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Paul Martin

The Head Coach of Scotland’s Senior Men’s Hockey Team, Derek Forsyth, has selected his squad of eighteen players to compete in the EuroHockey Nations Championship II in Vienna from 5-11 August. The Scots will compete in Pool A against Azerbaijan, France and Wales, while Pool B is made up of hosts Austria, Italy, Russia and Ukraine.

Paul Martin of Grove Menzieshill

Paul Martin of
Grove Menzieshill

The target for the national side is to reach the semi-finals of the competition to contest promotion to the EuroHockey Nations Championship in 2015. The top two sides in the final standings will be promoted. The Team Manager, Eugene Connolly, said that promotion was “the ultimate target for the players and that’s what we’ll be setting out to achieve in Vienna. The games against Wales and Azerbaijan in the pool stage will be key, and hopefully we can beat France too. The team needs to reach the semi-finals, which means finishing second in the pool. The result of the fourth game of the tournament will then be significant to our chances of progressing to the European Championship in 2015. Russia will be the main threat and I expect Austria will be competitive on home soil too.”

Beeston’s Gordon McIntyre is out with a hamstring injury sustained against Spain last weekend, while Grove Menzieshill’s Paul Martin is included after a good run of goalscoring form in the warm-up matches leading up to the European competition. Indeed, the Scots have performed well in their preparations for the continental challenge, having won seven of their last nine international matches.

“The squad are in good spirits and we have a good cohesive squad going into this tournament”, continued Connolly. “Derek Forsyth has the team playing well and he is the ideal person to be leading the Scotland side into European competition.”

Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada <em>Picture: Remy Steinegger</em>

Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada Picture: Remy Steinegger

By Graeme Murdoch

Day 1, Toronto, 26 March. Minus 9C.

Chilly for Perpetual Minority Man premier Stephen Harper – a man with a plan. So here we go as the first blows are landed in the fourth Canadian election in seven years, and the question on most Canadian minds is: how will this change anything?

In 1995, Liberal finance minister Paul Martin confronted the crippling federal deficit by cutting transfer payments to the provinces. This put some space between the provinces and Ottawa.

Now the widely held view is that old, white and male Ottawa is irrelevant and that the low turnout among voters aged under 25 in 2008 is expected to be lower in May. Young Canadians, particularly women and visible minorities, perceive an administration that under-represents them.

So Harper’s election strategy is to set his sights on the voters who have often eluded him: women. Oh, how we guffawed in the bar. The women electorate should reflect on how Margaret Atwood excoriated Harper in 2008 when he stated that “ordinary people” didn’t care about something called “the arts”. Harper’s take on “the arts” is a bunch of rich people gathering in salons and galas whining about their grants, Sound familiar?

Shortly after I arrived from Scotland on Thursday, I picked up a program guide to “celebrate the arts in your community”. All around greater Toronto, events like concerts by youngsters, photo exhibitions, a women’s sound circle, an art alley mural project and an opportunity to design your own environmental bag are getting city and provincial support.

So, Mr Harper, there you have your campaign’s key platforms: the arts, environment and education. Get your sleepy head round that and the women’s vote and others will surely follow.

And here are two other suggestions: dump the grey suits and get to the gym.

Graeme Murdoch is part of Cultural Connect Scotland

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