Monthly Archives: June 2018

South Keys Deserves Better

Headline writers in Ottawa need a lesson in map reading. The peaceful south end community of South Keys suffers all too often from media reporting of criminal activities occurring outside rather than inside its borders.

Case in point: South Keys double shooting kills man, injures woman. Thus blares the June 7 edition of Your Community Voice: Greenboro/South Keys, a journal that by its very name surely ought to know better. The story in question describes a May 27 incident in which a man tending a barbecue was fatally shot on Patola Private off Cahill Drive. This location is, however, in Greenboro, not South Keys, as it lies east of the Albion Road which marks the boundary between these two communities. So why didn’t this community paper call it a Greenboro double shooting?

Fall day in South Keys

Fall day in South Keys

This was but the latest of many media reports in recent years identifying violent crime activities with South Keys. It seems that reporters, either from ignorance or sheer laziness, like to use the term for anything that happens in the south end of the city,

One of the worst examples was an Ottawa Citizen story some years ago which proclaimed: South Keys, Bayshore areas top spots for gang activity, report finds. Few details were given in that city report but a police inspector attributed much of the problem to armed gang members’ involvement in distribution of crack cocaine and in prostitution of young girls. The report incomprehensibly identified the South Keys area as bounded by Bank Street, Heron Road, Russell Road and the railway right of way.

Wrong. First of all, South Keys is entirely south of the railway tracks that run east-west north of Johnstone Road. The name “South Keys Village” was coined by the Campeau Corporation in the mid-1960s to describe a housing development in the south part of the city between those railway tracks and what were then the southern city limits at Hunt Club Road. The South Keys housing development was entirely within a triangular piece of land bordered by Bank Street, Johnstone Road, and Albion Road. Heron Road and Russell Road are miles away! The Campeau property did include the site, on the west side of Bank Street, of the South Keys Shopping Centre which was not built until 1996. Development of the area east of Albion Road between Hunt Club and Johnston Roads was called Greenboro.

Sadly but truly, shootings and gang violence have erupted in once-placid neighbourhoods throughout the city of Ottawa, and many too close to home no matter where we live. Yet let those in our news media be carefully accurate in pinpointing where these frightening incidents occur. Just as residents of areas as prominent as Rockcliffe and Alta Vista would strenuously resist being named hotbeds of crime and violence, so too should lesser communities undeserving of such damaging generalities. Painting specific neighbourhoods without cause as hubs of violent behaviour is totally unwarranted and harmful to their reputation, let alone property values.

Relics of a Bygone Era

carbon papere cover sheet

carbon paper cover sheet

Nostalgia freaks among us may readily recognize these flimsy relics of that earlier age when the term digital meant something to do with fingers. Labourers in the media and communications world many decades ago resorted often to the use of this stuff – messy black carbon paper – to file away copies of their deathless type-written prose. Secretaries and stenographers were doubtless the principal users but many if not most reporters found them handy when they wanted to keep a copy of text for whatever reason. Letter writers, another nearly extinct breed nowadays, occasionally slipped in a sheet so they’d know what they had said when replies arrived.

carbon paper inky side

carbon paper inky side

Carbon paper is described by one authority as “thin paper coated with a mixture of wax and pigment that is used between two sheets of ordinary paper to make one or more copies of an original document.” Offices of all kinds used carbons constantly with manual typewriters and they only fell into disuse when replaced by word processors and photocopiers. Few if any lamented the loss, relieved of the often messy routine of inserting and removing carbons and filing of dark stained flimsies. (Yet the term cc still commonly used in correspondence to denote copies actually derived from the term carbon copy.)

In my early journalistic days, working primarily in radio and TV in Newfoundland, I had little practical need for carbons, but used them often to keep copies of my stories, since originals stayed with station management. Well did I appreciate this custom when, decades after abandoning journalism for the dark side of government communications and then retirement, I decided to write a book (Yesterday`s News) about my news media career. Being able to quote verbatim from carbon copies of dramatic news stories lent the narrative a base of authenticity which mere reminiscence could not possibly achieve.

