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Shrum, Gordon Merritt, 1896-1985 British Columbia--Politics and government--1952-1972
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Gordon Merrit Shrum interviews, 1983

The series consists of 10 audio copy recordings containing interviews with Dr. Gordon Merritt Shrum about his life and career as a soldier, physicist and public administrator. The interviews were a joint effort of Simon Fraser University, the Public Archives of Canada, and the Parliamentary Library.

Ray Williston interview : [Reimer, 1975 : part 1]

CALL NUMBER: T1375:0001 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Childhood and Youth, 1914-1933 PERIOD COVERED: 1914-1933 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-01-02 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Born in Victoria, 1914. United Empire Loyalist stock in New Brunswick, 1786. Family moves to B.C. in 1912 (?). Father in feed business. Moved to Ladner. Father in debt. Moved to Salmon Arm. Father killed in 1927, putting the family into even greater debt. TRACK 2: Works for "The SAFE" in Salmon Arm. Mother ran a boarding house. Played in dance band through the Depression. Ambition to become a pilot. Normal School in Victoria. Member of Older Boys' Parliament. Worked as warehouseman and clerk. Depression years in Salmon Arm. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0002 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Student and teacher, 1934-1939 PERIOD COVERED: 1934-1939 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-01-02 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Williston discusses his first teaching job in Hendon, B.C. in 1934. He then took a B.A. at UBC summer school, starting in 1935. Taught in Surrey, B.C. Talks about Surrey social life at the time, and his marriage in 1939. Moves to Princeton, B.C. Graduates from UBC in 1940. Discusses the social life in Princeton in the late 1930s. TRACK 2: Discusses teaching at the Princeton High School. UBC summer session discussed. Walks over Hope-Princeton trail in 1939. Gordon Shrum and Professor Sedgewick at UBC. Williston has attack of "nervous exhaustion". He develops an "abhorrence" of socialism during the 1930s. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0003 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Airman and School Administrator, 1940-1952 PERIOD COVERED: 1940-1952 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-01-02 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Rejects BCTF militancy in the 1930s. Rejection of socialism. RCAF (1940-1945) in Alberta. Returns to teaching in 1945. Supervising principal in Prince George. Joins the Department of Education as school inspector. TRACK 2: Reprimand by W.T. Straith, Minister of Education. Declines to run as a Socred in 1952. Runs in 1953 and elected (Fort George constituency). Unschooled in Socred monetary theory. Thought W.A.C. Bennett too conservative in financial matters. Socialism versus "adapted free enterprise". Voted for various parties in 1930s and 1940s. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0004 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Social Credit politician, 1952-1954 PERIOD COVERED: 1952-1954 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-01-02 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Attracted to the Social Credit Party in 1952 by the people in it. Nominating meeting in 1953. Had job as a lecturer at the University of Washington, 1954. Became Minister of Education, April 1954. Aquatic events in the Gorge, Victoria. [TRACK 2: blank.]; CALL NUMBER: T1375:0005 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): MLA and Minister of Education, 1953-1956 PERIOD COVERED: 1953-1956 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-06 SUMMARY: Williston reprimanded by William T. Straith, Minister of Education, for making public statements about education. Asked to resign as school inspector when he was nominated in 1953. 1953 election. W.A.C. Bennett speaks on behalf of Williston, 1953. Williston's first speech in Legislative Assembly. Williston gets favourable reaction from all sides. Responsibilities of "the press". Williston becomes Minister of Education, April 1954. Appointment kept secret until last minute. Initial problems and issues in education -- financing, teacher training, curriculum. Role of deputy ministers. Some senior public servants try to embarrass the new government, especially with regard to finances. School finances. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0006 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Minister of Education, 1954-1956 PERIOD COVERED: 1954-1956 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-06 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Problems of school construction and finance, 1954-56. Establishment of teacher training in universities. British Columbia College of Education. Reinstatement of World Review in the schools. Education problems with Doukhobors. Doukhobor school at New Denver, B.C. The socializing role of the school system. TRACK 2: More on B.C. College of Education. Personalities in B.C. education. Salaries of education officials. School openings. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0007 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): The "Sommers" Case PERIOD COVERED: 1955-1957 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-06 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: "Sommers scandal" in which Robert Sommers is accused and convicted of accepting bribes in relation to the granting of forest land tenures. Williston's personal assessment of Sommers. Williston appointed Minister of Lands and Forests, 1956. Reaction within government to the scandal. Mel Bryan crosses the floor to protest Attorney-General Bonner's handling of the affair. TRACK 2: More on Mel Bryan and "Sommers scandal". Assessment of Ron Worley. Sloan Commission on Forestry, 1957.

