de Steve McQueen à Patrick Dempsey, la passion en pole position


La marque a trouvé avec la star américaine, un ambassadeur aussi amoureux de la course automobile et des montres que le mythique acteur du film Le Mans.

Ce chronographe de forme carrée, avec la couronne placée à gauche, rompt avec les codes de l'époque. L'édition spéciale Gulf, mouvement automatique ( 5 250 €), lancée cette année, rappelle les couleurs de la Porsche conduite par l'acteur dans le long-métrage.
Ce chronographe de forme carrée, avec la couronne placée à gauche, rompt avec les codes de l’époque. L’édition spéciale Gulf, mouvement automatique ( 5 250 €), lancée cette année, rappelle les couleurs de la Porsche conduite par l’acteur dans le long-métrage.

Entre autres qualités, Patrick Dempsey est un europhile. Il joue ainsi dans une série réalisée par Jean-Jacques Annaud, à partir du best-seller du Suisse Joël Dicker, La Vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert, diffusée en ce moment sur TF1. Depuis plus de dix ans, il participe également régulièrement aux 24 Heures du Mans. «La course automobile la plus mythique au monde», assure-t-il, aussi bien au volant d’une voiture qu’en tant que directeur d’écurie. Il se rend donc souvent chez Porsche, en Allemagne. La star californienne voyage aussi parfois en Suisse, à La Chaux-de-Fonds, chez Tag Heuer dont il est l’ambassadeur depuis 2014. «Je passe de plus en plus de temps en Europe, et je rêve même de m’y installer une partie de l’année», reconnaît-il.

Steve McQueen, en 1971, dans le film Le Mans hisse en haut de l'affiche la montre Monaco, née deux ans plus tôt.
Steve McQueen, en 1971, dans le film Le Mans hisse en haut de l’affiche la montre Monaco, née deux ans plus tôt.

En amateur averti de compétitions automobiles, quand l’horloger de LVMH l’a contacté il y a cinq ans, Patrick Dempsey connaissait très bien les liens historiques de la maison avec ce secteur et son expertise dans le chronométrage. Mais c’est surtout, raconte-t-il, la figure de Jack Heuer – arrière-petit-fils du fondateur – qui l’a séduit. L’acteur «adore» ce passionné de voitures, ancien coureur lui-même, qui présida aux destinées de la marque des années 1960 aux années 1980 et qui officie encore aujourd’hui comme figure tutélaire.Tag Heuer lui doit plusieurs best-sellers: de la Carrera (1963) à la Monaco (1969) en passant par l’Autavia (1962), qui ont toutes été développées pour des pilotes de course et souvent baptisées, en clin d’œil, du nom d’un circuit mythique. «Jack Heuer a mille choses à raconter. Il m’a accompagné lors de ma première visite du musée et de la manufacture, c’était un vrai voyage», se souvient la star.

Patrick Dempsey, à son tour, s’inscrit dans cette histoire. Comme Steve McQueen dans le film Le Mans, il porte un blason Tag Heuer sur sa combinaison de course et la fameuse montre carrée Monaco au poignet. Dans ce film de 1971 – qui n’a certes pas marqué l’histoire du septième art mais «capture bien l’ambiance de la course», tempère Patrick Dempsey -, McQueen pilote une Ford GT40 aux couleurs de Gulf, bleu et orange. Tag Heuer signe cette année une édition spéciale hommage à la compagnie pétrolière américaine qui a ouvert la première pompe à essence en 1913. Cette Monaco Gulf avec ses deux bandes de couleur a déjà été adoptée par Patrick Dempsey.


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The unpopular populist: Why former Trump strategist Steve Bannon can’t draw a crowd (outside Toronto)


Welcome to The National Today newsletter, which takes a closer look at what’s happening around some of the day’s most notable stories. Sign up here and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.


  • Who wants to see Steve Bannon? Not many people.
  • Susan Ormiston debunks myths about the migrant caravan. 
  • What to do with statues of former prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald has become controversial.
  • Find out what it takes to keep a century-old piece of timekeeping technology ticking.
  • 902 ManUp, a grassroots Halifax movement, is trying to curb gun violence and create positive spaces for men in Nova Scotia’s black communities.
  • Missed The National last night? Watch it here.

The unpopular populist

When Steve Bannon speaks in Toronto tonight, there will be 3,000 people in the audience and perhaps as many protestors outside.

