Skip to main content
The largest online newspaper archive
A Publisher Extra® Newspaper

Times Colonist from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada • 5

Times Colonisti
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Issue Date:
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

comment 5 MAY, 1981 5 TIMES-COLONIST Following 'nature' Pierre's tiqht little circle Ellen Goodman Richard Gwyn finance minister and the one individual besides Jim Coutts to whom Trudeau acknowledges a personal political debt. There's Energy Minister Marc Lalonde. Still as close as ever to Trudeau Lalonde has now liberated himself to try to make his own mark in the history books by his national energy program. And there's Chretien. Two other ministers are close to the inner circle.

Fisheries Minister Romeo LeBlanc matters because Trudeau turns to him to learn what "real Canadians really think." Environment Minister John Roberts, Chretien's back-up on the constitution, matters because he's now being pushed to become the cabinet's Ontario star. Lalonde and LeBlanc were once il-f Lalonde 1 'Hi decided to return in 1979 only after Pitfield, then in exile at Harvard University, promised to return himself, just as in 1968 Trudeau ran for the Liberal leadership only after Pitfield had agreed to work for him. Any ranking of the others is arbitrary. Near the top, since the constitution is at the top of Trudeau's list, is Federal-Provincial Relations Secretary Michael Kirby. He'll remain there as principal strategist of Ottawa'splan to cut back its subsidies to the provinces, which, when this battle breaks in the fall, will make the row over the constitution look like a spat Kirby once worked in Trudeau's office.

So did two of the others whose names you should jot down in your desk diary. One is Deputy Finance Minister Ian Stewart, whom Trudeau wanted to move there in 1977 but didn't because businessmen thought Stewart leaned too much to the left. Today, Trudeau, MacEachen and Stewart think as one. The other is Deputy Communications Minister Pierre Juneau, once briefly communications minister, which now, rather than the incumbent Francis Fox, he is in all but title. Personality and circumstance brings two others into the inner circle.

External Affairs Undersecretary Allan Gotlieb is in charge of trying to move the North-South dialogue forward, and of organizing the July western economic "summit." When he turns his attention to energy, Trudeau turns to two people, who for convenience here are counted as one: Deputy Minister Mickey Cohen, the diplomat and negotiator; Assistant Deputy Ed Clark, the idea-generator and number-cruncher. Before the year is out, Axworthy may move to private industry, and Gotlieb to Washington as ambassador. At least four others are moving up and into the inner circle: Economic Development Secretary Gordon Osbaldes-ton, Industry Deputy Minister Bob Johnstone, de Montigny Marchand, the No. 2 at External Affairs, and Bob Rabinovitch, the top policy-type under Pitfield. Add all the names, and add to them a couple of low-profile but highly rated ministers, Treasury Board President Don Johnston and Economic Development Minister Senator Bud Olson, and the inner government still numbers just 20.

Come to think of it, Trudeau could easily squeeze them all into his kitchen. Toronto Star OTTAWA For a long time now, but most particularly because of his experiences during last summer's Quebec referendum, Justice Minister Jean Chretien has been convinced that the CBC's French network is crammed ith closet separatists. A week ago, when the cabinet debated the CBC's request for $35 million to start a second, elite-audience, network, the loudest naysayer at the oval table was Chretien. At the afternoon's end, the cabinet's decision was "No." The point here isn't whether Chretien's opinions about the CBC are right or wrong. The point instead is that his opinions matter.

Depending upon the way he thinks, so, mast times, will the government think. Chretien is one of just a dozen individuals in this town who really matter. One-third of them, all elected politicians, possess direct power. The others, two political aides and a half-dozen civil servants, command influence and possess access, that most priceless of all power-broking assets. Never before has so much been done in Ottawa by so few.

The source of this concentration of power is, of course, Pierre Trudeau himself. He's become a "liberated" prime minister such as we've never experienced before. Since he doesn't have to face the voters again, and since anyway the polls show that Canadians like what he's doing, he can do just about anything he wants draft a constitution that's almost a carboncopy of the one he wrote 20 years ago as a university professor; make a private passion, North-South relations, into his government's third priority after the constitution and energy. The familiar phrases, like "kitchen cabinet" or "imperial court," don't quite fit the present circumstances. Far from being cut off from the outside world, and even less so hiding from it as he once did, Trudeau today is far more open, more pragmatic and more political than during his earlier "Imperial Prime Ministership." Rather, Trudeau has constructed his government into a series of concentric ircles of which only the inner one really matters.

