20 Episode results for "Jordan Heath Rawlings"
Election Day: You have more choices than you think
"Chrissy like ours is a privilege no matter what you think of the choices in front of you to be able to make your voice heard in the most solemn of democratic traditions today at long last Canada votes to be able to participate in hello I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings and this is kind of our big story your only choices there are other options and some of them may even restore your faith in that solemn democracy that I mentioned political party they use satire and humor to try and get people engaged again in the political process good and is all of those very serious policies that we have spent the past months closely examining they are not in fact and they took a big break I think in the nineties and and then they came back again in the late two thousands and have star see that voting day has finally come after what's been a a long and grueling campaign why don't you start by telling me about maxine Bernie but not that one proper campaigns and some other ones high Cormac Jordan House going how it's almost over are you going to sleep for a week yeah no it all depends on what this next government is going to look like we could be into coalition territory or you know Oh you don't know the platforms that matter to you and who you're going to vote for then I can't help you that was last week in fact it was last month and most of the bring over minorities and who has the right to lead it could be a while before I get some rest but I think like a lot of people across the country I'm happy through a lot of changes and they may have been here for decades but they had to take a break for a number of elections and then they get re registered again under sort of like a new yeah Maxime Bernier not the leader of the People's Party but the candidate in boasts for the Rhinoceros Party Rhinoceros Party is a fun who end up against the prime minister and Liberal leader John Turner back in the eighties so for a while they have been around for a while upstart somebody you know takes the reins and and and brings it back from death and that's that's the story of the Rhinoceros Party it's been around since the sixties last year all we can help you do today is throw your vote away but if that does interest you then we have a podcast for you because at the very least it is the last time we have to talk about campaign promises for Awhile Cormac McSweeney is our Parliament Hill reporter he has dug deep into all the on a candidate in a party leaders riding and that candidate has the exact same name has that party leader and so in the to build up steam again under a new leader who was trying to really engage more people he's been on a cross Canada tour even but yeah this election they're going after the People's Party leader Maxime Bernier and they have a candidate with the exact same name they have done this before as well there was a guy named John Turner so this is the fascinating thing the Rhinoceros Party a lot of these fringe parties that we see in the election some of them have been around for awhile but they because it's where most Canadians congregate and then they want to turn it into a missionary so that they can spread Tim hortons across the world the these are the sorts and in I know I it's it's a fun way to look at politics but they've done this before in the past where they decide to run political issues I did an interview with the leader of the Rhinoceros Party and he was promising things like a pipeline to transport Putin gravy across the country water and maybe even Montreal bagels to other parts of the country THEY WANNA make Tim Hortons the National Church of Canada Vermont not likely no I'm sure there are some people who are running fringe parties with the hopes that they could possibly build some sort of political political parties and the political scene and their whole goal is to just really re engage those people who have lost interest in politics some fun in this because it's a way to explain those parties that are lesser known they don't have the same type of support as the main contenders will never ballot votes right so from six hundred thousand votes down to forty thousand votes and I think anything below forty thousand votes which were the independence any other party like to they call themselves a satirical political party even have a full platform and their motto has generally exact definition for a fringe party but if you look at the numbers for how many votes people get really it's very easy to see who's for engine who's not because the draw from the Green Party and the twenty fifteen election which received six hundred thousand votes to the Party that Chin that has otherwise been rather nasty yeah so we're GonNa talk about fringe parties today is there actually a definition for them in terms of where the being discussed by the main party leaders such as pipelines and they're just trying to re-engage a portion of the electorate who may be fed up with normal federal break kind of yes but at the same time I believe I've done it for the last two elections as well and this is my third see how it looks tomorrow and beyond but I want to let people know that if you're ticked off with what you see from those top six party leader then we like promise not to follow through on any of our election promises and so they've got a history of just tongue in cheek fun on a lot of on a lot of testing a ballot you could cast a vote for a lesser known party that might be advocating for something that you do believe in and there are a wide variety shen as a parliament hill reporter I wanted to focus on these other parties because this is a democracy in Canada's not the United States we don't just choose between one or came just behind them which I guess would be independence they're not really a party but the closest vote independent candidates and they got forty thousand memento more movements but a lot of the people who are running these fringe parties are realistic about their chances they know they're not going to form government but they want to to try and press on on a number of different issues that you know they feel very passionately about an and that's great it's a it's all a part of democracy but there's no would be considered French so why did you spend your Parliament Hill reported this is a real election campaign why did you spend your time in the middle of this election doing it was just for a of things that that that they're advocating for in their platform but you know some some of their promises are poking fun at some legitimate issues that are shifting away from using animals for commercial purposes and that we should be moving as a country towards basically a Vegan lifestyle you have to be out in the polls or what what qualifies them as a fringe party not really I mean we use the term fringe party just or two parties or three or even four I mean look at this election compared to the last one where it seemed like there were only three contenders and maybe the Greens you truly believe in what some of these other fringe parties are calling for and standing up for then rather than not visiting the poll and not not just six parties that you have to choose from there are many other parties that are offering something now the issue is with these fringe parties they're not widespread L. of Vegetarian Vegan lifestyle because they think it's wrong and so what they're advocating for is to set up a ministry for the animals they wanna give animals the same animal protection party the name kind of says it all of course they are really focused on the protection of animals their belief is that we should be voters will be able to support them but there are some who have dozens of candidates across the country in different provinces and they might be running in your writing and so if you actually the of topics that that some of these fringe parties are pushing for so tell me tell me about some of those tell me about some of the ones that you encountered I know the Rhinoceros Party is funding satiric heights as people get and so you know abuse of animals would be taken off the table they also are realistic they know this wouldn't happen overnight and so on they're really pushing for is to slowly change Canadians lifestyles to move away from the need of animals such as one of the things is a possibility now we had debates with six different party leaders on the stage the dynamic and key in Canadian politics is changing a little bit at the moment and we in the price of meats and therefore you would sort of just by consumer behavior shift people towards You know vegetarian lifestyles and so that other parties like the Communist Party of Canada it's been around for a long time people I think can figure out who the communist part he is and what they're pushing for environmentalists but they're pushing for ambitious ambitious action to try and deal with the issue of climate they're pushing for is to cancel subsidies of four animal agriculture and shift those subsidies and double up for farmers who call and has a a big history but what are some of the ones that are kind of issue based political parties that might attract some people's interest yeah so one would be the something they're pushing for their realistic they know they're not going to actually I elect any M P's and they only have a handful of people who are actually running but the leader who I spoke with in time I think since like nineteen twenty one but the issue is at times the Communist Party was banned in Canada and they weren't allowed see that you know we will lower the prices for the food on our grocery shelves that would be vegetarian based and you would likely see an increase in but you know they've been around there running candidates in this election and they're they're hoping to shift the country towards a more socialist socialist form of government parliament kind of So I I mentioned the Communist Party and the Communist Party has been around for a long just generally trying to start more of a political movement and then you have as well you know the the Christian Heritage Party so people who are focused a little bit more and try nationalize things like the energy sector so that we can actually tackle the the issue of greenhouse gas emissions on that note we parliament hasn't just been liberal or Conservative it's been kind of a different style of makeup for a very long time and if a fringe party run under the label of the Unity Party and they won and they held the seat in the House of Commons and it wasn't until later that they had revealed they were a car carrying also have these stop climate change party another fringe party where pretty much says it all and Dan for you'd never guess but there's and you don't like what their parties are putting forward in their platforms and you're kind of sick of politics and say nobody really speaks to what I believe in well it's communist the whole time and so the Communist Party says you know yeah we we've we've elected a member to the House of Commons but you know it's one of those things most of the on their religious point of view so you you have a lot of different a lot of different parties standing for a lot of different things have any of these parties ever WANNA see guess on vegetarian plants of the plants that we eat so if they're gonNA be growing crops that we will consume Oh that's can really get enough of a vote centered around a single candidate they could potentially stand a chance but most of these fringe parties likely don't have a chance on a wide variety of topics there are a couple of other parties sprinkled throughout that are standing up for just one issue but a number so they would fall under the category of people who are he's that have popped up here and there throughout our history and don't remain anymore who have elected members of parliament and you know I federal election that includes the top six so we've got fifteen so-called fringe parties who are running in this election so you know there are quite a few even have candidates in every single riding their rather small and so you might have some that only have three candidates and so it's unlikely that to comment on your own political views but when you talk to these folks who seem so idealistic I would imagine was there anyone that really kind of captured your heart as on candidates and things like that they've been on and off again party there was an MP back in nineteen forty who had inch and so you have all these different parties there's also the Veterans Coalition Party you have the United Party of Canada they they're more trying to start a conversation so that you can just buy it on the grocery store shelf and they think that the increased penalties for people who let's say sell to minors or Sal on the block that's why most of them realize that what they're doing more advocating for a cause then actually you know trying to form government I'm not asking you to that you know a all we wanna do is try and influence the larger parties that this is something they should take seriously and we're putting concrete proposals on the table to try and shift that you have other you know they're up against such long odds but they're still they're still fighting you know we talked a lot about the Rhino party I L- I like them for the fact that he's fringe parties that are registered right now have not elected people to the House of Commons but if you go through the history of the House of Commons there have been a lot of smaller parties is that the people who start these parties or are involved in these parties are really really passionate about trying to change the course of politics and Canada you know they're using humor in such an interesting way in our political discourse but I'll set them aside and and look at some of the other parties I think you know the the the things she really made her argument and she had some policies to lay down not just values stated on a website doc market those increase penalties they believe actually makes more criminalization of of marijuana then less criminalization of marijuana so they're arguing that it's look at the Cold War for instance and the Soviet Union and he said we realise that we get that we know that it hasn't worked in every single country around the world but we will but in terms of those who really stood out to me for the ones that I was able to speak with the Animal Alliance are animal protection party they used to be the animal alliance a force he's not happy with what he's seen from the Trudeau government he says there's so much that was left out of the legalisation regime that they some people think what are the first steps what you gotTa do well first you have to find members for your group so you need and this is the thing a on socialism in the Canadian context and so you know they've really thought out their arguments believe or the marijuana party because that's still a thing despite legalization coming in I now but they're fighting for something they're passionate about a cause anything everyone I spoke to was really passionate about what they were doing and that's that's my main takeaway we're fighting for a before true came to power that they still need to fight for now basically he said he wanna see marijuana and cannabis treated like coffee a minimum of two hundred and fifty electors as members of your upstart party. That's not a lot two hundred and fifty if you wanna be those things with the Communist candidate I said you know communism does not get a good reputation in Canada and how do you battle things like the negative views from less just all things appropriately with elections Canada you have to make sure that if you know if you do happen to get registered there are a lot of requirements for political parties in hoping to just make that change about whatever that main issue is that they're really trying to push in this election so if people don't like the results tonight agents you have to have you know officers within your party and then as well there's a lot of paperwork to do you have to make sure you find a registered federal party in Canada you need to have at least two hundred and fifty members but the real work sort of comes behind the scenes you gotta make sure you have official but now they're the Animal Protection Party it was interesting to speak with their leader is white she had her head on her shoulders she knew exactly where she stood in the Grand Political Ski You know they've they've thought about how they would want to see our laws change not to say that other parties don't you know I had a great conversation with the systems in place to protect privacy of the members that you actually have you have to maintain a consistent number of agents and officers within your party to that point such as annual fiscal reporting statements of assets and liabilities maintaining accurate membership lists you have to prove to elections Canada that you can or the end ep you don't have to have people in every province running for your party or someone for every riding you could be a small upstart and focused on also need somebody to run that's the other thing you can be eligible and submit your application to elections Canada and then there's that waiting period before the they start a party tomorrow how hard is it what do you need I don't think you could really start a party in just a day but it might be a lot easier than next election hits and so you have eligibility before you actually become registered and it's not until you actually have a registered candidate with elections Canada that the Communist Party who was laying out his beliefs as well and You know a lot of these people are not just blind to a certain things such as when I discussed I mean there's a lot of work that is required to run a federal party but when it comes to the actual requirements of what you really need aside from you know maybe you know look this election is almost over it ends tonight if by now anytime Cormac McSweeney Parliament Hill reporter for city news for Rogers Radio for the big story all I hope you get some rest tired of all the stuff you're seeing from the main parties take a look at these these other parties some of them might speak to you some of the made disgust you and turn you off works best for you there's an argument to be had that are ballots should have a none of the above option which has been pitched many times before but at the moment we don't have that a handful of people who are really passionate about what they do know how to handle some paperwork you need two hundred and fifty members to sign on and say I want to join this party he goes you've got to find a replacement all that sort of stuff you have to have an outside auditor that will look after your books in your funds and make sure that everything's on the level so they wanNA push for sometimes it's specific issues sometimes it's more broad they WANNA be your MP they're taking part in the political process take a look at your options do your homework find out what the leader of the and I didn't get to talk to all of the leaders of the different parties but how many are there well there are twenty one registered parties in this you would become registered so there's there's a waiting period and if you click on any of these fringe parties on the elections Canada website they'll say Algebra four let's just hypothetically say even more who knows but there are definitely options out there and you know we're focusing on fringe parties there are also a lot of independent candidates that run in the election the odds a small region of the country even and still be a registered federal party -Sego be the change you want to see in the world that's it and you know what if you're sick and definitely against them because they don't have the supports that people who run under party banners But at the same time they're passionate about what they do they want to make change and what do it at a by election if that's what you WANNA do run a candidate in that but it's not as hard as people think you don't need to be
How many restaurants will survive this Spring?
"I remember clearly the last restaurant I sat down and ate a meal and I was going to say here that I wish it had been fancier but I really don't. It was a classic Burger Place near my house. Not a fast food chain like a real Dina and it was greasy and full of cheese and I had a double with everything on it. The fries were crispy an amazing. The Fountain drinks were bottomless. The decor was the decor. But whatever and man I would pay double more than what I paid for that meal to have it again right now claire. Why don't you tell me about your last outside world meal because I'm hungry and literally all I have is a a frozen pizza in the oven upstairs in the last meal that I had? That wasn't at my house was a breakfast sandwich. And a coffee from this great little spot just at the corner of my street and I'm just GONNA say it. They have probably the best breakfast sandwich in the city and they also have the best coffee I was there about mid March and maybe a week later they were closed. Their patio was taken down and now they have a sign on their door to actually discourage people from breaking in it says they have no money and no food inside. And that's where we're at with these places right now in that place which by the way only has the second best breakfast sandwiches in Toronto. 'cause my place has beat okay. But them and the Burger place near my house are the exact kind of establishment that it really hurts me to say. This might already begun forever. And if they're not they might easily be gone by the time. This is all over. Yeah I take walks every day and sometimes I walk along the busy strips in Toronto Bloor Street or college and those are full of bars and restaurants and cafes and it's heartbreaking to walk along them now and see all the signs and the doors with their own versions of due to cove in nineteen were closed until further notice some of them are offering takeout but a lot of them are just closed completely and the. I can't help but wonder how. And if they'll be able to come back from all of this and I think everybody's neighborhood looks like that right now and you know if you listen to this podcast you know that. Various levels of government are offering various forms of help to people in businesses that are impacted by this crisis and look by government standards. They've moved pretty damn fast on that too. Many people and Businesses. That is a godsend but to local independent restaurants. Like the ones. We're talking about here. It's not a godsend. It's nowhere near enough. So those businesses have banded together to ask for what they say they need if they're gonNA survive this and since I'm pretty sure that we want them to survive this because I don't know what my neighborhood would look like without them today. We're going to let them tell you. Why local restaurants are different from other businesses? And what happens to them when any kind of crisis like this headstone and what they're landscape will look like whenever we get the all clear to hopefully open things up and so we'll have somebody do that as soon as we bring you the news? Claire can you help us there? Well Ontario Premier Doug Ford says his patience is running thin when it comes to the provinces lag in testing for covert nineteen. It's unacceptable. We have the capacity now before I understand. We didn't have the region we didn't have all the testing. We have the testing capabilities. We have the assessment centers Capabilities the days are done of these two and three thousand a day being tested and moving forward moving forward. We need to see thirteen thousand tests every single day provinces like Quebec British Columbia and Alberta are all testing at double Ontario's rate a more provinces have been learning how this epidemic might unfold for them new modeling released in Saskatchewan shows an expected three thousand to eighty three hundred deaths and in Alberta. It's believed the outbreak will peak mid May and that the province could see as many as eight hundred thousand cases with the deaths ranging between four hundred to thirty one hundred last month air. Canada laid off sixteen thousand five hundred employees. They said it was a temporary layoff and now it looks like they're staying true to their word and already rehiring most of those people. Thanks to the government's emergency wage subsidy program at that's expected to last until at least June six Air Canada also says it has reduced its seat capacity by eighty five to ninety percent as of Wednesday evening in Canada nineteen thousand two hundred ninety one cases of covert nineteen with four hundred and seventy six deaths. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings and this is the big story John. Synoptic is a Toronto restaurant owner and also the CO organizer of Save Hospitality Dot CA. I John Hello my first question for you is just how are you doing? How are you getting on well Bearing ourselves in government lobbying and and trying to push our agenda forward in order to do our best to save the industry that we care so much about so haven't really thought too much about the actual personal consequences down the road that are very possible as we all are trying to avoid The anxiety the uncertainty that comes with that but Really just like not sitting in our hands not sitting idle getting to work helping our community and then also doing our best to Save as many jobs as possible in our industry and we'll get to what you're doing to save those jobs and what kind of help you need. But first why don't you just tell me how the situation unfolded for you at your restaurants while this virus spread? When did you first start seeing it? What were the ramifications? When did you realize Oh crap this is going to get bad? I guess the beginning of March we started to see reports of it being in other countries other than China and spreading around getting bad in Italy Iran. And then we said Oh. Wow like this could really affect our society and in it does that will. It's GonNa destroy our business before anyone else's and so started really thinking hard about that and in and by the second week of March we saw our sales start to drop precipitously probably did about fifty percent of our normal sales at all of our locations that second week of March and by the end of that week we come to the conclusion that the right thing to do was to close That our staff didn't feel safe. We didn't feel safe serving customers No matter what protocols you took everyone seemed to be at risk. If you're in the same room so after March fifteenth to believe a Saturday night service we made the decision to close all of our within twelve hours. A close all of our locations Sales it also just like disappeared like we were dropping. Reservations like crazy So it didn't make financial sense. It'd be open but it also didn't sense in terms of the safety of our staff in our customers to be open either and then twenty four hours a reeling from that decision. And what do we do Monday? The Sixteenth Seventeenth Forget. What be that was. We laid off all ninety seven employees. There was a difficult day given been in business for over fifteen years and we've had some employees with us just as long We've never laid off anybody Yes very trying times and I got home that night and that money night and kind of commiserated with my partner and I said like I don't know what to do here and What is the government going to do to help us? And who knows and Kinda got in touch with them. A couple of friends of mine who are close to government lobbyists. They work in that world and I said what are you hearing? And they said they're hearing that nobody knows what to do that. government is all ears that they're listening to industry for looking for solutions that these are very uncommon times and the he said like put down your asks in a letter and sent it to me and I'll put it in the rain inboxes so I started along that process. Can you explain for me a little bit in for for other people who aren't familiar with the industry how the business model for independent restaurants works and how the margins are and why this crisis is so bad particularly for independent businesses in the hospitality industry? Yeah I'm glad you asked that because a lot of people say well. The government's giving seventy five percent wage subsidy and they're giving you forty thousand dollar. You know loans that you don't have to pay all of it back later and our answer to that is that unfortunately. Neither of those initiatives fit our problem as a solution in as you said the reason being is at our business model is unique in the sense that our margins are very very small and we have very very high costs so we are cash flow business if the cash stops flowing There's no way to recover. I'll give you an example At our restaurants We have well over fifty vendors that we pay every month for product or services that includes food drink coffee wine beer alcohol a grease trap removal linen companies pest control companies cleaners window washers H Rack maintenance fridge maintenance Like you name it. Beer gas guys you name it. We have someone we pay on average Seventy five cents of every dollar. That enters restaurant leaves In the form of a payment to someone else into government in taxes so when your margins are on average less than five percent It doesn't leave you. A lot of room for cash reserves like the owners basically live off of that like five percent margin in restaurants that the smaller the restaurant and usually the your margin me be a little bit higher but the smaller the profit and smaller the income. Our business model is that You know we pay everyone first. And then if there's something left we pay ourselves. Unlike other businesses we don't have cash reserves. We don't make thirty forty percent margin on our on our incoming dollar we generally have much higher rents given our income than other than other businesses. Because we need to be customer facing on Main Street in cities and towns To take take advantage of the traffic. So we're stuck with very very high fixed costs Which is different. Some small businesses can be in a unit in the suburbs or in an office building where office rents are a fraction of what retail are and in addition to that We employ more people than any other business per dollar earned so to make a million dollars a year in the restaurant business. You need to employ just under fifteen people to do that. In the next most intensive labor sector for example like retail. It's less than half that. It's like six and a half people per million dollars of income So right away you see that. We spend way more lever. We spend way more on rant. We spend way more on product costs. we do this because we have passion for it. We Lo- we do. We Love Serving. People will make them happy love cooking and delicious food pouring them. Amis and drinks and interesting wines And when the tap gets turned off You know we're used to tap being slowed down like we you know business slows different times of the year or with different snowstorms whatever but when tap just gets turned off for a long amount of time like this. There is no plan to address this. Our businesses never designed to shutdown. We're always open. We're always going our job at hospitality. Save hospitality DOT CA is to inform the government of our business model because many of them were not Up to speed on it explain to them. What are fixed carrying costs are even though we're closed. We still need to pay insurance. We still need to pay our Internet and our phone bills. We still need to pay rent. You know there's so many costs still associated with just having a space with no income and our our whatever cash went into banks is depleted like talk to most of US zero after we've paid our staff for full two-week payroll before we laid them off and plus pay and then there you know we had already reduced revenues the week before we close We just don't have any money to come in. So we are uniquely position. Fail in this and We're asking for the government to feed our economic ecosystem from the bottom up. Our solution is very simple. Give us some money now so that we can pair vendors and keep them in business and so they don't go bankrupt we can keep our landlords whole as warlords are our partners we're interested in in keeping them Paid and then we can maybe bring on some staff after some time right before we open to get ready to open and have some ramp cash. Otherwise you're going to see an immense amount of restaurants. Just say forget it. I don't have the money to do this. I can't go into debt Bankruptcy now is better than bankruptcy later with more debt And we're just going to hand in her Keesa landlord so tell me what it looks like when the government announces aid packages for Small Businesses Etcetera. And you go to them and say look. This is nice but it won't keep us going. We need cash What is that conversation like first of all? And what's the response? Been the responses will. What do you mean we're doing all this? We're giving you a seventy five percent waive subsidy we're giving you forty thousand dollars in cash in our response is well the forty thousand dollar loan First of all we don't have the resources later to pay back. These loans as our our margins are too small to take on more debt Secondly forty thousand dollars for the average hundred seat restaurant in this province is like a drop in the bucket. It's nothing for many many of the restaurant signed on signatories to our letter to government and Steve Hospitality. Forty thousand dollars does not even cover one month's rent like for example in our company we have Four properties and our rents range drastically from a small thirty eight seat restaurant to a large hundred and ten seat restaurant. Downtown King Street West Right So Forty Thousand Dollars. Just doesn't cut it. And then if you take into account like all the other bills you need to pay payroll like you know. We have in in and out at our smallest restaurant Terms of cash flow of well over one hundred thousand dollars a month so a forty thousand dollar loan doesn't get you through two weeks. And then the seventy five percent week subsidy. First of all is just an announcement. They haven't detailed how that money will be fed to us in terms of how that subsidy is implemented and they're telling people to call their employers to ask for your job back for us that's very responsible advice given that we don't have any money in the bank to hire anyone back. Even if they do like backdate. The subsidy March fifteenth. We have no money now to foot the bill for that subsidy in the meantime so maybe at a later date when subsidies implemented it will be of help but that is assuming that anyone has any employees left in that people haven't already just close their businesses because there's no certainty there's no positive prognosis on their future. So they're just going to throw in the towel. But what is the reaction? Then when you're asking government for this and they've already done all this kind of stuff like what are they say? Their reaction is that they are working very quickly at lightning speed to implement changes in programs and our response to that. Is that in our world in restaurants. Your lightning speed is a snail's pace and that what you think is lightning. Speed is not even close to fast enough to save the businesses that are in peril and that you need to think outside the box. You need to think more bully you need to not try to lean on the normal tools and levers that you normally implement in tough economic times as this is a new world and we we have to be thinking in wartime measures here so their responses will look at what we're doing in response is none of that applies to us. Think again and people are listening. We know that they care We know the bureaucracy is working very very very hard behind the scenes But we know that. Every day that ticks by more and more people will just close their business that is income that when those businesses closed they are not coming back. No one's just going to walk in and open up the restaurant like that. Someone closed down next month. Those people don't exist. There's no money for it. How much of that has happened already? We've been self-isolating now for almost a month Let's say this somehow Through some miracle that Donald Trump's probably talked about this ends next week. How many of the restaurants that have closed now would not be able to reopen? Like what's the the attrition rate so far gas so restaurants Canada has done a survey and they say ten percent already and by the end of this month. They're seeing another eighteen percent. That ten percent was as of April. Second like after April I went by in the province had an implemented any rent relief or moratorium on objections. We're thinking another eighteen percent so we're talking about close to thirty percent of restaurants closing four good by me. I and this is going to go on longer than that. So if the government doesn't act before me I we're talking about a catastrophic collapse of this entire sector this sector. That employs one point two million Canadians. That support industries employ. Another three hundred thousand Canadians. That's responsible for thirty billion dollars in tax revenue a year. The first thing that needs to happen is the province needs to implement all provinces needs implement of moratorium on commercial lease evictions. People need to put a pause on rent obligations immediately right now. We are in violation of releases so by April fifteenth. If a landlord chooses they can go and lock the doors and chained up on us and just take our business away from us in this kind of environment you cannot just rely on the good graces of people in landlords to do the right thing. Many of them are doing the right thing many of their working with their tenants because they're smart and they know they want to the want to come back and be ten on the other side of this others are taking advantage of this opportunity saying oh well you know. I can get more rent if I close you down and bring someone else in or they're just not thinking clearly and they're they're threatening their tenants saying no you have to pay. You have to pay when there's no money to pay so people are saying I'm done. Here's your keys. There's not exactly businesses lining up to get in those places now. Well that's why I don't think smart landlords would do that because you're like you say we don't think there's businesses lining up. We think that one of these businesses closed. They're gone forever. It takes so much capital to start up a restaurant even if it's already built for you in product and training in in so many so many incidentals that you need to spend to Get a restaurant going again at. We estimate that it's somewhere between one and two percent of annual sales of the restaurant. So if you do million dollars in sales you need about twenty thirty grand. Just open the doors. Well we're going to have to see whether or not Provincial governments around the country Are Willing to up their game for for what you need. But before I let you go I want to pick your brain as somebody who runs restaurants. Because what I'm really curious about is whenever we ramp down social distancing. What kind of thought you've given to what your restaurants look like when they reopened. Because I kind of think about it and I can't wait to go back to a restaurant and eat a lovely meal but I'm also not going to rush back into like a crowded dining room you know like I'm a little gun. Shy of that agreed agreed. And so we're kind of in my opinion. We're looking at a double edged sword. So there's GonNa be a wide spectrum of people's anxiety as we come out of this some people will be Gung Ho among were bars. I want to go out to eat. I WANNA have fun. Get me out of my house. Other people will be very gun. Shy and very cognizant of the risks that still is there in the pre vaccine world. And they're going to be not want to be in a crowded room. The problem is that we don't make money if the room's not crowded yeah we don't make money fifty percent capacity as you heard like our business. Model is a five percent margin when we are running at proper capacity if we are all of a sudden at fifty percent capacity We're losing money. And then the other part of the equation is. We have to make an estimation of what people's ability to spend. Money is on the other side of this. Well that's a good point to how many people are at our at home getting the CRV making fifty percent less than they normally make and just won't have the disposable income. Are you looking for that kind of cheap and cheerful option so the double edged sword is that is that you're going to have less people probably going out and they're all GONNA WANNA be spending less price point in that just destroys our business model? So who you're GONNA have to retool rethink. I think people are going to be doing a lot. More prepared foods in the style of their restaurant and designing them to be executed at home with family and groups. That are not in a public gathering setting but to be honest. Like we've been discussing an ad infinitum and we don't have a crystal ball we don't know you know maybe people will be happy to spend money for that really special experience as long as you're not sitting right beside someone else or maybe they just want a quick bowl of pasta and a glass of wine at the bar and they want to get out as quickly as possible but they've got they. They went out and they had their fine. And now they're gonNA go home for their final drink. You know it. It's GonNa be a different world. We're not sure already how many people are going to be able to survive the storm so in order to save our industry as a whole we know we need to mitigate the losses there will be losses due. We'll be closures that never come back. But the effect that will have on Main Street on the streetscape of our cities in our our towns Lack of is on the street latte much less safer. Streets as less businesses are operating between six. Pm and midnight Less disposable income in your community as the people who had those jobs cash tips and good money on nightly basis are no longer able to go out. The knock on effect is pretty atrocious to think about So we're doing everything we can to. You know mitigate that loss and keep everything going. We really need the government to get on side to help us to to it. Thanks for talking to us about this John. I hope you get what you need. I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you Johnson. Lee is a restaurant owner and for now at least an unlikely lobbyists that was the big story. Allow ME TO LIST. All the places you can find us if you want more episodes. We're at the big story podcast dot ca if you WANNA chat. We're on twitter at be big story F. PM if you want other podcasts from frequency you can find that frequency podcast network DOT COM. And of course you can find all of them in your favorite podcast player. Whether that's apple or Google or stitcher or spotify or something else but if you want to tell us what you've been up to while we've all been locked down. You can do it by using the voice recorder on your phone or just by taking a video and e mailing to the big story podcasts at RPI GOT RODGERS DOT com. We are off for the long weekend. I hope you ve virtually get together with your family. Take care thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings and we'll talk Monday I Jordan. My name is manny from Brampton Ontario. And I listened to your podcast every single day in fact I patiently wait for it until four. Am Seven. I could download into my phone and listen to it immediately. So keep up the great work. I'm very fortunate to be of those Canadians Who still have a job. And that's because the fuel hauler. I am in me and my company. The company that I worked for hiring the business of Providing fuel mostly diesel fuel to those semi trucks into supply chain management company. Fleet that Replenish all the products in supermarkets. For for Canadians. So I believe We're doing a great job here My heart goes out to all Canadians. Who ARE FACING CHALLENGES? These testing times. And I I truly hope that things get better sooner rather than later for office. That's all I have to say again. Keep up the amazing work that you're doing on the podcast and I and I'm looking forward to your next podcast to to be released on Monday thank you.