Either way, that might be a relief to the former Donald Trump adviser and Republican strategist. Because these days, the man who claims to have ignited a worldwide « populist revolution » is having trouble drawing flies.

A « micro-rally » at a Holiday Inn Express in North Topeka, Kan., on Tuesday drew a crowd of 25, including the organizers and a crew that’s trailing Bannon for a documentary. (To be fair, the event appears to have been publicized strictly via all-caps text messages.)

Bannon himself admits that his « grassroots » tour to whip up Trump’s « deplorables » in advance of next week’s midterms — and screen his self-produced Trump @War documentary — has been an intimate affair, with a half-dozen audiences of fewer than 10 people.

A showing in Staten Island last week attracted 38 Bannon fans. A rally at a firehouse outside a Buffalo, N.Y., firehall a couple of days later drew a comparably huge 200 people, but none of the Republican candidates that he was ostensibly there to support.

What has become increasingly clear is that « Sloppy Steve » is no longer considered polite company.

Bannon had a major hand in helping Trump win the U.S. presidency, but Bannon’s own tenure in the White House was relatively short-lived. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

The New Yorker magazine backed away from a plan to feature him in its fall festival after social media was set aflame by angry readers, and other celebrity guests started dropping out.  

An onstage interview event in London, UK, at the Bloomberg Invest Summit went ahead, but provoked a major mutiny among the business network’s employees, with 91 staffers signing their name to a letter criticizing management for « creating space » for a man who « targeted women, black and Muslim populations » when he was working in the White House.

And a scheduled keynote address to the 15th International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology at the University of Montana in December — the topic is « how economic nationalism will help minorities obtain more high-tech jobs » — now seems to be in doubt after complaints and boycott calls. (The Fourth International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots, happening in the same space at the same time, is so far unaffected.)

Even the populist politicians who might be benefitting from Bannon’s advice and insights are loathe to admit it.

After Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of Brazil’s new president, told a magazine that Bannon was helping his dad with voter analysis and data interpretation, Jair Bolsonaro denied having any ties whatsoever to the controversial strategist. « Typical fake news, » said the man who has been nicknamed the « Tropical Trump. »

Bannon’s efforts to launch a pan-European alliance of far-right parties called The Movement is off to a slow start, as leaders like Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini blow hot and cold on the idea of being associated with him.

In fact, the only person who really seems to want to hang out with Bannon is Robert Mueller. Last week, the special counsel probing the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia interviewed Bannon for at least the third time.

The subject of the meeting was apparently the timing of Wikileaks’ release of hacked Clinton campaign emails during the 2016 election.

A walk in their shoes

The National‘s Susan Ormiston reports from Mexico on the myths and realities of the Central American migrants hoping to make their way to the U.S. border.

Travelling with the migrant caravan in Mexico, it’s difficult to square the rising rhetoric from Washington with the worn-out feet here.

Six-year-old Josue has a nasty blister on his toe. It looks infected when he takes off his Croc-like shoes, not good for a 63-kilometre trudge.

His three-year-old sister Jessica begged her mom to stop walking days ago. She relented when Jakeline Cardona secured a stroller, from somewhere, on a rest day in Jichtan, in southern Mexico.

Cordona has a home back in Honduras, but she won’t go back. « Where I used to live, there was a lot of violence, there were no jobs, » she said.

These are the families President Donald Trump said are pushed to the front of the cameras in order to hide the men, whom he referred to as « vicious » and « invaders. »

These migrants are among the thousands who have been making their way from Central America with an eye to reaching the U.S. border. (Mia Sheldon/CBC)

It’s simply not so. None of the parents we met during our week with the caravan were staging their walk. Many signed up in Honduras, on social media, without being persuaded by some unseen political hand.

Among the 4,000 people still walking and riding, there are those who will likely never get into the U.S. legally as a refugee or asylum seeker. We met at least three men in three days who’d already been deported from the U.S. once, leaving wives or girlfriends and kids behind. They are part of this caravan, too.

But we found no evidence to justify the broad condemnations from Washington that these migrants are actors in an evil play.

When the large group of central American migrants first broke out of Guatemala and into Mexico, it appeared they might benefit from the daily news coverage and the focus on « lost countries, » as one woman described her home, Honduras.

But that spotlight has not gone their way, with the U.S. president seizing on a perceived threat to whip up resistance at home, and turn immigration into one of the toxic issues in the U.S. midterm election.

