What does an internationally renowned, 51-year-old novelist worry about when he’s 3,000 miles from home, promoting a new book in North America? Wearing his fingers to the bone autographing copies for students? Not being late for that literary luncheon?
Not since the Rivard and Munsinger scandals of the mid-Sixties had there been such an uproar in parliament. The newly installed TV cameras had arrived just in time to spice daily newscasts with scenes from the House of Commons of allegations and smears, cat-calls and jeers, special debates and little sideshows related to one dominant theme: What have the Royal Canadian Mounted Police been up to and who is responsible?
It had been growing ominously evident for months. Mother Inco, as Sudbury miners call the world’s largest nickel producer, was in serious trouble. The days had long passed when the giant multinational pulled all the strings in the nickel market, when Canada exported 95% of the free world’s nickel and Inco took the usual business cycle—four good years, one lean—easily in stride.
In the first few days of the new parliamentary session, under the close scrutiny of television, Joe Clark underwent a subtle transformation. Most visible was the disappearance of his old, untamed, countrystyle haircut that looked as if he’d just stuck his finger in a socket.
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