He has positioned himself, not so much at the head of his government as at its centre, from which, through the few he fully respects and trusts, power radiates on out to the rest of us. Besides Trudeau himself, three of the inner-core members are cabinet ministers. There's Allan MacEachen, This time, capitalism, as well as mental health and crime prevention, rest on the ability of a woman to get her man and keep his nose to the grindstone. "This is what happens in a monogamous marriage: The man disciplines his sexuality and extends it into the future through the womb of a woman. The woman gives him access to his children, otherwise forever denied him; and he gives her the product of his labor, otherwise dissipated on temporary pleasures.

The woman gives him a unique link to the future and a vision of it; he gives her faithfulness and a commitment to a lifetime of hard work." Gilder identifies the enemies of this blissful romantic-capitalistic union as (1) women who allow sex without marriage, (2) working wives, (3) women with independent means, (4) government programs which in any way support (1), (2) or (3). The basic point about family and the economy is that a man needs a thoroughly dependent wife and needful children to become a dependable, upwardly mobile worker. The woman (or government) who undercuts the male role as provider merely produces another naked nomad, as the capitalist system goes kapooey. Gilder is blissfully unconcerned about what happens to the dependent wife and children when a man's nose is not permanently attached to the grindstone, or when it is not permanently attached to a wife. He's blissfully unconcerned about women who are not wives and mothers.

Under his plan for fun and profit, the only decent thing for a woman to harbor is a fund of trust for her man, rather than, say, a trust fund. Under his plan a woman is supposed to provide, rather than to have, a meaning for life. All this would be amusing, in a dippy sort of way, except for the fact that Gilder's mystical philosophy has been officially dubbed "Promethean in power and insight" by David Stockman. The ideas underlie the budget plans of the former divinity student and the former governor. It is no accident that the Reagan cuts are aimed at any programs welfare, child nutrition, food stamps that would "undermine the motivation of men" by helping women and children.

It was all in the works years ago, in the mind of the man with the Kleenex on his chinny, chin, chin. The Boston Globe BOSTON I met George Gilder before he had become the author most in demand by the supply-siders, before Wealth and Poverty had hit the bestseller lists. In those days, David Stockman was an ex-divinity student. Ronald Reagan was an ex-governor and George was a bachelor. This last fact was not, I hasten to add, extraneous.

George had just finished a dreadful little book called Naked Nomads, a postscript to Sexual Suicide in which he set out to prove how miserable single men were. They were prone to everything from poverty to pornography, psychosis to syphilis. Those who were not violent to others were likely to inflict violence on themselves. What I remember most about our interview was that George arrived wounded. He had cut his unwed chin while shaving.

As he talked about the self-destructiveness of single men, a small piece of Kleenex kept jiggling ominously along his wound. George was ardent in his belief that women should devote their lives to rescuing poor needful men. Jiggle, jiggle. He maintained that if only women would stop being so damnably independent and would follow nature see Lionel Tiger all would be right with the world. Jiggle, jiggle.

Frankly, I thought Gilder was a bit dippy. By then, as I recall, I'd already heard the stories. Heard about his uncanny ability to lose overcoats. Heard about the time he'd driven to Philadelphia to see a track meet, flown back to Boston and gone looking for his car. It never passed my mind that he would become a darling of presidents.

I mean, who would trust the economic philosophy of a man who can't keep track of his overcoat? But I must be kind about this. I chauvinistically assumed that Bachelor George would do what he said all men do: straighten out as soon as he got married. However, here he is six years, one wife and two children later, and lordy, the man is still at it. Once again in his book about hope, faith, charity, and the capitalist system, he bases his beliefs on some mysterious, mystical sexual powers. "Civilized society is dependent upon the submission of the short-term sexuality of young men to the extended maternal horizons of women," he writes.

Coutts Chretien aides in Trudeau's office. Roberts is a close friend of Coutts. MacEachen and Coutts stage-managed Trudeau's political resurrection in 1979. It's ties like these that bind the insiders. Of the two back-room aides who count, one of course is Coutts.

