe this whole question might be referred to the appropriate committee of the House so we could ask them to study how question period might be conducted, might be led by yourself, in a way which would not bring such discredit on the House.”
Liberal House Leader J.R. Gauthier took “strong exception to those words. “I do not think we have any lessons to take from that gentleman. Further, Mr. Speaker, I do not think you have any orders to take from that gentleman either.”
NDP House Leader Nelson Riis was even more scornful His counter was ministerial sleaze in allegations about how Ed Broadbent got his present post.
The Speaker responded, ponderously, polite to all. But he now buys Andre’s argument, for he repeated the gist of this reply to it four days later after another hassle over spoken behavior.
Fraser’s response was:
“In the interest of the public that is watching us, let me point out the dilemma in which a Speaker finds himself in a television age. Something may be said which is inappropriate but it is said. It is then on the electronic media. The Speaker, of course . . . asks an honorable member to withdraw or to put the matter in a more appropriate way . . . What is almost impossible for the Speaker to do, that is to stop the comment before it is made . . . some time ago I had to remark that comments made in preambles, while clearly out of line, after they are said can do great damage to people across the country . . .
“Today some things were said which I felt ought not to have been said and they have been withdrawn. I have to point out to all members that ultimately this place depends on the self-discipline of everybody because the Speaker can correct, the Speaker can force a withdrawal, the Speaker can even dismiss a member. It does not stop the fact that things are said. Things are on the electronic media and of course once there, they are no longer the property of this place.”
Fraser ended these particular excuses for his inability to stop outrageous preambles and comments with his usual pieties about knowing “all members will try to co-operate.”
At least Andre has Speaker Fraser recognizing the consequences of outrageous antics in fouling the House and piping mean stuff to TV news. But the viciousness won’t end until the Speaker has the will to do it. How? By punishing the breachers. Dress them down, openly. Ignore them for any repetition.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, October 08, 1990
ID: 12692151
TAG: 199010080214
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
MEMO: Second of two parts

SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

BRIAN BATTLES THE BUREAUCRACY

There’s such cynicism abroad about Brian Mulroney & Co. that critics of federal affairs no longer spend much effort on what was topical for so long – the costly, inefficient federal bureaucracy. And Mulroney, a savage critic of the bureaucracy before power, has been in office so long he cannot criticize it. He has, however, been tinkering with the monstrous apparatus.
It probably surprised only the naive that when Mulroney took power he continued with the top people groomed by his predecessor. Mandarins such as Gordon Osbaldeston, Paul Tellier, Mickey Cohen, Alan Gotlieb, Jack Manion, Arthur Kroeger and Georgina Wyman were kept in, or promoted to, positions close to the PM and the apex of power.
Mulroney also continued the charade of the “independent” assessment of compensation for the mandarinate, every one of which has recommended better pay and perks. (It’s roughly parallel to the less frequent arrangement where an “independent” panel recommends better pay and pensions for MPs and senators.)
After 1984 the multiplication of senior executives barely slowed even as the number of federal employees was falling by 15,000 (to 211,000). The game has been to create “associate” deputy ministers, and ever more “assistant” deputy ministers, “assistant” directors-general, etc.
As for the many in the rank and file, the government in downsizing their numbers has used the cuts for some leverage in union-management dealings. At least, recent settlements for those below the mandarinate have not been very generous, roughly fitting with cost of living escalation.
The most visible Tory schemes for the bureaucracy’s improvement have not been minor, and the first, headed by Erik Nielsen, was enormous. The deputy PM was commissioned “to produce an inventory of government programs with special concern for identifying duplication, waste and inefficiencies.”
Nielsen turned largely to the private sector for aid in tackling some 989 programs of the government. With astounding speed the task forces produced 21 volumes of reports, totalling 6,682 pages. The conclusions were very critical. Program evaluations from within the public service were largely self-serving. There “is a lack of institutional memory” and “the pervasive power of the status quo makes it extremely difficult to reach consensus on any kind of reform.”
While Nielsen’s task forces were at work there was intense interest and speculation about the findings to come, yet few grand Ottawa exercises had a shorter currency. The 21 volumes went on shelves, not on desks. The PM was bemused with ministers in trouble and little action ensued from the massive exercise. And shortly Mulroney commissioned another man close to him, Gordon Osbaldeston, Clerk of the Privy Council, to step outside and provide a study of bureaucratic accountability – managing, chains of command and such stuff.
After two years Osbaldeston produced a neat book with academic trappings and a sense of high, austere significance. One estimates a few hundred people, mostly in Ottawa, have read this disquisition on deputy ministers’ roles, few of them elected politicians. Literal consequences of the Osbaldeston achievement are not apparent.
Then the prime minister bought the pet project of a semi-retired mandarin, Jack Manion. To get better management in government there needed to be a permanent centre for study and advisement. So we now have a $10-million-a-year venture knowns as the Centre for Management Development. Not surprisingly, many on its staff are ex-mandarins.
Finally, late last year Mulroney got on to PS2000, clearly the crown in his already demonstrated concern for the efficiency of the federal bureaucracy. It leaps ahead of the present and the current contretemps of the Mulroney government over its undertakings. In the PM’s own words, the aim is “to forge a leaner and meaner public service for the 21st century.”
Behind the scheme is the newish lobby called Public Policy Forum, funded 75% by corporations like Bell, the Royal Bank, and IBM which wants private sector values injected into the system. The PS2000 set-up was grandiose: 10 task forces and 90 senior officials busy under two very senior mandarins, Paul Tellier and John Edwards. Two months ago Bob de Cotret, then Treasury Board head, released the 500-page report of the task forces. The key ideas have rocked the unions. Scan them and you see why. The scheme is to:
– Authorize appointments to “levels,” replacing the present system of appointing to particular positions and enabling management to move employees around more readily;
– Reduce drastically the number of job categories and of levels (e.g., cut occupational categories from 72 to 23);
– Ensure departments no longer have to live with both a person-years and a financial budget – i.e., one single operating budget expressed in dollars (making use of machines for people easier).
Last week John Edwards, now the voice of PS2000, announced that legislation due this year would not be ready until next year. Will Parliament get it? My hunch is it won’t but it all hangs on how Brian Mulroney figures the public worth of milking the idea of private sector radicalism inside the bureaucratic leviathan. And, defensively, he can claim PS2000 shows he’s still trying.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, October 07, 1990
ID: 12691929
TAG: 199010070122
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C5
COLUMN: Backgrounder
SERIES: Part 1

SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

NO END TO RED TAPE//THEIR POLITICAL `MASTERS’ CHANGE, BUT BUREAUCRATS GO ON … AND ON

Ever heard of PS2000? Should you have?
Well, PS2000 is the latest in umpteen attempts by cabinets at reforming the federal public service. It makes public service union leaders unhappy. It roils Ottawa’s big component of government employees. It is presented with buzzwords of promise and futurism – the public service for 2000 AD and beyond.
This column and the next are somewhat about PS2000 but more on how we came to it, the fourth big move by the Brian Mulroney government for more efficient bureaucrats.
Remember that bureaucracies go on and on while the casts of politicians change, often abruptly. My fixation today is largely on what has happened to the public service in general rather than a concentration on the top of the mandarinate, and this requires something on the continuity in public service affairs, going back to Pierre Trudeau’s years. Before doing so you need to know several things which happened in the mid-1960s which help explain how we got the highest-paid public service in the western world and the one with the highest ratio of officials to citizens.
First, Lester Pearson’s government encouraged the unionization of the federal service. It happened swiftly and without a battle.
Second, Pearson turned to a committee of corporate leaders (which has been regularly reconstituted) to appraise the pay and perquisites of senior public servants (the mandarins). The generous recommendations have almost always been followed.
Third, through the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism and the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, the government moved to instituting more bilingualism in the public service and more equity in pay and positions for women. Both moves required more jobs, added complexity to job descriptions and promotions and spawned a lot of divisiveness and frustration among many long-time employees.
Fourth, through major legislation the Pearson government largely completed the so-called federal social system (health and welfare) and began to build a systematic interface with the provincial governments. Such initiatives naturally required more staff and more “boxes” on organization charts.
One consequence of the swirl and expansion of the Pearson period was a sense of disorganization and confusion of purpose in the Ottawa bureaucracy which much offended Pearson’s successor, Pierre Trudeau.
It was after Pearson and the Liberals regained power in 1963 that I began to hear or read the favorite aphorism of Ottawa’s mandarins – that they presided over the best public service in the world. This seemed much like pep talk at a college football team’s rally.
In the now much recalled “Golden Age” of the public service (from the beginning of the war in 1939 to the advent of John Diefenbaker in 1957) the governing cadre was so intimate and small no such assertions were called for. The Golden Age ended when Dief brought on the first modern review of federal organization and efficiency (the Glassco report). While its consequences were less than its loud public discussion presaged, it does symbolize a bureaucratic watershed.
After Pearson took power, one of his first deeds was a monster photograph of himself with all the deputy ministers. For the idealistic it harkened a return to sanity in Ottawa and a regained rapport between leaders and servants. For the cynical, mostly Tories, it confirmed the mandarinate was pro-Grit, an attitude which was to linger a long time, although it’s almost gone from today’s Tories.
Trudeau wasn’t in power for long before critics began to see his style as presidential, largely because of his determination to have more and better advice, plus a tidier, more rational organization. “Rational” was a buzzword for the Trudeauites. The massive changes and hirings, especially around “the top” brought forth booklets from both Marc Lalonde, Trudeau’s principal secretary, and Gordon Robertson, the top mandarin, which pointed to the creation of the most effective government, in terms of organization and staffing, that Canada had ever had.
Robertson soothed concerns about the increased power of Trudeau’s personal bureaucracy by emphasizing the “harmonious meshing” of the Privy Council Office (which he ran) with the “political” staff in the Prime Ministers’ Office.
Marc Lalonde became a cabinet minister in 1972 and his successor, Michael Pitfield, a most confident polymath, exulted in “orgcharts.” With each of his “reorgs” came more positions, more promotions, higher salaries. Naturally, there was a binge of hiring, notably of business administrators, economists, political scientists, and sociologists. Rationality demanded planners and managers.
The Pitfield circus began to peter away somewhat after the introduction of controls in the economic crisis of 1975 and because of a rising chorus about a swollen, arrogant and costly bureaucracy. All the talk of large pay raises, promotions, and reorgs was fed by leaks from inside by the disgruntled employees.
Here are some comments by close observers in 1978, after a decade of Trudeau-Lalonde-Pitfield. It was the year Trudeau began to consider limiting the growth of the service and curbing the payroll by the technique known as “red-circling.”
Geoffrey Stevens, then a Globe columnist, wrote:
“There aren’t many propositions to which just about every Canadian will agree . . . the federal public service is over-paid and over-staffed.”
Val Sears of the Star was witty:
“The reason a civil servant doesn’t look out of the window in the morning is so that he will have something to do in the afternoon.”
The gentlest of retired politicians, Robert Stanfield, let himself express shock at a public service “out of control.” And the late J.J. Macdonell, then auditor general, vigorously depicted a service heavy with incompetents who could not be fired.
The pervasive, national demeaning and bashing of the federal public service became a stock, institutionalized pose with few distinctions drawn between the rank and file and the mandarinate.
This nasty, doubting cast of mind about the public service has continued. Here are two examples, the first from the Ottawa Citizen two years ago. It had a special section replete with witness to profligacy in the bureaucracy. The paper’s editor of the time, Keith Spicer, diagnosed the ills ravaging the corpulent Ottawa patient:
Lifetime tenure; higher-than-average salaries; “comfy” work conditions; the right to cripple the public service through strikes.
Eugene Forsey in his new book A Life On the Fringe gives a pro and con estimate of Trudeau’s worth as prime minister. His “con” emphasizes Trudeau’s failures with the public service. Under him respect for experience and knowledge disappeared. What was in favor was “management.”
“Anyone who could `manage’ anything, from a department store to a supermarket to a bank or railway, could `manage’ anything else,” including any government department.
Forsey asks rhetorically whether Trudeau has “given us a better public service?” His negative was obvious, but on the “pro’ side he might have mentioned four sashays by Trudeau well into his regime.
First, the Royal Commission on Financial Management and Accountability reported “an almost total breakdown in the chain of accountability” and “the serious malaise pervading the management of government.”
Second, there was a study by Jacob Finkelman, chairman of the Public Service Staff Relations, on the merits of the legislation on the public service (particularly union-management relations).
Third, was the creation of the D’Avignon committee on personnel management and merit principle.
And fourth, the PM created the office of the comptroller general with its specific purpose to improve governmental efficiency.
While Trudeau did not bequeath his successors a proud, respected service, it was one that had been much altered and much examined. Joe Clark, in his brief interlude, John Turner, in his few weeks in office, and Brian Mulroney, in his turn, set out to improve things – Turner with a big reorg and “shakedown” at the top, Mulroney variously.
The animosity against Brian Mulroney and his Progressive Conservative government and caucus has been so deep and durable that lately critical attention has ignored the federal bureaucracy, its mandarins and the 210,000 or so public servants.
This has its irony, for Mulroney came to power with vividly expressed disdain for the federal bureaucracy and committed to downsizing it and making it efficient.
Recall the roars of approval he got from crowds in his first election campaign when he threatened Ottawa mandarins with “pink slips and running shoes.”
“We don’t intend, once elected,” Mulroney vowed, “to be obstructed . . . by partisan and incompetent officials.”
His private sector experience with the entrenched bureaucracy came to the fore in one of his patent hyperboles: “You go to Ottawa and see one of them in their offices, which are usually larger than your factory, and you don’t know if they will talk to you or send you out for coffee.”
The PM and Finance Minister Michael Wilson, in particular, have often made much of both their downsizing the federal service by some 15,000 person-years and the privatization of Crown corporations like Air Canada. But the main moves by the Mulroney government to improve the management and performance of the federal administration have largely been unnoticed outside Ottawa.
They’ve also been minor grist for the mills of the opposition parties. Nobody much in partisan politics has been bureaucrat-bashing in the last two years. Yet it’s clear that Mulroney and his cabinet are almost as concerned as Trudeau and his advisers ever were with “management” in the public service and in “reorging” from the top down – i.e., from the PMO and the PCO to the simplest clerical level.
(Continued tomorrow)

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, October 05, 1990
ID: 12691785
TAG: 199010050253
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

ONLY THE GREEN NEED APPLY

The perfectionism of the environmentalists reaches far. We learn from the Globe’s premier columnist, Michael Valpy, that the “Toronto Population Committee, an environmentalist association, is proposing `future immigration policies be subjected to environmental impact assessment and that Canada should favor immigration from societies which show environmental responsibility.’ ”
One supposes the ratings could issue in “points” to be assigned would-be immigrants. The choices, of course, would be discriminatory.
We know something of the environmental chaos in the world, notably in societies such as Czechoslovakia, the USSR, China and Hong Kong. Bad, bad! So too, Brazil.
In effect, the policy would wrench the pattern of our intake. In the past 20 years the pattern has shifted away from European immigrants to those from Asia.
Three years ago I was bombarded with charges of “racism” after arguing for several factors we ought to consider in appraising would-be immigrants. Of course, I got into this because there are obviously many times the number we can take who want to come to Canada.
I suggested there be extra points for those who knew one or both of our official languages and for those who came from countries which had government by the people, of the people, through open, certain elections.
I suggested minus points for those from societies whose laws and customs sustained the suppression or cloistering of women and girls, in particular those which deprive females of equal rights and allowed the practice of female circumcision. And minus points if they belonged to groups in countries that Canada has normal relations with (like Ireland or India) and who advocate the violent overthrow of government there.
Canada has a huge backlog of refugees and would-be immigrants because of inadequate visa and travel requirements. Bold immigrants with air fares by the thousands are still jamming in. We have a huge backlog of cases for refugee and immigrant review.
If the Toronto Population Committee gets backing for its immigration proposal from the many strong, environmental associations, the issue of an immigration policy based on environmental judgments will become part of partisan, political discussion. Even those of us who think the proposal oddball know a frank, national debate on the trends and the future composition of our immigrant stock is overdue.

With the barricades gone, a TV team from the CBC’s Ottawa English station has begun to reverse the bravura image of the Mohawk Warriors projected so well by the parent network’s news coverage, Newsworld and The Journal. The team has interviewed many natives, mostly women, at Oka, Caughnawaga, and Cornwall Island. The content is disturbing.
The statements about the Warriors fit with what I alleged here many weeks ago: That most Indians at Oka wanted no part of barricades or violence, that a group of armed thugs, largely American, aping Rambo, and led or manipulated by those doing well at three reserves from gambling and contraband had literally hijacked an emotional local issue at Oka (over the golf course).
The Warriors came from outside, converted the grievance into a violent confrontation, then an armed stalemate. Through it all they intimidated the Oka natives by threats and the use of force. Most natives on both reserves wanted rid of the Warriors and the barricades. Their side was largely ignored by TV.
Meanwhile, as the Warriors looted and destroyed contents of many homes and squelched those who dissented, they rode to national glory through an obsessive, too respectful media. It seemed the CBC’s mission was to portray the Warriors as heroic, the government leaders as dishonest or stupid and itself as the understanding broker between victimized natives and the public. Police and soldiers were depicted as insensitive and intimidating, the Warriors as brave.
Recall the arrogance and complicity of a Journal anchor asking: “What message, Chief, do you want to send tonight to the government?” This was a chief the women in the latter-day documentary say was scared by Warrior threats into ignoring the wishes of the band.
Recall the “surrender.” Its highlight on TV and the front page of the Globe was an Indian mother and her child, down, beaten by soldiers and screaming. Well, the woman was a Grade 10 student from Ottawa’s Glebe Collegiate, Waneek Horn-Miller; the child her 4-year-old half-sister.
Their white fathers had been shocked that their daughters’ mother, Kahn-Tineta Horn, had joined the Warriors and taken the two children with her. The father of the younger one now has court-ordered custody of her.
Spokesmen for the Warriors had agreed with the military on an orderly exit to buses and a journey to a nearby military base. Instead, milking TV, the emerging score of Warriors and their buffer of women and kids broke in many directions.
Surely the guilty ones are those who would tell a 14-year-old with a 4-year old in her arms, to run off (past the cameras, of course) to be caught by the soldiers.
Anyway, belatedly, CBO-TV Ottawa is making amends for the gross favoring of the Warriors by its network’s news and public affairs.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, October 03, 1990
ID: 12691475
TAG: 199010030263
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

WARRIORS DIDN’T FOOL EVERYONE

Several MPs took after me for declaring the Mohawk Warriors succeeded in their violence, basing my opinion on the long House debate (Sept. 25) about “the situation in Oka and Chateauguay.”
I’d felt the MPs evaded the fundamental issues raised by armed insurrection, and agreed with William Johnson of the Montreal Gazette that the debaters missed the point that “the future of Canada cannot be based on armed violence, nor on the claim by some Indians to constitute independent nations.”
My criticism was hasty, based on the early speakers I’d heard (through the House TV channel). I hadn’t heard, or read in Hansard, the 30 or so subsequent speeches in the debate which went to 4 a.m. After scanning them all I disown my generalization. Here’s why.
As an example, several of the New Democrats did not agree with the party’s native affairs voice, Bob Skelly, who excused and condoned the violence. Ian Waddell and Phil Edmonston touched on “the other side,” and “the collective tragedy,” as Edmonston put it.
Waddell was hard on Brian Mulroney and Robert Bourassa, but he did say this: “We are against guns; we are against this kind of American conduct that the Warriors adopted. I see it as an almost fascistic takeover of a part of the Mohawk nation by a very, very ultra right-wing group that has been mixed up in some very questionable activities, and I think one has to say that.”
Edmonston said: “Armed struggle in a democracy, where one has the right to change the government through voting, and through lawful dissidence, is wrong . . . being an American by birth I have worked with Martin Luther King. I never knew Martin Luther King to pick up an AK-47. I never knew Martin Luther King to have been masked.”
Three native MPs spoke: Alberta Tory Willie Littlechild, and two Liberals from the territories, Ethel Blondin and Jack Anawak. None made a standout speech, although Littlechild was most straightforward in finding positive elements in all the summer’s negativism.
The speeches I found most vivid and telling, however, were by two Quebec Tories, Lise Bourgault, whose riding includes Oka, and Vincent Della Noce, whose riding abuts Chateauguay, and by Alberta Tory Jack Shields, who has represented Athabaska riding (with its 10,000 natives) since 1980.
Here are snips from their remarks. Bourgault reveals the gut quarrel among the Mohawk at Oka; Della Noce emotes on the white casualties of the violence; and Shields in simple words puts his finger on the core dilemma which anyone knows who has dealt a lot with Indians.
Bourgault: “After the 1984 election I had many meetings with residents of this Mohawk community who did not agree with the system under which the chief and the grand chief are elected by the clan mothers. Next came the compilation of duly signed petitions from 85% of the people of Kanesatake urging the government to intervene. In 1987 we asked for a referendum and the case was referred to the courts by the then chief Alex Montour. The case is still pending and should be heard in the near future.
“Right now . . . nobody, however well-intentioned, can negotiate with the Kanesatake Mohawk community . . . Six chiefs have held power since 1984. Only the highly paid lawyers are interested in maintaining the present system. The Mohawk must change this practice for their future in Oka depends on it. Moderate Mohawk want to elect their leaders – I am talking on behalf of 85% of the people of Kanesatake . . . I urge the clan mothers not to insult their people by appointing another chief; the next chief has to be elected by the band majority, for only then will they have a strong voice.”
Della Noce: “Earlier I spoke with the mayor of Oka, who’s a friend of mine. There is good news this morning; everybody has come back to Oka. There’s bad news too; there are people who don’t have houses any more. There are people the law hasn’t protected. Their houses have been destroyed, their goods stolen . . . What has become of their houses? Nothing remains but the four walls. Where is the law? People thought the problem we were facing was the golf course. I hope we’re not that naive. The problem is much more than that. The little bit of land wanted for the golf course (and it’s a swamp, I know it very well), that wasn’t the problem. There has been a problem for the 14 months that they’ve been negotiating for the land. Before that they negotiated for four years. Every time there was an agreement, they changed chiefs.
“On TV I saw Lasagna playing the guitar with a big M-50 machinegun and then try to play with the arrow. Do you call that fun? Do you call that freedom of the press? Oh, the poor press, they suffer a lot. They show that almost live on TV. Playing the guitar with a machinegun in Canada when some poor taxpayers cannot even go through a red light without being put in jail.”
Shields: “ . . . when natives do become educated, become doctors, lawyers, and dentists and get into other professions or end up living not on the reserve but in the city, working at a steady job . . . the other natives on the reserve soon refer to them as `Indian white men.’
“The draw-down system starts because the whole philosophy of the reserve is that everyone should be equal. Everyone owns, in a communal way, everything on that reserve.”

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, October 01, 1990
ID: 12691245
TAG: 199010010239
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

NO NATIVE ACCOUNTABILITY

George Erasmus, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations has lately said that he and his advisers have been unable to ascertain where Brian Mulroney gets the huge figure of “over $4 billion a year” for federal spending on native affairs. (This sum was exclusive of old age pensions, guaranteed annual supplements, children’s allowances, disability pensions, etc. which go to native people who qualify.)
Would Mulroney lie? Or, is Erasmus weak at reading government accounts or served by poor researchers?
Mulroney isn’t lying. If Erasmus plows carefully through the three volumes of the annual public accounts, in particular Vol. 2, he could find, adding items, that the total for the last year of public accounts was just under the $4 billion mark, and will be well over in the next public accounts.
But one may understand the Erasmus’ dilemma by examining his own accounting, i.e., the annual report of the Assembly of First Nations.
If you have a copy of the last report, made in May, you find a section on “administration and finance” on pages 22-23, submitted by the secretary-treasurer, Elizabeth Thunder. Neither there nor anywhere else in the report will you find a financial report. Not a figure. No income; no expenditures. There is, however, an inscrutable sentence:
“FUNDING: Unfortunately, the audit for the fiscal year 1989-90 will not be prepared until June.”
Then Thunder goes on: “Besides the global funding from DIAND (Indian affairs) and core funding from secretary of state, the NAF/NIB secured various contribution agreements to carry out specific projects in this fiscal year.”
To put it colloquially, last year the assembly milked the usual federal cows and occasionally got extras from others.
Erasmus, in his own section, never mentions sums but there are these sentences:
“As far as the deficit of the national office is concerned, we continued to bring it down, although slowly, in the past year. Now, however, we are faced with a funding cut like many of our organizations are. As we enter upon the new decade, in the immediate future, we should plan a co-ordinated effort to ensure that our communications agencies, friendship centres and political organizations get their funding – or a large portion of it – reinstated.”
That’s all there is by Erasmus on where the money comes from for the First Nations. Of course, it’s wrongheaded meanness for us to write about it, but the scenario which Erasmus sketches is simple:
Raise hell for more taxpayers’ money in order to raise ever more hell with the taxpayers’ government about its perpetuation of callous treatment and injustice for those whose aboriginal rights were usurped.
George Erasmus replaced one Dr. David Ahenakew as National Chief in 1985. He was re-elected or re-appointed again in 1988. He’s had five years to familiarize himself with the First Nations’ administration and with federal finances. One might think this an imperative chore for him because his predecessor lost his post while under clouds of scandal.
After a long investigation, the RCMP brought many charges of malfeasance and misappropriation of funds against Ahenakew, some of his family and retinue, plus several other First Nations’ vice-chiefs and chiefs. It’s unfortunate, perhaps unfair, that far more media attention has been given to the similar or parallel charges against John Munro, for years Pierre Trudeau’s minister for Indian affairs.
“Unfortunate” I would say because these cases, plus series of critical comments in recent years by the auditor general, have raised doubts about administrative integrity in the disposition of funds to native people, their bands and other organizations and the lack of strict accounting for such funds. The politicians have shied away from digging into any particulars.
One B.C. MP did a few years ago, in connection with some spending of grandeur by band leaders in his riding. He told me then that his colleagues warned him off the subject. He was giving the party a name as persecutors of the poor Indians. (He was defeated in the last election.)
In the last months of the Ahenakew reign, George Erasmus was one among those leading the charge for change and the need for reform, talking about malfeasance and nepotism on a grand scale. So one expected more diligence about money and funding from him.
What taxpayers in general should know is that details of spending on natives and native affairs are not easy to find in federal documents – but they are there. A diligent, nosy person may even find out how much we’re staking the Assembly of First Nations each year.
The sums are considerable. Those instant conclaves of chiefs and elders in places from Halifax to Vancouver which CBC-TV loves to shoot and present with fitting, doleful sympathy do not come cheap. And imports for the First Nations’ cause like Archbishop Desmond Tutu (to the Osnaburgh band) or Jesse Jackson (to Oka) do not pay their own fares and expenses.
A footnote on the Tutu visit: No one has underlined the contradiction in his usage by Erasmus. At home Tutu fights against apartheid, against “homelands” for blacks. He’s imported to Canada to reinforce the case for more, better funded reservations, separate from the economy and society of Canada.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, September 30, 1990
ID: 12691092
TAG: 199009300261
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C3
COLUMN: In Ottawa
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

SENATE PLOY SUBVERTS LIBERAL PRINCIPLES

In September, 1990, as in December, 1979, Allan MacEachen has had his way with the federal Liberal caucus. Eleven years ago he paraded Gallup polls before his fellows. These showed the party had a big lead on Joe Clark’s Tories. The Liberals should warp in the minor parties and defeat Clark in the House.
That accomplished, MacEachen insisted on (and won) the proposition that Pierre Trudeau should cancel retirement and fight again.
The grand success in 1979-80 of MacEachen’s strategies was large in the minds of Jean Chretien and company last week. So they went with MacEachen.
MacEachen stressed both the opportunity and the dire condition of the Liberal party, revealed by the Ontario election. His argument was this:
Mulroney is abysmally unpopular. So is the GST. The polls prove both. Forget any affront to democratic principle. The people want the GST killed and Mulroney balked. Shortly we lose control in the Senate and Mulroney escapes our box. We must act now. We’ve delayed three other major government bills the past year and the public hasn’t peeped. We even have the socialists with us, the traditional Senate abolitionists.
What are the principles Chretien, etc. had to put aside? Long ago it was largely Liberals, lineal predecessors of today’s federal Liberals, who led the fight for “responsible government” in the Canadas. They wrung it slowly from Britain in the 1840s ’50s.
There were two ideas intertwined in “responsible government” as fought and won by those forerunners of MacEachen and Chretien.
First, the right to govern and the governing must be the responsibility of men chosen by the people of the Canadas in an election, not the responsibility of a governor and other “council” appointees made by the Imperial government in Britain.
Six decades before the Canadas wrested responsible government, the 13 American colonies fought and won independence from the Britain. The colonists had been frustrated by imposition of taxes by a government that was not theirs and that they could not remove. The colonists wanted the same rights as Englishmen.
Although the British colonies in North America after the American Revolution were largely set in their political attitudes by loyalists who rejected the Revolution, after rebellions in 1837 in both Upper and Lower Canada, the British were readier to accord self-government to their colonists, giving them the right to an executive of men elected by the colonists themselves. In this sense “responsible” meant an elected government, not an appointed government.
The second idea within the concept of responsible government was more complicated. It was that the ministry or executive would be responsible to the legislature – to the body elected by the people. A ministry would govern so long as it had the “confidence” of the majority within the legislature during the time span between elections.
Readers are right to ask: Given these two ideas in “responsible” government how is it we have an appointed body, the Senate, as part of the Parliament of Canada? And why did the constitutional arrangements for Canada give this appointed body powers almost equal to those of the elected House of Commons?
The plainest answer rests on the conservatism of Canadians in the 1860s and their high respect for British institutions. The Senate, a parallel to the British House of Lords, was “the sober second thought” body, the brake on demagogues and excess by a too radical legislature and executive. But within a few years of Confederation (1867) it was recognized the Senate should not brook the elected government. And criticism flowered and hasn’t ceased demanding the reform or abolition of the Senate as a largely useless institution which affronts democratic values.
If you wonder why reform or abolition has not come, recall it took more than a century just to “bring the Constitution home.” It was done under Trudeau. Mulroney’s Meech accord had a plan for Senate reform. Now reform seems further away than ever.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, September 28, 1990
ID: 12749774
TAG: 199009280239
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