Coming upon these unexpected carbon sheets in a seldom opened subject file, my thoughts dredged up a far less pleasant recollection of many miserable hours spent in a student days summer time job in Montreal. As a temporary clerk, posted from one Canadian Pacific Railway office to another, I endured a full week doing nothing but removing carbon paper from copious office files. It took hours every night to wash away those dirty carbon stains.

The Outlaw Nation

Isn’t it time for Canada and all other western nations to face reality and declare the United States as an outlaw nation with which diplomatic relations are no longer tenable? As long as that country is led by its power mad egomaniac President, it is impossible to conduct any reasonable interaction with the grotesque Trump regime, so let’s not even try.

We can only hope that the American people will realize before it is too late that their cherished democratic republic is rapidly deteriorating into a wildly untramelled dictatorship no less dangerous than the Nazi Germany of Adolph Hitler. Surrounding himself with far right zealots and ambition-blinded military leaders, the increasingly autocratic leader rejects all hitherto friendly allies while cozying up to despotic regimes in Russia, China and North Korea.

War Correspondents Memorial, Maryland

War Correspondents Memorial, Maryland

Chaotic outbursts on trade wars and G7 deliberations are but the latest in a mounting eruption of hostility toward all time honoured principles and practices of living in a civilized world. Insulting attacks on Canada’s Prime Minister on his first, and hopefully last, visit to Canada, testify to the shallowness of character of America’s political leader.

One can only pray for a latter day Martin Luther King to inspire massive demonstrations throughout the United States to denounce the destructive and dictatorial actions of the Trump regime. If there was ever a vital need anywhere upon the globe for regime change, that time has surely come for the United States, and indeed the entire world, to survive its present crisis.

A Little Bit of History

A small snippet of political history which has been in my possession for more than 60 years is outbound by mail this week to the Newfoundland Archives in St. John’s. Musty from nearly forgotten confinement in a filing cabinet, the folder contains meeting notes and correspondence on the 1949-50 drafting of a constitution for the newly formed Progressive Conservative Association of Newfoundland. It came to me when I served as acting Secretary of the Association in 1958-59.

Militant opponents of Newfoundland’s 1949 entry into Confederation and the Liberal provincial government led by Premier Joey Smallwood hastened to form the Newfoundland Progressive Conservative Party. While struggling to fight the Liberals in early elections, organizational efforts began with drafting of the new party’s constitution.

Documents show that preparations began with approaching the Dominion Headquarters of the Progressive Conservative Association of Canada in Ottawa, seeking copies of existing constitutions. National Director R .A. Bell complied with this request in letters March 18, 1949, to Hon. J.S. Currie, Editor of the “Daily News”, and Harry Mews, Manager, North American Life Assurance Co. He provided copies of constitutions of the P.C. Association of Canada and that of the P.C. party of Ontario which he said might be of some value to them. Other provincial parties also sent copies of their constitutions. Harry Mews, later to become Mayor of St. John’s, was the first Leader of the Newfoundland Progressive Conservative Party while Hon J.S. Currie was Honourary President of the Nfld P.C. Association.

The folder label reads “Constitution – 1st draft – Currie, Browne, Furlong.” Of particular interest in its contents are hand written minutes of the Consultation Committee of the P.C. Association held November 8, 1950 over the signature of Secretary A.B. Butt. Attendees, identified in the minutes mainly by surname, were Messrs (John T.) Cheeseman, John G. Higgins, (W.J.) Browne, (Frank) Fogwill, (J.W.) McGrath, Pinsent, Stick, (R.S.) Furlong, (Bill) Perlin, (Harry) Mews and (A.B. “Bert”) Butt. It was decided after discussion to produce a constitution for a provincial association rather than limiting it to a St. John’s organization. The minutes were written on Press Message form paper of the Anglo-American Telegraph Company Ltd.

Another hand written note dated Nov 5, 1950 listed by surname the following as P.C. Association officers:
Hon. President – Currie
President –           Cheeseman
Vice-Presidents   Duffy, Finn (?), Sparkes,
Secretary              Hollett
Treasurer             O’Dea

Members included McGrath, Dawe, Furlong, Doyle, Perlin, Mews. Harrington, Higgins. Fogwill, Fahey, Jackman, Browne, Higgins

Several of the participants later served in the Newfoundland House of Assembly or in the Canadian Parliament. R.S. Furlong became  Chief Justice of Newfoundland.