The other is Tom Axworthy. They've worked together since 1975, like a relay team: Axworthy comes up with the policy ideas; Coutts figures out how to put them into political practice. Other ideas are tossed up by half-a-dozen civil service mandarins. On Trudeau's behalf, Privy Council Clerk Michael Pitfield winnows out the good and the bad. Of their relationship, all that needs to be said is that Trudeau si ft 3 (.,.,,,, .1 MacEachen Tipping: There are better ways iOCOllVQf! I over.

"Wrap it in a piece of paper," he advised. "There is something very demeaning in Japan about handling or accepting money raw." That advice struck a responsive chord in me. I don't think it's just in Japan that such feelings exist. There is something demeaning about raw money everywhere. Conventional wisdom says, of course, that people are quite ready to be demeaned, if the tip is large enough.

Occasionally that is true. But I notice that in American restaurants people very seldom hand raw money to waiters and waitresses. If the place has class, you get your bill on a little tray and when you've paid it, you discreetly place your tip on the tray. The intermediate step between giving and receiving is important. In simpler places, you are Noel Perrin Recently I read an article devoted entirely to tipping.

It told you what percentage of the bill to give a waiter in a good Los Angeles restaurant. It told how much per night to leave a chambermaid in Chicago. It boldly faced the issue of whether you owe anything to a maitre d' in Barcelona who just seats you, and maybe fawns a little. It was all good practical advice and all strictly on a mercenary level. Only at the very end did the author show any awareness that tips involve human beings as well as money.

He gave a warning to North Americans who visit Japan, or at least to those who stay at a traditional Japanese hotel. If they want to give a tip, he said, they mustn't just whip out a note and hand it 'J I) 1 trjnm 1 I I 1 I W. Right turn on red Sydney J. Harris Your home town's a fine place, that's true, but sometimes it's fun to get away for a day or two, right? At VIA we understand and we've got a variety of short-term packages called Getaways designed exactly for people like you. A low-cost VIA Getaway gives you great value for your money.

It includes: return rail fare, fine hotel accommodation, even sightseeing tours (in season). So next time you feel like a little break, call your Travel Agent or VIA, and ask about VIA Getaways. GETAWAYS FROM VANCOUVER (Based on Two Nights): So when it was Stefan's turn to ask me to dinner the next week, I got a bright idea. In the same way that Americans sometimes bring a bottle of wine when they're asked out to dinner, I would bring him a couple of pounds of drip grind. Fortunately, I had just sense enough to check my idea out before I went.

One of the junior faculty at the institute, a young woman named Marishka, was assigned to act as a sort of general guide and adviser to visiting staff. The next time I saw her, I told her I had bought a couple of pounds of coffee to take to her boss. It was just a routine query. What I expected her to do was compliment me on an imaginative and generous gesture. Instead she turned pale.

"Prof. Perrin, you must not do that," she said. "You will upset Prof. Gorski most severely. Coffee is hard to buy here in Warsaw." "I know.

That's why I want to take him some." "But he will want to give you a present of equal rarity in return, and what will that be? He is a proud man. I implore you, do not do it." Before we were done talking, I had learned that coffee would have been wrong even if it had been as readily available in Warsaw as packets of instant borscht. Polish etiquette says that what you bring when you go out to dinner is three flowers. In special cases, it's OK to bring five. But I had already bought the stuff, and besides I really wanted to do Gorski this favor.

After some thought, I found a solution. Instead of giving him raw coffee, so to speak, I would do the equivalent of wrapping a note in a piece of paper. Poles like to have pine branches around their apartments in the winter, for the scent. What I did was to get hold of a quite large pine branch, some fancy wrapping, and a third pound of coffee. When I arrived at Prof.

Gorski's, I was holding a 5-foot pine branch from which three exotic fruits were dangling, roughly the size of coconuts. "I have taken the liberty of bringing you a little tree with three flowers on it," I said. He looked surprised. But he took the branch. He unhusked one of the fruits, glanced casually at the Maxwell House label, and then he smiled.

"You are learning to be a little Polish," he said. I like it that this charade was necessary. I like it that Poles, Japanese and American barbers have their pride. It's when raw money or indeed open patronage of any kind becomes generally acceptable that I will worry about what's happening to our race. Los Angeles Times likely to hide the tip under the edge of your plate.

In no sort of place do you flip a Susan B. Anthony dollar to the waiter, who then catches it in his teeth. At least where I live, the same feeling is even stronger in barber shops. That's natural. Barbers aren't, well, waiting on you the way waiters are.

