The 1999 Juno Award Ceremony in Hamilton. Featuring Terry Cooke, Sheila Copps, Dominic Agostino, Toni Skarica, Bob Morrow, Geddy Lee, RUSH, Tragically Hip, Lillian Ross, Rita McNeil, Barenaked Ladies, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Mike Bullard, Sloan, Larry Flynt,
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday February 25, 1999
No food or drink in pool, breastfeeding mom told
A mother breastfeeding while swimming at a city recreation centre was ordered to leave because “no food or drink is allowed in the pool.”Shannon Wray, 25, was enjoying family swim time Friday morning at Huntington Park Recreation Centre on the East Mountain when her nine-month-old daughter Chyenne got hungry.
“I was sitting in the hot pool with my daughter in front of me and I pulled down my bathing suit strap, ” Wray said. “And I took my breast out and put her on it.”
A moment later, Wray was approached by the pool’s aquatic director, who advised the mother she would have to go into the change room to feed her child. Wray said she was told that it’s the culture and recreation department’s policy that there is no breastfeeding in the pool area.
“I’m very sorry you’re offended, ” Wray told the woman. “But that’s your problem. I’m nursing my baby and I’m not moving. You’re going to have to deal with it.”
Wray believes other swimmers complained.
When Wray refused to leave, she was told by the aquatic director that she couldn’t stay in the pool because of the state of “her attire.” Then, she said, a male lifeguard told her she had to stop breastfeeding “because no food or drink is allowed in the pool.”
Wray said she has breastfed her baby in public many times — including at the Huntington Park pool — but never had any complaints before now.
“It’s unfortunate that a natural act had to become some political brouhaha, ” said Wray. “This was very inappropriate and very humiliating.”
Alderman Mary Kiss, vice-chairperson of the city’s parks and recreation committee, said she was “appalled” that breastfeeding in public was still an issue for some people.
“It’s great to have mothers breastfeeding their children. I’ll definitely look into this.”
The lifeguard and aquatic director were just plain wrong, said Gary Makins, manager of the city’s east recreation district.
As far as the culture and recreation department goes, said Makins, mothers can nurse “at the pool, in the pool or on the side of the pool.
“I think our lifeguard or aquatic supervisor shouldn’t have asked her to leave, ” he said. Makins will send a copy of the city’s breastfeeding policy to each of the pools he supervises and he will write Wray a letter of apology.
As for no food or drink in the pool? “That doesn’t apply here, ” he said. “But if she was eating a sandwich in the pool, that would be a problem.” (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday January 20, 1999
Clinton lays out raft of initiatives: Paves the way for Gore in 2000
He may be facing removal from office, he may be unable to get his legislation through Congress, and he may be only two years away from the end of his term in any case, but President Bill
Clinton last night gave notice that he has not given up.
In the State of the Union address that Clinton delivered to both houses of Congress, he laid out a vast array of policy projects. But behind the facade, much of what Clinton announced had less to do with his own ambitions than the presidential aspirations of Vice-President Al Gore.
The policy details seem designed to set out an agenda for Gore, and to guard his weaker flanks against attack from the Republicans. It is a manifesto for the baby-boom generation at the century’s end.
The mainstay of the speech was the growing budget surplus, expected to be a cumulative $2.7 trillion over the next 15 years. There is no consensus in Washington about what to do with the windfall — spend it, save it or use for tax cuts.
Clinton said last night that he wants the vast majority of the surpluses — about 62 per cent — to be devoted to bolstering social security, the American pension system. Of this, between a fifth and a quarter would be invested through the stock market. The U.S. population is aging, and the baby boom generation fears that there will not be enough paid into it to keep their pensions. The initiative would keep the pension system solvent until 2055.
Another 15 per cent would go to preserving the Medicare system for the elderly, and 11 per cent would be used for new “universal savings accounts” for individuals to invest for their retirement
The Republicans preferred to devote the surplus to tax cuts, but Clinton’s proposals — which have overtones of careful economy, while reassuring people in their 30s and 40s that there will be a pension waiting for them — will command considerable political support, especially among the less well-off.
The rest of the surplus, Clinton proposed spending. Firstly, he called for considerable investment in education, reinforcing discipline and scho ol standards. Clinton also proposed using some of the cash to boost military spending, part of a multi-year package that would devote an extra $112 billion to the Pentagon. This is the first increase in spending since the 1991 Gulf War. Clinton and Gore are both vulnerable on defence, where the administration is regarded as weak.
A new round of global trade talks, to reform the World Trade Organization and reduce trade barriers, was another of Clinton’s proposals. This will appeal to the free-trade constituencies, unions and environmental groups.
By putting down markers in so many areas, and in particular by appealing to the middle-of-the-road, middle-aged and middle class, Clinton has given a boost to Gore’s early prospects. (Hamilton Spectator, B2, 1/20/1999)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday January 12, 1999
Time for a new look at Cuba
It has taken almost 40 years, but the United States is finally beginning to realize that its hard line toward Cuba has failed. President Bill Clinton, better late than never, is recognizing that the trade embargo against Cuba is an ineffective way to promote democracy and human rights in Fidel Castro’s dictatorship. Sadly, however, prospects for a rapid thaw in the costly deep freeze between Cuba and the U.S. remain elusive.