The U.S. is pressuring Mexico to deal with this « problem, » and there are small signs it is working.  This week, buses secured locally for part of the journey north out of Juchitan were cancelled. Organizers say it was due to pressure from the Mexican government.

It was one sign the strategy to keep the caravan wandering down south is working. Far enough away not to pose any real threat to the border — but close enough to be target practice for political mudslinging.

Sir John A. Macdonald’s troubled legacy

The heated controversy over what to do with statues of Sir John A. Macdonald in Canada prompted reporter Nick Purdon and producer Leonardo Palleja to dig down to the roots of the debate.

Sometimes you just have to get out of the way and let the story unfold in front of you.

That’s what happened in Regina when Leonardo Palleja and I were interviewing a man named Patrick Johnson in front of a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald.

Johnson was telling us about the time he loaded a sledgehammer into his car in the middle of the night and drove to the park to attack Sir John.

« I gave it three whacks on this side and three whacks on the other and nothing really moved, » he said. « It was just like a big ding — like a big bell ringing. »

Patrick Johnson says the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Regina, seen behind him, should be removed because the former prime minister was the architect of Canada’s residential school system. (Nick Purdon/CBC)

Johnson said he started to laugh, because the sledgehammer did absolutely nothing to the statue … other than provide him with a metaphor.  

« It was frustrating, but also eye-opening that it would take more than me to change something, » he said.

Johnson then told us about the time he sprayed red paint on the Sir John A. statue’s hands. Even though he has publicly admitted to the act, he planned to plead not guilty to the mischief charge.

« The question is, am I guilty of mischief or am I guilty of public education? » he said.

Johnson said the statue should be removed from the park because it is an insult to Indigenous people. Macdonald was the architect of Canada’s residential school system, where thousands of Indigenous children died and many others were abused.

Of course, not everyone agrees with him.

While we were talking to Johnson, a man biked by on his way home from work. He recognized Johnson and yelled: « Vandal, vandal! »

Perfect, I thought.

I stopped the man on the bike, whose name is Gordon Blackmore, and I explained what Johnson and I were discussing. He and Johnson started to argue, and Leonardo filmed the whole thing.

Our goal had always been to capture both sides of the argument over what to do with the statues of Sir John A. Macdonald, and here was the debate unfolding right in front of us.

It was unscripted and real. Have a look.

Patrick Johnson argues with Gordon Blackmore about the statue of Sir John A MacDonald in Victoria Park, Regina. 0:42
  • WATCH: Nick Purdon and Leonardo Palleja’s story on Sir John A. Macdonald’s legacy Sunday on The National on CBC Television or stream it online

Changing the time on a BIG clock

The clocks fall back this weekend, so producer Greg Hobbs went to find out what it takes to keep a century-old timepiece ticking smoothly.

This Sunday, as you relax in bed for the extra hour that the end of Daylight Savings will afford you, spare a thought for John Scott. He’ll be up bright and early to make sure one of Canada’s historic landmarks, the clock tower at Toronto’s Old City Hall, isn’t out of step with the times.

Scott is the horologist tasked with preserving and adjusting the century-old iron and steel mechanism behind the four faces of the tower. He’ll walk up more than 350 steps to get to the clock.

Horologist John Scott works on the 100-year-old clock in the tower of Old City Hall in Toronto. (Greg Hobbs/CBC)

But don’t feel too sorry for him. It’s a labour of love, and he has a contagious passion for the timepiece.

« It’s a work of art, » says Scott, of the fine-tuned cogs and springs that have been meticulously ticking away for more than 100 years.

« And to imagine they were able to put this together and install it … [how they did it] has me baffled. »

It is indeed a wondrous piece of old-world technology. Toronto’s Old City Hall tower clock was built in Croydon, England, and began operating on New Year’s Eve 1900.

However, it’s not without temperamental issues. Sudden changes in the weather can cause the clock’s timekeeping to fluctuate occasionally, for example.

But thanks to Scott’s careful and continuous tinkering, it rarely drifts more than a few seconds out of time per month.

Horologist John Scott explains how he regulates the huge century-old mechanical timepiece at Toronto’s Old City Hall clock tower. 0:33

On Sunday, Scott will stop the pendulum with his foot, and while the clock’s mechanical parts are halted, he’ll spend the extra hour inspecting and cleaning.

« Ever since I took over this contract, I’ve enjoyed every minute in this tower, » he says.

