Monday, June 19, 2000

'Dr.' Tom's Stompin' grounds
By ELAINE MOYLE -- Toronto Sun

TORONTO - Unlike his Juno Awards, Stompin' Tom Connors will prize his newly received honourary doctorate of laws. The certificate, presented to him today at the University of Toronto, will be prominently placed in his "trophy room," a corner of his Ontario home devoted to memorabilia. It will likely share wall space with the honourary doctorate of laws he received from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B., seven years ago. Six Junos didn't earn the same respect. The Canadian working man's hero angrily shipped them back in 1979, a protest against the "Americanization" of our music industry. Today, he's "honoured" to have his music accomplishments lauded by the academic crowd.

"This is a wonderful thing for people like myself who have never had a formal education but succeeded through doggedness in a profession that's very competitive," says the 64-year-old New Brunswick native, who has spun 20 albums in four decades. Curiously, the fiercely patriotic Connors is not a big fan of the much-publicized Molson Canadian rant. "It's over-done," he says. "We've gone so long without saying anything about Canada that when we do, we say too much." Connors is going strong this summer. He'll appear on a live CBC Canada Day special televised from Parliament Hill. A two-week Ontario tour will kick off the last week in July and wind into August. On August 6, he'll headline Agrafest at Cayuga Speedway, near Hamilton, a fundraiser for Canadian farmers. "You know me," he says in his trademark gravelly voice. "I have concerns about almost everything -- fishing and lumbering and everything else."

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