Two obstacles — Clinton’s reluctance to take bold action to ease the embargo, and Castro’s hostility to even limited American overtures toward Cuba — keep Washington and Havana in a no-win stand-off. It doesn’t make sense. An end to American economic sanctions on Cuba can’t come a moment too soon. Lifting the embargo has the most potential to force Castro’s repressive regime to change.
Clinton took a helpful, if modest, step to break the ice last week. He announced a further loosening of sanctions against Cuba, such as expanding direct charter flights to the island, allowing direct mail service, and encouraging exchanges of athletes, scientists and other professionals. Building on an easing of the embargo last March, Clinton is making a tacit admission that American policy toward Cuba is failing. The Americans are heading down the road of dialogue and engagement toward Cuba, as Canada has done for decades. But Clinton is moving too slowly, evidently for fear of upsetting the anti-Castro lobby in Florida and hardline Republican congressmen.
A growing number of influential political and business voices want Clinton to take more dramatic action. A non-partisan commission, including Republican heavyweights such as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, volunteered to study alternative policies toward Cuba. Clinton should take that opportunity. If the U.S. were to end the embargo, Castro would be deprived of his most potent propaganda weapon, his litany of complaints about the U.S.
Castro is as much to blame for the paralysis as unsuccessful American policy. Apart from occasional public relations gestures, s uch as Pope John Paul’s visit last year, Castro shows little interest in easing the harsh realities of his regime. He has long insisted that Cuba will not allow democratic elections. True to form, Castro’s government denounced Clinton’s latest overtures. Castro would have reciprocated if he was truly interested in helping ordinary Cubans to survive the hardships of the embargo. The sanctions cost Cuba an estimated $800-million (U.S.) every year.
The aging dictator’s refusal to co-operate with the U.S. dampens hopes for an early transition to democracy. Perhaps he’ll listen to Canada, a big supplier of foreign investment and tourists. Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy last week urged Castro to release more political dissidents. Cuba freed several political prisoners after Prime Minister Jean Chretien visited last year. There was no immediate sign that Castro would budge this time.
Few leaders are as intractable and short-sighted as Castro. However, that doesn’t excuse the mistakes made by the U.S. in Cuban policy. As long as the American embargo remains, Castro will continue a propaganda war that helps him — but doesn’t do anything for long-suffering Cubans. (Source: Hamilton Spectator editorial)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday November 7, 1998
Gingrich bows to party pressure: Failure to tame Democrats forces Speaker to step down
The dizzying turnaround in Bill Clinton’s fortunes was dramatically underscored yesterday when Newt Gingrich, who led the forces to impeach the U.S. president, decided to resign.
Gingrich’s decision came with stunning swiftness on the heels of an open declaration by frustrated Republicans to dump him as their leader.
“I will not be a candidate for speaker of the 106th Congress, ” Gingrich said in a statement. “The Republican conference needs to be unified and it is time for me to move forward, where I believe I still have a significant role to play for our country and our party.”
Republicans have been in an uproar since Tuesday when they failed to score electoral points despite a last-minute advertising blitz attacking Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
That failure launched a widespread movement to topple Gingrich and his lieutenants. But no one expected Gingrich to abandon a powerful post that effectively made him the president of the U.S. Congress.
“The one thing about Newt Gingrich is that he’s not a quitter, ” said shocked Republican pollster Frank Luntz. “That’s why this is so surprising.”
Gingrich, who had been considering a run for the presidency in 2000, was widely credited with wresting control of Congress from Clinton’s Democrats for the first time in four decades in what became known as the Republican Revolution in 1994.
“The reality is that we would not be in position of controlling the House if it weren’t for Newt Gingrich, ” said Republican congressman Peter King, who supported the movement to oust Gingrich. “But the reality was he became an ineffective leader.”
Gingrich’s consistently low approval ratings made him an ineffective stump campaigner for the Republicans. But few expected his resignation in a year that saw them come close to toppling Clinton.
Although Republicans still control the House and the Senate, the Democratic gain of five seats marked the first time since 1934 that the party in power in the White House added seats in the House in a mid-term election. That failure has been laid at Gingrich’s feet.
A little-known New Orleans congressman, Bob Livingston, who described himself as a “dear friend” of Gingrich, took his stealth campaign against the Republican House leader public yesterday. Livingston said he will challenge Gingrich for Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“I don’t do so lightly, I don’t do so cheerfully, but I do so resolutely, ” Livingston said. “No one has been more loyal to him as Speaker.”
Another rebellious Republican, former NFL football star Steve Largent, said he would join Livingston in the post-election revolt by challenging Gingrich loyalist Dick Armey for the post of House majority leader.
“The Republican party hit an iceberg” on election day, Largent said. “I think the question that is before our conference today is whether we retain the crew of the Titanic or we look for some new leadership, ” Largent said.
The warring among Clinton’s foes came a day after Republicans announced a significant retreat in their effort to impeach Clinton, and Paula Jones and her lawyers also appeared to be squabbling among themselves.
“Obviously, Democrats are sitting back and smiling, ” Democratic consultant Chuck
Todd said, referring to the chaos among Republicans.
Less than 48 hours after a five-seat swing to the Democrats, the Republican controlling the judiciary committee, Henry Hyde, annou nced a fast-track impeachment inquiry timetable that would make Ken Starr the only significant witness. (Hamilton Spectator, D6, 11/7/1998)