In 2011, at the city’s request, Scott reluctantly put together a budget to replace the old machinery with an automated, satellite-corrected timing system. But he was relieved when the city went with the option of maintaining the original mechanism instead.

« It was a lot of work to put this in. I’m not spoiling all the man-hours of sweat and labour to get all this up in here. I don’t want those guys rolling over in their graves thinking I’ve just deactivated all of their labour. »

Don’t forget to put your clocks back on Nov. 4. Enjoy the extra hour.

  • WATCH: Greg Hobbs’ story about John Scott and the clock tower at Toronto’s Old City Hall tonight on The National on CBC Television or stream it online

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  • You may also like our early-morning newsletter, the Morning Brief — start the day with the news you need in one quick and concise read. Sign up here.

The warmth of ‘Square Town’

Producer Jill English was part of a team from The National that checked out 902 ManUp, a grassroots Halifax movement to curb gun violence and create positive spaces for men in Nova Scotia’s black communities.

When we started looking at the community group 902 ManUp, the story we were pursuing was about transitioning out of prison. It was about gun violence, second chances and finding a way to break the cycle of incarceration.

But then, as many stories we work on do, it evolved.

« What do you know about Uniacke Square? » 20-year-old Trayvone Clayton asked me, reversing our roles halfway through our interview.

Trayvone Clayton, a 20-year-old basketball player who attends Saint Mary’s University, says 902 ManUp’s messages resonate with his community. (Jill English/CBC)

It wasn’t the first time I had been asked that question over the three days CBC News video producer Eric Woolliscroft and I spent in the Halifax public housing block known as « The Square. »

Residents asked because they knew the answer. They were proving a point about how their community is perceived.

Uniacke Square has a reputation for violence, and people like Clayton — a St. Mary’s University basketball player who calls it home — resent that it’s all people know.

« These young people take pride in their community, there’s a lot of good here, » Clayton’s father and the central figure in tonight’s story on The National told us. « But they literally have to fake their street address just to get a [job] interview. »

What residents also want people to see is the warmth that exists in « Square Town » and the support they offer each other.

Members of 902 ManUp run events like a weekly Friday night basketball game, holiday dinners and school supply drives to support the community. (Jill English/CBC)

How to explain that more tangibly? Well, these interviews were unlike any I have ever done.

Everyone we spoke to – whether it was James, his nephew Corey Wright, longtime community member Shawn Parker – made time for every friend and neighbour who passed by. They could be mid-thought with two cameras rolling on them, it didn’t matter — they always stopped to say hello.

It was so telling, our editor Brenda Witmer couldn’t help but build some of that into our story, like this exchange with James:

902 ManUp president Marcus James explains the Halifax group’s approach to issues in the community, but not without acknowledging a neighbour driving by. Formed to address local gun violence, the group of volunteers has become an integral part of the neighbourhood culture. 0:39

It’s this sense of community that tonight’s story profiles, through the lens of a group seeking to empower fellow black men to do better, to help one another and to feel pride in who they are.

As Parker said to us many times when describing Uniacke Square, « the spirit is contagious. »

Catch it tonight on The National.

– Jill English

Quote of the moment

« Let’s rock. »

The final words of Edmund Zagorski, a convicted double-murderer who opted for execution via the electric chair at a Tennessee prison this morning.

What The National is reading

  • Jamal Khashoggi’s body was ‘dissolved,’ says Erdogan adviser (Guardian)
  • UN report: Nearly half a billion people in Asia-Pacific region go hungry (CBC)
  • New Brunswick government falls in confidence vote (CBC)
  • U.S. to give 8 countries oil waivers under Iran sanctions (Straits Times)
  • 2 Quebec seniors confined to basement for years, say police (Montreal Gazette)
  • B.C. man kicked off WestJet flight after falling asleep before takeoff (CBC)
  • Fist fight caused fatal Chinese bus plunge (BBC)
  • Beyond the McRib (Tedium)

Today in history

Nov. 2, 1993: The Royal Canadian Air Farce celebrates 20 years on radio

Three members of Canada’s never-ending comedy troupe sit down with Midday’s Tina Srebotnjak, shortly before two decades on the radio became forever on New Year’s Eve. You know who was funny? That Pete’s Frootique guy.

Three members of CBC radio’s Air Farce appear on Midday to talk about 20 years together 14:27

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1 arrest made amid protests outside controversial Steve Bannon, David Frum debate


One person has been arrested amid a protest in Toronto over an appearance, at a debate, by one of the masterminds of U.S. President Donald Trump’s election. 