Ray Williston interview : [Reimer, 1975 : part 2]

CALL NUMBER: T1375:0008 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): A Cabinet Minister in the 1950s PERIOD COVERED: 1956-1971 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-07 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: The granting of a tree farm licence in Squamish in late 1960s. Chief Justice Gordon McGregor Sloan and the Royal Commission on Forestry report, 1957. Sloan appointed permanent advisor on forestry, 1958. Relations between Sloan and Williston. Sloan's death in 1959 and associated problems, including unfinished assignments. Opposition to the TFL system by smaller logging companies. Williston's rejection of their arguments. TRACK 2: More on small operators' opposition to TFL policy. "Contractor clauses" in TFLs. Small loggers in B.C. Centennial celebrations of 1958. Role of L.J. Wallace and the centennial committee. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0009 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Royal visit 1958 and the Wenner-Gren plans PERIOD COVERED: 1956-1960 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-07 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Centennial celebrations, 1958. Details and anecdotes about Princess Margaret's visit, 1958. Other centennial events. Williston less involved with later centennial celebrations. Northern development in B.C. and Williston's role in promoting it. Williston's ideas about industrial development in B.C. TRACK 2: More on northern and industrial development. Wenner-Gren in British Columbia: Memorandum of intent, 1956, details about the original contacts, necessity of the letter of intent, Hydro power investigations, role of Percy Gray in the original conception of the development, the actual negotiations between the government and Bernard Gore and Burger Strid, roles of Williston, Bonner, Gunderson and Bennett in the negotiations, opposition to the agreement from press, legislative opposition and B.C. and Yukon Chamber of Mines, questions about Wenner-Gren personally. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0010 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): The plans of Wenner-Gren and the Columbia River Treaty PERIOD COVERED: 1954-1960 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-07 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Reaction to Axel Wenner-Gren. Role of Einar Gunderson and potential conflict of interest. Williston meets Wenner-Gren, 1957. More details on Wenner-Gren development. The Columbia River Treaty: Williston involved from 1956 to 1972, positions held by Williston, roles of Bennett and Bonner. TRACK 2: Secondary role of cabinet in Columbia River Treaty matters. Bennett only concerned with larger implications of the treaty. Developments to 1956. Kaiser proposal to dam the Columbia, early 1950s. Kaiser proposal rejected by Gen. A.G.L. McNaughton. Williston's personal assessment of McNaughton. McNaughton's "anti-American" attitudes. The "McNaughton Plan" for the Columbia River and Williston's reasons for rejecting it. More on General McNaughton. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0011 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Hydro Electric Power Development in B.C., 1956-1960 PERIOD COVERED: 1956-1960 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-07 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Role of General A.G.L. McNaughton in the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. Details of the treaty negotiations from Williston's point of view. Key role of Art Paget. Government strategy in the development of the Peace River region. The importance of timing between the Columbia and Peace power developments. TRACK 2: Decision not to proceed with the Columbia development until after a start was made on the Peace. The two-river policy. Williston tours the province to convince people of the value of the two-river policy. More on the two-river policy. Planning and negotiations, 1957-60. Circumstances regarding the detailed report of Paddy Sherman. Controversy about the Sherman article. More on planning and negotiations, 1957-1960. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0012 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): The Columbia River Treaty PERIOD COVERED: 1956-1962 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-07 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Firing of B.C. Power Commission general manager Lee Briggs, 1957. Progress in federal-provincial negotiations, 1957-1959. Consideration of flooding in East Kootenay and Arrow Lakes areas. The; International Columbia River Engineering Board report 1959, and the options for developing the Columbia River. TRACK 2: Considerations about the Libby Dam proposal. Role of Ed Bassett in the treaty negotiations. Complex financing of the engineering studies for the Columbia River projects. Columbia River Treaty signed, January 1961. Anecdotes about the signing ceremony. The key positions of B.C. Electric Co. Problems of marketing power in B.C. and the United States. The importance of making a long-term sale of power to the United States. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0013 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Hydro Electric Power development in B.C., 1957-1963 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-07 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Discussion of negotiation of the Columbia River Treaty. The roles of other cabinet ministers and technical advisors. Williston's personal assessment of the Columbia River Treaty. Issues arising from the public hearings on water licences for the Treaty projects. The takeover of B.C. Electric and Peace River power development companies, 1961. TRACK 2: More on the hydro power takeovers. Williston on the new board of B.C. Hydro and Power Authority. Other board members. Gordon Shrum and Hugh Keenleyside as co-chairmen of B.C. Hydro. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0014 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Negotiating the Columbia River Treaty PERIOD COVERED: 1960-1975 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-07 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Gordon Shrum and Hugh Keenleyside as co-chairmen of B.C. Hydro. Clashes between E. Davie Fulton and W.A.C. Bennett. Negotiations for the sale of downstream benefits from the Columbia River. Delays due to federal election of 1962. Tenders for the Portage Mountain dam (Bennett Dam). Canadian ratification of the Columbia River Treaty. Relationship between Paul Martin (Sr) and Bennett. More on the sale of downstream benefits. TRACK 2: Sale of downstream benefits completed. Bennett not totally satisfied with the overall terms of the treaty. Williston's own unhappiness with regard to the division of flood control benefits. Federal-provincial negotiations on treaty implementation. Signing of the protocol to the treaty, 1964. Hearings before the External Affairs Committee, Ottawa. Peace Arch ceremony, 1964. Summary remarks about the treaty. Williston comments on the effects of inflation on the treaty. Information supplied during negotiations from Americans. No consideration given to power conservation.