A look inside Canadians lives during a pandemic
"I just went back and I looked at the past six months of heads of this show. I went back to the very beginning of this pandemic because I wanted to see who we've talked to which voices we've relied on on the subject of covid nineteen and its impacts. We've heard from doctors. Obviously we've heard from epidemiologists from vaccine experts. We've heard from professors and researchers in areas from architecture to die to productivity and human resources to the economy and to climate science and a whole bunch more. And they've told us how covid nineteen will change almost every big thing about our lives. And of course, we've heard from reporters and political pundits and analysts about the response to the virus from various levels of government help pick and how fast and how thorough was. How will that response go over with voters? What will it mean for the next election? All that stuff. And through all of that as I looked back at our episodes, I realize that we really haven't stopped to talk to many regular Canadians who are just trying to live their lives in these quote unquote unprecedented times. Canadians who are just trying to figure out how all of that big picture stuff but I just talked about. How much of that will actually matter as they go about their days. So just had my doctor's appointment and. Everything is great. Maybe kink saw emotional because there's lots of new rules of visitors. and. It's just not expected for welcoming. Help every day just like. Activities of daily living getting dressed getting in out of bed being. Having close of business bit s small business and you have bills to pay rents to bid for the business monthly that it's been Berridge other people are getting upset and now they're threatening to do things to stop members. My husband had to go to work because he's an essential service worker because you need your cable and somewhere two weeks he contracted the Coleman. We didn't really stop to do that kind of journalism and maybe we should have fortunately for us though. Somebody. Else did it for us. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings, and this is the big. Story. Pat Teeny is a producer and a reporter at city news of the key people working on the documentary going viral, which airs Monday night tonight on city TV stations across the country. Hello, Pat. Hey, how are you? Jordan thanks so much for having me I'm doing really well, thanks and why don't you just start by? Explaining what the project is I touched on it a little bit in my intro but kind of line what you're doing here. Sure. So going viral is a documentary produced by city TV it follows the journeys of several Canadians as they navigated through the past few months during the covert pandemic, really an in-depth up close and personal look at their lives. Their mindset says they in some cases, face huge obstacles and challenges during the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. So we followed them from the beginning of the pandemic. Through several months of the first half of the lockdown and pandemic as well. Where did that idea come from? Why did you approach it that way? Well, we wanted to go beyond the headlines Initially City had launched a documentary series and we were all set to go. This was back in January with several different topics and then covert hit and the world turned upside down. Co vid obviously the big story of twenty twenty and we wanted to go beyond the stories that were already being told as you know, Jordan hundreds of stories out there have been done covert and its impacts but we wanted to go deeper not only tell these stories but dive into the lives of those it is impacted and what their day to day life is like what they're seeing through their lenses where you were able to capture their emotions and reactions in real times as they were the. Ones who are actually documenting the journey for us. Yet tell me about that because my next question was going to be, how do you get intimate of views of Canadians live you're not allowed to go anywhere near them, and that's the was the hardest part of this documentary. So typically with a documentary and how we filmed these, we send in a camera crew. We send an audio teams producers obviously with the lockdown and social distancing rules that was impossible's we were unable to do that. So we had to ask these contributors those that we sought out and found to document their own lives. So they're already going through tremendous struggles through all of this because we picked very unique characters that were going through something extraordinary. So we said we found them on social media or they might have posted something that was interesting like, Hey, you've got a great story. Would you mind doing a little bit more and taking it a step further when we set a step further met a huge step further because we're asking them to balance everything they were already juggling. To take a cell phone camera and document their journeys for us. Do. Video. Diaries. Show us what they're seeing on a day to day life inside their homes inside their businesses we wanted. A The view through their lens of what they were experiencing, how they were feeling, and some of the emotions they were going through during the process. How completely did their lives changed from the time you started following them until the time you wrapped the documentary and may be varied by person but I'd love to get a sense of you. Know you mentioned at the beginning turned everything upside down what went upside down four well depends on which character we're talking about but. You know it went upside down on many different levels for different people. So you know for instance, we follow a woman who has was expecting her first child and for the first part of her pregnancy everything was normal. because. It was pre- covid and then cove it hit she would take her mom to the doctor's Office for checkups she would take her husband but that hall had to change. So she had to now go through this alone and it was hard for her very hard for her so we saw her and she's very candidate and raw about the emotion she was feeling having to do this alone now it's still emotional because there's lots of new rules with visitors. It's just not what I expected for welcoming Davey and she felt very isolated and mercer just concerned about keeping my family safe and also wanting them to see the be I just don't know what the right thing to do is. we follow a nurse in Calgary who's on the front lines in an emergency department there you see my eyes. because. That's all I can see when I have a new patient in front of me and things drastically changed for her because she was so used to as a nurse having that one on one contact with patients being able to comfort them, rub their back. If something I've never experienced in my whole career and I've never had people's I colors. And I expressions. Burned into my mind so badly. We see all the emotion, all the fear, all the sadness the people's families can't be with them and it's absolutely heartbreaking. She's dealing with patients who have no access to family members because they can't go into the emergency department anymore, and then she is faced with all these challenges just to see these patients to give them a glass of water in some cases and she put it took an act of God because they had to isolate these patients behind closed doors and they had to gear up get in. Before they could go in and even talk or deliver a glass of water to these patients. So there's a variety of challenges that will see in this documentary and that we saw unfold as we were following his characters, were there any common themes beyond you know obviously having their lives up ended by Kovic? Were there any common themes that you found No matter? How varied their lives? Were they all were facing those things? Struggle, heartbreak, and resiliency. So struggle and heartbreak in the beginning as we've mentioned, these people facing real hurdles I, it was fascinating to see them sending videos each week and see how they were dealing with so many different things. Yeah. Each of them were able to conquer their fears and I think in the moment were all able to do that when you look at this from the outside, like how did they go through that but when you witness someone going through it? We as humans have that resiliency built in and we fight back and they were able to conquer the heartbreak abor able to try and find some kind of normalcy in a world that really is anything. But normal at this point, how did you get them to keep going through some of that because there's some Some really emotional stuff and some really hard times for the subjects of the dock and I know that if that was me at some point, I would have just said you know what I'm not. I'm not doing my video diary for city TV this week for these characters took building relationships. So. Myself Co producers, Meghan Robinson Christina how're win director Alex McIntosh and our associate producer Jenny paying really had to coach these people through this explaining exactly what we needed being empathetic with them. Telling them. We understand this is difficult. We know you're going through so much but the stories you're going to tell could help Canadians understand. What so many are going through right now and many of them many who will be watching we'll be able to relate to these stories and that really got them to go on the other thing which was very interesting through all of this is these contributors. At first probably thought it was a bit troublesome. But then when they started doing it Jordan and they started to do these video diaries and document their lives, they said, they began to treat their cell phones like a therapist. They felt like they were opening up and getting things outs and to them it was comforting. It helped them. In a sense through the process because they were, we'll talk to talk through their emotions to try and get through this. So that was the most fascinating thing and. The team really developed with the characters we were following. We really developed. Incredible relationships with these people? I can say I've added a few more facebook friends through all of this because we're really talking with them through some of their toughest moments throughout this whole pandemic, and in some cases we were the only ones that they were able to talk to you through all of this and really get out that emotion. Can you give me some examples of some of those sessions that you might have had that that really moved you so I followed a couple. Whose loved one was in a long term care home rocked by Kobe. So my mother's in Ultima Nursing Care She's been there since November and they were desperate for answers in the beginning as people were. Long-term care homes you know were greatly affected some of them in the Toronto Area Montreal area. We're really hit hard by the virus so people were locked out they could not going see their loved ones and they were struggling to find answers and they were frustrated and they were angry. And, this couple of particular their mom had been in a room with someone who tested positive and I was. On. The phone with them minutes after they got the call telling them that their mom's roommate tested positive. Their mom is ninety four years. Old already has a variety of issues and it was so emotional to talk to them at that points when they were feeling so raw and so open and so angry about not being able to get answers as to why their mom was not being moved out of that room and what was being done to ensure that. She wouldn't be the next to become infected. The care is just not there in these homes I know the nurses I know the past ws are doing everything they can, and they're doing an amazing job I. Get at I. Believe it's upper management at is telling them what they can and cannot do, and it's not enough even though the while she did get infected and we followed them through that process well and to see what they were going through to. Try to understand what they were feeling was challenging but at the same time, very eye opening and you couldn't. Not feel absolutely horrible for these people and try and be a voice of comfort and try and. Tell them and pitch stories to the newsroom to try and get these answers. For them so they could find some kind or get some kind of sleep that night but It was really really just their story alone for me really hit home I have an elderly mom not in a long term care home Thank goodness but I just felt for them and I was glad that again we were able to provide some sense of comfort to them through all of this I'm going to ask because everybody listening to will want me to Did she did she make you know I I I hate to do this but you'll have to watch the documentary because that's one of the One of the journeys that were following and boilers yeah. Tell me about how could you just touched on it you walk the line between being somebody's helper somebody's coached somebody's therapist and a a journalist WHO's trying to document this at arm's reach because I know especially when you're dealing with no ordinary people who are having. The same regular struggles that thousands of Canadians are having there's gotta be a real drive to do something for them as opposed to just take in their videos. Yes and and there was so I think what you know the idea behind this documentary project was not only do the documentary, but also feed city TV newsroom with with stories. So throughout that when we would be told about something that was happening, let's say in Long Term Care Homes, we would pitch those stories to the newsroom and say, Hey, you got to look out for this. You GotTa try and find answers. These are the questions people who are going through this. Have Right now and want answered. So we were able to to kind of drive news coverage to be able to cover these stories. You know we were one of the first to find out that the military was being deployed to these long term care homes and We we sent a crew right away to try and document that and figure out what they exactly we're going to be doing. So that's how we were able to to help these people out and because as you know this documentary falling over several months, we couldn't just. Get this out right away and get those answers for these people. So we had to use the newsroom kind of as our vehicle to do that part of it for us and there are a lot of. Big Picture angles to covid nineteen in Canada, and we've covered a ton of them on this podcast, and especially when it comes to the government response, you know we we often end up talking to our reporters or columnists or pundits about you know how how this is going in and how that's going and I wonder what? You saw from the average folks on the ground about what they thought about how the government was handling. All of this I wonder if it's any different from the the columns you read in the hot takes Cetera. So a extreme level of frustration because no one has gone through this before and to this level, and we are all government officials included navigating this new. Strain normal and answers changed. Policies changed and these people were going through all of that. So you know another person, we're following a small business owner who's Desperate to keep his doors open, he owns a marketing firm and Even more desperate to not lay off staff or even cut their pay. So he had a lot of questions initially about the loans that were being provided for businesses and he said it I you know loan programs I was applying for I didn't hear anything back. I didn't know how to navigate this new system. There wasn't a lot of help out there. Everyone was kind of left to their own vices trying to figure out what was happening how they were going to be helped. What was being done to keep them safe keep their employees save keep their family safe. We followed parents who are home-schooling their kids trying to figure that whole thing out with online learning. So there are a variety of things that that people were struggling to find out on their own, and they really felt that there could have been more answers provided to them in more help provided to them whether it be from health officials, government officials throughout this whole. Thing you touched on it a tiny bit when you mentioned the small business owner but I wanted to ask you about how they felt specifically about the aid programs that the government got running really fast but may or may not have been enough r be in particular Did these folks use them? Did they find them adequate and if not, where did they fall short? So I will tell you they. They did find them adequate again in the beginning there was some frustration over how to get through it but once they were able to get through what they did find that it was quite helpful and was able to keep them running. And able to keep this man's employees paid because a little bit of a spoiler alert. Too. Much He did have to cut their pay and what you'll see in this documentary is that incredible and emotional conversation he had to have those employees on us whom call that day when he had to cut their pay a looking at what revenue we're going to be having an April and May. Were not going to be able to sustain the full payroll I. Need Your help and she breaks down. And is incredibly upset that he has to have this tough conversation with them but he kept them on board and he was able to keep them on board because of the loan programs and the wage subsidies that were provided by by the government. So he in the end was incredibly thankful for that and they found it very helpful before I let you go. I also wanted to ask you you know how is this entire process informed your reporting on Cove Ed? Because as I mentioned, you know we talked to Pundits and analysts of we've talked to doctors and epidemiologists, and we we constantly talk about the big picture of Covid and Canada, and I wonder how that changes when you have constant access to to people who are just trying to live their lives and get through this. Yeah. Well, you see the other side again, it's going beyond the headlines going beyond a few sound. You're seeing their day today life and you're seeing that that real raw emotion of what they're going through in real time, which was incredibly eye opening. I've been a journalist for several years. I've not had this access to people before. So it really opened my eyes to see. Okay. This is what happens right after I get done interviewing them or this is what happened. Right before I interviewed them often times we as journalists we go after the fact, and then we asked them to rehash what happened. In this case, we were able to see it in real time as it happened and to have that access was incredibly eye opening. At times, I'll be honest was a bit hard in some cases to watch but it just gave us a hole deeper look at how this pandemic, how the subsequent lockdown really impacted not only their mental health but their financial stability, their homes home lives, and how they were able to as human beings navigate this new normal and come out on top and get through this whether the outcome was great or whether the outcome was bad they got through it and yet while I can't wait to see how it all unfolds. Tonight. Thanks so much for doing this patent. Thank you so much Jordan. Appreciate it. Hot. Teeny from city news. You can watch going viral tonight. In Toronto Montreal Vancouver Calgary and Edmonton at nine PM local time, you can watch it at eight PM local time in Winnipeg and Saskatoon catoon. That was the big story for more from US had to the big story podcast. Dot Ca find us on twitter at the big story F. P. N.. Email us at the big story podcast. All one word, all lower case at CI DOT Rogers Dot Com, and of course, subscribe for free wherever, you get your podcasts I don't care which after us as long as you use it to listen to our show. Thanks for listening I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings we'll talk more.
Climate change reporting needs hope as well as fear
"You've seen the pictures. You've read the headlines You've listened to the dire news reports. We all have. Climate change is real. It's here now and it's terrify. But there's something else we all need to understand to predictions of the apocalypse drive clicks and they drive shares and they make money. But that doesn't mean. The world is about to end next year. or the year after that or even over the next decade no matter how quickly the climate changes. Humans are adaptable. We are inventors for smart and were capable of advanced problem solving. And so yes, the climate is changing rapidly and in horrible ways but we are also right now creating new technologies. Inventing new ways of living. And rethinking our current behaviors to adjust to new reality to survive. You don't often hear enough about those things certainly, not as often as you share about how utterly screwed but we are. And why does that matter? Because hope matters. Because a goal to work towards is always better than despair. Because if we're all going to really fight back against climate change, we need to see examples of battles that we can win. We need to know that we are not powerless. So. How can? Without. Ignoring the real danger a planet faces. Tell those stories. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings and this is the big story. Cheryl Kirshenbaum is the executive director of science debate an organization that works to get candidates on record on science policy. She also co Directs Michigan State University's Food Literacy and engagement poll and hosts an NPR podcast called serving up science. Hey Cheryl. Hi, thanks so much for having me. Oh you're welcome. Maybe as we get started here, just to sort of set up a baseline because we're going to go in a different direction on climate change today, you're a scientist you work on this stuff. How much trouble is the world in due to climate change just just to lay the baseline for everywhere else we're about to go. Yes. Climate change is serious. We're in a lot of trouble. It's not a new issue at something that scientists and others have been grappling with for decades, but we haven't been taking the precautions that could be to lead to. A better outcome. So unfortunately, we're emitting a lot of greenhouse gases and that's changing our oceans. It's changing our environment. It's changing our whole world and that's going to have ripple effects and it won't impact all of us equally right and now let's get at what you wrote about, which is, how do you see that future that we're talking about depicted when climate change is covered by by the media or elsewhere I find it very frustrating to be honest because when we hear climate change, usually there's often a photo depicting a skeleton of an animal on a desert or. The the storms and hurricanes ripping out trees, and unfortunately for good reason, there have been wildfires in the news and on one hand, it's it's heartbreaking but also it's a way that we have been more focused on climate but I feel like we're so we're paying so much attention to the real negatives and what ifs and what's coming or potentially coming but we're not spending the time to talk about solutions and the people that are working now to try to avoid these horrible future scenarios that are still if not avoidable, we can change them to be less dramatic and less severe particularly in the developing world where people are more vulnerable to food shortages and. Water shortages and energy shortages and everything that goes with that. Why do you think it's covered the way that it is now with those pictures you mentioned I think that there's a lot of reasons I think that on one hand I called it in the piece that you had had seen I call it Doomsday Porn I. Think in some ways we live in this environment where everything has to be click -able and the more dire the more pressing the more likely it is that someone is going to follow a link to get to a story and advertisers are involved. So I don't think that's the whole reason but I do think that that's part of it. I also think we kind of can't help ourselves but worry about the future in so many ways and climate is part of that. My concern is working in this space, and as I said, I've been working space for about twenty years a lot of people reach out to me on a weekly basis especially young people that are anxious depressed deciding not to have kids making these big life choices and feeling. So stressed without having a background in the science and really sing away of this crisis and while I, don't think climate change is something will magically solved. There's a lot of. Pieces to it I. Wish We'd Focus on the folks looking at a more resilient future, looking at complex systems and talking about the different levers that we can use to make things a bit better because those are still very very possible when you use the term resilient future what does that mean? We can be acting now to make sure that we prioritize food security, for example, and many people are so I work in agriculture at Michigan State University, and I work with some amazing people that are looking at what makes our crops more resilient to drought and two storms and to flooding. And if we can get more attention to a lot of these issues, we can garner more funding for the people thinking about these challenges and the solutions that go with them. Then we'll be able to adapt in ways that are still possible but when I. Click on a link or open my laptop or see what's on twitter. It's a lot of panic and hopelessness. And it's not these stories about these people to to me who are real heroes of climate change I think we might start to see a little more of that I know Dr Michael Man is about to come out with his next book that is focused on hope over panic, but it's a really hard conversation to shift, and while it used to be the kind of thing that politicians wouldn't even say wouldn't even talk about you mentioned. My my nonprofit that I co-founded science debate we work to get candidates running for office to address science and Technology Policy and when we got going in two, thousand, seven, two, thousand and eight you weren't even hearing the term climate change. So we've come a really long way since then we're now it's an issue that comes up all the time in stump speeches maybe a little bit more in the US from one party than the other. But. We're still not at a place where I think that talking point has translated into actionable items but we're seeing a lot more interest in what some of those policies might look like that I think is based on science. But again, we're often really struggling with having the will in the political realm to make that happen. We'll be back after one brief message. I'm going to tell you a little bit about Canada land, which is a podcast that knows what happens here matters. Every week candidate land tells a story. You won't hear anywhere else and shows you how this country really works. From breaking news on the charity scandal to land occupied by indigenous protesters, Canada antics takes you to the heart of what's happening here. Host Jesse Brown an contributors have conversations with journalists and artists and experts who reveal what's really going on in Canadian Politics Arts Activism and media. It's always candid. It's sometimes uncomfortable but they're interviews tell you what people in power don't want you to hear whether that's deeply reported expose or just showing you how the sausage gets made. There is a new candidate land every Monday and I always checked to see what they're up to and we've even had host Jesse Brown on this program before. You can subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts or visit Canada Land Show Dot Com. I know one of the things that I personally struggle within that I think we we also struggle with on the show sometimes when we cover climate change is to focus on the numbers and by that I mean the targets that aren't being met, and also specifically the kind of one point five degree target that I think a lot of people have heard a ton about and. What we've heard about lately is that there's no way we could even hope to cap it at that and I guess I. Wonder. You know what gets lost when the the future of the world and it actually looks like to live in it is kind of reduced to to a number on the thermometer that's a great question. We've been presented as either or in many cases, right you you hit that target and the world is ending. It's the apocalypse or we save ourselves by somehow magically staying under some kind of threshold and I've heard a lot of different thresholds and that's not really fair way to present climate change. In my opinion, we are going to continue to see changes because these happen over a very long time. It's not like something we do immediately can change the foreseeable future insignificant meaningful way that suddenly climate change isn't a problem. But we lose focus on the things that can matter most. So for example, a lot of people come and talk to me and they think we need some ground new innovation that we can invent ourselves out of this crisis, and we just we just need to get there it's new technology and they don't realize that one of the most impactful ways that we can work to affect the outcome or to change the trajectory we're on a regarding climate change is simply by wasting less food. We throw away between a third and a half of the food we produce, and that's a lot of water a lot of energy a lot of wasted deforestation, a lot of land to produce something that we just toss and then in turn produce a whole bunch of emissions through that process. So there's something we don't need any kind of new innovation or technology to move toward, but we're not hearing about it because maybe it's not as exciting right food ways to wants to talk about that. But but there's an example of something we can do right now. To omit far less. And have a lot of other benefits around the world as well. But it's kind of how do you get people to do that? You know without scaring them without without giving them that the world is going to end type feeling because. Otherwise. Like you said, know food waste is not a sexy thing to talk about but maybe it is when you're threatened with the end of the world. Hopeful messages motivate people to act a lot more than doomsday scenarios. There's a lot. There's a new field that's come recently where people are looking at the psychology of climate change and it seems that very much show when feel that they can take action to do something about it. They're more likely to to stay positive to want to be involved in solutions I also think there's this thing that feeds on itself especially in the policy realm. Where if we are presented over and over with this doomsday scenario, we see politicians who used to call climate, change a hoax then turn and go one, hundred, eighty degrees and say, well, it's real but it's nothing we can do about it. We're already doomed. There is a lot of middle ground and I think at sometimes has to do with who the Messenger is in the past I've done a lot of work in energy water conservation and climate specifically. And I give a lot of talks that usually I'm talking to people that already understand the problem. Now that I work in agriculture, I'm meeting a lot of different kinds of people that maybe aren't as comfortable with the term climate change but they are noticing that conditions are changing in farming and that we're probably going to have to take some new strategies on to get the yields. The crop yields that we've been dependent upon and will continue to be even more. So going forward. So there's different frames in different ways to talk about what we face. I also feel like the alarmism isn't helping I don't know exactly how to tone that down because again it's it's almost like a virtue signal a I don't know if that's the right term I'm not sure if that's I mean, but it's so aligned to certain political. Ideologies that it's become more difficult to tease out the science and the evidence based policy solutions that we can move toward from aligning with a particular stance on who should be in office, and that's that's really a missed opportunity because it doesn't matter what party you're part of climate change will impact you So I love to see us move the conversation a little bit away from partisanship if possible now that's been going on since before I worked in Congress beginning in two thousand six and that was a challenge. Then it's gotten a lot worse obviously. So I don't have an easy solution definitely, not something I could pull out in disgust for another fifteen minutes and. We'd be done. But I think that that we can move and in many ways are moving maybe not so visibly. Towards some action that will make a difference and I would just love to see that's why I love that you wanted to have this conversation today. I think we can move in that direction and also tell a few more people about what's going on along the way we'll. I totally get that it's almost impossible to disentangle climate change from partisanship at the actual levels of people in power but. Is there a way that we can try to work on that in our ordinary lives because you're absolutely right that whatever the term has virtue signaling or something else If it's associated with one party. Anybody who identifies as the other party is going to take an opposite stance and and how do you open a conversation on climate changer on potential solutions without framing it as a like this is what we should do because we're liberals or conservatives. It's another great question. People are a lot more willing to take someone seriously if there's already trust embedded into the relationship. And the person with that message is willing to not just talk but also spend a lot of time listening. For in my own life, I have a lot of friends who are conservative and liberal and among the Conservatives they might not immediately be ready to talk about climate change but one friend, for example, recently took a cruise to Alaska before the pandemic back and said you know. I'm really troubled I. Didn't see what I thought. I was going to see the icebergs don't look like they used to look and it started a conversation between us, and now he comes to me when he has questions about climate change. So I think starting from a place with people in your own community who you already have a relationship with it might not seem like the biggest platform because it's not A. National audience but all of us have these networks with different kinds of folks that we so infrequently listened to and it becomes an echo chamber of people who who think like us and talk like us that are in our circle. I think bringing more people into those conversations that we know maybe in our family maybe in our neighborhood I is really probably the most important piece that we're missing right now. What do you say to? The cynicism whether it comes from someone who doesn't WanNa? Do Anything about it because Oh it's already too late kind of the politicians you mentioned earlier or even just from some regular person and I've had my moments of this where it's just it's it's tiring and it's hopeless and it is easier to sort of be resigned to the end of the world than to actually think that we can change this. It definitely can feel overwhelming I agree with you there, but I like to tell stories of hope especially stories about things that I work on that maybe aren't as flashy and getting all the media coverage. Can you tell us a couple? Of course. I'm really interested in agriculture agriculture contributes tremendous amount of greenhouse gas emissions. But the sector really matters and it's not one that gets a lot of news coverage and that's because it takes so much energy and water, and all of our resources to plant to harvest to clear land to refrigerate store transport to go through all the steps along the way to get to our plate, and again, I already talked about food waste, but we're starting to change the way we eat now I can't speak for Canada I'm sure Canadians eat a lot of meat to but in the US we eat an average of two hundred fourteen pounds of meat per year per person which has an enormous footprint. But now, there's a lot of people through this Collaboration through startups and science and entrepreneurship. To change the way we eat make us a bit less dependent on very carbon intensive farming practices like beef. So just the explosion of plant based Meat Alternatives, the rise of what will soon be commercially available. Of Cell Cultured Meat are going to offer new options for communities that maybe aren't vegetarian or weren't looking for those kinds of alternatives specifically because they normally would look for the the Vegan option but these these products are being engineered and designed to substitute meet, and that's very scary to meet lobbyists and I've seen a lot of pushback, but it is starting to take a little bit of the market away from traditional meat traditional beef in particular. I see that as a huge change that's happened extremely fast and I find that very encouraging I find the fact that climate change. has become such an important voting issue in the two thousand twenty US election a huge difference from where we were even ten years ago in candidates didn't really WanNa talk about it or say those terms, the marches we see March is all around the world constantly especially by young people who were taking this very seriously maybe a little more hopeless than I prefer but. But we've woken up to the fact that something's different and then even the conversations I have with my colleagues in the farming community. As I said, they might not be willing to talk about climate change, but they are starting to deeply concerned when crops fail in a year because we get devastating tornadoes going across the center of the country and I, think the wildfire situation, the hurricane situation especially in twenty twenty speaks for. itself so I don't I don't like I mean it's horrible that these things are happening with increased severity. But I do think there's a collective recognition that something's different and we better do something about it. So the title of your piece in scientific American was no climate change will not end the world in twelve years like all the all the doomsday porn that we do see I guess my last question for you is. If climate change is not going to end the world in twelve years. What will the world look like with Climate Change in twelve years? What do you see instead of those pictures of a skeleton in a desert? I'll preface this answer by saying I do not choose headline as you probably know. So I wasn't super thrilled with that headline. Why not can you tell me why not I, in it speaks to the purpose of the piece, but there's a lot of people who see headlines and don't read the articles themselves. So there were a number of people that assumed I was a climate denier and we're sending me these horrible emails not having read anything further down than that headlines. So I think but I understood why that I mean that headline was probably part of the exact same thing that we've been talking about it's flashy. It sounds like something that you should click over to. The headline was fine in terms of what will our world look like in twelve thirteen fifteen years. I truly believe that that will be up to us and it's still up to us. So we can choose to promote the kinds of research and turn the kinds of technologies that are going to give more food secure future wall making the distribution of food. More just and equitable I mean we're in the situation where some of us have too much to eat and we have a lot of health problems because of that, and a heck of a lot of people aren't getting enough food which is absurd. But the issue right now isn't that we don't have enough food globally it's that we don't distribute it well. That will change as more people are here, but we can find ways to be more equitable to to create a better outcome. We have to be smart with water. Water is our most critical resource in light of climate change, and there are a lot of folks looking into where we can. Where we can use water resources. In a more efficient way efficiency is a huge part of the solution. I'm we're seeing the emergence. There's there's an energy transition that's happening right now and I think a lot of people aren't even aware of that because we're not focused on it but the way we use energy is changing very quickly. Now in the US again, I know I keep being us centric but that's where I am so I I know our data We're pretty closely tied to you. So no worries that's that's my understanding. We're very dependent upon each other in many ways as well. We are not investing in resource in development, which is a lot of the science stuff. To the extent that other countries are so does that mean that other countries like China become leaders in this space that we have the ability to? Really. Meet, our meaner our challenges and I mean I mean solar is wanting sample. China's really invested in solar in the US kind of step back for a lot of reasons. Are Too detailed to go into right now, but we can choose to be a leader we can choose to innovate. We can choose to meet this challenge in a way that is more humane that considers. The biodiversity of life on planet earth not just humans because I think a lot of us forget that humans are one part of a much more complex system. That's becoming increasingly fragile species going extinct. There's there's so many pieces to this, but we're seeing more interest in attention to where our food keep going back to food but I work in more interested in where food comes from a more interest in in how we can. Make our way on this planet. While considering the biodiversity of life. That's both just and equitable. To humans and other species and I see that as a real reason for optimism in addressing climate challenges Cheryl thank you for this dose of optimism. I think on this topic especially, we needed it. Well, thank you so much for inviting me on and I hope to talk to you again sometime. Cheryl Kirshenbaum of science debate. And of serving up science which you can get wherever you get podcasts. Just. Like you can get the big story wherever you get your podcasts and also at the big story PODCAST DOT CA. And, of course, find us on twitter at the the big. Story. F. P. N.. Email us but not with climate denial at big story podcast. All one word all case at RCI DOT ROGERS DOT COM. Thanks for listening I'm Jordan. Heath. Rawlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
How to stay positive in self-isolation
"So I've been really trying to take pleasure in little things That's eating a favorite snack or Rom coms from the nineties and early two thousands. I don't know they seem to be a good escape. What I need it. Endorphins are pretty much the only thing keeping me sane right. Now I've been working out with online videos and also just speaking with friends. I haven't talked to in Munson. I have taken up cross stitching right now. I'm working on a flower wreath and I made biscuits and scones and in the next couple of days. I'm going to try and make a loaf wish me luck. What you just heard was our attempt all of us who work on this podcast to look on the bright side. That's not always easy especially right now as well as the anxiety that comes with worrying about your own health and the health of your loved ones bears the depression that comes from the news. There's the lack of activity that comes from being cooped up indoors and just generally. There's a feeling of loss of a lot of the things that we might do. When we feel down going to a movie or a game going shopping getting a massage eating out all of that but more important than any of those things is the absence of close human contact at the root of it. At what so many of us are grieving right now so once we get clair's news out of the way I know it's depressing but it's also crucial right now that you stay informed today we'll try to help you understand how we're wired which of those wires can disconnect in times of crisis like this and how we can try through small efforts to plug them back in. Okay hit it Claire. Yes sorry I'd rather not be the most depressing part of this episode but here we are well. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that federal wage subsidy to cover three quarters of salaries will go to any company large medium or small if it can show that it has seen revenues dropped sharply due to Kovic nineteen. There'll be an eight hundred and forty seven dollar cap per week and this will be backdated to March fifteenth in the coming days. Were expecting more Canadians to be coming home from abroad. Arrangements are being made for those in places that include Haiti Honduras and El Salvador Quebec has now surpassed three thousand cases. That's the most in Canada. The premier logos is the number of cases. Seems be stabilizing the government. There has announced one hundred and thirty three million dollars in emergency funds for seniors in the US. More than one hundred and forty thousand people are now infected with covert nineteen. That's the most recorded cases of any country in the world and it's followed by Italy and Spain hospitals in New York are so overrun with patients. Now that a hospital is being built in central park under white tents. Canada has now reported more than seventy four hundred cases of Cova nineteen with eighty six deaths. Jim Jordan Heath Rawlings. This is the big story. Dr Elizabeth done is a professor in the Department of Psychology. At the University of British Columbia she conducts experimental research determining. How time and money and technology and other things can shape human happens. Hello Dr Dunn. Hi thanks for having me no problem. I'm going to start by just asking you how happy you are right now. Do a scale of one to ten Well you know it's interesting because I I guess I would say I might be around in eight because a part of that is just that. I know that I'm a lot better often. So many other people right now. Of course I compare it to pre cove life you know. I guess my response might be a little bit different will. That's one reason I wanted to talk to. You is just how happy were we. I guess before this disease struck because I've been having the feeling that I should have been happier when I had the chance if that makes sense right so happiness is partly dependent on our expectations and I think you know. Most of US had become accustomed to fairly comfortable way of life and I think Cova may be re setting our expectations about what life can entail and so you know what I think is interesting. Is that although I certainly anticipate that happiness levels are gonNA take a bit of a nosedive during this period. I'm curious whether they might actually rebound to levels that are higher than what we've observed in previous years because now going back to like being able to go outside and have dinner with your friends and stuff. It's going seem pretty awesome and I think it may actually increase the enjoyment that people get from what were previously activities. We took for granted so what goes into the things that in a crisis like this can make us happy. What should we be focusing on? I guess if we're missing everything that we've lost. Well I think the number one thing is finding opportunities for safe social connection so psychologist like me View social connection as being a really fundamental human. Need you know not so different things. Like food and water and sleep. Human beings have a fundamental need to connect with others. And you know it's really apparent what you need When you no longer have access to it right so deprivation really highlights what you've needed all along and so I would say you know whether it's skyping with people or you know sitting out on your balcony and chatting or do making some music with some neighbors. Whatever opportunities you can find it's really important to carve out time in your day to to connect with others. How weird is it that I feel like I've actually talked to A lot of people that I know that I haven't talked to in a while. I'm usually one of those people who's really bad about reaching out and though I obviously haven't actually seen any of them I've sent messages and and you know we've replied back and forth and it feels like I'm making more of an effort which is something I don't usually do. Yeah I've been hearing this from a lot of people I've experienced this myself. So you know hardly ever call my dad but I like called my dad the other dating so happy to hear from me and it's just a good reminder that like you know we have all these opportunities for connection in daily life that we may not take advantage of because we're sort of meeting the needs so easily so you know it's kind of like if suddenly you were deprived of food you might find you know new creative sources of nutrition that you noticed. Were there all along? Sort of like you know you might be get good foraging for Berries. I would say it's kind of like we've gotten good at foraging for social berries. Finding those may be a doormat connections or just you know. I actually talked to the neighbors in the building next to mine for the first time ever last night because we were both out on Porches cheering for healthcare workers at the seven. Pm Shift Change You know I think this crisis is actually creating opportunities to both renew old connections and even spark nuance when somebody's feeling really down over this. Which is totally understandable And you kind of see social media posts telling them to be grateful for what they have or to you know find the silver lining or just appreciate the simple things. That kind of stuff can feel impossible right now. Is there a way to try to find that appreciation? Well I south. You know. It's easier to engage in those kinds of positive behaviors. When you're not feeling terrible right so if you're just having one of those moments I think all of us have had them at some point in the past weeks of just feeling like this sense of devastation. You know telling somebody when they're feeling like that. Too like savor the taste of chocolate or whatever is probably not that helpful but you know. I think a lot of us have had moments where we're like. Oh like feeling a little bit. Okay right You know again for example last night when we were all out cheering for the healthcare workers at seven I felt like this real sense of connection in warmth and and I really just try to hold onto that so when I got a little bit of it. I made the most of it so I like shared on facebook and looked at other people's facebook posts from elsewhere in the city of people posting the same cheering. So I kind of took that. Like little kernel of positivity and really tried to make the most of it but it wasn't just trying to pull it out of nowhere from the depths of devastation and and that's kind of the strategy that I would I would recommend for people. Would you talk about something Lake Everybody clapping for healthcare workers which is amazing I also wonder if that kind of sense of shared purpose Can help to bring us together. Because I have never felt before that everybody I talk to no matter who they are is thinking about the same thing the entire time. Yes this amazing sense of what? Psychologists call shared reality that we are all going through this experience together and so there's something that we all have in common in. Kinda reminds me of when my son was born. He was not a good sleeper. It was very challenging time of life for me but like other people that I knew who had infants were also kind of locked up in the house and deprived of social interaction but like drew doing their best to get through it And I actually have a very similar feeling now. Like we're we're all experiencing kind of a similar challenge that gives us some some common ground and I think it can provide an opportunity for us to to really reach out to those around us and connect with them and just find opportunities to be kind to each other to help one another even really simple ways. What kind of role? Either for good. Or ill will technology play in all this. Because I know you've done some research in that direction and I've never been more connected to my phone my laptop this recording studio in my basement like I feel like I'm I'm plugged in every moment I'm not asleep right now. Yeah I think the big takeaway message from our past research is that technology is not inherently good or bad for our happiness instead. It really depends how you use it. So if you're using technology to like scroll through scary stories about cove nineteen before bed is probably gonna be undermining your well being on the other hand you know. We're so fortunate that were going through this terrible crisis at a time when there is the opportunity to engage in his really interesting Forms of remote connection for example. I've been fighting video calls extremely helpful in my friends and I have gotten in the habit of having video calls with each other. You know every few nights or so. And I've actually been you know as someone who researches the potential downsides of technology. I've been really impressed with the upsides Lately about how you know in the absence of the typical way that we would satisfy this deep seated need for connection of actually getting together in person these video calls can serve as an imperfect but still really valuable source of of connection. We've done episodes of the show on happiness before and one of the things that came up back. Then I guess it would have been ten to twelve months ago was the loneliness epidemic and it feels like this crisis could really exacerbate that or maybe not depending on on how we react. What role do you think? The existing loneliness in our lives plays in something like this. Yeah Yeah I mean. I think that people who are Having to self isolate to literally be alone for a couple of weeks are going to experience pretty severe levels of loneliness always to sort of minimize that a you know reaching out to others through video calls and other other things but you know. I think it's going to be real risk that we need to be considering. So I would argue that alongside All of the recommendations in terms of physical distancing we really need some good public health recommendations about maximizing connection in this time. Because I think you know we weren't starting out necessarily with really great scorers in terms of our our sense of connection Ray. A lot of people report worryingly high levels of loneliness so they really are at risk. I you know I. I worry a lot about people who live alone. Who are now being told. You know. Basically just stay home. You know only connect with others in your household They're the only person in our household you know I worry about them and I think maybe we need to start thinking in a little bit more nuanced ways about how can we create opportunities for social connection for everybody because again the number one thing that I really want people to recognize is that social connection is a fundamental human need. We have to satisfy. It is not a luxury. Loneliness is a real risk factor in terms of a wide variety of health problems so loneliness is basically equivalent to smoking in terms of its negative effects on health. Amit so we need to take that part of the puzzle very seriously and I think you know if you were told. Hey you cannot eat anything but rice for the next two weeks would go are okay are you sure. Is there any way we can find like some frozen peas in the back of the freezer? Something right and like we need to be searching for those thinking outside the box recognizing this as a human need that we've got to try to find ways to at least partially satisfy you and making time for that so you know that's what I hope. People really keep in mind as we kind of dive deeper into this incredibly crazy time. If that's priority number one What are some other small things that people who are stuck working from home can do I see a million of them on the Internet? You know. Make sure you dress everyday like you're going to the office and wear pants or make sure you keep the same schedule or very what you eat for lunch. Do we know what kinds of things Could work or is there no rule? Well I would say you know in thinking about a rule that's gonNa work really effectively across the board. I would sum it up in two words as be kind so just find opportunities for kindness whether it's that you are You know ANA zoom call with CO worker. And they're having a rough time and you can telling you say hey you wanna stay on the call for five minutes afterward and just catch up and give them a chance to talk about what's going on in their life or whether it's you know when you're going to the Grocery store checking your older neighbor to see if you can pick up anything for them. You know these small actions we feel like we're doing them for others but actually they're very good for our own well-being and you know in my past research will be seen as that using what we've got to help other people can promote our own happiness even when we don't have much like even when people are struggling to meet their basic needs we still see that they benefit from helping others. Morelos question for you kind of ties back to what you mentioned at the beginning. Which is it's our loss of of our expectations and one of the things. I think I've struggled with another people have is seeing this news every day and and knowing it's going to get worse but not knowing what's coming next. How can you manage those expectations to keep them from taking over? I mean it's tough. I think you know I think maybe the best thing to do with that recognition that things are probably going to get worse is used this moment right now to put some systems in place for yourself to create those networks of support that you might need even more in a few weeks so you know a friend of mine Just created this like cove. Mommy's at group on facebook And connected about twenty different moms that she knows and so now. I'm in touch with all of these other MOMS. That are wrestling with the same challenges. I'm wrestling with And so just having those kinds of networks and structures in place can be really helpful in thinking. Okay you know my husband and I have already talked about while if it gets worse. You know what? What'S OUR PLAN RIGHT? So make making those plans now While things still feel at least here in hoover things feel kind of still manageable. That's an opportunity because when we're feeling reasonably good that's when we are actually more inclined to think creatively and be able to solve challenging problems. So we need to seize those positive moments trying to create the positive moments where you can and make the most of them and then use those times where you're feeling reasonably good to do some problem solving and think okay like how can we Set up the best system ourselves so that we're ready for things you know if they get even crazier than they are right now. Dr Done. That's great advice. Thank you for connecting with us today. My pleasure and now I will head back to the little boys that are waiting outside for me to continue entertaining them. Oh good I'm going to go upstairs and do the same thing to a little girl. Sounds great thank you for having me Dr Elizabeth done of the Department of Psychology at ub and that was the big story if you'd like more worth the big story DOT CA. We're on twitter at the Big Story. F. P. N. And we're in your favorite podcast feed and of course we'd love to hear from you can talk to us anytime at the big story podcast at RCA DOT ROGERS DOT com. If you send us a clip we might very well. Use It at the end of an episode like this. Ooh This would be just in case. You need a moment to smile. My daughter singing a song she composed. It's it's about cats. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
The Big Story Uncut: One Year of This Already?