They have a certain professional dignity to preserve. A standard haircut costs $4 where I live, and most people add a dollar tip. But I have never yet seen anyone press the tip into the barber's hand. If they have a five, they give him that, murmuring, "Keep the change." If they pay with a ten, thus getting a five and a one back, they lay the one delicately next to the cash register. And generally hurry on out of the shop so they won't have to shame the barber by watching while he picks up that naked money and puts it wherever he keeps his tips.

But the extreme case I've encountered was in Poland. There it's not just raw money people feel demeaned by, but raw favors of any kind. Poles don't like to be beholden. A few years ago I was serving as the Fulbright professor at Warsaw University, which means I was teaching advanced students in the Instytut Angiels-ki, or English Institute. Along with many junior faculty, there were two Polish professors in the institute.

Each of them had me to dinner fairly soon after my arrival. Both were present at both dinners, presumably so they could share the burden of sustaining a long conversation with a stranger. The one who had me to dinner first was a woman professor named Irena. At the end of the meal she brought us each a cup of coffee. Her male colleague leaned eagerly forward as his cup arrived "My God, Irena," he said, "that's real coffee!" And then, turning to me, Stefan explained.

"You see, Prof. Perrin," he said, "we are not a rich country. We must spend our foreign currency on computers and other important things like that. When we are lucky, there are two shops that sell coffee one day a week and you can expect to wait in line an hour, and to pay much. I love coffee, but I do not like lines." Irena easily persuaded him to have a second cup and, before I left, a third.

This little scene left me suffused with American Guilt. I have never waited in line for coffee in my life (unless you count supermarket check-out lines), and I didn't have to in Warsaw, either. The American Embassy had a large and well-stocked grocery store in the basement, shelves groaning with coffee and everything else. Fulbright professors had access. from $134 from $153 Calgary Edmonton All prices quoted per person, double occupancy.

Choice of hotels, and additional nights, also available. Fares and conditions subject to change without notice. TAKE IT EASY. TAKE THE TRAIN. out of the way or get hit, and often swinging in precariously in front of an approaching car.

We have twisted the liberty as we so often do into licence, and arrogantly assume that the law permits us to turn whenever we feel like it, regardless of anyone else's rights. Traffic engineering is made up of three basic components: the state of the road, the state of the car, and the state of the driver. This last is most often neglected and ignored by the specialists, who refuse to accept the obvious fact that a splendid system on paper will not work in practice if the "people problem" is not taken into account. Some publics are simply trained to be politer than others. In England, for instance, people queue up for buses and trains and wait their turn to board; motorists rarely toot their horns as they do here, or slither in ahead of you to tailgate another car.

Americans are, on the whole, a barbarous public, pushing, shoving, disdaining courtesy as a form of weakness. As such, it was to be expected that right-turn-on-red would be sorely abused; that what we gained in time would be lost in lives and broken limbs. Some systems are "too good" for some people, and some developments have to wait until we have developed the civility to use them wisely. Field Enterprises What is wrong with most specialists is that they tend to work in a vacuum. They see problems in terms of their own specialty, but rarely relate to the reality of inter-connecting forces.

As a minor, but vivid, example of this short-sightedness, consider the recent traffic changes in most cities to "right-turn-on-red." It is an admirable system, from a traffic engineer's point of view. It saves need-less time, it saves gasoline consumption, and it expedites jams at intersections. I was highly in favor of it hen it began, as an impatient motorist, like most of us. Now I can see what was wrong with it. The right-turn-on-red is maiming and killing more pedestrians, and accounting for more accidents, than the old wait-for-green system.

Statistically, there is absolutely no doubt about this, as the U.S. National Safety Council will verify. The right-turn-on-red requires a driving public that is far more considerate and civilized than we are. It calls for restraint and courtesy, so that drivers do not turn when pedestrians are crossing or autos are approaching the intersection at right angles. Most drivers take advantage of the new system and turn before they should, forcing pedestrians to jump leatherstone TRAVEL SERVICE Cedar Hill Mall 1551 Cedar Hill 477-0131 leatherstote TRAVEL SERVICE 3C-James Bay Square 435 Simcoe 386-8427 HILL TRAVEL SERVICES LTD.

2257 Oak Bay Ava. 595-2226 435 Trunk Rd. DUNCAN 749-0391.

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 300+ newspapers from the 1700's - 2000's
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the Times Colonist
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

About Times Colonist Archive

Pages Available:
Years Available: