20 Episode results for "Jordan Heath Rowlings"
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.
Should We Presume Consent on Organ Donation?
"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 currencies 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. I am not an organ donor. I didn't know that. I thought I was I support it. I think it's important that when I'm gone, I help him ever. I can somewhere along the way either missed signing a form or I said, no where I'll do it later because I was in a hurry or something. Anyway, I checked and I'm not and this combination of public support without a follow through is not exactly unique in Canada. Which is why what's being proposed right now. And may soon become law in Nova Scotia is so important. No, this is soon to become the first area North America to adopt presume consent for organ donation under the proposed law almost everyone in Nova Scotia would be considered potential organ donors, unless they opt out presumed consent might not save the life of everyone on waiting lists and Canada right now, but it would get us closer. Why hasn't it happened? It's being proposed a few times and kind of like me, and maybe you and actually becoming a donor just. Never quite gets done. So what kind of obstacles still stand in the way of passing? What would be the first Bill of this kind in North America? Why do people resist even though they might publicly support? Organ donation how big an impact with this actually have and does presumed consent even matter if you haven't had a critical conversation. I. Jordan, heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. Andrea Picard is the health reporter for the global mail. He's covered organ donation in candidate extensively. Tell me what's happening with organ donation in Nova Scotia, and how big a deal is this. Scotia is proposed something called to presume consent. So they would presume that you want to donate your organs in less. You say otherwise that gonna flip on its head the current approach we have it's a fairly big deal. It hasn't been done many places in the world. It certainly hasn't been done in Canada. It's been done only in a few European countries. So it's a big deal. I think symbolically more than anything else. What is the current organ donation rate in Canada, I'm assuming it's low or Nova Scotia wouldn't be trying to flip this on its head. It depends on who you ask. But it's about eighteen point two donors per million. So that's it's actually fairly high when you compare globally, but it's quite low compared to say a country like Spain we have about half the rate. How great is the need. What are the wait lists like in Canada? Well, that's what's driving. This kind of approach is we have really a lot of tremendous waits for people. The real desperation. Currently I looked there's about forty six hundred people on the weightless across. Canada for an organ about half of those are for kidneys. And then the rest are, you know, heart Liber lung and a lot of people sadly die while they're on the wait list every year, and even though I say forty six hundred it's huge number it, really understates the number of people who who need organs because we simply just don't put them on the wait list because there's until they're desperately in need because there's no point how come it seems like so many of us, and I just did an informal survey around the office today because we were going to be talking to you so many of us support organ donation, but when it comes to it, we actually so I don't have my name on my health card as an organ donor, which is insane. Because I obviously support it. And I thought I did and I did that to a few other people, and I've found the rate was like forty percent of people who thought they were organ donors. We're actually organ donors. Well, the actual stats is polling shows that about ninety percent of Canadians agree, they think organ donations. Great thing. They do it and about twenty percent, actually. Fine. So we're actually registered organ donors. So there's a real disconnect between the idea and the act, and that's that's the gap. We have to feel how does that happen? I think it happens because as you said a lot of people think, oh, I I must be an organ donor. And I'm a good person. You know, I think I said that when I signed my driver's license, but we we don't make it easy in Canada. So there's these steps depending on the province, it can be very easy or somewhat difficult. So some provinces you can go online and do it. Some you have to sign your health cards. I'm it's your driver's license. Some two separate form. So the kind of mishmash of rules around and the those who argue for presumed consent say it would be a lot easier to just presume everyone wants to do it. Because that's what the polls do it. And then those who don't want to should have to to make the effort to to withdraw to to say, no, I don't consent has there been a lot of opposition to what Nova Scotia's doing. There's a lot of philosophical opposite. Missions. So people say, you know, this violation of rights a lot of provinces have talked about this. Then decided not to bring forward laws because there's a feeling that'll probably violate the constitution. I I don't think that's clear, you know, there's been rulings. You can't have presumed consent for paying your cable Bill. But I think when it comes to organ donation, it's a slightly different legal argument. So I think would probably stand up, but I think it'd be would be a tough thing to to go ahead with we'll see if Nova Scotia actually follows through they have in fact promises in the past not done it. So we'll see what kind of obstacles are still in the way before this actually becomes a presumed consent province. Do you have to pass the law? And then the big one is there will undoubtedly be a court challenge. So that that's the big one is this constitutional under Canada's law. So so we don't know the answer to that. What are the arguments that would be made in that kind of a situation when people oppose presumed consent or? Mandatory organ donation what kind of arguments did they rely on a boat to if the right to decide what to do with your body. So very similar arguments to assisted death. You should actively agree to something to an act even after well, you're not quite dead yet. So you should actively agree. So there has to be consent. And we we shouldn't presume things like that. We shouldn't presume people want an assisted death. We shouldn't presume they wanna give away your organs. They should have to state it in a in a very concrete fashion. So it's a pretty straightforward legal argument. The question becomes then where it gets blurry is is this in the greater public interest to to assume this and then to force people to withdraw. So you know, it won't be ever mandatory. Even if this passes because you will have the right to to refuse and even a country like everybody points to Spain's being us at presume consent since nineteen Seventy-nine. But even there about fifteen percent of people sign a registry and say, they don't want to donate. So that you always have to have that outlet or won't there's no hope of it being constitutional. What does the healthcare community in general think about presumed consent? Will I am assuming they think it's a step in the right direction. But would they prefer mandatory? I think we'll know one can't be mandatory. That's not gonna happen be. There's always going to have to be the right to throw. I think the the medical community like everyone else's is divided on this legally. I think what people would like ideally is that we just have more voluntary donation and more importantly, you know, I I've always argued it doesn't really matter what the law is. It's a whole about systems. So in Canada, even people who signed their donor cards organs get wasted. We have they call it in the medical field that conversion rate, so the number of potential donors, and remember there's very few very few of us are going to die in a way that we're brain dead, and our organs can be harvested, very small number to start with in candidates about three thousand people out of four hundred thousand people who die year. So it's very tiny. Percentage less than one percent. But in Canada only vote a quarter of those people actually a sixth of those people actually their organs get donated. So that that's where the problem lies. The problem is not in the signing our cards. The problem is in converting the the organs that are available and getting them into people. And that's an issue about how you ask the family. It's about do you have surgeons on staff. Can you get your, you know, Canada's a big country? Can you get an organ to a person who needs it? We in a very few hours while it's still good for transplant. So there's a lot of technical issues that are I think much more important than than whether we have presumed concentre a you mentioned convincing both people to sign their cards. I guess initially. But also convincing family members. What are some of the myths or or misinformation that people typically have when they think about this. What are some of the things that stops them from doing that? Well, the big one the big missed out there as well. You don't you're just gonna unplug by loved one. Because they've got these good organs, and you wanna? You know, you want to use his heart even though he has a chance of getting better. So that's that's the big one people think that we're going to kill someone to harvest organs. And you know, the rules are really clear and a lot of failsafe methods in there to make sure someone is brain dead. We have rules in Canada. Now they've been slightly made easier that you can actually use organs from people are not brain dead. But who have their heart is no longer functioning you can still use other parts of their body. And that's that's important. But I think that's the big myth is. I think we over so medicine, generally, and people think that, you know, someone who has had a traumatic brain injury is gonna miraculous miraculously get better, and they're not. So that's to me. That's the important thing. You know, this is to have these discussions with your family as with all these really emotional issues. It snowed about the law. It's about people spam. Lease consenting. I think that's all important, even if we have a law, and we know this from other countries, even if there's a law, and it's pro. Zoomed that you're gonna give your organs, and you know, some one of your family members is throwing themselves over the body saying no don't do. It. Don't do it. They're not going to drag you away and do it. You know, there's always going to be barrier. So it's important to have the family on side. So we should to me we should discuss this stuff. Hey, if I m I know you don't like that. I have a motorcycle. But I've ever if I ever crash it, please give my organs, you know. And you remember we we just had the anniversary of the Humboldt disaster, the bus crash, and you know, one of the one of the players in that tragedy had had that conversation with your family so happened, and he became, you know, this well known Canadian hero forgiving all his organs, and so many families had a discussion just because of that that the donation rate in BC, for example, almost doubled overnight really as if that one gesture from this this young man, so that that's what it takes. It takes the public discussion. It's taking away that that fear that people have. You know, people don't like to talk about death. And I think it's you don't it's going to jinx them. I'm going to die. If I talk about giving, my organs, but I couldn't hear you. That's not the case would little do it. Make it easier on your family. If you if you are in that condition are there any campaigns going on or is there anything that we've done in the past? That's been proven to move the needle on this. Because it strikes me that we just, you know, as you mentioned, the disconnect is between the number of people who say, they support it and the number of people who will actually go and get it done. Yeah. The one thing that moves the needle. We know this is that is win tragedies occur. So this humble to is a perfect example. You know, Ryan he's become known by his first name. He made. This gesture I it it moves people. So you have to make it personal for people. That's what moves the needle no matter of bureaucracy set new forms in the mail. So I think that's the key one is to have these stories. So the media plays a big role. And the second part is just make it easy. You know, I talked before about there's too many. To this. Make