"We're recording. Now. Oh, good. Okay. Welcome to a very special episode of the big story, one that I didn't want to make. Today though is our first birthday. And we asked our listeners how they wanted us to celebrate. And it turns out for whatever reason you wanted us to talk just us. And I so we did. And there's no script, no guests and very few edits. If you ever thought to yourself. I wonder what this podcast would sound like without everything that made me. Listen to it in the first place. And this one's for you. And actually, it really is free because this is probably as sincere as I'm going to be at any point for the next fifteen twenty minutes. But you are the reason we made this show, the fact that you kept listening is the reason we kept making it and the fact that you shared us on social media, or you told your friends, or you went out and raided us and reviewed us that is literally the only reason we made it to your two. So thank you very much from Claire and myself and Ryan, and Stephanie, and Annalisa for listening and subscribing. You my friends are the real big story. It's horrible. Just roll them music, start the show. Birthdays, they happen once a year only once a year, somehow Claire, we are still here. We're still here. I'm a little stunned me to knock an ally when we first launched I was like this. I wouldn't really gonna listen to this, and they do. Listen. Yeah. And they actively listen. How crazy is that people like us, we're like, you know, I think they like you. I think we did this bit already. It's the only bit we have. So here's how it's going to go analysts. Nielsen dug into a ton of data on our show over the past year. Because unlike some other forms of media, we can actually look at who's listened to what where they've listened from where they've downloaded from how many times they've listened all that kind of stuff. We also put a question or two out to our audience and asked them what we should talk about and showed out to our null Quin, teeny, because he actually stole my idea. He wrote you guys should do a TBS uncut where you have an in-depth discussion on the most listened topics of the year just thought, but I had that thought like three or four days earlier. I just didn't tweet it because I didn't want to give it away. We're gonna share some stats. Tell some stories. Yes. It's going to be a fun episode. So if you ever wondered what the big story would be like with no story. This is that. Okay. I want to start with some interesting stats. Okay. So over the past year, we've had listeners from guests, how many countries is it over one hundred. Yes. Over one hundred fifty yes, I'm gonna say one hundred and eighty three we've had listeners from two hundred nine countries and six continents only missing Antarctica. Well, there's no wifi in an article. Sure you have to download on, like a Satphone. So listen. If you're planning your next vacation and. And. We could use that seventh continent. Help us out. So our top country, obviously is Canada. Yeah, eighty six percent of our listeners are from Canada, which is kind of surprising. That's a little low to me to be honest because we I will tell you when we started this podcast. We did lots of stories from all over, we even talked about Donald Trump talked about international relations, we talked about things going on in Mexico, and we quickly realized that there were like a billion podcasts doing that. Yeah. And more every day, nobody was doing a daily news podcast in Canada, that actually focused on Canadian stories and part of that is because new podcast you want. Everybody in the world to listen to you. Really I I don't care about people beyond Canada. Ouch. I want them to listen to our stories. I want them to learn about our country but they're being well served. Especially Americans buy litter. Really a dozen or more daily news podcasts. Well on that note, let me name the other countries that do listen to us sorry. Guys, we our listeners from the US, UK, Australia, Germany Africa, Mexico. We have some in India, France, Brazil, and at the bottom of the list, we have one download from Paraguay, nice one. Download download what about our stories where do they come from because I know Annalisa was looking at where in Canada. We found dollar stories as you mentioned. We do have some international stories, but mostly Canadian stories the stories that we've covered been all across the country, Ontario Quebec Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba VCPI's has catch went L Berta. None of it and Yukon. So we're missing northwest. Territories and Newfoundland. Yeah. We didn't do a Newfoundland story yet. I don't think we did. Oh, interesting. It honestly, shocks me that there are still places in Canada, that we haven't covered. So if you are in Newfoundland or the Northwest Territories hit us up. Come on. We're at the big story, F P N on Twitter. In case you haven't heard me say at, like every episode we take suggestions. Do you wanna know what I have? Yes. I have a list of our most common guests, you can probably guess most of these names, I'm gonna make you do it anyway. But I, I just I just noticed embarrassingly that these are the top six guests and they are all male. You know what though I think we do a pretty good job at having we do, but like men and women on this show, something that I'm pretty proud of. Yeah, we can talk about that for a minute, because that's something that we talk about a lot. And you know I that's something that I do notice if we have a week where there are a lot of men, I do notice that, and I think we you call us on it the more we need some more ladies. You know what's funny is I mean, it's funny and like a depressing funny way because I send out, and you can tell me because you sometimes send out emails or make phone calls trying to guests. And so do I and so does Steph Phillips and sometimes Annalisa and Ryan do it as well. And I find that sometimes women. Way more often than men will say, I'm not sure I'm the right person for you to talk to about this. And learned knows I'm not in a position to diagnose anything. But I think that's a problem. We've heard about in lots of industries, right? Where where men are super eager to be like you're darn. Right. I'm an expert. I will talk to you about this and women kind of feel like, well, you know, do I need to. I think this is was this was something that they talked about on the agenda. I think if you remember that there was a controversy around them, not having as many women on the show. And at least do we have a number? Do we have a number of the gender breakdown? Sixty forty men sixty forty. Okay. I'm a little disappointed in that to be honest with you. I'm not going to say it's more balanced than anybody in particular. But I am going to say that, like I literally did a quick, Google to see if there are studies done on experts quoted in Canadian media, and the number is seventy one twenty nine wow, mail. So we're doing better. We got away to go. Okay. So you're gonna guess it doesn't matter how many times they've been on. But these are our top six guests. Okay. I know you can get I'd be shocked if you didn't get five out of these six oh, I'm naming them. Namely guests. Aaron Aaron Hutcheon. Yup. Kyle edwards. Yup. We've had David moss crop on a couple of times more than a couple. Andre Demisse Andre. I mean, is that you missed one who is a Cormac? Mcsweeney. On parliament hill. The title for most frequent guests on the big story podcast is a tie between Aaron and Cormac that make sense, which I think, is awesome. Because Erin tells amazing feature stories from weird places that nobody else would ever find. And we love him because he tells them, so uniquely and Cormac can explain almost anything even the most complicated. Yeah. The complicated federal policy member, when we had to have them break down the carbon tax and SNC Leveille. They do the exact opposite of each other, and they both do it. So incredibly well, at their own ends of the spectrum, and it's nice to see that reflected in the number of episodes. They've appeared on. Moving, right. Along, I believe is the phrase. Now, you know why we added this podcast, something that I found really interesting was analysts put out a list of the most popular episodes, and two of the most popular episodes were from special weeks that we did okay, one of them's from pot week. Yeah. So we did a pot week and we also did a women's week and during the women's week, we just had women guest hosts. Yes. So two of our most popular episodes ever are from those weeks. So in the pot week, our most popular episode was daddy, are you doing the weed? Yes. And then usually popular. And that actually that's the most popular episode ever. Yeah. And you know why, why guest was Kim Shiffman from today's parent it came out two days before we'd became legal. Today's parent was doing a huge package on what this meant for parenting with big features and personal stories and all that kind of stuff, and they included us in that package and parents, ask questions of parents, ask questions on the internet, and every time anyone in Canada, would Google legal pot parenting up. They popped up, we popped and like to be fair. That's a huge question for parents. It's, it's worth looking at now, how much didn't change because at the time if you remember like two days before a became legal, and we were doing this whole pot week and everything it seemed like everything was going to be a huge mass, and we didn't know what the country would look like and it cetera et cetera. The intro to that episode. Ryan play the intro to that episode you ever met a child. If got questions. The main part is the. Your child. Can we talk for like two seconds before we get back to the, the actual data here about how bad we were for like the first little while about I was born pod by talk so fast unless you're a high roller really care about investments? You might have totally ignored the finance pages and Canada's interest rates for the past decade. I didn't know anything. It's the second most popular episode from one of those weeks was from our women's week, and we had Sarah, bows feld and, and Kingston who talked about Jodi Wilson rebelled, right? And she testified in the most extraordinary way like just very calm, very methodical very meticulous. Never sort of giving away any like sense that she felt, you know, angry or anything like that. It was just very calm. Sean. This is like right in the middle of the essence eleven last stuff. And so everyone was wondering who this woman was. So they talked about her and yell. It's one of the most popular episodes that we've ever done. That's because it was what we do when we do things, well, as like here's a big topic that everybody's gonna talk about, and here is an depth focus on one person at the center of it. So you actually learn something about them as opposed to just like, give me the facts not of that episode, even though I had nothing. Ng whatsoever to do with it. What subjects have we covered the most I have the top five? I think I'm guessing these. Yeah. Okay, number one climate change. Climate change is number two. Number one housing, no. Like tax. No. That's another three. Oh my gosh. Give up. Yeah. Federal, polit? Okay. Well, yeah. That makes sense once you think about it. You're like, Yep. Yeah. That makes sense. Just wait till the end of October and look at the numbers, again, we have covered federal, politics, thirty seven times over the course of this podcast. Now, some of those bleed into other areas, like we've covered federal, politics and climate change, obviously, and that counts for both of them in tech and tech we've definitely done that. So I will give you a quick break down. You tell me what stands out to you? Okay. Canadian federal politics thirty seven episodes. The environment twenty-five episodes, twenty three episodes on crime and Justice technology. And the internet twenty three episodes, health twenty three episodes and sports, twenty episodes, twenty episodes on sports. How did I allow that? They're good episodes. They're good episodes. Claire last one. Annalisa also asked us for our favorite episodes each. So what I really wondered was if there was any overlap, I'm sure there was can you wanna go first? Okay. This is a no particular order. Okay. Me too. And if, if you get one of mine on thin. Yeah. Okay. So what episode that I really liked was with Julie van Rosendahl, who is a cook and a cookbook author, and she talked to us about how our eating habits are changing. And how a lot of people are going vegan vegetarian. The interesting thing about the popularity of the neighborhoods and the cookbooks, and the and the restaurants is that not everybody who consumes ember visits them, or uses them are committed to vegan lifestyle. I just thought it was a really interesting conversation because I'm kind of one of those people, I'm always kind of wondering, like, should I be changing the way eat, I think I'm, yeah, I'm among that crowd. And she had a lot of really interesting things to say about it, and she's not even vegan vegetarian. Right. And since that episode we've seen the rise of beyond meat like crazy levels so which is delicious. I it is pretty good. I got to say, I'm all I always, like, when we're proven to be on trend months later, so to that, okay, keep going. Okay. I also really liked her episode about the campus press. Oh, nice one opener. Yeah. We talked about a scandal that happened with the Ryerson eye opener. Luckily, for us with a lot of prominent journalists have have said in our defense online, especially on Twitter. Is that yes, the Ryerson students union did this and you're Hillary fees go towards them? But you're until fees also go towards the student newspaper who broke the story. We also talked about the province of Ontario making cuts to not essential services, some universities and colleges and whether or not school newspapers fell into that category. And what would happen to the media, if they did? Yeah, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't be here without the eye opener. You may have this one on your list, our conversation with Kim Campbell. I do have that one on my list thought shoe is amazing. She's the former prime minister she talked to us about women being likable in Canadian politics, sexual politics in general. I think it's the kind of an alchemy chemistry of it's not just about being friendly. I think it's also being able to have that warmth while at the same time having the, the sense of strength because I think just to be friendly, you might not even get to that stage of the conversation can Campbell. She's so smart. So interesting. She went on, like a three minute monologue. At the end of that episode that sounded like she'd written a speech the day before, but she wasn't. She was just talking because, you know, she's eloquent, as all hell because she's prime minister amazing anyway. Yeah, that one's online. So that's one I obviously really liked our episode with now's Bhatia. So cord my name in the halftime he took we. The central gold and SkyDome and gave me a very special jersey with the dinosaur and number one super foundered on, and he announced the whole arena disease, our superfan. Yup. Good one. I don't have that on mine yet. But that would be that'd be a close like six or seven his story of basketball, and being an immigrant in Canada. And it's great. And then my fifth one is the burnout syndrome episode. We did. Really? Yeah. I just I really like a good mental health story, we often saw burn out as a symptom of something deeper. We saw it as symptomatic of stress in the way that a runny noses symptomatic of a fever. Right. But now in describing burnout as something that is tied directly to chronic workplace stress. We now can speak with it with level of specificity and use the right language to validate people who are experiencing actual medical conditions that lead down the path of burnout. I like it when we do mental health thing makes me feel better, too. It's my way of getting free psychological advice, so you got Kim Campbell off my list. I like weird ones. I like the meaning of life. It's the great one. The meme was always social, it always had something to do with a shared understanding, but the technology to bring people together and facilitate sharing exploded in almost internet world. It takes. I really simple, thing and goes like, oh, hey, this is actually way way, more crazy than you ever. Thought about I had inside the secret finances behind the housing crisis. It is the biggest business on the planet, and people would would money are they don't? They're not. So amazingly brainy. They are they just they just run after what where's the best the best business? And this is what they all right? Now. I really like exploring things that like, really frustrate people. And people feel a certain way about them. But the people who are actually doing the work can tell you that there's a whole nother set of forces at play that are just pulling us along. And we don't even understand them and that documentary push. Yeah. Push that they made was phenomenal last two. So a couple of EKO warriors walk into a fort MAC bar. Global warming is emerging as a genuinely perilous threat to forms of existence on the planet, as we're familiar with as you'll read most everybody who reads any kind of contemporary media, you will know that virtually every single climate scientists working today. Is issuing dire. Warnings, a trio of folks who, who were hippies and BC and decided to do some research out in fort MAC, and ended up talking to people about common ground. I think one of the themes, we've had a lot is like how to talk to people on the opposite side of the political spectrum about things that legit impact both sides and lost one. Let's talk about your name. Yeah. That was a great one with Elamine abdominal mood, don't think names have to be boring. I think names are, partially a story. And so if we stop telling those stories, and we start to invent new ones part of that means digging for some really strange names. Anyway, those are my five favorite episodes. So we sent out a tweet just asking people to send us their comments and their questions. And we've got some really good responses. We got one from Rene, and she said, the grizzly, and the flood stories wreck Solent. So the grizzly one she's referring to the one about the bear, attack, bear attack, and the flood would be the flooding in Toronto. So she says the grizzlies story was very sympathetic and offered a new viewpoint into it. The flood story was horrifying and pointed at the Toronto and the province need to do something to address climate change. Nice, and that's you know, that's exactly what we're going for for both those up. So that's really awesome. Also, can I just give shadow to the sky? And I don't really want to give a show to him. So I'm not actually going to say his name here, but we post our stuff on a lot of outlets. And this guy finds where our stories are posted every single day and response with a simple lake forward crappy. So the other day we did this in depth story on pharma care with Cormac your member. And it went out trying to trying to tell people what was up, what is gonna look like cetera et cetera. This dues comment, Trudeau's corrupt. We also have Tilly on Twitter who said thank you for the deep dives behind the scenes on the biggest stories of the day, keep up the good work and happy anniversary. Thanks nice. Marcy or Mars. I don't know how to say the problem with Twitter MARCY. How did you pronounce that? Anyway, Mars or MARCY, depending on how you want to pronounce it. And I don't know which. Reds iheart, this podcast so much. I devour nearly every episode the moment it's live. It goes live at four AM. So she's getting up early knowing how you do such great stories daily, but never stopped the rat one was super interesting. I don't come across many rats, which makes this important for me because I would have stayed ignorant. I would have liked stay ignorant. The route one by the way, lot of people felt away about the rat one. So if you have rats in your house, and they're in the walls, and whatnot, and you're laying out traps, but they're not going after them. Meanwhile, they're mating and multiplying. You can see how that so I would call an exterminator. And I really feel for people for whom that's not an option. I got some really good texts. A by really good text. I mean horrifying tax. I got another one this morning. Like, hey, I just finally listen to that one I found a rat in my toilet. Once you great. That's disgusting. Need to tell me that teacher says happy birthday? I like that person. They always say nice things about us frequent big story, guest Fatima Siad says, I think the one year anniversary episode should be Jordan's unfiltered rant about the world. Those are called the intro. We did that it would also be our last. Bursary 'cause we wouldn't last very long. We also got one from Sarah Bosvelt, who has been a guest host a few times, Sarah, and she says, I've loved how the big story has elevated the stories and voices of women, whether that's ebony Renee, Baker talking royals and race. Ashani Nath hopping in the host chair on occasion or discussing issues like domestic violence, as they did this week regarding stock aware. Happy birthday, y'all Sarah doesn't give yourself enough credit cushy, actually lead a couple of those discussions, so happy birthday to you, too. Sarah. How about this from Lisa? I'm a new listener, but was quite engaged by the food security discussions, as well as the emotional look back on the Humboldt tragedy. One year later, right food security was an interesting one. We've talked about food a lot on this podcast. Thank you to everybody who reached out even if it was just with a like on Twitter. Listen every little engagement matters when we look at the data at the end of the year as you can see from this episode, but no seriously. If you've listened to us for the past year, whether it was one download or two hundred and fifty we really appreciate it because, like Claire said at the beginning, we had no idea, whether this would work or not. And it really has and now neither of us want to do anything else. So thank you so much. I'm Jordan heath Rawlings. And I'm Claire for sard lead producer of this podcast. We want to thank all of the amazing guests that we've had over the year. And also a big thank you to the team Ryan Clark associate producer, Stephanie Phillips, associate producer analysts and Nielsen digital editor. I'm Jordan heath. Rawlings. Thanks for listening. We'll talk to a real guest tomorrow. Roll the bloopers Ryan, please review wherever you get your podcasts. Apple Google still Spotify. And you've course and of course, we're are by. Or come talk to us on social media at the big story. No at big story. F P N. What is our thing every day this week? We will sit down with one of our favorite people to talk to them about the topics to talk to them about the topics. Issues. Redrew hugs. I shouldn't do that one to celebrate me and Claire. She said Claire, an eye, Sarah. Thank you for being here, Jenny Jennifer. That's. Start. No worries. Sarah from the Toronto Star kid.
Schools and students in limbo as virtual fall term looms
"If you remember the feeling of graduating of stepping out of high school and into the world of possibilities opening up in front of you of making big decisions while for hundreds of thousands of Canadian students this is white a summer to be stepping out into the world and about to be quite a time for making those big decisions right now. Universities and colleges across the country are making plans for the fall. They're making plans with an abundance of caution and they're doing it while acknowledging that they really have no idea what the fall will bring. So they're being careful in their shifting as much of what they offer students as they can online but depending on the program that might not be that much so would be students have a choice to make just like they always have it can start their post secondary education right away mostly online and get working on their degree or they can take a year off and get a decent job and make. Some probably can't do that actually or if they're really lucky they can take a gap year and go out and travel probably not. GonNa do that either. So what are schools and students doing to prepare for an unprecedented fall? How different will planned online courses from the hastily thrown together? Zoom lecture that we saw this spring. What happens to the hundreds of things about a post secondary education that can't be replaced? Virtually and what options do students who are currently enrolled have if they think that what their schools are offering is a poor replacement for what they signed up for Jordan Heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. Joe Friesen is the Post Secondary Education reporter with the globe in Mail. I Gel Hi Jordan. How are you? I'm doing pretty well and I hope you're getting on okay. Yeah things are good thank you. Why don't we take a step back from the pandemic stuff that we're GonNa talk about and you can kind of set up in a normal universe on a normal time line? What would colleges and universities and students be doing right now? Like where would we be in the process of getting ready for the fall term? Well colleges and universities right now would be a couple of different modes on the one hand. They would be getting ready. To celebrate. Convocation students would be graduating in the spring. And this is one of those momentous occasions that has sort of been postponed by the pandemic and they would also be starting to turn their minds toward the fall so getting courses ready trying to get a sense of what their enrollment will be for the fall. What the mix of domestic and international students ought to be What kinds of course offerings they want to have for the year But of course things are looking very different right now and so College campuses at the are pretty quiet. What are they doing to sort of ramp up preparations for the fall and I guess also to try to give their graduating students. Some kind of that occasion. Are they doing anything about that? Well on other convocation front. Many universities said about a month ago that they planned not to have conversation this year and that was very upsetting for a lot of people who worked hard for a long time to get to this moment. Something that they wanted to share with their friends and family and so as a result there's been a movement to create these kind of online convocation ceremonies. You might have seen some videos. I think it was a Japanese university that had robots walking across the stage but the kind of an ipad image of a student where the where the face would be. The robot would receive a degree. I don't know of any Canadian. Schools are going that far. But there's going to be some kind of online ceremony and a lot of places I think. People are are going out on their porches and Kim gowns and caps to have a little celebration with balloons and signs and that sort of thing. People are doing their best to to make something special because it is a pretty. It's a great accomplishment for for all those who get through it and it's something that deserves to be celebrated but the the circumstances this year are just so different. I don't think any one anticipated. It would be like this. In some cases there was some upset about the the absence of ceremony and petitions were started for example to make sure that something will happen. I think when we return to something closer to normal a lot of schools said they there will be something in person but you know that could be late in the fall could be into twenty twenty one and could be even later than that we. We just don't know yet. And in the meantime do we have any idea what the fall will look like in universities. What are those plans looking like? It is really different across the country but for the most part schools are saying that they expect to do online delivery for the most part with the opportunity to have some smaller in person face to face settings. And when when I say it's different across the country of course it's the local health authorities who play a big role in deciding what is possible for public institutions so in places like New Brunswick Manitoba or even be C. Now where they've been really successful in getting. The curve flattened and getting almost no new cases. It may be that there will be some in person in class instruction. It won't be the same as before. I don't think you can have a crowded lecture theatre but you could have students sitting a meter apart in a lecture theatre and so two hundred fifty. If you plan for it to seat only fifty th that might be a potential viable classroom. La- similarly labs with a few people might be able to be run. There are some American schools where the climate is a little better than have said. They plan to hold classes outside. Which we've heard is one of the safer ways of getting together with people you know with enough distance so that the virus could dissipate in the air. So there's a wide range of possibilities but the big thing that we're hearing is that it will still be primarily online in the fall for most students in most places and that has caused a lot of uncertainty about what the school year might look like. When you talk to people who are making these plans and trying to build a picture of what what the year looks like. How do they wrestle with the fact that they've got a plan for something right now that begins in September and students are making decisions right now about September Lake at this point unless I'm wrong? We don't have a great idea of what like three weeks or four weeks. It looks like no exactly and that makes it really tough and people expect firm answers now because there. These are life changing decisions. Which University will I go to will? I moved to that city and nobody. Nobody can tell you what what three or four weeks from now. We'll look like as you point out so I don't know how they make those decisions but the great thing about universities for the most part is they are. They are the places where the experts who we are turning to reside. That's where you'll find the the top scientist. The doctors the administrators the people who have worked in public health. Who have some experience of this kind of planning? They are to for the most part to be found in university so the university administrations have a great resource at their fingertips and that they can call on at the University of Toronto. They have the goal at other universities. They have similar levels of experience. Who can who can guide them as they try to make these decisions. But it's certainly it's not easy and big institutions for the most part. They're going to probably a err on the side of safety and caution they they have a responsibility to do the same thing I so I think. That's what everyone will be thinking about. First and foremost is how you keep students and the general population safe if and when we get back to something closer to normal. Is there any kind of structured deadline to any of this? I mean there are students. I presume right now trying to make that decision if it's still worth Tuition money to go if it's going to be mostly online. And do we know if they'll have a firm idea of what their fall will look like before they have to make that final call. I think they will have a better idea. Some universities just in the last week or so have made their intentions clear and McGill for example. I spoke to the president there week ago. And she said we thought it was only fair to tell students How we expect the fall to look and that in macgill's case they said it will be primarily online. You said something similar Concordia University of Ottawa. And now more and more universities are saying coming with their statements that for the most part walk the line of saying primarily online with a hybrid mix of in-person where possible early June. I think is probably the time to look at as being a fair moment for universities to start making clear what they think the fall will be that gives students and their parents at least a month or two before they have to make these big decisions so I think by by mid June. Probably things will be clearer. But it's starting. It's starting to get clear. Now that I think the fall will be online primarily with maybe some local variations in places where the virus has been well contained and smaller in-person hands on opportunities where the virus has been or where the situation is safe enough to go ahead with something like that. I want to ask you a little bit. About what those online classes will be like because when this Began back in. I think it was late March or early April. We spoke to both a professor and a student. Who were you know? Engaged in distance learning and they both spoke about a number of challenges Just in terms of different professors using different software or not being able to connect with students and offer meaningful feedback. And you know the pass fail system and all that kind of stuff. That was slapped together really hastily at the time. Do we have a sense of whether or not this will be different from that If there's you know protocols and grading in place I think the universities are hoping it will be different. What happened in March was basically an emergency scenario? Where they had hadn't planned for something like this to happen. And so people who who make these distinctions will say. We didn't really have online learning in March vote. We had was an emergency transition to online delivery of primarily offline courses now with a few more months to prepare. I think I think it will be better organized. I think you will see maybe less of the the big variations in the level of quality of the courses because universities do have resources to help professors make these courses better in an online format however the scale of this is still so huge. I don't know that every course we'll be able to get the benefit of fully online educational treatment. You know it takes quite a bit of time and money and resources to make something Really Great in an online environment and even know there are four months now. I don't know that everything will be working perfectly the way that the professors would hope. I think there still be a little bit of that scramble going on Some learning as as people figure out what works well and what we're doing what doesn't work so well and some students will students will have to kind of work through those adaptations but I suspect it will be better organized than it wasn't march just out of the sheer fact that it's not an emergency situation the way it was then So I think universities are hoping that they will have learned some lessons and we'll be able to provide a high quality education. I think when a lot of US picture Online classes as we think of a professor you know maybe recording or even doing a live video lecture and taking questions handing out assignments. But what's going to happen with the programs that rely on people being hands on like a? I'm thinking here of like cooking are fashion or even like journalism school. I mean a lot of the people that come through the programs now and come to our studio learned in studios provided by the journalism school. And there's no way you can recreate that setup at home without spending a ton of money and that's a tough question and I don't really know what the answer is. I think institutions will do their best to keep as many programs as possible up and running but there may be cases where they have to say. We can't do this properly right now and so we have to take a break you know. I know at the University of Saskatchewan. There's some of their life science programmes in veterinary programs in health science programs that they just weren't going to be able to run in this spring term given the distancing rules and so they said those students just won't be taking those classes right now They won't want situations like that to last very long and so I suspect they will be trying to tackle those questions right now. How how to do it and people are. There are always people who will say it's possible you just have to think of a way. I don't know and for the students in those programs I worry that the quality and the level of education that they're GONNA get won't be the same and won't be as good and so those are particularly if you're going into a program like that or even coming back to it as a returning student. There's some tough decisions to be made there about whether the kind of education you're going to get is what you want and deserve or whether you should take a break for a year or two and and wait and see what happens. Are there any options for students to do that to either? Defer acceptance for a year. Take a pause in the middle of their program or are there any full or partial refunds available for students who've already paid for fuller part of the semester there were some campaigns launched by students to try to get some kind of a refund last in the you know the the winter term as ended during the opening stage of this pandemic and. I think universities have said they weren't going you know they're not typically going to refund tuition in the middle of a semester certainly on on a large scale basis. They probably listening to individuals on a case by case if they were unable to complete their studies for any number of mitigating reasons. But there was. I think they were happy to to refund. People who were living in residence for example some universities have refunded fees in some areas. Because you know you couldn't go to the gym the way you used to. You weren't taking advantage of some student services the way you used to so. There's no sense charging for those Certainly doesn't seem fair but for students who want to defer for a year if they're looking going back in September that's certainly a viable option for them if they wanted to take a gap year. Which you know. I've had many people getting in touch with me asking about what their options might be for a gap year. That's a lot of people are talking about that. And you know for their part. University administrators are saying you know the enrollment maybe down a little bit. This year as people are unsure about what online education might be like it. Certainly it's something on people's minds. What do we know about what's being done to? I mean either. Cancel presumably in some places or recreate In other places the other elements of campus life. And I know in America. They're already talking about well Maybe we can have a college football season but even beyond sports you know the student union or a student newspapers or other kinds of campus groups is that is that moving to online or is that just kind of not going to happen. I don't know that you know when you thought university those those experiences that you get from things like working at student newspaper or meetings other students in clubs or just the day to day socialization and studying together. That would happen at the library. That was almost the most important part of going to university. The kind of the the friendships. You made the big events like sports. I can understand in the United States. There's huge pressure because the money is so big to to get those open again but in Canada. It's a little different so I don't know whether those sports seasons will go ahead in the fall as certainly some universities. I've talked with have said. Oh we'll definitely maintain student clubs online. You know it's possible to get together and zoom at and your shared interest in cycling can be in could be a great way to get together with new friends. But I don't know I'm not. I'm not university age myself anymore. Much is I might wish to be. I don't see that working out as well. I just think that is one thing that will not be as just won't be the same and it won't be as beneficial face to face. Interaction on campuses has always been so. I think that may be something that that is disappointing for people who are really craving that university experience But these are these are the Times. We're living in right now. So I don't know how much of it can be. Salvaged given all of that. And all the changes. You've just talked about. Do we know yet if we're seeing a ton of students more than anecdotally but actually decide to take that gap year or to walk away Do we have any sense of what's going on with enrollment? I know the deadlines not not approaching just yet but do we have early numbers. We don't know yet Because the the kind of the acceptances will earn the confirmations of acceptance. We'll start coming in June so again. It'll be a couple of weeks before we get a better sense of what the picture is like but we know a few things. Interestingly enough enrollment is up at many universities for this spring and summer terms which caught some people by surprise but on the other hand maybe it makes perfect sense because it's a terrible jobs market for many students they have the benefit of the wage subsidy or the CER be so. They're able to stay at home. They can advance their degree and get paid while doing it. And so I think the students who are already in seemed to be team to get more education and you may see that in the fall you may see that people who were working part time and taking two courses might now prefer to take three or four courses because the jobs that they had has disappeared thanks to the corona virus. The big area that is a real concern is international students. Because the Canadian post-secondary system has come to rely on international students to very very significant extent for finances and for for student numbers and it's been estimated that industry alone is worth twenty three billion dollars in Canada. Not Entirely in post-secondary but for the most part and so for those students there's several barriers that they would have to get over to get back to Canada travel bans in place. Airlines aren't flying but the most significant I think is that their paperwork has been stalled either because the standardized tests that they need to take are not being offered in their home countries. So you need to prove a certain level of English proficiency for example or it may be that the universities they have attended before are closed and so they can't get transcripts to the Canadian universities to prove their their Bona Fides and the the the Canadian Sarah Immigration offices abroad. I don't know that they're operating at full capacity so I don't know how many of these applications they're able to even get through at the moment and whether they could interview people face to face. I don't think we're doing that so there's a huge number of barriers to getting new students to Canada. So that's going to be an enrollment shock and revenue shock and it may be that students coming out of Canadian high schools. We'll look at this and say I have so looked forward to this university experience that I've dreamed about that. I've seen on TV that my parents told me about and I don't know that I wanNA start in a pandemic. How big that number will be. But I've heard some universities estimating for a five to ten percent drop. Obviously there's still a lot to be gained from education and at a time when you can't really travel and you can't work for you know for many people that'll be the case. Education is a pretty bet but it may be the I. I would expect to see some weakness in the enrollment numbers this year. I think that would make sense. Will you kind of touched on it? A vet and we've approached this mostly from the student perspective which I think is is the most important but Speaking of Revenue Shock. Lastly I wanna ask you about the impact on the schools themselves How bad could that revenue shock be? We can speak of them as a business. We've seen hundreds and hundreds of businesses. Close Up Shop. Do We know that all the colleges and universities and Canada will survive this? How precarious or some of them. I don't think that we do know that they will all survive. I think this is the kind of thing that could be significant enough that that a few. Don't make it through now. You have you know the the huge research institutions. I imagine they will all be fine. They are absolutely essential not just to the economy of today but the economy of tomorrow that we have we have so much invested in them even in the places where they have very high international student numbers. I think they will find a way to get through this. It's probably at the at the level of the smaller school or in some cases the colleges where they have really gone in heavily for international students to drive a lot of their budget that the the risks are greatest now. I think it's important to make clear that that there was a political decision here in the Canadian Post Secondary System. A long time ago that the puts us in this position which is that. The transfers to institutions have mostly stayed flat for for ten or twenty years in many cases and so the international student. Population has grown as universities have looked for ways to generate more revenue the smaller schools where they have upwards of twenty or thirty percent of their student body coming from overseas and paying tuition fees are two or three or four times higher than the Canadian fees. Those are the ones that will have the The most to lose right now. Or certainly the are at the greatest risk you one university Laurentian in Sudbury has already said that it is concerned about the financial impacts of covid nineteen. I think many others are also very concerned. You know you look at some of those schools in maritimes for example. I think Saint. Mary's has about thirty percent of its students that are International Cape. Breton University has a two thirds of its universe of its students coming from overseas I would think the impacts there will be more significant now. The hope is it's just short-term this we can go back to normal and have a normal entry for students in January and you know that that initial shock can be bridged in a matter of months but we don't know known this. We don't know how long this will last so the longer it goes on the harder it will get for for some institutions. I've heard talk of you know trying to mobilize ways to to get some of those international students to Canada more quickly. But I don't know of any of them will come to fruition. Guess we'll see. Thank you so much Joe for walking us through this. Thanks very much for having me. Joe Friesen post-secondary Education reporter at the Globe and Mail. That was the big story if you would like more at to the Big Story. Podcast DOT CA. You'll find a ton of them. You can also find us on twitter at the Big Story F. P. N. You can email us to the address. Is the big story podcast. That is all one word at. Rci DOT ROGERS DOT COM. We're also in all of your podcast players. You pick your favorite one. You look us up. You find us. Listen you rate and you review. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
Will Canadas transit systems change forever?