Ray Williston interview : [Reimer, 1975 : part 3]

CALL NUMBER: T1375:0015 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Hydro Electric Power Development in B.C., 1960s PERIOD COVERED: 1960-1975 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-08 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Williston's assessment of the Columbia River Treaty. Gordon Shrum and Hugh Keenleyside as co-chairmen of B.C. Hydro. Discussion of Gordon Shrum and his role in B.C. power development. Decision to lower the height of Bennett Dam. TRACK 2: Flooding the reservoir behind Bennett Dam. Clearing problems and environmental criticisms. Williston and son take canoe trip down the Parsnip and Peace Rivers prior to flooding. More on the clearing of the reservoir. Williston took strong personal interest in the flooding problems. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0016 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Water resources and economic development, 1950s and 1960s PERIOD COVERED: 1955-1975 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-08 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Clearing activities in reservoirs planned by B.C. Forest Service. Williston Lake named after R.G. Williston. Opening of Peace River Power Project. Stories about the construction of Bennett Dam. Planned development of hydro power and industry in northern B.C. Proposed hydro power and flood control developments on the Fraser River: Moran Dam, McGregor River diversion, opposition by fishing lobby. TRACK 2: Conflicts between log drives and fisheries interests. More on flood control on the Fraser River. Hydro power schemes for the Liard and Homathko Rivers. Planned economic development in; northern B.C. The role of planning in the Social Credit government. Attempts to divert economic activity in the Yukon and NWT through B.C. W.A.C. Bennett's proposal to annex northern territory. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0017 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Northern development and B.C. forest industry, 1950s and 1960s PERIOD COVERED: 1956-1969 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-08 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Northern development in B.C. and W.A.C. Bennett's proposal to annex the Yukon Territory to the Province of B.C. Development of the PGE Railway. Bennett's interest in the PGE. Creation of a separate Water Resources department in 1962. Internal Organization of the Department of Lands, Forests and Water Resources. Discussion about C.D. Orchard, Deputy Minister of Forests. TRACK 2: Senior personnel in B.C. Forest Service: C.D. Orchard, Gerry McKee, Lorne Swannell, Norm McRae, John Stokes, F.S. McKinnon, Peter Hemphill, Ian Cameron, Ted Young, Bill Young and Walter Hughes. Anomalies in the granting of Tree Farm Licences. TFLs granted after 1958. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0018 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Development of the forest industry PERIOD COVERED: 1956-1965 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-08 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Merger of MacMillan Bloedel and Power River Co. Personalities in the forest industry: John Liersch, J.V. Clyne, Foley Family, Relations between Williston and senior management in the large forest companies. Responsibilities entailed in a TFL. Differences between industrial foresters and government foresters. MacMillan Bloedel leaders in forestry practice. Importance of fire protection during the 1950s and 1960s. TRACK 2: More on fire protection. Water bombers. Development of self-dumping log barges. Expansion of the forest industry in the Interior: discussion of wasteful practices, possibility of establishing pulp mills, the role of Canadian Forest Products, the idea of a pulp-harvesting area. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0019 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): The development of pulp milling in B.C. Interior, 1960-1972 PERIOD COVERED: 1960-1972 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-08 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Details about the granting of pulp harvesting agreements: Prince George - Prince George Pulp and Paper; Kamloops - Crown Zellerbach. Details about the first pulp mills in the Interior, especially Prince George Pulp and Paper Co. TRACK 2: More details about Interior pulp mills: the relationship between sawmills and pulp mills, "third band" wood. Interior manufacturers become small wood processing experts. Establishment of the pulp mill in Kamloops. Establishment of the Skookumchuk pulp mill: Japanese investment and business practice, the economics of pulp milling in the East Kootenays. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0020 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Resource management in B.C., 1956-1972 PERIOD COVERED: 1955-1975 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-08 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: "Close utilization" slower to be accepted on the coast. Private versus public forest management. Problems of financing the B.C. Forest Service. Williston's ideas on company towns. Public access to logging roads. TRACK 2: Williston's ideas on multiple use. Multiple versus single purpose resource use. Opposition to some of the ideas of the Sierra Club. Williston's role in the establishment of ecological reserves. Slash burning and clear-cutting as forest management techniques. Formation of the Department of Recreation and Conservation, 1957. Formation of the Environment and Land Use Committee, 1969.