Of course, the closing hurrah of the Mohawk Warriors and their buffer of kids, women and journalists was set up for prime-time TV.
Of course, the scenario was designed to provide cameras and tender-minded TV news anchors with worth-repeating tape of chaos and forceful repression of terribly aggrieved Indians by armed soldiery and the police of an oppressive state.
Two years ago when there was much hullabaloo over “capping” of government spending on higher education for natives, I asked an official in the education wing of Indian affairs for data on the rise in numbers of students and where and what they were studying.
One of her observations was the great popularity among native post-secondary students of courses in “communications” at community colleges and of “journalism” at universities. Understandable? Very! And given the intense coverage and largely favorable or sympathetic commentary and presentation of both happenings and native personalities through this long Indian summer, we see the native young people have taken these useful courses and got much from them.
This emphasis on staging and on managing our media may seem picayune. It is so much a matter of style and a fleeting immediacy. But both, fortunately for the winners, obscure the grave challenges to plain order and a sane society. Success begets imitation. There will be many more orchestrations of “justified” violence on the Warrior model with Rambo antics, flaunted firepower, barricades and screaming women.
If you have some idea the Warriors didn’t get away with their violence and law-breaking, read the speeches in this week’s Hansard by MPs – government and opposition, leaders and backbenchers. While Tory speakers paraded the need for the rule of law, almost always they aped Brian Mulroney and hurried on to the quicker, stronger intentions of the government.
Zip! On with land claims. On to high living standards for the native people wherever they may be. Consultation . . . negotiation . . . generosity. For certain. On such the politicians are unanimous.
Columnist William Johnson of the Montreal Gazette studied the debate and was most disappointed in the unwillingness of the Liberals and New Democrats to deal with the law-breaking. He wrote: “No matter how many the injustices and betrayals of past governments, the future in Canada cannot be based on armed violence, nor on the claim by some Indians to constitute independent nations.”
Yes, yes. Yet how futile. Johnson knows, I know, you know, that given what the Warriors got away with, there is now an immense leverage which all natives in their bands and reserves across Canada know they have. Expect more forceful disobedience and ever grander claims to independence and special rights for aboriginal people. After all, their forebears owned all of Canada.
Less than 24 hours after Mulroney’s voluminous undertakings to concentrate resources on native grievances an almost scornful, certainly doubting, George Erasmus, Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, was queried at a press conference by the Sun’s Peter Stockland on whether he and his assembly of chieftains condoned the acts of the Warriors. He circumnavigated the issue for some minutes. In his evasiveness, however, was one generalization and a concrete example of the vast scope of native claims.
First, Erasmus declared a clear trend was apparent in various court cases where Indians had been charged with offences under the Criminal Code. Many clauses of the criminal law did not apply to natives. Therefore, he was implying, the actions taken by the Warriors could not be labelled as criminal, particularly given the Mohawks’ insistence over several centuries on their independence as a nation.
(Of course, lots of lawyers and a few political scientists have emerged who argue such nationhood for far more than just the Mohawk or the Iroquois Confederacy. Ironically, most of their fees and grants have come from federal funding.)
Second, Erasmus used several specific court rulings as basis for assertions that native peoples anywhere in Canada at any time have a right to fish and hunt that is prior to any hunting or fishing by non-natives. Even a quick reflection shows the mad reach of this. Consider the great fisheries off the West coast or the cod fisheries within Canada’s territorial boundaries on the Atlantic coast.
Is the chief of all the first nations saying natives have prior and prime rights to such resources? Yes, he is.
In their run for more and more, the minds and imaginations of the native leaders have become dominated by the prior right of so-called aboriginal peoples to everything in the way of resources – land, water, and sky – in all of Canada.
Such enormous birthrights run back into pre-history beyond the advent of the white exploiters and go forward to infinite generations. There is a blood right. It is passed on and on. It is exclusive, for as Erasmus put it this week, each nation determines who belongs to it.
At minimum, there has been a triumph of organized and condoned disorder this summer and fall at Cornwall, Oka, and Chateauguay. Respect for laws and rights of Canadians to free movement of themselves or their goods has been blown away. Or, one might say, given away by hesitant and peace-obsessed politicians.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, September 26, 1990
ID: 12749478
TAG: 199009260224
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

SOME HUNCHES AND OPINIONS

Jeer or regret the poor public impression Jean Chretien has made the past few months. He has seemed to waver on policies and looked fragile in health. That appeared to change on Monday as he scrummed with the New Brunswick MP who is giving up his seat for the Liberal leader.
My hunch is that Chretien brushed aside his handlers’ guidance and decided on his own to seek and get the opening after months of posturing an intention to range the country, reorganizing the party. Suddenly, in the scrum, Chretien was his familiar self, combative but direct, the go-get-’em warrior. Don’t write him off.

While there are a few scholars and a handful of ex-parliamentarians who know much on parliamentary procedures and rules, few know much or pretend to know much about:
a) The consequences in possible challenges to the constitutionality of packing the Senate with an extra eight PC senators;
b) The capability of a minority of senators – even a couple – to block movement through the various stages into law of a bill such as the GST by using procedural stalls like refusing unanimous consent or moving adjournments of debate.
Despite such a generalization one has the strong impression that the Liberals, geared around Senate Leader Allan MacEachen, have given much more thought and scheming than the Tories have to the choices and the means to ensure the GST does not pass.
What the situation may reduce to, when the packing is done and the Tories begin to win votes in the chamber, is an abrupt introduction of procedural rules to block the use (by the Liberals) of stalling gimmicks. Oh, what outrage that will cause in the sober, second chamber.

The media, particularly TV, hyped the return of Parliament on Monday as a super confrontation, loaded with the dramatic issues that are tormenting a concerned and cynical populace. After the first day, at least four columnists and two network pundits appraised the performances in the House as a whole as disappointing. Slanging! Loud! But really the same old, tired stuff . . . insults and platitudes, phoney outrage, phonier concern, words, words, words.
When question period was over, a ponderous debate ensued on the Iraq invasion of Kuwait and Canada’s response to it. No speaker other than Joe Clark seemed comfortable and exceptionally informed. Also, in line with parliamentary form, only a small fraction of the gang present for question period even bothered to stay and listen.
A pocket, archetypal example of the political theatre of Monday’s question period was provided later by CBC-TV’s The Journal. Who are the noisiest, most bumptious MPs in the House? Well, The Journal got three out of the five best raisers of racket to appear – Don Blenkarn, Dave Barrett and Brian Tobin. Only Sheila Copps and John Rodriguez were missing.
Nevertheless, guyed by an amused, rather patronizing Barbara Frum, the selected trio was raucous and self-righteous enough to make a viewer realize that volume masquerades as content in our politics.
After the second day’s question period it seemed clear that the ministers, even the much-scorned Tom Siddon of Indian affairs shame, were more than surviving the onslaughts of the opposition.
Why? How? Well, the Grits and NDP on both days chose to give primacy to Oka, the Warriors, native rights, freedom of the press, etc. Almost nothing prime about the frightening slide of the economy and jobs or about the oil crisis aspects of the Middle East imbroglio. Not even much on the most tantalizing parliamentary dilemma of the generation – how and whether the government can get the GST into law through a Senate which has been Liberal for many generations.
On the native thing, the government’s line is simplicity itself. Let those in defiance of the law, the gun-wielders, surrender to the soldiers. Then the government will go ahead with its measures of both inquiry and expediting claim processes. In his speech, the prime minister stated and restated his devotion to both the rule of law and the amelioration of the native population’s condition.
Against this plain, even simplistic, response, steeped in the righteousness of law and order, the opposition, especially Ethel Blondin and Audrey McLaughlin, weighed in with highly emotional rants and assertions. Neither woman, nor any other opposition speaker save one, dealt openly and frankly with the thuggish element obvious at Oka and Chateauguay.
What seemed implicit in the opposition attitude was approval or condoning the use of illegal firearms by the Warriors because the cause is so just and the conditions they attack so terrible. But only Bob Skelly of the NDP made it clear he believed the wrongs of Indians, there and across the country and throughout history, justify the machineguns and the road barricades.
Why have Mulroney and his cabinet shown such aplomb in the face of opposition outrage? The cabinet has heard from the caucus MPs and looked at recent opinion polling of public reaction to the Warriors and the Oka affair. It knows the major criticism of the government is not for being hard on the Warriors and using the soldiers. The majority is critical because the government was not faster and tougher in its reactions.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, September 24, 1990
ID: 12749223
TAG: 199009240218
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS

Three calculations are slipping through any MP’s stream of consciousness. The first two are obvious: An estimate of his or her vote in an immediate election; then the likely time of the next election. The third is less self-centered: The likely score by parties after the next election.
Be sure most MPs reassembling for Parliament have been doing these calculations . . . privately. My recent canvassing of a small sample of MPs of the three traditional parties shows an intense self-concern in the first two calculations.
For example, several Tory MPs from Alberta concede defeat to Preston Manning’s Reform Party candidates in an election now. Their glimmer is that the election is some 30 months away. Their leader and party must regain enough favor to ensure their return.
Even Liberal MPs who did not back Jean Chretien’s leadership bid have been devastated by the pervasive hostility to him that’s abroad. It’s more than a Quebec phenomenon and so they’re far less sanguine than you’d expect, given their party’s lead in the Gallups.
As for the NDP MPs, the fine results in Ontario and Manitoba and anticipation of as good or better in Saskatchewan and B.C. have them as buoyant as 2 1/2 years ago when Ed Broadbent was riding high and a breakthrough in Quebec was a near certainty. But, like the Grits, they fret about the chilly response, the large public indifference, to their new leader Audrey McLaughlin.
Here are the national, electoral calculations I draw from the views of MPs. An election now would divide up the 295 seats in the House like this:
Liberals 110; NDP 60; Progressive Conservatives 55; Reform Party 35; Bloc Quebecois 35.
This would mean minority government and a working deal between the NDP and the Liberals.
Now let’s go further with the estimating and project how an election in 1993 will split the seats, going by the current trends. It assumes: 1) that the constitutional dilemma continues without resolution; 2) the five current leaders, Brian Mulroney, Chretien, McLaughlin, Manning, and Lucien Bouchard, will be in the fight; 3) the present government will get the GST through, legislate an environmental program of substance and put forward a child care program of massive scope. The Commons after a 1993 election would look like this:
Liberals 100; Progressive Conservatives 70; NDP 60; Reform Party 35; Bloc Quebecois 30.
You disagree? You find such stuff ridiculous? Yes, but such wisps and gleams do bemuse the members of Parliament and most other political partisans.

Several MPs who had never before heard Preston Manning speak were at a well-attended public meeting last Thursday in Ottawa and came away impressed with his platform style, his thorough, well-organized argument and the respect he showed for his listeners’ intelligence. Among their adjectives were: Good-humored, positive and forward-looking.

From private conversations I have two surprising estimates of the general attitude in Canada to the Indian situation as a consequence of the much televised antics of the Mohawk Warriors at Oka and Chateauguay.
The first came “off the record” from two prominent historians. They think the Indians have blown the best chance they have ever had to convince their fellow Canadians of their right to major land settlements and unique sovereignties for their communities.
The parade of so-called leaders like George Erasmus, Ellen Gabriel and Billie Two Rivers has demonstrated so much contradictory argument and inane opinions. The law-breaking warriors have hijacked the leaders, who tag along behind men and actions which day by day become more ridiculous. The historians sense Canadians are drawing back from constructive sympathy and henceforth will be far more critical of native assertions and claims.
Their appraisal fitted with the second estimate, given me by an acquaintance with a firm which contracts much public opinion surveying. He says the crude figures for Canadian opinion a week ago were tilted 70-30 against the Mohawk; in Quebec it was: 90-10.
Of course, there is the other side, certainly put magnificently by the two stars in print of the siege at the treatment centre, Geoffrey York of the Globe and Mail, and Ian MacLeod of the Ottawa Citizen. Several of their media colleagues on Parliament Hill are hoping it might be possible for those in charge of the National Newspaper Awards this year to split the top story award between York and Macleod.
From their dispatches we know that they’ve filed for Canada, day after day in harrowing circumstances. As Ernie Pyle did for the GIs in World War II, they’ve told the gallant Warriors’ story. To do it they have been unwashed and fly-bitten, gone sleepless, and have feared wounding or death.
And as York and MacLeod have agonized for the cause of the warriors and their companion women and children, they have given us insights TV cannot provide on the soldiers, their lying, foul language and reckless provocations. One trusts their editors will be generous with them if they survive their ordeal.
War is hell for those courageous enough to report it.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, September 23, 1990
ID: 12748964
TAG: 199009230127
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C3
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

DEPRESSION BOOK PUTS CRITIC IN A FUNK

One may be fairly sure that a book of history by Pierre Berton, such as his CPR volumes, will be savaged or scorned by academic historians as “pop” stuff – too vivid, too judgmental.
This may occur when his new book, The Great Depression, 1929-1939, gets appraised by the profs, but the early reviews in the daily press are more astringent than usual. Reviewers are downrating the book as too political, too dour, too detailed. Such was the gist in two assaults by another “pop” historian, Barry Broadfoot.
A preface page in Berton’s latest lists the 35 other books he’s written or put together, and an author’s note at the close states his intention: “ . . . I have attempted to provide . . . a narrative history of the Depression in all its manifestations, arranged chronologically from the summer of 1919 to the autumn of 1939.”
Berton’s author’s list triggered the opening lines in one of Broadfoot’s harsh estimates of The Great Depression’s worth. And his intention is pilloried in both reviews as belted and dull, little more than jam-packed financial and political history, rich in cliches, short on humanity.
Was Broadfoot, an oral historian, bothered there is only one quote from his own best-seller, Ten Lost Years (1973) in Berton’s book? You wonder why he’s so thoroughly picky. Here’s a bit from his review in the Ottawa Citizen:
“Number 36 in a towering pile of books by Pierre Berton, and finally, as if he has run out of topics, The Great Depression, that decade when Canada and the rest of the world went bust, and why has he written it now?”
Broadfoot argues the book would have been relevant to readers in the ’70s (when his epic was published). Then the Depression was “in” because its now-prosperous survivors were proud of what they’d experienced and were more aware the rest of the world had also failed.
Now, says Broadfoot, the decade of 1929-39 seems far, far away to us in our far more confusing world. There isn’t the usual zest in Berton’s wrap-up of the decade and “his old razzmatazz, while still there, no longer works.” A welter of facts; too many venal and uncaring men in high places; stupid politicians and hard-hearted wealthy like the Eatons; and not nearly enough about people or the sense of community, of pulling together and helping one another which those nostalgic for the era remember.
And so Broadfoot magisterially ends his Citizen review of Berton’s book as “nothing more . . . than an economic and political history of those 10 long years.”
In his Globe and Mail review Broadfoot is even more scathing, opening with a familiar line that the bestsellerdom of Berton’s history stuff comes not from readability. Rather, his works make perfect Christmas presents for all the aunts of Canada. As shelf-fillers they stand, most of them unread.
Of The Great Depression Broadfoot “admits,” however, “It’s all there: A competent Overview section, the way we were before 1929, terse reasons on why it began, the Crash that triggered the Depression . . . ” through to “the good men and women, mainly of the political left, who steadfastly challenged the callous right-wing leaders that Something Had To Be Done.”
I suspect it’s the heavy political stress, the open left-wing bias of this book which bothers Broadfoot and some of the other reviewers who go on about Berton’s “slant.” But anyone wishing to know how and through whom the political left emerged to its current domination of political policies will find few more interesting accounts of it all than The Great Depression.
Although Broadfoot is maliciously (though entertainingly) unfair about Berton’s newest, as a child and youth in the Depression, I must agree with him that life then wasn’t all so bleak and mean in our town.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, September 21, 1990
ID: 12748808
TAG: 199009210259
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

A PLAN FOR FISCAL FITNESS

Recent remarks on the gloom and cynicism in Canada by Premier Frank McKenna of New Brunswick were not part of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s launch of its “Deficit Diet Plan.” But they were in tune with it.
The premier said: “We cannot overlook the role debt and deficits is playing in the entire affair. It may be that the failure of political leadership took place 10 to 15 years ago.
“One of the reasons, and there are many, the government of Canada is in so much trouble is because they’re carrying nearly 40 cents on every dollar to service the debt. That’s resulted in them doing a number of things which have cost them popularity . . . Provincial governments are in the same position. All of us are battling desperately against the accumulated debt of the last 20 years.”
The premier’s summary dovetails with the stuff the chamber began pushing this week through its 170,000 business members. The leading material begins:
“Only 21% of Canadians surveyed last year knew what a government deficit meant. Fewer knew that one billion was the same as $1,000 million.”
Recent comments by Bob Rae, the Ontario premier-elect, show his awareness of Ontario’s deficit-debt dilemma and its limitations on programs which the NDP and its many, supporting interests want. Perversely, Rae’s chances for a positive mandate as premier would be boosted if the chamber’s campaign got even half of adult Ontario on to the facts like these:
– “Canadians now owe more than $450 billion . . . That’s $456,000,000,000 of combined debt run up by the federal, provincial and local governments (plus hospitals). This includes the $351.4 billion estimate for the federal debt this year.”
– “Interest payments on the federal debt alone account for around 37% of total taxes collected. That’s almost 37 cents of every tax dollar going to pay interest, not to pay back any debt.”
– “Interest payment on the federal debt is almost $40 billion. The federal government pays $95 million every day to service the debt.”
– “The tax burden is the second largest expense faced by the Canadian family. Only the cost of shelter, $52 billion a year, exceeds what is paid out in taxes for interest on the federal debt.”
Much of our debt is owed abroad – $229 billion at the end of 1989. We are the second largest debtor nation in the industrialized world. “On a per capita basis,” says the chamber, “Canada has a bigger debt than the U.S., which owes $1.7 trillion.”
And the tax burden on Canadians is 20% higher than that on Americans and 10% higher than the average for all the countries of the European Community.
The cycle of accumulating debt, rising interest payments, and larger borrowings is vicious. The two main means of ending deficits and reducing debt are obvious, but hard to use.
1) Cut government spending.
2) Raise revenues by raising taxes.
The chamber argues that “every single government program has to be on the table” for public debate on whether it should be axed or capped or narrowed or, in a few cases of extreme merit, expanded. McKenna and Rae’s remarks show those in power are aware of programs’ costs and of the hard choices.
The chamber concedes the Mulroney government has curbed the growth in federal spending to around 3.6% a year. This is below the inflation rate of 4.3% and well down from the 14% growth rate in the later Trudeau years.
Further, the chamber insists that business and industry should be “first in line to take cuts through the elimination of business subsidies and bailout.”
The kit for fiscal fitness includes a summary of ideas for federal cuts reached by those at a “deficit reduction” conference earlier this year in Edmonton. Their approach was an analysis of federal programs in five general fields: Culture; economic affairs; national interests such as defence, security, transport, foreign aid and high technology; social programs; and federal administration. Here’s a sample of the gathering’s ideas for killing, reducing, or capping programs. I chose a few suggestions from each field.
Culture: Kill multicultural spending programs; give the CBC and the NFB five years to achieve self-sufficiency.
Economic affairs: Freeze or cap all program spending for several years; and establish a “non-profit” council to promote deficit reduction to define governmental roles “in a more market oriented economy and prioritize all government spending, program by program, department by department.”
National interest: Reduce both the top-heavy administrative components in the armed services and the RCMP and the generosity of retirement benefits.
Social programs: Cap all program budgets, thus eliminating indexing where it exists; tax back benefits received by upper-income Canadians; reappraise the principle of universality.
Federal administration: Symbolically, cut cabinet from 38 to 19; privatize airports, VIA Rail and Petro-Canada; “contract out” tax collecting, prisons and payroll systems.
One realizes at once that one or more interest groups are at hand to roar against any idea in the sample. So far such interests have scared elected politicians off serious deficit reduction. The chamber rubs the deficit-debt mess into us so we’ll demand a response in Parliament, legislatures, and cabinets.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, September 19, 1990
ID: 12748511
TAG: 199009190220
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

CABINET POWERS DRAINING AWAY

After her short stint as external affairs minister for Joe Clark in 1979-80, Flora MacDonald won jeers and discounting from Ottawa insiders with a paper on how the mandarins of the department blocked her intentions and wishes.
So her rating with the bureaucratic cognoscenti is as an amateurish woman, kept from folly by the wise, permanent managers of our foreign policy and establishment. Now Flora’s out with another disquisition, this time reflecting on her time as minister in Brian Mulroney’s first government.
Her paper has drawn far less press attention than the earlier one. Let me help remedy such oversight. The analysis she gave to the inauguration of Queen’s University’s new school of public policy is plain and clear on the changes which are warping our major political institutions and why the prime minister and cabinet, which are supposed to manage them, are generally unpopular and so much seen as banal or confused or both.
MacDonald’s speech had two parts: First, a sketch of the “general environment in which policy development takes place;” second, the altering role of the political parties.
She itemizes the factors which have changed the “environment” in which policy is developed.
1) The House rules have changed, particularly to give more power and scope to parliamentary committees.
2) The Charter of Rights means the courts no longer just interpret law but change it, assuming “to some degree a legislative function.” (See abortion!)
3) The phenomenal growth in special interest groups now magnetizes the media, politicians, and bureaucrat.
4) TV in the House has put intense focus on the wordy warfare of question period, deflated any significance of speeches in debates and shifted most MPs toward constituency work, committees, and/or playing to one or more special interest groups.
The ex-minister doesn’t rant about the changes but emphasizes how they’ve complicated policy development and completion. She reckons we have been witnessing “an Americanization of our Canadian parliamentary processes.”
Here’s the core of Flora’s argument:
“In any governing system power can be moved from one place to another. You can give some to the parliamentary committees, or some to courts, or some to special interest groups. But there is only so much power to be divvied up, and giving it in one area means taking it from somewhere else. We have been taking it away from the cabinet system.”
That’s plain truth!
And, as MacDonald puts it, the divvying and sharing has gone so far it is most difficult for the federal cabinet to set the political agenda in Canada, as it once did. The cabinet used to execute and fulfil its role, firstly by accepting a responsibility to answer to the House for the government actions; secondly, by setting, then managing, the schedule of the House while retaining majority support in it. Neither a parliamentary committee with all its witnesses nor a special interest group-say like the CLC or the Business Council – bears such responsibility but increasingly both have a big part in suggesting, criticizing, and (often) blocking policies or their intent in legislation. As Flora says: “ . . . even the simplest policy decision has become a parliamentary nightmare.”
She is blunt on the flight of political parties from policy ideas and their popularization. No longer does the party initiate, teach, or broker compromises on policies. Once parties checked any excessive influence of powerful interest groups. No more! And the groups bypass the parties. Now the parties give their time and resources to the media circus of choosing a new leader and preparing and doing electoral duties fixed on the leader and shaped by opinion polling.
MacDonald insists there is nothing mysterious in the three phases of policy development:
1) The bureaucratic phase, where a policy is worked out through studies, papers, and consultation with those most affected;
2) The political stage, when a proposal goes through the political apparatus, firstly within government and then through the steps till it’s considered by cabinet;
3) The drafting, introduction and passage of the policy as legislation.
This last, legislative phase has become a nightmare (witness three major bills of the Mulroney government now mired in the Senate). Last-ditch opposition can range from mass picketing or letter writing or personal lobbying to seminars, conferences and parades of objectors.
MacDonald illustrates the untidiness, the unpredictability, the detours and delays to be endured with her assay at developing and putting forward a new broadcasting bill. She and her department and the government spent three years on it and never got it through. Neither have her cabinet successors. Yet Canada needs a new broadcasting act.
She makes the case that a Canadian prime minister and cabinet have inordinate responsibility without any longer having the effective power to prepare and execute policies which are controversial. She does stress getting “all the players together” for the formulation and fixing of a policy intention. In short, doing everything possible in the open.
As yet, unfortunately, our present system is poor for open process and decision-making, unlike the congressional system.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, September 17, 1990
ID: 12748277
TAG: 199009170249
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

HAS BRIAN LOST HIS GRIP?