Police confirmed one arrest before 6 p.m. ET, but a spokesperson could not offer details.

A CBC photographer captured one person, seated and facing a wall in handcuffs.

A protester is seen in handcuffs outside Roy Thomson Hall, ahead of the debate between Bannon and David Frum on the role of populism in politics. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Hundreds of people gathered outside Roy Thomson Hall in downtown Toronto on Friday to voice their opposition to the debate’s participants, former Trump strategist Steve Bannon and political commentator David Frum. As the attendees arrived to watch the debate, the crowd of protesters grew to the point where police lined two deep between them and those waiting in line to enter.

The dramatic scene outside the Munk Debate slowed entry to the venue, and organizer Rudyard Griffiths took to the stage to tell the few who had made it inside that the debate, which was scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m., could be delayed by up to 45 minutes.

Bannon will debate Frum whether populism is the future of Western politics. ​Bannon will argue for the proposition; Frum against.

Police stand between patrons in line and protesters on the street at Roy Thomson Hall ahead of Friday’s Munk Debate. (Haweya Fadal/CBC)

While the Munk Debates are a popular for the city’s political movers and shakers, the announcement of Bannon’s participation back in September sparked an immediate backlash.

A petition opposing Bannon’s participation garnered hundreds of signatures, while earlier this week, the federal NDP called for the debate’s outright cancellation.

Hours before the debate, a consortium of groups led by No One Is Illegal, released a petition opposing the event that had some 5,000 signatures.

The group also organized a protest outside the venue that began at 5 p.m. The first protester arrived before 4:30 p.m., holding a sign saying « just say no to hate, » with a photo of Bannon beside an equal sign next to a photo of a garbage can.

Bannon has long been a lightning rod for criticism of the alt-right movement, which he gave a home to in the form of his far-right news and opinion website, Breitbart. He was also Trump’s chief strategist until he left the White House last year.

But Frum’s presence is also not without controversy over his role as a strategist and speechwriter for former U.S. president George W. Bush.

Griffiths, the chair of the Munk Debates, has defended the event, saying it’s « providing a public service by allowing their ideas to be vigorously contested and letting the public draw their own conclusions from the debate. »

« Civil and substantive public debate of the big issues of our time helps all of us better understand the challenges we face as a society and what, if anything, can be done to resolve them, » he said. 

Protesters gathered outside Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on Friday evening to protest the appearance of Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon at the Munk Debates. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)


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Grassy Narrows leader Steve Fobister dead at 66


When Steve Fobister came to protest outside the Legislature in 2014, the former fishing guide and chief came with his tent and an ultimatum.

Fobister, who was suffering from a degenerative neurological disorder, wanted a care home for those suffering from mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows First Nation.

Steve Fobister at home in 2015.
Steve Fobister at home in 2015.  (

“He said quite calmly: ‘I will stay until I get some action. Or until I die,’ ” recalled former Indigenous affairs minister David Zimmer. “Though he and his community had a lot to be really angry about, he was a gentle person. His goal was to do something about it.”

Fobister’s brief hunger strike got Ontario’s attention and a promise to explore building a home.

He did not live long enough to see the facility built or any of the recent promises by lawmakers come to his community. Fobister died Thursday, not at home close to his relatives and culture, but in a Kenora, Ont., hospital after shuttling between there and a Thunder Bay facility 600 kilometres from Grassy Narrows.

Like a lot of the young men at the time, Fobister was a trapper and fishing guide to wealthy tourists who came to Grassy Narrows and the famous Ball Lake Lodge camp. He frequently ate the fish.

During the 1960s, the Dryden pulp and paper mill, operated by Reed Paper, dumped 10 tonnes of mercury into the Wabigoon River that feeds Grassy Narrows downstream. The potent neurotoxin contaminated the fish and poisoned the people who ate it. They developed tremors, slurred speech and tunnel vision, and lost muscle co-ordination. Scientists strongly suspect that old mercury still contaminates the mill site and continues to pollute the river.

What many residents of Grassy Narrows have, according to Japanese scientists, is Minamata disease — also known as methylmercury poisoning. It was first discovered in 1956 in Japan and takes its name from Minamata city.

Leg cramps, a stutter and loss of balance forced Fobister to stop working as a railroad engineer in the early 1970s. He was examined by Japanese researchers and diagnosed with mercury poisoning, he said.