Ray Williston interview : [Reimer, 1975 : part 4]

CALL NUMBER: T1375:0021 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Environmental issues, federal-provincial relations and government finance PERIOD COVERED: 1954-1972 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-09 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Williston discusses: the formation and operation of the Environment and Land Use Committee (ELUC); unusual power of ELUC; pollution control problems, specifically pulp mill effluent; greenbelts; lakeshore development policies; dominion-provincial relations; restrictions and sanctions against travel and conferences; Resources for the Future Conference and the Canadian Council of Resource Ministers. Cabinet and Bennett never discussed separation from Canada. TRACK 2: Williston talks about: offshore mineral rights; government's interest in the Bank of B.C. Treasury Board and procedures for control of government spending; details on the operation of Treasury Board; W.A.C. Bennett as Finance Minister; budget preparation. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0022 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Resource issues in the 1950s and 1960s PERIOD COVERED: 1956-1970 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-09 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Discusses government policy to encourage Japanese investment in B.C., and gives details about Japanese investment. Williston and Bennett meet Japanese Crown Prince and Princess. Development of the quota system in the allocation of timber rights. Quota system provides stability in the forest industry. Williston never unduly pressured by forest companies. Disparaging comments about North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA). TRACK 2: More on NAWAPA. 1960 truck loggers' convention and flare-up with Gordon Gibson Sr. Williston discusses issue of bribes and gifts to ministers. Personal assessment of Gordon Gibson Sr. Williston then discusses Pollution Control Board: 1965 legislation; impetus for change from various sources, air pollution not included; weakness of a system that imposes fines; the need for political involvement in pollution control; differences of opinion over control standards with Health Minister Ralph Loffmark. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0023 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Resource and environment issues, 1956-1972 PERIOD COVERED: 1956-1972 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-09 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Pollution control: differences of opinion between Williston and Ralph Loffmark; air quality standards difficult to set; onus of responsibility for pollution on the polluter; local, regional and provincial pollution standards; Williston, Loffmark and Campbell on Pollution Control Board (PCB) as of 1969; restrictions on those who could appear before the PCB. Economic growth versus conservation and environmental control. Role of public opinion in altering Williston's thinking on environmental issues. Williston not very concerned about foreign and non-resident ownership of land. Use of land and resources the important thing. Preservation of waterfront for public recreation. [TRACK 2: blank.]; CALL NUMBER: T1375:0024 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Resource issues in the 1960s and 1970s PERIOD COVERED: 1960-1972 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-09 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Williston's perspectives on: Buttle Lake controversy; mining in a provincial park; logging within Strathcona Park; the establishment of Rathtrevor Park and the exchange of timber within Strathcona Park. Discusses Skagit River controversy; involvement of Liberal Party. Williston assesses the recreational potential as modest. Discusses provincial obligations related to this issue. Cypress Bowl. TRACK 2: More on Cypress Bowl. Nitinat Triangle issue: the extension of Pacific Rim National Park. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0025 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Social Credit Cabinet Minister, 1954-1972 PERIOD COVERED: 1953-1975 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-09 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Question of the extension of the boundaries of Pacific Rim National Park, 1970-71. Nuclear power in B.C. Gordon Shrum interested in nuclear power. Williston cool to the social side of politics, such as state balls and legislative openings. Williston opposes the right to strike in the public sector. Changes in the public service, 1953-1972. Elections and election strategy. The central role of W.A.C. Bennett in elections. Decision to end the preferential ballot in 1955. TRACK 2: More on the preferential ballot. Provincial election, 1956. Provincial election, 1960. Williston's thoughts on campaigning in general. Political and economic philosophy. Comments on the NDP government. Fiscal conservatism of W.A.C. Bennett. The religious appeal of Social Credit. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0026 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Elections and conventions, the 1972 defeat and aftermath PERIOD COVERED: 1952-1975 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-09 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Further discusses the religious appeal of Social Credit. Redistribution 1966. Relations between B.C. Social Credit government and federal party. Provincial election, 1972: issues in election; factors leading to defeat; Bennett in the election; negative role of P.A. Gaglardi; Williston's personal defeat in Fort George; Williston willing to oppose Gaglardi for Socred leadership; New Westminster incident. Talks about winding up the affairs of government after the election. Comments on Robert Williams. TRACK 2: More on government changeover. Job offers after 1972 election. United Nations; (FAO) jobs in Indonesia, Peru and Bangladesh. Other job offers. Personal assessment of P.A. Gaglardi. Social Credit League. Members and supporters in Fort George constituency. Role of Social Credit League and conventions in policy formation. Typical Socred convention described. Place of socialism in B.C. society. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0027 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): The Legislative Assembly, 1953-1972 PERIOD COVERED: 1953-1972 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-09 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Williston's political philosophy. Negative aspects of centralized control in a socialist bureaucracy. Williston's assessment of the key role of Bob Williams in the NDP government. Role of pressure groups. The Legislative Assembly: all-night sessions; Ernest Winch; Arnold Webster; Thomas Berger; Dave Barrett; contact between parties outside the House; anecdote about Tom Uphill. TRACK 2: Anecdotes about the Legislature. Williston discusses prominent Liberals: Arthur Laing; Ray Perrault; Pat McGeer. Williston feels Hansard to be of limited value. Opposition and press become more negative in later years to the way in which Williston handled his portfolios. Bob Williams becomes Williston's strongest critic. Defection of G. Scott Wallace, 1971. Williston's opinion of the Vancouver press. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0028 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): British Columbia politics, 1953-1972 PERIOD COVERED: 1953-1972 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-09 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: W.A.C Bennett and the press. Incident regarding secret loan from the Bank of Nova Scotia. More on the press. Comments on Stuart Keate, newspaper publisher. Opposition to Williston in the Prince George press. Robert Bonner's move to MacMillan Bloedel. Relations with Vancouver press. W.A.C. Bennett and his style of leadership. TRACK 2: More details on Bennett and personal relationship between Bennett and Williston. Debt reduction schemes in the 1950s. The Kelowna "bondfire". Anecdotes about Williston's friend and industrialist, Ben Ginter: the construction industry; starting in the brewing business. Constituency relations. Williston's role in establishing a flag for B.C. Mobil cabinet meetings. The "George E.P. Jones case". CALL NUMBER: T1375:0029 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Personal Reflections PERIOD COVERED: 1953-1972 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-09 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: No lack of new ideas in the later years. Williston maintained good health throughout his period as minister. Involved with the YMCA in Victoria. Williston planning to retire within a few years of 1972 election. Regrets having little time for his family. Williston describes typical working day. Did not socialize with Bennett. Few social relations between ministers in the Socred government. Williston moved permanently to Victoria in 1954. Williston's close personal friends with Harold Moffat and family. Hobby of photography. Williston's attitudes on alcohol. Heavy demands for personal appearance. TRACK 2: Comments about changes as a result of 20 years in public life. Lack of concern about personal safety. Summation.