John Buchanan’s appointment to the Senate is fretting Brian Mulroney’s most important backing – his caucus. The choice of Buchanan crowns a summer of gaffes and stupidities by a leader most Tory MPs have revered as most sagacious in the partisan part of politics.
Now, more than a few PC MPs wonder what’s happened to their boss. Are those stories true? Is he about to pack it in? Where’s Maz been? Does he know how much they hate him? What does he do if the GST goes like Meech?
Rumors multiply like fruit flies. Tory spirits are at sole level. I find Tory MPs clutching such themes as: Jean Chretien, too, is in deep trouble.
Mulroney’s loyalists understand post-Meech blues and fatigue. But surely a leader with grip wouldn’t dither for weeks with the Oka affair.
The MPs, like most people in politics, knew a swatch of senators was coming – at least 15 for the vacancies, probably eight more through use of a never-used constitutional provision. But then MPs, like journalists, scan the 10 appointees. They wonder how the PM conceives this rag-tag lot, climaxed with scandal-ridden Buchanan, will master his problems with the bills he must push through a Senate managed by Trudeau Liberals.
The near universal censure of whisking the much worn Nova Scotia premier into the richest of sinecures will make harder any appointment of the extra eight senators. The PM needs public understanding on why he has the right to get the GST through to law even though opinion polls show it’s vastly unpopular. He decries the democratic affront in mere partisan appointees balking the rights of an elected government, then pumps in more of the hacks who’ve made the Senate a sick joke since Confederation.
The many who believe a reformed Senate essential are raging. Westerners are mightily in favor of a Triple E Senate. The Triple E is the prime line of Preston Manning and his Reform Party (which Mulroney gave the honor of the first and only “elected” and appointed senator, Gen. Stan Waters). The Mulroney 10, particularly Buchanan and Richard Hatfield, infuriate the Triple E fans. Figuratively speaking, Mulroney is writing off his 24 Alberta MPs, including ministers Don Mazankowski and Joe Clark.
Two months ago I wrote of finding evidence for the first time since 1984 of some Tory MPs – admittedly very few – wondering about a new leader. It was the first crack I’d seen in the longest run of caucus loyalty for a prime minister since 1957. But such wonderment was largely from men fretting over the PM’s abysmal unpopularity.
Now such appraisal has shifted. It’s more querulous. It’s not unlike a shift which began in an earlier Tory caucus after the election of 1962 in which John Diefenbaker lost his parliamentary majority. Some of the Chief’s MPs began to criticize his actions and behavior and some of them decided he had to go. It’s not quite that yet for Mulroney but it’s incipient, and the Buchanan thing as witness of appalling judgment promotes it.
The Tories need the GST by Christmas. To get it means ending over 60 years of Liberal control in the Senate. Today’s Senate masters have a shrewd manager in Allan MacEachen, a core of diligent partisans in the likes of Royce Frith, Joyce Fairburn and Michael Kirby, and several procedural experts. They know the running of the Senate and all the moves to tie it up, such as instituting Elijah Harper tactics.
The PM and his advisers were caught cold by Harper’s Meech Lake ploy and were flummoxed despite the earnests they had wrung during conference hype from Manitoba’s three party leaders. It seems they don’t foresee Harper ahead in the Senate unless their party gains full control of the Senate’s agenda and proceedings before they move the GST bill from stall to final passage.
The needs are clear: New senators who are certain in attendance, party discipline and vigilance. Some must have some parliamentary smarts. And each one should be seen as a serious person, not just an expensive place-holder. But look at Mulroney’s new 10. For his immediate needs the 10 are jokes.
Take first the two ex-MPs, Pat Carney and Gerry Comeau. Neither was ever a parliamentary stalwart. Comeau rarely spoke and was still an unknown when he lost his seat. Of course, Carney was a warrior but House time and affairs were not her forte. Her health has been poor and her preference for being in Vancouver notorious.
Take the two ex-premiers. Hatfield’s a proverbial rolling stone. He could be at the Folies Bergere when the crunch comes with the GST. Buchanan may stay closer to the Senate, given his status in Nova Scotia, but does he strike you as a party whip’s certainty? A counter to MacEachen? One laughs.
One new appointee, Nancy Teed, served behind Hatfield for a few years at Fredericton. She was loyal, I hear, but not a legislative regular.
Another appointee, Mario Beaulieu, was for a few months a minister in Quebec’s National Assembly.
The four appointees never elected have been: A developer-bagman; a lawyer-bagman; an insurance agent-bagman; and a dilettantish psychologist-bureaucrat.
So the Tory whips have received little talent and less political fibre, yet their task is harder than any recalcitrant Senate has ever given a government, and more than just a few Tories figure Mulroney’s over the hill.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, September 16, 1990
ID: 12748010
TAG: 199009160109
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C6
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER, IN OTTAWA

IRONIES OF BEING ANTI-AMERICAN

My last piece noted some ironies in the national melodrama whose focus has been the gang of Rambo-like warriors at the treatment house at Oka. This one carries on.
It begins with the agonies of 1988 and the election which sustained Brian Mulroney’s move for a free trade agreement with the U.S.
The free trade issue truly divided most Canadians into two rival camps. The more vehement, passionate camp lost when Mulroney won re-election. Few of its vocal leaders have forgotten or forgiven the PM. He’s still the guy who sold out Canada.
While it is not unreasonable to categorize those in the camp antagonistic to the trade deal as mostly liberally minded or left-wing on the political spectrum, their more obvious bond was and is nationalism. That is, that intense feeling which runs back to the United Empire Loyalists and which distrusts the United States, often to a pitch of hatred.
You must recall how vividly these nationalists spoke of Mulroney’s sellout as the last, main reactionary move in turning our gentler, kinder society to the strident individualism and faith-in-the market ruthlessness of our neighbors. Plainly, for most of these nationalists, anti-Americanism is the necessary obverse of their Canadianism.
Last week the Globe and Mail ran a full-page ad, titled in grand type: “A SOLUTION AT THE END OF A RIFLE IS NO SOLUTION AT ALL.” It ends with “WE WILL NEVER FORGET OKA.”
This public letter to Mulroney literally urged, demanded, pleaded and insisted he end the Oka issue peacefully. He had to return to the table, settle land claims, concede native self-government, end intimidation by soldiers and the Quebec cops and call Parliament to discuss the crisis.
The ad’s sponsors were 50 organizations and 153 persons, all listed. Take five minutes with the list. You will see that both the outfits and the signatories are the same ones who stood firm and loud against the U.S. deal in 1988.
There are the familiars like the CLC, the Canadian Auto Workers, NAC, the Pro-Canada Network, Greenpeace, Veterans Against Nuclear Arms, the Voice of Women, the Canadian Tribune Collective and so on.
If you have the list, for your own fun run through my set of 28 first names taken from it by the alphabetical order of the surnames. I wager you can fill in at least a score of the surnames.
There’s: Margaret; Lloyd; Maude; Pierre; Penny; Rosemary; June; Duncan; Adrienne; Matt; Timothy; Ed; Ursula; Graeme; Joy; Stephen; Alberto; Kay; Claire; Farley; Alice; Judy; Clayton; Rick; John; Guy; George; and Margo.
All right, where is the humor?
Consider the phrase “at the end of the rifle.”
Who from the beginning had unlawful automatic machine-pistols and anti-tank rifles? Who insisted on keeping their firepower unless the authorities accepted their solution to the confrontation?
These largely Toronto-based, often CBC-famous proponents of Canada as “the peaceable kingdom” put the onus on Mulroney and government, because they agree that the wrongs done the natives of Kanesatake justified the use of extraordinary firepower. It seems to me too easy, too emotional, a condoning of the warriors. But as we saw in the free trade debate, these people are both emotional and very creative in argument.
Put aside the Mohawk Warriors’ guns for the moment. Return to those whose sympathy they’ve caught. These signatories who demand Mulroney do this and that are mostly anti-American. Or are they?
Perhaps that is irrelevant, for consider that almost all the “warriors” are American. Most of the planning for their operation was done in the U.S. From thence came the weapons, ammunition, equipment and guises. The masterminds are the very entrepreneurs who have built an economic empire in northern New York on big bingo halls and smuggled cigarettes. Even the warriors’ doctor is an American.
Of course, Margaret, Pierre, Adrienne, June, etc. are most unlikely to be American movie buffs but kids who are could tell them the Mohawk Warriors whom they appreciate and condone, pose, point, curse and taunt like the mercenaries and soldiers of fortune in American adventure movies. Hollywood North!
Although it may seem unbelievable, I have it on fair authority that the letter and the signatures had an effect on the prime minister, allowing him to continue dithering.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, September 14, 1990
ID: 12747863
TAG: 199009140262
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

SURROGATE STALLONES

What humor there is in our politics tends more to irony than to clownish or belly-laugh stuff. And the ironies often make you wince because they rise from contradictions between what political actors do or say and what is.
Let me sample contradictions in our reigning political soap opera (or is it a tragedy?) of the Mohawk “warriors.”
Most of us have seen one or more of Hollywood’s Rambo movies and the startling TV commercials which flog them.
You know the Rambo images: Dedicated, swaggering, Stallone and buddies in combat garb, grim faces blackened, hard-muscled bodies webbed with ammunition magazines and tinkling grenades, and always the deadly burp guns swung like toys. Brave? It goes without saying. Tough? Of course. Ruthless? Yes. Capable? Enormously so.
The similarities in guise and stage performance with the “warriors” are obvious, at least as we see them bumping against soldiers or read of their determination unto death in admiring stories in our “national” newspaper. But you must have noticed two differences – one minor, the other major.
The small difference is a large one. Stallone and his sidekicks are never overweight. Not so the warriors. Indeed, looking at their portly proportions also reminds of even more comfortable outlines which TV keeps panning over in their dedicated coverage of the many recurring meetings, here, there, and everywhere, of the “concerned chiefs” of Canada and, recently, of the U.S. That’s somewhat reassuring because it shows that however cruel and mean the denials of government and our white racism have been to Indians, at least they’re getting the colloquial four square meals a day.
The major difference between Rambo and the warriors is the one which really makes you wince with its ironies.
Let’s phrase it as a question. Yes, you do see Stallone and company with women but almost every time it is pre- or post-action. And sometimes the action is to free women or a woman in the hands of the rogues. What is the connotation of “warriors” holing up with kids and women? Bravery? Really!
Are the women also warriors? Will they die in the final confrontation when the warriors, vastly outmanned, are overwhelmed by the soldiers of the abusive state?
Far from the barricades, a grieving, desperately concerned grand chief of the first nations, George Erasmus, foretold brutal sexual assaults by the soldiers on Indian women after the final overwhelming of the redoubt. This was on CTV’S Canada AM. The interviewer, immaculate Deborah McGregor, never blinked. She didn’t say, “How terrible,” or, “Surely not.”
Given his apprehensions one wonders why the grand chief isn’t begging the warriors to send the women and children away.
Or, could it be . . . one does not like to think it . . . that these surrogate Stallones want the women and kids as shields, figuring politicians dare not unleash their military so long as the women and kids are there?
Aw, I’m ashamed of myself. On two counts.
Firstly, women are winning the right, right here in Canada, to be combat troops, so why shouldn’t they be part of “the last stand?” The children, however, are another matter. NAC and the Judy Rebicks are not demanding kids be recruited for our fighting forces.
Secondly, by inference you may think I am almost equating the warriors and their consorts with that global villain, Saddam Hussein, who is so offensive to Brian Mulroney because he reminds him of Adolf Hitler. Of course, Brian was just 5 when Hitler killed himself.
There have been several televised incidents on the Mohawk network, repeated again and again on Newsworld, which demonstrate the ferocity and dedication of the women holed up in the treatment centre (which, in passing, is now an ironic label).
There is a likelihood that academic scholarship years from now will show it was the women who provided the bravery quotient of the warriors.
Recall the young Indian woman from B.C. with the Elizabethan-age vocabulary. We saw her say she’d kick asses, and she did.
Or reflect on Kahn-Tineta Horn, the original, modern Mohawk (from what was then Caughnawaga). She was the Indian “Heller on the Hill” 25 to 30 years ago. On TV I thought I saw Kahn-Tineta, now bulwarked far beyond her Vogue image in the ’60s, when a soldier was bodychecked into the ring of razor wire. She says it was her sister. Anyway, she dispatched her youngest daughter from the enclave to 24 Sussex Dr. with lovable Elijah Harper, carrying an appeal for peace to the Mulroney kids which was written by one of her teenage daughters. We saw and heard the engaging duo.
Few of us in our 50s would throw away a good job which paid about $50,000 a year as Kahn-Tineta is doing in order to stand together with her Mohawk brethren from the USA. She’s steeled herself for a Canadian Wounded Knee.
To explain, Horn has completed two years of educational leave, with pay, from her post as an official in Indian affairs. She did not report to work when the leave was over. She was and is on the barricades. She has since been fired.
The warriors have the lucrative cigarette trade profits of their sponsors to fall back on. It’s most doubtful Kahn-Tineta has and, surely, that’s ironic.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, September 12, 1990
ID: 12747577
TAG: 199009120246
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

MONEY CAN’T BUY NATIVE HAPPINESS

Too few in or out of politics challenge the slurs heaped on the federal Indian department by the Erasmuses and Two Rivers. All the fault’s on one side; on the other, just suffering and shame. This is not quite the way it has been.
The grievances fostered by the guilt-makers ignore their own failures and shortcomings. The natives’ record of waste, graft and incompetence is worse, as a generality, than that of the allegedly uncaring, incompetent bureaucracy of Indian affairs. Few will say this because they fear the racist tag.
There has been strong reaction, both pro and con, to my columns on the myriad, costly programs for native peoples. Some readers are livid. Others want more on the role of the beleaguered department of Indian and Northern Affairs (DIAND). This column is for the latter group. The material, mostly quotes, is from the last big review of DIAND – Indian and Native Programs (1986; 523 pages; issued by an Erik Nielsen task force study group).
My critics may say “out of date” or depict the task force as biased or obsessed with costs. A reading refutes this. The core message was: Failure pervades, an apocalypse is near. (Surely it’s now here.)
The analysis of the task force is still moot. My quotes are taken from the first 50 pages of overview.

“As citizens, aboriginal peoples benefit from all federal programs, including universally available programs as family allowances, old age security and unemployment insurance. Benefits received by aboriginal people are not included in the figures below. Federal expenditures on programs directed specifically or largely to Canada’s aboriginal people amount to an estimated $2.772 billion dollars in 1984/85. DIAND accounts for almost three-quarters of the total. It is projected that all federal expenditures by all departments will amount to a little more than $3 billion in 1985/86.”
“The federal government will spend upwards of $15 billion in the next five years on aboriginal programming.”
(Four years later we can say this “estimate” was low by at least $6 billion.)
“The study team reviewed approaches taken by other countries and found little of help . . . The only conclusion . . . is that in terms of financial effort, Canada leads all other countries in attempting to meet the needs of native people.”
“Approximately 85% of the spending can be attributed to status Indians and Inuit mainly on reserves and in remote northern settlement. The large proportion devoted to status Indians and Inuit is commonly attributed to federal obligations under the treaties or the Indian Act.”
“In fact only about 25% of these expenditures can be directly attributed to these obligations, the remainder go largely to services of a provincial and municipal nature and stem from decades of policy decisions designed to fill this void which have, by convention, come to be considered as though they were rights.”
“The belief is widely held by both status Indians and the general population that if something is a status Indian problem, it’s the federal government’s problem.”
“Despite the best efforts of governments, the relative deprivation of most native communities continues to be a persistent feature of Canadian life. The net impact of government stewardship over the social and economic development of native people has been frustratingly marginal. In the face of negative social and economic factors that seem set in concrete, federal intervenors have evidently left few ideas untried. Services have been provided far beyond the federal government’s constitutional and legislative responsibility for Indians and Inuit. A broad spectrum of program solutions have been attempted in an effort to alter the relentless pattern of poverty and distress. The only statutory authority for about 80% of federal expenditures on Indians and Inuit was derived from various appropriation acts.”
“Operating without the `specialist’ expertise of other departments or levels of government, under unclear and outdated treaties and legislation, and being subject to one of the most effective political lobbies in the country, DIAND has created an artificial world on Indian reserves where reliance on government is almost total.”
“A complete array of services is provided for all reserves as though they were a `right,’ irrespective of need . . . the level to which these services are provided has the effect of recreating modern suburbs in the northern bush with no consideration of the communities’ long-term economic capacity to pay for the maintenance and replacement of this level of service.”
“In effect, the government has created communities in which housing and other services are often better than those in surrounding communities (often Metis). In so doing it has also unwittingly created a disincentive to move to areas of economic opportunity.”
“While great hope has been voiced for a native economic renaissance the `found’ natural resource base for any such renewal is strikingly inadequate on most reserves.”
“Examination of the complex and intricate matrix of government programs for native people confirms once again what has become an axiom of native affairs in Canada. The problems cannot be solved by the application of money alone.”

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, September 10, 1990
ID: 12747284
TAG: 199009100139
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

SOME PITFALLS AWAIT THE NDP

The first NDP government in Ontario is on a rough road. Is it any rougher than a re-elected Peterson government would have faced?
No! Not in terms of most provincial issues such as a modicum of rapport with Ottawa on the constitution, or funding the health system, or training for higher skills, or going for full pay equity. Peterson would have faced such stuff.
One must also scoff at the naysayers who doubt Bob Rae’s caucus has the talent for an able cabinet. Skeptics wonder where he gets a useful treasurer or an attorney-general from his gang of teachers, social workers, journalists and union stewards. The situation of any designate premier or prime minister coming in through a sweep is a host of MPPs or MPs who are unknown to journalists and experienced politicians. Ontario politics and its journalism is dominated by a Metro syndrome whose bias portrays anyone newly in from the hinterlands as needing time in the big league of Toronto to get the smarts for the cabinet.
The reality for Rae is that there is a core for his cabinet in the score of experienced MPPs, most of whom are fair to good parliamentarians. Take Ruth Grier of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. She’s not well known but those who follow the Legislature on TV know she’s informed, poised and astute.
If Rae goes with a ministry of 26 to 27 as Peterson did he has some 70 to choose from and probably about half will come from his veterans.
Regionalism dictates many cabinet picks. So often political buffs overlook the priority which a balance of regions in a ministry has. For example, Evelyn Gigantes, back from Ottawa-Centre, will be in the cabinet, not really because of superb talents (some of which she has) but because no other New Democrat won in the national capital region.
Obviously, Rae must take one ministerial pick from the four new MPPs for eastern Ontario seats which the party has never won before.
Obviously, Rae has much to ponder over in appraising both the Windsor region and northern Ontario. In those regions he has lots of MPPs, many with Queen’s Park experience. But on the whole to choose a representative, presentable ministry will be no more a problem for Rae than for his predecessors. There is a choosing process, however, which raises intrinsic problems for any premier but will be particularly hard for an NDP one. The problems are:
(a) Picking those who will serve him well as advisers and senior aides for his ministers and the Legislature as an operation;
(b) Stating and enforcing the rules of conduct for such people, notably in dealing with the media, carrying out party functions as distinct from governmental ones, and in not being seen as representing directly within the government any of the close associations of many interest groups which are linked to the NDP.
See trade unions, especially those of the provincial service. See feminist groups. See gays. See zealous environmentalists.
If the foregoing seems side-bar stuff to you, recall how both Mulroney and Peterson had troubles created by their non-elected personnel. Also recall that the NDP is more vulnerable here than the other parties. It’s not any greater bent to sleaze or rinky-dink patronage. It’s the NDP’s own stress on high morality in government. When you flaunt your halo in politics one must take particular care of it.
One may also recall that the Liberals swept away the Tory apparatchiks, filling the places with loyal followers (many with Trudeaucrat ties). Then they also created a more slots for more loyalists.
Think of the Starr case to appreciate the problems which this side of the political cast may create. Of course, the Grit guard will go but will Rae replace it with his own, and in like numbers, or will he turn more to the on-going provincial public service?
And this bruits the question whether Rae begins with much trust for the provincial mandarinate. My hunch is that neither he nor his experienced MPPs have any great scunner against the permanent mandarins and he will not feel he must bring in his own tight band of deputy ministers. In my opinion Rae will get more co-operation, loyalty and policy support from the mandarinate of Ontario than would a federal NDP cabinet from the federal mandrinate.
Most of us overlook the force and diversity of the interest groups bearing down on governments and legislatures. One reason the NDP has grown stronger is the burgeoning of interest groups which see it as their party or the one most willing to advance their programs or funding needs. A factor in the Liberal government’s defeat was its alienation of some significant interest groups, some for actions, some for failing to act.
The difficulty ahead for Rae which is most intrinsically NDPish pivots on the zeal and dedication of these interest group backers. The most dangerous of such backers will be the labor unions. The most demanding will be the feminists.
To close, ponder the love affair of the NDP and environmentalists. The party would now curb nuclear power. It would turn from coal-generated power because of its acid rain factor. It damns any more hydro sites in northern Ontario because of flood damage and native objections. Already an NDP government is circumscribed on what it will do to meet Ontario’s needs for power. More jobs need more power.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, September 09, 1990
ID: 12747099
TAG: 199009090087
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C5
COLUMN: Backgrounder
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL POLITICS: IT’S A BRAND NEW GAME

So much that has long been taken for granted about Canada’s party politics was blown away by the NDP victory in Ontario.
Now comes the watch on its implications for federal-provincial relationships which, to state the obvious, have become and will continue to be the stuff of national politics until the constitutional relationships with French Canada reach some stable plateau.
The buzzwords about the Ontario election are “anger” and “volatility.” They’re the short-form explanation for both the shocking results and where partisan loyalties – or the lack of them – are. Only a massive anger can explain the New Democrats winning ridings like Kingston and Muskoka-Georgian Bay.
The eclipse of the Liberals in the heartland province has to be taken with the failure of the Tories to bounce back from their eclipse in the 1985 election. In Ontario, more than any other province, both the stalwart workers and the core votes of both the federal and the provincial parties have been largely the same.
Henceforth, in the game of federal partisan politics, what has been the leading third party – but definitely the third party – will no longer be going into a federal campaign at a discount because it could expect only slim pickings in Ontario. In a year or two we will not be referring to the NDP as a “third” party. From now on it is “major.”
It even has a prospect, perhaps a long one, but a prospect, of becoming the dominant party of the country if premier-elect Bob Rae establishes an aura of good, responsible government in the two years or so before the federal election of 1993. He would try to do this, not just by purely provincial issues such as stopping Sunday shopping or a provincial car insurance plan or taking Ontario Hydro out of nuclear power expansions. Perhaps more important for his and his government’s repute are the positions which he must work up across the diverse range of policies and programs in which federal and provincial authorities presently either share or co-operate.
Let’s take some examples, beginning with one which for the NDP has a high quotient of ideology – daycare!
The NDP in its federal and provincial guises has been the party most dedicated to what we call universal child care. The party wants the governments of Canada through a shared, federal-provincial-municipal arrangement to provide daycare for children, much like public school kindergartens, and not through private, commercialized operations which are sustained to a large extent by income tax concessions given to parents who use their services.
Broad access to a public daycare system is very costly. The federal government’s sharing in it is almost imperative. Most women’s groups want it. The federal NDP has been very strongly for it. Its leaders do see themselves as representatives of society’s underdogs (such as single mothers).
As a generality, the last element in the NDP’s perception of a completed welfare state is a national childcare or daycare system. Almost certainly it will be the prime social program advanced by the NDP in the next federal election. Obviously an Ontario NDP government is splendidly placed to work up both the form and the numbers for such a program, to advance it through the federal-provincial system of relationships, and have it carried forth into the next election by Audrey McLaughlin and company.
A daycare plan for Ontario is of fundamental significance to the NDP and federalism because of its implications for the financial arrangements between Ottawa and Queen’s Park. Rae’s government succeeds one that has been a free spender, not a cautious saver. To a degree, Rae’s government will be almost as constrained in new spending programs or the enrichment of present ones as Brian Mulroney’s has been because of the high deficit and the huge burden of interest charges on the federal debt.
Aside from the normal chivvying between the treasury arms of the two governments over tax points, transfer payments and the state of shared-cost programs there are some obvious contentions ahead between Finance Minister Mike Wilson and Bob Rae and his treasurer aside from the matter of who pays how much for universal daycare.
First comes the responses an NDP government in Ontario will have to make to the more unfortunate consequences of the free trade agreement such as plant closings and plant transfers or decisions at the international tribunal level that are punitive to Ontario exports from product fields under farm marketing boards.
Second comes the stance and the particular actions which the new government must take to the GST, due for implementation across Canada on Jan. 1.
Third is the need either to co-relate the minimum corporate income tax which Rae is determined to introduce in Ontario with the federal taxation regime or for Ontario to separate itself from the federal collection of income taxes. In any case, Rae will have to legislate the new tax and it is hard to conceive Ottawa, either as a government or as a party in power, keeping mum and uncritical about the consequences of such a tax upon the economy.
Clearly, the first contentiousness over the free trade agreement is one whose continuity as a live, political issue will come from the happenings arising from the agreement. Clearly there remains an immense reservoir of antagonism to the agreement in Ontario among the very voters and groups most supportive of the NDP. After all, the NDP has been consistently the the most anti-American of all our parties.
This has not just been manifest on foreign policy issues. It bears a freight of cultural, social and economic criticism. Direct actions against the FTA as a whole are beyond Ontario’s powers and one thinks Rae is too canny and yet determined to just make verbal assaults on the FTA. Rather, he is likely to take it case by case of FTA fallout and so build up the most explosive of all themes for the next federal campaign.
If 1988 was a humdinger because of the emotions roused by free trade, consider 1993 and what the federal NDP will do. It will be sustained by Rae’s case histories and damage controlling while fighting the campaign on a promise to give notice to Washington that Canada’s getting out of the deal.
There are two planks for the federal NDP program against Mulroney in 1993: Universal daycare and axing free trade with the U.S. What about the GST? It almost matches the FTA as anathema to the NDP, federally and provincially. All the significant groups for the party such as the labor unions abhor the GST, and the GST is almost upon us. Quebec has already dealt to dovetail with Ottawa on the GST, implicitly putting a competitive challenge to Ontario.
The choice for Rae on the GST can hardly be just to lament its implementation. Rae will belittle with withering wit the coming “packing” of the Senate by Mulroney but that is really surface stuff. What he must decide about the GST hinges on Ontario’s revenue inflows and the ratings which even a province with a socialist government must respect for the bond issues outstanding or to come.
My hunch is that Rae’s critical rhetoric against the GST will not disguise his acceptance of the fact he cannot with calculation and legislation set out to sabotage the working of the GST in Ontario.
Of course, Rae must consider the option which Peterson grabbed as his campaign faltered of undertaking to knock a point off Ontario’s sales tax to ameliorate the GST’s impact in Ontario, notably as it will bear on lower income families.
However Rae may come at the GST, he must reckon that once it is working, with Quebec figuratively sharing in its spoils, he may have to compromise and accept the GST as bad but something Ontario must live with. Certainly, it will not make sense for the NDP to head to the next federal election promising to kill both the FTA and the GST.
Without doubt the most influential contribution most Ontario voters would want Rae and company to make is simply towards a united Canada. So far Rae has kept away from the crucial dilemma created by Meech’s failures and Robert Bourassa’s post-Meech initiatives towards a changed relationship between Quebec and Canada. Canada, seen either as all the rest, or as nine separate provinces.
Rae and most other New Democrats have had much to say critically about so-called “executive federalism” as undemocratic. Of course, this has also been a very strong theme in the west. There must be an end to a closeted gang of premiers and bureaucrats deciding the most vital of all matters.
This issue really arose throughout the long constitutional proceedings of the past decade, first in the high-handedness of Pierre Trudeau, then in his retreat to the negotiations which brought through both patriation and the Charter of Rights. Mulroney’s determination to bring Quebec to acceptance of the Constitution brought on the Meech accord, its tribulations and ultimate defeat.
Now comes the hardest part, the most serious period for Canada, at least as most English-Canadians see it.
If Bob Rae has any challenge in the federal-provincial field above the others – and the ones sketched here are large – it will be to present ideas and sensible procedures for reworking federalism. We have to retain a working political system while attaining a relationship between Quebec and Canada that keeps a strong federal government in Ottawa.
It is banal to state this challenge but it is there for Rae. It isn’t mean to say of David Peterson that he was simply too light to carry this challenge. Bob Rae seems more substantial.
Even so, in this let us pray for him.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, September 07, 1990
ID: 12746965
TAG: 199009070267
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

BAD TIME TO UP IMMIGRATION

The tragicomedy playing at the Mohawk theatres has pushed another concern of national significance into the background – immigration!
In normal times a statement highly critical of government intentions from a respected, usually neutral think-tank would get first or second item ranking on newscasts. Not so with a recent release by the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP).
The IRPP has disagreed openly with apparent intentions of the government to raise the number of immigrants substantially, yet the institute’s cogent arguments (Sept. 4) hardly got a flicker on TV and little notice in the print media.
Last June the Commons committee appraising immigration policy recommended the government admit fewer people than in the recent past – i.e., some 170,000 annually.
The arguments for such caution were vigorously put to the MPs by researchers of the IRPP. The reasoning was tied to economic flux. They pointed out that the domestic economy has been slowing in the past two years and further worsening seemed inevitable.
In turn-downs certain groups of immigrants are particularly vulnerable, particularly those whose occupational destinies are largely in declining industries.
A recession hits hard on immigrant women from the Third World who do not speak English or French and have low levels of education. The same factors seriously affect the many men with low levels of education who came to Canada before 1971 from Europe.
So the IRPP whacked at the Canadian shibboleth that immigration is intrinsically good for the economy.
When news reports two weeks ago of a leaked document showed the government was ready to jump the intake of newcomers by some 60,000 next year and by a further 30,000 in the following year, the IRPP responded publicly.
“If the leak regarding the government’s intentions is accurate,” says the IRPP press release with brutal frankness, “it would seem that they are behaving irresponsibly, by ignoring the most recent evidence that our immigration policies are in trouble.”
As I read the immigration scene, the minister responsible, Barbara McDougall, wants to take such an “irresponsible” step. To start with, she comes from an archetypal “ethnic” riding (Toronto St.Paul’s), and there she is always exposed to pressure from the professional ethnics. An annual immigration level of 1% of the population has been the traditional gospel preached by the ethnics, and a sum of 265,000 immigrants a year would foot their bill.
Another factor pressuring McDougall is the infamous backlog of over 100,000 refugees sitting in messy, legal limbo. If most of them are finally “landed” in the next few years, as the track record of the review panels indicates, the room for immigrants through regular channels shrinks.
I believe most of the “refugee” claimants will be admitted, if not by the board, then through a ministerial amnesty forced by exasperation at the the board’s slow pace. A high refugee input shrinks the numbers for regular channels considerably unless a fresh, higher goal is set.
McDougall got poor news two weeks ago from the chairman of the Immigration and Refugee Board, Gordon Fairweather. He admitted that his board, created not quite two years ago as a special cure, cannot cope because the problem group keeps swelling. The original estimate was for 18,000 claims a year for refugee status but applications for asylum are running at a rate of 30,000 a year.
Which choice do you think the Mulroney government took in the face of this burgeoning refugee problem? Did it stem the flood somewhat at its sources by invoking the legislative provision of the “safe third country” by which claimants coming from a third country considered safe would be automatically refused landing in Canada? Or did it choose to throw more money at the problem as it widens on our soil?
Silly question! Of course, the government threw the money. The Immigration and Refugee Board’s annual budget of $62 million was boosted by an extra $18 million. A further 46 members were appointed to the board. It’s now a regiment of 261.
Conjure this: We spend $80 million annually to determine who is and who is not a refugee admissible to our country. The farce in this is surely that such sums are unlikely to crimp, let along solve, the refugee dilemma because Canada is known worldwide as the easiest access of all western countries.
But not all immigration news is grim. McDougall recently said that “normal immigration processing” for citizens of Eastern Europe, including the USSR, could now be implemented. This is due to the radically changed political situation. This means an end to considering citizens of these countries as refugees and self-exiles. Now they will be able to apply at our diplomatic missions for admission to Canada as independent immigrants, say as the British or the French do.
McDougall promised full facilities in each Eastern European country as soon as possible, thus heralding a golden chance, say at Kiev, to tap a pool of skilled and well-educated people who are eager to come and will readily mesh into our economy even in its time of slower growth.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, September 05, 1990
ID: 12746669
TAG: 199009050226
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