He then became a band councillor, politically active on the reserve. An old photo, published in the Star in 1978, shows Fobister and Grassy Narrows resident Fred Land leaning on an Ontario government sign posted in their community. It says, “Check Before You Eat,” and provides guidelines on the consumption of contaminated fish.

Photograph of Steve Fobister (left) that ran in the Star in 1978.
Photograph of Steve Fobister (left) that ran in the Star in 1978.  (Toronto Star file photo)

Fobister lived off the land and loved eating game, though in his final days he struggled to keep down duck soup, said his niece Christine Pahpasay.

Around the campfire, telling stories, he made bannock. “Oh, it was nice and thick, and so soft. It was no effort, it came to him naturally,” Pahpasay said.

“I think he was always a leader, even when he didn’t hold a title.”

Fobister was the Grand Chief of Treaty #3, Chief of Grassy Narrows for five terms, a probation officer, environmentalist, hunter, Ball Lake Lodge manager and hockey coach of the “Famous Grassy Narrows Rockies.”

He was fearless but wasn’t loud about it, said Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald, who joined Fobister in 2000 to protest clear-cutting of forests. “He was a very measured, calm, gentle, kind person. He loved his community. He was not afraid of anything. That’s the kind of person you want to go into a battle with.”

Fobister, along with government officials, helped set up the Mercury Disability Board in the mid 1980s to compensate those who can demonstrate symptoms consistent with mercury poisoning. The board has long been criticized by Fobister and others as being inadequate. The criteria for payments are too restrictive and the amounts too low, they have said.

In a statement sent to the provincial and federal governments Wednesday, the family said: “We call on you to admit at long last that Steve Fobister Sr. lived with mercury poisoning and died from mercury poisoning. … (Steve) was forced to fight for four decades for mercury justice in the face of denial, delay, and discrimination.”

When the Star visited him in 2016, Fobister attributed his hand weakness, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing to mercury poisoning. He said he got $250 per month. “A lot of people felt that I should have got the max” of $800.

“(Doctors) tell me that I have ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). I also have mercury poisoning. I’m also a diabetic,” he said. “It’s been hard living.”

In the living room of his small house, Fobister, his body stooped and inert, looked out the window.

“You look at the lake. It looks good, it looks clean, the fish look all right. How to believe that something like that could turn against you?”

He seemed weary of fighting.

“Look at me. I’m a sick old man. … My community is sick. … We’ve done this for 40 years and nothing has changed. My life is gone. It’s been destroyed. I hope the future generation can have a better life than what I had.”

Former Grassy Narrows leader Steve Fobister died on October 11, 2018. Fobister suffered from a degenerative neurological disorder likely caused by mercury poisoning on the First Nation.

Fobister never stopped advocating for a better future for his people, though, telling a friend last fall that a healthcare facility on reserve “could be a beginning. …I think it is time that we should try to look after each other.”

Spurred in part by Fobister’s brief hunger strike, the disability board underwent a sweeping review. This led to the announcement this year that the province will retroactively index payments to inflation.

There have been other developments.

Recent research found eating fish with higher levels of mercury may be linked to a higher risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), though the ALS Association notes that the same finding has not been made across all studies.

And after the Star and scientists revealed that fish downstream near Grassy Narrows remain the most contaminated in the province and that there is mercury-contaminated soil and river sediment at or near the site of the old mill, the province committed $85 million to clean up the river. Then the federal government pledged to help build the care home that will help some of the sickest residents.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Zimmer with Fobister at Queen's Park in 2014 during his hunger strike.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Zimmer with Fobister at Queen’s Park in 2014 during his hunger strike.  (Robert Benzie/Toronto Star file photo)

“Steve leaves behind him a legacy of powerful advocacy and courage. He was a testament not only to his community, Treaty 3 and the Anishinabe people of northern Ontario, but he set a standard for leadership for others to follow,” new Ontario Indigenous affairs minister Greg Rickford said.

And on Wednesday federal Indigenous services minister Jane Philpott reaffirmed her government’s commitment to help build the home. She said money has already been provided for planning and design. The facility could include palliative care, physiotherapy, counselling and traditional healing.

About 150 people gathered for Fobister’s funeral service, the room smelling of sage and cedar. Elders closed the ceremony with an Anishinabe version of the Travelling Song played on a hand drum.

Fobister was wrapped in a white blanket and then a black one, each adorned with Indigenous designs, and then buried. Family members were then told to walk to their vehicles and not look back.


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