"The i remember the last time. I rode public transit. It was last march seriously. And yes i know. I'm lucky i've been working here safe in the basement. And i haven't had to crowd onto a bus or a subway and i'm not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of canadians. Coast to coast who used to take public transit twice a day five days a week and now they just don't so that means there is less money available to keep transit service at normal levels a lot less but of course there are still millions of canadians who rely on public transit canadians. Who don't have a choice. Who need to get to work and for them. Transit needs to be clean and safe and reliable and that costs money more money it turns out during a pandemic so what have transit agencies across the country done to maintain that service. How have they coped with. Rising costs and ridership numbers that have dropped off a cliff. When will they be forced to make some tough choices. And how will public transit in canada's largest cities look different when eventually some of us return to the office jordan heath rawlings. This is the big story ben. Spur is the transportation reporter at the toronto star. He looked at transit services across canada in the pandemic. Hello ben hi. Thanks for having me. Can you maybe start today by just giving me a sense of scale in terms of what. The pandemic has done to transit ridership in canada. I have not for the record Been on public transit since march. Yeah and you're certainly not alone. These sort of top line numbers. I guess that in april of last year across the country transit use draw to about seventeen percent of what it had been the same month the year before so an eighty three percent drop that that pretty much occurred almost overnight that within a week or two cities across the country went into lockdown and people stopped using transit and so the is from that kind of low points of last spring ridership has started to creep up up but with the second wave. of course. it's not rocking back anytime soon. So across the country ridership is now out about forty percent of Of what's normal so it's still nowhere near where it used to be is. They're going to be some sort of that. Drop that becomes permanent Even once vaccine comes. In because i do know you know again anecdotally Some folks who have purchased cars during this and don't wanna take transit to work again. Yeah i think there's going to be long term of covert on public transit. Use for sure. No one. I've talked to is expecting a return to to normal transit. Ridership a once for instance. The vaccine is widely available. Even even after that happens. Even when i'm going outside and it's much safer than it is now With things go back to normal right away and that there's just a couple of factors there. I think people's work habits have changed. there's lots of more people who are working from home now and so won't need to commute everyday Via public transit public transit uses is normally closely tied to the economy when the economy's doing well when people a lots of people are working public transit. use Takes up in past recessions for instance. We've seen public transit ridership but dip. So i think if there's any kind of long term or even immediate near term on economic negative impact from covid. We're going to see a transit ridership. Be kind of in a depressed state for a while. We're gonna talk in a second about What's unique about the pandemic situation in terms of how well the government is supporting transit but in a normal situation taking away covid nineteen. How closely is transit. Service tied to ridership. You know what would happen in a normal situation with that kind of dip in ridership. Yeah it's a difficult question to answer. i mean they. I think there's no. There's no precedent for this. Of course no playbook for this kind of overnight rapid as steep drop in public transit use. But i'm actually kind of interesting that the closest analogue i think would be previous periods of economic recession. Where were you started to see transit ridership. Go down in response to that kind of notoriously toronto. At least in the early nineties There was a drop in t see use in what happened was that the city started to cut the tdc budget and rollback service An kicked off what what people have described as a transit death spiral and what's happened is there is that public. Transit of course is only kind of useful. It's reliable right. If you know that you're gonna that you can walk out your door and go to the corner and a bus will come on and maybe five or ten minutes. Then that's a useful service for you but if you have to wait you know half an hour forty five minutes. You're going to quit pretty quickly. Find another way to get around. So there's a kind of level where if you start to scale back transit service in response to lower ridership you actually start to drive people away from taking the service and that reduces ridership even more so so it's this kind of vicious cycle So that's happened. In the past where transit agencies have cut back and then led to the years lawn sustain drop in ridership and that's what a lot of people at the start of the pandemic a lot of experts and people. I spoke to at toronto city. Council for instance. We're really worried was going to happen. As a result of covid in that so far we We have actually haven't seen so we haven't seen a lot of service cuts across the country. Yes there has been. There has been service cuts so i think the latest Fears from the canadian. Urban transit association is that in december operators across the country were operating at about eighty seven percent of normal service so a thirty percent cut which is nothing but It certainly hasn't fallen as far as demand has so demand is only had about forty percent of normal also. An eighty seven percent is while above Demand and the reason why that is is that the federal and provincial governments have come forward with them significant funding to keep transit's operators afloat on because of course transit's agencies get a the vast bulk of their revenue from the fare. Box writes a win. Writers aren't taking the service. They their sources of funding. Dry up very quickly. So they've had to rely on federal and provincial Essentially to keep operating and there's some nervousness Certainly last year that It took some time for on the federal and provincial governments to to reach an agreement but They did come forward with funding and And it has allowed agencies to continue operating that something close to normal. Is there a limit to that funding. Because to your point earlier you know the ridership is not gonna come all the way back quite likely And knowing federal and provincial governments They don't tend to handle this kind of support. Definitely yeah with other sectors You know. I think some people are seeing the situation with transit as an. Kobe has been something of an opportunity in the middle of this crisis for for a long time. -tario for instance defended the provincial government would actually provide regular operating funding every year to transit agencies. Like t see. They stopped at in the mid nineties and Basically the city had to take on a lot of those costs in the city. Has you know limited funding compared to the provincial government and so now with the situation where the province has stepped forward in provided operating funding to get through this pandemic. You have some people who say that needs to become permanent now. That cities In order to operate the robust transit systems until ridership returns to normal. We're gonna need some kind of assistance from the province. So they're they're they're advocates than people city council who have launched said. The prompt should should help fund transit operations in a big city like toronto. That you know is an economic engine of the province They need to keep doing that for the foreseeable future. Even aside from just maintaining service amidst declining ridership what other costs have transit agencies faced with the pandemic you know. I imagine there are things like masks and operators safety and a ton of stuff. They couldn't have anticipated. The early on in the pandemic agencies realized that they had to take measures to to change their operations and and try to make them as safe as possible for people. Who did Need to continue to ride. They've made mass mandatory for for riders and for employees that most agencies They've done things like tried to encourage social distancing by putting up barriers in on an stations for instance or on decals on station platforms that they've had to invest too heavily in things like hand sanitizer for for their employees and for the public Blocking off a certain seats on on vehicles to help encourage civil distancing so all of that comes with a cost it. It's not some quite as much of a cost. The really steep revenue loss as a result of fewer riders. But it is You know millions of dollars in additional cost for those kind of anti covert measures in the near term. Are we likely to see any changes of approach from trump's agencies to their schedules to how they operate because again you know we've already spoken about who is using transit and who's not and i can't imagine the downtown business. Commuters that have traditionally been. I guess A big part of the transit picture are are her as important as they used to be. Yes so that. That's a really good point in toronto. For instance you know. Our subway system has been designed to kind of funnel people into the downtown corridor in the day and then take them back home but during the covid crisis that dot patterns completely gone there's Far fewer people are taking the subway system for instance Then the bus network Out in a more suburban areas of toronto so Subway service Or ridership on the subways about twenty four percents of what. It used to be well on buses. It's about forty one percent. And i've spoken to some researchers researcher in australia action. He's done some really interesting work. Predicting that there could be a sustained. Thirty percent reduction in people commuting downtown Even once the worst of the crisis over and so that does change how you have to offer you transit system that you know we're seeing the people who are still kind of relying on public transit. Toronto during the crisis are people who don't live downtown. Who aren't working in finance. For instance i'm going to treat or something There are essential workers at food processing plants at groceries Healthcare facilities and there are people who don't have an option to take transit In the form of of Boss lines which are generally seen as less. Glamorous some moses service that don't get as much attention but i think one thing that we could expect to see going forward is transit authorities paying much more attention to those to those bus lines outside of the downtown core ensuring that those enough service there to adequately service people but also to keep people safe in the near term right where we want operate as much as possible so that crowding is kept at a minimum and that there is a dangerous spreading the virus when you talk to people at the stm in montreal at t c in toronto. Is that something. They're actively planning for like a rethinking of routes and schedules to adjust to a a new kind of city when this is over yes so it in t- in toronto for instance the td tdc. They've cut service on a subway and streetcar lines but had into this year. They're actually operating more bus service than they were before the pandemic hit so. I think that shows you the kind of new pattern. That's emerging and. I think there is going to be much more. Focus on on those lines outside of the downtown core and also just shifting of priorities right because normally of course you would see the heaviest transit use during the morning and afternoon rush hours where people are going to their offices but if more people start to work from home or slightly less regular hours where they might spend some of their day at home in some of their day the office That pattern evaporates where. We're not gonna see those huge spikes in the morning and afternoon and so therefore the transit agencies can actually be a bit more flexible. The demand will be more evenly spread out throughout the day. And that's actually probably thing for transit. Operators and for riders right we. We might not see the the really heavy crowding in those Peak rush hour periods and it could be a bit more less crowded safer and kind of more relaxed. The commute in the in transit agencies will come apply their service accordingly in the bigger picture. How are these agencies. Framing their approach. as we go into two thousand twenty one and beyond because it used to be an approach. That was pretty carefully tied to getting more buses to the busiest routes and you know following where ridership goes and. I don't know if that kind of approach is possible right now. Yeah i think there's a real push an attitude woman. A canadian traces needs to seize to do what they can to sort of. Stay the course right whether there is going to be a long term effects of the pandemic. i think there's a recognition that things are are kind of really bad right now but hopefully won't be as bad within a couple of months right so they're trying to of get through this crisis of much much lower ridership in hoping to get back to something approaching normal but i was kind of interesting numb so for example in montreal s. t. end they're they're operating the same level of service. They did before the pandemic their plan to operate that this year or next year in the ceo of Sem actually kinda friend did as a moral obligation to keep doing that right to operate a transit system that allows essential workers during this crisis to continue to go to work and also allows them to do so safely right. If you start to cut service than vehicles get much more crowded and and then they could be unless safe while the viruses still circulating So s is framed it as their duty to to keep a kind of fully-functioning transit service on out there. I think a lot of other agencies across the country are thinking. The same thing does that. Approach may be combined with The advocates you mentioned who are looking for funding. Do you see any of that. Making its way up the government chain. I mean this has really revealed What's an essential service and what's not over the course of the past year. Yeah i what. What transit agencies might say in the the leaders i've talked to on our pre hardened by the fact that The province and feds have come forward with operating funding for transit systems. I think they see that. As recognition from government that transit agencies are really important for cities and they we need healthy transit systems if we wanna have functional cities both during and after the pandemic. The question is is how how long that does last right. If transit agencies are facing long-term budget shortfalls whether there'll be appetite for provinces as in particular to come forward with some kind of steady operating funding the other possibility and the something that advocates and government officials are pushing for is for Greater diversity in the revenue streams for public transit so for instance in toronto the operating budget of the tc. It's two thirds of it comes from the fare box so it's really vulnerable to sudden drop in ridership like this whereas potentially if there is a greater mix of funding streams if If transit was paid for using Parking taxes or road tolls something like that could be more protected from ridership dropped. So the tdc's been pushing for for that. Td and city officials have been pushing for those kind of a revenue tools for a while but the province has since allowed the city to actually enact them. So i think we could expect a kind of a renewed push for that kind of more diversified revenue streams so that if ridership dropped does drop again if ridership drops again in some future pandemic. It may not be as as bad a financial disaster. Do not say the words future. Pandemic on this podcast. I mean that's that's another interesting thing though that some You know transit agencies are are still kind of pushing along with their plans to for instance by new vehicles right and agencies are trying to build in pandemic protective measures in new vehicles that they buy so for instance buses that have fewer touch points. Fewer places where people are going to put their hands Kind of new technology like uv Filter is on air systems in in vehicles so that virus particles are less likely to to circulate and stuff so transit agencies are unfortunately or fortunately are just kind of Alarmingly a getting ready for for the next pendon. I hope that we never have to have the conversation about rolling out those new vehicles in time for the next pandemic ben Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. Thank you very much for having me ben. Spur transportation reporter at the toronto star. That was the big story. If you'd like more to the big story podcasts. dot ca. talk to us on twitter at the big story. The send us an email. Let us know what you think. The big story podcast all one word lower case at dot rogers dot com. And find us in your podcast player rate review five stars etc. You know the deal. Tell your friends like subscribe everything. Thanks for listening. I'm jordan heath rowlings. We'll talk more.
How we can find common ground on climate change
"Hey, it's Jordan, and I've podcast for you. Commons is Canada's most popular podcast about politics last season. They tried to answer the question how corrupt is Canada this time around. They're investigating our national addiction oil the currency's and featuring host Arshi man is called crude. And it's about Canada's relationship with the oil industry. The good the bad the ugly and the weird you'll find Commons wherever you get your podcasts. So go check it out. When we cover climate change, and we do cover climate change on this podcast. We get feedback. We get Email. We get responses on social media, and we get reviews, and I'm going to describe for you, the two typical replies. I is probably familiar. It is pessimistic and depressing. We have destroyed the earth with our greed. There's no point in even having children the predictions are catastrophic. And they're getting worse. It's already too late and our leaders don't care and fair enough. Lord knows I do feel that way. Sometimes more often recently. In fact, the second type of response, and this usually comes on social media is either denial or anger this winter was freezing. So how can this be true? Scientists are fudging the data the earth has been warmer than this and cool to gain in the past and any way I didn't cause climate change. Personally. What does the government expect me to pay for? And no, I don't understand that. Response, but I also don't engage within because I have learned that nothing. Good comes of yelling at people about how wrong they are on the internet. So we sat down last week after another set of bad news stories that you may have heard and we asked ourselves not how we should cover the latest round of awful climate news. But if there was a way to discuss this issue that would help us have a better conversation. If we could find a way to focus on the issue that would help those among us who are despairing find some hope and would also offer an olive branch and an invitation to talk to the people who just don't want to believe because honestly right now, not wanting to believe can feel kind of understandable. Today's discussion is our attempt to do that. And today's guest is the perfect person for it. I'm Jordan heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. Catherine Heyhoe is a climate scientist, she's a Canadian who's working as a professor at Texas Tech. And she is the guest editor of this month's edition of Chatelaine magazine. Of all the magazines to guest at it as a climate scientist, why a lifestyle magazine, my favorite thing to do is talk about climate change in places in an outlets where you would never expect it so people think of climate change as this green issue, or this environmental issue or increasingly this political issue, but climate change affects every aspect of our lives. And the choices we make in every aspect of our lives can go a long way towards helping us fix this problem. So in that sense where better to talk about this then in a lifestyle magazine. So give me a sense. And maybe from a broader perspective, but maybe if you have some specific examples of the way lifestyle choices can actually make an impact because we do talk about climate change every few weeks here because it's always a big story now, and one of the things that always comes up is that the little things sometimes feel too small to make a difference and the big things feel impossible that is exactly it. And so if we feel like nothing we do will ever. Ever make a difference. Then why even talk about it because it just gets depressing? Yeah. And so so what is where is there a sweet spot? I guess where you can do some things that won't, you know, won't make you change your lifestyle and move off the grid and start, you know, using one hundred percent recycled everything, but also aren't just insignificant things that actually do make a a measurable difference. Yeah. There. Absolutely. Are so often we have that perception of while, you know, if I really wanted to live in environmentally friendly life. I would move up to the Yukon and go off the grid. But the reality is I live in Toronto Montreal Vancouver or Edmonton. And that's not the way that my life is structured or set up to be. So what can I do interestingly, I think one of the most effective things that every single person can do whether they're a student or somebody who rents so they can't make a lot of changes even in their light bulbs little in their home. Whether we feel like it's really out of our budget to go with something super fancy like plugging car. No matter who you are. And where we. Live the number one most important thing that we can do about this issue is talk about it. Because surveys have showed that hardly anybody actually has a conversation about it. Because maybe we're afraid it might start an argument with uncle Joe or next door neighbor or often, we're just afraid it would be depressing. We don't have anything positive or constructive to say. And so we don't talk about it. And here's the connection if we don't talk about it. Why would we want to do anything about it? And if we don't want to do anything about it. Why would we make changes in our own lives? And why would we encourage others to do so too so talking, but it is really the most important thing. But not the science little details. Rather talking about what we talk about in the Chatelaine issue. How is climate change affecting our lives today in the places where we live if we live in the Maritimes if you live in BC, if we live in the prairies, if we lived in cities, if we live out in the country, if we live up in the Arctic how is it affecting our lives today, first of all as Canadians and then second of all. What are some things that we can do to fix it? And there's a whole range so there's individual lifestyle choices one of the most important things. We can do individually is step on the carbon scales. Google carbon footprint calculator and fill in your life. And it will tell you where the biggest bang for your buck is so for some of us if we live out in the suburbs, and we commute downtown on. We drive ourselves. It might be our commuting. That is actually the biggest part of our footprint for others of us. It's what we eat. If we eat very beef and meat intensive diets to route three times a day that contributes a lot to heat trapping gas emissions for me, the biggest part of my carbon footprint was my flying. Because I live down in Texas all my family's up in Toronto and Ontario. I also travel around to talk to people about climate change. And so I've been investing very heavily the last couple years in trying to transition I'm actually up to about three quarters of my talks to virtual talks online. And then when I do travel somewhere to give talks I make sure I have a bunch of them lined up. I was just in Indiana this past week, and I had seven talks and ate more meetings. That I didn't four days it was a lot of work, but the carpet per print of each individual event was actually quite low. What's the biggest problem that you see when you're trying to convince people that they really need to take this seriously and make those changes in their lifestyle. What do they doubt? Well, we often think that they doubt the science that the idea that somehow science is a matter of opinion, I can decide whether it's real or not. And if you follow the headlines, especially listening to politicians, you would certainly think that's the case because that's a lot of the talking points that they use. I just don't believe that stuff. It's just not real. But when we actually look at polling data across Canada and the US cross North America, we see that actually most people agree climate is changing and most people agree. It will affect plants and animals and future generations and polar bears where the rubber hits the road, though, is almost none of us think it's going to affect us personally. So it's something. That sure I would like to care about it for future generations or people in developing countries. But if it's not gonna affect me in the places where I live my family my community. Why does it matter? So I really do think that the most dangerous myth that the largest number of people have bought into is it doesn't matter to me. And if it ever does get serious or dangerous than somebody else is gonna fix it for us. Tell me a little bit about how you have those conversations with people you're a Canadian climate scientists in Texas, how did those conversations go? Do you meet a lot of climate change resistance? I think we have the stereotype up here. The Texas is deeply conservative. And there are a lot of people there who don't believe in climate change it is. And there are a lot of people who are very suspicious of the science. But today it's gotten to the point where almost anyone can point to some way in which climate is changing around them. Whether it's hurricanes getting stronger with a lot more rainfall associated with them whether it's wildfires burning out of control, greater and greater area record breaking floods or heatwaves people. Point two, something unusual. That's happening today. So today, many more people are curious even down here in Texas, then ten years ago, when we first moved here, I'm getting calls from landowners, and farmers and producers and water managers and people who are traditionally very conservative. But they want information on what's happening. So that's kind of a clue where to begin a conversation. Whether it again is with a family member, a friend colleague neighbor or somebody in our city or area who we want to talk about about making a difference begin the conversation not with something that you most disagree on. But begin the conversation was something that you most agree on. And if you don't know what that would be will then spend some time getting to know that person or that group. I figure out what makes them tick. What do they value? What's important to them? Start the conversation with something that you genuinely share with them. And then connect the dots because we both live in this location because we are both parents because we both are fiscal conservatives who care about. The economy because of who we are. Then actually were we already care about climate change. We just might not realize it because if we are person who cares about the place where we live. We want it to continue to be a safe and healthy and thriving place to raise our family and to support the local economy, if we care about being conservative with our money, then I think it should horrify us. The fact that we're subsidizing fossil fuels to the tune of over one hundred and sixty thousand dollars US per second around the world in the fact that clean energy release the way of the future and China is leading the world in that source of energy, are you? Okay. You know, so to speak Oncle Joe here in Texas. Are you okay? That China is beating the pants off the United States when it comes to the new clean energy economy. I don't think so. So so starting a conversation with a place something they agree on, and then bringing in some unexpected facts related to how many jobs we have in clean energy or the economic impact of growing in stronger weather extremes on Canada. And I talk about that. In my article in Chatelaine or talking about simple steps that we can take it home. Not just, you know, the big fancy ones like solar panels and plug in cars, but some of the smaller ones like looking at what we eat and reducing food waste. You know, we throw out a third of the food that we produce so reducing food waste is actually one of the biggest things that we as individuals can do to reduce our carbon footprint and hardly anybody ever talks about that. Give me an example of a conversation where you actually convince somebody who was a skeptic before. And after you guys had talked began to take action, or at least see things from more scientific perspective. Well, the key. There is I don't honestly care. They agree on the science or not as long as they agree on the solutions. So if a farmer here wants to put up wind turbines on his land because he recognizes that he'll make just as much money as he does from the oil wells. But those, you know, those pesky people won't be driving trucks on and off his land. All the time to get the oil. They just set up the winter. And they push button somewhere far away to operate them. So if he wants to be part of the solution, and then advocate for a greater participation of farmers in growing clean energy in the places where we live. I honestly don't care if he agrees with the science or not because he's part of the solution. And so we can often actually leapfrog over what people think we most degree on probably the the biggest question. I get her statement. I get every day just about on social media is don't you know, it's been warmer before it's just a natural cycle. And of course, they said, well, who do you think studies us climate scientists? We're the ones who told you it was warmer before. So, of course, we know we study natural cycles, but arguing over doesn't change minds. What does change minds is showing that there are solutions that are compatible with our values that are good for the local economy that help people in developing countries who are suffering from hunger, and poverty, lack of access to clean water energy, poverty, which is a real an a difficult issue that affects hundreds of millions of people around the world where they just. Don't have access to the form of energy and electricity that we take for granted. So talking about those solutions are what do change people's minds, even connecting on a simple thing. Like our our appreciation for fossil fuels. I'm actually very grateful for the benefits that they've brought us. We have dependent on fossil fuels for the last three hundred years and more. And because of that we live in a very different place in a very different way than we would if we went back three or four hundred years in our history. So being grateful for what fossil fuels abroad us is actually a place that we can commit. But then we know that just as we don't drive horses and buggies anymore, and we don't use party line telephones anymore. We know that technology progresses, and because we are grateful for and we acknowledge the benefits fossil fuels are brought us in the past in the same way. It makes sense to look to the future and say, how will we transition off these old ways of getting energy that have served us well in past decades and centuries to the new sources of energy because the world is already transitioning, and we don't want to be left behind. That's a really. Just against it. Because it gets at something else. I wanted to talk to you about especially after reading the issue that you guest edited is your very optimistic, and you know, the whole issue of Chatelaine has really optimistic, and I'm kind of sitting there looking at it like, you gotta be kidding me. Like, I know it's dire. This is a we're in a desperate situation. I hear that on the news like every single night. Well, I am. So glad that you brought that up because that was my goal. I feel like when it comes to climate change. Again, we often don't talk about it. And that's one of the most effective things. We can do is either is talk about it. And then also join an organization that amplifies our voice to talk about it, even more. We don't because we feel like it's depressing and fear and depression, you know, they can spark some short term kind of knee jerk reactions but to fix climate change. We're in this thing for the long haul in its hope in optimism rational hope that aknowledges the magnitude of the problem we face, but it is that hope that is going to take us long term. So when I was I asked to. Serve his guests editor I said, well, I really wanna get this hope across I want people to feel after they read it that there is something we can do about it. But it does matter to us. But it isn't just an issue for polar bears or for future generations, it matters to us here. But we can actually be part of the solution as well if we are paralyzed by fear, anxiety, and despair and believe me, I look these in the face every day, I'm a climate scientist. And when you look at what's happening in this world around us that does not give us hope. But I know that if we are dominated by fear anxiety, then it's just gonna lead us film liquid wanna pull the blanket up over our heads. We are going to be a self fulfilling prophecy of doom we need to feel first of all as if there is hope and second of all we need a vision of a better future. What do you do because I find that? When we talk about this stuff, and we talk about solutions and changes that we can make I often end up feeling positive and optimistic that we can we can do something. And then. As you're well aware every two days. Now, another report comes out last week. It was the one that said Canada's warming twice as fast as everywhere else on earth. And then you know, you end up right back in that. Well, this is inevitable place. And how do you counteract the kind of almost ceaseless drip of bad news? Now as a scientist almost every study published these days shows us that climate is changing faster or its impacts are more widespread than we thought in the case of Canada. We've actually known since the eighteen ninety s that the polls higher latitudes warm faster than the rest of the world. But across Canada, what we're seeing is all of these impacts that we didn't think about because often as Canadians we think, oh, well isn't warmer better. I'd love shorter winter in a nice summer. Right. But we don't realize that we are perfectly adapted to the climate. We have and so as it gets warmer. We see the spread of invasive species across the border. We see our native ecosystems being displaced our cities are not ready for the type of heat waves that we see like. We did last summer the heavy rain events that caused flood. We're seeing sea level rising or coastlines eroding up in the Arctic. What used to be permanently frozen ground is crumbling in thawing literally under people's homes and buildings and our infrastructure. Our winter road season his shortening some communities are being cut off entirely except by air. So we're starting to recognize that even though we are in northern country. There are significant negative impacts that counteract and in many places exceed the benefits of a longer growing season shorter winters and warmer summers. So I don't see a lot of hope as a scientist when I look at what's happening to this world. And I do that every day. But I do see hope when I go out and look for it. So hope it's not gonna find us. If we sit there absorbing everything the news has to throw at us. It is negatively it is bad news. It is people saying and doing horrible things it is not designed to give us. Hope we have to go out and look for that hope and the places. Where I find it is through looking at what individual people are doing often, the most unexpected people and places. So I often get invited these days to speak at small Christian colleges across the United States because I'm a Christian, and I I really liked to connect people's values as Christians as people have faith, and really you can do this for any major religious tradition, but connecting our values who we believe we are as Christians to why then we naturally already care about this issue. We just might not realise it. So in in going around the US talking to these little Christian colleges, you know, being a graduate of you've t- and going to public schools. I kind of had this stereotype of this bias that they'd be no super-conservative. They wouldn't think climate change is real they probably had all their food off styrofoam and throw it away. And I go to these colleges, and it is humbling, and it is very hopeful to see all of these little colleges taking the issue of Stewart's ship and sustainability so seriously. I mean, I drive up to this little. College. That's in the middle of the fields of Indiana. And they have a green roof, solar panels. They paint the tops the buildings white to reflect heat in the summer. They have a sustainable agriculture program. I go somewhere else, and they are already reducing their food waste one hundred percent clean energy, you go to college like an upstate New York. It turns out with twelve hundred students which he knows the size of average high school. This college has the biggest solar panel array of any educational institute in the state of New York. So there's really cool amazing unexpected things happening in places in with people that you wouldn't expect. And so I try to collect these stories, and I think the Chatelaine that she does a fantastic job of sharing some of these stories, and I often try to share some of these on my Facebook page too. Because I feel like the hope is out there. We just need to go and look for it. So speaking of finding it an unlikely places than in this goes back to another essay in your magazine. Tell me about Bornholm. Yes. So that is a little town. That is a smart village. What would a smart? Village be like if it was actually designed using modern technology to grow their own energy distribute, their energy, if the village was laid out so that we could commute or walk places. We didn't need to have a car intensive life growing local food, just, you know, the type of community that we all sort of look think. Wow, I would really like to live in that type of community by just don't think it exists. So it was actually built quite a while ago as that kind of test bed to see what a community would look like and that very much ties into news at the United Nations released a plan for building floating villages that could house ten thousand people that would have homes and parks and schools and buildings and it would grow its food underwater. So there's these really amazing, innovative ideas. And we look at them. We're like, wow, that's really cool. And that also I think goes a long way to counteracting the fear and depression and anxiety, and despair that comes at us when we look at the news, and we look at what's happening to our planet. But it also goes a long way to giving us that vision of a better future. Because right now, I feel like we're confronted with an apocalyptic vision of what will happen to the world if we don't act and then on the other side, we're we're presented with an apocalyptic vision of what happens if we pull the plug too quickly on fossil fuels to our economy to our jobs to our lifestyle. But what we're missing we're missing a positive vision of the future of future. That's better than the one. We have no worse a future that I want to work towards that. I would like to live on when you sit down and think about the world twenty or thirty years from now, what is the first thing that pops in your head? The first thing that comes into my head is a world that is more livable a world where my own lifestyle is more of what I wish it was today. And when that provides those resources to more people because unfortunately, we live in a world where inequity and injustice is growing year by year rather than shrinking. The gap between the haves and the have nots is increasing. And we know that our lives contain all kinds of things that we wish that they didn't commuting black of time to spend with people and with doing activities that are important to us not eating the right things. Not exercising enough. Not just enjoying the time that we have with our friends and our family, and the people that we love not plugging in and engaging with other people in our community, but living in our little boxes where we don't have that human interaction that makes us a community. So I would love to see a future, and I would love to live in a future where we very much embedded in our community where we have choices of of transportation and getting our food and walking around and enjoying the circumstances. We have well doing so in a sustainable way where we get our energy from the sun. We grow our food locally. We understand that the things that really matter in life are typically not things that you can actually buy. What does it make you do when I say that to me that sounds like a pipe? Well, if it's too much of a pipe dream, then we feel like we can't achieve it. So we've actually run some experiments as a scientist. I do a lot of work looking at what climate change means to us in the places where we live and how it affects our agriculture and our water resources in our cities and more. But I also do experiments looking at how we react to information and what we found. Yeah. Because that's that is very interesting. And what we found is that when when students are exposed to very utopian version of the future one that seems great but completely unachievable. Then what that does is it actually pushes us off the edge. It doesn't make us more hopeful makes us less hopeful. And we tend to disassociate say we'll fast the only way that we can fix climate change. I think that's so far out of reach that what's even the point about caring about anymore. I mean might as well just, you know, eat merry for tomorrow, we die. So that's what I think what the Chatelaine issue does is. So important is because it breaks this down into small steps it says, well, here's what a whole town. Looks like, but here are the changes that we can make in our own home in our own lives today. Here are the things that we can move towards in the future doing small steps at a time. So every year I take a couple of small lifestyle steps. So I'm not trying to go whole hog, you know, everything carbon-neutral and a single year every year. My goal is just do do an implement and be consistent about one or two new things. And then just roll that into my life as I go along, and it just makes me feel happy. So what are the things we did this year rather than doing the one giant shopping trip every two weeks and loading up the fridge in the freezer and cramming with an inch of its life and then eating our way through this food. And then having about a third of it go bad before we got to it, especially the vegetables and the fruit. I decided I'm going to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work because there's a grocery store rate, you know, on my way. So it's not out of my way, I'm gonna commit to doing like a to bag stop two or three times a week. So we get a lot more fresh food it almost. Completely eliminated our food waste in. We're actually eating some different things now because I don't have to worry about, you know, are they going to get bad before I can look up a recipe and actually make him. In addition. I'm looking at the big picture and big picture talking about this talking about why it matters to us number one. And number two what we can do to fix. It really is the most powerful thing that every single one of his can do whether we use our voice, whether we use our fingers, whether we do it online on social media as teachers are educators as parents as members of our business or the organization that we work for being advocates for energy efficiency, and reducing our carbon footprint. That's one of the most important things that we can do in every single one of us can do that. We'll thank you for talking to us today about thank you for having me. Katherine Heyhoe is a climate scientist and temporarily at least the editor of Chatelaine that was the big story from more from us head on over to the big story, podcast dot CA. Like, I said we cover climate change a lot we have to find a lot of episodes there. You can also find us and our brother and sister shows at frequency podcast network dot com to find us on social media. If you wanna yell at me of a wet climate change is not real we're at the big story. F P N. We're also at frequency pods on Twitter on Facebook on Instagram, and we are wherever you get your podcasts, apple Google, Stitcher and Spotify leave us a rating, leave us a review. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan he throwing we'll talk tomorrow.
A terrifying new smartphone scam is on the rise
"I don't know about you but I get nervous when someone uses my phone. It doesn't matter what they're using it for. You're just low level anxiety on my part because almost every sensitive thing can be accessed with that phone from my bank information Asian to government correspondence to like ten thousand pictures of my kid. It's all there. That's probably true for you as well so imagine and then waking up one day and discovering that even though your phone is still right there next to you all the data inside it all of the passwords authentication in an all your media are gone. They've been stolen by someone on the other side of the world who's now got your identity despite never getting their actual hands on your machine so your phone no longer works so you check your email and there's someone in there waiting for you may tell you they've got your phone now they want money or else and then they start locking you out of your own apps won I won. I won. I start sending you your own pictures threatening to send them elsewhere. What do you do now? I'm Jordan Heath Rowlings. This is the big story. Retest Khotak they cybersecurity expert. He's consulted with businesses institutions and police services around the world here How's it going? Excellent how are you. I'm great thank you so much for coming in. I guess you just explain what phone porting or Sim swopping actually is yes. So what phone porting is is simply early me taking my phone number and going to another carrier so traditionally what we've seen is You might have a phone with with carrier. A and then carrier be has really amazing new plan it could be more data or more minutes and or cheaper and you say you know what I really I really want to switch from carrier Ada carrier be so what you do. Is You put your number over. And this is something that that's that's it's not really new but has been something that's starting to be offered by some of these carriers a couple years ago and the reason that it started to be offered was curious how to hold on individuals because you had their phone number right. If you've got a switch you got a switch numbers to and that sucks which is which which is a pain because everything is connected to our mobile numbers now so for example two factor authentication. We might be giving our phone numbers to our friends and family and we don't want to give the mother number. We filled out applications with their phone numbers on it as well. So if you got to change your number the consequences of changing your number could be being quite great so what carriers wanted to do was make it easier for you to switch from carrier to carrier and keep your phone number to keep your digital identity and by doing this The process essentially is called phone. Importing the reason we want to talk to you. Today is because the way you just described described the way it's supposed to work. How do bad actors use it so again whenever you have a technology that's been created especially for convenience convenience and this is why I was credos created with probably the most noble intentions and that's convenience for for consumers but at the same time the same the same technology -nology could essentially be weaponized against members of the community? And that's what we're starting to see with phone porting where bad actors are doing. Essentially Sim this idea of Sim swopping or phone. Reporting without your consent to a device that they Own So essentially. They're taking control over for me personally. One of the most personal things I have. And that's my telephone number my personal mobile cell phone number and taking control of it and there's not a lot of mechanisms in place to to essentially stop it and prevented and once it's got once you've lost your number. Reclaiming it and the and reclaiming essentially your digital identity becomes that much more difficult and is a real pain. So how does it look like what do they do. So there's several oh things that that they can do. The first thing that they can do is again. This doesn't need to be Super High Tech. This could be super low tech as well. If you wanted to change your number what do you do you. Essentially you can go into a mall you can go to a kiosk and go to You can go to one of the One of the carriers yes and he can say I want to change my phone number. I WANT TO SWITCH TO I. I'm currently with With the carrier A and I wanna go to carrier and I WANNA come to your your company for whatever never reason right and the process is actually relatively simple where they'll literally go into a computer and say okay no problem we will port or your phone number over. It might take a couple days. There might be a little bit of service interruption. You show them some. Id to verify that it's that it's you and that's it and the reporting process starts immediately. So essentially that is the easiest way to to port. A phone number over there are other ways as well. L. Where people have called into carriers and they've called into carriers and they've essentially social engineered their way into making the person on the other line believe achieved there somebody else essentially the person with the number and the way they do that is through an act called spoofing and what spoofing is is. Imagine me calling you right now. L. But I'm calling you with not my phone number even though I'm using my phone or I'm using a VOIP Line which is voice over. Internet Protocol So essentially a computer. And I'm giving I'm sending you this call but the caller ID or the number that's displayed is a completely different number in we've seen Fraud with respect people pretending to be government agencies or police agencies but imagine if I use that same idea the same concept to call a carrier and I use your phone number that I've been able to obtain now as I'm calling the carrier. What's popping up on their screen? Is the phone number that I wanNA port right so put them in the mindset immediately of Oh it really is Jordan. He's calling from that number. It's immediate trust is what happens here. Is that trust all of a sudden is elevated. Because now what I gotTa to do is authenticate in some other ways. Can you please if you've ever called in with your phone number. Some and this has happened to me. They say thank you for. Thank you for calling Mr Khattak. Can you please verify your name and your address because the phone number has already populated that so now It's it's relatively simple If you know what you're doing if you're a fraudster or hacker and there's also open data of people's information that they're able to now L. culminate all this information and trick the other person on the other line to authenticate that yes. I am this person when in reality you're not and and once you've authenticiated once you know that Once they feel convinced now will you can do is say well. I want to switch my number or I WANNA change the account information on it. And he started going through that process and once you've cleaned somebody's digital identity. Now you can do just the whole a whole array of things to really cause problems and mess up. Somebody's digital life soda out of curiosity when we talk about phone spoofing and just how easy it is. Just a trick somebody. Would you like to see a demonstration. You're going to spoof me or call me from a spoof number. I'M GONNA I'M GONNA call you and make it seem like you're getting a call all from I don't know who would you like What number would you like to appear make? It seem like a pizza. Pizza's calling me. Just for fun okay. So you know the number I will write down mine not saying my phone number on the Erica's enough people will like that. They are right. Well let's put the phone number and let's hope that this works so I'm calling you. I'm calling you from my phone. So here's the call and what number number has appeared the famous pizza pizza number. How calling my cellphone? How `bout you answer the call? Okay Hello Hi this is Pizza Pizza calling your pepperoni pizzas ready for delivery. The only thing I need you to do is verify your social insurance number your password and your home address. I just listened to a podcast about this so I'm not GonNa do that. Go by any and you can see with a couple loosely. A couple clicks on a free APP. Just how simple it is to fool somebody now again. We knew that this was happening but imagine putting noise in the background. Imagine altering voice a little bit and you could really trick people. Now if I called into a carrier using this type type of technology Right off the bat they would have my phone number or the spoof number and they would actually believe that the number is is real. Give me some examples examples of what these people do once. They've managed to report a number so once. You've ported a number one. I have that phone number. It's what can I do well. There's a couple of things I can and do. For example would we actually use our number four now we use it for two factor authentication. So so what is two factor authentication. It's essentially when I log into a website. I mean I put in my user name but I might say forgot password. I don't have my password so I click on forget password and what is do it. Sends you a text message with the code. Well the tex-mex if I have that phone number now. That text message is not going to you Rightful owner is coming to me. Bad fraudster and now that I have that number number I can put that into into the portal and with a couple of clicks. I change your password. I now got access to your email. Once I get access to your email. What are you using your email to authenticate with well? Maybe your social media profiles now. I got access to your social media profiles and I changed Password and changed the phone number. Used to log in and you also have sensitive information on there you might be using You might be using backup drives online drives. There's there's a lot of popular ones out there where your photos might be automatically sinked to the to these drives. Your videos might automatically be sinked so now I got access to your emails. I got access to your profiles files I got access to your phone number and I got access to all your pictures and videos now. What I can do is essentially one of two things and the most common thing that people will do do with this with this type of data is going to come and try to extort? You might say we got this video of you are able to get this private photograph of you and if view what your identity back is going to cost you two bitcoins. Three BITCOINS and the rest. It just keeps ballooning from there so it gets very difficult to reclaim your identity back so once you once we've crossed that line once we've gone over it kind of getting are getting our digital identity back becomes that much more difficult. What is typically the first signer one of the first signs that somebody is trying to do this to you? So what you might see is activity activity on on your account so you might see for example emails coming in that somebody tried to access your account you might as also see Log Log in information coming in to your to your email as well if you'd have it properly set up if there's any logging that might happen from an Ip address or computer that you haven't previously logged in from there might be a notification there might also be notifications with respect to the system because member these fraudsters don't need to be near in geography's not a barrier anymore. They can be essentially anywhere in the world. So you might also see These loggins coming from or a potential log INS coming from some across the world so those are kind of like the first signs that something fishy might be going on. Doesn't necessarily mean phone porting. Maybe they're just going in and saying forgot password or they're trying to do what's called brute force into your account. We're trying to guess your password or say forget password and then you have a bunch of security questions or challenge questions. Yeah and if you make those challenge questions really easy to guess what was my first car and there's a picture of you saying. Hey take a look at my first car on facebook right. It's it's hackers and fraudsters are will be able to piece two and two together and kind of guests their way into your account the most common one that I see his. What's my mother's maiden name? Of course please do not ever give your mother's maiden name as a secure as a security challenge question you might have again again on your social media profile the name the name listed you might identify or tag your mother in a photograph and then and then Oh at my parents house right my grandparents house and obviously the name there would be the maiden name there's also potential court records and and other databases where the maiden name might actually be he listed which is relatively easy for fraudsters and hackers to come by but you see these types of questions and then once hackers and fraudsters are able to infiltrate infiltrate your account? Then you'll start seeing things such as I'm not able to log into my counts anymore. Phone calls have stopped. I'm not getting text messages. You you might see alerts from other other APPs for example messaging APPs that saying Phone has been changed. Or can you please verify A new device they start seeing these alerts alerts popping up and then try to call your number and imagine that feeling in the pit of your stomach when somebody else picks up. Yeah which has happened as as well. So it's kind of it's not just with the snap of a finger. It's been ported and all your accounts and everything is gone. You'll start seeing little bit. You'll start start seeing some signs some activities here and there and you need to act as quickly as possible to ensure you're able to regain your digital identity and keep your your your telephone number which is used for so many different things today. What's your first Stephan? The carrier the police so again if there's extortion there's fraud the filing a report with the Police Service. There's a Canadian anti-fraud center those are all viable options to my first step would be to call the carrier to to call my service provider and say there's something fishy going on here and I need help and they will have people on staff who can look up if your phone's being ported boarded mechanisms in place. there's probably call history and logs that are available that they can sort of try to investigate and pieces different pieces of the puzzle together to know. Actually something fishy is going on here and you might be a victim of illegal foreign porting or even the identity theft and that kind of then balloons into secondary steps of what of what needs to be done to either. Stop the process or for for you to regain your digital identity back. How difficult is that once? It's been stolen like what's the process of kind of reclaiming you painted a picture of so many accounts accounts in so many places that this information can can grant access to unfortunately it is extremely difficult to gain to gain to gain access back and to reverse the process and the reason for that is because our lives are so digitally connected to these to these APPs to these platforms it forms We use your phone for just about everything. Imagine the what would happen. If you've not only lost her device and you don't have access assists the phone number for days if not weeks Minutes an intimate part of our lives. Now there's no there's no doubt about it. This is a part of our identity now rate it's a a part of our not only our digital identity but also our physical identity. Our entire lives are on these devices. Like just if I lose my phone the pictures that I have on the videos that gotta have on at all the memories that have on that is very important to me in very intimate to me and losing. That would be devastating to most people and I think that and his wife fraudsters are really prey on individuals because they know how valuable these types of this type of data is to them and people will pay for it and unfortunately unfortunately that's a situation and and people get victimized as a result of it and this can happen to anybody his this. This could happen to me. There's is not enough mechanisms in place to prevent something like this from happening. There's a lot of work being done but again there's not enough mechanisms in place and as a result people will get victimized and continue to be victimized. What kind of mechanisms could be emplaced? That would actually help nip this at the start of the process. So it's one thing thing to call a carrier or to to call a platform and say I have a question about about my account or I want to change my plan or you might see a plan where you have unlimited data or something or something that you really want. That's a that's a great deal and you give them McCall and you say I need to change US okay so I kind of want to break this down in threshold that to me is a lower threshold of verifying identity again. It's important but if I want report a phone number I would think the mechanisms and steps in place it's a it's a higher bar and a higher threshold because of the consequences if it's done on wrong so there needs to be more again much much better ways of verifying identity. So how would you do. That is the question. Here's the simplest way way to do that. I call the carrier. I WANNA put my phone number. This is my This is my phone number now. They might have spoofed the number as well which we discussed earlier. Okay thank you Mr Kotok. Not a problem. We're going to hang up and call you back just making. That step alone will solve the problem because Louis absolutely absolutely because if it's a spoof number it's me calling with Through my cell phone or through my voip line making it look like it's your phone number so if I call that number back my cell phone will ring and if that person can pick up and verify that Yes I've authorized as phone pointing to happen. That is so so should be a signal. So that's probably the simplest way to prevent this this. It's not that we need to invest Millions or billions of dollars just some common sense policies here would in itself probably prevent the bulk of this from happening. There is another element of it as well as we said we can go. We can walk into a kiosk us at a mall and say I wanNA switch carriers and are the people at those kiosks actually trained to again verify identity. How do you know that identity? He's not fraudulent. It's how do you know that right. And those people are incentivized. I guess to get that switch right like you want that person to switch over to your company absolutely the believer absolutely and and it's it's it's it's business for you. It's it's a sale. And you WanNa do you WANNA get the sale but in the process are you you not putting the same scrutiny. On verifying the individual's identity especially because of the risks that are associated with it so having a a a a period before that phone number actually gets ported where additional mechanisms are put in place where there's additional verification more scrutiny. Again calling that number and having the person verify that Just enough why I we are importing. Your number on this date. One verified that all the information is accurate and unless unless you get that verification don't poured it right. It's it's as simple as that or technical solutions as well that are that are being discussed especially in the United States. We're seeing some of the stuff in some of these some of these discussions in in Canada and that S- again through a mechanism of preventing phone. Spoofing I'm from social engineering tricking. The person on the other line that you are who you are. We'll you you've worked with law enforcement agencies. How prepared are they to deal deal with this kind of crime? And how quickly do they need to adapt when it comes to the enforcement aspect of. Not only this this crime but just I digital crime. In General Handri's box has been opened. And there's there's an influx of these types of of these types of incidences. So what you've seen Dina's before we had physical physical crime where it's really easy to pinpoint an individual or or do and what's not easy actually very difficult But to actually do through a physical investigation now that physical investigation has gone digital. It's virtual it's in the cyber world where victims and And fraudsters could be located anywhere in the world where they can hide behind. VPN's virtual private networks masking their virtual address. Which is an IP address compared to a physical address and they can essentially use technologies to make it very difficult for law enforcement to catch these individuals etchells also the payment mechanism? It's not meet me at the park at six. PM for further instructions. And there's a note that says leave the bag of money any behind the bench. No it's done through crypto currency decentralized currency. That's almost impossible to trace and and it's done through an and that's done by purpose and the reason that's done is the anonymity is now. I can be anonymous. I can be behind behind the the virtualshield essentially the virtual cloaks sort of Harry Potter. You just throw a cloak on and you disappear. This is exactly exactly that and I'm disappearing during virtually bitcoin gone. It's gone it's gone. Good luck tracing it and and getting it back to the best thing to do is just be aware for any any strange log log in from anywhere the best thing to do is yeah. Unfortunately there is no highway until it happens and try to catch it right away anytime. There's something suspicious going in on and you start getting those alerts right away I would do. I would contact out. Contact the carrier now. Even even carriers are aware that this is this is happening and they are taking certain steps to protect their clients their consumers such as again try calling the consumer but again it's a hit and miss is let's all a race right like these guys as soon as we have a new Verification Process they're going to be trying to get behind that it is a race and it's also Lacombe. Oh so I might be able able to take one element or one type of hack or or fraud component down by three new components pop up that I never thought thought of before and this is what we're dealing with in the social cyber digital world and what we need to get a lot more nimble at dealing with. This is not something something that we need to continue to commission reports and continuously research because the fraudsters don't play by the same rules gotTa Hack. They'RE GONNA they're gonNA exploited waited so organizations need to figure out a way that we're we can be a lot more agile and deploy mechanisms to protect consumers to protect individuals especially for something as intimate as as cell phones and your digital identity. Thanks so much for helping us Explain this well. Thank you so much for having me retest. Khotak cybersecurity expert. That was the big story. You want more from us. You can head to the big story. podcasts dot ah you can also find us on twitter at the big story F. P. N.. And of course everywhere you get podcasts. Specially on your phone. We're right there apple apple. Google stitcher. spotify doesn't matter you can find us rate review five stars whole deal thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings. We'll talk tomorrow the.
What happens when the global economy gets sick?
"I won't pretend that I pay much attention to the stock market. Let's just say I don't have much reason to do so. Occasionally though it is unavoidable now with all the reaction to the corona virus world markets have tumbled phased suffering. Its biggest drop. Since the nineteen eighty seven crash Wall Street plunged the most is the financial crisis the losses so steep on both sides of the border at it actually triggered a trading halt for the Fed and other central bankers drop in oil prices is adding another complication as they try to gauge. How the corona virus will impact the global economy the fascinating thing about the reaction of markets around the world to Cova Nineteen. It's not really about dollars and cents. Yes a lot of billionaires lost millions and millions more are are. Sp's have taken ahead but watching what's happening here even if you have no money in the markets is a glimpse to how we all value risk. So what have we seen in the past few days and weeks? It's different from financial shudders like the crisis of two thousand eight. Where could the markets go from here? How far could they sing? And what will the world's governments do to prevent that and what happens beyond dollars gained or lost as a result of all this weather or not. Stock prices surged again. When this is over what happens in other words when global economy comes down with flu like symptoms. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings. This is the big story. Mike Apple is these senior business editor at six eighty news. He's been busy the last few. Hello Mike How are you? I'm doing well. Why don't you quickly outline? I keep in mind that we are talking in the middle of the day so stocks may do any thing quickly outline. What have we seen in the past couple of days with stock markets and oil prices? You have to go back actually three weeks because up until about the mid part of February the markets were on fire. Everybody was buying everything you could not lose money It was the greatest momentum rally not necessarily based on fundamentals which turned out to be a bit of a problem but Tesla was at a record SPACEX and Virgin Galactic Apple Microsoft all these big companies record highs and krona virus was starting at March so to speak in China. That's peculiar. Why isn't the market more worried about this well? Then as it started to spread people include in and airlines were. I think the first trigger where they started air. Canada cut flights to China. So there was this wakeup call that this was going to have an economic impact and that started the selloff for stocks and over the course of the past three weeks we have seen the biggest point declines and subsequent point gains on the benchmarks in history like there have been massive swings one day huge selling next a big buyback and we are coming off now the subsequent largest slump ever on a points basis. I WanNa make that designation for the Tsa X. Endow because when we look at it on a percentage basis. It's big but not October. Nineteen eighty seven big where the Dow Single Day drop twenty two percent. It's massive. We're talking trillions of dollars of market value. I don't want underestimated but again I wanNA put it into some context. The TSA was down over ten percent. Second biggest ever point percentage decline. Explain what's driving this. You touched on airlines. Yes okay. So that was the that was the first economic shock that the tourism industry was was seeing a major revaluation. People weren't traveling companies. Their supply chains were being shut down in China ripple effect elsewhere than into Italy in Europe and Potentially into North America. So that was the first wave of selling and then what happened? Was the reaction from the market for what? The Saudi Arabian government announced on the weekend. Last week they wanted to cut production to stabilize the oil market which had seen a bit of a downturn so they were holding meetings OPEC cartel and Russia. There's sort of a new player in the global market newish and they wanted to cut production well. Russia had been playing ball the better part of a couple of years but then for some reason they walked away from the table on Friday. They said we. We're really not thinking about cutting production. Now we think we can withstand lower prices. Have at it as you will. This incense the Saudis who say okay. Fine. We're going to raise output in an already oversupplied market to record levels. We're going to crush the low hanging fruit. Any company that produces at say forty or fifty dollars a barrel every barrel they produce is going to lose money but the Saudis can produce it around twelve to fifteen and we're still around thirty and change and the Russians are close but that was the second hit so to speak. Do we know if those two are connected the the sort of oil price wars and the corona virus? It is because the first reason oil dropped was because China basically came to a standstill China's one of the largest buyers of oil prices dropped dramatically. And then this next thing developed at the worst possible time for the market really. It's like really you got to do this now anyway They don't seem to care because this morning again. They said starting next month. Twelve million barrels Russia said okay. We'll match that or very close to it. You've got Canada in the mix the US already at record levels. Suir a globe that is going to be a washing oil which just kind of sounds gross by at least a lower prices lower prices at the gas gas stations. Great for consumers horrible for the industry. Guess what Albert is going to get hit again. Yeah how efficiently can Alberta Produce oil? And and what do they need? Oil PRICES TO BE AT in order to not crush their economy. More than it already. Is this Most recently the tech resources project that was mothballed by tech a few weeks back had a break even price. I think it was north of fifty dollars per barrel okay so significantly higher than than where we are now the established producers son core and the others. They're at a lower price point because they're already moving commodities around and this is why we're talking about you know the oil market being a barometer of the global economy and then you've got the travel and tourism industry in the mix and why the markets have done what they've done they they've re priced risk They've lowered earnings expectations. Apple has already said that its sales in China dropped substantially in February. They're gonNA drop again in March. Their supply chain has been hit again. Apple's got deep pockets. They don't have to worry. Long-term THEY'RE GONNA come out of this. But is the company worth a trillion dollars anymore. Right it's all a repricing and the pendulum that we see moves incredibly fast because everything and and it was funny to to to hear commentators about how quickly markets dropped and then recuperated in previous crises whether it was eighty seven or the DOT COM bubble. Or whatever over there was SARS or murders or any of these other things the Russian ruble crisis it. All of these would take months if not years now. We're talking about weeks and that's that's what shocks and scares people. Because it's like what do you do it? So let's just talk about people like myself and probably like many people listening who don't have tens of thousands of dollars sitting in stocks and aren't you know directly impacted the second. This happens when you look at a ticker in your money's dripping away. What does the crash of the market mean for someone like me? It's psychological more than anything else. Because you're not you're not selling you're not buying necessarily not cashing in for X. number of years on your RSP. So I mean time is your friend and all of the old market adages but you see that and you say wow. Do I want to go and buy anything big today? Do I WANNA spend money? You know when you're when you are in a good mood you're more willing to be happy consumer and when you're not and you see all these negative headlines You Kinda Kinda retrench. That's the biggest problem and again from an investing standpoint. You know it is so difficult to sell it. The high and via the low people do the inverse ratio. As you're thinking who I'm missing out when things are hitting records and then when things are on sale you don't WanNa touch with ten football so now is actually time it it. It's it's not over yet. We still seeing the virus ripple through. This is going to take some time. There's no doubt about it. Bought companies that were priced. Way Up here in the stratosphere a few weeks ago discount if you like them then should love them now and that's the hard thing to get past. How much risk has the priced in already? You know we've Seen Corona virus spreading in North America particularly So far at least in the United States is a larger spread of that already priced into these drops or could it get even worse as it expands it it. It could get worse but we are already looking at the forecasters saying okay. We are expecting that. The economy will slow dramatically. Hopefully it doesn't but it is likely going and they are already saying that interest rates which were cut last week going to fall that much further over the next two months you know the bond market which is another one of these barometers of risk and worry and flipside euphoria We have seen bond yields dropped to all time record lows lower than what we saw during the financial crisis when banks were going out of business which is just to me remarkable now as it was explained to me the reason they're lower than where they were then because they never got back up to where they were previously so you're starting at a lower point and then dropping from that so it okay that kind of makes sense but you know we could see zero percent interest rates in North America. This was something we were looking at in when Greece was defaulting. Right right and people were going. How does that work? You're getting zero percent. Yeah because you're buying that bond or whatever it is because you think that the stock market or any other asset classes going to drop further than just keeping it at something get zero percent and again that that adds to the concern in the caution right. How much of a role does politics play here? I mean there's a tremendous amount of discussion in the United States about the role. The economy will play in an election year. And I'm wondering how individual governments and especially Let's say prominent world leaders How their response to the crisis might drive the markets and impact. Well again. You're talking about a health. Risk as opposed to a financial risk more than anything. Oh Eight Oh. Nine was banking industry crisis. This is again more of a natural disaster. I guess I don't want to over Stated but when you've got you know an entire country under quarantine that's kind of big and how politicians handle that from a communication standpoint. It's not as much Under that circumstance what the economy does it is how the crisis is dealt with. Because they're kind of two different things now At the same time. We're into budget season. So you know the Federal Government Federal Government Finance Minister Bill. More no has said well. We're working on scenarios where we could do this that or the other thing from a stimulus effort to what end. I'm not sure because again. That doesn't you're not injecting money into a failing company per se. You're you're just basically trying to shore up confidence more than anything. Maybe some short term tax cuts. That's what they're talking about. The United States for payrolls for companies. It's a different if it's a different beast in the United States. Of course we're they're not under a a social healthcare net. Now a lot of people have been going to work because they don't get paid if they don't have that to some extent here but also health care is not covered in all circumstances. So it's a you know how they dig deeper. Theoretically into debt to pay for some short term economic stimulus efforts remains to be seen. And I think you know the the budget was supposed to be out here next couple of weeks. I have a feeling they're going to lay that just to get a handle on there. They've got to revise it. The can't you know that that's the thing if they go. If the Trudeau government goes with the current plan of talking about what they had been focused on and not account for what is the here and the now you can have grandiose plans. That's great but you gotta deal with you know because it was you know eight Late Finance Minister Jim. Flaherty onto the Harper government came out with a fall economic update in November after the collapse of Lehman brothers and the talk then was asked not gonNa Affect Canada. All that bad and of course it was in the midst of everything and he got it just got hammered from a political standpoint for sort of being oblivious to the the upcoming crisis that everybody else could see so you can't not do something in the here and now and just totally discounted. You have to be proactive. Rather than not this is perhaps A dumb question. I'm not intending to make light of the situation. But there are some companies that are seeing their stocks spike. Your this right. I imagine two weeks ago would have been a great time to buy Pierrot. Yes Kimberly Clark Procter and Gamble Costco and Walmart. All of them up in the past week. Because what have we seen people lining up to buy toilet paper Yeah no they`re. They're in every type of crises. There are winners and losers and right now consumer products companies are actually because people stockpiling whether they need to or not. You know the funny thing is you don't have to go to the store. Last time I checked you can have things delivered for the record to get off topic. I looked up Hand sanitizer on Amazon. The other day to have some delivered end You would not be shocked to learn that there is some price guy. I'm not shocked to hear that at all. In fact Amazon's been trying to crack down on that. They've been combing their website to get rid of third party sellers. That are trying to gouge. My last question is just a as someone who covers the markets What will you be watching four specifically over the next few days and weeks to see if this is the new normal and this is a dip you know some people say by the dip etcetera etcetera? What are your key indicators? I guess it's the The rate of the spread in various countries. it's starting to slow you watching the virus because then you'd actually have okay. We've passed the worst case scenario right so China's starting seemingly getting back to normal Italy is now the next kind of hotspot do they contain it. Does it spread into Germany more so than it already has And then here in certainly in North America as a as a as a big wild card. So that's you know and and also over the next couple of weeks. We'll have companies. The airline industry is already doing this as of today cutting their forecasts because they are shrinking capacity big time. They're taking planes parking them because they do not have the need right now for flights to various destinations. So you know they're all adjusting energy-sector too so I think it starts with the virus itself and then you kind of work out from there and also government policy. They could slow slow down some of the the risk as well. I guess. Short term. Thanks for helping Financial Moron understand this not at all. It's my pleasure. Mike Apple senior business editor four six eighty news. That was the big story if you would like more head to the Big Story. Podcasts DOT CA. You should know that by now. Shouldn't have to tell you you can also talk to us on twitter at Big Story F. p. n. you can find our whole network at frequency podcast network. Dot Com and at frequency pods on twitter or facebook or instagram. And of course you can find us in your favorite podcast player. Every single one leave us a rating five stars. Leave us a review. Say Nice things. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
Montreal faces a rental crisis in a pandemic
"Back in the days when we didn't discuss covert nineteen every day. We often talked about the rental crisis by that. I mean the rental crisis in Toronto a rental crisis in Vancouver the rental crisis in the north and the rental crisis. Pi and Claire. Every time we did one of those shows. How often afterwards did we end up just talking wistfully about Montreal? Oh all the time and I mean I've told you this before. I've lived in so many terrible apartments in Toronto and sometimes terrible apartments with multiple rates. And I remember just out of curiosity sometimes looking online at -partment listings in Montreal and seeing how I could get something so much better for so much cheaper. It's it's really heartbreaking for US. Torontonians when I was in my mid twenties Which is not as long ago as you might think it was I had younger friends who were in school in Montreal and I would go visit them and I would walk into their beautiful apartments with high ceilings and spiral staircases and back. Patios in which they had a whole separate room just sitting empty for guests and ask them how much they paid and they'd be like. Oh we pay about four hundred bucks each a month and I think about my basement apartment in Toronto for nine hundred something dollars. I'D WANNA cry. Yeah I did seriously consider moving to Montreal a couple of times and I guess I never did because I always thought that cheap rent would always be there just kind of waiting right that I could make that move whenever I wanted but I feel like that's not so the case no and this is a story that kind of slipped past me but today's guest reached out to us and she painted a picture of another big Canadian city. That's fighting the short term rental monster and spiking rents from landlords and is now on the verge of a full-blown rental crisis now on the verge of a serious crisis in the middle of pandemic. That's not a good place to be. No it's not and Montreal has such a high percentage of renters that a rental crisis is even more dangerous there than in other Canadian cities especially in a pandemic so today. We're GONNA take you to a Montreal that if only ever dreamed of moving there or you haven't lived there in a while is probably radically different. From the image you have of the housing that's available. We'll do that right after Claire Catches you up on everything you need to know about. Covert nineteen in Canada and the World Claire Well Ontario and Manitoba have now extended school closures. Manitoba's schools will be closed indefinitely while Ontario says at schools will be closed until at least may fourth and they follow other provinces including Nova Scotia and Quebec which have already said schools will be closed until at least may in Toronto. All City lead events festivals conferences have been cancelled until June thirtieth and that includes the pride parade which was supposed to take place. June Twenty Eighth Mayor John. Torrey says pride month will still take place in some form. Quebec now has more than four thousand one hundred cases of cove in nineteen which is more than half of Canada's total the province. Aw Twenty one percent increase in cases in twenty four hours and thirty one deaths premier false when ago says the province could run out of protective equipment for medical workers in the next few days in the US. The death toll has reached more than three thousand five hundred which is more than China's official count. New York state is still deadliest hotspot with more than one thousand five hundred and fifty deaths most of them in New York as of Tuesday evening. More than eight thousand five hundred cases of Cova Nineteen in Canada with ninety six deaths. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings and this is the big story Tracy. Lindemann is a freelance writer and reporter. She dug into the looming rental crisis in Montreal. For maisonneuve magazine. Hi tracey. Hi thanks for having me no problem. Why don't you start by just telling me about kind of the the stereotype or the image that most Canadians have of rental units Montreal in the renting culture? There in General Yeah Montreal. Has this kind of permanent reputation as the place to go? If you WANNA live cheap in Canada it is known for having affordable rents All departments. You know those famous spiral staircases. You could live and be an artist or permanent student which a lot of people opt for musician writer. You know you could actually do what you WanNa do in your life and live reasonably well. That's that's kind of the impression people have and that's the impression that they've had for a long time but I don't think that that's necessarily true anymore. We'll tell me what's been happening You describe in your story of a woman named tenured wok so Tanna is just one of the many people who I spoke with for this article. Antennas story is about how a one day. Actually it was Christmas Eve. She was getting ready to be to go to her parents in the suburbs of Montreal for Christmas celebration and she got a knock on the door and it was her new landlords and they said You pay rent to us now and then she said Oh okay. I didn't realize a landlord was selling the building. Are you gonNa make any repairs to have a few things that I need repaired? And they're like actually we're going to repair the whole building. Emigre convert everything to AIRBNB. Kick everybody out. So that was the start of her. Long protracted battle which is still ongoing today and this is something that's happening to a lot of people throughout Montreal and actually throughout Canada. I would say and probably anywhere where you'd be exists so around the world so. When did this start to Happen Montreal? And why in particular in? Montreal what changed. It started getting pretty bad in Montreal around. I would say probably Twenty Sixteen. Twenty fifteen twenty sixteen is when people really started to notice the squeeze and I think there wasn't really a really noticeable. Change like there was nothing. There is no one thing that happened. That made this squeeze start tightening. It was more an accumulation factors. So one is that people started noticing. That AIRBNB was a pretty lucrative venture. And if you had the capital to invest in property Why wouldn't you just go ahead and do that? And then instead of renting to long term tenants just convert your rental units into short term rentals. So more and more people started to do that with property so that was one thing that happened. And then I you know over the next few years Quebec and and the rest of Canada speaking specifically about Montreal Allot of migrants came into Montreal people from war torn countries but also people from France Students people coming from other parts of Canada and the US coming to study. There are four major universities in Montreal. That have forty thousand students per school. There are a lot of young people that are you know transitory instead. There's just a lot of people coming in and out of Montreal and so that was one of the other factors and people immaterial. Who lived there for a long time? They were just kinda used to the deal. You know you have a July first to June thirtieth lease and if he decided to leave it historically. It hasn't been hard to find another apartment you can just look on. Pj gee-gee or craigslist or facebook now and just find a new place to live. But that's really changing and a lot of the people who I spoke with say that it's super competitive. There even overbidding on apartments just trying to find a decent place to live. That's not infested with bugs. Rodents And it's really tough out there for a lot of people and we've heard similar stories about you know overbidding or huge amounts of competition for places Here in Toronto. But I can't imagine what kind of crisis that must create an city where like almost everybody rents right so tell me a little bit more. I guess first of all about the traditional moving day because that's very unique to Montreal Quebec Wide Policy. But because Montreal is the biggest city and because as I mentioned earlier there so many students in Montreal in particular because so many of Quebec's migrants are located in Montreal. Montreal really is the nexus of moving day And so what moving day is is it happens around July first so it used to just be July first But now it's kind of like two weeks before in two weeks after July first and now it's spread even further than that as people get more and more desperate to find housing and basically it's the time when everybody moves so In previous recent years I would say I did a story for city lab last year where I got figures that said seventy thousand. Households moved like in one summer While so you know in but people are used to this dance you know. It's it's just baked into how people live Montreal. The reason why back has this policy is really just because at some point Maybe forty years ago. The Quebec government decided to have moving day and it was supposed to be like a temporary measure. You know it was supposed to be like a a suggestion. But then everyone was like well. Let's just keep a July? I make things easy so it just kind of became the defacto rule. So there's kind of a system in place for a culture that relies on renters and tenants and landlords moving around at a certain date And it's competing with a run on airbnb properties And this is something. We've seen lots of cities. But but what's happening now or what's going to happen in the next few months as Montreal grapples with Colvin Nineteen. Yeah well WHO KNOWS? Really? It's changing every day. It seems that The situation is pretty dire. You know people in Montreal are used to living pretty much paycheck to paycheck. There's a lot of service industry people in Montreal Metro so famous for its bars and restaurants but what happens when all those businesses have to close all those people are out of work and the government has promised assistance to those people? But it won't come by the first. So what are those people do to pay the rent and so there is a growing movement for Rent Strike? But it's not a ten versus landlord tight situation. What they're calling for. What the with these people behind the rent strike movements white sheets for the rent strike are calling for is to have tenants and landlords get together because they're both kind of screwed yeah like the government and banks have said okay. We're going to allow people to have mortgage deferrals but good luck. Finding anyone who's been successful in actually getting through to their bank to get a deferral especially if you're a landlord who has rental properties you know it's very difficult to actually get that deferral on time and so it's just kind of getting everybody together and saying like we just can't pay for housing right now if you want us to stay inside put your money where your mouth is and make a stay inside. Sure don't make us live in the situation where we kind of feel pressure to work regardless of You know what's happening with the pandemic in terms of housing There's the rent strike the other jurisdictions in people for example. I saw British Columbia. There's been a moratorium convictions. the government has an add some kind of rent support. There are different measures being put in place. But it doesn't seem like it's really enough For the actual situation with regards to what's happening with Airbnb as what a lot of people are doing or what I've seen on facebook groups where people have apartment listings and stuff like that. You can see like tons of fully furnished apartments suddenly up for rent. That you know are obviously airbnb. That people can't rent tourists because they have like really nice pictures in. They have pictures of like folded towels on the bed and tables set with dishes like pictures you would see on airbnb except there on rental groups now and the owners of these babies are so desperate to get any income they can't. They flipped their short term. Rentals back onto the long term rental market even just marketing them as sublets or temporary rentals. So they're not even promising to put them back on the long term rental market. They're just trying to fill the gap while the pandemic continues to ravage their investments so traditionally what options do tenants in Montreal and Quebec. Have to protect themselves from this kind of stuff. And and what's the government doing now because again you mentioned Policies against fictions NBC There's also one and Ontario. What are they doing given the fact that they have a higher percentage of renters than almost anywhere right so the rental tribunal has stopped listening to eviction hearings so people can't be evicted right now for not paying their rent in Quebec and So that's that's a positive for tenants but of course like no one likes to be in disagreement with their landlord. The stress will carry over into future minds senior relationship overall with your landlord. So that's not good. There's also the factor that because any lease is a contract between two individuals. The Quebec government can't override bad agreement and dictate terms to anybody. So what it singing and with the city of Montreal saying is it sure would be nice if you would give your tenants a break but you know it it. It just seems as though some landlords are more generous than others and the province and the city are really relying on the generosity of landlords to get renters through this. I mean I'm a layperson but that doesn't sound like a recipe for everybody. Getting what they need. No it's not. What should we be looking for in Montreal In the next few days and weeks then. Will we get a sense Now that it's April first Of How many people are taking part in the rent? Strike how widespread it is How many landlords are giving people a break? We're going to start seeing that anecdotally or is it big enough. That people will notice the white sheets for the rent strike movement. So what they're asking is that they want people who either can't afford their rent now or people who are just supporting people who can't afford their rent to hang a white sheet out of their window off the balcony at the front door. Whatever just a show of solidarity so anecdotally like if you're walking around in Montreal might be able to see that this movement has already spread. I don't know how big it is but you know there have been pictures online of people doing it as far as Chicago Los Angeles Either our talks of rent strikes across Canada You know in big cities and small communities to so we'll see you know people may have had enough savings to pay for April first. But who knows what's going to happen for me. I if this condemn it keeps getting worse. You know like people might still be having to stay at home for the entire month of April in then at that point their savings for most service industry people at least for most people living paycheck to paycheck. They're savings will be decimated at that point so I think April I will be an interesting task but by may first the crisis will be far more advanced and then my last question I guess is. Has Anybody been thinking about what happens if this last longer than than we think? I mean. We're being told three months six months etc and some places and what happens on moving day if if Montreal still under lockdown I don't know what will happen on moving day. I think governments are going to have to seriously consider how they're going to deal with property owners especially people who own rental properties because a mortgage deferral may still come with interest in it may affect your credit and they're not necessarily that easy to get and so people are really desperately looking for solutions. In Canada and Quebec have been really good about announcing all kinds of bailout measures for all kinds of different organizations businesses. Trudeau has announced You know keeping afloat. Small medium and large businesses seventy five percent of businesses will be able to keep people on payroll just because they don't want like huge massive unemployment. But what are they gonNA do for for? Renters like people still need a place to live in. His generous people may be in his understanding. Is People may be like people still need to pay their bills at some point. So you know we'll see as April goes on how the situation develops right now. It's kind of the beginning Because it is the first of April but as may first comes around it will be totally different ballgame. Thanks for explaining the situation of Montreal to us. Tracy yeah thank you so much tracy. Lindemann is a freelance writer based in Montreal. And that was the big story if you need more worth the big story podcast dot ca but we need more from you as you know. We're collecting stories of what you're doing under lockdown use the voice recorder on your phone or take a video or do whatever you WanNa do but you can send them via email to the big story podcast at RCI DOT ROGERS DOT COM. And of course you can listen to US wherever you get your podcast. You can find us on Apple Google stitcher or on spotify and I will leave you now with somebody. Who's been way way more active than me during this lockdown. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings. Thanks for listening. We'll talk tomorrow high So my name's Cassandra. I'm in Montreal right now. Quarantine and I'm currently leading live spin classes through instagram. From my Abe apartment. It's going really well. My neighbors have yet to complain about the noise. And I got a whole bunch of my Riders Bikes from the Gym Before. We close down a couple of weeks ago. And it's been a lot of fun So still trying to keep active trying to help keep people saying as well as myself and just trying to move forward and adjust.
Dogs With (Dangerous) Jobs
"Cops using dogs to hunt criminals as a practice as old as London constable sniffing, Jack, the ripper and drug detection dogs are as old as the war on drugs as training methods become more complex, though their jobs become more specialized and there's a new question of where the line is between using dogs natural skills to help catch crooks and save lives and protecting the health of those dogs who can be trained to do anything for a partners approval. And so into this comes a new drug and a new crisis for years on despite all the work that's been done including this safe injection site. We're learning the opioid overdose. Problem isn't getting better. In fact, it may be getting worse. Thousands of lives per year hanging in the balance. So the RCMP has begun training their dogs to detect fennel, but fennel is so dangerous that one slip up could kill a dog. Tasked with sniffing it out. So how exactly do you train a dog for that kind of danger? And who makes the call on when to deploy an animal that obviously can't properly understand exactly what it's been asked to do. Are we asking too much of man's best friend or is this just a fair price to pay in the midst of an epidemic of lost lives? I'm heath Rawlins. And this is the big story. Kyle Edwards of Maclean's had a chance to witness the MP's new training program firsthand. So Kyle we'll start with who is Kelly Kelly is a German shepherd. She's a boat a year-old. Well, she's probably over a year old now at the time of reporting the piece, but she's this gorgeous German shepherd that I got to meet in his fail Berta. And I was there late September. I think and yes, she was just starting out her training. She was about two weeks into learning how to kind of add different odors to tour it essentially like kind of feeling the different odors, become more familiar with them. So that out in the field, she'll be able to detect things like what does that training process actually like for these dogs? Oh, it's bizarre. Actually, I think when I was. Was when I was there. I was really surprised at how like it's first of all I went I walk into this kind of the RCMP's dog training headquarters. It's just outside of in his fellow Berta. When I was there. It was very foggy outside. And it's like this large facility must be several several anchors acres of land. It's huge and you pull up there. And they're they have this little garage and inside there's this weird little setup where it's kind of like in a story describe it as like a misshapen cocky rink where literally kind of looks like a hockey rink, except you know, there's like the white walls, and there's like these black things on the walls. That are connected to tubes. That contain different sense like fennel heroin cocaine what I found so bizarre about it though was that there. It's weird to see a bunch of grown men getting really excited with their dogs like really shouting really loudly at and. Every time the dog was able to safely sniff out the fed Noel that was in this container ACOG ball shootout and the whole room of like a dozen or so male police officers. Would would just burst into cheers and start petting the dog and really. Really trying to encourage dog and let her letter let Kelly. No that she did a good job. But it's it's kind of fascinating too. Because you get to see the intensity of the dog the dog really knows by only two weeks killing new absolutely knew what she was doing. You could really see the focus when she knew that fennel was locked somewhere inside that container on the other side of the wall. Like, so it's kind of like this tube. She basically sniffs the holes along the wall. And there's like a tube that connects to an odor just to find the one that has the fennel she has to find the one that has the Fenton hill. And oftentimes, you know, they they put Kong balls and all the different holes to try and confuse her to let her know because she'll maybe she'll see the Congo and think that's what I'm looking for right? But no, she's looking for something that's out on the streets hurting, a lot of people. How recent is it that the RCMP of started to have dogs sniff for the RCMP begin trials kind of like. So it goes back to maybe twenty sixteen when the. Head trainer at the RCMP's. Name is Gary creed he was kind of sitting at home one day recovering from surgery, and he's he was kind of thinking about you know, how the RCMP can kind of tackle the ever-growing trafficking of fennel and one of the ways of solving this war on drugs is through police work and not everyone agrees with that. But he was basically just kind of trying to come up with ideas of how we can do this. Because at the time there was no Suadeau odor, basically, manufactured commercially, manufactured sent that you can find for a lot of other different drugs like heroin or cocaine. Yep. Yeah. So he had been getting tons of calls from police officers across the country as well. As former dog handlers within the RCMP who are now working in the private sector, and they were asking if the dogs that he breeds and trains if they knew how to safely detect fennel, and they didn't. So he thought to himself. There has to be a way to do this. There has to be some way we can safely allow our dogs to kind of become familiar with the sense included onto their odor pallets. So he along with the RCMP's drug lab they developed this liquid solution. And this was so at the time this was in two thousand sixteen and they developed this liquid solution that so they essentially just turned the powdered sentinel that they find on the street until like a liquid. So that it wasn't something that you can necessarily inhale. It was in two thousand seventeen that they began actually training all of their dogs to properly detect fennel using this liquid solution. And so it turned out that after all the trials after all the testing the liquid solution. Feno the liquid is Fenella sensually equates to the powdered substance that they're finding on the street. So they're out there. There's some of these dogs are out there working now. Yes, right now, all of the RCMP's narcotic dogs that sniff out for legal substances across Canada of which there is about one hundred twenty. They're all currently trained on fennel. Wow. So do we have any idea yet? I guess how much of a dent this has made like how much how much fennel these dogs are responsible for and what the are Sam is hoping like they can do to get the stuff off the street. Well, I think for right now, they're really just trying to cut off the flow of feno that is continuing to enter Canadian cities and small towns, and they've had they've had some large success with it in twenty seventeen just a few months after RCMP's German shepherds were trained on trained how to seek out. Federal there were two major federal busts along the trans Canada highway in British Columbia, and they were made by a guy I was actually able to speak to at the innisfail headquarters in L Berta, his name was corporal Clayton could tell your and he's also Manitoba boy so long we got along pretty well. Yeah. It was really it was really interesting to hear hear what he had to say. So. He he he made his first bust not long after his dog. Dudes was trained was trained on feno was a bust of twelve thousand federal tablets. Okay. So actually explained to me because you talk to this guy because this is one thing that I actually don't know having never been never been stopped in and had a dog called on me. What are those? What are those bus? Look like, what are the dogs do when they get to the scene. It's really interesting. So in one case Clayton can tell your he pulled over a man for speeding. He was driving this old style van and he became suspicious of the person who is driving. I'm not sure what those indicators were. He wasn't. He didn't share those with me at the time. This was an ongoing the song going trial, but he became suspicious of the driver who was Nell dearly man and told I guess based on those grounds he said, I'm going to run a police dog around your vehicle. And so he goes and gets dudes. And so he goes and gets dudes at the back of his police vehicle, and he's basically on a short leash. She kind of holds her kind of slowly walks around the van and dudes, she'll you know, she'll do what she does. She's she sniffs along the van and while it's happening. Tell your can cut notice her her mood changing he can see certain things certain reactions that she's having so in that moment even before the final alert. He knew that. There was something in there. And wants dudes was also certain that there was something in the van not knowing exactly what it was. It could have been could have been one of a number of drugs. She gave her final Lert, which is a sit. So she just did a nice simple, sit and that gave can tell you the right to search the vehicle from the inside. And that guy in the vehicle doesn't know. But when that dog sits down he's in trouble, right? Yeah. When I was reporting the story, I really got the sense that this was something that you kind of get a really strong sense of how. How I guess sophisticated. Maybe the trafficking industry is because after the first initial search Clayton ca Tellier found nothing in the van. He looked around looking into the seats that all that stuff. There was nothing in there. It was only until he took the van to a to a garage and Chile back BC. He basically stripped the entire vehicle remove the tires started pulling apart carpets, and he removed the interior, and he started reaching his hands inside like the walls of the vehicle down like the wheel. Well, and that's where stashed he started pulling out bag after bag of basically ziplock bags full of fennel, tablets. So you had to make that call based on the fact that dog sat down to two hall that vehicle often strip down to it's like right frames? And that's the kind of relationship that these that these guys have been trained. Yeah. NFL? So like, I would wonder if like, okay? Well, maybe she doesn't have at this time. There's nothing he was absolutely one hundred. Percent. I think he had he had all the belief in the world. I think in his dog at least when I spoke to it just felt like he the you just kind of get the notice the relationship that they have it's it's really something. That's unique. Do they live together just work together? They live together. Yeah. And in many cases, when the dog this police dog will will spend about seven or nine years on the force. They start from anywhere from one to two years old, and yeah, they'll live together. And in some cases when they retire. They'll live out the rest of their lives with their handlers. The you said safely sniff fennel how dangerous is that for a dog. Oh, it's incredibly dangerous it it's just as dangerous as it is for humans for granules or two milligrams is enough to to kill a person that is like about like, four grains of salt. Okay. And they're getting their noses up to that. Anyway is more dangerous to search for them. The other drugs that are in their pallet. Absolutely. I would say so it's killing more and. More people more and more Canadians every single year. It takes such an incredibly small dose to kill a human as it does dog. Are there any regulations from the RCMP around when they will or won't send their dog into a space when there might be those, you know, grains, of salt of fennel around a lot of the officers. I spoke to basically stress the fact that they won't unnecessarily deploy their canine partners. If they see that there is a substance littered around two suspects house, if they if it's noticeably visible, and they believe it could be a dangerous situation at that point. There's really no need for them. Right. You to deploy their dog? But yeah, I mean at the same time though, I Gary creed. The head trainer of the RCMP. He was a bit blunt about it. He basically stressed that. Yes. These dogs have dangerous jobs. That's part of the reason why why they have he he said that if they wouldn't they would never. Unnecessarily expose their dogs to defend all, but if it meant saving somebody's life, of course, they would and where do animal rights groups lineup on that? According to pita who I did reach out to for the story. They were in one hundred percent support of police dogs believing that they did serve an important public service. Basically, they were however against the breeding of police dogs, which the RCMP does they had. They breed all dogs on site in near innisfail Alberta. But the L Berta society for the prevention of cruelty to animals was far less concerned about really the use of police dogs. They were in favour note concerns at all of how the animals were treated or what they were doing in their daily lives have any dogs. Oh deed in Kennedy at since the program started. No, no dogs have oh deed in Canada. At least according to Gary creed. I asked him why why that is why he thought no dogs. I've ever overdosed in Canada. He said just luck. This is a question that I don't mean in jest is this another career path for dogs that were once trained to sniff for marijuana in if not what happened to the dogs whose job it was to sniff for pot the dogs that were trained to sniff out. Hot are no longer working for the ICMP. Really? Yeah. There was about just over a dozen of them, and they were all like kind of forced into early retirement actually Clayton can tell your dog dudes who I previously mentioned with the legalization of marijuana. She was forced into retirement because they simply just couldn't have her alert anybody now walking around carrying. Yeah. Exactly. And so they were they were all forcing early retirement. I asked tell you what would happen to dudes. I don't think dues will be retiring with your she'll be spending the rest of his as at his house. But he was telling me that. He he has a homeland for her Kyle. Are they good dogs? They are good dogs. I was a little afraid of them though. Really? Yeah. I was big dogs. They're big they're fast. I I was holding a Kong ball and the dog just wanted to rip it out of my hands are at no, I think I just had his pet and he wanted it back really badly. Didn't get hurt. Now. Kyle Edwards of McLeans. That was the big story for more from us. Visit us at the big story, podcast dot CA. Check out our other episodes drop us line. You can hit us up on social media at big story podcast on Twitter on Facebook on Instagram. We are as always wherever you get your podcast. And when you get there. It's subscribe hit rate hit review, and then, you know, share a link and push it onto your friends and tell them to check out our podcast. I'm Jordan heath Rawlings. Thank you for listening. We'll talk tomorrow.
Will 5G in the U.S. mess with Canada and the worlds weather forecasts?
"As a scientific concept the butterfly effect can be traced back to an American mathematician who was making weather models in the nineteen sixties as a reference point for popular culture. You should know there have been three butterfly effect movies for instance but you'd probably traces its origins back to Jurassic Park and a brief but memorable scene. It's still not clear on cast in it said simply building connectability in conflict system. Shorthand is the butterfly. The Butterfly became in Central Park. They ran instead. As and the reason I mentioned the butterfly effect is because that's scenario that showed up in an experiment and is very likely to happen sometime soon. In real time in one thousand nine hundred sixty one when this all started. Edward Lorenz was a mathematician who was running a new miracle computer model trying to predict the weather at one point. He entered the value of just one particular condition as point. Eight five zero six instead of the longer but more accurate point five zero six one two seven and when he did that the entire weather. Our prediction changed everywhere. Today we use a very similar incredibly complex formula to predict the weather around the world over the next x three days or five days or ten days. It's a system that is just as vulnerable to tiny changes in the information. It uses as Lorenzo's predictions from. I'm almost sixty years ago. Were not brings us to the wireless spectrum and to five G. Technology in the United States specifically and to a very real reasons that our weather forecast here in Canada and everywhere else in the world are about to become much less reliable. I'm Jordan with Rawlings. This is the big story Dan for Ghana they science reporter based in Washington. DC He works for Buzzfeed News. Hey Dan hey how're you doing. I'm doing well thank you. I'm going to get you to start today's story with the absolute basics for people who don't follow this and haven't been paying attention so what is five so five gs the next generation of wireless list phone service and sort of Wi fi networks for everybody. It's promising you know better faster stronger. Brighter Happier Wireless wireless service to everybody. How is it different from four G.? Three G. Lt. All that stuff five G. will be able to carry abroad or stream of information the user. So you'll be able to watch movies Without buffering more easily you'll be able to basically have more information transmitted to your phone than than previously more easily. It's basically just an improvement in our current service but everyone is looking forward to it in the media business because they're hoping people start streaming movies like crazy and make like a fortune for Hollywood and everyone else right. And how quickly is it being adopted. It's happening now. So South Korea's gone the five G. and its role down In North America Ed at least forty cities is this going city by city location by location all over the world the perception is that the US and China and are in a race to roll out five services and define the standards sanders for five G.. That will in turn Enrich the technology companies making the equipment that supplies these five G. networks. How much money is at stake for these companies? How big idealists hundreds of billions of dollars? It's it's the electronic economy of the future. So where did the first red flag come from. Concerning Weather forecasts the weather community has been concerned about preserving its access to important wavelengths for decades In the five G.. Case rumblings things really started in the last year or two and sort of technical meetings And burst into sort of public light around April February April of last year where FCC and Congress started getting into discussions about. How are we going to auction off this? One spectrum is particularly close to important way link for weather forecasting so there was fighting back and forth When the auction of This particular wavelengths twenty four gigahertz started Around February march of last year Congress had hearings in April and in May Where sort of the technical fight between two federal agencies came to light and It is sort of bubbled and burgled since then and there was a big international meeting in November where some standards were said. That cause more consternation in the weather community and Congress again decided to you intervene demanding an investigation of the whole situation. And that sort of at the point where we said okay. This is risen from the technical level to the political level that we really ought to bring it to our readers. Attention can you you explain to me. how weather forecasts and weather satellites work and why there's concern here So yeah easily No actually it's complicated but The weather satellites are in space right and they're looking down so they get a beautiful view of the atmosphere. That's the key thing right. They're not pinned into the atmosphere where you know we can only see ten ten miles. The atmosphere looking up from her. They're seeing across hundreds of miles so they're beautiful devices for for looking across a broad swath of the atmosphere and the problem is like they have to figure out what's going hang on down so they do that. By looking at the characteristics of certain molecules that are important in the weather like water vapor and trying to collect all that data and they in turn feed him into these weather models and what those are essentially are collections of what are called non linear partial differential equations. If this is like the top end of your calculus classes he went on and did that. Systems of these that are solves continuously with super computers. And so all the data that they're collecting you know the the humidity the temperature the presence of Water Vapor Ice Snow Everything else is fed into these models essentially mathematical models and they're crunched away by supercomputers and they come out with predictions for what the weather should be like the next couple of days. It's a global thing. It's the entire globe being calculated this way and like two hundred cells Dell's across the globe so it's a gigantic circular math problem. It's being solved twenty four hours a day. Continuously using data taken from these weather satellites that are taking into the atmosphere. It's it's not a thing that's just like. They're looking down at Toronto and seeing okay. It's going to be windy tomorrow. It's actually a gigantic math project. It's working all the time and requires a lot of data in order to be accurate and the crazy thing is with partial differential equations They are are susceptible. These non linear affects the famous butterfly. Effect where you have you. You know the butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon and then there's hurricane over Lisbet and so small errors in data in one location means that the solution that they get for six days later or three days later somewhere else way out of whack and that's the kind of problem that they're worried about With interference in the frequencies that they look at to determine the weather that makes sense But how does the five G. Frequency mess with that so the the five G. Frequencies or the butterfly's wings flapping over these cities and putting bad data into the numerical models of the of the global weather forecast. So you basically inject a whole lot of noise over New York City and that throws off the signal for this whole solution of the global Weather the forecast and you might have screwed up whether forecasts everywhere else days later or you know hours later but somewhere else so it's not like Okay Hey there's a lot of phone traffic over Toronto and it screws up the the weather forecast for Toronto. It's there's a lot of phone traffic all over Los Angeles Chicago Dubuque and who knows knows where else and all of a sudden three days later. The weather forecast in Toronto is screwed up for a mathematical reasons that we can't predict very easily. So if you look up numerical Weather prediction and Google. There's a beautiful Free picture it doesn't help you with the podcast you might give you an idea of the cell-by-cell sort of solution that they have to do this kind. The calculation it really is a gigantic math problem. That's being done all the time by the various weather centers around the world why five G. specifically what is it about that frequency so it's not five G. in particular its interference. With the frequency twenty three point eight gigahertz which is the resonant frequency of of water vapor in the atmosphere which is kind of important to know it water vapors doing right you have to know your humidity. It's it's basically a measure of humidity in the atmosphere and what's happened is the FCC in the United States is sold off off Rights to broadcast frequency. That's really close to twenty four gigahertz rights. Twenty three point eight twenty four pretty close right and the problem is noise. It's just like radio. Stations aren't allowed to broadcast his who close to each other. That's why there's numbers on your radio station radio on your radio channel. You can't have them Broadcasting over top of each each other. And it's worse here because the water molecules it turns on our radio station so they're not competing with these other signals. That are bleeding into them. They're just being bled onto and so the fear. Is that unless you you keep a really good buffer between the frequency at which this natural phenomenon happened and the broadcast which is going to be noisy as Helena totally unpredictable way because who knows when he was GonNa pick pick up the phone and make a phone call that you're going to have Totally unpredictable interference in the readings from weather satellites and in turn that garbage is going to get fed into the weather models. We rely on to predict the weather and then in unpredictable ways. Our weather forecasts are GonNa be screwed up so could the FCC just have sold off and different frequency and avoided this problem They could the problem. mm-hmm is that the frequencies are getting crowded right. We're becoming more and more Real reliant on the spectrum and there's only so much to go around you know you can only put so many buildings up in downtown Toronto right and so the real estate is very pricey there compared to you know somewhere else and so things are getting really tight and this A sort of a part of the spectrum that's set aside for emergency. Communications and weather and scientific aspirations is looking like free public land to the Telecoms and they want it And it's you know they're saying we're going to give you a lot of money and build a better society so lotteries and give it to them. The solution has been that they just require the the broadcasters to use a wider buffer and that's essentially what the fight is like how wide a buffer can be put around this these frequencies to protect them where you know the telecoms you're basically saying like you don't need much of a buffer at all whereas the scientists are saying we need a gigantic buffer and no-one NASA to study saying like it's quite a wide buffer we need and the FCC is saying that it's garbage we don't believe you and you know The problem is that it's a kind of gigantic natural experiment. We're going to see who's right but you know in the past NASA Asa Noah's been pretty damn good at Predicting this kind of thing. So it makes the weather guys or or you know the people who bring you your phone search you know. Who Do you trust Who has a better track record? That's basically what we're talking about here. Do we have any idea how badly the forecasts might be impacted. Do we know where and winter is. Is it just random. It's both random and It'll increase over. Time is the five G. networks build out and but it's a question of how much are the telecom. I'm sort of listening to stories like this one yours right now. These complaints and sort of being prudent and not and not going after this part of the spectrum so much themselves so they might be that eh they take special care you know they realize this is a problem and they take special care in it has no effect it might be that they ignore it completely they say. FCC's let's do it so off we go and they're we're GONNA cause a lot of interference we don't know yet. It's this has yet to be built. But the prediction has been that you know. The weather forecast go back to this intially. Nineteen eighty level by the head of no. We're we're in nineteen eighty and if you've got three days of weather prediction you're in good shape and you know They were just much less reliable. They say there's a seventy percent chance of rain doesn't mean it's GonNa Rain Right. That means that there's a seven and ten chances it's GonNa rain but you could be pretty sure that there's a seventeen ten chance of rain in the future might be. Maybe that's not such a good guess. You know so causes a lot of problem a lot of certainty for people you know. Everyone's gotTa Pack Berlow Time. You mentioned that it could make three day forecasts less reliable or kind of take it back to from from an eight hundred ten to seven at attend and but are there are bigger implications in terms of severe weather events which we're now seeing more frequently like A. Is this going to make it harder to figure out where hurricanes are coming or massive snowstorm. So that kind of stuff. It could potentially make predictions for things like massive hurricanes massive snow storms. The weather track hard predict. You know it's nicer to know. It's it's tamed. Miami seven days ahead of time rather than three days ahead of time the hurricanes a good example where you see these tracks like we know that six days it'll be here where where we might have the point. That'd be the point. Where like in six days? We have no idea what it's going to be. That sort of thing cost a fortune right you. The company start packing up and moving for for no reason six days ahead of time and then turn around and send the trucks back to you know with the goods and so you've just caused a whole lot of cost to everyone which whole society will feel for no the reason and just to be clear. This is a fight. That's going on in the United States right now this is the FCC that sold it but the potential implications are global. It's the global fight It's focused in the US right now because Congress asking for an investigation And the FCC auction spectrum to US telecoms. Richard Hugely influential wind chill but it. It is a global fight affect the weather. Globally and it is the International Union that have the meeting in November in Switzerland and set aside a buffer levels to operate operate on this part of the spectrum so five G. across the world will run on the same frequency everywhere. It's not like the buffer could be larger in Canada than it is in the. US asser as it is in Italy or whatever the five zero run on various spectrums that the it you The National Telegraph Union says it is allowed to run on one of them. will will be this twenty four gigahertz spectrum that they actually see is Licensed to telecoms so. It doesn't matter if Italy says no you can't do it or the Europeans pins who have been more concerned about this and the FCC say no no you can't do. The State Bay fought for and got a stricter but not perfect buffer At the meeting November. It doesn't matter because it's still might be the weather prediction over. You know Rome that's screwed up. Because of bad data that's been injected into the weather models from the United States so what have other countries said to the United States is have been pushing back against that frequency of particular well. The fight was in November at the. It Meeting Meeting the International Telegraph Union meeting and basically the European spectrum authority fought back against FCC which one in a very loose buffer and so they got a stronger one but it's a compromise it's a it's a consensus organization. And so they got a stronger one. But it's still at least eight times more powerful ban The Europeans want it. And then then Noah suggested would be safe to so there was a little bit of a push back but it's not fair to call it a compromise because it's still one poses a threat of interference to The weather forecast. So what happens next. both politically and I guess in terms of we just have to wait and see how badly The forecasts are impacted as this thing. Ramps up so on the politics side What happens is that the Government Accountability Office will likely pursue investigation of how noah NASA and the FCC came to loggerheads on this and sort of what went wrong? Why were these people talking to each other? And that might lead need to Congress to take more steps to legislate stronger limits on that in the United States on on what frequencies can be used or what size buffer could be used. It's possible label. That would that would be one place where the action would be. It might be that There's a reaction in Europe said this going on and you know they have a say in it or and push limits that affect Telecom interests so strongly that they steer away from this but we really have to see I mean the suspicion. I'm hearing from people. I spoke to more people. Blues talking to the story is that we're just GONNA have to see how these five G. networks so he's base stations are built out and they'll be a certain point where it'll be apparent like hey. The weather predictions are less. I accurate than they used to be. You know we should have Data you know you'll take six months soi at one point and say yeah. Their predictions were more off now than they were five years ago and one of the most likely candidate is in fact. This five G. interference that the problem of course is that it won't be interference that happens in the systematically that can be removed like a lot of the Telecom Dot Com folks seem to think you know it'll be random and so that'll be make it a little harder to detect but a certain point you know expecting the next few years or so you know the weather forecast will start to degrade and that'll be detectable taxable and then we'll have to turn around and have an emergency. It meeting you know. Further restrict the buffers or whatever as it is the plan now is that the limits are on the the buffers until two thousand twenty seven In order to encourage the industry to build out and then they get a little tighter after twenty twenty seven and I t was only supposed to only scheduled take a look at this again in two thousand twenty three so you know worst case. We're looking at twenty twenty three for another reconsideration in the bigger picture. I mean you said something Fascinating getting a little while ago about how you can only build. So many buildings downtown I'm presuming that five. G. Won't be the end of this and that there will be six G or whatever else. comes next. And you know they're really thinking. Yeah where's the where the limits like. What do you do at that point when it's just too crowded so the the weather forecasters are really terrified about this because there's a lot of other valuable Parts of the spectrum too they need for for other phenomena for hurricanes and tornadoes and things like that and what if those get bought up and never really you know have a hard time telling the weather to people so this is a question we're going to have to solve As a sort of global society. If we're GONNA GONNA you know operate the airwaves. In such a crowded manner there has to be A better system to bring more players at the table than just The telecoms dot com in order to decide what parts of the radio spectrum are actually preserved for things like weather forecasting or eating a scientific endeavors. There's a similar fight going on right now over satellites and and astronomy. You know where there's so many satellites going up that there's the strong numbers are complaining is getting the way they're telescopes and they can't see the sky you know this is same. Similar similar. kind of crowd is going on as we become sort of a more space based society that is very valuable Real estate is going to become one. More fought over fraud and there's nobody nobody There's no global body to Judah Kate that really well I mean there is the it it you and you know we could do it through the UN. America would love that Yeah well it's a hell of a country You can speculate. How likely that would be to Go over on the other and You know we have. The telecoms also want to collect money from the Chinese and the Indians and the Canadians and the Europeans. And so if they raise enough of Ruckus then You know things could change. It's just a huge fight a very lucrative industry this is a very well resource industry. Telecom Industry Sri Right and these are the people. We're talking on a cell phone right now. The concern of course is that you know anything sort of vaguely scientific or it doesn't you know enrich those powerful industries will Komo get a shot that's Denver Ghanem Science reporter for Buzzfeed News. This was was the big story for more from US head to the big story podcast dot ca find us on twitter at the big story FBI or in your favorite podcast application. Whatever whatever one you might prefer if it lets you leave us a review give us five stars? Tell us what you think. Thanks for listening Jordan Heath Rawlings. We'll talk tomorrow yeah.
Christine Sinclair (probably) wont play forever. So appreciate her now.
"There are a few things you need to know about the woman were discussing today. I she is on a very short list of the greatest, Canadian athletes of all time, second. She would probably never admit she belongs on that list, or actually even discuss that list at all. Third. She has been on the field for some of the most heartbreaking defense. Any Canadian team has ever suffered through to the hip fido's, a comprehensive victory of Canada fulltime book of Canada ill, Frantz four. Finally beginning today after almost twenty years of leading perhaps the best soccer Team Canada has ever fielded Christine Sinclair has a chance to reach heights that would have been unimaginable. When she began her career Sinclair is thirty six now, she's been Canada's rock for ever, this might be her last women's World Cup. And it might be Canada's best ever chance to hoist the trophy and it might be our last chance to appreciate a woman who has never talked much never cared about stats never wind about the refs never done anything, but play, great soccer, and she is now poised to become perhaps the best ever at that task. I'm Jordan heath Rawlings. And this is the big story Canada's first game and the women's World Cup comes today against Cameroon. So we figured it was time to talk to Stephen brunt of sports net was covered these World Cups for years, Stephen start with just who is Christine Sinclair, where did she come from? What's her origin story? Well, she's from the lower mainland BC. She comes from soccer playing family her to her uncle's played professionally with the Portland at an earlier incarnation of the Portland timbers her dad played. She played as a kid, and, you know, she played other sports as well. But as a was a prodigy Ritchie cows, cap for Canada as a sixteen year old, it does astounds me how, you know, we're, we're talking about the early days of the sport in the country, like candidate didn't have a women's national team till nineteen Eighty-six. Yeah, yes. She played in the ninety five world or the ninety four World Cup. Right. Those game lake back. Then it was if people are soccer people. They will understand what I'm saying. Here's like old time, English soccer like vertical. So. Correct. Big kick, it down the field and the strongest and tallest and fittest would run underneath it, it was dominated by countries that could do that played that way. But it was also dominated by countries that put money into women's sport before other countries did, which is a pattern we've seen a lot, right? Like early success in Olympic women's rowing, for instance, was because we invested in it in nineteen nothing away from those great athletes, but we got on that bandwagon before a lot of other countries said in soccer even a lot of traditional soccer countries declined to invest in the women's game. There was a level of chauvinism in the in the soccer cultures so that, you know, the Brazil's and the Spain's and the Italy's they, they didn't do anything women's soccer, but Germany, did and Norway and Sweden did and we did to a degree. We were we were kind of early adapters in terms of women's soccer and the Americans did after title. Nine rank title nine was huge right into created opportunities for for collegiate athletes. So those were the countries that dominated early and but that was what they was a power game. You know power game of fitness game. And you know in assize game really strength game. How did Christine Sinclair make her Mark on that game on this team? When did she come to one to Candida notice her, I would think I guess the U twenty tournament gonna remember sales change. They change it from nineteen to twenty remediate offered was the tournament in Edmonton, where the golden generation, they, they got to the finals loss to the Americans, a recurring theme here, but played in front of forty thousand plus people in Edmonton to Commonwealth stadium too big TV ratings, so Kara Lang, and most Creedy and, and sink. You know, we're part of that team and his golden generation of Canadian women country embrace them in a way that it hadn't I don't think it'd embrace the soccer team male or female before we men's team that you know got the World Cup and eighty six and they won the Gold Cup and under Hoeger, but I don't think candidate had ever cared about soccer as much as they cared about that team that played in Edmonton. So that was kind of her debut for the Comanche was the most valuable player high-score most valuable player in that tournament. So, you know, and then she joined the national where she played for the national team and. After that, again, with people like Charmaine Hooper, who is a great athlete in her own, right. And the they, you know, they have a fourth place finish the World Cup people then forget that, that they, they did finish fourth, but, you know, I think what really started to put things on the map was what, what came later and end know and the evolution of the of the game and the pollution of the players will it's kind of a chicken or the egg situation because you had Christine Sinclair in his golden generation that kind of took over that team and dragged it in front of everybody watching. And then once you know that it can do good TV ratings, and people are really going to care. It becomes a lot easier to recruit talent bring on sponsors, and all the rest of it that puts you a little bit further ahead. Yeah. In parallel to that. The game is getting more sophisticated evolving, or changing in, in a way that soccer people found pleasing like I was kind of separate myself because I've covered soccer for a long time. But I you know, soccer people I was considered me an outsider. So I, I always kind of separate myself, but that the people who would kind of disdain women's football women. Soccer started to see the ball being played on the ground. More you know more of a passing game as a more sophisticated version of the game and started to kind of give it its due. So those things happen at the same time one is that. Yeah, you have golden generation of Canadian players coming through who had succeeded on stage, a very popular stage, anyway. And at the same time, you had women's soccer getting new respect, of course, you had that explosion with the Americans right where, you know, brandy Chastain and all of that. You know, it became a big deal in the United States. Yes. Also, the breakthrough from American soccer, you know, if you think about it, the US men's national team was pretty good for a long time. But what was the breakthrough for soccer in the US? It was the women you absolutely the women describe that scene because you probably, it's probably embedded in your memory of brandy Chastain. And that's the only thing I remember that time. Yeah, we scored the winning goal and, and stripped off her jersey was wearing a sports bra and had like an eight-pack ill. She's absolutely ripped. Right. Looks like I think it was it was a moment of empowerment for a whole bunch of. People. And I think for a whole bunch of young girls watching it was, I wanna be her. Yeah. I wanna play that game because it was, you know, it wasn't dainty. It was ferocious. It was competitive. It was passionate there were. And there are a lot of great things about women's soccer. Well, and in Canada. It's the women are better. They have men's team and it by an order of magnitude. We could qualify that say the pool shallower again. We were earlier that there is. We, we probably put more emphasis on what you see now is that, you know, England's good now in the Nederlands is getting good is against some of these other soccer countries are kind of saying, hang on, we'll Spain suddenly pretty good. But yeah, I think in Canada, they had the success and be, I think people did start the kind of tune into the fact that someone who might be the best player in the world play for us. So tell me about her that because you've covered her for while now what is Sinclair, like she's known, at least to me and casual observers for being pretty closed off. Oh, yeah. You mean per as a person as a person as an athlete? How, how is she what drives her she's super shy? She doesn't like doing interviews a drink press stuff. If you talk to her teammates tell you, she's not shy that she got a great sense of humor, which she does. But she just just playing that the public role. I remember once I went down to interview her when I was still the globe and mail. She was playing for the, the western New York flash. Again, you know, the leagues have come and gone. Right. But one of those down near buffalo somewhere, and they having an open workout for kids. And I was driving down from the globe. And I'd set it up through Canadian soccer to do this interview I think goes before the twenty seven World Cup. So it looks a low pressure environment is what I'm saying, and it's going to be a nice story and I got stuck in a little bit of traffic at the border. So I got there about three minutes before the interview was supposed to happen. But I was, you know, phony, people telling you, look, I'm coming, right? Look, she was in her car, and she was going to leave. She was honored. I almost had to throw myself in front of her car because she didn't want to do it. She just didn't want to do the interview, and it was, you know, as an awkward interview, and there wasn't much to it, and I've been persistent, I guess with her to try and get a little bit. And I have huge Marijn for as an athlete. So maybe that's part of it as well. But yeah, she's never going to be somebody who talks and soundbite. She's never going to be somebody who kind of thrown horn. It's just not in her. She's, you know, again, MBA seen her. She is a passionate ferocious competitor. And she does have a sense of humor, but it's hard to get past, you know, the veneer, sometimes why did you work so hard to get past that veneer? You know, I think a lot of it goes back to that twenty eleven World Cup which I'm sure we're gonna talk about. But I covered the tell me about the twenty eleven World Cup. You know, key so candidate went into Germany twenty seven World Cup is in Germany and Canada. There's a sense that candidate could be competitive in this turnament, sorta like now, you maybe none, as they maybe expectations weren't quite where they are now but they were pretty darn high. And that was the, you know, the, the moment for that golden generation of players. Right side from Carlisle, who got hurt that, that was that group this, and this was there, a moment and Canada had hired an Italian to coach the team. Caroliina Mirage, and the whole idea was that this was the country's, there's, like finishing school that she was going to teach them more sophisticated tactics and European training methods and this is gonna turn us into a footballing nation rather than soccer h nerve footballing team rather than a soccer team. And Caroline was an interesting like a character from fiction, you know, and they had this whole group of Italian trainers in the system coaches, and there was much intense talk and smoking cigarettes. And speaking of Italian, and she took them off to a training camp. They went to some hotel in, in the mountains in Italy. And we're locked off by themselves and trained and all of this, when you talk to them after the facts, you know. So it sounds like a prison camp. But it sounds nice now but it wasn't fun. But they all say the right stuff that okay, we're gonna we're gonna we're gonna we're way. Better way. More sophisticated. We're gonna play you know, we're we're going to our game has she is we have learned enormous amounts Mer. The opening game is against Germany in Berlin at the Olympic stadium. They know they're going to lose that game. Everybody knows he'll lose that game but they, you know, they compete and sink scores. A goal on a on a free kick. I think not a penalty free kick, but she also gets hit in the nose and breaks her nose spewing blood. And it was real was, you know in this there goes the tournament. Right. So so caroliina Marashi again, who is she was very much into intrigue in whispered conversations? I'm covering this for the globe. And for sports that we were the rights holders I was as close to any team. I think as I've ever been and there's been there. Many whispered conversations was she going to play and they wouldn't let her talk to the media, and she was. Wearing this like the mass that basketball players wherever they break their now. So the Hannibal Lecter exactly the Hannibal Lecter mask, and so she would be an it'd be sightings ever at at the practices. She would be often aside field in the distance, but we couldn't get any closer and was she kicking the ball where she really practicing and all the holy up to this thing is with her sink. Would she player wooden? She plan. Finally a remember I was offered dinner. Some was we're in same restaurant is Caroline and her Italian entourage. And she paused in her smoking long to come over to me and say, I just like to tell you that she's going to play so that, okay. So that goes out so everybody sends out the message think is gonna play. But with all of his gamesmanship and stuff, they seem to have not actually paid any attention to France. And the French were in attendance at that point, it was a really good side, and they played Canada off the pitch. So candidates tournaments now done two games and they've still gonna play Nigeria the third that game against Nigeria is the most dispiriting sporting contests I have ever seen or attended because they were done. The team is emotionally. Shattered, and their coach abandoned. So, so the coach Marashi sat on the bench with their arms crossed, and the and the by language was entirely a it's not me. It's not me just abandon them. And, you know, and you came, I came to really like those women, and I do I still liked him. I think I, I think the great people, and I felt so awful. And I just was it was so gutting, absolute worst, and their enter coaches, imagine that being written off by coach and just kind of, you know, now my fault, I I'm a I'm the supreme tactics and they just did not follow orders. So you know that and that absolute bottoming out, and then you know, they hired John Herdman after that. And he came in with his kind of happy, go, lucky John Herdman, jordi- personality. And said, why are you guys play this game? You know do you do wanna play this game? Yeah. And he helped them rebuild emotionally. And you know, year later there in London there at the Olympics, and they win that bronze-medal it just as I've never seen anything as devastating as I saw. Twenty seven I've never been happier for athlete any athlete I've ever covered that I was for those women in twenty twelve God knows they got screwed against the Americans. But the fact that they came back after that even got that one that metal man I still it did it. Yeah. It brings a tear to my really does I because they're, they're great people, and they were wrecked. They were just wrecked, and I think, you know, God knows who might have quit and never played again. If if heard Manhattan, come along, and if they hadn't kinda found themselves again, and it's crazy that, that was eight years ago, and Christine Sinclair is now thirty six she's one of the last members of that team still playing the last, yeah. I think she's last of that thinks was Sophie Schmidt on that team. She might have been. So if he's still on the team, but that would be I think McLeod and, and Dinah mass and could have been but they're both hurt. But yeah, that she's the last of that generation for sure. So what is this World Cup for Canada that starts today? What does it for this team? What is it for Sinclair? Well, I it's not I don't think it's. The end for her she's gonna play next year. They presuming they qualify allies Sushil plan the Olympics next year and it would not shock me if she played another World Cup at age forty. I don't know that she couldn't. That's amazing. She asked her about it and cheap. She lives, she lives in Portland. She's, you know she plays for the professional team there, the thorns she's done a little bit of coaching. She's very much in the sport. But I don't. Yeah. I don't think this is the this is this one song, how much is this team hers compared to those twenty eleven teams as she still the heart of oh, yeah, yeah. Look, there's, there's some there's some other people who are important this team for sure. And there were other people on those teams who are important, but yeah, I think this is this a real young group and a very, very talented group. And I think she's, you know, she's kind of everything, right? She's the best player on the team still but she's, you know, the, the mentor the, the hero of, of a lot of the meal. You know, they think about again, ten years. Think of the age of some of these young women on this team. They were kids watching London, like London to me seems like yesterday. A lot of things seemed like yesterday to me, but that was the best part of those Olympics. When we won gold medals in those Olympics. But you remember anything more than that's offer team. I don't know. I remember where was watching that match? Yeah. For anybody listening. Stephen says, he's not a soccer guy less of a soccer guy. And I watched that match on soccer guy gets a cover soccer. So that's the best of all possible worlds. But yeah. Like, like Jean Becky or some of the, the, the women on this team like they would have been kids watching the game going. I want to be her. And, and it wasn't just the result. Right. It was that I just, you know, the righteous indignation ride the anger and the passion and her scoring three goals against the Americans. And you know, she's still mad about the referee. And I don't blame her like to me that it was the fighting spirit. You know it was the like if that's if that's a Canadian thing I'll take it. I'm quite happy to say, that's that is that is her. Canadian this coming up. What about her game now on the pitch? Chat aged thirty six to the best player on the team that age and she's closing in on on records now. Well, the cool thing is, is kind of how her game has evolved over time because, you know, in that game of big tall strong women running fast she could do that. She kind mirrors the sport, she can score. Obviously we like that's yeah, obviously, but she's she's got great vision on the field. You know, she's a great distributor. She can play behind the striker is a little bit of shift if needs be, and facilitate great IQ like a crazy, high football IQ. You know, she makes really good decisions and her skills on the ball are maybe not as not as flashy as Marta, or somebody like that, but she's really good on the ball. But I think, yeah, I would say the main thing is, you know, it's kind of Gretzky and right. She sees the game unfolding around her and makes really good decisions about where the ball's gonna go. How close is she to being considered the greatest of all time in this game as she in that conversation? Well, she should be, you know, she's three goals away from setting the all time scoring record and international saw. Male or female so happy, wombat colds that record the American who's retired and is like kind of the arch nemesis. If you're a Canadian or pretty much anybody else like ABBIE is a like a cartoon American, she's she sits on. She is on that pedestal. And you know, historically, there have been some Marta still playing Brazil. She's a great great player, everybody, you know, she's the one that people kind of going to go to for, who's the best player in the world women's player in the world is say, well, Martha isn't doesn't get listed at the top very much ends near run in the all time list in the current list, you would probably be listed fifth or sixth or seventh by a lot of people. But I think if you talked to a soccer a soccer person that women's soccer person, you know, she's on a what five best players of all time. She'd be on that list. I think she'd have to be I don't know. I think you'd be you would be crazy not to put her on on that point on the list in terms of Canadian athletes. And this is my own personal crusade. But again, I think hockey players aside because we got a lot of them. She's one of the five greatest, Canadian athletes of all time, male or female, like who else is on that list, Steve. Nash, no sprinters. Donovan Bailey depending, whether you put bent on and on I, always put on, but some people don't some swimmers, but she's yes, she's right there. How does this team stack up at the World Cup compared to pass it rations? We've had two bronze medals now in a row at the Olympics. Yeah. The Olympics are, yeah. The reason to think that this one this could be more it, you know the team you know we had the World Cup right? We hosted and they got to the knock around they lost to England. It was an okay result. Wasn't a great result. I didn't think on, on home soil that was kind of a transitional team. This is more fully. You know, that, that the Transition's really happened now they've got a bit of a tricky draw, you know, that like the Netherlands is really an up and coming side and the and they're in their group. We've got New Zealand and they've got Cameroon so you know, they, they should get out of the group. I think that like the Dutcher excited, a lot of people like and I've got some really exciting players. Again, a soccer country kinda, right? Women's soccer late a lot of ways if it breaks, right? They have been lost a match since last fall Canada hasn't that was to the Americans. You know, kind of depends on how the how the draw halls after they get out of that bring, you know, presumably, get out of the group stage, but they have their very talented. They're playing with a ton of confidence right now as a unit, I think there there as you know, is what Christine set were really good. You know that was her. That was her wild overstatement where we're really good. I think they're really good. They would need some breaks, but they'll get into the knockout rounds and then it kind of depends on who they stack up against by you know, I just love to see him the American somehow just just beat the Americans in a knockout game, you know, like I don't care where it comes. Yeah. And then may end sink maybe break Abby wombats record right in the same game. That would be that'd be great outcome. The if that happens in the quarters are the wherever that might happen. I we all just go home. Happy thanksgiving. My pleasure. Stephen Brent from sports net, not a soccer guy, but I Saint Sinclair fan for life. I was the big story for more from us. You're at the big story podcast dot CA at that little search bar on the bottom and search for Briant you'll find him a few times, you can talk to us at the big story. Fbn on Twitter at frequency pods on Twitter on Facebook on Instagram and you can listen to us and subscribe for free wherever you get your podcast. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heathrow. We'll talk tomorrow.
How to stop a hate crime before it starts
"Hey, Jordan, once again, I have a podcast for you. Moms in the middle is back for season two just in time for mother's day this season. Melanie, Ivanka talked to experts and authors and athletes and influencers about parenting kids of all ages from babies to teens they cover everything from monitoring your children online, which is terrifying to struggling with infertility, which is tough to over scheduling your kids, which is something every parent. Does you can listen to season two of moms in the middle on apple Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcast or find it at frequency podcast network dot com. There is some troubling news about hate crime in Canada. They are on the rise. The biggest Canada says this all adds up to a five percent increase in hate crimes across Canada up. Nearly forty percent. Look, there's no doubt anymore that open. Displays of racist, sexist or homophobic, hatred are on the rise. We have those numbers, and well, that's one of the ways we measure it. There are other incidents every day that might not be recorded as hate crimes, but represent the same thing. You know, those you can find them in your social media feeds, and you're not gonna have to look very hard. We follow us worry now. Yeah. Blong how we we're from here. But you understand I know who might be right shit blocking five building. Get on my way. Okay. Do you? Do you live here? Why do we feel that we need to be here? Like hanging out. Let's call nine one one to make sure then there's going on here. So sooner or later, something like this is going to happen either to you or in front of you. And if it happens in front of you, what are you going to do? This is a question that we started asking around our offices after a couple of public displays in the neighborhood where we work. We wanted to say that if it was us we'd step in with stop it. We'd help the victims and confront the offender, but how by doing what how do you assess the situation and then act what actually works. We quickly realized that we didn't have those answers. And so because it's what we do on this podcast. We asked someone who does. I'm Jordan heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. Shaquille children is the author of deep. Diversity, overcoming us? Versus them is a co founder of animal leadership, which offers consulting and training around diversity equity and inclusion Matt includes five Stander intervention Shaquille. As someone who does this work. What is the climate out there right now will if you like we're in a highly polarized time period, this has been super exacerbated since Obama's election, and then just went through the roof during the Trump years, and this is all in the context of really escalating anxiety since since the nine eleven attacks. We've been living in this for a couple of decades. But we are definitely at an arc. I would hope is a climax. But I'm not sure whether that's actually the case, it's interesting that you mentioned that you saw this kind of heating up with the election of Barack Obama unpack that a little bit for me. And tell me what you saw starting in two thousand eight. What we saw the rise of the tea party. Right. We saw the rise of people becoming so infuriated that and these were predominantly Republicans or very far right folks that basically were so infuriated with the fact that Obama got elected that quote, unquote, they were gonna take their country back. I mean, the under tones were so racist in this process. And then it just went on from there where there were protests and rallies were all these people predominantly white multiplicity white would show up armed to the gills. Yeah. To a protest folks of color can't do that. You can't show up at a protest armed folks of color are getting shot simply for showing up to a protest and getting arrested for showing up to a protest. Right. So we already started seeing that. And then we started things like the birth certificate. The birther lie that got continued in perpetrated like so we saw this escalation happening, and and then we saw the tea party. He really take over the Republican party. Right. And so it started back then and we were seeing it, and it was heating up and things were happening where we immune for for a while and Canada, and it's here now or has this always been here two. Oh, it's always been here. I just think that it's much more visible. Now, there's much more permission now for to happen. I mean, especially since Trump it is just become full-fledged. This is completely. Okay. Why did they feel so emboldened? Well, here's the thing is that who's in charge who is the leader leaders and with positional power basically act as emotional guides for the group. Okay, is what all the research says if the leader stays calm during crisis. It settles the group if a leader show, some mild, anxiety, it signals the group something still still wrong. We're still got some work to do. Right. If a leader is a totally stressed out constantly or an conscious state of like anger that can damage relationships with. Group members in between group members. So researchers believe that research that leaders aren't are the emotional guide for a group. Well, that's absolutely true. When you hold the highest position a power in the land. And so for example, to contrast to Republican presidents, George W Bush who has no big fan of right that when nine eleven attacks happened, right? There was a spike in hate crimes against Muslims and Arab people. Anyone who looked like them? Right. The following week. George W Bush went into a mosque and said, this Lom is the religion of peace and the hate crime rate went rate back down, right? As opposed to Trump who has only escalated and repeatedly attacked almost every minority group that we could think of and so there is absolutely clear and compelling evidence that links what this particular leader is doing with what is happening. Across the board. And in fact, research and conversations with white nationalist, for example, in Charlotte, and in Charlottesville when that whole thing went sideways, and and especially when the protester was run over in the car. Yeah. By by the white, nationalist, and all that kind of stuff that that happened there. They thought they had lost their thought. Oh, man. We gotta go back into the shadows. Until Trump basically saved it for them. This is from the words of white nationals, former white nationalist themselves. They said he saved it for us. He said, they're good people on both sides, and all of a sudden our stuff became a legitimate super legitimate. So absolutely. This is something that is happening and has happened because we are at a time of dictators. We are time of authoritarians. It's very unfortunate. And it sounds like this is very political because I'm talking about the Republican party. But unless political parties. Actually, look after themselves, and especially those are on the conservative end. If you don't look after yourselves, the far right knows that you are the inroad, you are the way to legitimize far-right beliefs extreme-right beliefs, and we're seeing that and so it's super important that all political parties look out and say, wait a minute. Are we getting extremists not just in beliefs? But in actions that are showing up you're not like we disagree politically here and there, but people who are who are really pushing for that taking it to the street who are taken into the street, and who are encouraging it on the street, and are are super close to what's happening, and they're just wearing a bit of a foil, so conservative parties have to be very much on the lookout for that. Because once that happens as it is happening across the western world. Then we're in a position where democracy itself is under threat. And that is currently this the context that we are in democracy is definitely under threat because things are. Opening that just weren't. Okay. Two decades ago. Right. And they're okay now, how can people like myself or other people who'd like to think that they would intervene when they see something like this happening prepare themselves to actually do it and get over that hump. It's a great question and fundamentally what happens most for people, and what's happened for me as well in my past and still occasionally happens is that people get frozen we're caught off guard. And that fundamentally is is the key thing we got to get over is we just moved into into freeze mode and most people freeze up. Don't know what to say. And then the situation has sort of pass them by this happened to me like on a subway member number of years ago, where someone made some kind of homophobic, comment there's in conversation with each other. And all of a sudden got triggered. And I was like what should I should? I how do I. I was in this kind of state, and then my stop appeared. Right. And I'm like now have to get off. And then I walked home with all this guilt about not knowing how to intervene and not not intervening. And so there's two things that I would start with first of all you've got to pre load the decision in your head. Right. You've just gotta pre load that you're going to do something. And the simplest thing that you you you can do once you preloaded, it is preloaded that you're gonna notice it in some small way. And that simply for me. I'm just like make us sound. Oh, wow. Oh, no way anything like that will bring attention to get your body ready to do something. So so the first thing is just simply make a sound as soon as you make the I sound your body will actually find its way, you will find the words, you will improvise your way. But usually it's the frozen this that that were locked in. So as soon as you make a sound someone else. Will react. The second thing is question. Which is someone says something, and it's it sounds like it could be racist. It sounds like it's stereotyping. It sounds like it could be biased in some way, shape or form. You don't have to fill the space. You can just ask a question. What did you mean by that? Right. Like, that's an intervention. What did you mean by that get them to explain usually people are making some kind of generalization about a group? They're making generalization about a person, and they're linking it to a cultural group or a religion or identity. So it's just like what did you mean by that? And then let silence do the heavy work. Let them explain. Right. And usually that in itself catches people because they have to now start doing something. Right. And the third step of that is often sometimes people will follow up with some kind of incredibly large generalization about a group of people. Yeah. And so so then the next up of that is reflected back to them, which is. So are you suggesting that all Muslims are that all gay people? Are that all Jewish people are so those are the those it'd be like three simple steps, right? Is simply notice it make a sound to question it, and then three uncovered a little bit reflect the generalization back to them. I feel like some of us at least might be able to find the courage to challenge that in an open conversation with coworkers or just, you know, acquaintances or whatever at a party, there's another type of incident that I want to talk about because it's something that that. I think a lot of us have seen is when you're removed from it almost like the situation you described on the subway, but you see somebody not violent but verbally abusive to someone based on the color of their skin or or their orientation or how they're presenting. And that's where I really struggle because I walked through downtown Toronto all the time. And and I I see situations like that sometimes, you know, they might be half a block away. Don't go over there. And find out what's going on. What am I going to do if I get there this person could turn violent, you know, we've all read stories about about how these things escalate, and I think? That's something that can freeze a lot of people. Sure. So again preloaded the decision, right? And you'll also do an assessment while you're there. Right. So for example, again because I also ride public transit. I was in a subway car was you know, in the evening. There was a young mixed race couple white woman, a young man of color, and they've just kind of sitting there doing their own thing. And this guy another man of college kind of came and started harassing them. But being super aggressive to the young black male. And I was just in the subway, and it was the streetcar. And so that my first step was I just moved closer. I just moved closer to the situation and made eye contact. No, this this guy's made our contact with who made eye contact with whoever could I could make contact with letting them know that I was there right in the space, and then just kind of like noticed it because they couldn't hear what was initially saying. But I felt something was off. And then I heard sort of aggressive. Not just impolite. But like racist language are gonna come out. And I just made it sound like, no, no. And so just letting them know that I was in. I was in a picture of this. I'm I'm here. Right. And so, you know, I'm now closer, and then at a certain point the guy started just kind of getting really aggressive, and I and I stepped just in the middle of it. And I was just like dude, you can't do this. Right. It was just simply like you can't do this. Right. And once the guy kind of realized that I was I was there because he hadn't he wasn't paying attention to me at first he then moved off got off at the next next subway, and it just turned to the I'm so sorry, you guys. Okay. I can't tell you that you should always step in. But you can stand you can make yourself visible. Your visibility makes a difference even standing by or near the person that you feel like is getting the aggression. Right. That's that's something. You can do you can just be there. And all of a sudden now it's like it's not one on one or two on one. It's like, you know, you're there with them. They're not alone. Oh, now, if you're like, sometimes you feel yourself that you have to get in there and play the hero as opposed to just saying something and being there. You don't have to play the hero. I think that's that's the freeze up mode that somehow there's a right way of doing it. We have no idea what the right way is sometimes just walking into this into the screen itself into the into the visual will be enough to disrupt it, sometimes it's actually having to say something. And sometimes like I did in that moment. I actually had to step in between and that was enough to dissipate it, right? And I didn't know what I was going to do the guy could've taken swing. He didn't right now. That's the other part. I wanna put to is that everyone has a different risk tolerance some people. Like, there's no chance I can get hit that's going to like trigger me and traumatize me and other people like I can take a hit. And I'm like, I'm not that person. But everyone has a different risk tolerance. As to what they're going to step into what they're going to step, and what their style is. And so a lot of this has also self-awareness work, which is like, what's your style? Some people can just be really good at being in your in somebody's face. Really standing like my partner on a he'd who. Also does work. She's really good at just like stepping into someone's face. I'm like, I can't really do that. And I can't really get aggressive with people. That's not my style is not my temperament, but she can she can get really assertive and it can work for her. And so part of his also a little bit knowing your style. Now, the other part is this is practice. It's all something we've been taught and like anything the first few times we're doing whether we're learning to throw a baseball. Whether we're learning to you know, shoot a basket, whether we're learning to read or write everything is awkward and overwhelming. So one of the things I suggest to people is like just commit through the awkward stage meeting that it's gonna feel uncomfortable. You're going to say the wrong thing sometimes it might not work. But the more you do it and the more you do it in in any in small contexts take those baby steps, which is like say it in the context of your friends Satan in the context of of your workplace, then in a public context, which is a little higher stakes is more uncertain. Certainty. You may be more able to do that. So I just want to say that there's a big difference between what's happening our personal lives. What's happening our professional lives, and what's happening in our public community lies where there are no relationships that are certain and each of those requires a different a different kind of intervention. Have you seen the approach, and I mentioned it because I've seen it on the internet several times the recommends that you completely ignore the aggressor, and you go and just talk to the person who's being targeted and pretend that person's not screaming abuse at them or anything and just say, you know, hey, how are you? Have you seen the new avengers movie and talk to them like you're an old friend and try to defuse it that way? Sure, you could that's a great strategy any intervention work. And I love that. I'm going to add that to my list, which is just simply go talk to the person. Go pull them out of the situation. Right. Whether you know them or not and just like walk them out. You can do that. Right. That that's that's an intervention to great intervention. And then sometimes you can also the situation. Happened. It's happened quickly. And maybe it was too quick for you to be able to intervene, but go in and check in on them. That's that's support him. So sorry, if you need me to do anything. I can I saw it. You know, I have a description or whatever it is. If you feel like you need that. I'm totally here for you. Here's my information or whatever like there's ways that you can support. And sometimes it's not even have to give them all the details. I'm just going to giving space for someone to breathe news often enough, right? And going are you'll right like that can help what kinds of stuff doesn't work matching aggression with aggression, sometimes doesn't work. So you showed me the the video beforehand of the street preacher on in the middle of the gay village. In in the street. Preacher was like basically telling people identify as LGBTQ to us that you know, they're doing it wrong. You know, it's an abomination all this kind of stuff. And then it got really aggressive members of the community got there, and it just it kind of spilled out. They were defending their turf weren't they holy defending their their turf. And rightfully so. Yeah, let's just be really clear in that kind of situation. It's also an assessment like what's actually happening. Like, we have to realize that that's not an incidental, homophobic comment. That's not just some random consciously, run constantly, homophobic person. This is actually a very different kind of person. This is somebody who has a belief and they're there to proselytize. They're they're on a missionary purpose. So in that kind of context the intervention of meeting fire with fire. It didn't work in that context and often doesn't so to me. I don't know exactly how to work with that. But I've seen a couple of things that that are really powerful one. Is that requires a team approach, really one person can't intervene? They're one person to go and support someone who's feeling hurt by it potentially. As that's if you're in the situation, that's something you could do go and support. The other thing is that have was. It was a beautiful intervention that I saw where I think there was a a group of people that just started singing around the person who was like doing that kind of really gross, homophobic, kind of thing that the that kind of protests. There's just really like they're on a mission. Right. And they started singing a song from rent, right? And and it was beautiful. And and so in essence, why that kind of thing is helpful to is song and music and that kind of collective interventions. Also another way for the community that might be hurt and their allies also have a vent for their emotions. Right because this is just an emotionally heated situation. So when you go fire fire in that kind of situation, you're kind of playing into the zealots agenda so on some level. The best thing would be take nor them, but it's hard when someone is parked in the middle of your community and spewing hateful stuff, and so on some level that almost needs a community intervention. I mean, I also want to be really clear, I'm not advocate. Getting that everyone from marginalized community context has to now also do all this additional work. I'm just saying that don't hug your hater. Yeah. Unless you can. Yeah. Unless you have the capacity to and that's not an intervention in the moment, that's a relational thing. And some people have that capacity. And I'm like thank God, you're out there. It's not me. But thank you for doing. Because that's also part of the work. Some people are helping shift the most entrenched and most wounded people, I'm like, thank you for doing that. That's an intervention. I can't do it. So my thing is always find your rule find what you can do. Now, the other part about it is that we will still end up letting it go sometimes we're too slow. Sometimes we'll still frees up the other part about this is you gotta show with compassion for yourself. And I mean that because this is a long term game. If we want to develop these habits, we're going to be imperfect. We're gonna make mistakes, and if we don't show it with self compassion like. Blewett bat parts. Okay. I blew it is a good thing. But if we just beat ourselves up like, oh, I should have. That's not going to help us next time as like, oh, I should have do that once in like what could I do differently next time make a plan preloaded? But if you just kinda sit there, wallowing in your mistake, you are less likely to do it. Next time. I want to say the self compassionate part of this work because otherwise you're going to do it once or twice on stop. Because it's going to be too scary. As opposed to what did I learn what to learn about mean that situation. What do I learn about people in that situation? How many navigate differently because there's no right answer. There are many answers. So the so the thing is show with ones that you might be able to deliver. Thanks for the Shaquille. You're welcome. Shaquille children, author of deep diversity and co-founder of animal leadership. If you want to know more, you can find them at animal leadership dot com. That's a n I m a leadership. And that was the big story you want more from us at over to the big story, podcast dot CA. That's T H E B. I'm just kidding. You can also find us on Twitter at the big story F PIN and at frequency pods on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram if you like the show we want to hear a different kind of show. We've us a rating leave us a review on apple Google, Stitcher. Spotify your favorite podcast platform. We are there. I'm jordan. He throwing thanks for listening. We'll talk tomorrow.
Is your mall watching you?
"The big story is brought to you by Scotiabank. If you go out in public, you're used to the idea that you're being recorded or photographed at some point. Between security cameras strangers with smartphones. And other devices your sumptious of privacy and public has probably vanished in recent years. But there's a difference between a security camera and facial recognition software, and there's a difference between a smartphone held up in clear view and camera concealed in a tiny opening in a wall or a kiosk. And if they warned you about them that might be one thing, but what's happening at malls around Canada is quite another thing altogether. So what are anonymous video analytics what rules govern their use? Are there any options if you'd rather not take part? Do you have any rights here? I'm Jordan heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. Welcome to our one hundred episode. If you've been with us since the beginning, thank you so much if you just joined us there are a ton of great episodes in our back catalog, and there's nobody that we'd rather welcome to the one hundred episode of the big story, then our most frequent guest the man with the weirdest. Most interesting stories in Canada, guess who's back. I'm playing Aaron Hutchins returns for the seventh time this is the game. This is the game compressive. How many more till I get a free subway sandwich. You get free coffee after you're gonna free coffee now. Sweet. Here we go. Tell me how we found out about malls watching us. It was actually just I guess a stroke of luck or bad luck. You could save for for Cadillac Fairview. There was a mall in Alberta where you know, those those directories and it used to look like just a plain piece of paper that had a little dot says you are here, and you'd have to kind of figure out where you are. And where your shoe store is right? And it's broken down into like shoes or clothes or and it wasn't a very of the new ones. If you go to malls nowadays, the new ones have it's very interactive like an ipad. You know, your tap on it, and you point to shoes or clothes or books or whatnot. And there was a mall, and I'll Berta where the screen was broken. And all you had was basically just a square box that had all like, the file things typed out. And it said they shall analysis in gender and age, and it was just of in with back slashes, a savvy mall goer staffed a picture of it. And put it up on read it saying what's this all about right quickly? People said, hey, this is are they? Looking into are. They analyzing our like facial recognition here and pretty soon. The media local media picked up on it in the national media to the point where Cadillac Fairview said we're doing this. We're going to suspend that. Now that there's a an investigation that that's open into it who opened the investigation. Currently there's there's two investigations open. I believe there's one from the provincial privacy, investigate privacy commission and one from the federal privacy commission happening right now, what does the mall or any mall? Typically, tell you about surveillance because all malls have cameras. Right, right. I mean when you walk into a mall, it's kind of established. Now, you'll see the we have TV cameras to that are there for security, which I think people understand if someone gets a robbing or heaven forbid, a shooting or something the police want some sort of cameras to kind of look into what happened. And I think people understand that. I think what there is no sign of at least from all the malls, I've gone to and all the mall gentleman whose eyesight. Poke to is that there's no sign anywhere. That says by the way, we have different cameras that are specifically looking at your face to find out. How old you are? What's your gender even things like if you're in a good mood or a bad mood, if you're happy or sad? So when you go to these these mall directories, and you're looking at the screen, and you're pointing out I want to go to this bookstore, and then this shoe store, and you're looking at which directions to go, you don't believe in notice it because if the if the directory is black if you look on the side somewhere on the frame, there's just a small small very faint block, circle if it's a white directory than is play a white circle. But it's very very hidden. It's very subtle. And what is doing is is just looking at you to see take snapshot of who you are. So what does facial recognition technology do? Well, basically, it looks at the your face kinda looks at the contours of it. And from however, the technology works determines based on your facial shape or whatnot. If you're a man or woman, and there's no reason why couldn't do your your race. Or you know, you're St. either. Yeah. Some of the companies that run this technology. I spoke to at least one says, we don't do ethnic recognition because we think that could be used for the people that'd be prejudicial like we don't like that idea being used. So they said we outright refused to do it. So this all sounds tinged with dystopia, it's a little creepy. What kind of framework is in place for this? Like who draws that line that you mentioned kind of well, you can do age and sex and at cetera but racist too far. There's there's a lot a grey zone here. And it's quite complicated. Because the malls the ones who owns the directory the companies who use this make the software. They've told me that they don't know that Jordan you're going to the mall. You were here at ten fifty. And you clicked on you want to go to EIB games. You wanted to go and buy Nintendo like they don't know these things about you per se. What these as they have something called anonymous visual analytics, okay, which the reason that they claim this is different from facial recognition. Is that if you're one side of the ball, and then you end up the other side of the mall. It won't recognize who you are because it will take that. Snapshot view, your age, your your mood, your gender, and it will take that information and put into meta data, and delete it right away. So that information just gets fed into some massive database, but it doesn't know that. It's you. So if you walk in from that same screen twenty times, it doesn't know that. It's you particularly, okay. If you go to a different camera on the other side of the mall. They don't know that you've traveled from point eight point beat. They're just collecting every tenth of a second. Every nanosecond they are collecting a snapshot of who was there and feeding that into the data and they're not keeping photos. That's what they say. Yes. How do we know while there's a privacy of education going on? So what is also it's against the law to keep the photo. Okay. So it's not against the law to take them. That's correct. So here's where it gets kind of kind of messy. So there's a a law called Pippa. It's the personal information protection and electric documents act so pepitas what it's called and basically. It's it's against Pippa to collect use or disclose personal information without first getting the individual's consent. You say yes, you can have my picture. Yes. I've checked the box. They can't collect this. You know, these photos of you and keep them what the companies maintain is because they are just taking the picture feeding into the data and leading it right away. Like for just a nanosecond. They aren't going contrary to Pippa because it's all deleted within the stamp of fingers. But you have this kind of interesting conversation of if something is exists in memory for just a nanosecond. And it's immediately discarded was it collected. Now, critics or I guess privacy was collect. Well, they did they did have it in their possession. Even for you know, one one hundred the second. That's exactly what privacy experts are saying they say because you had it you had it for a long enough time, you collected it you used it. And you brought it to feed this algorithm that you are creating so whether you had it for a nanosecond or a week you had. In collected it for a moment that is what privacy experts people who are critical of this facial recognition technology, malls are telling me if you have it you had it for a second because you couldn't have fed your a did you fed your data without that picture existing that seems so simple to me. So what's the argument against it? Well, it's gone like they lead right away. So they have not collected. Because by the time, you even notice it that picture is gone. It is constantly being deleted the photo. So the malls are saying because the photos are constantly in deleted. They don't need your permission. Because even if you walk by a camera by the time, you would notice it your pictures already deleted anyway. So it's not as though they need your permission because there's nothing to give out and it's gone. Up next. If this information exists in a nanosecond, the privacy experts. I spoke with the biggest problem is identity. You can save like never before with these Scotiabank momentum plus savings account. And now for a limited time, you can earn up to three point two percent interest until March tenth you can find all the terms and conditions at Scotiabank dot com slash m p. So I understand the benefits to the mall of having this data to your point you can analyze what particular times of day. Certain kind of person is coming in and cater your maybe your store, selection or promos to that. Who else gets this information? Do we know what happens with all the data? They're collecting other than the company that owns the mall using it to make decisions. Right. So the company that has the facial recognition software, obviously has the data. The company that owns the mall or owns the the cameras, obviously has it. And then that muddy data one can only presume would be used as it would for any. You know, telecommunications company or whatnot? You have if you know your target audience. If the the big story knows it's target audiences. All people who are twenty to thirty for. However, you would do that you would say, hey, advertisers. This is who's listening to our podcast same with the mall. They'd say, hey, all our mall goers at eight in the morning till eleven the morning. Our senior citizens going for their morning walk that might be your target audience at six. O'clock. It's all people in their twenties to thirties and with the screening might change your advertising based on that. So what it would do is it would better inform the mall and the advertisers of who their target audiences to better help the customers with their advertising or marketing experience. Are there any rules around what they can do with this data? For instance, if I was a store thinking about opening a location in a mall, can I just ask them for it? Can I say, hey, I want to know who your customers are before I decide whether or not to get into this mall. And then once that store has the data what's stopping that store from sharing with the rest of its company. Now's a very good question. And these are the things we're if we don't know the answer to it because it's not out in the open. Then there is a problem and of their major problems is that people don't even know this is happening in the first place. This all came to light because of a glitch at a mall, right? That didn't happen. It's very possible. No, one would even know anything about this. And while malls are very open to the point that they have. See TV cameras around. They'll say it. They are very very shy to say that they have facial recognition or anonymous official analytics technology happening. They just don't say it. And I've asked mall owners say won't you just have signed it to say as much and some of them said well nuts, a something we should look into or others just said, what would we we're not required to because we're not collecting their information since the being deleted. But no one actually has signing there. There's a privacy lawyer who was says something that I think is actually kind of at the at the hardest story at least for me when it comes to like this facial recognition technology or anything kind of similar. He said if you can't look customer in the eye and explain to them what you're doing. Then maybe you shouldn't be doing it. Because if it's for the benefit of the customer in the end for marketing, then presumably they wouldn't mind this happening and people are used to people click on when you get emails or whatnot. You want your Email address handed out to get better deals, or I access to whatever people are handing out their information. All the time people are comfortable with it. Now. This sense addition is yes. The next level. But there is no reason why a company should not have signed saying, by the way. Here's our director camera. We are using anonymous visual analytics to better serve you for XYZ. When you think about where facial recognition is going. It's now opening our phones. It is. Right. It's it's not far away from turning into passwords for us. Whether it be for who knows it's not crazy to think that'll be helping us get into our condo buildings are facial recognition. Right. And if this information exists in an ano second the privacy experts. I spoke with the biggest problem is identity theft. Yeah. And I spoke with an Cavoukian who is one of the experts not only in Canada in the world on this. She's dealt with too many people that have had their identity stolen, and she says, it is such a pain to have to prove who you are one stuff when your identity is stolen and people are making purchase on your path. Imagine if someone has your facial recognition somehow got hacked or who knows what? And they have that information. Imagine what a paint it would be to prove. Hey that wasn't me. So all these things. We're describing just to be clear, which sound creepy and. Yeah. And might freak some people out or maybe people assume that they're already just being recorded. But all of these things that sound kind of shady. None of it is none of it. Is that right? A legal. None of it is is regulated the privacy Commissioner's office doesn't have order making power. So if they came down at it's worst could say, hey, by the way, Cadillac Fairview, or whatever mall. What you're doing is wrong. Here's what our recommendations are to fix this practice. The company could say thank you very much for your input. We will take this to consideration. Appreciate your time. And they may not change anything the federal privacy Commissioner cannot say, hey, this is wrong. Do this. If not you're gonna get fined I'm going to order you to do this. They don't have that power. It's so weird to me that there's no teeth behind any other regulations around this in Canada. Is there a place that's actually kind of developed some regulation. One thing that was recently implemented in the European Union is called the general data protection regulation. What this new privacy legislation? Does. Does is it incorporates something called privacy by design and also called privacy by default? So what that means is when there is a new technology or new service. The most private version is the default. So there's a new brand new Twitter right in the European Union. And it wants to track your location, your whatever it has to get you to opt in because the default is the strictest privacy setting. You don't have to go in through a million settings and change and change everything to I want this off I want that off the way I do every two months on Facebook. Exactly. So this way is kind of set up to do it like that that is something that a lot of advocates are lobbying force here. Because that way it would get a lot of the grey zone saying, well, we don't have to do this. We had the opt in we have information here, or there this way, the default is the strictest would that solve the mole map problem in Canada? Maybe because some of these companies are still using it in France and England, and if they are deleting it right away, they might say that there they could. Still say the same thing we're not collecting information because we're deleting it right away. But the most important thing I would say is that customers are aware that it's happening. So they can decide for themselves whether they feel this is an invasion of privacy, or whether this is something that they feel is mutually beneficial. In today's age of technology and surveillance. Do you care if your face is being recorded if it's being deleted a nanosecond later. Would you stop go? Let's say they said, we're going to do it to everybody, and we don't have to tell you what you stop going to malls. I might change my shopping shopping habits. It's weird to say that because I mean, I shop on Amazon, and I know they probably try know. But I know everything about me, and I have a Google home in my know your address, and they know exactly know, everything about me. You know, what your voice sounds like I got a gift card recently for for a shoe store, and I had to go to a mall to to get it and some all that's owned by Oxford properties. And I've talked to them they use an anonymous visual analytics as well. And I found myself standing in front of directory looking at this tiny little virtually hidden camera. And I put my hand over the. Information. I know thirty got my face. But I'm just putting my hand over the camera out of some sort of weird weird fightback of thing because it is kind of creepy because CCTV cameras, I know are there, and I know what they're used for. And I know that information's not being collected. But these ones here looking right at my face, it definitely creeps me out a bit. And the thing also on top of this is if this technology is combined with other technologies, it gets even creepy or you have GPS on your phone. Your phone is always tripping at little signals to try and connect to WI fi GPS always knows where you are. If that technology were ever combined with the Fisher recognition, they would know that I'm standing in front of the mall, and I clicked on the shoe store, and that could technically you the cell phone cra- cellphone wifi signal and see that I'm actually walking to the store. Did I go there did actually stand in front of the cashier where I presumably made a purchase one one privacy expert talked a talk to she went over. Yeah. They could have your face. Combine that with the phone at knows where you're walking combine that with the credit card statement the front it would know whether you made a purchase or not. And she looked at me. And she goes this is not some tin hat feary. This is possible now, and it could be happening. But no one knows if it's not because no one is open about what they're collecting and who they're sharing with that's disturbing. But I also wonder how many people cared that much, and I don't say that lightly because having this conversation it's clear that like it freaks enough people out there willing to complain to the privacy Commissioner and try to get things changed. But I think about all the ways to your point are earned for mation is already collected through your smartphone through your smart speaker through your smart, TV or whatever other devices, you have around in your GPS on your phone, and I feel like every once in a while we hear about some new way our data's being collected. And people talk about it for five minutes. And then we kind of assume that this is the price we pay for technology, and we go back to doing it. Anyway, like. I'm not sure that there would be a mass exodus of people using malls. I'm not sure there would be either. But that's just a I think people should have the choice to know that these things are being collected in any mall. The malls of chose not to share this information and the software companies have chosen not to share this information for a reason, I would maintain that it should be open and honest that make a choice if the mall as collecting your face, and you're looking using that to better their stores and better their outlook. Then you might want to go there if it were as you out and mobias, we don't do any of this. You might be more like them all, but the idea is at least, you know, what is happening to you and your most private data, which is your face. And even if you say, I don't care the second that heaven forbid, someone steals, your identity and your face all of a sudden, you care, very, very deeply as rare as that may be if it happens to you, or if you know someone who's had it happened to them, you will know that it turns into a long long tunnel of trying to prove who you are and dealing with all the payment costs and. What you purchase what you didn't purchase. It's a massive pain. So you don't care now. If you're one of the people who has their face, essentially, stolen and used for passwords or for shopping on other countries or other malls or online, then you start carrying pretty quickly. Aaron Hutchings of Maclean's. You know, he'll be back. That was the big story. Brought to you by Scotiabank. You can earn up to three point two percent interest until March tenth with the Scotiabank momentum, plus savings account conditions apply for more from us at the big story. You can find us at the big story, podcast dot CA. There are ninety nine other episodes just waiting for you there and a contact us form. So you can tell us what should be number one on one. You can also find us on social media at big story podcast on Twitter on Facebook on Instagram. And of course, we are wherever you get podcasts on Google on apple on Stitcher on Spotify on pocket casts. I don't know. But if you open your phone and search for a podcast app, and you downloaded and search the big story, we will probably be there. And then you can write us in review us and tell your friends, thanks for listening. I'm Jordan heath Rawlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
Debunking CoVid-19 myths and hoaxes
"Jordan I have a test for you. Oh Yeah what is it? I heard if you think that you might have current of virus you should take a deep breath it for ten seconds and if you can do that without coughing for ten seconds really yeah all right. I'M GONNA try it all right all time. You okay. One two three four five six seven eight nine ten. That's it that is it. Apparently you don't have the current virus. Perfect that's nice to hear. I can't be a real test though. No it's definitely not it's just another hoax floating around the Internet. I've seen a ton of those. Yeah what kind of stuff have you seen? Well I I heard that If I already had a cold in January and February which I did that I probably already had covert nineteen and I'm probably okay. I also heard that five G. technology is to blame that. They're looking into that link and I heard some stuff about silver or essential oils or vitamins. That I can take and it would just kill this virus dead. A lot of that is going around. Yeah I heard to the grocery store actually talking about how they were cutting up garlic every day and just eating that thinking that they wouldn't get the current. Oh virus if they did that. Just garlic just garlic. I also heard of course that a hairdryer can get hot enough to kill the virus and so all I gotta do is fire that up and I'll be right and the mother of all of them. I think that's been going around. That is kind of in a gray area. I'm not sure is that this virus will just be gone or at least almost gone when the warm weather comes. That would be nice. Yeah I'M NOT GONNA count on it but we're GONNA get into all of the hoaxes and misinformation around Kovic nineteen on the show today but first as we do now because this is a breaking story. Claire Give us a brief update on what's happening in Canada today so we are expecting a huge announcement from the federal government reportedly twenty five billion dollars to help Canadians and businesses. Get through. This time were also expected to get an announcement by the end of the week. About changes to upcoming tax deadlines potentially giving Canadians more flexibility to make tax payments a number of provinces have declared a state of emergency including Ontario Alberta and Prince Edward Island the number of cases of cove nineteen in. Canada is now at four hundred twenty. Four Ontario has reported its first deaths British Columbia reporting three more and that brings the nationwide total to eight as for new closures. Uber is suspending Uberpool. You can still use all other uber. Trips UBER eats is still available Cineplex's closing all theaters across the country until April second and CIBC says it is closing two hundred and six of its locations across the country as well as modifying hours of operation. You can find out which ones are open which ones are closed on their website. When we're glued to our social media feeds with all of this news and it's coming a million miles a minute and nobody seems to have any easy answers or any explanations. It's not a surprise that were eager to seize on one when we do see it. There's a reason we did that. Test off the top and I have to confess that when I first saw it I really did do it and I felt better for like ten minutes. I'm not naive. I'm supposed to be a journalist but I'd seen it on some official public health looking letterhead. It felt really good to think for a second that there was something that I could do right now to make sure that I didn't have covert nineteen. I realized almost immediately. Of course that it wasn't real but that quick feeling of relief a feeling like I understood something. In a completely chaotic situation it was powerful. And all these things take to spread is a little bit of panic that feeling of relief the best of intentions and a quick share and then it's impossible to put them back in the bottle and it's a fight that we can't win of course that doesn't mean there aren't people in the thick of the fray anyway doing their damnedest to make sure that you and I don't fall for things that might make sense right now. Might feel good but could cost us all in the long run. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings. This is the big story Jane. Davidenko is the senior. Disinformation reporter at Buzzfeed News. She is extremely busy right now. Very very busy. Last time we talked to you. We talked about how you debunk. This kind of stuff in general. How has that changed in a situation? Like this where there's only one story so there's only one story but there is pretty much an infinite amount of misinformation going around right now Last time we chatted we were monitoring misinformation that was mostly targeted at China and now the misinformation targets people here in North America and seems to be causing quite a bit of panic. Are People more vulnerable to this stuff? in a crisis like this. So here's what we already know about. Misinformation it really plays towards a feelings of anxiety or anger or panic. That people may already have. This has been true since disinformation has become a thing And during a crisis like the krona virus people are already very very stressed out very anxious. And there's a big information vacuum That information vacuum is very quickly being filled with hoax says misinformation. Disinformation false cures. You name it. What kinds of stuff were you seeing? As the story I started to emerge so in the story I started to emerge the research of two big themes that we saw The first one was that The krona virus was a bio up in that was a falsehood that was spread by people who were financially or politically motivated for that narrative to take hold It is not true What we know is that it started at a market in in Hunt China The second thing that we saw were many many videos of people getting sick either fainting or just laying on the ground and those videos We just could not verify which is did not know what was happening at the time and we didn't have enough context for the images and the videos that were coming out of China and how of these stories changed as the situation has evolved. You mentioned they've kind of moved location. But how does disinformation evolve? I guess to adapt to the news that we're getting now. People in North America are not watching the situation on full unfold. Sort of At arm's length Now they're experiencing it themselves and so now the missing that we see is targeted at the people who are scared who may be experiencing at or are fearful of experiencing it so this means Mass text messages being sent out of falsely telling people that cities are GonNa get shut down including public transit and roads This means false cures and snake. Oil cures or Sort of just very bad health advice. That's going around That is a lot of what we're seeing now really targeted at the population. Are you trying to tell me that? Just because at the top of this podcast I could take a breath and hold it for ten seconds. That doesn't mean I'm safe log. Some of these false curious do seem outlandish but at a time of panic. Especially if you're somebody who Is not very well versed and Medicinal Sciences? Or Somebody. Who is very panicked? Somebody who doesn't have access to To health information you might serve. Try these cures as a as an attempt to prevent it from getting to you I'm not lying. I actually fell for that one. I figured why not. It can't hurt to know that I can still breathe deep breathing. Deep is very important in a panic but it will not help. Prevent the spread of Corona virus. Are you seeing hoaxes? In scams that are unique to this particular virus or to disease or is this just kind of the case of the people who do these things adapting their usual technique for new content. It's a little bit of both I honestly can tell you that I haven't seen this volume of misinformation and my three years of covering the beets So what we have is sort of existing players who have been spreading misinformation and we have people who have entered the field but most of all we have people sharing this stuff with each other. We're not going to be able to know the source of this stuff until we have a moment to take a step back and really analyze all the data that we've been gathering over the last little while but what we do know. Is that people in a panic. Have been sending this stuff to one another And that is sort of something that we all can do to help. Stop spreading it. How do you handle the volume? Do you kind of divvy it up into categories. Do you just try to rapid fire as they come in Do you try to have an overarching plan. That gets the right information out there. Saw for me. There's two very important things. One is to keep an eye on the real news real authorities have the CBC or news channels on at all times And really important for me to sort of understand the latest developments because the situation is changing hour by hour But the second important thing is for people to keep sending me hoaxes that they see because a lot of this is based on group chats and facebook groups. I don't always have access to To the misinformation that people might be seeing so essentially I am asking people to crowd source any misinformation that they might have come across and then I sort of If I've already debunked it then I'm able to send them back what we found. And if I then I added on to our running list of debunks how do you handle the gray area? 'cause I've seen a lot of this And Claire mentioned when we were recording the intro that she's heard people in the grocery store you know talking about well. I'm just going to eat a crap ton of garlic and that will help keep me safe now eating garlic's not bad for you. It's good for you but it's not going to help with this virus and I'm seeing a lot of information in that area where it's not kind of easily proven false but kind of gives people false hope if that makes sense. Yeah look it's we're at a point in time where okay to just say. We don't know we rely on the World Health Organization the CDC health authorities here in Canada to sort of keep us up to date with what they do and don't know in terms of healthcare's The World Health Organization has Been Very very good at tackling. Those false cures and that false hope. I think right now. It's really important to understand that with things like eating a lot of garlic or taking a lot of vitamin C. It's important to not overdo it. It's good to keep a healthy immune system. It's good to eat healthy. It's got exercise if you can. It's good to get some rest But none of that is gonNa Stop Corona virus from spreading And I think the important thing here is to remember how the virus functions which is that it can be passed on from person to person. Even if one of the people is a symptomatic so with health yours like eating garlic or eating lemons You can boost your immune system with the good food that you're might be making yourself while in isolation but that does nothing to change the external conditions. Ah that the virus relies upon to spread. I wanted to ask you about the people who are behind this and what their motives are. Do we know anything about that? Is it about profiting off of this? Is it about just spreading fear and chaos to have any idea? What's behind all the hoaxes luck? Right now we have very little idea of wear the hoaxes are coming from. We do know that hackers and bad actors online are targeting people in vast numbers cybersecurity researchers that I spoke with say that this is the highest volume or getting to be the highest volume of cyberattacks that they have ever tracked and it's very similar with misinformation. It's really difficult for us to attribute where it's coming from but like I mentioned earlier. What we do know is that once. A piece of miss or disinformation is online. The way it's spreads is organically which means it spreads by your friend saying hey I saw this thing online or your parents or grandparents saying hey. I saw this. I'm passing it on and that is the thing that we should be worried about right now. Making sure that the people around us are getting good. Information are spreading good information our social media platforms doing anything differently they are social media platforms are working with local. Governments to try to mitigate How much misinformation and disinformation spread on their platforms From what I've seen they've been removing things fairly quickly but of course not quickly enough It is still spreading. And it's important to note that over the last three years or so social media companies facebook. Google twitter have been under fire from activists lawmakers journalists for not doing enough to curb the spread of misinformation on their platforms and saw as a result they might not have a big robust infrastructure to target something that is this widespread globally and it is important to remember that this is global so while these companies primarily operate in English speaking countries in countries where the majority of the population doesn't speak English. Those hoaxes are still spreading and the fact checkers Might not have as much experience in those languages might not Have as robust of an infrastructure to tackle these hoaxes as we do in the English speaking world. What happens when some of the wrong information is coming from supposedly reliable sources? I guess I'm talking about Donald trump but he's not alone. There have been other officials sharing incorrect information. How do you deal with that? Yeah like it's a really difficult question in terms of what the authorities are telling us but this is the case were we should rely on medical health professionals as much as possible. Many of them have been on facebook on twitter on youtube trying to spread a good information. The health is the authorities like the world. Health Association has been proactively holding briefings and updating their website with any hoaxes that may be going around The positive side of this is that Be 'cause this is such a global Such a global pandemic there are reporters medical professionals authorities. Were trying to get good information out there. The best we can do is try to find those sources at hope that if they do spread Something that is false. They will correct because these organizations have a duty to correct their information. Before we let you go. Can we play some really rapid fire debunking with some of the most common ones that we've been seeing out there? Let's do it okay if I had a really bad cold in January zero chance that I had this already and I'm done with it maybe These symptoms are flu Coughing sort of exhaustion. If those are symptoms that you've had it's not impossible that you may have had this however there have been some cases of people who've had the illness testing positive for it again and it's very possible that even if you've had the illness you might still infect people around you so the best health advice that there is is to stay home stay isolated And try not to keep spreading it further. This virus will be gone when the warm weather comes or at least it'll almost vanish False absolutely no evidence for that advil in Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatories can exacerbate the risk of me getting cove in nineteen. This is a tricky one But so far there have been no pure reviewed academic studies that show that this is true. I can use a hairdryer to kill this thing. Nope it began with the onset of five g technology. And we're looking at a link absolutely not I can protect myself with silver and essential oils and vitamins and teas. Absolutely not and you. Us authorities have been cracking down on anybody that says you can. What should someone do if they see something online that they're worried a total hoax and it's being passed around in their facebook group? How can they get it to you so you can debunk it? First of all reported to the social media network second of all Google the information to make sure that it is false And maybe drop. The debunk in the conversation. And if it hasn't been debunked already please get in touch with me. I'm on twitter. My handle is Jane which is just Shea. An E. L. Y. TV You will also find my email on there. My last name is thirteen letters. Long Not GonNA spell it for you but please send information that may not have been debunked already straight to me and I will do my best to bunker. Thanks so much for taking the time out of your insane day to help us a little bit. All right thanks for having me Jane. La- Davidenko is the senior. Disinformation reporter at Buzzfeed News. And she's at home working there. I'm at home in my basement. Clair's in her closet. You're probably at home too late. You were doing our best to stay healthy and stay sane and we want to hear from you. We want to know what your world sounds like. If you're staying home what are you doing to pass the time? Are you binging everything on net flicks? Are you exercising for the first time in a while? Are you learning a new language Kudos to you if you are? That's a big one. Let us know record a thirty second. Clip yourself just use the voice recorder on your phone or even just take video. We'll just use the sound and you can email it to the big story podcast. That's all one word at our C. I. Dot ROGERS DOT COM or putting together. A compilation of what lockdown sounds like for us and our listeners. We may be physically apart during all of us. But we're all in it together. Thank you for listening. Stay healthy stay safe. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
Have you ever purchased a Bland?
"Every once in a while you read something or you see something or you hear something that makes things. Click into place in your mind and once that happens for you. The world is a little different forever. Today's episode will probably be one of those things. So i don't know if you've ever purchased the goods or the services provided by an upstart disruptor company before or not. If you have it can take many forms. You may subscribe to a shave for razors new razor from harris harris. Not saying you may have purchased one of those heavily discounted mattresses that come in a really cool box. You might even have done that. After hearing an ad on a podcast were hoping. To debunk the old school notion that you need a firm mattress or you may have cut out the middleman and purchased glasses from one of those sleek online stores that just need your prescription and your money and the lenses are on their way ohi. We're worby parker. You might have subscribed to a hipster clothing brands. Online monthly wardrobe subscription. I myself have been guilty of that one. You may have gotten your luggage or your coffee or your health insurance or your socks or your groceries from a startup. That does just that. And that's how you know that they really care and are really good. Just wanna make a difference in your shopping experience if you have done any of those things. Then congratulations you have purchased a bland. There are a million bland's there are more every minute. They all sell themselves as unique harris not say and they are all exactly the same and they are everywhere so today. We're going to learn about them just in time for your last minute holiday shopping. I'm jordan heath rawlings. This is the big story which is mostly not a bland but it could be ben. Shot is a visual columnist. For bloomberg opinion he he created the shots original miscellany and these shots almanac series. He writes for newspapers magazines around the world. I back hello. I want to ask you first. Where did you come up with the concept. The idea that we're talking about today because it really reads to me like you just have flash of insight and something occurred to you. Yes it sort of came like that. What it really was was a consequence of the quarantine lockdown in manhattan one of the strange things about manhattan basically empty. I mean you could literally walk down fifth avenue in the middle of the day and wouldn't be a single car so it was empty in march and april as it you know. The numbers became more ominous. And what you could see is the wood for the trees the trees for the word so you could see reliance on delivery workers and on package deliveries and homelessness because everything stood out because there was no crowd and the other thing you saw pretty much everywhere you went people delivering these boxes fedex and amazon and ups box after box after box and they all have these beautiful logos on them that all have similar look and feel and this tide was something that i've been feeling about branding in sort of the a phase western capitalism. That was this of the rise of the bland. We'll start then. Maybe by introducing us to it through the toothbrushes That you wrote about that. That was incredible. And i hadn't Even considered it. Until i saw them all in the same place like that. What are the brands Tell me the type and maybe even just lists their names because it's insane so people may have heard of quip so quick with this subscription toothbrush silver thin stylish sort of like the apple mac of toothbrushes and quip has been around for a bit then about a month ago two months ago now colgate introduced a toothbrush called home. Now what's interesting about is Has its own separate little website and it looks remarkably like quip and once you start looking quip next remarkably light gobi and burst and boker and rush and gleam and shine and there are dozens of these look like subscription toothpaste companies. Which have these very sort of edgy. Funky cool pastel modern. Sort of unthreatening sense. But it's a subscription toothbrush. And if you told my grandfather that people be spending money on a subscription tooth toothbrush. I mean he'd slapped me. It will just be outrageous to him but this has now become the new face of capitalism consumer capitalism. Why do people spend money like this on subscription toothbrushes. Well i mean. That's up to say the not good toothbrushes and maybe maybe actually a subscription means that you change your your toothbrush hair more often. It's beneficial teeth. And i'm not saying these products are bad. I'm just saying that they've created a new sense. And what's interesting about these products. And i dumped them. Bland for reasons. I'm sure we'll come onto is that they try in a sort of fly under the radar of rational thought that cool in that convincing and chummy and they sort of wanna friend and then not really like horrible old school brands. This sort of pounds. And that's what's actually interesting about hum by colgate is that it has all the look and the feel of one of these. Cheerful new breed brands. But it's got the big colgate logo the nathan so this tension between one of the cool new like upstart brands and one of the old. Fm cg sort of monolithic brands. How do you define something as a bland. do you have like a working definition in your head. Well i returned to the amazing judicial opinion on obscenity and pornography and the judge said you know when you see it And bland's have a similar sort of sense. What they really are and again. You knew them when you see them. They are brands that claimed simultaneously to be unique in in products and groundbreaking in design and purpose and singular in delivery while slavishly abang and identikit formula of business model. Look and feel and tone of voice and it's the business model the look and feel in the tone of voice once you identify them and group them together. You realize that. they're all the same but individually. They all seem to be unique. And that's the trick. Glands poll how do they do that they do it through look and feel and tone of voice so they tend to be neutral and clean and pastel. They tend to make claims to be underdogs. They always have an origin story narrative the humble they do one thing well they have these values these important values of consumer and community environment and aspirational that not cheap. So there's a huge blueprint and the article. I wrote for bloomberg opinion about two and a half thousand words and it goes through in tremendous detail. How these blance operate in terms of ascetics but also in terms of business with this is what i'm also really curious about. Is you know why do so many of them exist and you know in so many spaces because again the reason i started you off with toothbrushes. Because it's just such an innocuous everyday thing that you would never imagine There are twelve different companies vying for market share in but but that exists on almost every product now There must be a method behind this. Well i mean they pulled him thing to say that they are direct to consumers so what industries and brands and the brands that people may have heard of the old school the originator. Some of the earliest bland's were casper. Mattress company won't be parker the glass company away. The luggage company harry's this scripture shaving foam oskar the new york health insurance company and quip when you line them up they all sort of how this sensibility and because certain brands did very well sweet. Green the salad company. We'll be park especially the i'd losses company. They came in and they disrupted a very old established business model and then what happens is people in the same industry. Go hang on. We can do that too. We can then knockoff. Worby parker and there are dozens of. We'll be parker wanted wannabes. So people who say oh. The eyeglass industry is ripe for disruption. And why should this the only disruptor and then there are people who say. Aw we want to be the willoughby park of car hire or the will be part of a window. Cleaning we'll be puffer. Coffee pods says suddenly will be parked become. So my point is it works horizontally vertically horizontally people try and copy within that same grouping and vertically people borrow the success and say well how can we spin this off in other fields. What is their pinch to consumers because it's almost uniform. Yeah edens uniform. I when you line them up you realize so there were there were there. Were lots of elements to it. The first of all is the that underdogs so often they're funded by almost incomprehensible amounts of venture capital or angel investment but to say oscar for example. There strap line is. We didn't create oscar because we liked health insurance quite the opposite. There's the notion of their on your side. It's the man who's being you know having it good for too long. And they are absolutely out to disrupt the man and be good to the consumer. Now of course often. As i say he's a hugely wealthy funded companies and they eventually become the man but the sense of dog and that's linked to the origin story. The origin story is remarkable. They all have the same sense. Just this this bizarre notions candidate once upon a time. Five of us started talking about our teeth or keeps stephen. Dmitri met the first week of college back when they both had very full heads of hair. It's this notion that they're just regular joes who ally you know. We need a better sneaker. We're going to set out an inventor and it's really there are literally thousands of sneaker browns and all you re doing anything that innovative you know. It's funny we touched on it at the very beginning when you talked about the look and the feel of the toothbrushes and it kind of brushed up against it A minute ago when you talked about kind of the origin story. And all i can think of when i hear this is like that sounds like apple like that. Sounds like a you know the very beginnings of their brand. Is that where this all comes from. Well i mean you can't have a conversation about any of modern branding without apple and almost all of these brands. Aspire i think sort of publicly or privately to be the apple of their space and the reason why is that apple is incredibly clean and simple and distinctive and it has some of the greatest design. Heads it's almost comprehensible market value. The difference between these blands and an apple is apple has been doing this for forty four years right. So apple has been fighting and it's been stumbling and it's been working incredibly hard and it's constantly wrong-footed its users. So i'm the one. I had a an apple laptop. And we're going to get rid of the cd drive. That is impossible. This is insane could you. How are we going to download software without a cd player linked into my incredibly heavy laptop and they constantly do they take away the headphone jacks from that. Everyone's in uproar and then everyone goes and buys bluetooth headphones. So is this remarkable example of a brand that actually takes incredibly brave decisions. Gets things wrong gets things right moose ford and it's a riot at this point. After fool decades now it started off being the great giant killer against ibm. But now it's up the way more successful in some ways than idea. And it's now just like a crisp silhouette shiny from screen and everything you know about. Apple is summed up in that one silhouette but it took a long time to get there. Now what the bland's do like the away suitcases or mossy apple of suitcases. is they. try and start. Where apple ends they think right. We are just going to stop exactly going to learn everything that apple did and that's going to be baseline but they didn't invent necessarily and they don't innovate. They just copied the playbook and copying someone else's playbook is really truly successful business design strategy in my opinion how to blends actually make money. Do they make money. It seems like there's too many of them fighting for the same space for for any of them are at least very few of them to be reasonably successful. Well some do make money and some spin off. And i mean this is. This is the other thing is that brands are in to exit so a lot of these brands not all of them are not there to set up multigenerational companies. They're not bad. Become these huge successful long term companies. What they're trying to do is accelerate customer acquisition to launch velocity before spinning off an ipo or seeking acquisition from a competing company. So uba and postmates or lululemon who bought mirror or petsmart and chewy so often it's about blitz scaling to acquire as many customers as possible to look as big as you can and then essentially selling through an ipo so you float on the stock exchange or you essentially said it to one of your original competitors and there's a sense to which these some of these bounds almost engaged in a form of corporate blackmail. So they come along to. Let's not name names but they come along to say widget. X. like x. is a big consumer market and there's a couple of very big brands and they disrupt that they disrupt market ex gets disrupted and this super bland comes along and all the work they spend a fortune to acquire customers and then the companies they were competing against the old school lumbering big old fashioned browns thing. Oh my god. We have three options. Either we just get absolutely crushed by this competition. All try and spin off our own super cool. Bland which is what colgate tried to do with Or we just by the upstart me. Bring it in and we just own it. We own competition and that happens not infrequently of course the consumer who bought this suco. Cool upstart bland. It's like hang on a sec. I light you because you're like cool and not the man now. The man is brought us. So where do i stand but by this stage. The founders have escaped and they've made that hundred million dollars and everyone's happy. So how do plans do when they're acquired by mega corporations like how does hyung-doo for colgate do people buy do. They know it's colgate and and that's why it doesn't succeed. Well the truth. I don't know i hamas relatively new. Okay i mean. I laughed out loud. if you go to the Little mini site. It as i say looks like no other colgate toothbrush. Colgate toothbrushes on their website. Look like this and Looks completely different. Sort of tomato red. It's what cool. Sand sarah childish. All noah case. It's very friendly. it's very sort of gender fluid. It's very much of this particular design aesthetic moment but what's hilarious is underneath. The harm is the colgate logo. Now i have no idea. This is true. But i'd be willing to bet ten bucks. There was a meeting where the design people say. We should just call it. And then there's the branding old school people go to put the colgate logo without realizing that. Sorta destroys the entire point because it sort of negates the entire sense of an upstart because it's making claims to this old fashioned brand. Now the answer is how. How plans do well some do well. In some dote summit hugely successful has spun successfully and some will fall by the wayside. I think it's been a weird year. Because the ipo market. Obviously kobe has been strange. I think some will make a lot of money and the rest will make no money. And a vast amounts of venture capital will be burned in the interim. Is there such a thing as a unique bland or is that an oxymoron. I mean one of the ones you had in your piece is frank and should know. You're talking to us from canada frankin okay. Proudly canadian company is often trumpeted as a canadian owned and operated success. Story up here Bland's unique i think the onset of his by definition no because what they are trying to do is buy into this sort of cullman ascetic now within that they can do good work and bad work and they can be better than others or worse than others. I think the. I think the the initial revolutionaries probably onto something. I think everyone has followed in the footsteps. Isn't that's not to say that they're bad especially important emphasize. I'm not saying that bland's put me as a blinds has a pejorative sense to it. Matt is sort of easy and fun to slightly. Mock them when you put all of their origin stories together and you realize that they're identical since you could move around all the different words between these brands. And they don't make sense because that it really claim to originality because true originality is actually quite shocking. Some of them are is superb. I sit here in wearing. We'll be pocket losses. And i love them. I'm not saying that these are bad products. I'm just saying it's absolutely fascinating. How common they are in. Look and feel and tone of voice and business model when what they are saying is we are unique and special and there's no one quite like us when there are literally dozens of people like them. Can you take an existing product or brand and make it into a bland in order to make it cooler. Could we make this podcast into a bland. I mean it's funny. I don't wanna get us into trouble. But there's a huge overlap between the people who advertise on po costs. The browns advertisement costs and bland's this is sort of huge overlap and again. There's nothing wrong with. It's just kind of amusing and poke costs. Have this sort of sensor of that kind of friendly there in your ear. They had this pinky punky music. This sort of up speak. It's all like hey welcome. It's a nice warm bubble bath. Everyone's welcome personally attacked here. That's okay but listen. It's hugely successful. And that's that's the aesthetic of disk communications medium in the way that twitter has its own. Instagram has an attack. In fact you bite an entire article. And i may well do about the overlap between instagram. Acetic and blanding and again there are so many buyers that have seen to only exist on instagram. The plant lumberjack shirt to which you could find thousands of examples on instagram. that instagram is useful for selling axes. I mean really. People really need beautiful elaborate stylish access tons out. They do so yes. There is an overlap between all of these things. And i suppose for me. The question is how long does this movement last have we reached peak bland and one of the things that totally stomach was reaction to this piece. This is probably had more action. Little missed anything. I've ever written and i think almost like a stand up comedian. What i did was. I just put my finger on something that people sort of been feeling for many months if not years and once you put a name to it that got that exact. I think these are all the same these brands and people sort of feel vaguely conned. I think but i should say to. Ceo's of companies mentioned in this piece. So i'm not going to name wrote to me to say you know what hands up you got us. One of the guy says. I don't know why writing to you but you absolutely nailed it and i feel as you say i feel will see but you know it's working so i'm gonna stick with that you just mentioned have we reached peak bland. How would we know when that happens when new attempts at this Start to just be ignored when they start to lose priority in your instagram feed. Which you know is how. I encounter them How will we know when the business model is changing. Well i think like everything sees it. I in the rear view mirror. It's a bit like when you have a headache. You never noticed a moment. The headaches gone you go. I have a headache for that. And i think you know. I think that's the case with lots of sort of cultural movements. You really see the moment. I mean occasionally. When when bob dylan stood up and free. Trade hold on goes electric. Amac shouts judas. Well all right. That's exactly a moment where the culture changed. But you don't really see those moments. I do think bland's have tipped and i do think this piece was lucky enough. I think to call it on the crest of the wave. And i think we are at a moment and actually i'm writing a piece which i will happen to come back and talk about and should be interested on what i think is next. And it's a sort of some of bland and it's using a lot of the same techniques in a slightly disruptive and alienating so i think there are signs of the backlash or rather than next step but again you tend to see it in the review riviera. Then thank you so much for coming on and talking to us about this One of the most fascinating things. I've read this year. Thank you ben. Shot visual columnist for bloomberg opinion. That was the big story for more from us. Head to the big story. Podcast dot ca or find us at frequency podcast network dot com. You can of course find us in any podcast player. You prefer apple. google stitcher. Spotify doesn't matter you can also write to us. The big story podcast. That's all one word. All lower case at our dot rogers dot com and as always. We are on twitter at big story f. p. n. claire broussard stephanie. Phillips and ryan clark produced the big story analysts nielsen is our digital editor. Joseph fish was an associate producer all this week and we were so grateful to have him. And we're so grateful that you listened. Thanks for doing that. I'm jordan heath rawlings. Stay safe this weekend. We'll talk tomorrow.
Whats different about modern conspiracy theories?
"As long as we have told stories we've had conspiracy theories. So no, it's not that weird that there are people out there who believe America is run by the deep state, and there's a child sex ring in the basement of a Washington pizza parlor. Yes, the stories are weird. And they're not true. But you're always gonna find them. What is worth wondering about though is the impact of modern communications on all of these wild beliefs. Are we pouring gasoline onto theories like pizza gate and Q in on and keeping them burning when they would otherwise Peter out on their own. If these theories take root in enough mines will we eventually start to find that some of those minds are willing to go further than others. And if that happens do we end up with now. America right now, are there more believers and conspiracy theories than there's ever been before. Does it just feel that way? And are they getting more dangerous or do we just hear about it more often? And if we've always had conspiracy theories than what's the original one where did that story come from. Jordan, heath Rollings. And this is the big story and a Merlin is a senior reporter at Gizmodo media group. She is the author of Republic of lies American conspiracy theorists and their surprising rise to power and is your country. More obsessed with conspiracy theories than anywhere else in the world for does it just feel that way right now. I don't think that it's safe to say that we are the most obsessed with certainly feels that way, and we are certainly uniquely able to broadcast are conspiracy theories because of our sort of stranglehold on the world media. Yeah. Well, why do I know about pizza gate, for instance? Great question. Why do you know about pizza, you know, about pizza gay because a because it is a very colorful and people could hardly resist writing about it. And e because pizza gate was an outgrowth of the frenzy around the two thousand sixteen US presidential elections, which everybody sort of couldn't help but be pretty invested in. And so for those of us who blessedly have not dug into this thing. I think we all kind of know that like pizza gigs ists, and it's a conspiracy theory in the United States. But how does something like that get started? Where did it come from pizza was a conspiracy theory that a bunch of high level democratic politicians and political operatives were involved in a child sex trafficking? Ring that was headquartered in the basement of a pizza parlor in Washington DC. That's a short version what we know. And there was a really amazing investigative report about this that ran in Rolling Stone. And on a website called reveal is that pizza gate seems to have been born from Facebook post written by a Missouri attorney name's Cynthia Campbell and basically Cynthia Campbell with convinced that the investigation into Anthony Weiner, the ex congressman who is being investigated for sending sexually explicit text. Messages to a fifteen year old was in fact, going to uncover this enormous sex trafficking scandal. Volving dozens and dozens of high level politicians and what we know too. Is that Cynthia Campbell's Facebook post got picked up and spread around by mixture of real people. And what we think are probably bought accounts and so- pizza gate because of this impossibly strange sort of mixture of factors gained incredible speed and got to the point where it became world-famous. It became disgust in every major media outlet. And at the end of this time someone showed up out the pizza parlor with a gun. What happened? So the gunman was from North Carolina, and he had been watching YouTube videos about pizza gate, and he started texting friends, we know this from court documents and said that it was making him sick. And as he sat there watching YouTube and spiraling. He decided I need to do something about this. He started texting his friends and asking them if they were quote up for raiding a PetO ring and he said possibly sack. Profiling the lives of the few for the lives of many standing up against a corrupt system that kidnaps tortures, and rapes babies and children in our own backyard goes on like that. So he left his own children sleeping in bed and climbed into the car and drove three hundred and fifty miles to Washington DC walked into comet ping pong pizza place with a gun to guns actually won an air fifteen and fired a couple shots which luckily did not hit anyone. We don't know what went through his mind. But we know that he rampage to the restaurant looking for this basement where he thought he's children were that as it turned out didn't exist comment, ping pong didn't have a basement and eventually you gave up but down his guns stripped off his sweatshirt went outside and surrendered. How does somebody end up taking a theory like this so seriously and having the belief in it embedded, so firmly in their mind, I guess that leads them to do this like I can understand people bullshitting on the internet. That's what they do. But how does it cross that line and become something that that is real to so many people? We have a lot of a whole massive sort of conflicting studies about who believes in conspiracy theories. And why and it is this really potent mixture of your social, cultural, political background your level of educational attainment, and sort of how well the political system and the country that you live has worked for you. You know, a lot of people who feel really disaffected or disenfranchised are more likely to buy into conspiracy theories. So in the case of the pizza gate gunman. You know, we don't know quite what was going on with him. We have a few hints. We know that he was deeply religious. We know that he was a little bit naive about news coverage. We know that he was again radicalized is the only word for it by repeated viewing of these propagandistic YouTube videos, but it's really hard to predict who is going to sort of dabble in conspiracy theories as a hobby on the internet, and who is going to be driven to extreme action in the way that. This man was you went to an event that was for pizza gate truth IRS, I guess if we want to call them that maybe not as serious as as the span, but people who really believe this stuff enough to show up in real life. What's it like to beat these folks, I would say that among the pizza gate, folks? And a lot of other folks, I met I was really struck by the way that their beliefs were giving sort of meaning and purpose and urgency to their lives. You know, these were people who seemed like ordinary people to me who became completely embroiled in what I think in some ways was a very exciting quest. And we see this now with on conspiracy theorists to where they really feel like they are part of something really major that they are helping to expose something of global importance example of one of the people that you met either at that rally or or in your. Course of reporting on conspiracy theories that that sticks with you as a kind, of example of who falls for this stuff. Well in America, we know that about fifty percent of us or maybe one in three believe, and at least one conspiracy theory. So, you know, like most of us, quote unquote fall for this a lot of us have an investment in conspiracy theories. The people I met who are in sort of the deep end of the pool for instrument, for instance, a woman named angel that I met at pizza eight rally were people who felt directly affected by what was going on. They felt directly affected by corrupt politicians. They felt directly sort of fended by the idea of sex trafficking and a sex trafficking ring. And they felt that they were personally obligated to do something about it. It's interesting that you mentioned that a lot of us kind of believe, or at least dabble in one conspiracy theory or another because I was gonna ask you about the difference between conspiracy theories. And conspiracy without the theories kind of because the one that my mind always goes to the moon landing or the extra shooter for JFK, and there's like long lists of actual evidence that people engage in you know, the that the flag was Steph or in the case of JFK the evidence from the grassy knoll and all that kind of stuff. But there's actually something that they're based on here. Whereas you just described to me that the restaurant didn't even have a basement, you know, are we getting further out there. I actually don't think that we're getting further out there in America. And I can I'm qualified to talk about America. I'm not as qualified to talk about on their countries. But we know that in America conspiracy theories, and they're sort of grip on the country tend to wax, and wane, and we tend to see them kind of flare up at times of like, really extreme social upheaval and social change. And we also know in America specifically that there is such a keen interest and investment in conspiracy theories because there are so many actual conspiracies throughout. American history. If a conspiracy theory is the suspicion that a group of people are working in secret against the common. Good conspiracy is when they're actually doing that and among other things Americans have examples of spying disinformation and really outrageous acts by the CIA NSA, the FBI against both foreign leaders in US, citizens, which has created this incredible amount of suspicion and trauma and paranoia that I came to believe we're never really going to be able to get rid of one of the things I found interesting in part of your book is sort of the origin of like the original conspiracy theory. Can you tell me about the great great great grandfather of pizza gate and all these other theories? So there are historically going back. Many hundreds of years conspiracy theories about shadowy groups gathering at night underground to meet in secret and participate in ritual child abuse, torture and murder to sort of solidif-. By their bonds. There's middle. Medieval historian, named Michael Barbas. Add who pointed out the pizza gate looks a lot like what is called the nocturnal ritual fantasy which is a phrase coined by norm cone, another historian. So the nocturnal ritual fantasy is this idea of these shadowy groups meeting in secret rate, and one of the most sort of her Nisus and vicious examples that this is the blood libel, which is an accusation levied against Jews beginning in the middle ages that they were kidnapping and torturing Christian children to use their blood in our Matza meal for Passover. So the idea that evil people gather secretly to abuse children is something that has been with us for a really long time. And it tends to recur over and over how much of this involves money, not necessarily maybe for the people who believe in this stuff, but for the people who are pushing it so they're definitely an interest in monetize thing conspiracy theories. And I would argue that that is. Is something that is relatively new. There is more of a pathway to monetize conspiracy theories than there used to be obviously, the most successful example of this is Alex Jones, Alex Jones built a pretty sophisticated media platform, and he also separately started a store called info wars life that are these vitamin supplements some of which are harmless and some of which are not, but all of which are very directly tied to this idea that his listeners are literally under siege physically as well as spiritually and politically. And so that they need, you know, vitamin supplements to protect them from the enemy. So we see monetization of conspiracy theories that way, we also see sort of an army of would-be Alex Jones is trying to monetize things like their YouTube their Twitter periscope. We see these people who seem to have an idea that they can turn their social media audiences into real financial gain. And in some cases, they seem to be succeeding how much of this can I blame. Social media for I feel like asked this question for a lot of things. So I haven't different view about this. Then, you know, like some conspiracy theory, researchers that I really respect I think social media has a fairly big role because it allows more people to see information that they would not otherwise seen and it has a way of flattening every source of information making it look the same. So Facebook has tried to roll out these initiatives to flag disinformation, but it has been very sort of inconsistent and confused and crucially it did not happen until after the disaster of the two thousand sixteen elections and all the misinformation that we know was flowing through those. So I would say that I think social media has done a lot to promote things. It's also done a lot to bring conspiracy theories to the attention of journalists. So that we write about them which is both a positive because we do bunk them, and we write about where they came from and a negative in that perhaps we do also aid in their spread. It's really hard to tell. So I think this. Media is an enormous factor. Here you mentioned the misinformation around the two thousand sixteen election, and we have an election up here in Canada this year. So we're seeing some of that where's the line because like you said pizza get kind of spraying out of the mess around the two thousand sixteen election, and then there's a line the kind of drifts over towards perhaps credible. Sources that say things that may be happened in maybe didn't. And then you've got more opinion based journalism and at the other side of the spectrum is the actual facts. How do you tell the difference between conspiracy theories slash misinformation slash just opinion based political writing? Yeah. I mean, it's incredibly hard to tell. Sometimes what is it credible source information? I am somebody who writes for an opinion based journalism outlet, Gizmodo media combines opinion and journalism. I would argue that we do not spread misinformation we never had but have, but certainly not everyone would agree with me about that. Right. So some of what you believe to be true or false sneer misinformation. The the real story has to do with where you fall on the political spectrum. But we also know that there are genuinely divisive polarizing news sources that work really hard to exploit divisions in American life. We do know that. But denting them can be really really difficult. I was my next question is how do you fight this? Is there a way to sort of start walking back some of these more outlandish conspiracies, or do you have to kind of wait for it to wax, and wane? Like, you said, I would argue and I understand that. This is not a popular argument that the way to address conspiracy theories the civically in American life is to build a more just transparent and free society. Because so many of the conspiracy theories that we hold as Americans have to do with a sense of being locked out of a very opaque, political and financial system and healthcare system. I would also say and people don't like this either that there are always going to be conspiracy 'they. Series and some amount of misinformation, I think that is part of having a vibrant environment of free speech and free expression free exchange of ideas. So what we need to figure out is how do we put conspiracy theories and other forms of misinformation sort of back where they usually are for the more stable parts of our history where they are part of the discourse that they don't do rail. It were there any theories in the course of reporting this book that you found yourself intrigued by or getting attracted to I mean, I went into writing this book believing that aliens are probably real. And so I still believe that. Yeah. Why are liens real? We have to end the podcast with this. Now, I would say that we have a number of pretty good arguments for believing that aliens are probably real, and we probably do not know everything that the world's governments know about alien technology or alien vegetation. So aliens are probably real because the idea that we are completely alone in the universe is. Statistically unlikely. Right. We also know that both the governments of the US and the UK at the very least have had a really keen interest in trying to identify UFO's and figure out what they are and study technologies that they believe might be alien technologies, or at the very least technologies whose source here on earth has not yet been identified, and we know that in part because at the end of two thousand seventeen just to name one example out of dozens a secret department of defense program was revealed that was doing just that was studying possible alien technologies. So that's one that is pretty noncontroversial. For me, though. Of course, you know, there are a lot of permutations of it that I don't necessarily believe this is fantastic because I came into this interview expecting to get everything debunked. And now I have something that I can go on YouTube and watch videos about what is the most. Unexpected thing you learned or found well reporting this book, this is a really prosaic example. But. I was one of my chapters is about redemption theory, which is a branch of sovereign citizenry that essentially tries to get out of paying taxes. Like, it's it's essentially a belief that the government is holding secret money in your name. And if the do the right set of legal maneuvers, you can get access to this secret Bank account that's held by the government, and you can in some cases, get out of paying federal taxes. So the thing that surprised me about this is that there is a whole army of IRS agents who are devoted to investigating these people and trying to charge them with fraud. Because in a lot of times, redemption theorists end up committing tax fraud. But that those IRS agents use fake names and fake identities in order to investigate which I thought was fascinating. They have reasons why they do it. But at the same time, it is something that directly feeds people's paranoia about the financial system, and the IRS and the US government. So that was to me is literally a conspiracy theory investigating people who believe in. Spiracy fairies. Thanks so much for taking the time for having me. Anna Merlin senior reporter at Gizmodo media group and author of Republic of lies that was the big story for more from us at over to the big story, podcast dot C A and check out some of our other episodes or suggest one you'd like us to cover feel free to find us on social media at frequency pods on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and on Twitter at the big story, F P N. And as always everywhere, you get your podcast. We're there to from apple Google the Stitcher to Spotify. We wanna rating and a review Claire Broussard is the lead producer of the big story. Ryan Clark and Stephanie Phillips are associate producers and Lisa Nielsen is our digital editor. And she's who you're talking to. If you hit us up on social media. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan heath Rawlings. Enjoy the long weekend. We'll talk to you Monday.