ONE NATION, DIVISIBLE

The Mohawk summer and its array of Rambo warriors, faithkeepers, and clan mothers is almost over. Now the prime minister must launch a truly major inquiry into native affairs.
Picking the inquirers will be hard. It may be even tougher to draft sensible terms of reference for the inquiry, particularly because Brian Mulroney seems traumatized by the abuse heaped on him by both the natives and those who say he let go “peace, order and good government” in the face of terrorists.
The PM flourished the idea of such a commission last June when he tried to buy off Elijah Harper during the Meech Lake accord standoff in the Manitoba Legislature. Now he needs an inquiry of majesty and thoroughness to get the welter of native demands for nationhood and sovereignty out of both the parliamentary arena and federal-provincial relationships for a couple of years.
A commission might even put into some manageable proportions the demands of the natives, while enabling the politicians to do more thinking than they have so far on where acceding to the demands will take Canada.
It’s hard for the citizen at home who has watched TV, especially CBC English, purveying with such heartfelt sympathy a daily parade of vociferous natives to appreciate that a major reason for their extravagant demands is that no politician dares to talk back to them or rebut their lies and exaggerations. Politicians have given little hard thought to any of the critical dilemmas implicit in the antics of the “warriors.”
Neither the federal government nor key provinces whose positive reaction to major land claim settlements will be necessary has any plans of substance for the native demands. But they have accepted the usage over the past five years of the terms “nation” and “nations” by hundreds of chiefs from hundreds of what used to be known as bands.
None of our politicians, post-Pierre Trudeau, has seen the dangers to Canada as it is now constituted in such usage of the word “nation.”
Remember that the many nations are more and more associated with the surge of massive land claims and the “blood” rights in perpetuity which Canadian governments have accorded “status” natives for a century.
Remember too that people of aboriginal stock have a far higher birthrate than the rest of Canadians. Further, their numbers are being much boosted by successful claims for Indian status by many of those who had lost it or had never been accorded it. Put such burgeoning numbers with lands destined for large expansion and the rising demands for sovereignty and distinctive nationhood make more sense . . . to the natives.
The Meech accord’s failure exposed the durability and strength of divisiveness on French Canada’s reach for distinctiveness and sovereignty. That’s why it is almost unbelievable how acquiescent our politicians have been at such demands from natives.
All of us have heard their platitudes, wordy in sympathy and compassion, for these much-abused people. We have heard them assure natives that neither money nor person-years will stand in the way of bringing the best Canada has to give to them. Mere dollar costs shall not stand in the way. The needs are enormous, our responsibility for them granted.
In response to the soothing assurances by white politicians the native leaders speak as though the key question is “when” and not “whether.”
And they want:
– Sovereignty, at least in the sense of full self-government within the respective lands of the native nations.
– A consequence of such sovereignty in their own justice and policing systems.
– A guarantee from Canada for a decent urban standard of living for all “status” natives in their nations in terms of such basics as housing, health and social services, food and recreation.
– Continued recognition from Canada and Canadians that a blood right to native status goes from generation to generation and with the right goes, firstly, eternal usage of the land and lakes of Canada for hunting and fishing at any time; secondly, freedom from external taxation; thirdly, the underwriting of such education as anyone with the blood right seeks to attain, whether he or she is living on the lands of the particular nation or elsewhere in non-native Canada; and, fourthly, continued entitlement of native people to social programs and benefits open to all Canadians such as family allowances, old age security pensions, disability pensions, etc.
The summer’s terrorism by angry natives in most of the provinces has pre-empted the tedious processes set up by the federal government to settle native claims for more lands and other compensations for past deprivation. Too slow. Too various. Not generous enough. And both nationhood and blood rights have become mighty concepts.
So it is time – time for a clutch of wise ones to look at the demands of the Erasmuses, Deoms and Gabriels and appraise them, then advise the governments – and us – on what will be left of the original nation, Canada. And, more pragmatically, what the range of costs may be, first for instituting the new nations and, second, for sustaining them year by year.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, September 02, 1990
ID: 12746229
TAG: 199009020093
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C3
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER, IN OTTAWA

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR US LATELY?

Spare for party leaders some of the very small store of sympathy you have (as an archetypal citizen) for politicians.
How brief the glow of convention triumph has become. Even electoral sweeps the last time out are soon forgotten. The lot of the leader is grim. Aside from Premiers Bill Vander Zalm and Clyde Wells, one is hard put to think of a leader in power or even next door to power who seems to be solidly in place and savoring his or her role.
Of course, on this theme one has Jean Chretien, Brian Mulroney and Audrey McLaughlin in mind … and what befell several of their predecessors like Joe Clark and John Turner.
However, it was recent conversations of political insiders regarding two other men – David Peterson and Ed Broadbent – which triggered these reflections on how harrowing leadership has become. Neither the public’s patience nor partisans’ loyalty to their leader seems what it used to be.
The day after the first opinion poll of some repute on how the voters were taking the parties in the Ontario election campaign, I was in a position to hear a discussion among several young “apparatchiks” of Liberal MPs. Each seemed to be active in campaigns for Liberal provincial candidates in the capital region.
Their topic line astonished me. From a reckoning that the poll showed a trend which suggested a minority government was possible, the participants quickly moved, analytically and with little emotion, to: (a) doubts that this time the NDP would “accord” Peterson another guaranteed period as premier; (b) certainty the Tories under Harris would not; (c) the likelihood that Peterson would have to play “catch as catch can” with the minority Legislature as Bill Davis did so successfully from 1975 to 1979.
They discounted Peterson’s capacity for such a delicate survival, noting both the premier’s characteristic impatience and his shortage of intensely loyal and lionizing MPPs. They canvassed the alternatives: Bob Nixon (treasurer), too old at 62 but perfect as an interim leader; Ian Scott (attorney-general), the too obvious choice for Metro but could rural Ontario swallow him; Sean Conway (education), tricky – he hasn’t earned any public presence; Jim Bradley (environment), everybody’s well-liked second choice. What about a woman leader? Their prospects were either Elinor Caplan (health) or Lyn McLeod (natural resources) and the latter, in particular, is apparently very well liked by the caucus.
Peterson? The premier? Perhaps the ex-premier. What did they have for him? Only the assumption he would be disposable, that if he has screwed up a super mandate with a stupid election call he deserves turfing.
Such laconic ruthlessness on leaderships within the now sizable cadres of our parties has become almost the norm. It’s not what a leader was once or what he or she did before: It’s where he or she stands now and can deliver.
Consider Ed Broadbent. Story after story which presaged his departure from the NDP leadership usually mentioned that although he was in his early 50s he had fought four losing general elections and his prospects for the next one were bleaker than ever because of the incredible popularity of the most obvious alternative to the despised Mulroney. That’s right. Jean Chretien.
Less than a year after Broadbent’s replacement the NDP cadre would love to have him back. Yes! Though not for public discussion or statements, the cadre accepts that McLaughlin is permanently out of her depth, whereas week by week the Liberals’ cinch to win seems eminently replacable. Yes! Already!

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, August 31, 1990
ID: 12746090
TAG: 199008310193
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

REFORM PARTY HITS A NERVE

How should Preston Manning’s Reform Party of Canada be taken?
The short answer: Seriously! It will be with us for two or more federal elections and should have MPs enough for formal recognition in the next House.
A long answer requires an examination of what Manning and his party are talking about. Will he and it appeal beyond Alberta, which is a most idiosyncratic province?
One must remember that the force of reform in modern Canada has flowed from west to east. For decades it was Westerners fighting against exploitation by the organized economic and political forces of the East. Recently, Western animus has swelled at a perceived indulgence of French Canadians and Quebec by parties intent on controlling Ottawa.
Preston Manning emphasizes the antecedents: the Progressives and the United Farmers who skewed old party politics through the 1920s; then the CCF, a socialist party (whose consequences still flow through the NDP); and Social Credit, the monetary reform party (which was erased federally a decade ago).
Preston Manning was a tot when his father, Ernest, became premier of Alberta in 1943 (a post he was to hold for 25 years). So, much like Stephen Lewis, Preston grew up with politics all ’round. Although an antithesis to Lewis in most ways, notably in not having the gift of gab, he is bright like Stephen and just as determined to advance his conceptions of Canada and what Canada should be. While Stephen emphasizes emotional idealism, Preston stresses rights and fiscal responsibility.
Some two decades ago when David Lewis was heart and voice of the NDP, from a place in the Senate Ernest Manning advocated a bold realignment of the federal parties in Canada, then four in number. He was for two: a conservative or Conservative-Social Credit party and a socialist or social democratic party. (He thought a few Tories and a lot of Grits were really socialists or social democrats.)
The realignment talk got few takers but even today, when one squares the program material of the Reform Party against the themes of the NDP, most powerfully put now by the younger Lewis, you realize these two parties do represent the basic polarities of our politics. There even seems a long-shot chance that Lewis and Manning may dominate the face-off of the federal election after the next one, given the disarray of the two old parties and the abysmal levels of esteem for Mulroney, Chretien, and MacLaughlin.
Other than Lloyd Axworthy of the federal Liberals, Preston Manning is the only prominent Anglophone politician since the Meech disaster to put forth propositions on what our choices will be. He put them in a paper he sent in July to the four Western premiers, titled How the West’s constitutional interests should be advanced. (This week Axworthy issued his proposition, titled Designing a new federalism.)
In brief canvass, the Reform Party generally advocates:
(1) Changing drastically the constitutional role of the Senate to make it elective, equal to the House of Commons in general powers, regionally (rather than demographically) balanced, and with certain specific responsibilities such as approving or vetoing major appointments and very large contracts.
(2) Fiscal responsibility (which means simply determining how and where federal spending should be cut, and what will be the most acceptable way to raise the money needed to knock down the deficit).
(3) An insistence that “grassroots decision-making” replace the present governing mix of “executive federalism” and “secret” cabinet decisions, perhaps but not necessarily taken after “secret” caucus discussion. (This means institutionalizing: (a) the use of referendums to approve or reject broad policies – e.g. abortion, capital punishment, free trade; and (b) requiring MPs to poll their constituents for the majority view on items moving through Parliament.)
It’s easy to be skeptical of the chances to achieve these three basic panaceas of the Reform Party but they anchor a program that is “out there.” It is picking up backers. One senses each proposition has a growing constituency. Otherwise, why is Brian Mulroney insisting there must be an “open constitutional process”? Why is Lloyd Axworthy demanding his party advocate and attain the Triple E senate? Why is Michael Wilson arguing that improvements in social policy must wait until Ottawa gets in balance the yearly cost of carrying the federal debt with the early federal deficit?
The gut appeal of the Reform Party, however, has been its tough opinions regarding Quebec. Manning sees “three possible constitutional futures for Canada.”
His preference is for “a reconfederated Canada which includes Quebec, established on a new foundation in which all provinces and Canadians are treated equally.”
His next possibility is tougher … and appealing. Canada as a “constitutional duplex.” Quebec would be more “separate” than now “but on terms and conditions acceptable to the rest of Canada as well as Quebec.”
At first his third prospect seems wordily impractical but it may be the eventual scenario. It would mean success for provincialism. It is:
“A highly decentralized `Canadian Commonwealth of Nations’ and Common Market in which every region of Canada achieves a more independent status within a common economic union.”
Manning’s on the move. He may be on the march.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, August 29, 1990
ID: 12096698
TAG: 199008290244
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

FIRST NATIONS OR ONE NATION?

We may have a sustained interest in native affairs for the first time in modern memory. Let me contribute to it with two rather similar viewpoints from several decades ago. Unfortunately there was then too little interest in those views.
The first opinion on natives as Canadians is from a letter in 1962 by the president of the largest newsprint corporation in Canada. The second was made by Pierre Trudeau in arguing for the major changes in native policy he advocated that in 1969 and withdrew a year later after fierce objections from many natives. You may see the similarity in the two views.
We have bumbled along to today’s barricades and civil insurrection since the turning-point decision of 1969. It was to let loose more native demands and a far wider acceptance of guilt by non-natives.
To my mind, the Trudeau initiative of 1969 crystallized a majority attitude of non-native Canadians. Then! The clamor against the Trudeau policy grew into the intransigence which now reigns. The decision initiated two decades of throwing federal money by the billions at “the Indian problem.” The spending has neither assuaged our guilt nor appeased the aggrieved. Less than ever are the natives willing to take part in the Canadian economy and society.
Spreading money hasn’t worked. Will large land settlements? Will explicit recognition of aboriginal sovereignty and nationhoods?
My sense is that most of us, including politicians, as yet have little conception of the chaos ahead from broad acceptance of the theme of “First Nations” and their basic entitlement to the land and waters of Canada.
In 1962, as an MP of the Ontario riding with the most Indians, I went after some pulp-cutting contracts for the members of two bands, one on a reserve on the west side of Lake Nipigon, the other a reserve on the east side. These projects needed the co-operation of the two bands, both the federal and Ontario governments, the bushworkers’ union (Lumber & Saw) and four pulp and paper companies, the largest of which was Abitibi.
(Despite the goodwill and commitment of resources in equipment and expertise by the companies and the union, the projects petered away without a cord cut.)
In 1962 D.W. Ambridge was president of Abitibi Power and Paper. He was a major personality of the corporate community and respected for his forthrightness. He sent me the following letter in response to my request for Abitibi’s co-operation:
“Of course we will be glad to co-operate in the employment of your band of Indians. If you will set up a meeting I will see someone from Abitibi is there. We do something like this in Manitoba and we will be glad to put our experience at your disposal.
“Now, I would like you to do something for me. Please explain to me why we have to treat these Indians as if they came from another planet. Why do we have a Department of Indian Affairs? Why do we not have a department of Negro Affairs or Italian Affairs or Doukhobor Affairs? Why can we not let the Indians be absorbed in the general population and sink or swim with the rest of us? Are we to keep forever in being this legend about the Indians owning the land we threw them out of?
“I think that the care of the Indians is an excuse for a good many white civil service jobs which could well be dispensed with.
“Please tell me about Indians.
“Yours sincerely, D.W. Ambridge.”
After further experiences with thousands of native constituents I came to see eye to eye with Ambridge against perpetuating the legend through all future generations and on the fairness that each Canadian have only the same rights and obligations. Indeed, much as Trudeau was to put it in 1969 when he said:
“Should we keep adding bricks of discrimination around the ghetto in which they live.”
For Trudeau (as for Ambridge) the trappings of special rights were incongruous in a modern and just society. And so he said:
“We will recognize treaty rights – we will recognize forms of contract which have been made with the Indian people by the Crown. And we will try to bring justice in that area. And this will mean that perhaps treaties shouldn’t go on forever. It’s inconceivable, I think, that in a given society one section of the society have a treaty with the other section of society. We must all be equal under the laws and we must not sign treaties amongst ourselves and many of these treaties indeed would have less and less significance in the future anyhow.”
Trudeau said this about aboriginal rights:
“Our answer may not be the right one and may not be the one which is accepted but it will be up to all of you people to make your minds up and to choose for or against it, and to discuss with the Indians. Our answer is no. We can’t recognize aboriginal rights because no society can be built on historical `might-have beens.’ ”
Within a year and half Trudeau backed off from the policy implications of his views and within four years announced a policy of comprehensive claims settlement in non-treaty areas of Canada. The demands for completing the latter are what “the nations” are now after. Frankly, if they get what they demand Canada is sundered – up, down and sideways.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, August 27, 1990
ID: 12096196
TAG: 199008270200
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

ABANDONING CANADIANISM

The Meech Lake fiasco is a clear element in the present paralysis of Ottawa. And the rampage by the “first nations,” unchecked for seven weeks, has shaken old ideas of Canadian sovereignty. The rising, centrifugal force of official multiculturalism has encouraged inertia. Now there’s more balkanization implicit in the attitudes of many provincial governments. Now let me offer a small but particular example of stalled national will.
The example regards the 1991 Census of Canada.
Last June, just as Meech negotiations seemed set for completion (and before the collapse!) the Mulroney cabinet could have contributed – at least symbolically – to a united Canada. It was deciding the content of the 1991 census questionnaire.
The most contentious issue in the 50 some queries of the draft census document was over Question 15 dealing with ethnic origin.
The inherent proposition is plain. Has Canada reached the point where its citizens may assert a Canadian ethnicity and culture, as Albanians, Romanians or the Pakistani would?
Or is Canada condemned to go on and on as officially polyglot and multi-ethnic?
The question on ethnicity was asked in each decennial census (with the exception of 1891) and never has a “Canadian” ethnic origin (and cultural identity) been recognised as a valid category.
For decades few objected but World War II changed that. Our soldiers at Juno Beach, our flyers over Germany, our Atlantic convoy men had “Canada” stitched on their tunics. They knew they were “Canadians.”
An unhyphenated Canadian, John Diefenbaker, was set to act on such sentiment when he was told by the chief statistician that in the last census (1951) thousands of stubborn Canucks refused to declare themselves as other than Canadian, ethnically and culturally. The Chief’s resolve was shaken by vigorous protests from French-Canadian MPs of both old parties. And so millions of printed Census forms with the offensive word “Canadian” leading a list of other ethnic and cultural groups were scrapped. Away in the Chief’s retreat went the insolent notion there could be a Canadian ethnic and cultural identity.
Since then the mushiness in the official concept of ethnicity has become more apparent, both from the way the question was fiddled and from the responses. The comparability of data from one census to another has become most precarious.
The 1961 version was:
“To what ethnic or cultural group did you or your ancestor (on the male side) belong on coming to this continent?”
The 1991 version, approved last June by the federal cabinet, is substantially different:
“To which ethnic or cultural group(s) did this person’s ancestors belong?”
Notice? No more of the sexist “on the male side.” No more the qualifier “on coming to this continent.” No more requiring a classification of a single ethnic origin.
The most intriguing “innovation” is that the question does not inquire any more about your ethnic or cultural origin but only about that of your ancestors.
The explanatory note attached to the question elaborates: “While most people of Canada view themselves as Canadian, information about their ancestral origins has been collected since the 1901 Census to reflect the changing composition of the Canadian population… Therefore, this question refers to the origins of this person’s ancestors.”
Such subtlety of the bureaucratic mind should not escape you. To declare your ancestry (including your parents who may still be alive) as not being Canadian does not deny the existence of a Canadian ethnic or cultural group, except for one thing.
What is it? Well, the 1991 form lists 15 ethnic or cultural groups (among them Black, Jewish, Northamerican Indian) and gives examples of nine others (such as Greek and Vietnamese), but the all-important one – Canadian – is missing.
If bureaucratic sophistry bamboozled the Mulroney cabinet, it need not fool you. So I predict that despite the attempt to suppress our ethnicity and cultural distinctiveness, the eventual data of the ’91 census will show a lot of us insist there is (and for some time has been) such a thing as Canadian ethnicity and Canadian culture.
Why won’t the Mulroney government acknowledge the obvious? This time it’s not Quebec MPs but the powerful ethnic lobby, nurtured by the secretary of state.
StatsCan admits the lobby’s influence. Without these data the ethnic organizations “would be unable to estimate the size of their groups, and their potential membership” (of ancestors?).
In plain talk this means professional ethnics need the data to claim their slices in the ever-larger loaf baked from taxpayers’ dough.
Does this ethnic lobby fight for all forms of ethnic data? Oh, no! It wants only information that fits its rainbow. Last year StatsCan put out income data for individual ethnic groups. B’nai B’rith Canada was upset: “This type of information will only invoke tensions and jealousies…” And early this year StatsCan announced it would collect crime statistics detailed by race. The ethnic pros labelled this as “adding fuel on the fire” and the project was quickly dropped.
Ethnicity, you see, has to be good. To show it otherwise is racist and we can’t have that in this global village country.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, August 26, 1990
ID: 12095884
TAG: 199008260168
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C5
ILLUSTRATION: drawings by Andy Donato 1. David Peterson’s summer cruise may be a rougher ride than he expected 2. Tory Michael Harris stands to benefit more than 3. NDP’s Bob Rae
COLUMN: Backgrounder
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

ELECTION SURPRISES BREWING

An Ontario election is underway and the reigning readings of it seem to be that:
(a) It is a yawner.
(b) The party leaders, David Peterson, Bob Rae and Michael Harris are most ordinary, unmagnetic, and boring.
(c) The result is certain – more or less, probably a little less – a romp as in 1987 for Peterson and the Liberals.
Is it really so, came the first question from the editor. Give us some context: some precedents, comparisons, contrasts. You have seen many Ontario elections and party leaders come and go. Put this contest and leaders into proportion. Is it such a cinch? Is electoral apathy the order for the entire run to Sept. 6?
Firstly, this election reminds me somewhat of the one in 1975, in which a vastly confident Bill Davis, sure to repeat his first, romping win in 1971, was cruising (like Peterson) in a disinterested province to a sweeping victory. At the event, however, he escaped with a mere minority government.
As for apathy or literally a province-wide yawn, there seems little interest or even speculation. Yet one notices a snideness, often laced with derision for both leaders and parties. I like politicians more than most but I find myself crankily dismissing Harris as a boondocks ignoramus and Rae as an over-educated, patronizing Mortimer Snerd, and Peterson as a Yuppie popsicle.
At most times I would concede such liming is most unfair. A long observation of Ontario party leaders and elections – literally for 66 years and 17 elections – reminds me that several campaigns which seemed so dull (e.g., 1963 and 1977) and with leaders even less vital than the current ones were surprisingly well-contested. The current electorate may not be as tuned-out as wisdom asserts. It well may be one that takes its irritation to election day, some predict by not voting, I suspect by giving the Liberals a rougher ride than they foresaw.
My first close awareness of an Ontario election came in 1934, some 17 elections ago. It was a taut, mean time of depression. Frustration was widespread and Mitchell Hepburn, the most colorful of all the Ontario leaders to me thus far (and the least honorable) harassed the incumbent George Henry and swept away a Tory regime which had held office for 11 years. In office the lovable rogue became tyrannical, obsessed in the cause of patriotism with ridiculing fellow Liberal Mackenzie King, presiding in Ottawa.
Since Hepburn, Ontario has had as premiers: Liberals Gordon Conant and Harry Nixon (1942-43); Tories George Drew (1943-48), Tom Kennedy (1948), Leslie Frost (1948-61), John Robarts (1961-71), Bill Davis (1971-85) and Frank Miller (1985) and Liberal David Peterson (1985-?).
In that lot of 10, five have been memorable, successful premiers: George Drew, very much a reformer as premier but like Hepburn, a bombastic, anti-Ottawa man; Leslie Frost, my choice as the ablest of the lot, a dominant leader behind a mask of niceness and the builder of a very popular party; John Robarts, who continued Frost’s constructiveness towards Ottawa and got out before he went to pieces from hard work and rich living; Bill Davis, almost a synonym for blandness that obscured his steadily modernizing competence; and, of course, David Peterson, the incumbent and current “cinch.” So far he’s memorable mostly for ending the Tory era.
Now let me catalogue the leaders who contested with these premiers and gave us much of vitality Ontario partisanship has had. The Liberals have a long list, the CCF-NDP the short one.
Do you remember Peterson was preceded by Stuart Smith who lost to Davis in 1977 and 1981?. Smith, a psychiatrist, succeeded Bob Nixon, who had led the Grits from 1967 to 1976 and lost once to Robarts and twice to Davis.
Nixon, a schoolteacher, had picked up from a most limp leader, Andy Thompson, who left without fighting an election (to become a senator). Much as with Robert Stanfield, it’s been said of Bob Nixon that he is the best premier Ontario never had.
Andy Thompson, a social worker, much attuned to the Pearson Liberals in Ottawa, had been preceded as Ontario party leader by an earnest Kitchener lawyer, John Wintermeyer. One had to like the decent, imdustrious, but pedestrian Wintermeyer. In comparison, Bob Rae’s exciting, Peterson’s a rocket. Wintermeyer lost badly twice, first to Frost in 1959, then to Robarts in 1963.
The discouraging litany of discouraged Liberal losers goes back to farmer-orator Farquahr Oliver and to Pickering cattle farmer Walter Thomson.
Oliver, first elected in 1926, led the Liberals on two other occasions when it was bereft of a chief chosen by convention. He was a paradox. A gifted orator, perhaps the best of all Ontario leaders except Stephen Lewis, he could make a speech out of nothing but he was without persistence and never developed a feel for the province as a whole. Frost trounced Oliver in 1955 and Walter Thomson in 1951. The latter was an even greater embarrassment as a leader-bumbler than Andy Thompson, made worse in the 1951 campaign by outrageous backing from the Toronto Star, the media voice which has “gone ape” so often in Ontario elections.
Scanning the Grit list back to Hepburn makes David Peterson look somewhat more substantial than he has lately seemed to be to me (particularly after his maundering against free trade and for the Meech Accord).
Yes, Stuart Smith had a far higher IQ and was far more rationally analytical as leader. Yes, Bob Nixon was (and remains) more knowledgable and modestly, more authentically Ontario. But Peterson scares fewer people than Smith did, and warms more of them than Nixon could. He seems to symbolize the Ontario that has it made or is rapidly making it.
Over to the CCF-NDP, on the whole much less impressive electorally in my years of observation, but much more the party, often in tiny force, that provided the real grist in opposition to premiers with fat majorities.
The CCF, predecessor of the NDP, almost won Ontario in 1943, under lawyer Edward Joliffe, trailing Drew’s Conservatives by just four seats. Joliffe, intelligent, rather stiff and very high-minded (rather like Bob Rae) gave way to journalist Donald C. MacDonald in 1953, leaving behind a caucus reduced to just two members.
MacDonald slowly rebuilt the Ontario CCF, carrying through the transition to ”the New party” in 1961 and continuing as leader until eased out by Stephen Lewis of socialist family fame in 1970. In 17 stubborn, battling years as leader, MacDonald, a splendid parliamentarian, fought four election campaigns, inching the caucus numbers up from 2 to 20. He has always been my ideal of an opposition warrior and, like Leslie Frost and quite unlike either Stephen Lewis or Bob Rae, he was an indefatigble organizer throughout the province.
Lewis, as stagey and vocabulary-rich a performer as I’ve ever watched, did more wonders in the legislative debates and with the press gallery than he could achieve in the elections of 1971, 1975, and 1977. After 1977 and a decline into third place standing, Lewis forsook politics (electoral politics, that is, because he rolls on as NDP symbol and spokesman, partly through a term as UN ambassador achieved through the help of Bill Davis, a remarkable friend-adversary).
Lewis was followed by another journalist, Michael Cassidy, who had one awkward campaign as leader and trailed into third place in 1981, so bringing on his resignation and replacement by Bob Rae, a lawyer of some family and educational distinction. Rae raised his caucus numbers from 21 to 25 in 1985, then signed an accord with David Peterson giving the Liberals power in return for some policy commitments and an agreement to forego an election for two years. It proved lovely for Peterson. He galloped to 95 seats in 1987 and Rae’s total dropped to 19.
Of course, the stunner of the period from 1985 to 1987, i.e., from Davis to Miller to Peterson, was the near total eclipse of the Progressive Conservatives.
It rather saddens a political buff that a party in power for 42 straight years could collapse so quickly. Why? Should we leave it that Peterson presented a wonderful, even magical chance for change, for catching up? And is there any Tory strength ready for resurrection?
Remember that Larry Grossman took over from Miller as Tory leader after the 1985 debacle and Grossman quit politics after Peterson’s smashing win three years ago. Andy Brandt did a Farquhar Oliver-type stint in the Legislature for the Tories until this spring when the party chose Michael Harris, a former teacher, businessman and municipal leader in North Bay to take them through this election.
Harris is far from smooth and while I find the cognoscenti sniff at this awkwardness and naivete, less involved people whom I broach say Harris suits them all right. It seems to me he will do comparatively better than did Larry Grossman, a vastly more experienced and clever fellow. If there is, as I sense, a growing set among many Ontario voters to “get even” the alternative is more likely to be Harris and the Tories than Rae and the NDP. Why say something so broad and arguably ridiculous? I reply with something I have noticed about Ontario. Plainly, there’s been a distaste for the obviously clever, highly-educated, well-articulating politician.
Clever Ontario leaders like Stuart Smith, Larry Grossman, Bob Rae, and Stephen Lewis have not done well, whereas the usual victors, especially the most successful trio, Frost, Robarts or Davis, and Peterson, of course, neither tried to nor could project themselves as of the intelligentsia or bred to rule.
My hunch: Liberals 72; Tories 34; NDP 24.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, August 24, 1990
ID: 12095441
TAG: 199008240183
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

WILSON IGNORES DANGER SIGNALS

Slowly but surely in this summer of frustration with our governors, the traditional, prime worry of Canadians has been rising. Now, for the first time since 1983 the concern over an economy well into recession has reached the scared stage. Under the Mulroney government its minister of finance has had the longest run for a minister of finance in modern times (six years). What’s his message to our fears?
Michael Wilson has been like most finance ministers, not given to overexposure, to lots of talk. Nor does he much indulge in spectaculars, especially in speculation. He is so plain and repetitious his utterances and his stances have become familiar. Usually he stresses his government’s long-range plan to master the huge deficit-debt problem. Usually his balance between optimism for the long run and short-term concerns is steady, leavened by reiterations that he and the government are sticking to their long-range economic plan.
Just so, in Wilson’s latest address, given Wednesday to the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.
Let me sidestep here to note that few who work in the press, television, or radio can be unaware of the bleakness overtaking the economy. Freezes and cutbacks in the business are widespread. More and more colleagues are looking for work. More aspirants and neophytes are stacking up at the doors for jobs. Certainly conditions are not yet desperate. Opportunities have not disappeared, but for over a half year almost all the news within publishing operations has been of declining revenues and rising costs. As an occupational group ours is sensitive to an advent of tougher times, perhaps hard times. Michael Wilson has been at least a symbol of steadiness in a cabinet cast which by the month seems more immemorable. Therefore, it’s natural to look closely at his commentary on our present and pending economic state.
Before you jeer at what may strike you as too respectful a gander at Wilson as master of the national economy, consider that for most Canadians his years as minister of finance have been their best run since the first half of the 1950s in terms of new jobs and rising living standards.
Did Wilson have anything to say at Sudbury that was fresh or which bore directly on our apprehension of a recession’s certainty?
Nothing fresh. Perhaps he was slightly more tentative about the future and a bit more exhortatory than usual, as example, concluding with an appeal “to put into practice a spirit of common interest and co-operation … to build an internationally competitive Canada marked by enduring growth and unlimited economic opportunity.”
But such guff is flannel, not analysis. From his opening Wilson stayed away from our rising concerns about the home economy. He began with the remarkable global developments of this year, i.e., “the astounding political transformation of Eastern Europe and the evolution of Western Europe towards extensive economic integration in 1992” and “the tragic and volatile situation in the Mideast.”
Advances in Europe and destructiveness in the Mideast, said Wilson, “drive home one shared critical message for Canadians … the continuing importance of putting our own economic house in order.”
Off Wilson hied on his familiar imperative that we must compete well in world markets. We must be “dynamic” and “innovative and responsive.” Of course, he recalled that “back in November 1984, shortly after the government came to office, we set out a coherent and comprehensive plan to build a solid foundation for Canada’s economic future.”
This was “a plan focussed on two major goals … reducing and ultimately eliminating the federal deficit” and putting policies into place “that would reduce the burden of government on the economy” so creating the conditions “to unleash the unrealized potential of Canadian business and workers to generate growth and jobs.” Then he recounted the successes at holding down government spending and reducing the bureaucracy. This was prelude to the core of his speech, which was really about taxation and tax reform, about the improved fairness in corporate taxation, about the good consequences already coming from the free trade agreement and about to come from implementing the GST.
As self-justification, as proof of “fiscal discipline,” this is very familiar stuff, but Wilson is on page nine of a nine-and-a-half page speech before he moves from a pocket sermon on beating back the evils of inflation to a recognition “that the rate of inflation has eased in recent months” and that “the economy has also been operating at a slower pace.”
What have we here? Is this super-confidence? Or is this a man who doesn’t know what to do? Or who’s waiting for some good news?
At this stage in a most disturbing, political summer with fears for the economy bubbling out from almost every part of it, the main purport from the federal minister of finance is his conviction “that the range of actions undertaken by this government since 1984 … are vitally necessary to build a prosperous and successful future for all of us.”
In short, our helmsman says “It’s steady as she goes.” Assuring? No! Responsible! Not enough. Too many of us are worried.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, August 20, 1990
ID: 12094410
TAG: 199008200231
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

THE PERFECT PUBLIC SERVANT

Last year a blurb from the public relations staff of the federal department of supply and services teased:
“Whose signature appears on about 140 million government cheques a year?”
I didn’t know, even though I had been cashing old age security and Canada Pension Plan cheques for a few years.
The answer is (or was then): Georgina Wyman, deputy minister of supply and services and deputy receiver general for Canada. Her signature and that of her minister, then Otto Jelinek, was on federal cheques.
Both Wyman and Jelinek were child immigrants from Czechoslovakia. When some two months ago Wyman left the federal service, it put an end to the quip of “two bouncing Czechs signing good government cheques.”
Wyman’s record is more fascinating, even more unbelievable than Jelinek’s – although world-class athletes rarely make successful politicians. Just scan her resume.
Wyman was 4 when she came to Canada and 27 when she joined the federal public service in 1973 after taking a degree in history from the U of T. In the next 17 years she moved through a bewildering array of jobs, always getting more responsibility.
First, she was a historian with the parks and sites branch of the department of Indian and northern affairs. There she drew the notice of the deputy minister, Arthur Kroeger. In succession she was research officer in the membership section; then a claims analyst, then senior claims analyst, then director of specific native claims in the department.
After seven years in Indian affairs, Wyman joined a staff developing the infamous National Energy Program (NEP) – that Liberal jewel which was to alienate the West. Marc Lalonde, the ministerial maestro of the NEP, was taken with Wyman’s competence and her leadership potential. Remarkably for a still-junior bureaucrat, she became a member of his inner circle, even accompanying him to meetings in Europe. She was at her first post in Lalonde’s department (chief of federal-provincial relations, energy sector) only a few months when promotion came as assistant director of energy policy and planning. Then, in a few more months she was made director general of the natural gas branch where her bureaucratic boss was the spiritual father of the NEP, W.E. “Ed” Clark.
In 1983 she switched to the centrum of federal power, the Privy Council Office (PCO) acquiring the majestic title: Assistant secretary to the cabinet for economic policy and programs. Her political boss was Andre Ouellet, veteran minister, and president of the Privy Council. He was as taken with Wyman’s pleasant personality and drive as Lalonde had been.
Alas, the Trudeau era was drawing to a close and so was Wyman’s brief stint at the PCO. Fortunately, the new Tory prime minister, Brian Mulroney, had periods of principled non-partisanship regarding senior public appointments. In early 1985 he raised Wyman to associate deputy minister rank in the department of regional industrial expansion. There she was soon joined by the first mandarin to admire her competence, Arthur Kroeger.
In 1986 Mulroney made Wyman a full deputy minister, entrusting her with running the massive spending department of supply and services with its 9,500 employees. Her last minister, Tory Paul Dick, was as impressed with her competence as Lalonde and Ouellet had been.
What an achievement! Believe me, few starting spots on Ottawa’s totem poles are lower than female historian. From historian to D/M in just 13 years! And through this period Wyman was married and raising two children.
It is unfortunate Wyman’s meteoric career in government service has closed with some suspicions. A columnist for the Ottawa Citizen, Frank Howard, reported that last March Wyman travelled to Prague with the international shoe tycoon, Thomas Bata (also Czech-born) to assist him with his business affairs. Two months later, Bata hired her away from the federal government. She is now head of his ventures in Czechoslovakia as chief executive officer.
Of course, it’s not uncommon for federal mandarins with expertise and connections to be wooed and won by multi- national corporations. Just recall Mickey Cohen, once D/M in finance, now with the Reichmanns. Nonetheless, Wyman’s new job is a remarkable switch and a towering tribute to her talent. Bata Enterprises is a colossus. Undoubtedly Bata seeks to re-establish factories in Czechoslovakia, perhaps regain some of his former properties.
In Wyman, Bata has a winner. The dubious aspect of the Wyman-Bata relationship was that supply and services was paying Wyman’s salary and her expenses when she was in Prague – $5,130 alone for a first-class air ticket. (Inflation’s a killer. In ’82 when Wyman flew to Paris and Geneva her first-class ticket cost only $3,088.)
One assumes that Wyman received a generous golden handshake from the federal treasury.
In an interview reported in a Prague paper (Aug. 4), Wyman disclosed that she’s considering settling permanently in Czechoslovakia with her family. Rumors here sustain this. Her husband, Kenneth, is executive director of unemployment insurance in the department of employment and immigration. He may soon be moving to Prague, joining his wife and probably serving our government there in some capacity.
Isn’t it all like a fairy tale?

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, August 19, 1990
ID: 12093935
TAG: 199008190091
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C5
ILLUSTRATION: drawing by Andy Donato
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

RESTLESS NATIVES//THE LONG, HOT INDIAN SUMMER

A mere 2% of the population is confounding authority and mocking the so-called “peaceable kingdom.” Natives’ deeds and words dominate politics and news.
Surely this roiled “Indian summer” makes more of us knowledgeable about those at the barricades.
Our general ignorance is real and was most explainable with the old saw: “Out of sight, out of mind.”
The scope of what Canadians don’t know about the indigenous of our country was revealed by national opinion surveys in 1976 and again in 1986.
There was very small change in factual knowledge or insights over that decade. The arresting common factor was the high proportion of unawareness. Some 80% had low to very low knowledge; 15% had moderate knowledge and just 5% were well informed.
The more heartening aspect of such broad vapidity was also clear from both surveys. Ignorance had not translated into a pervading bigotry. Not many were either strongly for or against native peoples. Neither hostility to, nor extreme support for, native aspirations was much evident. However, the phrase “more self-government” found much more favorable reaction than the phrase “special status for Indians” among respondents. This has its irony because most native people here, certainly “status” or “registered” Indians have long had a special status in law and in some rights (such as tax absolution on income earned on reserves or unique hunting and fishing rights).
This article is primarily on where the indigenous people are today in funding and services, most of which are provided by the three orders of government. Few know that particular governmental funding, largely for less than half a million people, has doubled in the last five years.
From native assertions of white meanness and neglect one could think our governments have skimped on Indian affairs. Wrong! Spending has reached $5 billion a year. It has doubled in the last five years. Further, some $2 billion of it goes directly to the 596 Indian bands or to the score or so national and regional groupings of bands and treaty groups.
With the registered Indian population growing at almost three times the rate of the nation’s as a whole, with more and more massive land claim settlements looming, the funding requirements ahead will not plateau for many years.
The widespread nature of the vociferousness we have been witnessing primarily on TV presents a togetherness and uniformity of views among native people. Yet they are so scattered geographically. So many live in small groups in every province and across the territories. Over 400 of the 596 bands have less than 500 members. Most bands are far from cities, scattered over the vast bush hinterlands. There are elements or remnants of half a hundred tribes. Band numbers and reserve size has little co-relation.
By far the most common language is English. At least 10 different Indian languages are left, and several score dialects, but less than half the registered Indians speak their own language “in the home” and even fewer can read or write in it.
Just a small minority of Indian adults now has or uses traditional skills in hunting, fishing and trapping.
It is impossible to fill and total a complete account of governmental programs and/or spending on native affairs. Federally, one’s best sources are in: (a) some dozen, different volumes of the annual “estimates” each of which sets out the programs and funds assigned of a department or agency; (b) in three of the four annual volumes of the “public accounts” of Canada. Provincially, one would have to examine each annual budget paper and departmental report. Municipally, it is hard to get even a general estimate, though it’s obvious cities like Regina and Kenora with many off-reserve natives are spending some of their own moneys.
Of course, our status Indians are not only entitled to free health and educational services; they share with all Canadians the right to apply for and receive, if eligible, such benefits as children and youth allowances, old age security pensions, the guaranteed income supplement, disabled persons’ pensions, and veterans’ benefits.
In truth, the condition of native people would be very grim without such benefits because most reserves have many unemployed and jobs beyond working in band administration or projects are few.
A graphic way to sample the scale and scope of federal funding is to list its major components and a few of its “growth” items.
The Indian affairs side of Indian and northern affairs Canada lists its annual spending under 10 “activities.” In order of sums, for this fiscal year these are:
Education, $736 million; social development (largely, welfare), $620 million; capital facilities & community services (including some housing), $592 million; band management, $224 million; economic development, $92 million; comprehensive claims, $63 million; lands, revenues and trusts, $58 million; program management (i.e. by Indian affairs), $52 million; self-government, $17 million. The growth in educational spending has been spectacular, most notably on post-secondary education. In 1975 some 2,500 natives were enrolled for higher education; last year there were over 16,000 and the spending zoomed from $3 million to $122 million.
The “northern” side of the department will take $1.1 billion this year, 90% of which goes as transfer payments to the territorial governments. An examination of their spending shows what one would expect where the majority of the population is native. At least two-thirds of it is for programs serving natives.
The federal department next in spending rank is Health and Welfare Canada. Its estimates this year project spending of $576 million on Indians and Inuit in the provinces and the Yukon. (Health services for natives in the Northwest Territories were recently transferred to their governments.) Of this spending on health, $416 million will go for community health; $59 million to the Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse program; $20 million for “services under Indian control and surveillance;” $43 million for hospital services; and $38 million for management.
To illustrate change in the health field, over a third of the bands now manage, largely with native personnel, their own health services.
The department of secretary of state has $18 million earmarked this year for aboriginal associations, women’s groups, communications societies and friendship centres.
Of the some $80 million the department of employment and immigration will spend on “human resource development programs,” almost a third will go to native training projects. The department of industry, science and technology has $78 million tabbed for the “Aboriginal Economic Program.” Sports Canada aids native sport and recreation programs.
Forestry Canada, Environment Canada, the solicitor general (policing), Agriculture Canada, the department of transport, the Western Economic Diversification Program, national defence, the National Museums of Canada, the Canada Council . . . the list goes on and on of programs that give grants or contributions to a variety of native needs or initiatives.
The full scenario of spending is a mish-mash but the sum has been huge. The major program elements have been diverse, from grand to petty. Neither imagination nor means have been missing for native problems or concerns.
The progress? A great deal! Measure it in falling mortality rates, in higher and more numerous educational attainments, in the recent flood of applications for status, see it in the improved dress, the increased use of white goods, automobiles and air travel.
The best witness of progress, of course, is the current crystallizing of native purpose into power and acts which are confounding the political and legal authority of the federal and provincial governments this summer. All the spending and programs since 1970 have led to this. That’s when Pierre Trudeau backed away from his plan that the aboriginal people should become no less but no more than other Canadians. Trudeau’s idea is lost. Back then it seemed sensible to most non-natives – those who thought about it at all.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, August 19, 1990
ID: 12093938
TAG: 199008190092
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C5
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

WHO THEY ARE, WHAT THEY WANT

NATIVE PEOPLES includes registered or status Indians; non-status Indians; Metis; Inuit.
NATIVE INDIAN usually refers to both status and non-status Indians.
INDIAN REGISTER is kept by Indian affairs department and lists all those legally entitled to be registered as status Indians. As of last year it had 443,844 names.
METIS has two meanings in use today: Firstly those descended from the historic Metis communities of Western Canada; secondly, all those of mixed or even non-aboriginal ancestry who identify themselves as Metis. The total a year ago was estimated at 70,000.
INUIT traditionally have lived north of the treeline; they numbered 29,500 last year. The old term was Eskimo.
INDIAN BANDS are groups of registered Indians recognized by the federal government which has set aside land and money for them. Last year there were 596 bands, the smallest of two persons, the largest (near Brantford) of 14,000.
OFF-RESERVE INDIAN is one who has lived off the reserve for the last 12 months. Last year 39% of natives registered with bands lived off-reserve.
INDIAN LANDS: Some 2,234 parcels totalling 2.6 million hectares has been set aside for use by status Indians.
SPECIFIC BAND CLAIMS: These are against the Crown by various bands for land, land lost, damages for loss of rights or usage, etc. Many are in the courts. By last year some 507 specific band claims had been submitted.
COMPREHENSIVE LAND CLAIMS: These are major claims and negotiations, usually by a regional group of bands or a tribal group, the funding for research and legal work for the native claimants being provided by the Crown (last year costing $17.5 million). Settlements and related payments cost another $27.8 million.
BILL C-31 became law in 1985, designed to end Indian Act discrimination against Indian women and their children who had lost or were denied band status through marrying non-Indians. It has added 65,000 names to the register.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, August 17, 1990
ID: 12093631
TAG: 199008170214
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

PET’S PROJECT WAS ALL SIZZLE

Through Pierre Trudeau’s years and at his passing from office a columnist in his heyday, Charles Lynch of Southam Press, would exasperate those unconvinced of the prime minister’s acumen and purposefulness with obeisances to Trudeau for his super-intelligence, newsworthiness, and pizzazz.
A new book recalls that fascination of Lynch. It too reveres Trudeau’s boldness and articulate propositions even as it details again and again how he delivered much less than seemed sure to come.
In both their title, Pirouette, and “sporadic,” the word they say best characterizes Trudeau’s interest in foreign affairs, the authors, veteran historians Robert Bothwell and J.L. Granatstein, have caught the flash and sputter of Trudeau in office. For example, they write:
“Pierre Trudeau, we argue, had little long-term, consistent interest in foreign policy. When he came to power in 1968 he knew the world better than most leaders, but as a traveller, not as a student of policy. His interests in defence matters in 1968, as in 1894, were non-existent; his concerns with foreign policy were eclectic, if not flighty. Some issues such as the Third World and disarmament held his interest throughout his 16 years in power, but even here the concentrated attention he gave to them was strictly limited. Domestic matters, and especially the place of Quebec within Canada, always stood highest on his agenda, and properly so. That was the primary challenge to Canada’s survival as a nation.”
The book is long and detailed, but very readable. Both the preface and a concluding chapter are arresting and pungent. The publisher of the hefty 477-page Pirouette (70 of which are notes) is the University of Toronto Press. The authors interviewed Trudeau, most of his senior ministers, and many top officials, particularly those high in external affairs and the Prime Ministers’ Office. Some of the most riveting opinions are from the latter, and sadly but understandably most are not directly attributed.
The authors captivated me in describing the keen pursuit by Trudeau and his amanuensis, Michael Pitfield, of a reorganized governmental system and procedures for fresh policy-making. The pair determined to shake down the old system and expunge its myths, notably a glorying in a global relevance which Lester Pearson had once won for Canada but which had become unreal. They were realists – supremely so.
A foreign policy for Canada’s “real interests” meant an end of Canada as the world’s idealistic fixer. A tougher, rational system and policies were required and Trudeau-Pitfield drove ahead without regard for the former prime minister (who had judiciously aided Trudeau to become his successor).
As Granatstein-Bothwell synopsize the exciting new regime:
“The critics had wanted change, and nothing the new prime minister did for his first two years in power gave them grounds for pessimism. The sweeping foreign policy review, the recognition of China and the opening of a friendlier relations with the Soviet Union, the cut in the armed forces stationed in Europe with NATO – all combined to make those critics of the Pearsonian policy that had dominated Canada’s relations with the world since the end of the Second World War feel the millenium had arrived . . .
“As time passed, however, the foreign and defence policy of the Trudeau government began to look and sound more like that of the Liberal government that had preceded it in power. . . . On balance, the fundamentals of Canadian foreign and defence policy altered scarcely at all in his time in power but never once in his long tenure did Pierre Trudeau fail to captivate the country with the illusion of change.”
On their last point, as with Lynch, I wanted to say “Not me, he didn’t.”
The authors are thorough in examining a key example of the early, high-level determination and its attendant macho brag. It was to have tiny results. The heralded “foreign policy review” was ultimately issued with fanfare in a box of six pamphlets, none of which dealt substantively with Canada’s prime external concern – relations with the United States.
Pirouette covers fairly the 1979-80 interregnum with Joe Clark as prime minister and Flora MacDonald as minister of external affairs, in particular the sad episode of the Jerusalem embassy initiative. MacDonald distrusted her senior officials and they patronized her grasp of affairs. Clark is measured higher and kindlier than MacDonald by the historians.
The real stalwarts in Pirouette will not surprise those who know these authors have written much respectful stuff on Ottawa’s “golden age,” the era when able, dedicated mandarins shaped and managed policies, creating our modern state, introducing Keynesian economics, organizing a prodigious war effort, then a measured return to peace and solid prosperity.
And so, despite some captivation with the glint and arrogance of Trudeau and some fair, sensible assessments of foreign ministers like Mitchell Sharp, Allan MacEachen, Don Jamieson, and Marc MacGuigan, the authors’ kudos go more to judicious and assiduous mandarins like undersecretary Marcel Cadieux, Ivan Head, Trudeau’s personal adviser on international matters, and the still-notorious polymath, Allan Gotlieb.
If not a prize-winner, this should at least be a best-seller.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, August 15, 1990
ID: 12093122
TAG: 199008150229
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

RESHAPING PARLIAMENT

General elections usually reveal that preceding byelections were of small significance, particularly federal byelections in Quebec. Further, there was no upset in Oshawa riding. The NDP fielded a busy, experienced provincial MPP and Ed Broadbent had not left a sour legacy.
Nevertheless, Monday’s results in Oshawa and Sainte-Marie (in Montreal) confirm a grievously sorry state in parties, with the Liberals’ new, alternative prime minister as much gored as the incumbent.
Some of us feared such calamity would follow the defeat of the Meech Lake propositions, ruined largely by those sharing the Trudeau imperative there be a strong, central government. Such an imperative now seems hopeless, even for a Canada without Quebec.
It’s ironic that Lucien Bouchard, persuaded into politics just two years ago by Brian Mulroney (who admired his intelligence and integrity) will be the celebrity Quebecer and a crucial leader through what’s left of the present Parliament’s time. And one can imagine, even foresee, Bouchard, in the next House with over 60 seats if Quebec gets little response from its immediacy about a mew status.
Bouchard and the swell of feeling behind him may ruin Jean Chretien along with Brian Mulroney. If Chretien should get to the House, he will be hard put to speak for French Canada with Bouchard and his band as a derisive chorus. And it’s possible Chretien may only reach the House from Quebec through a seat given up by an anglophone MP from Montreal.
It would ruin an already ill-starred leadership for Chretien to be defeated in a byelection in Quebec. But he will be a wandering butt of Quebecers’ scorn if he doesn’t assume the leadership of his caucus in the House by early 1991. There’s been much discounting of the House for its often silly performances, day by day, but it continues as the key setter and forum for national news and we all know national politics is the Canadian news agenda.
Away from Ottawa there is the embarrassing disarray of the premiers other than Quebec’s Robert Bourassa. They seem without a personality or the ideas to knit them in common purpose – either to face Quebec’s aspirations or to get in with either Chretien or Mulroney or both for a fresh constitutional initiative.
Abruptly, Clyde Wells no longer seems a messiah. The original anti-Meecher, Frank McKenna, wrings his hands ineffectually. Don Getty’s not at all a Lougheed sort. David Peterson’s not a John Robarts who could seek a “Confederation for Tomorrow,” and Grant Devine has little of the acumen and clarity of an Allan Blakeney.
The current cast of premiers is woefully unready for facing the post-Meech conundrums with dispatch and unanimity. The initiative is with Quebec, with Bourassa’s Liberals, Jacques Parizeau’s PQ and, now, Bouchard’s BQ. The evidence is a remarkable agreement among Quebecers for change in arrangements with the rest of Canada. This stance diminishes both Mulroney and Chretien. It will destroy them if they don’t quickly find themes and processes for a response to Quebec. So far they’ve maundered, as have most commentators, even those who attacked Meech. All three federal caucuses seem paralyzed. The most prominent idea among the lot is hoary: Setting up a royal commission, even a batch of them.
The House for the next two years will be of four parties, not three. A fifth, the Reform Party, has a beachhead of just one MP, but huge promise for many more when western electors get a chance to vote. Don’t laugh. It’s possible the next House will have 50 or so Reform Party MPs and 60 or so BQ MPs.
We’ve been used to just three parties since the Social Credit resurgence in the early 1960s faded after Pierre Trudeau’s first electoral triumph in 1968. The large splinter of Social Credit MPs from Quebec made for six years of minority governments. Such shakiness from 1962 to 1968 may seem stable to what is possible now from the next federal election if Mulroney, Chretien, and the NDP’s Audrey McLaughlin continue as leaders.
Preston Manning’s Reform Party may well run up seats in Ontario if he can enunciate a firm constitutional stance – say by guaranteeing neither sovereignty association nor separation for Quebec will be conceded without hard, explicit terms. Unlike the older parties, Manning’s need not play to Quebec electors. Already his party’s following is discouraging Tory incumbents and any Liberal hopefuls in the West. There is a fair chance the partisan phenomenon of the next year will be a mushrooming of membership and candidates for the Reform Party in Ontario.
Of course, the switch of one riding from Grit to Bloc Quebecois ranks doesn’t mean the government will not have its way in the House for the last two years of this Parliament. Bouchard needs a score more defectors from Mulroney’s Quebec caucus to cause a minority government. Though not impossible, it’s unlikely. He may not want to force an election, but if he and his band are assiduous, the normal co-operation on agenda and legislative progress the House needs could be ruined. They can keep forward Quebec’s demands and, in particular, mock any writ either Mulroney and Chretien has had or still has with Quebecers.
Add to this swirl a senatorial crisis, a deepening recession and a global scenario more tentative than at any time since 1919. Do you recall more uncertainty in our history? Not I.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, August 13, 1990
ID: 12092419
TAG: 199008130104
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

LEWIS REFLECTS ON TRANSPORT

Perversely, the style of Doug Lewis, the federal minister of transport, which has brought him most criticism from political commentators attracts me as a nice contrast to the symbolic model in cabinet ministers.
In his 11 years as MP for Simcoe North (i.e., Orillia and vicinity) and during three cabinet roles (as house leader; then justice minister; now, at transport) the lean and slight Lewis has always underplayed partisanship and rarely tried for big think-fancy rhetoric. He’s laconic, an understater. He dislikes hyperbole, and hates to ramble on. Only rarely will he brag. Always, under pressure, he uses a favorite word, “practical”. And so the short word put on him often is dull, the long one is unforthcoming.
Shortly after Lewis took over transport, and the brusque, combative Harvey Andre succeeded him as House leader, I asked him what he planned to focus on in his new post. He shrugged and said come back in six months when he knew something of his department and federal transportation policies. Last week he called to say he was ready for questions. What follows is a compressed version of our chat.
Q. What are you doing or been instructed to do by the prime minister about Erik Nielsen and his stay as head of the National Transportation Agency?
A. He’s there. There’s nothing amiss at the NTA. His appointment runs for several more years. I’ve neither intentions nor directions to get him out. I thought much of his book was inappropriate. His style, so framed by years in opposition, was never mine but I’ll always savour the work I did with him and for him from January to June, 1983, in keeping the heat on the Trudeau government in the House while the Mulroney-Clark contest was shaped and settled out in the party.
Q. What are you focussing on now? Is it the Canadian consequences of a likely global oil crisis?
A. No. We’re not yet into that at the operational levels of the department. Perhaps we may be soon. It may be officials elsewhere – at energy or in the PMO – are working on it. I find myself putting almost two-thirds of my time on aviation matters, in particular on airports, air routes, safety, security, and so on. Of course, almost daily something crosses my path on marine or rail or road transportion. For example, independent truckers have been pressuring me for regulatory and tax help to meet American competition. But aviation is the heavy mode, most notably now in the coming devolution of most big city airports to local authorities. Pearson in Toronto is a special case but Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Montreal, even Ottawa, may be directed and managed, locally or regionally, this decade, rather than by our department based in Ottawa. I’m finding major air terminals are the top growth centres throughout the world. We may have a piece of such futures but I’ve neither the funds nor a belief that Ottawa should control them.
Q. What do you now see about political awareness of tranport issues?
A. First, it’s much less controversial than legal or House of Commons affairs. If you mean what elected politicians bring or don’t bring to transport, I now realize most Ontario MPs, and I fitted the case, are lousy lobbyists on transport matters and few know much in depth, for example, about the St.Lawrence Seaway, on which many Prairie politicians are better informed and more concerned. MPs and ministers from the coasts are far more the transport buffs. Certainly, ministerial interventions in transport issues seem far more vital in those in the Atlantic provinces than in central Canada. Of course, the issues in transport are more practical and less contentious than those like abortion and capital punishment at justice. In transport even the academics, mostly economists, or the formal lobby groups or interest associations, say like the Canadian Trucking Association or the unions like airline pilots seem pragmatic and business-minded.
Q. The sudden resignation of Pierre Jeanniot as president of Air Canada has brought stories he thinks your government is stacking the deck of routes in favor of The Canadian. Why did he leave? Has Air Canada a fair grievance?
A. Now Air Canada’s private it is its directors who must replace Jeanniot and bring me the airline’s grievances. I found him pleasant, capable and positive. Of course, The Canadian’s executives think Air Canada’s being favored. I want to be even-handed. The issues of international routes are complex and the consequences of the trade-offs with other countries dangerous. Anyway, Air Canada has route rights to Korea with which it has done little. As for competition for domestic air traffic and the failure of some lines, those shakeouts are part of the marketplace.
Q. Are you considering a second Trans-Canada Highway or a refurbishing of the first one with federal contributions?
A. I’ve no money in sight for such. Some have suggested the toll road way might be used. New Brunswick, in particular, and Newfoundland, seem to have strong arguments for better trunk routes, but a national vision of a second Trans Canada hasn’t a high priority.
Q. Does your ministry bear any responsibility for the deal CN made in unloading its trucking operations?
A. None. The RCMP investigations and bankruptcy officials will settle whether anything criminal occurred. The deal was all the CN’s.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, August 12, 1990
ID: 12092017
TAG: 199008120075
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C6
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER, IN OTTAWA

THE `INS’ AND `OUTS’ OF ONTARIO’S ELECTION//ASSUMING, OF COURSE, THE VOTERS EVEN CARE

One begins to project the result of the Ontario election by looking at previous votes, in particular at the last three because they underline the stunning swing from 1981 to 1987.
In ’81 the Conservatives won their 12th straight victory. In ’87 the Liberals won their first clear majority in 50 years. Remember that David Peterson became premier after the ’85 election with less seats than the Conservatives won. He was backed by Bob Rae and his NDP caucus, a co-operation which lasted almost two years.
: PC 70; Lib. 34; NDP 21 (Total 125)
1985: PC 52; Lib. 48; NDP 25 (Total 125)
1987: Lib. 95; NDP 19; PC 16 (Total 130)
It would be good, democratically speaking, if this year’s campaign were a grabber, seething around one or more controversial issues or undertakings. Globally and nationally there is so much excitement, swirl, and change.
Domestically, we lurch from one emotional crux to another, and as one who’s just roamed across summer Canada anger and criticism of politicians was easy to find. But in Ontario the bitterness is not fixed on provincial politicians.
In my Ontario travels almost everyone I met was critical and nasty about Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Ottawa, and fed up with Premier Robert Bourassa and the Quebecois, but few were intent on the provincial scene.
In a dozen or so ridings where I drove after Peterson called the election (for Sept. 6) there was little eagerness for the fight although the red Liberal signs had popped out in each city and town within 48 hours of the call.
It’s hardly that most Ontario people are contented, let alone ecstatic about their Liberal government or their premier. Peterson doesn’t even get compared much with any other leaders, past or present.
As premier, Bill Davis never fired the public heather of enthusiasm. Peterson can be even more vapid than Davis in utterances but he’s settling in as a replica. Not many hate him, not many love him, a fair number think he’s empty but there’s not an urge to get him out.
Part of this is the lack of any enthusiasm for the other leaders or their programs. NDPer Bob Rae is broadly caricatured as a pompous twit. Tory Mike Harris needs years of experience and exposure, and his impact so far reminds one of Frank Miller, the premier for the spring of 1985.
This is so much just a campaign of one “in” and two “outs” with little to choose in partisan ideology between them. That’s why Treasurer Bob Nixon’s tag of “Pinko” for Rae seemed so silly.
The deep concern throughout Canada about the Iraqi threat in the Middle East will overshadow the rest of the campaign. So too will the Indian standoffs in Quebec.
It’s true that three major issues are still very alive across Canada: The working of the free trade agreement; the best constitutional course, post-Meech; and the GST. It is hard, however, to believe either Rae or Harris has the time and talent to hive Peterson on any of the three.
On Meech, Peterson was a zilch but in the public mind so were most provincial and federal leaders except Newfoundland’s Clyde Wells and Manitoba’s Gary Filmon.
Of course, a fourth national issue has been crystallizing. Recession! A Depression? That’s an explanation for the early election: Peterson getting to the voters before the Ontario economy slumps much more.
But by and large the province is not yet in an economic tail-spin. Jobs of some sort are still available in much of Southern Ontario and it’s impossible for the NDP or the Conservatives to convince voters in less than four weeks that they are better able and prepared to deal with a recession than the incumbents.
Is there a “sleeper” issue in Ontario?
Yes.
It’s neither the environment nor child care. It’s hard to frame and articulate, although Harris is trying. On the one side it’s the rising burden of municipal taxes; on the other side it’s the devolution by Peterson’s government of programs and their costs to the municipalities (such as policing, welfare, Sunday store hours and preventative medicine measures).
The touchiest element in such devolution has been the cost locally of completing the Roman Catholic secondary school system as the public system declines. The policy trigger for this, however, was set and pulled by all three parties.
Putting it banally, the Liberal government has not worn out its welcome. Though Peterson’s Liberals are not beloved, the voters are not about to turf out their government.
Probably the percentage of voting turnout will be in the low 60s; the Liberals will take about 46% of the vote, the Tories 28% and the NDP 26%.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, July 27, 1990
ID: 13050191
TAG: 199007270251
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

WHO’S WHO AND WHO ISN’T

Two years ago this column took a close look at a favorite reference book, Canadian Who’s Who. It’s issued annually by the University of Toronto Press. The new 1990 edition is out, a heavy 1030 pages with 11,000 entries on Canadians of some prominence.
The selection of entries is done “on merit alone” to quote from the preface of the “largest and most authoritative publication of its kind in Canada.”
Any journalist ranging the annual wonders about the “merit” qualification. Some whom one believes have it, or at least some notoriety are missing. This was a complaint of mine two years ago. Also, so many biographies of relative unknowns are still far longer than some of people with outstanding records.
It’s disappointing, for example, that celebrity journalist, Allan Fotheringham, is unlisted. If he doesn’t respond to the editors’ requests for data why don’t they get it from his publishers?
Why an entry for Peter Trueman, not for Jack Webster? For Conrad Black, not for Robert Campeau. For June Callwood (Mrs. Trent Frayne) and not Trent Frayne. For Fred Tilston, V.C., but not for Wilf Chadderton, O.C., the eminent head of the War Amps. For Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe, not Maurice Richard or Jean Beliveau. For David Steinberg, not John Candy or Dave Broadfoot. For Knowlton Nash and Mike Duffy, and not Peter Mansbridge or Lloyd Robertson. (Today one asks, why David Halton but not Wendy Mesley?)
The great length of many entries comes from inclusion of minutiae. For example, the linage in the five-pound book devoted to artist K.D. Pepper, actor David Gardner, environmentalist Nicholas Polunin, ex-ambassador Douglas Roche, or bureaucrat Bernard Ostry appears even more extravagant in contrast to terseness of entries for such as Pierre Trudeau, David Peterson, Pierre Berton, Maurice Strong, Stephen Lewis and Sylvia Ostry.
To be fair, I found bios this year for skier Ken Read to match Steve Podborski; of sports columnist Michael Farber to match his New York buddy, Allen Abel); of historian James Eayrs to match one of Jack Granatstein. And bios on Terry (Aislin) Mosher and Roy Peterson now complement that on Duncan MacPherson.
Skimming the thousands of bios is tedious but there are rewards. Here’s one. To find in the obscurity of the Ottawa bureaucracy a scientist of exceptional reach. Consider the entry of 71 lines for one Jan, Captain MERTA DE VELEHRAD, B.Sc., Ph.D., D.G., K.G.F., FIBA, K.C.O.S.J., F.Inst.Pet., F.Inst.Diag.Eng.. He has four more lines that another scientist, the Nobel laureate Gerhard Herzberg.
Merta de Velehrad is 45 and identified as a psychologist, scientist, diving and safety engineer, civil servant, international educator and lecturer. He’s also of an aristocrasy: “H.S.H. Prince Armavir, Duke of MELK, Graf von Gratz, Count of Bavaria, Count de Velehrad and Baron Merta de Velehrad, Capt. Legion de L’Aigle de Mer, Baron and Chevalier, Ordre Royal de la Couronne de Boheme, Knight of the Golden Fleece and Knight, Bav. Orders of St. George and St. Hubert.” (I presume “H.S.H” stands for His Serene Highness.
In only two years this scientist received these distinctions: Commemorative Medal of Honor 1988; Medaillon de L’Etoile Celeste 1989; Intern. Leadership Hall of Fame 1988; Intern. Cultural Diploma of Honor 1989; Certificate of Merit for distinguished service to community 1988; Depy. Gov., Am. Biographical Inst. 1988; Dir. Gen. of the Intern. Biographical Centre, Cambridge, Eng.; Plaque of Distinction as well as Roll of Honor Plaque 1989; Intern. Hall of Leaders, 1988.
Merta de Velehrad’s creativity is sustained by notation of 15 other publications with content about him. It was hard to find these but I got one from a library, The Book of Dedications, published by the International Biographical Centre in Cambridge, Eng. It seems our subject is a deputy director general of the centre. His 71 lines in the Canadian Who’s Who is piffling compared to the Cambridge spread of 11 pages, accompanied by nine photos of him and his family.
He is described as versed in zoology, film-making, child psychology, microbiology, literary investigation, fire engineering, hyperbaric medicine, diving, horticulture, publishing, welding, conservation engineering, holistic lifestyles, unorthodox therapies, fringe technologies, occult sciences, monetary realism, perennial philosophies, cosmologies, heraldry, parapsychology, etc.
The Who’s Who editors might consider this for the entry in their 1991 edition:
“A high-ranking aristocrat of Central-European extraction by virtue of his birth . . . he is blessed with exceptional abilities, fascinating mind and enigmatic personality; he is considered to be one of the last Renaissance men. Judging from . . . testimonies . . . it is quite evident . . . that Dr. Jan Merta is an extraordinary man who must rank as one of his country’s most illustrious sons of recent times . . . he is an authentic genius . . . there has hardly ever been, or is an individual quite like him . . . he is keenly aware of widespread ignorance, selfishness, greed, gullibility, cowardice and cruelty, that prevails on the part of many.”
Gee! Mulroney needs a chief of staff. Why not scan Who’s Who? Yes, Hugh Segal’s in it, but in linage, a quarter of Jan Merta de Velehrad’s, who is in Ottawa already, in the public service.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, July 25, 1990
ID: 13049859
TAG: 199007250189
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

SMALL CASE WAS NO BIG DEAL

It’s hard for anyone who knows Doug Small of Global TV or has some experience in current journalism not to choke on the piety of such as the Globe and Mail editorial, which asked there be no appeal of a judge’s stay of the budget “leak” case and thus “rid Mr. Small of this miserable cloud hanging over his head.”
Even Small, publicly good-natured as he is, must wince at such schmaltz.
To be handed a pamphlet which summarized Michael Wilson’s 1989 budget a day before it was due was the best break Small has had since he left the wire service (CP) for the Financial Post, and shortly for Global. The pamphlet was offered first to other TV news operations, then to the Global newsroom. From thence it was directed to Small who soon revealed its gist on Global’s supper hour newscast.
At this point, pause and reflect.
Was there then, and has there been since, a gain of worth to any citizens interested in the body politic in either the information or any ideas which Small revealed?
What tangible good came from this scoop? None, say I. Would we be the worse today if Small had not made the sensational disclosure? Not a bit.
Whatever Global’s bill for legal fees, as one of its high-rollers told me: “It’s been worth a couple of million to us.”
As for Small, the scoop and the subsequent prosecution made him the folk hero to the youth of his trade. His journeyman’s career as a political reporter was turned golden; one might say he was staked to a long, golden twilight as a media celebrity. The prosecution was his Lotto 6/49 prize.
As for Mulroney-Wilson, etc., they got what they needed out of their allegations of thievery and the subsequent charges; that is, attention was swung from their responsibility for wretched security and from what may have been a more serious diversion of budget material to a business firm.
Two linked ideas hold sway with the younger hordes from journalism schools: a) they must be the judgmental players on a public affairs field which abounds in sleazy, secretive, and self-aggrandizing politicians and bureaucrats; b) every activity of politicians and bureaucrats must be examinable and portrayable by those whose duty it is to judge and who have the right values of a high calling.
Rogues and incompetents merit no privacy or secrets! Nothing political should be in confidence! To accept less betrays the duty reporters owe, not so much to audiences but to the needs and speed of communications and their own superior ethics.
And so CBC-TV News, clearly the pacemaker of judgmental journalism, had to present through its most stellar personality a plan there never really was of the Liberal party to jettison John Turner as leader in mid-campaign. Why? Because CBC people were sure a plot was there.
And recently, on a Friday a week into the last Meech conclave, CBC-TV News knew the accord was in the bag, and so its stars, in a concert joined by The Journal’s star, commented and interviewed with droll smirks on this premise of success and their insider stuff on how the accord was won.
Meanwhile, out in B.C., the work of an investigating reporter has made an attorney general resign. Some of his chats by phone were unveiled. The taper seemed moved by rebuked affection, but any moral quivers over what two people thought was private talk seems lost in the media excitement over the scandal. Anything reporters do about or to politicians is all right. Everything politicians do should be known.
Once upon a time the NDP inherited e halo of righteousness brought to partisan politics by the CCF, but now the NDP has the view that anything is fair if it hurts their ignoble rivals. How quickly NDPers forgot the embarrassment to their party and a former leader from the taping (by the CBC) of private conversations (Dave Barrett and Simon de Jong) at the national leadership convention. Gosh, it seems a century ago, not 21 years, since Pierre Trudeau declared his private life was his, and private, and Canadians nodded approvingly . . . vigorously!
Now to an error of mine. Recently I wrote that science minister, Bill Winegard, held one of the three earned doctorates in Mulroney’s cabinet. A kind colleague has pointed out a fourth, won by Tom Siddon (Indian affairs, etc.).
From error to an addendum. A Quebecer who read my piece on usage of the word “squaw” sent me a page from a recent book, edited by Jack Kapica, of “a century of letters to the Globe and Mail.”
I used dictionaries to show “squaw” in some parts of Canada was a stock noun for Indian woman or wife. Elsewhere, it had a derogatory meaning as used by whites for an Indian woman. The book excerpt, headed “Squaws,” had a letter by one Walter Rigsly (Dec. 23, 1915). Clearly, he knew some Indians. He gave an etymological explanation he took from baptism registers of the word which paralleled what I had found in word-books.
Rigsly wrote: “I have never heard an Indian use the term.” (I had, often, years ago.)
He wrote: “Certainly, Indian woman dislike it.” Then he displayed his deep respect for the character and patience of Indian woman, making a plea which I’ll abide by, henceforth:
“Say Indian woman instead of squaw, or wife when required, and thus avoid unintentional offence to those kindly, long-suffering people . . . ”

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, July 23, 1990
ID: 13049642
TAG: 199007230241
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

GERRY WEINER, OVERACHEIVER

Which minister in the Mulroney cabinet is having the hardest time? Michael Wilson in Finance?
Tom Siddon with Indians, etc.?
Benny Bouchard with the sovereignty MPs?
Try a minister most Canadians haven’t yet appreciated, maybe because he tries too hard, perhaps because he diminishes himself by tacking in all directions.
I refer to Gerry Weiner.
Weiner may be missed in Mulroney’s host of 37 cabinet but he’s always at work, fighting hard, one might even say, with friend or foe.
Weiner was a pharmacist in Montreal for more than 30 years and a municipal politician for a decade before he won his way into the House of Commons for the riding of Dollard. The locale of his riding, his bilingualism, his Jewishness and his garrulity made him a natural for elevation.
So, variously since ’84 he’s been a parliamentary secretary (external affairs; employment and immigration), minister of state (immigration), and recently, secretary of state and minister of state (multiculturalism and citizenship).
As doubleheader minister, Weiner heads operations spending about $3.5 billion this year. He handles such nice affairs as ceremonials and loyal occasions (e.g., Canada Day). He must choose which leaders of our women are fighting inequality in this uncaring nation and thus fundable from his treasure chest.
The heaviest burden Gerry Weiner bears, however, is as minister of state (multiculturalism and citizenship). The frivolous might think it’s a romp, signing hundreds of cheques and personally giving them to the professional ethnickers of renown (of whom there’s a growing legion),
Unfortunately, unfairly, damnably few of the receivers are truly grateful. They always want more. They behave much like “the indigenous peoples.” (PS: That’s now the okay phrase for those formerly called Indians, or natives, or most recently, aboriginals.)
The ethnickers know they deserve more. Why is Canada distinctive? Because it’s a Noah’s Ark. Canada’s the model for the globe with its rainbow. It must strengthen its main feature. And thus, despite Weiner’s loquacious generosity he never realy fills the needs of any panels in our ethnicultural mosaic.
It’s only a good rumor that Weiner’s cabinet colleagues, especially the minister of finance, question if the millions he dispenses to the ethnics are a sound investment, notably as a re-election strategy. Even more hurtful to Weiner, two of his colleagues who have superb multicultural credentials as immigrants jeer his programs and mock his belief in them. What’s sustained the morale of our cheque-dispensing minister is not the cynicism of his colleagues but the enthusiasm of just one of them. Brian Mulroney too loves ethnics.
My source in Weiner’s imperium says the minister is increasingly flustered. He’s driven his huge staff to exhaustion. He is so generous, his heart (and our money) always going out to the ethnics. However, Weiner’s officials are jumpy because so many ethnic, grant applications are bizarre. It’s bad enough they must warp applications to fit treasury board guidelines; it’s worse thinking what the auditor general would say if or when he takes a closer look. So the bureaucrats spend more and time shaping respectability into ethnic applications and fashioning plausible excuses for turning away the most far-fetched demands. Key officials put in much overtime, often stretching their working days to 14 hours and more.
Weiner’s problems are not from weak effort or laggard policies. He and his parliamentary secretary, Toronto MP Pauline Browes, proclaim the impressive record: The bulky new Multiculturalism Act, the departmental status, the many new House committees on everything ethnic. Unfortunately, such justifications fail.
For example, after all that Weiner and friends have done for ethnicity, the most suave MP of the socialist caucus, Howard McCurdy, put a motion earlier this year which charged the government with the responsibility for the growing racism and bigotry in Canada.
This attack hurt Weiner but true to character, he acknowledged that Canada has “a crisis of national identity,” but his solution emerged in his subsequent hymn to the multicultural diversity which “strengthens and unites us.”
A few weeks later Weiner elaborated on this unifying force in a letter to Immigration, an Ottawa-based periodical. He argued:
“We have rejected the option of assimilation. Centuries of history have shown that such policies can lead to a crisis in national identity . . . by linking citizenship to cultural diversity, we enhance and develop a national identity in which multiculturalism is a fundamental ingredient. This is a critical step in nation building.”
The editor of Immigration responded:
“There are many established Canadians who fear that your nation building through diversity may endanger the very principles you support. When you write that your government has rejected the option of assimilation, because centuries of history have shown that this policy leads to a crisis in national identity – what are you really saying? Do you mean that the American melting pot failed and that Russian multiculturalism worked?”
A fair question, Mr. Weiner!

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, July 22, 1990
ID: 13049439
TAG: 199007220198
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C6
COLUMN: In Ottawa
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

NATIVE WOES START AT HOME

The two major stories of domestic politics the past 10 days have not seen noble media coverage.
First, there was so much fatuous, self-congratulatory editorializing after the resolution of the budget leak case by a court decision to stay criminal charges. Doug Small and Global TV as tribunes of freedom! It’s too much.
In the other, larger story, the blanket coverage with lopsided “pro-native” bias woven in makes me wonder if our press is determined Canada have its own Wounded Knee. Have it at the barricades of Oka and the Mercier bridge at Montreal between indigenous “warriors” and the provincial government’s police, with – naturally – Ottawa as the evil or an uncaring catalyst.
How quickly reporters forget the constitutional crisis which pivots on respect of jurisdictions, particularly between a significant province and Ottawa.
Through the encounters, with its killing and much bootless “negotiating” by a Quebec minister with those who talk for the Mohawks, senior Indian leaders like George Erasmus, head of the Assembly of First Nations, and Ovide Mercredi, the top Manitoba chief, each clever and with years of higher education, have exaggerated the negative side of relations between indigenous peoples and the rest of us as represented by governments. They keep blaming the federal government.
For Mercredi, Brian Mulroney was a contemptible Pontius Pilate. Erasmus spoke on national TV alleging that resentment of Ottawa is so pervasive and bitter across the land that most Indian families have been caching firearms for the day when force will be their means of attaining their just rights. A grossly silly and stupid act of fear-mongering.
A bleak reality on the native side is that most of those who now speak for the people have elaborated a stock, ritual vocabulary of blame, rife with hyperbole on alleged grievances and the inadequacies of governmental responses to their rights and needs.
Why are so many natives at hand, always available here, there and anywhere there is a TV camera? Because they’ve never had it so good in terms of dollars to spend or resources for travel, communication and lobbying. Anyone who flies much on Air Canada or Canadian Airlines knows that a staple in almost every flight load will be native politicians and bureaucrats.
Well over half the natives of labor force age do not work in the economy. They live – most of them very well – on band moneys and, of course, the Canadian social system of pensions, allowances, etc. Most non-natives are unaware that many “status” Indians shop with their band’s credit card number, plus their own number on the card list.
The Trudeau government was not niggardly with the natives; the Mulroney government has been even more generous. The spending per native this year is now over $40,000. (Roughly put, 400,000 get $4.1 billion. If the same level was put out for the whole populace the spending this year would be about $250 billion.)
Unlike the bad old days of just 15 years ago, most of such funding for the indigenous people by the federal taxpayers is now handled and spent by the natives and their own organizations, not by Ottawa bureaucrats. Further, a profusion of land settlement negotiations is underway across Canada. An impressive number of them has been done. Remember there are over 540 bands, most with reserve lands and claims for more.
What’s incredible, given the long inertia before the mid-1960s, is how much activity – spending and deal-making – has been underway. Despite great progress, most notably in better health and education, some questions should be raised – not by the natives but by those underwriting governments’ funding for the “nations.” The chiefs always castigate others over their sufferings and the abuse of their rights. How about their own failures as leaders and cultural role models?
Why are thousands of native young people floating aimlessly, often derelict, in the big cities? Why are drunkenness and petty crime such problems among natives? Is all this our fault?
Come off it, chiefs. Put away the Hollywood head-dresses and drums and the HBC beads. Ponder where moral and social failure begins. Perhaps it’s not in external oppression but with your excuses.
Ask yourselves about the evident but rarely spoken view of those who live next to native communities. Why is their such a dislike, right across Canada, not of natives individually, but of their group attitudes and standards? Is it only racism?

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, July 20, 1990
ID: 13049232
TAG: 199007200271
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

WINEGARD’S SCIENCE LESSON

A few days ago a print colleague mocked Mulroney’s ministers as “nonentities.” The tag has shades of meaning, none flattering. Broadly, it means useless or of little account. In a gang of 39 there must be nonentities, even in the kindlier sense of being unknown. Yesterday William Winegard, a minister without much of a national profile, told me he began his portfolio work last year knowing he could not win broad recognition through his responsibilities for science and technology.
Winegard’s been a scientist, engineer, and educator most of his adult life. Beyond each of these fields, few of their luminaries are popular or well-known. Few developed countries are as disinterested in science and technology as Canada, and any change for the better will take a decade or more.
It’s pleasant to speak with a minister who came to politics as a realist and remains so, without bluff or hyperbole. Such aplomb owes something to years. William Winegard, the only war veteran (RCN) in the federal cabinet, is at 66 the eldest minister by some 10 years, and one of just three with an earned doctoral degree (the others are Harvey Andre and Tom Hockin).
He came to the House from Guelph in 1984 with ties to academe, private business, and technical research. Nineteen months ago he was made responsible for science and technology. Since then the main public controversy has been about a massive reorganization and redirection of the National Research Council, the Crown’s science pride for 50 years and most revered in the capital where most of its personnel is based.
I asked if it bothered him that his name wasn’t even mentioned in a major article in the “national” newspaper about the discontent and low morale at NRC with most informants or “leakers” hatefully bitter towards the NRC’s president, Pierre Perron. Mulroney and Winegard put Perron in to carry out the “reorg.”
No, it didn’t bother him. He does fret over the present low esteem of the government with the people. He tries to see what of it stems from the particular constituencies in his mandate. Among scientists, particularly in the universities where most scientific work is being done, he thinks it’s at last sinking in that the largest percentage increases in the government’s spending have gone to the granting councils in science, etc.
Also, the “centres of excellence” program is coming along well. A wide array of proposals have been accepted and are underway. Almost every university and most big outfits doing research are tied in somewhere.
Winegard explains that the “centres of excellence” program emphasizes that research be long-range, pre-competitive, sustained, and directed. It is both rolling forward and increasingly seen as a non-political enterprise because the selection and review process with proposals and the award of funds is handled by panels of scientists and engineers with good, known records.
The “pre-competitive” notion emphasizes the imperative of bringing most of the interests, private and public, in a scientific or technical aspiration together well before a stage is reached for exploiting the results commercially.
Winegard knows Perron’s task at NRC is difficult and bloody-minded but both he and the cabinet felt Perron had to have the writ to alter NRC drastically, especially to recognize the lead role of universities in today’s scientific research. The minister insists he doesn’t dictate to NRC but the council knows (he believes) that the government is not advocating either a full concentration on applications or a derricking of basic science (what some call curiosity research).
What had also demoralized NRC were budget cuts, first set out in 1986 and which finally were imposed this year. He believes confidence at NRC and its collegial purposefulness will not be regained until the new structure and its work arrangements are completed and the five-year plan for NRC is in effect. The plan, including budget projections, has just gone to cabinet. It should be ready for revelation and application in early fall.
Winegard won’t cringe at his government’s aims and funding of scientific and technical research but he stews over the “people” side. That is over dropping intakes in course in science, engineering, etc. at all levels, not the bootless task of involving Canadians en masse in the subject field. As intake drops, demand is rising, rising. Industries need more and more knowledgable people.
Winegard ties Canadian disinterest in science to our rise to affluence through natural resource use. Rich without science, why do we need it now?
He notes that there is more interest and higher recruitment in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. Neither speeches by his likes on the student crisis and global competition nor massive touting through TV of scientific careers to young people bring results. He goes to those with responsibilities – teachers, ministers of education, professional associations, industrial employers. He asks them to join him in building the networks to meet the “people crunch.” The needs are obvious, so are the sources of talent.
When Winegard gets down over our shakiness in science and technology, he turns to reflect on Quebec’s progress “from literally nowhere to the belief that its engineers can tackle anything, anywhere in the world.”

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, July 18, 1990
ID: 13048959
TAG: 199007180246
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 12
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

A GOOD SENATOR IS HARD TO FIND

DATELINE: OTTAWA
Despite the hubbub with the aborigines, the Ottawa of partisan politics is rather torpid.
Few spoil for action, and what small speculation there is runs not so much to any post-Meech constitutional scenarios, nor even to who may be the commissioners of a grand inquiry on native affairs.
While a cabinet shuffle is stock stuff for the capital’s chatterers, this time few seem excited over might-be “ins” or “outs” although it’s agreed Jean Charest will be in again and Michael Wilson will stay.
The No. 1 topic seems to be senatorial appointments, likely to be the largest and certainly the most controversial selection ever.
The PM has only four months left to break the jam in the Senate of his legislative program, especially the GST.
To end the Liberals’ domination of the Senate he must inject from 14 to 22 new senators. Such a big play is possible on two accounts. Firstly, vacancies have built up as an off-shoot of the Meech deal through deaths, resignation and the forced retirement age of 75.
Meech’s failure released Brian Mulroney from a commitment in the deal designed to give premiers a part in the appointment process. There is also an “emergency” clause in the present Constitution that has never been used which empowers a PM to make extraordinary appointments of up to eight senators (i.e., beyond the normal 104).
Just filling the present vacancies with loyal Tories would come close to depriving the Allan MacEachen-led Liberals of certain control of the Senate’s proceedings. Adding the extra eight senators would guarantee Tory control.
Of course, all this sounds easy to do – and in the procedural sense it is. But the dangers to a very unpopular prime minister and government are awesome. Mulroney will have several unpopular pieces of legislation blocked by the Liberal senators. In particular, there is such a widespread antipathy to the GST, that literally thousands want the Senate to play Elijah Harper and kill the tax.
When Mulroney meets the blockade of the GST by a raft of appointments there will be a national burst of outrage beyond anything since the Tories took power in 1984. Even so, Mulroney hasn’t much choice. While he must act and make the appointments, insofar as brazening through the rage and recriminations, his success may depend on the qualities of those he appoints.
These new appointees would have to be loyal, resolute Progressive Conservatives, always ready for the beck of the caucus whips. They would have to be assiduous in their duty, at least for two years. (You may have thought such dutifulness was simply an element in the job. If so, you are unaware of Senate custom.)
To find the loyalists is far easier than to find across Canada a score of loyal appointees of excellent repute and recognized substance in their locales.
Remember this: The Senate is, and is seen to be, the lushest haven in Canada, especially for youngish appointees. Consider Keith Davey, summoned in 1966 to face ahead to a guaranteed 35 years of affluence and perks.
It may seem a petty, mean judgment that publicly acceptable senators are hard to come by but it’s also true now as it was in the days of Sir John A. that scores of would-be senators are in queue, particularly in the Atlantic provinces. And all prime ministers, even such short-run ones as Joe Clark and John Turner, have mostly appointed partisan “hacks.”
To blunt some of the public indignation it would help if both journalists and opposition politicians would have to conclude after reviewing the swatch of Mulroney’s new senators that most of them seemed able, serious, proven citizens.
Further, it might be an ameliorating bonus if the new senators should agree to be ad hoc appointees; that is, have assured the PM they are ready to serve only through the emergency and this particular mandate of the Mulroney government.
The PM might even use a Mackenzie King practice and have at the time of appointment an undertaking from each to resign, say once a legislative majority in the Senate was able to pass the rules which would sharply reduce the ability of a Senate majority to frustrate a House majority to which it is hostile.
Of course, a lot of those talking about the Senate appointees think Mulroney will underestimate the outcry and carry on along his usual low road, much like Pierre Trudeau did, elevating mostly former henchmen and party fund-raisers.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, July 16, 1990
ID: 13048712
TAG: 199007160225
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

SPENDTHRIFT GOVERNMENT

Let’s ruminate on what some consider a needed factor in government – thrift!
The inadequacies of Brian Mulroney and his government are legion. They have been well-itemized and scorned or sneered over, particularly in so much bitter, post-Meech commentary in which the premise reigns that the prime minister is cursed for both the attempt and its failure.
All this hostility focussed on Brian Mulroney reminds one of the unpopular years as prime minister of Diefenbaker (1962-63), Pearson (1966 -67) and Trudeau (1979, and later in 1984) but the acid today seems more potent, at least in English Canada.
While most of the indictments of Mulroney are arguable, there is one that is not mentioned as often as it might be. Nothing like the priority it deserves has been given to frugal leadership.
Despite all the bullroar in the past six years from Progressive Conservatives about mounting debt and big deficits their federal leader has not instituted or stuck to a determined campaign for frugality in government. Such a campaign must have a model to inspire and assure, from the PM, his family and entourage, ministers, and mandarinate. It should ostentatiously demonstrate frugality, particularly in the obvious aspects like travel, dress, hospitality, entertainment, and staffing.
Such a model leadership in thrift has not emerged. A contrary image has been presented. A citizen distant from Ottawa must assume that crass spending in Mulroney’s Ottawa is done without thought of him as a taxpayer and with the belief that some future generations can handle the consequences.
Yes, in defence of Mulroney it’s fair to point out he’s continuing what Trudeau and entourage demonstrated as spenders or that relatively, Premier Peterson and Bob Nixon are far more lavish than the PM and Mike Wilson. But Trudeau’s long gone (and his debt load balloons). As for the Ontario spenders, that’s Ontario citizens’ challenge.
Surely this assumption is incontestable: Federal frugality is necessary. Consider the continuing, high annual deficits of Ottawa under Mulroney and the federal debt shooting towards the $400-billion range.
Further, only Mulroney, his cabinet and the Parliament of Canada have the capacity to grab and hold the attention of Canadians with a steady, consistent restraint in spending and a real ruthlessness for any programs which are not quintessential.
And given the imperative, and realizing the roles only Mulroney et al can play, the people should have exemplars who say “Do as we do, not just what we say you should do.”
Argumentatively, one may hare away on many paths towards the merits of tightened federal spending or in popularizing what it will achieve. Say like improving our competitiveness in trade. Say making lower interest rates certain. Or deflating the justification in union demands. Or that saving by individuals makes more investment funds for enterprises.
Or one could be much meaner with Mulroney and dwell on his failures in creating a regime that is without the long-running malpractices of tollgating and patronage.
Such arguments for the good consequences of national thriftiness or on the PM’s slowness at cleaning up political practices are not the stuff to stir plain people or get them to demand in value for money from government. What might have stirred them was demonstration by the prime minister, his cabinet and the Parliament of Canada.
Neither symbolically as an individual and head of a household nor in the apparatus and panoply of his government has Brian Mulroney been an exemplar of thrift, yet he’s the prime minister who keeps coming back to the imperative of “getting our house in order.”
Reflect on four recent, shocking indications of spendthrift views at the top.
The first example was news that almost every head of a government agency or crown corporation had received substantial salary increases, ranging from $10,000 a year to, in some cases, over $50,000 a year. This topping upon levels from $90,000 to $300,000 a year.
The second example is in a rumor now so substantial as to be s certain proposition, i.e., a guaranteed establishment and funding for prime ministers (for research, travel, security, etc).
The third example was in the most pathetic of all federal operations, the Senate. Most senators are prosperous middle-class men and women in middle to late years, secure in tenure until 75. They are without electors or constituents. Their working days are few and their hours in the Senate are brief. The facilities they have are gracious, their perquisites many. Yet the Senate has just taken a tax-free bonus of $153 a day just for showing up in the assembly or its committees. This is cream on a salary and a tax-free allowance worth over $75,000 a year. Some key Tory senators backed this grab; the PM let it happen.
The last example is the most outrageous because it was done clandestinely by MPs of all parties, some of whom had railed at the senatorial greed. MPs are to get some $6,000 more a year to cover expenses for meals, hotels, etc.. A flagrant nest-feathering.
Unfortunately it is now too late for Mulroney to be a believable exemplar of frugality; therefore, thrift at the top is really irrelevant until there’s change at the top.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, July 15, 1990
ID: 13048602
TAG: 199007150282
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C3
COLUMN: In Ottawa
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

FRANK CHASES FOOLISHNESS ON THE HILL

Here are notes of three interesting “serials” which deal mostly with politicians. One, in some form, goes back a century. The other two began recently and may be ephemeral, although each may keep and then expand its now narrow niche.
The first is the long-running annual, Canadian Parliamentary Guide. The 1990 edition is out, and in a more legible format with less weight. The price, $59.95, is high but so is the content. The 1,017 pages and some 700,000 words and figures, has biographies of all federal and provincial politicians and results of recent elections. This is the second year under Infoglobe management and the improvements are excellent.
The second is a tabloid, Hill Times, usually of 18 pages, published 48 times a year, at $1 an issue. Literally it’s trying to be the community paper for the several thousand who work in the parliamentary environs. The reportage is straight and not profound. The seasons and issues of politics are topical. The focus is more on MPs and their staffs than programs. The topics and the vocabulary are safe for the most genteel. Hill Times is informative though unexciting and uncontentious, unlike the third serial.
Frank is a fortnightly magazine (at $1.75 a copy) and not for the tender-hearted or the scrupulously fair. At this stage in what could be a long run, it is uneven and often too juvenile. “Frank by name; Frank by nature” is its slogan and broadly it is a coarse humor magazine, more given to mocking politicians than anything else. However, the credibility it seems to have won thus far in Ottawa has been more for some political news “beats” – notably insider stuff on our media giants like the Globe and Mail, CBC-TV News, and Torstar – than from its laugh ratings.
Frank is modelled on Private Eye, a favorite of political groupies everywhere for its outrageousness. PE has been published fortnightly in England since late 1961. It began belittling the British establishment and it’s still at it – witness the last issue, guying the sweet old Queen Mom. Although PE’s had a stream of libel suits against it (many successful), it’s hung on to become both an institution and a minor industry with tied-in goods and apparel, and a lucrative, gamey classified section. Ideologically PE is more “with it” and destructive than leaning left or right. Anything’s game for mockery, from the monarchy to motherhood to sex to blacks to Arabs.
While the makeup and layout of today’s Private Eye retains some of the crude simplicity and print of the early years, it’s developed a compendium of regular topics or departments, e.g., on the papers, books, Parliament, and the Court. There are always audacious facsimiles of familiar ads, vicious cartoons, slanderous comic strips, and fantasy adventures. PE has always had much lewd punning and literate badinage. Occasionally there’s whimsy, notably in verse contests, and much farcical play with names and physical attributes. There’s regular use of doctored photographs, turned into satire or moral lessons through comment in cartoon-like balloons. the most notorious of the latter was a ’64 effort of Douglas Home, then prime minister, squatting in a water-closet.
At this stage Frank is closer in form, components, and intentions to Private Eye in its first years than it is in sophistication or subtlety. It also is intent on male “organs” and “members.” It too sends up ads with gusto, particularly governmental ones. It has “correspondence” from 24 Sussex Dr. (e.g., from Mila to Moe). So far the headliners have been Mansbridge and Mesley (little hair and so much of it), Queen Frum, Megary and Thorsell of the Globe, Mayor Durrell of Ottawa and, naturally, Brian and Mila.
Frank should never run out of material; the harder matter is whether it can get the writers while keeping enough readers and advertisers to sustain it as our satirical institution.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, July 13, 1990
ID: 13048303
TAG: 199007130215
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL

Demography is the science of dealing with human populations. The longer one looks back to what Canadians were and have become, the more fascinating are the questions on what we are going to be. Hence “demography.”
My takeoff is from an article, “The Demographic Future” by Gordon Priest, in Canadian Social Trends, a StatsCan quarterly.
Priest’s first 150 words compress messages for all citizens.
“Demographically, the Canadian population will be much different in the next century. Life expectancy is increasing, and fertility continues to be low, particularly in Quebec.”
“The Canadian population is aging and will likely begin to decline in size early in the next century. Dramatic increases in immigration levels are consequently the key policy lever for preventing the decline or increasing the size of the Canadian population. These demographic factors give rise to four issues of policy concern:
“1. The needs of the elderly population.
“2. The education of smaller cohorts of children and future labor force participants.
“3. The survival of the French language and culture in Canada.
“4. The integration into Canadian society of people with diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.”
Let’s move in order through that demographic sketch and “the four issues of policy concern” which stem from its points.
There has to be a cap ahead on the lengthening of life expectancy. Perhaps in the next century the standard life expectancy for Canadian women will plateau between 80 and 82, for men between 75 and 80. The extension of lives and the increase in the proportion of aged in the population (because of a falling birthrate) indicate that a stock retirement age of 65 will have to be scrapped. Social policy on pension entitlement will need changes if we are to have a useful labor force and ease the pressure on the national debt from more and more pensions paid.
Perhaps a caution is useful about Canadian fertility. A birth-rate that has fallen steadily may pause, as seems now the case, then rise again. It slid in the Great Depression, then escalated in and out of World War II. But the decline of religiosity, the rising social force of feminism, and the legalization, growth and popularization of homosexual activity indicate no reversal upwards in the Canadian birthrate.
We may be into the 2000s before any politicians clamor for the end of compulsory retirements or the postponement of the old age security pension to, say, 70. If one campaigned for such now he or she would be scoffed from politics but such steps are likely to be taken by our governments in the next 20 years.
All this assumes the Canada we have known survives and that the provincial governments, along with their municipal creatures, continue to be at the sharp end of social policy, i.e., delivering the services such as health care while the federal government helps through joint programs which it helps finance.
Our welfare state, as an academic, Keith Banting of Queen’s, nicely puts it, is a “bifurcated” one in which “the income-security system remains relatively centralized while social services have become more decentralized.” This central role of the federal government on the income-security side of welfare emerged in the last Wilson budget in the so-called “claw-back.”
No politician, not even the more-than-normally-candid Mike Wilson, is ready to expiate on the clearest features of our growing “senior” population. So many of them are affluent, particularly elderly women. Although social workers stress the parlous condition of so many elderly women, the social system erected in the years when today’s seniors were in their prime and their own penchant for savings and investments have combined to tilt much more in income and investments to the elderly. And with years the inclination to risk investment or to personal ventures in entrepreneurship both decline.
The ugly reaction to Wilson’s “claw-back” of pension money illustrates how the affluent elderly will organize and protect what they feel they’ve won through thrift and industry. Yet ahead, governments, especially led by the federal government, must find ways to (a) keep more and more seniors in the work-force; (b) get more tax money from them; (c) postpone their pension; and (d) draw their investments to new ventures.
Down, down the age scale to children and in part the problem reverses. For our economic health the smaller numbers of children must have better and higher education. The rub is so many of them are in families without the money or tradition of scholastic achievement to sustain them in long, hard, and costly years at school. Through immigrants we may import educated and highly skilled workers (as we have!); even so it’s clear that shortly we have to have a national education policy which ensures the youth cohorts become useful in the entire context of a technologically complex labor market.
The third and fourth issues being forced by our demographics are already devastating our political fabric. These are (a) whether French and language and culture can survive in Canada (or North American); (b) how we integrate with us the diversity of immigrants which Canada is getting and must have. It’s topical – and ironical – that Premier Bourassa’s first statement after the Meech accord dealt with survival and immigration.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, July 11, 1990
ID: 13048072
TAG: 199007110251
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

RESHAPING THE PAST

Few MPs listen to each other’s speeches in the House, and journalists are even less heedful. So you may not know that on June 14 six MPs spoke in support of a motion by Derek Lee, a Liberal from Scarboro, to spend another hunk of your taxes in reshaping the past.
The Japanese Canadians have had their redress. The Chinese Canadians seem next in line. (Then will come the Ukrainian Canadians, then the Italian Canadians.)
Lee’s motion would have the government “reimburse to all claimants who establish their entitlement … the amount of the head tax imposed under the Chinese Immigration Act (1885) … as amended, together with an indemnity equal to six times of the head tax paid.”
Since most of those who paid this head tax are dead, Lee proposes to have the redress also paid to the heirs and successors.
In these days of apologizing and redressing for the nasty deeds of our predecessors, it not surprising that an MP from a riding rich in ethnics should demand that the government (of this day) admit the said statute was discriminatory against immigrants of Chinese origin and contrary to the principles now adopted and reflected in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
To ensure this redress is done fairly Lee would require the government “to consult; that it negotiate and that it respond.”
With whom? Of course, to the lobby certified to speak for Chinese Canadians (now 400,000 strong) through its recognition and subsidization by Ottawa’s multiculturalism bureaucracy – the Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC).
The young Liberal MP emphasized the outstanding Canadians who have spoken publicly for reparation and apologies to Chinese immigrants – the likes of Brian Mulroney, John Turner, George Erasmus, and Bob White, and worthy lobbyists from the Canadian Council of Churches and the Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Lee’s speech had a tidy paragraph which explains why humane Canadians are so intent on righting the wrongs and misanthropies of our past. He said:
“Some say that we should not waste time and the resources of the present to go back and redress the wrongs of the past. If we really believe that, I ask the House why we are still prosecuting war crimes that took place between 1939 and 1945? Those acts did not even involve Canadians, for the most part; they did not take place on Canadian soil, and please keep in mind that the Chinese Exclusion Act was not repealed until 1947. Why also are we still redressing treaty and non-treaty rights of aboriginal Canadians? There are grievances involving acts that we did and did not do, omission and commission, 100 and 150 years ago in relation to native Canadians. We admit our responsibility for all of that. We are still dealing with it, maybe not quickly enough, but we are dealing with it.”
Of course, as a reasonable man, Lee sets some limits. For example:
“I can accept that we do not have to go back and redress grievances that emanated from the Franco-Prussian War, or from the quasi-genocides that occurred when the Europeans first arrived in the New World 300, 400 years ago. But I do not think that is what we are dealing with. I do not accept that a living Canadian who has been wronged does not have the right to seek redress, or that his country does not have an obligation to respond to him or her.”
Lee didn’t add what is clear from his motion – that the government’s obligation for redress goes to the children and the children’s children of those wronged.
Another Scarborite MP chimed in with Lee’s motion and to brag a bit. Pauline Browes is parliamentary secretary to the minister for multiculturalism. She saw Lee’s initiative “on this very serious issue” as complementing what the Mulroney government has been doing to build “a strong and prosperous country on the foundation of freedom and independence.”
Mrs. Browes itemized the achievements:
(a) The new Canadian Multiculturalism Act, with its “vision of Canada where justice is interwoven in a social fabric;
(b) the employment equity legislation “to enhance the participation of all commmunities in the public service and companies which deal with the federal government;”
(c) “the redress for Japanese Canadians” (about $320 million to some 22,000);
(d) an undertaking for a Race Relations Institute (in Toronto!) and the establishment of the Canadian Heritage Language Institute;
(e) the creation of a new department of multiculturalism;
(f) the creation of the first standing committee on multiculturalism.
All its days the NDP has been for redressing wrongs, so of course its Dan Heap, the cleric MP for ethnically diverse Trinity-Spadina, had to speak on an issue so “very lively” in a riding where so many head-tax payers and their descendants live. He tried to firm up Lee’s “thrust” with an amendment to make it explicit the government must negotiate with the Chinese Canadian National Council. “This is an urgent matter,” said Heap. “The people who paid the head tax are dying off.”
None of the MPs who spoke forecast the bill to the taxpayers but one Tory gave a figure of $23 millions as the total of head tax paid by Chinese to Ottawa. If one used Lee’s suggested multiple of six, the total billing could not go over $138 million. And, figuratively speaking, that’s a light touch, compared to the Japanese one.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, July 09, 1990
ID: 13047835
TAG: 199007090223
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

OUR BACKLOG IS PERMANENT

Nothing better illustrates our immigration mess than the antic uproar last week over the arrival at Pearson airport of Arthur Rudolph, a former German rocket scientist (and an alleged accomplice in war crimes).
After World War II, Rudolph became highly involved in the American space program and became a U.S. citizen. Years later he was stripped of his adopted citizenship and barred after he admitted to knowledge of Nazi atrocities in a Nazi German rocket plant in which he was production manager.
As his name was on the list of persons inadmissible to Canada, he was detained at Toronto, then after some eight hours of questioning freed on a $500 bond.
The very elderly scientist was not in Canada to see its beauties but as part of a complicated scheme co-ordinated by his friends and former co-workers at the NASA station in Alabama to help him regain his U.S. citizenship and clear him from the tag of war criminal.
Meantime Canada is stuck with Rudolph. The already strained resources of our immigration department must deal with his complex case, one certainly not of our making. We must brace for a long, long process. A federal spokesman said the decision on whether Rudolph can stay in Canada as a visitor will be long in coming, especially if he hires a lawyer “who wants to string it out for six months.”
Well, it may take much longer. Rudolph hired none other than the law firm of Douglas Christie. He’s the defender now notorious as a champion of causes and persons linked to allegations of racism.
Perhaps you think our immigration machinery is too cumbersome and tilted too much in favor of those who want into Canada, be they of the Rudolph variety, or Tamils, or Portuguese Jehovah’s Witnesses.
You would be wrong, at least if you agree with the many who want to do good in this world. These legions, well-led by immigration lawyers and clergypersons, are chronically incensed at Canada’s inhumane immigration policies.
Take one champion for justice – David Matas, a Winnipeg immigration lawyer and author. On the very day Rudolph dropped into Toronto, Matas was mercilessly criticizing our immigration procedures because they afford such slight protection to those at our borders who seek sanctuary.
And that brings me to the Immigration and Refugee Board’s first report. It’s headed by Gordon Fairweather, former Canadian Human Rights Commission head and as cherished a friend of the oppressed and the deprived as Stephen Lewis. The IRB was created in 1988 as a means of handling and reducing the huge plug-up of self-proclaimed refugees.
To begin, Fairweather’s IRB got $lOO million for a speedy, two-year campaign to clear the backlog of over lOO,OOO refugee claimants in legal limbo here under the previous system.
This annual report admits $53 million has been spent and a bureaucratic regiment 500 strong was formed. (Those figures do not include 217 board members or their $20 million in salaries.)
Note this. The old, pre-1988 system only cost taxpayers a mere $5 million. Nevertheless, with unshakable faith in government competence, Parliament thought Fairweather with his added resources would get the refugee matter under control.
Some hope.
Hark to Fairweather’s warnings: “There are problems emerging . . . It was assumed that no more than 18,000 Convention refugee claimants would apply on an annual basis . . . In fact . . . it is likely that the refugee division will be facing a caseload in excess of 36,000 claimants in 1990.”
To translate: The backlog has not decreased, it grows week by week. As a frustrated lawyer in the immigration department told me, “the backlog of so-called refugees become a permanent fixture in our system.”
Fairweather outlines his attempts to streamline existing procedures but he seems most unhopeful of success. What’s the solution, throwing more money, more regiments of bureaucrats, at the problem? Or radically change the system?
Naturally Fairweather welcomes new money and more personnel. He praised the recent granting by Treasury Board of a further $20 million and 200 more “person years.” But his kind heart is elsewhere. He looks nostalgically at the so-called “safe-third-country” provision of the 1988 immigration legislation. It would go far to stem the tide.
Without taking sides, Fairweather seems to regret that his minister, Barbara McDougall, has refused to invoke this provision. It would exclude automatically any consideration of all claimants for refugee status who came from a third safe country (like Germany).
The problem with this device is that McDougall would have to promulgate a list of “safe” countries, thereby labelling all others as “unsafe”, i.e. repressive and totalitarian. Our diplomats in their Ottawa ziggurat cringe.
Those who drafted the 1988 legislation should have taken the advice of the Nielsen task force on immigration. It said claimants should remain in Canada only if they came directly from the countries from which they were fleeing. All others would be out. It’s the same principle, of course, but it needed no invidious list. How about it, Madame Minister?

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, July 08, 1990
ID: 13047570
TAG: 199007080099
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C3
COLUMN: In Ottawa
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

PLAYING THE NAME GAME

It’s amazing how meanings change over the years; how a word in common usage takes on particular flavors of interpretation which give it a different meaning or even lead to its banishment from an ordinary vocabulary. For example, “gay” is a word which almost everyone holds back from using now in the sense of it accepted for several centuries – really until the 1960s. Today the word which bemuses me in its rather fast journey from being unexceptional to being almost beyond usage is “squaw.”
This week’s Maclean’s has an item about John Joe Sark, a Micmac Indian of P.E.I., who is determined to change the name of Squaw Point near Charlottetown. Why? Because “Squaw is an insulting, non-Indian, Western word which means `whore.’ It is a derogatory term to all women – but it is particularly degrading to Indian women.”
Mr. Sark is wrong on the source of the word. Going by basic dictionaries such as the Oxford English Dictionary (second edition) or Mathew’s Americanisms, the word was first noted in our language records in New England in 1634. The word as a noun meant “woman,” as an adjective it meant “female,” to the Narrangansett Indians.
A dozen various dictionaries refer to the source of the word (as does the OED) as the Algonquin dialect. Even George Washington used the word in his journals (1756) simply to mean a North American Indian woman.
My childhood in northwestern Ontario meant a lot of association with Ojibways. The Anglican Church had a big mission school nearby for Indian children, most of them coming from the Lac Suel basin. The local chief of the time – Chief Jim as we called him – often visited us, swapping a pickerel for tea and cake. He had been in the Great War and was far more graphic on the terror of trench warfare than the white veterans of our town. To Chief Jim his wife was simply “my squaw.” The word hadn’t any unsavory connotations for him or for the rest of us then.
I checked several “word” books of Ojibway and some glossaries of French-Canadian usage, most first assembled in the 19th century. One, A Practical Guide to the Otchipway Language, by a Bishop Baraga lists `woman’ as `equa.’ It was published a century ago. Similarly `equa’ or `quas’ was used in a work with a 1968 date by a Rev. E.F. Wilson.
Despite John Joe Sark, “squaw” is Indian in origin.
Meanwhile, have you noted the eclipse in use of the words “natives” and “Indians” by “aborigines” or “aboriginal peoples.” This word for native people, first popularized in Australia, seems to fit better with them and with a legal conception of rights and lands, even of the way of life they enjoyed before the whites came. And “aborigines’ blankets nicely – Indians, whether status or non-status, and Metis and Innuit.
This is not a tilt by me against the outlawing of “squaw” even though my own self-worth was knocked awry 10 years ago after I used the word in the meaning it had had in our stretch of wilderness. So many “whites” of Toronto lambasted me as “bigot” and “racist” that I accepted the word was figuratively too ugly for general use. It seems extreme, however, to declare that it’s a euphemism for “whore.”
In any case, the responsibility for coining the word and the ugliness it bears is heaped on all who are not of native stock, i.e., 97% of us. Of course, it’s just a tiny facet in the strong campaign by the self-styled “First Nations” to weight us with guilt.
See how foully native peoples have been treated! The whites came and seized our lands. They tried to destroy native culture.
Of course, a different case can be made, though few would dare do it. There is a favorable comparison in numbers and in the health, longevity, and living standards of today’s First Nations with those of three centuries ago. But when you say it, duck!

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, July 06, 1990
ID: 13047427
TAG: 199007060216
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

ANOTHER LOSS ON THE HILL

Media Notes – A swift change on Parliament Hill symbolizes the reign of TV and the decline of newspapers and magazines.
The MPs’ reading room was abruptly closed last week. The Library of Parliament, which runs it, was told by the Speaker’s office the day before the House rose for the summer that the room must be closed within three days so alterations can begin for its use as another committee room.
The room is very bright with a high ceiling, good woodwork and gracious murals depicting the provinces. It’s just 75 feet down the second-floor hall from the House lobbies. Its decor was supervised by Mackenzie King when prime minister. The chief contents have been the daily and weekly papers of Canada, plus its magazines and a selection of foreign papers and magazines. The room has had more regular traffic and users, especially among MPs and their staffs, than the Library itself.
As a habitue of the room I had failed to notice the decline in usage which must have justified the Speaker and the board of internal economy in erasing such a handy, familiar service. The main library in the centre block has nothing in space or grace to use as an alternative for those left who would go through the papers.

Dalton Camp as columnist has been seen as an advocate for the Progressive Conservative party; not a blind partisan nor a sycophant of Tory politicians but an observant Tory. Add his recent role as top advisor in Brian Mulroney to this and his column of last Sunday is an epic forecast. He thinks a new party must arise from the old one. The Star headed the piece “The bell is tolling for federal Tories.”
Camp says the PC organization and its active membership have been collapsing. In less than two years the party is reduced mainly to a Quebec rump. Its backing in English Canada has “withered away.” The party is a mirror of the Gallup data that showed just 17 of 100 electors would have voted for it in June.
If or when Camp puts his mind to it he can make as good a case that the bells are also tolling for the Liberal and New Democratic parties, even though they have much better ratings in the Gallups. None of the three parties has yet reacted strongly with a federal vision of how English Canada should respond to a Quebec that is choosing sovereignty-assoc- iation or some facsimile of it. Can we wait for the Chretien solution – that is, Quebecers not choosing such a course? Should any ideas for a post-sovereignty English Canada be put on hold?
Only the Reform Party of Preston Manning, surging ahead in the West, seems adjusted to a Canada without Quebec. Perhaps journalistic partisans like Dalton Camp or Audrey McLaughlin’s Gerald Caplan or Jean Chretien’s Bill Johnson (Gazette) might use their platforms in print to prompt their leaders.
The complications ahead in a sovereignty association are many and horrific. Take just one example in scores of them. The CBC! Almost half a billion is annually put into the Radio-Canada part of the CBC by Ottawa. Does the Quebec government take over Radio-Canada property, facilities and the responsibility for the employees’ security and pensions? Should it? Will it? And should French language networks and programming east and west of Quebec continue?

Before his abrupt dismissal as chief editor of the Globe and Mail 18 months ago, Norman Webster was seen as careful, thoughtful and gentlemanly, both as a journalist and as a manager — above carping and strife.
In less than a year as editor of Montreal’s Gazette Webster has worked up a different image, tougher and more contentious.
Last weekend, the Gazette’s award-winning columnist, Bill Johnson, lambasted the arguments used editorially by Webster in a column which ran on the same page. Johnson is anti-Meech, Webster pro-Meech.
In a previous piece, Webster was as vitriolic as a Claire Hoy in belittling the politicians and the provinces responsible for killing the Meech accord. He ridiculed Jean Chretien and paraded the historical pettiness and malice of Manitobans.
Meanwhile Nicholas Patterson, director of the Canadian Development Institute has issued a 23-page brief titled “Webster’s witless Gazette — a media critique.”
CDI seems a cross between an English-rights lobby group and a populist-minded research operation. Its screed says it is designed to engage “in grassroots evaluation of government based on common sense … neither on the left, nor the right. CDI’s approach is “issue by issue dictated exclusively by its research findings. CDI goes where the research leads.”
Much of the research seems a persistent critique of bilingual policies as practised by the federal and some provincial governments. When with the Globe, and even more so with the Gazette, Norman Webster has crusaded for bilingualism in government and in education. CDI argues his objectivity as editor is compromised by his work in Canadian Parents for French, “a radical group … a government-funded stooge”).
Gazette readers, says CDI, “face a dismal prospect: Its growing, unprincipled betrayal of their anglophone community interests.”
It won’t get easier for Webster and the Gazette, with Meech busted.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, July 04, 1990
ID: 13047159
TAG: 199007040220
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

BEST BETS FOR ENVIRONMENT

The professional environmentalists of the country are unhappy with Robert de Cotret as the “acting federal minister.” So in several round-up stories of their preferences some names were advocated. One, Perrin Beatty, is in his fourth portfolio (Health and Welfare) in six years. Another, David MacDonald, the MP for Rosedale, has chaired the House environment committee.
Bet little on either one. Beatty is neither a favorite nor in the bad books of the prime minister. While he’s not been a dud, neither has he been a super-minister at national revenue or defence or as solicitor general or at health.
David MacDonald’s the most red Tory in the caucus. The PM is unlikely to want a repetition of the tussles in cabinet that ministers like Mike Wilson and Jake Epp had with Lucien Bouchard. The latter was very much an environmental purist. So is MacDonald.
De Cotret is a low-profile journeyman sort of minister, a latter-day Bob Andras, and so a safe man to hold a fort for a while. If you wish a surer prospect than Beatty or MacDonald, consider the following: Privy Councillors Jean Charest (late minister for sport) or Barbara McDougall (Employment and Immigration); or MPs Lee Clark (Brandon-Souris), Patrick Boyer (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) or Bud Bird (Fredericton-York-Sunbury).
Clark has been a capable parliamentary secretary for the environment ministry; Bird is vice-chairman of the environment committee and an authority on forestry; and Boyer, presently parliamentary secretary to Joe Clark, is able, a prodigiously “quick study” and he makes clear, plain, public presentations.

One of the least glitzy federal functions is the National Archives, and years of frugality and cutbacks have led to documents and files being scattered in a score of insecure warehouses and basements, as well as in the big Wellington St. building shared with the National Library. Recently the archivist, Jean-Pierre Wallot, was examined by the House communications and culture committee, chaired by Felix Holtmann.
Wallot sketched the problems and needs lucidly, particularly for the massive, new HQ building promised by 1996 and to be located in the Gatineau some five miles from Parliament Hill.
We may be in an audio-visual era but the scale of print records is staggering. For example, the archives has six km (or almost four miles) of shelves taken up just with files of past and present ministers. And these are files that have been “weeded” for duplication and the irrelevant.
Wallot suggested that the records of greatest interest to future generations will be those of CBC productions for both radio and television. He stressed that his organization is working up a joint program with the CBC to manage the CBC’s records. Treasury Board has ordered this, and refused to fund the CBC for its own permanent archives. The huge chore ahead may be gauged from Wallot’s words “ … that the CBC is very decentralized and very regionalized. It produces many programs across the land, and there is actually no order in the way they dispose of their records. There is no program of what I would call real records management of what they produce, either administratively or for production on their networks – at least no satisfactory program. So we are working with them.”
The heads of federal agencies such as the archives or the CBC or the NFB or Canada Post know that when they appear before any parliamentary committee they must have the latest data on employment equity and linguistic skills. Some MP always hustles forward with questions on the various proportions of those who work in the agency. In particular they prod over who has the better jobs or what the splits are for francophones, females, natives, visible minorities and ethnics, and the handicapped.
The national archives employs just under 800 people. Dr. Wallot was well-primed and won approval from the MPs with the following synopsis:
“… Between 1984 and 1990, the proportion of women has risen from 5.6% to 27.7% in the senior management category; from 30% to 35.5% in the professional and scientific categories; and from 40.6% to 46.4% in our overall institution complement.”
“… For the same period, the number of aboriginal staff has increased from 6% to 15%, and handicapped from 17% to 26%.”
The archives has over-achieved proportionately in employing francophones, the percentage being 46%. Women at 38% are still well below their 51% in the population but, again, their proportion has been rising.

Reid Morden anticipated the language issue with the MPs of the committee which is reviewing the CSIS act. He’s director of CSIS, the security service. Recently a union leader had condemned CSIS for being too centralized in Ottawa, and so “everything is done in English.”
Morden pointed out: “ … 34% of our employees are francophones and 64% are anglophones. This compares favorably with the situation in the federal public service where the proportion is 28% and 72%.”
He dismissed the union criticism, noting that the percentage of francophones in the management of CSIS was far above that in federal service as a whole; so was the proportion of those with bilingual linguistic skills far higher than in the federal service generally. Finally, “the instruments of work” in CSIS for the bilingual regions of Canada “are quite strictly regulated in terms of the use of French.”

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, July 02, 1990
ID: 13046922
TAG: 199007020181
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

NDP HAS NO ROLE IN QUEBEC

Today the federal NDP vis-a-vis Quebec makes only a sad sidebar to the crucial main story which grips us.
Not all but surely most political matters in the next few years will pivot on what Quebec will do, and how it fits, if it does, with the rest of Canada.
It was with great deliberation in 1961 that the creators of the New Democratic Party, led by the late David Lewis, crystallized an approach to Quebec which was different and far friendlier to French Canadian aspirations than was the approach of the predecessor socialist party, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). Now the NDP has had more years than the CCF (29 to 27) and although its members have repeatedly and finely crafted views and programs to appeal to Quebecers, the party is hardly closer to a breakthrough of electoral worth than was the CCF.
The NDP has only elected one MP in Quebec, that in a byelection a few months ago, and this member, Phil Edmonston, is already restive within caucus and sounding like a Quebec, not a Canadian, nationalist.
Ed Broadbent, although only 54, chose to retire from the NDP leadership last year. A factor in his decision was the failure to “break through” in Quebec in the ’88 election. Broadbent’s strong pitch in Quebec and opinion polling before the election had augured success of real scale at last.
So Broadbent chose to leave, accepting a freshly designed sinecure as the gift of Brian Mulroney. Now, with less than a year’s hindsight, in particular with the fundamental change in affairs created by the failure of the Meech Lake accord, we can divine the disaster for the NDP in the coupled events of Broadbent’s resignation and Audrey McLaughlin as his replacement.
Love him or loathe him, it was obvious that Broadbent had earned a national stature and audience for his views and themes. McLaughlin has not, and is never likely to do so. He, usually though not exclusively, dealt with core issues of the economy or the direction of the country. She repeats and repeats the same whine of platitudes on issues of women, aborigines and the North. None of these issues has any riveting significance at this time among most Canadians yet these are the issues which she kept on talking about, her head solemnly bobbing as she does. Throughout the crisis days over the Constitution she gave us gender, native, and northern affirmations.
In short, McLaughlin as NDP leader is by and large a cipher of the year. Broadbent would have been a major voice in this Canada-Quebec scenario, notably as a forthright spokesman in a tripleheader with Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien.
In particular, Broadbent as the MP from Oshawa and the only federal party leader from Ontario would be splendidly suited to articulate sympathetic but realistic responses of English Canadians outside Quebec to Quebecers. He was early and foremost for the Meech Lake accord, to his own difficulty as leader. And he was leader of the federal party which had first talked about “co-operative federalism” in 1961.
This was well before the Liberals’ Maurice Lamontagne and Jean-Luc Pepin turned the phrase into a preachment for Lester Pearson as prime minister. Pearson advanced it until the advent in 1965 of a trio which saw Quebec as merely another province – Pierre Trudeau, Jean Marchand, and Gerard Pelletier.
The New Democrats were the first in federal politics to accept the interpretation that Confederation had been created out of and by “two founding peoples.” This article (of faith, not fact) was enunciated in the Tremblay report on constitutional problems (1953) that had been sponsored by Maurice Duplessis, a premier who tilted toward an autonomous Quebec.
Eugene Forsey has been to the fore in damning the Meech accord. Some thought his opposition was as a Trudeau fan, grateful for his Senate appointment in 1970. Unfair! Forsey was in train with views he expressed as the NDP was born in the early ’60s. He was a redoubtable CCFer, an economic adviser to its parliamentary caucus. He could not, however, accept the policies about Quebec in the federation that David Lewis was determined on for the new party. So Forsey parted from the fledgling NDP over Quebec.
In his book, David Lewis said he misread his home province “before Quebec’s political and cultural awakening signalled by the Quiet Revolution . . . ” Lewis accepted that: “Our failure in Quebec was the main obstacle to CCF progress nationally.” So the NDP must be different and do better. And so it was that the NDP always had some resolutions at its biennial conventions about Quebec. This one, moved at an early convention, is archetypal:
“Be it resolved that the NDP be on record as supporting the right of self-determination of the Quebecois.”
As Rene Levesaque began the Parti Quebecois, only the NDP welcomed him and his party as “social democratic.” Were not the parties’ economic and social policies alike?
The federal NDP could not approve of separation for Quebecercs but heralded their democratic right to it. In the debate over the 1980 referendum on sovereignty association the NDP could not align itself with the PQ but it was the only federal party of the four which was not nasty about the PQ.
Now a turbulent era in the Canada-Quebec relationship has opened. The party whose English Canadian members have been most sympathetic to the Quebecois over some 30 years is more irrelevant than ever to them.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, July 01, 1990
ID: 13046707
TAG: 199007010110
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C6
COLUMN: In Ottawa
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

A FATAL FLAW IN DUBIN’S REPORT

My immediate reaction to the first recommendations in the report of Justice Charles Dubin on drug use was disappointment. How could argument in the name of a reputable jurist be so vapid?
Other reactions to the report by those much involved in sport have somewhat eased my concern. Sensibly, the sports people have focussed on the issues of drug use and testing which are analyzed and criticized thoroughly in the report. So far they’ve ignored the No. 1 recommendation, which shows a remarkable ignorance of the roles played by government in sport over the past two decades.
In particular, Justice Dubin misses entirely that municipal governments and their masters, the provincial governments, have far larger responsibilities (and accept them!) for sports participation and provision of facilities, venues, and expertise than does the federal government. My guesstimate is that those in the sports administration of the provinces and municipalities outnumber the federal personnel by about 20 to one and spend about 25 times as much annually.
If sport leaders and our journalists have chosen to concentrate on the specifics of what Dubin was charged with, ignoring his stuff on the role of Ottawa, am I not foolish or even mean to touch on his ignorance?
The explanation for my stress on the silly recommendation is simple.
Long after Ben Johnson is back in competition the sporting world beyond us still rolls along with coaches, managers, and athletes using any means to better performance, our federal bureaucrats and our federal politicians will be arguing from these pretentious, unreal recommendations in order to keep up their numbers and spending.
Dubin (page 525 seq.) leads into his initial recommendations with a segment on the “role of government in sport.” Nowhere in its argument is there a word or phrase about provincial governments or municipalities. Nothing! Dubin would demonstrate the federal government’s policies and contributions to sport became too strong on success, measured by international gold medals. Consider this paragraph:
“The changed emphasis from broad-based support of sport for the general community of ordinary Canadians to high-level competitive sport demands re-examination of the role and mandate of government in sport.”
Then he makes his first recommendation. It has nothing to do with drugs. It states that those responsible for administering federal funds for sport must return to “the mandate” on which “government funding was originally based …
-“ Broad participation in sport, not solely a focus on elite sport;
-“ Access to sport programs by all Canadians;
-“ Encouragement of women in sport ensuring equal access to sports programs and facilities;
-“ Encouragement of greater participation in sport by disadvantaged groups;
-“ Support for the disabled in sport;
-“ Amelioration of regional disparities in access to sport programs and facilities.”
All right, Justice Dubin, where’s this “mandate”? From the country?
Did you find it in any agreement with the provinces and the cities and towns where almost all the resources and facilities are, where most sport and training takes place, and where most of the leaders and managers of sport are based and work for your recommendations?
And where are the huge sums of money from the federal treasury which would be needed to fulfil these recommendations of yours?
It’s obvious Justice Dubin never read several major papers on sport and recreation produced by the government of Quebec. There he would have found the assumptions that Quebec, not Ottawa, has the mandate for what he sets out above. Why? How? Because sport – both quality competitive and recreational sport – is taken as a component of cultural activity, including education. Therefore “the broad participation” is provincial in locale and nature, not a basic federal responsibility.
To reiterate, the federal roles in sport which the provinces and the municipalities have recognized since Ottawa got into sport with vigor in implementing its 1969 task force report on sport are not in broad participation but in fostering competition and opportunities at the national and international levels.
Justice Dubin is remarkably ignorant of governmental responsibilities in what is still a federal, not yet a unitary, state.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Friday, June 29, 1990
ID: 13046552
TAG: 199006290252
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

A CANADA WITHOUT COMPROMISES

My previous column argued that English Canadians needed leadership by its own, not by those who represent Quebec. And neither Jean Chretien nor Brian Mulroney can take us to a new Canada without Quebec or even with Quebec in a unique and changed relationship. Their prejudices are understandable and obvious. They are of Quebec.
Someone or some party – perhaps a premier other than Robert Bourassa, perhaps the Reform Party or the NDP -should set out what English Canada should be if, as seems clear, that most English Canadians want to stay together, unified and more centrally directed than Quebec’s stances have ever allowed.
In short, we ought to get busy on Canada, as the Quebecois are determining the system for their precious autonomy.
David Peterson, for all his lightness, might be the one from outside Quebec to lead English Canadians. He has one seeming asset in speaking French and in not bearing any anti-French bias that could poison the transition era.
Today federal Canada has two national parties. The head of one, the PM, represents a Quebec riding. The other intends to. Each is in a political scenario that really closed when Meech failed and the Quebecois at once began their transit to a new state. The transition must be ours as well as theirs. Do we stand by while they debate, refine, and inaugurate their new system of government?
It’s not their records, good or bad, which make clear that the prime minister and the Liberal leader are suspect leaders for the transition era.
Brian Mulroney has a conflict of sentiment and of interest in any process of defining a nation without the Quebecois.
And Jean Chretien seems even further out of the new context. He plans to spend the next two to three years in a campaign to turn the Quebecois away from autonomy or sovereignty association. Do you think he will convince them to choose a federal Canada as they have known it? Again? Convince them that Quebec stays, as Pierre Trudeau put it, “merely a province like the others”?
The stuff for a fresh Canada, an English-speaking Canada which should emerge from the nine provinces outside Quebec, seems at hand in the two main motivations in the crusade against the Meech Lake accord. Let me recapitulate them.
The first element has an intense, emotional negativism, rather than rational argument.
The second element is most rational, although it is held by far fewer people. Its cogency rests on a history of achievement and institutions. It could enhance for English Canada what many have wanted but been blocked from full realization, that is a genuine, national government.
The emotional element has been in play, however muted, almost since Wolfe’s victory on the Plains of Abraham. It has usually been checked by leadership in both language communities that has arched over the antagonisms. Repeatedly, this has meant political compromises which satisfied the minority group without allaying the emotional antagonisms of the majority for long. Meech would have been the latest of such compromises. The millions who balk at the French language and all the compromises since Confederation could turn from their distrust of the Quebecois to a unified, English-speaking Canada.
The ideas of the rationalists against Meech are not so ancient. They emerged in strength during the 1930s and 1940s. The Depression, then the war, demanded and got national endeavors. These meant power, initiatives and programs (unemployment insurance) and agencies (Air Canada, the CBC, the NFB). The view that Canada needs a superior government, stemming from the House of Commons, has been most attractive to those educated in the arts, the professions like law, and those who staff the bureaucracies of governments, large businesses, and the universities of English-speaking Canada.
This broad, though not highly populous cadre believes in a strong federal government, one able to give leadership and support for universal programs like health care, pensions, and cash transfers to provinces which are economically weaker. That’s why federal parties and governments, mostly though not exclusively Liberal, created dozens of national institutions – boards, commissions, committees, etc. And English Canadians of this rational cast expect the federal government to direct fiscal and monetary policy for Canada as a whole.
Reflect on the forces which ruined Meech.
On the one hand breeders of bitterness such as Quebec’s standfast refusal to re-open the savory power deal it has from Newfoundland and Labrador or the federal award of the CF-18 maintenance contract to Montreal, not Winnipeg.
On the other hand, the case against the accord -by such as Trudeau, Chretien, Eugene Forsey, and an honor list of Toronto-based academics – was that Meech was a crippling devolution of federal authority and resources to the provinces, stripping Ottawa’s capacity for national initiatives.
Some non-Quebec politician or politicians must join the emotions of the many with the concept of government of the fewer into a patriotic quest for for a better Canada – without Quebec.
Peterson? Michael Wilson? Preston Manning? Ed Broadbent?

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Wednesday, June 27, 1990
ID: 12457073
TAG: 199006270300
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

CREATING A NEW CANADA

Is it there for us without Quebec – a workable, more centralized Canada?
Let’s back away from blame or praise for the failure of the Meech Lake accord for some wondering about one possibility ahead. One may divine it in the two discernable aspects in the satisfaction abounding in English Canada over the death of the accord – both gut feelings and enlightenment of reason.
The gut stuff is antagonistic. It’s against the French language, French Canadians and Quebec politicians – in particular to federal politicians from Quebec like Brian Mulroney who “cater” to Quebecers.
There are many with these feelings, often angry, sometimes surly, always easily exasperated, in all provinces but Quebec. Such animus is widespread, if rather cautiously held, in the Maritime provinces; it pervades Newfoundland; it’s subdued but persistent in Ontario, especially in small town and rural Ontario; it’s almost endemic in the western provinces, particularly Manitoba and Alberta.
The enlightenment of reason is decades old, a widely held and approved scenario in English Canada, especially in Ontario. It surged forward first when the Great Depression of the 1930s settled in, then it was sustained and broadened by practices and institutions developed by the federal government in fighting Nazi Germany. Ottawa was forced to take leadership in so many economic, social, and cultural matters, with much approval in English Canada and even with grudging acquiescence from Quebecers.
The most recent flowering of the pan-Canadian vision of government came with Pierre Trudeau’s advent in power in 1968. It persisted through his vicissitudes, its apogee coming 10 years ago with the National Energy Plan to meet the world oil crisis and the entrenchment of a Charter of Rights.
In his first years Trudeau also fitted with gut instinct of most English Canadians. They saw him as a marvel among politicians: A French Canadian who knew the place of Quebecers in Canada and would keep them in it. Though briefly, Trudeau did represent both the heart and the head elements which want a genuine national government.
It’s fair to note that until the voters speak at the next election, Jean Chretien carries on this duality for, like Trudeau, he’s a Canada Firster.
In recent weeks TV has given us in our millions many scores of vignettes which illustrate this duality of heart and head against Meech. Two cameos from CBC coverage stick with me because they showed how the power of the “heart” can overrun the “head” and vice versa even among our historians – i.e., among those whose training and work should make for detachment and overview, even at a time of turmoil.
The first vignette came about two weeks ago – with historians Michael Bliss and David Bercuson joined in anger and argument against Ed Broadbent of NDP fame over his championship of the accord.
The second came as the accord was collapsing. An anchorpersons sought instant reflections on the way ahead, post-Meech, from another historian, Jack Granatstein.
Putting it colloquially, these three are top-gun historians. They produce lots of books which interpret Canada. They write well and speak forthrightly. They’ve earned more than most academics the right to be considered.
The performances for the CBC of these scholarly, busy authorities buttress the idea that a linking of English Canadian hearts and minds may rise from the lifting away of the frustrations caused by the Quebecois. One can believe Quebec in a different relationship with the rest of Canada could be turned into the creation of a new Canada “sans Quebec.” This would be an English-speaking nation with a superior, national government — not two orders of government, federal and provincial.
Both Bliss and Bercuson were most critical of the Meech accord and were literally venomous with Broadbent. How could he and the NDP, particularly the NDP with its economic and social views, have denied a party choice for Canadians who think the accord an abomination, sure to destroy a strong, unified authority and leadership for the nation? Did even the NDP have to pander to Quebec intransigence and deny so many their birthright as Canadians?
What better gauge is there of the sweep and force of the emotional among English Canadians than this rant by two senior historians, normally dignified in demeanor and rational in their expressions.
And days later, Granatstein, who had shared their distaste for the accord, was wry rather than livid at Quebec’s freedom to choose post-Meech. He’s the historian of Ottawa’s “Golden Age” when the confluence of brilliant mandarins with Liberal ministers gave Canada global economic strength and international stature.
Granatstein was affably reasonable in suggesting that now English Canadians could create what they have been blocked from for so long by Quebec’s demands and needs — a powerful, central government for an English-speaking Canada!
Surely this indicates a way ahead for us. Hearts and heads, guts and brains, for a fresh Canada.
This requires leaders from outside Quebec. (See my next column.)

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Monday, June 25, 1990
ID: 12456590
TAG: 199006250230
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

WE CAN’T JUST TAKE IT EASY

Many calming voices Saturday and yesterday advised us to cool it. Much of the advice came from federal politicians or premiers other than Robert Bourassa.
We were told to be confident in Canada and put the constitution “on the backburner.” Pierre Trudeau even suggested constitutional change be left alone for 10 years. (He did so as an MP after the Victoria Charter’s failure in 1971 until the sudden primacy he gave to “bringing home the BNA Act” in the 1979 election.
Taking it easy is grand advice. Would that we might.
It cannot be. Too many forces are now in play. There are too many immediate imperatives for the prime minister and the premier of Quebec. Even for Jean Chretien, the new leader of the federal Liberals.
Mulroney and Chretien must deal with their distraught Quebec MPs. This means undertakings, not mere cozening. Mulroney has a desperate GST problem. He has just given natives a batch of promises, including a royal commission. Of course, Quebec has natives and their role is a constitutional issue. Mulroney has a commission on a reformed senate almost set. Does it go ahead? Has it any utility without Quebec?
In our story, the end of Meech is likely to be as before-and-after as B.C.-A.D. was for the world. In 1867 we confederated as a solution to the political warring of two peoples. Now, broadly, the two peoples have disagreed on how confederation should or ought to work. And one has declared itself out of solving the disagreements.
No one in office at present has said it but Bourassa’s words mean that for Quebecers the federal government and Parliament no longer have an enduring overreach for them. And the other “people” must either (a) wait until the other comes back and states what it has decided upon, or (b) expect, even demand its present leaders, federally or through its premiers, get cracking on sensible responses.
Brian Mulroney has to move. He must bring forth propositions to match or complement Bourassa’s initiatives.
The consequences of Meech’s failure may not be as grim as some doomsayers who backed the accord forecast, and surely most of us outside Quebec do not want a rage of bitterness between us and the French of Quebec as they pursue, as Bourassa phrased it, “Quebec’s destiny.” But the consequences will rock us and it is mere piety to think they will mature slowly and judiciously.
In TV’s vignettes of the Calgary convention the most durable of Grit schemers, Senator Keith Davey, reminded hectors who prated of the urgencies which press on his man Chretien that the next election was at least two, even three, years away. And Chretien has to rebuild the party’s organization, wipe out its debt and fill a campaign chest, unite its factions and forge a coherent platform. Sensible stuff! Mulroney is neither going to quit nor go to the people soon.
Forget electoral urgency. What’s urgent are quick, sensible responses to Quebec’s sudden freedom.
And Mulroney has another crisis to hand, caused by the Liberals’ control of the Senate. To a lesser degree this also challenges Chretien.
Mulroney must have the GST into law by the late fall. The Liberal senators led by Allan MacEachen are dedicated to blocking it. They have been urged to do it by a heavy push of public antagonism to the tax and encouragement from organized labor and the NDP, groups that hitherto have raged at any balking of the House by unelected appointees.
Chretien also shares with Mulroney another reason for immediacy and against marking time. Other partisan choices are irrelevant. They lead the only parties that now have national significance. The rise of Preston Manning’s Reform Party in the West and the choice of Audrey McLaughlin as leader has doused the NDP’s importance, perhaps forever, certainly past the next federal election. The home base of Chretien and Mulroney is Quebec. This heightens their pickling.
Bourassa will not take part in constitutional discussions of first ministers. Quebec shall deal one-on-one with the federal government on constitutional issues important to Quebecois. And shortly a program is promised for discussion and resolution by Quebecois on the form of nation they shall have.
Most of us sense that Bourassa has been forced to raise the curtain on Quebec’s new era so quickly because of public opinion in his province. Or it may be an action he has cagily anticipated since the rumpus room discussions he shared with Rene Levesque and others in the mid-1960s.
Whatever prompted Bourassa’s curtain-raiser, did either Mulroney or Chretien contradict the rightness of it? Or do they? Does either say this shall not be so, that we too speak for Quebecers? Will either federal leader – but Mulroney in particular – insist Quebec must be a province like the others, as Trudeau so often said.?
For Mulroney those are really rhetorical questions. A negative is implicit in them. This may not be so for Chretien. Several times on Saturday he recalled the mighty referendum win in Quebec in which he led the federalists. He may challenge with a demand for a referendum in Quebec, believing another federal victory would again stop the move to sovereignty association or separation.
Brian Mulroney must respond quickly to Bourassa, at the least with a process.

The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

DATE: Sunday, June 24, 1990
ID: 12456266
TAG: 199006240251
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Comment-Lifestyle
PAGE: C6
COLUMN: In Ottawa
SOURCE: BY DOUGLAS FISHER

TURNER’S WORDS OF WARNING

John Turner’s last hurrah was excellent in argument and presentation.
As he spoke, two matters struck me.
The first was of the pain in life as a politician. There as buttress was his family quartet: Bright, attractive, smiling, supportive and, surely, glad this was the last such act for them and their man. They did the curtain scene perfectly, and so did he.
The second was of Turner’s preoccupation with what he’d called “the Canadian issue” back in 1968.
His exit theme had parallels with those of four prime ministers I have heard – Mackenzie King, Louis St. Laurent, Lester Pearson, and Pierre Trudeau. Each stressed his work at the issue of “unity” or English-French relationships. (Trudeau made it almost a sidebar, perhaps because his referendum victory in Quebec was still vivid and seen as having made Quebec safe for federalism in our times.)
As in 1990, in 1948, in 1958, in 1968, and in 1984, retaining unity between two differing peoples is basic to everything. Each leader at leaving thought it was where he had given the most to Canada.
When auditing King and St. Laurent I was derisive of their unity theme. It takes a long while before many Canadians see and accept this imperative. (It took me some 25 adult years.)
Although Turner was an Ottawa child and a youth and university student at UBC and Oxford, he grew up a Grit, aware Quebec was the rock on which the party’s power was set. His first law work came in Montreal, and when he became an MP in 1962 at 33, it was for the downtown riding of St. Laurent-St. George. At once on the Hill he was tagged with two things: An intent of going “all the way” and a determination to be a bilingual politician.
His first chance at “all the way” came in 1968. He ran third on the final leadership ballot to Trudeau and Bob Winters.
Four of the nine candidates in that race produced instant paperbacks. Turner’s was Politics of Purpose, the best in range, clarity and analysis. Last night I recollected Turner had been more than cautious about Quebec in it. These lines from the book match his farewell Thursday to the party.
“The debate on the future of Canadian Confederation . . . has occupied the Canadian consciousness for a long time. It represents a long-standing malaise in our community. Of late there has been added a new dimension: A more precise clarity in the ideas of those who confront each other, a greater precision in their respective positions. The feeling of uneasiness has now reached the stage of confrontation. The question is: Is this a good thing? Does such a confrontation serve only to aggravate the problem? . . . Would we not put an end to the dispute if we were to stop talking about it?
“A crisis has never been avoided by silence. A confrontation is always the only way to bring an issue to a head. Let me go further. We must have a confrontation because other questions of vital importance in the economic and social spheres still remain without solution.”
Then came a paragraph Turner might have used Thursday night: “The current debate finds its essence in the thrust of Quebec nationalism,. Its outcome will depend on the response given to it by the rest of Canada . . . I recognize the essence of the problem as concerning every Canadians as well as those of us who live in Quebec, and I reject the argument that everything would turn out all right, if it were not for a handful of separatist agitators and politicians hungry for power.”
In this 1968 essay Turner made a telling case that “the possible economic repercussions that would follow any secession of Quebec” would be catastrophic. Living standards of Quebecers would plummet and there would be much ugliness in the process of leaving. But he didn’t believe “the economic factor, real though it be, constitutes the basic response to the ideology of separatism.” Therefore he offered a set of ideas and programs which emphasized bilingualism and biculturalism. They seem to be deja vu because most have been used by the Trudeau and Mulroney governments.
Now Turner, addressing those about to pick a new leader, was echoing his predecessors in fixing on “the long-standing malaise of our community. Although he put heavy blame on Brian Mulroney for the present tragedy, he emphasized why he had been for Meech. He stressed that with Meech dead Canada was in greater jeopardy than ever.
Turner was most gracious in this. He did not point to the irony that by and large four Liberals slew Meech: Clyde Wells and Sharon Carstairs, and their exemplars, Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien.
The Toronto Sun
Copyright © 1990, SunMedia Corp.

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