it easy. Have the discussions make this part of our everyday conversations that that's what will change thing since we began being able to do these transplants relatively successfully what's the trend been like in terms of organ donation because I just wonder if you know over time, you actually see more and more people opting in or if we sort of have our baked and attitudes in it hasn't really moved in general, obviously. Yeah. So we've only been doing transplants depending on the organ, but since about the nineteen sixties some of them not till the eighties. So this relatively new medical technology and the trend the reading portent trend is just demand. So no one ever dreamed. We would be doing thousands of transplants year, which we do. It's almost routine now to do things like kidney transplants. So we just there's just not the number of people does number donors vailable and the other side of the equation is we've done tremendously on public safety. So car crashes the number of people injured in car and motorcycle crashes down dramatic. So the input is much less that they need is much greater, and and that's why you see these huge weightless. So there's some good news hidden in this bad news. You know, we often talk about I've mentioned Spain a couple of times, everyone sport. Oh, if only we had the organ donation rate of Spain while Spain has an polling number of deaths on highway they have a lot more organs because a lot more people die needlessly. So that's not exactly the way we want to solve this problem. So increasingly what we're having these technological discussions. So now, we can people are growing organs in pigs that can be transplanted into humans. And and we're very close to that. There's parts of pigs that we transplant now like heart valves, and they won't be long before we can grow livers, and and maybe even hurts in in animals and not have to count on people dying. So are we going to raise past the need to get this rate up from around twenty percent, then hopefully, but it's not gonna happen overnight. This is gonna be decades. There's a lot of ethical issues that they. There's even religious issues, if you, you know, if you don't believe in using if you're kosher or do you wanna pig heart, others complicated issues in there with all these technologies? So it's that's not gonna happen overnight. But it is a longer term. Hope you mentioned that this kind of varies province to province. Are there? Any other provinces that have come this far? And are there any other provinces that might sort of pick up on this soon? Everybody talks about it. So before the last schedule and election Bradwell had promised that he'd pestle off. He got reelected. He didn't he left? So these things these discussions come and go, but no one's actually implemented. It yet actually Nova Scotia came the closest they introduced a Bill, but it died on the order paper during election earlier as someone who's seen these come and go a few times. What do you think about Nova Scotia's? This is close to happening as it's been so far. Do you think we actually get through this? I think it's quite possible this legislation passes. I'm not convinced. It will make a difference. So I think that's the more important part. I think it's more important to have more technical, you know, more practical stuff on the ground, teaching, nurses. How to make the ask the old important asked to the family. You know, I've written many stories on this over the years. That's the key is knowing how to approach the family in this time of great grief, and and tragedy and to talk to them about listen, you can make a difference. You you've lost your son, but you can make a difference to eight other people you can save their lives. Literally, those discussions are really powerful. And they make the difference between donation and not donations. So just having the the presumption that someone will give their organs it's not not gonna make that any easier, and it's not going to change the having the input from the family. They may not have veto. But you still have to have them on side. And when you say changing the law itself won't make much of a difference. That's because of the numbers game. And also because you still need the permission of the family, I presume. Yeah. Do you need it, technically? You know, not theoretic not theoretically. But I think practically you're still going to need it. And it's it's the issues on the on the frontline. It's you know, how many organ donations are done in Nova Scotia in a year only a couple of hundred it's a very small number maybe this'll boost the availability of a couple of organs. But are they to have the technical ability to get them into people that that's where we have to invest when you change change a law. You there's a lot of follow up to do. And that's really what we haven't heard about yet or the investments going to be there to back up this philosophy. Do we do any training specifically about having that tough conversation that you mentioned, well, that's the difference between the hospitals that have really good conversion rates than those that don't those who have dedicated usually it's a nurse who does this, and they have very very successful organ donation rates. So we do some training and where we do. It's very successful. And for the most part, we don't. Unfortunately. And just finally for our listeners because I was kind of interested to hear this as well, even if you have signed your card and your down as a donor, you still need to have that conversation with your loved ones because they'll still be ultimately the ones between you, and and those organs getting to someone who needs them. Yeah. You have to have that conversation because one we have terrible electron records in Canada. Somebody nobody knows that you've signed your card as I said before your loved one is throwing themselves on your on your body is they're not going to drag them out and your organs. It's practical stuff. It should be a willing loving donation, regardless of what the law, thanks for this Andre. I thank you. Andre Picard health reporter at the global mail. That was the big story for more from us. We're at the big story podcast dot CA with all our other episodes. You can even search him. You can contact us. You can suggest the story idea, and you can find us on social media at v big story. F P N or at frequency pods on Twitter on Facebook on Instagram. We are as always wherever you get your podcast. You would love a rating and a review show us. You love us or tell us you don't thanks for listening. I'm Jordan heath Rowlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
What is the car of the future? And who builds it?
"The big story is brought to you by Scotia. I trade there's a traitor in all of us. When a plant that employs thousands of people goes dark, your I thought should be for those families are government will always stand with our utter workers do everything we can to support them in these difficult. Government will stand shoulder to shoulder with them. We'll do whatever it takes to make sure they get back on their feet, and they get proper trade media about the workers in the impact of having on Dame their families in the community as well. But your second thought should be for the future, no company closes a plant because they wanna lose money or be left behind by their industry. They do it because they see a profit in it a competitive advantage, or at the very least a shift in their industry that means they have to change too. So in General Motors announced the closing of their huge Oshawa Ontario plant Monday, they offered a reason for it GM believes that its future is in the automobile of tomorrow. And that the future is close enough that it can have this gigantic plant shuttered a year from now and come out ahead. Are they right? Is this a painful, but? Necessary business decision that will usher GM into the next generation. Or is it a convenient excuse for corporate cost cutting to boost stock prices. It depends on what the future of the car looks like, and it depends on how far away that future is. Jordan, heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. Tim Dimopoulos is an automotive specialists who covers the industry, Tim. What was the first thing that went through your head? When you heard about these cuts while it wasn't entirely unexpected him in the writings been on the wall for for the last little while. There is no announcement on future product over the last little while. And usually these things are planned out a couple of years if not years in advance. So the fact that we were coming into two thousand or nineteen with no real forward visibility on what offshore who is going to be doing was a it was a bit of a signal, I suppose the other part of it too. Is that there's been for the last few months voluntary buyouts at GM in a hiring freeze at Oshawa. So good signs. Yeah. Never good signs. So and there's been talk for the longest time at this plant would have been shut down its small comparatively speaking to other plants and the GM portfolio, and it's also small compared to other plants from other menu. Factors on -tario. But it's not small to auto. No, it's not small to Austria, tell me about that plant and the city and how how entwine that. Well, look, you know, when you think about GM in Oshawa, it's it's very symbolic, right? GM has been part of all show us in since Oshawa has been a thing or a place. So you can't say all show without thinking about GM. But it's it's more than just about assemblyman. There's also their corporate Canadian corporate head offices are in Oshawa. There's no plans to move that facility out anytime soon, then employs several thousand employees so GM still employs a lot of people in Oshawa even in their engineering technical center, there's still that going on. So so there might not be assembly or manufacturing going on. But there's still going to be a lot of know-how going into the automotive industry. And that city the unions not taking this quietly, obviously, what options do they have what happens next for the next year? Yeah, I hate to say, but I think it's just bluster. The union can sit there and say, they're not gonna take it anymore. They're going to to fight this tooth and nail. But this is decision that's been made in. It's it's bigger than just Oshawa. Everybody knows the announcement that several plants in the United States will be closing in two other plants in outside of North America also slated for closure. They haven't been announced yet. But we're going to see more shutdowns. It's it's bigger than Oshawa at this point. So the the unions the unions can sit there, and and and fight all they want. But I think eventually they're going to have to accept it and get to work on trying to make sure they're employees are retrained in redeployed in other areas either in manufacturer or another industries, we'll speaking of that retraining one of the reasons that General Motors gave for these series of cuts is to look towards the future of the car. I guess so autonomous cars self driving cars electric cars. What does that future? Look like in our these workers part of it. Yeah. It it's hard to say if these workers are are. Part of it. Because different is they do. Now, it's different. I mean, the majority of the the development that's taking place in this in this area is it's not necessarily engineering related it. It's more software related. So so we only have to look a few kilometers north of Markham where the GM technical center opened up, but a year and a half ago or two years ago, and that is a hub of development when it comes to autonomous vehicles. And it's imp- the ploys are almost exclusively. All software programmers and people who are involved in in working on the back end technology to get off the Thomas vehicles on the road. So there's a lot of activity in that in that sector, a Jim's also opening up a a mobility hub on eastern avenue in a couple of years, which will focus on mobility in in the future of mobility. Whether it's a ride sharing or even a Thomas vehicles. So so they're positioning themselves to me. Make sure that they're ready to to hit this head on hearing about self driving cars is not a new thing. It's been several years now that they've been in development in testing and experimentation are we close to that kind of shift. I know we've seen it in electric vehicles a little bit like give me a sense of the looking at the long history of the automobile, where where are we so this I it's a funny thing because the technologies almost all their the problem is socially. It's it's an issue. And also the infrastructure is an issue. So in order for a Thomas vehicles to work. You gotta set up the infrastructure to to tie comedy Thomas of, mobility, and Thomas vehicles and infrastructure. You mean, like the whole city everything the city the roads, the traffic lights, the street signs, everything needs to communicate with each other in order to get these tournaments vehicles to to to be on this grid. So it's a really great, right? So anything from like a traffic cone that's been placed in a construction area. Can technically be connected, right? And even people using their smartphones crossing the street that person can technically be connected to the grid. So the Atanas vehicle. No is not hit them. So the technology really is all there. But there are barriers in terms of implementing the infrastructure. Figuring out what the standards going to be and ultimately who's going to pay for it. Because the that infrastructure comes at a cost, and it's either going to be governments and and in conjunction to the private sector to make that happen. How close are we to that shift when this will be something that governments municipalities take into account when designing cities, and when will we hit that shift where it's actually something that GM and other companies are building instead of researching and working on it depends? Are you ask if you ask companies like GM or in other companies that are really had on in autonomy? They'll tell you the future is now in the futures, you know, coming I'm a bit more skeptical. I think there are more practical barriers to seeing atonomy being thing again. We talked about infrastructure. There's also the the social acceptance of it in terms of people being ready for it. But the other practical barrier is the fleet. So if you look at the vehicles that are on the road today the gas and Nana Thomas vehicles, they're lasting a long time. So it's no longer like a five years. I'm vehicles are lasting ten years and they're still selling vehicles. So the vehicles that are being sold right now will likely be unrolled for twenty years in these vehicles that are being driven by you and me are going to be need to communicate with these tournaments vehicles in that hasn't been figured out. So I think we're at least a couple of generations away from me seeing Thomas vehicles on the road as as not being an exception rather than other rule, which might next question. Now sounds maybe obvious. But does that mean that the reasons given for yesterday's announcement is that just ingenuous? I don't think it's disingenuous. I mean, this is all part of a a strategy. To make the overall operations more efficient. They're still going to be making cars in other other cities even here in Ontario. There's a Cami plant that makes the Chevrolet Gwen knocks which is a an issue regular SUV. It's pretty run of the mill it's actually a nice product. But it's it's it's very widely circulated product and lots of people are buying it. So they're still making cars, and you're still going to be focusing on this. But this is also a question of freeing up capital and freeing up bandwith to make sure that they can focus on the next the next generation of mobility, which will be autonomous and in the shorter term electrification or even alternative propulsion, so hydrogen and all that kind of stuff. Up next the next generation as you probably know is so driven by technology and connectivity that if that's not sort of baked into these vehicles. And if they're not on top of the next best thing technology these vehicles become irrelevant. We all have investment goals and Scotia I trade can help you reach yours access free, tools and resources to sharpen your investment skills. Visit Scotia I trade dot com to start direct investing today. Scotia trade, there's a traitor and all of us. Why do you think given that like you mentioned before the Ottawa plants kind of one of the smaller ones in Canada and not to diminish you know, almost three thousand people losing their jobs. But if it's that small, why do you think it had such an outsized impact in terms of the news coverage? And I mean, this this has been a day spent talking about cars, and what they mean to the places that make them, and and where we go from here and should the government step in. I believe there's question of somebody should we nationalize GM like, but these are things that are being talked about. And it seems like it seems like there's a relationship here. That's bigger than than the numbers on the paper. Well, it's symbolism. Again. I mean GM has been involved in Austria for the last hundred years in in to some some degree. So so the the symbolism of GM being sort of part of the the fabric of the city plays a big part of it. These are also very high paying jobs and with tenured employees. So losing that. Makes makes a big impact. But we gotta keep it in perspective. I it is small small operation that made a big impact in the news. But we're forgetting that when you look at other areas in the or other manufacturers in on -tario like Toyota, for instance, which employs eight thousand people in Cambridge and and Woodstock they're expanding. And they're adding lines, and they're basically adding vehicles there, and they're actually building the vehicles of the future. They're they're building hybrids there, and they're building models that sell same thing with Oakville with Ford employs about five forty six hundred people, and they're building s small SUV's that are really hitting the the market at the right time and even Chrysler Chrysler, which has been beleaguered for the last little while has sixty one hundred employees in Windsor, building the Chrysler Pacifica and the the grand caravan, which is a very still. Very popular model and still has some some market appeal on the is another example, forty six hundred employees at in Alliston building the Honda Civic, which generally is the the hottest selling car in the country. And also the Sierra v which is again, an SUV which as great great great sales numbers. So automotive manufacturing is still alive, and well and on on Tero me, not be an austral. But generally when you look at it across on terrorists, very robust and contributing industry. What kind of options does the government have now aside from just retraining those workers and hoping for the best? Yeah. I mean, even when you when you saw the government reaction and even early later, it was all about focusing on the on retraining the workers rather than you know, talking to GM and trying to get them to change their mind. The government knew in advance that this was part of a larger global change for for for GM. So I'm sure they knew that trying to change your mind in this instance, would be futile would feel if. If you look at history when there's been threats of closing plants, the government is intervened and they've given generous tax breaks and generous incentives for these manufacturers to continue to manufacturer in this province GM in two thousand and sixteen was going to pull out of Austria. And basically they struck a new deal with the government and with the union and continuing on for another two years. But I think this time it's very different. There's been a sea change in the in the the outlook for this industry. It's become much more of a chick technology based industry rather than in a semi based industries. So that's why I think this decision is probably final. So what does a car looked like in twenty twenty eight? Then what what sells a car two people ten years from now. Well, like, I said technologies the big driver. So the, you know, it came in the past a differentiator is between vehicles would have been reliability quality, performance and all that kind of stuff. And that's no longer an issue. The the quality gap between manufacturers whether. You're a Hyundai or a Toyota or a GM is so minimal that it doesn't count anymore. So whether you're buying a Hyundai on day or a Honda or or GM product, they're all pretty much as reliable as the as the next vehicle. The difference. Now is in technology how much technology, can you pack into the vehicle. How can you make that technology relevant to younger buyers like yourself and your call, and that's the real driver. Because one of the biggest issues with automotive manufacturers. How do you make the car buying or buying a car appealing to younger audiences or a the the next generation and the next generation as you probably know is so driven by technology and connectivity that if that's not sort of baked into these vehicles. And if they're not on top of the next best thing technology, these vehicles become a relevant. Give me some examples of how they bake that stuff in and what they're possibly going to do in the future. I mean, look, let's look at some examples now, right? So so when you look. Things like smartphone. Connectivity. Like, apple carplay, and and Android auto most vehicles are coming in with that. Now, the vehicles that aren't are the ones that are being passed over. So so these are examples of technology today, that's absolutely required in these vehicles in order to make them relevant to to to buyers in the future. I think again connectivity is going to pay play a big part of it on time. You can play a big part safety is also going to be a major major aspect of this. So these are the were were probably going to be seeing more and more of the development being focused in terms of being able to get us to our destination as fast as possible in the most Thomas way, and the most safest way, what will that mean for the people who make these cars, we'll the balance of those jobs change, probably I think technology, again, the the people that are putting the the the intellectual brain power behind developing the technology of the ones that are gonna come out on top. I think when you look at the manufacturing process, it's already becoming very automated even implant with robotics. And and the like, and I think we're gonna see more and more and more of that in terms of assembly becoming far more, easy and think about this the one one thing that people don't really think about much as when you even when you look at electric vehicles electric vehicles are actually simple machines. They're much more simple than gas powered engine less moving parts. You know, there's probably a little bit more on the electronic side. But there's less stuff that goes in manufacturing an electric vehicle than near is into a regular gas. Powered vehicle parts, just less moving stuff. So so it's in the long run. It's technically cheaper to maintain and the long run once they get up to producing it scale to meet market demand. It'll probably be actually be cheaper for them to manufacture these vehicles. What does that mean for southern Ontario on the other plants that are still open now? Well, like, I said before I think a lot of the. In terms of the current examples. A lot of the the the manufacturers are already starting to leave the manufacturing space or focusing and reinvesting in this province in the technology space, and we got that with with GM the other part of this is if you look at the guys at Stiller, the manufacturers, they'll have a large manufacturing footprint in this province. We mentioned before and and Ford an Oakville, and even Honda they're focusing on bringing in models that they know are selling, and they know are being driven by technologies should be noted that when you look at Toyota's plant in Cambridge and Woodstock it's the only plant outside of Japan that actually produces a hybrid. So so we do have the know how here to build, and we do have the know-how know how to build quality. So really the focus should be on bringing the right models of for the right markets at the right time and also focusing on the next. Technology. Thanks, tim. Tim Dimopoulos automotive specialists. That was the big story brought to you by Scotia. I trade you can visit Scotia trade dot com to start direct investing today and for more from us. You can visit us at the big story, podcast dot CA. Lots of episodes there fee to check out as well as your opportunity to submit your own idea, which you can also do on social media at big story podcast on Twitter on Facebook on Instagram. And of course, you can find us everywhere you get podcasts. And when you do wherever that happens to be please hit us with the rating and a review we'd love to know what you actually think. And of course, if you have a friend who isn't listening yet. Tell them to listen, thanks for your time. I'm Jordan heath Rowlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
How do you turn a profit on the end of the world?
"Listen, everything is a business opportunity to somebody even the end of the world. Oh as reports about the looming impact of climate change become harder and harder to deny every company on earth is facing tough choices. A rapidly changing ecosystem is the world's biggest disruptor. So nearly every industry regardless of their public stance on climate change or any lobbying. They're doing is planning for an uncertain future. And they are using the same data that so far hasn't seemed to motivate many governments to treat this as an emergency money talks, though. And a new report reveals the ways that various high profile companies are doing their best to mitigate the losses. And of course, to maximize the profits of a world that might be on fire or underwater or both. Is it ethical is it responsible is that ironic that companies are taking action faster than most countries, or is that just inevitable after all they've got shareholders to report to and most governments just have people. So how does a company business plan for prophets amid disaster? And is it really a branding win. If people are using your app to plan their escape route to higher ground. Jordan, heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. We'll look back at this time that we spend debating what it is real. And I think that might have been time we could use talking about how to deal with it and companies are clearly already at that point. Christopher Lavelle is Bloomberg's climate adaptation reporter Christopher that is a fascinating title. It's it's the only thing I cover what does that entail because I actually feel like I feel like we should start the interview here now because that's a fascinating job description to me, it it is so in the realm of climate change most of the journalists on the climate beat ten to write broadly. Speaking about emissions, which is transportation, it's energy. It's international accords. Everything has to do with human activity that causes more greenhouse gases to answer the atmosphere. I've got sort of a different part of the beat which is. What happens to businesses governments people Connie's buildings infrastructure as a result of those emissions? What's the what's the effect? And then as the name suggests how do we adapt to that? What do we change? What are we not change? How do we try to prepare for what climate change means in sort of tangible human terms, so a number of high profile companies from around the world, but you focused on the ones in America have kind of had to quantify the impact of this will have to their business. How do they have to look at climate change with regards to their bottom line? Yes. The survey data and the reports I looked at focused on two different impacts of climate change on big companies. The I was where the risks they face risks to their operations risks to their customers risks to their supply chain. How would hurt them in other words and to my surprise these company? Has tended to be pretty candid about this of variety of impacts that they expect whether that is Coca Cola saying that they might face water shortages at their bottling plants around the world. Data companies tech companies saying that their data centers might be harder to heat harder, cool because of water and electricity and then companies with sprawling supply chains. The modern company tends to have opperations all over the place and to get inputs from all over the place. And I think rightly most these companies said we're worried about the increase in extreme weather and sea level rise. And what that will mean for our ability to keep getting all the components. We need for business from around the world. The me was on what what's fasten? But this is the sort of variety of effects banks in America saying that they're worried that some portion of their mortgage portfolio could default as homeowners either go underwater or probably more more concerning just stop carrying flood insurance. And then go underwater, so this is sort of an interesting way into how companies group of entities with a lot of money in the line CD's risk. Six and what really jumps out at you is there's no debate in the corporate world about whether this is real there's no debate about whether it's going to happen soon. It's happening. The only debate is the specific impacts be and how bad in addition to the risks these companies see from climate change. They went into even more impressive candor about what they see the opportunities. So mostly companies that file these reports listed override of ways in which they think that the effects of climate change could produce more revenue them whether that is more demand for existing products or finding new products to sell so some sort of some examples that I think fit that you had drug companies saying that as diseases that are currently mostly confined to the tropics spread to developed countries. That'd be more demand for malaria treatments, other kinds of troppled disease treatments. You had banks saying that as we get more and more disasters the morning to finance rebuilding. And and they'll be around to take advantage of that you had Google saying that there'll be more demand for some of its Google earth engine products as people want to better witness what's happening to the world. To me that it's a branding. It could be construed as a branding win. Yeah. And you know, I think I tried in the peace to avoid attaching any kind of, you know, ethical or moral lens to this. I I don't I don't think there's any reason to assume that there's anything untoward about this. If anything as a journalist, I tend to take the view that transparency all those people is is best. And so again, I'm impressed by how willing companies word to discuss in in terms that weren't always obviously cloaked in PR type language, but we're rather speaking directly, I think to investors saying this is what we're looking at in terms of more sales. I also try to stay away from predictions. But I think the following prediction is pretty safe. I think five years from now ten years now, we'll look back at all this time that we spend debating whether this is real and think that might have been time we could use talking about how to deal with it and companies are. Clearly already at that point. Right there already saying how do we adjust? How do we protect ourselves where we can how do we move up rations it? I mean, it's it's hard to avoid drawing the analogy with governments it it's a level of of frankness that you don't often see from governments especially United States when it comes to dealing with climate change rather than sort of p skating or arguing about whether it's happening. How do these companies and you talk to some of them game out these scenarios do they have a team that's kind of projecting various different things. And then they're adjusting with each one or they going with a certain type of research or they just speaking in more general terms. So I think I think most big companies have fairly sophisticated risk management operations in general and often that's the part of the company that will deal with climate risk. Even beer companies will have specific teams of whether it's meteorologists or climate. Logistics or just general scientists looking at the stuff there is an amazingly well-developed ecosystem at least in the US, I've companies that specialize in predicting climate risk in specific areas and disaster types and the economy, so there's a there's no shortage of places to get this data. And I think what we're seeing what surprising here is that the companies are using it. Right. And if you are so inclined as a company, or is it government to find out what's likely to happen in a given area this year next year five years now that trend data those predictions those are out there. Right. So I think one thing you here in the US is why why worry about climate change? We don't even know what's going to happen. This argument that we don't know what's going to happen true on its face. But true for every prediction what we certainly know is what the trends are. And what we're seeing with these companies is they're not waiting for some elusive degree of certainty to start planning for this their content. To make plans based on the imperfect information that we have and make what seemed to be pretty specific plans based on that. Are we starting to see already that there will be maybe not even specific companies but specific industries who will be sort of the winners and losers as this continues to progress. So there's different views on that. Certainly agriculture is a sector that you hawk and here is going to see a lot of action on this. Whether it's good or bad. We don't know big affects on agriculture, but also lots of room to innovate for companies that are forward looking banking certainly will be affected because the companies that banks lend money to could could be in trouble real estate, at least in the US. I think there's no university in which climate change doesn't have a huge impact on real estate. We don't really know if on balance it'll be positive or negative the insurance industry will be almost uniquely exposed to the effects of climate change. What we don't know about insurance is how well they'll be with that risk. Certainly there have been disastrous in the past Hurricane Andrew in Florida. And I think ninety two great example that really caused the insurance industry to stay or, but I think insurers are pretty alert what's going on. And I my sense that they'll find a way to price that risk into their policies. So it's not clear at this point. If there's any particular injury that would just collapse because of climate change, I think in most industries as with most companies, it's a mix of pretty severe risk. But also -tunities I don't get a sense from my reporting that there's any particular sense of panic in anyone sector, but I do get the sense that there's a sense of a mood of uncertainty and and concern, but also, you know, the the attempt to think how can we get ready for this? How many of these companies are acting right now on these assessments and actually changing the way they? Do business today. So that's that's the great complaint that you hear from environmentalists or groups that focus on climate risk based say that there's an element of PR here that for all the candor with which companies talk about this stuff. It's often not clear just what they're doing to prepare for it to actually change their operations it. It's always gonna be anecdotal. I get the sense that companies changing their behavior are still the exception that in general, there's a lot of sort of preparing and modeling and thinking about what to do. But not a lot of significant changes yet. Now, it's not that's the wrong way to go. If you're a company, you could say, look, we we're not going to change our business model until we have to. But what we're doing to be responsible is to be prepared for the moment when we have to whether that's a particular big storm, or you know, really serious effect on there. But yeah. Definitely the the skeptics take on all of this is that for all their planning and their discussion. They still aren't really ready for the next superstorm. And I think that's certainly a fair concern. But the kind of concern that you can't really test until something big happens should ordinary people be looking to model their behavior after what some of these companies are doing like, should we be looking at our investments with an eye to how the various places we've got money invested are going to be impacted. I think definitely anybody who's got funds that are actively managed should talk to whoever's manuals fun. Just just say what's your approach here? I mean, the problem with that is if you're just a typical investor it's not clear how much better you can do it planning for this. Then whoever is running your money. But I think certainly making sure that your portfolio manager is thinking about it is the first step, but I'm not commit. Anybody in the world of finance who really has a good idea of how to deal with these threats and take advantage of them. But again that baseline question of are you thinking about it is probably the one to be asking at this point as you're doing your reporting. Is there any area where you think we're adapting well to this not necessarily just in business. But in terms of of all the areas, you look at, you know, the the optimist in me would like to say, yes. Oh blind. I'm afraid I'm afraid that. You know, the the sweep of change attached with global warming is so significant that I think it might be a little bit too early to say which things were doing. Well, I I don't think we've even got our heads around which areas will require the most adaptation, let to ask me how to do it certainly in the US. There's parts of the country that are most exposed to flooding and storms and little rise. Louisiana is the best example, they're sort of they're already looking at ways to discourage people from remaining or building by coastlines that are going under water and how to relocate those who want help those are really hard discussions. And I think other parts of the country will be there eventually. So I think at this point success is probably best defined as confronting the problem. But in terms of finding solutions that work. It doesn't seem like we're there yet. I tried to avoid sounded like a doomsayer on this beat. But I don't think it it can be hard. I don't think that we really have essentially of how bad things will be. And I think it will be hard to try to figure out what the rights Lucians will be at this point. I think at this point probably the best thing, we can do is be discussing it more and more Frank terms and acknowledging bit the way, we build homes the places we build homes the way we structure, our businesses, and where infrastructure goes probably won't keep up with the challenge. But where we go from there. I don't think anybody can answer that right now will there really is an aspect to the reporting you did around corporate America preparing for that. I thought helped at least me and a couple of people I've talked to about it picture it which is when you did. So matter of factly report, what companies are doing with things that don't even necessarily affect their line of business and the one that stuck. Out to me was visa talking about travel will decline right? And of course, the reason they gave in that report is well, you know, the world's going to be on fire, and there's going to be wars all over the place. So we should adjust for a decline in people traveling with our cards, which is you know, on the one hand can sound callous. But on the other hand, drives it home so much how everyday things will change. Yeah. Even problem with adapting climate change is that most humans tend not to be quite as cool and dispassionate as visa was in that case in saying, well, there's gonna be more disaster all the place in the world will be on fire. So let's get ready for for ten percent less travel. There's an emotional component to all of this which makes rational planning, very difficult. And there are people who look at it from the emotional perspective. They say we've got a we can't really prepare for climate change until we get better as a society at dealing with grief and dealing with loss and dealing with sadness. Which is a, you know book, not the most upbeat take on this. But this. As a psychological component declined adaptation that is not Chipper, and that people in academia, and I think it companies are starting to look at and tells me that before we can talk about solutions to this problem. We have to get better at grappling with how bad Liz and just discussing the problem in realistic terms will. And if there's one thing that companies are that it's looking at lines of business that are no longer working, and you know, not not morning, number grieving them. But just kind of moving on, right? Yeah. And and I think you know, there's a fair point. He made that you you wouldn't want governments or people to adopt the same sort of cold blooded approach rights that that you see these reports. Right. You wouldn't want a state or province or federal government to say. Well, this town can't last. Let's just get rid of it. Let's just move it or stop supporting it, right? There's a there's an inherently sort of social good questions that companies don't have to worry about that. Everyone else does which I think will make it hard. Hard for say governments to approach this with the same level of just follow the numbers analysis that companies have. But there is something to be said for companies sort of clear, I'd take on this. Which is let's not pretend that something. We don't want to happen therefore won't happen. Let's get realistic about what will happen and just start thinking about what to do. And that's probably the lesson governments. And for people news reports, which is start by being honest. But what you know? And then and then take it from there. Christopher Val. Bloomberg's climate adaptation reporter, which is a thing. Now. Welcome to the new world. That was the big story for more from us. Visit us at the big story, podcast dot CA. We've covered climate change a lot, sadly. And of course, we're at frequency podcast network dot com along with our other shows, we are on Twitter at frequency pods or at the big story F P N, and we are as always everywhere you get podcasts on apple Google Stitcher Spotify podcast addict or antenna pot. I'm Jordan heath Rowlings. Thanks for listening. We'll talk tomorrow.
Travel Dos and Donts during a pandemic
"Hey It's Jordan and I am so delighted to say something that I've been waiting a year to say. Black tea is back. By Popular Demand Black T. returns for season two. Melena Williams. Dolton Higgins will be challenging listeners with tough unapologetic and sometimes hilarious conversations about. And racism culture and everything in between. This is literally one of my favorite shows and it's one of the ones I've missed the most since it's been gone it took a long time to come back. So go give it a welcome find it at frequency podcast, network, DOT, com, or of course, wherever you get your podcasts. I went on vacation last month. I left my home province and we traveled six hundred and ninety two point six kilometers to farm in another province. At roughly six hundred and ninety kilometers further than I traveled from my front door in the past five months. And it was love. We were on a farm in the middle of nowhere with nobody but family, it was the furthest from Covid Nineteen I've felt since this whole thing began. But getting there and especially planning to get there. That was awful. So many questions we were definitely not confident enough to fly. So we rented a car, but how can we make sure the car's been properly sanitized what we need to pack so we can avoid unnecessary contact with other people both on the way there, and once we arrive. Where can we stop the way? Is it safe? Is it safe to use the bathrooms there? What about grabbing fast food takeout from roadside service? Stations. Do, I have to mask and glove up just to get out of the car and fill the gas tank in. These questions went on and. Now, we've been back for more than two weeks and we're all fine. But it turns out that during the first four months of this, we developed our own routine for being safe or at least for feeling safe. And travelling just blows that out of the water but unless you never want to see any loved ones except those who live in your city limits, you're probably going to travel during Calvin to. Maybe you already have maybe you're planning a trip right now. So today. WHAT'S SAFE What isn't what's an acceptable level of risk? What can you expect on a road trip at a campsite on a train trip or on a flight? What about a cruise? On my God no I'm kidding don't take a cruise. I'm Jordan Heath Rowlings. This is the big story. Colleen stiched com is a freelance writer who spoke to three epidemiologists and asked them all sorts of questions about traveling during a pandemic. Hi. Colleen hey have you gone anywhere since March? I have. Gone camping did you feel safe? Yeah. It was actually a good time most of the other campers masked up. And everyone was outdoors. So of all the things that definitely felt the most safe do we have a sense at all I realized we totally might not have the scale of travel now our people back on the roads and planes and trains et Cetera, or is it anywhere close to the level? It was previously. Yeah. So air travel seems to be going up according to the TSA website which I looked at this morning back in April only around one hundred, thousand people were flying a day that was sort of. The height of the shutdown at least in the United States and right now more like five, hundred, thousand, seven, hundred, thousand people are traveling per day but last year, it was closer to two and a half million. So overall air travel is still down, but it has increased since the biggest shut down as far as other forms of travel I mean anecdotally I can tell you that I am seeing people in my feed going on road trips and certainly people are writing a lot of articles about our viewers and other people going on domestic. Travel trips. Yeah. That's a that's about what we've done. As. A family since this began a couple of road trips to farm slash cottage areas but if people are going to travel and it seems like you know, you can't keep people locked down forever. What did the doctors you spoke to says the safest way? Yeah. So I mean definitely emphasized that not traveling is still the safest thing to do but if people are going to travel any mode of travel that keeps you away from people who are not in your household especially in indoor scenarios is going to be the safest. So a road trip is a good example of that you're. coordoned-off from other people and you have a lot of control over when you stop where you stop, how do you handle those stops I mean depending on the length of trip you're going to have to at least stop to use the bathroom Is it safe to get food from you know the the Wendy's or Burger King at the roadside diner Cetera et Cetera. Again with the experts, I spoke to the risk is mostly about coming into contact with other people or places where someone has just been especially indoors like a public restroom. So the more you can limit those places, the better they also emphasized. If, you are going to use a public restroom do a mask I personally had questions about that I've written articles about the bacterial plume that comes out of toilets when they're flushed and I was like, do you want on your mask? And, basically, what they said was while that's possible corona virus has been found in matter. YOU'RE A lot safer wearing the mask into a public restroom, ideally a single stall restroom. About how many people are in their personally if there was a line of people waiting for the bathroom Go. Down the road little further. And as far as food. One of the experts I spoke to said, she recommended against dining indoors. So as much as you can bring food with you or do takeout and then picnic outside somewhere. That's going to be your safest option and in terms of just who's in your car I mean ideally, it's your your bubble, your family bubble. But if you're traveling with someone who is not in that bubble, because presumably you can distance when you arrive masks on obviously windows open anything else I mean not really. So the answer is basically that a car can be considered an indoor space. So you are going to be increasing your risk windows on down might help and masks on May. Help. But ultimately, you are increasing your risk by being an enclosed space with someone outside your household. So they just say don't do that. Don't do that. If if your goal is to be as safe as possible is the train any safer than flying I I realized that car safer because you're controlling who's there but is that any different maybe it might be safer than flying in theory you have more options on a train as far as moving seats are moving to a busy train car. You might be able to have more control over staying six feet away from people. But they're still risk involved for sure and it really depends on how busy the train is. Do we know? And I realized we're probably not going to get into discussing individual train lines. 'cause you're in, you're in America and wearing Canada but. You know who have seen any guarantees from any company is about. We're GONNA make sure there's a couple of rows in between you and the next person because of you know, I can't seem to find any a clear answers on that. I haven't been able to find that as far as trains either the last I checked, which admittedly was a couple of weeks ago Amtrak was requiring and I know we're getting into specifics here but Amtrak was requiring masks, which is a move in the right direction. But I haven't seen much as far as distance between people. And what about flying is this What's the risk level I guess? Is this one of those like should be emergencies only do we have a sense of what your chances are? We don't have a sense of what your chances are. That's sort of the dream right? It would be nice to know exactly what your risk was but. The experts that I spoke to basically said that of all the modes of travel flying is the riskiest. Airplanes on the one hand have really excellent filtration systems which helps to get the virus out of the air. But if someone is in the row next to you in front of you or behind you, the air filtration system isn't going to be able to prevent that I will say in the United States at least we were pretty slow to require masks for Air Airlines, but that is starting to change I was just reading that American Airlines and southwest airlines are now requiring mass for all passengers above the age of two. That's helpful. So I would suggest if someone is considering flying look into your airlines policy for masks, what their policy is around seating, and also what their policy is around flake capacity on the other hand just because someone requires a mass on the plane. At least in the United, states were having a lot of issues with people being pretty indignant about keeping them on. So you know unfortunately, it doesn't guarantee that people will keep them on. Now we're kind of getting into psychology but I noticed that you spoke to the epidemiologist about it too and they're good at conveying public health messages right so what did they suggest? The you do in that situation because everybody's been in, it are gonNA find themselves. I mean, unfortunately, there's not a whole lot. You can do especially with someone who is being indignant rather than just. Maybe, they forgot to put it back on. I did ask them what would you recommend saying to someone who may be their mask is below their nose or not? Quite right and they said, if you feel comfortable, you can gently ask them to properly put it on but it's scary like it's it's something that anybody who's in the public sphere is dealing with right now and There's not a whole lot you can do if someone's being aggressive about it. What else can you do? yourself I mean I obviously do your research and make sure you know what you're getting into. But When you get into an airplane leg sanitize, wipe down What are Best Practices I got mixed messages on that. You can wipe down. More and more. It's epidemiologists are getting less concerned about touching surfaces and more concerned about breathing on each other. So it certainly doesn't hurt to wipe something down although one epidemiologist was concerned. You might end up contaminating yourself by touching those surfaces on purpose. But I mean yeah. If you're going to sit down and it's a a flat space where you're going to put your your cell phone, it's worth wiping that area down beyond that I mean it's really just keeping your mask on as much as possible I asked about. Should you be avoiding a snack or drinking water and the answer to that was basically if you can do it but obviously, you have to attend to your basic human needs I assume that's the same protocol for using the airplane bathroom essentially. Yes. I know I'm jumping around now but we us ton of questions and then we kind of crowd sourced some of our own from our team Once you arrive however you get there what's the difference between AIRBNB and hotels and what's recommend? Either is an option. There were a few concerns that came up with the experts that I spoke to one expert mentioned that hotels don't necessarily clean linens entirely between guests, which would be a concern for transmission. Concerned about that now, just in general. Yeah I mean I didn't talk to any hotels to have them confirm or deny that but that's something to ask because you know that's something that's going to be very difficult for you to change out when you get there right you might not have access John Dory. Machine. So it's worth asking What that protocol is another concern in public is just public spaces in hotels a hotel bar the check in desk and. Especially areas like an elevator where it's really tight quarters and it might be your only way in and out of the building I asked about using the stairs and she was like that might work if you're on the third floor if you're on the fifteenth floor less ideal. So all those things are things to keep in mind when choosing the hotel you're going to, you should ask about their policies for cleaning. Denies Thing about an AIRBNB is that a lot of the times? It's a single house. Maybe a few floors high but for the most part single level the other nice thing about Airbnb is you might have more access to open the windows and that was something that they recommended asking your host to do in advance and if not, then to open them when you get there just to get some fresh air into the AIRBNB. Contactless check in is definitely ideal wrote you can wipe down Heist surfaces when you get there as well. What about when you're planning a vacation? Is. There any easy way to tell you know how empty a plane will be or if you show up and it looks like Oh my God this plane is packed Is there an easy way? Like are these services still going on where companies will let you switch your ticket I? Know they were happening at the beginning Yeah I haven't really done much reporting on that. I. Don't have a great answer. The point sky had a good article on this. It sounds like you can call an airline in advanced to try and get a sense of what the bookings look like. Don't rely on the seat map and also know that things can change pretty quickly. I. I really imagine at this point, it would depend on the airline as far as whether or not. You can switch your ticket but I don't know for sure. Did you hear anything from Any of the epidemiologists spoke to about you know what kind of mask we'll actually work for you I know that for every day? Every day outings to the grocery store or cloth masks is probably fine. But in terms of like you know I've seen people going through airports wearing like things that look like gas masks respirators on them. So I haven't done any reporting on the respirators myself, the experts that I spoke to were. Almost, always dealing with either cloth masks or one of them was pretty enthusiastic. In another article that I wrote about face shields, my understanding is that P is still limited in the United States and so we're being asked to reserve the heavier duty things like ninety five masks for healthcare workers as far as glasses. If there's something you can wear that would help you keep from touching your is that might be worthwhile. They didn't recommend goggles to me or anything like that. They might be more wholeheartedly recommend it in the future but at this point, they weren't really pushing for that. But. One thing that came over and over and over was that the P. that you're wearing homemade masks it's really more about protecting other people to protect yourself that the best tool we have is physical distancing I realized that the next question is about to ask you, which is about traveling to other countries You might not be able to answer because I don't know if there's anywhere. Greater allowed to travel where I didn't. Yeah. I didn't mean to say that in. one of our producers. Has a partner in in Mexico who hasn't seen since this whole thing began, and so he's trying to one of the impetus for this episode he's trying to plan a trip to be as safe as possible because it's been months and and one of his questions was like, what do you do if you feel like you might be getting covered in another country where you might not even speak the language? Well, yeah, I mean I. I really feel for him. It's it's tough. I will say that basically. Should be prepared to quarantine in place if you get sick while you're abroad and having fun set aside to do that would be key as well as Any travel health insurance covers corona virus who was the most counter intuitive thing and I realized I might be putting you on the spot that you heard from the experts about traveling. I. Think I was surprised that they were pretty open to the idea of road trips and camping. I say that. In Washington state, most of the campgrounds at this point are booked solid. So at this point, you know there's not a whole lot of campgrounds still left to go to but I. I expected them to be the fun police a little bit more, and instead they were like you know there are safe ways to do this. It's really about avoiding other people and so if you can get out and do that then okay. Did you feel safer? I mean I know you went camping so obviously hopefully you did but did you feel in general a more or less alarmed by the prospect of your next big trip you finish this piece I basically felt like there are ways that I can travel that. Don't impact me or other people in a negative way and. That was helpful but I also really I mean I was a travel writer before all of this started happening, and so I basically came to terms with the fact that I won't be going on any extensive domestic trips. For the foreseeable future. Yeah. What do you think of that industry is GonNa look like Gosh, I have no idea. I imagine people are going to WanNa travel pretty eagerly when things start moving again but I think it's GonNa be a while. I think it's going to be at least the end of two, thousand, twenty, one, which at least here Dr Fauci was saying that we'll have a billion vaccines by then, but there's a lot more than a billion people in the world so. It might be later. I wonder if you get a discount for booking a twenty, twenty, one, late, twenty, twenty, one trip now somebody's got to do here's your money. Yeah I. Bet you do calling. Thank you so much for walking us through this today I, appreciate the advice. Thank you so much. That was colleen stench comb and that was the big story. If you want more big stories there at the website. The big story PODCAST DOT CA. You can talk to us on twitter at the big, story F. Pin. We are as always available by email the addresses the big story podcast. All one word. All lower case at RCA DOT ROGERS DOT COM. And finally, if you could be so kind to subscribe and rate and review on your podcast platform of choice. We would be overjoyed to see those there. Thanks for listening Jordan Heath Rawlings we'll talk tomorrow.
Recycling in Canada is broken. Can it be fixed?
"So raise your hand, if you've ever tossed something into your blue box without being a hundred percent sure that it was actually recyclable. Yeah, I can't see you, but I don't need to ninety five percent of you have hands up. It's okay. I do to our producer. Claire. However, does not clear. Are you lying now? I'm a really good recycler. Actually, I'm I'm a big nerd, when it comes to recycling, what does a big nerd about recycling? Do. Nerdy recycling research, like what like looking online of what can be recycled? And what can't a love that stuff? That's amazing. You wash out your jars to write all the time. Obviously. No. Shame. Okay. It would be easy to say that we are the problem here by we I mean, knee and the listeners, not Claire, obviously. But you and me and that misunderstanding or laziness or carelessness are to blame for what is right now a crisis in Canada's recycling industry, but it goes deeper than that. In fact, it goes all the way across the world to China, it goes into corporate engineering offices, where new packages are designed it goes into city halls across the country, where municipalities are trying to figure out what happened to their once profitable programs, and how they might save them, and they are also trying to figure out how they're going to get rid of tons of plastic that nobody wants anymore, so. Yeah, recycling and Candida is a mess just like the blue box that I put out on the curb with all the stuff that doesn't belong in it the question in both of those cases, is the same. Can't we do that better? How? Jordan heath Rawlings, and this is the big story. Jeff Lewis is the environment. Reporter for the globe and mail. He is based in Calgary. Jeff before we get into the long and complex investigation into what's wrong with recycling. I tell me the most surprising thing. You learned when you started talking to people about what we do with recycling in Canada. I think it was the fact that we actually don't recycle as well as many of us and certainly myself included, thought we did you know, the, the star that really I found jarring was, you know, the fact that only nine percent of the plastic waste generated each year in Canada is actually recycled. I remember as we were reporting this another of my colleagues, did some quick calculations and, and we actually put the comparison into the story, but that's the weight of twenty four C N towers, I'm still turning. It over my head, and I have trouble sort of, you know, wrapping just, just sort of wrapping my hands around it. I felt really bad while reading your story about all the times. I've felt good for throwing just everything. I've got in the blue box, you know, I think I think we all, you know, have that very complicated relationship with recycling in a way. I mean, there's even a term for it in, in the waste processing industry if you can call it that I mean, people people call it wish cycling, right? This idea that you, you kind of stare at something quizzically, you know, in the moments before you toss it into the bin and you think, well, you know, while someone else will deal with this. And you kind of put it in, you know, with the best of intentions, most of the times, I mean, there are some, flagrant examples where, where that's not the case. But most most people think that they're doing the right thing with the stuff that is an amazing term, by the way, it, accurately describes exactly what I feel. Yeah. I mean it's again, it was sort of one of these things that I was actually surprised. To hear that this is sort of a, a bit of an open secret. I think in, in the industry, it's not that people aren't well intentioned. It's, it's that, you know, we've created these sort of systems, whereby it's increasingly difficult to, you know, have confidence that you are doing the right thing, and you guys chronicled kind of how things have recently made it even more difficult. So what happened in Canada's recycling industry and win well to, to, to answer that. I mean, you really have to look at, and I sort of get an understanding of, you know, that, you know, when we talk about Canada's recycling industry, just as when we talk about, you know, the American recycling industry or any recycling industry around the world. I mean that this is actually a global industry, right? And what we're talking about when we're talking about recycling is, is we're actually talking about commodities, and that's, you know, in this case use paper cardboard plastics, the various grades of plastics. I mean these things are. Are traded internationally just the same as you know, oil or copper nickel, and, and it's sort of counter-intuitive. But think about it that way. But when you realize that you can start to sort of, you know, piece together exactly how Canada's recycling, and she has changed. And so, so it's sort of a long long winded way of getting at I mean candidates recycling industry has really been turned on its head. I mean, and, and the, the impetus for that was these sort of import restrictions that China imposed at the outset of twenty eighteen and those in and of themselves were sort of the culmination of years of sort of steadily tightening markets for these commodities. And so, essentially the markets shrunk, very quickly for these commodities and created a glut of these products in North America at the same time, you know, anytime there's a glut of. Thing, the, the, the price falls. So you had revenues for these programs. These municipal programs start to, to evaporate, making it harder for these companies to and, and municipalities that are involved in this to sort of fund upgrades to their programs at the very time right rhino. China was telling them that, hey, you know, you need to stop stat sending us. You know, you're your, your contaminated, filthy junk, what kind of a dent does it make, I guess, first of all, why did shaina make that decision? And what kind of a dent does that make in the global market? Is that a sea change type thing? Yeah. That, that is, that's an absolutely, you know, see change type event. I mean it's really turned things you know, upside down China for years, had had sort of, you know, mocked up the world's, you know, recycling and, and concern started to grow in China over these sort of environmental impacts that, you know, a really a lot. Are largely unregulated recycling industry have grown up and people were, you know, you started to see large quantities of plastic discarded, plastic being burned, you know, and, and, you know that stuff when you burn plastic released furans dioxins, which, you know, pretty pretty nasty stuff, right the atmosphere, and so you saw like going back to previously. So the, the recent restrictions came out in two thousand eighteen at the outset of two thousand eighteen called national sword, but previous to that in twenty twenty twelve twenty thirteen there was a there was a policy called green fence, and don't ask me why, you know policymakers in China, you know after these names for, for the, the policies, but, but if ectively it was a steady steady tightening of what China was willing to accept, and what really sort of what has been described me as sort of a tipping point was the release of the film called plastics China, which actually was banned in the country. Because it really detailed at follow two families in the country who were involved in this sort of unregulated business of hand, sorting recycled plastics, and, and, you know, trying to eke out a living processing this stuff and sort of, you know, really kinda dodgy conditions and that sort of seemed to have galvanized some of the, the reaction that we saw. So what happens after China stops taking that stuff to other countries step up, does the market crash? Well prices crashed right. For a lot of the what's called the mixed plastics, which is, you know, plastics are, are numbered one through seven right and one and two, plastics are, are pretty much a clear pop bottles. Or your, your clam shell berry packages that you get at grocery stores, and then three to seven is sort of a bunch that's sort of just called mixed. And, you know, you have PVC and some other some other sort of varieties in there. So those prices for the mixed plunged and prices for mixed paper, low grade paper, also plunged, what we've seen and, and the data sort of bears this out is that as China has sort of clamped down. A lot of that material is shifted to other southeast Asian countries. But then subsequent to that sort of shift. We saw even those countries though, secondary markets are now saying well, hold on. If China doesn't want this stuff. You know why, why am I gonna take this? Right. So we've seen restrictions similar restrictions crop up in, in India, and Malaysia and Taiwan. All of these countries are saying, oh, well, you know, we, we don't really want to be a refuse dump for for Europe and North America. And so again, so what we've seen, you know in the flip side of that here in North America. We've seen stockpiling initially you saw a lot of stockpiling. So that, that involves people, people cities municipalities, just basically putting trailer loads of dense bay. Sales of plastic and cardboard setting them aside and used warehouses, and, and, and the like not sounds great some of that. Yeah. Right. But it really really hits home. You know, in terms of the fact that there's really just not, not a lot of great places to put this stuff now. What we're seeing in fact in Alberta. Municipalities municipalities. This is playing out where you're seeing municipality start to rejig their blue bin collection programs where they're sort of cutting out select grades of plastic, and effectively, the, the people who are trying to sell this stuff are coming back to municipalities and saying, there's no market for this anymore. We're not going to collect it and what you see is a lot, a lot of stuff sort of being diverted to landfill. At what point if we start diverting more and more of this landfill in every city is struggling with where to put it or or how to get rid of it? At what point does the program itself become counter-productive, like what's the what's the future for Canadian municipalities? It's, it's, it's a tricky. I mean, there's no there's no there's no silver bullet right in terms of where municipalities might be. Headed as the woman at the recycling council of on -tario said, you know, this is a come to Jesus moment for, for recycling. You know what we are seeing in Canada is a push to have those sort of large multinational companies package goods company. So the Unilever's Proctor and gamble, WalMart, as well as some food, retailers, such law blah's, and even some restaurants. We're seeing push to get these companies to foot the Bill for recycling that system is called extended producer responsibility. And it already exists in British Columbia. So in British Columbia, you have I think it's in about one hundred and fifty or so municipalities across that province recycling is actually paid for by for just for packaging, right so paper and plastic recycling, in those municipalities isn't paid for by those, those cities and towns it's, it's paid for by the companies, and it's a really novel concept. I, I suppose it in in. The sense that you're trying to the ideas to sort of, you know, get these companies to design stuff that's easier to recycle. And the thinking is if they have to pay for it, they're going to have more of an incentive to do. So you mentioned that nine percent figure right off the top with his, which is staggering do we have any idea how that compares to other countries around the world? That's something that, that we didn't really get into. But either way you slice it. It's not good. I don't think you know is is doing any, any better in this regard. Although, you know, you do have policies in place in states, like California, just to take one example, where they have laws around recycled content standards. In other words, you know, if you're going to manufacture a trash bag in California, it has to include a certain percentage of post consumer recycled material again. So the idea is to. Provide some sort of demand give people a reason give companies a reason to, to actually recycle this stuff. We don't have those kind of standards in Canada. So it makes it a bit more challenging when you talk about speaking to people in the industry who handle this kind of stuff, what kinds of things, did they tell you that they see all the time that Canadians are doing with their recycling. That's just unnecessary or unhelpful or they just might not know better will in Calgary at their, you know, the Calgary's were cycling goes to a giant sort of hanger size warehouse in the city. So theast called a municipal recovery facility. It's Murph for short inside that, that, that facility. I mean, you know, you have all the conveyor belts, and giant mounds of, of recyclables coming in from from trucks at every hour of the day. I think they process summer in order forty tonnes hour. So just a staggering amount of stuff, but, but there's a when I was when I was visiting that site, there was a table. Oil that they had set up and it was sort of a table of shame in a way you know, that, you know, these are things that people commonly try to recycle, and it was a bit of a bit of a bit of 'cause play for them. I mean they were sort of had to set up. I think because they knew I was coming but, but then the last it was it was, you know, you see, you get a sense of, you know, the junk that people sort of are throwing in there been. I mean, there was their garden hoses spades, from shovels propane canisters my colleague visited a similar facility in Toronto and someone who tried to recycle a giant, stuffed teddy bear, a floor mat from, from a car, you know that you, you, you, you put in under the gas pedals, right? You know, stuff that, that people, I think are just, you know, frankly lazy, and they throw it in the recycling bin and think, well, it's someone else's problem now. But this isn't I mean, that's not to say the, the, the issues that, that, you know, all come all come down to, you know, you and I being bad recycler. I think, again, a lot of people are well intentioned. But the reality is a lot of the stuff packaging, in particular, that, that can are coming into contact with is very confusing. I mean, it's, it's not immediately clear that, that this stuff is recyclable when you're interviewing people for this story were they optimism about the future. Did did anybody sort of give you a a way that they see a pathway back to either prophet profitability for recycling, or a future in which we just do it better? I think people were really. I mean I, I people are very bleak when, when you talk to them. But, but I think that's because they're they're still in the throes of this. I mean program costs are still increasing at the municipal level people in threat to supply chain are still adjusting to this new reality. But I think there are some glimmers of hope and, and, you know, it really starts with how do we get a better recycling system. I think deliberately it's the answer. And, and you know, it starts with policy and. People point to this sort of extended producer responsibility known as EPR. They point to it as sort of a bit of a bit of a panacea in that, you know, at least it will will will sort of get consumer packaged goods companies making stuff that's easier to recycle. And, and can be marketed abroad because there's still a demand out there for for for clean. Good. Recyclables the trouble is, you know, we're just really bad at at sorting them. In addition to creating plastics, and creating products that can't be recycled. So the thinking is, if you start to standardize some of this stuff and harmonize some of the rules and regulations between provinces it will sort of help with this transition that we're in right now. We talk a lot about climate change on this podcast. And one of the things that comes up a lot is what everybody can do in their own lives to help fight climate change, and recycling is often discussed and a lot of people think that it's. Easy way out that it allows us to kind of throw a bunch of stuff in our blue bins, and feel like we've done, our part. And it sounds like the market is starting to agree with that what does the future look like is there, still recycling, five years from now? I think people understand that the system is fundamentally broken. And I think that there are lots of smart people who are thinking about what comes next. You hear a lot of talk these days about a circular economy, and it's a frustratingly Opik term. But what it essentially means is let's start designing better products that actually can be reused and re purposed into into new products and new things. And again, that comes back to policy in, in terms of what incentives you know, sticking carrot kind of regulations to really sort of move. The needle in terms of what products are being created and how they're being disposed of I think. Right in the sense that there is an has been a collective sense of I'm doing my part because I'm recycling that idea has has, you know, certainly taken a beating over the last year, I think museum multiple sort of reports into this stuff. I mean, we're not the only people who have through clued in on this story, which I think, told it in a bit of a different way. But when you talk about climate change plastics and plastics manufacturing is a growing source of carbon pollution here in Alberta. The province is still aggressively subsidizing the creation of new petrochemical plants because it's a large part of the economy, here, yet, we're at the same time, the tax paying payer funded, you know, recycling programs are struggling, so there's a huge disconnect between what we're what we're pushing with one hand and what we're we're sort of, you know, receiving in the other. So I think. You know, we need to get our heads around what kind of incentives are we? We're, we're creating and what the implications are of those for, for the way we sort of, you know, handle our junk really. And, and, and but, but I do think on the other hand, I do think just add it, I think it would be a mistake to sort of throw the throw the baby with the bathwater and just kind of walk away from recycling, because, as it stands, it's sort of the best we have. And I think we need to work within that system. And there are certain certain. Sure lots of improvements to be made. But I don't think we should we should suddenly say you know let's just turf all our, our recycling and, and throw it all in a landfill because I think there are countries around the world where they're doing things a little smarter than North America Germany for one, you know, I think you're gonna see conversations around incineration. I mean you're already seeing people move in that direction, just as a small aside. I mean. Cement manufacturers are talking now about using plastics to fuel their, their operations. Because as it turns out, you know, when you have plastics, you have a really late and source of energy that is, is highly potent, right? I mean it it's, it's essentially fossil fuels compacted into a, you know, a convenient mold -able form. So you're starting to see people and that actually, you know, if you're talking about cement, you know, making cement concrete, what have you, you burn plastics, and it's actually lower carbon emissions than petroleum. Coke and coal, which is what they use currently you want to be sure that, again, you have to procreate scrubbers and controls into control those, you know, furans dioxins and other other things that burning plastic releases. But I think he's going to start to see those conversations sort of evolve because the game has changed. And I think we're going to see we have to see some sort of reaction. Thanks, jeff. Glad to be here. Jeff Lewis environment reporter for the globe and mail also probably worse at recycling than Claire. That was the big story podcast for more from us. We're at the big story, podcast dot CA. It makes a lot of sense to find us there. We're also at the big story, F P N on Twitter and at frequency podcast network dot com and frequency pods on Twitter on Facebook on Instagram. If you've made it this far you probably are subscribed. But if you're not find us on apple Google Stitcher, Spotify, or any other platform, you prefer leave us a rating leave us a review hope you had a nice weekend. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan heath Rowlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
A sugar tax on drinks in Canada? Would it even work?
"Hey, it's Jordan. Once again, I a podcast recommendation for you election season is coming. And as you know, it's going to be ugly one great way to keep up with politics in this country is by listening to Otto. You can hear two of Canada's top political journalists dissecting the week's biggest political stories you can subscribe to oppo wherever you get your podcasts. It's sold to us, and it's been sold to us a few times by now as a health issue, but it always goes beyond that, especially in the minds of the people who'd be paying it. The World Health Organization is urging global action to reduce the amount of sugary drinks being consumed around the world. This suggestion is the by implementing a twenty percent increase on the retail price of sugary beverages. It would result in a substantial decrease in the amount of sugar filled drinks people consume. There is currently a movement to foot among some liberal MP's to add a sugary soda tax to the party's platform for this fall's election. And we have some questions chief among them is this, even if we ignore all the arguments that come up as soon as sugar taxes, raised about personal responsibility about freedom of choice about small business owners in about who this would actually hurt would it even work. What would this tax be designed to achieve? And is there any research out there supporting this approach Canada after all is not the first country to consider, and even implement? Attacks on sugary sodas. So let's go into this with clear expectations and a barometer for success before we asked Canadians to pay more for a coke. Jordan heath Rawlings. And this is the big story, Natalie read acre is a researcher at the university of Manitoba, who has been studying a sugary soda tax. I would it work would Canadian support it. What are the costs and benefits? Hi, natalie. Thanks for having how often do does this kind of thing, come up. I mean it seems it seems like it's something we hear about somewhere else in the world fairly frequently. I'll it's coming up more and more. Frequently a number of countries have implemented a sugar sweetened beverage tax over the last, I would say five years, especially and then in two thousand sixteen the World Health Organization, formerly endore endorsed sugar sweetened beverage tax, and so that kind of put it back into the forefront of public health officials and that resulted in more countries implementing such attacks. So what does excessive sugar intake look? Like in Canada. What are we struggling with well sugar intake in Canada is a bit of a moving target. Because it's always changing and changing over time as, as all food, patterns, do sugar intake in Canada has increased probably from about the nineteen eighties up until the early two thousands with sugar sweetened beverages, contributing the most to free sugar intake in Canada. However, since about two thousand four intake of sugar, sweetened beverages, like pop or Kool aid, or Tang, those types of drinks, have decreased over the last ten years, but the most commonly consumed sugar sweetened beverage in Canada is actually sugar, sweetened coffee, real nets in crew that's increased since two thousand and four. So that also includes drinks like Frappuccino or rapid. Closed. Those types of drinks, so, like anything, not just food. I mean, there's fads, right? And in the past, and I mean, people still drink pop up that tended to be one of the biggest contributors to sugar intake in Canada. So what would a sugar tax actually do in Canada? What would it look like? And I guess just based on the research you're doing what, what would that look like? Well, we don't really know what it would look like. And that's part of what my research is about because there are a lot of questions that are unanswered and kind of complexities around that. So one is I already talked about the different types of drinks. So some of my research is looking at what have other countries done in terms of which drinks are included in sugar sweetened beverage taxation, because there are so many drinks. Pacino's. I can't I can't. Well, that's an that's an important question. And the countries that have implemented that, you know, there's quite a bit of variation in whether or not Frappuccino are included. And what type of Frappuccino is because there are Frappuccino that are bottled and sold in grocery stores. There are also Frappuccino that are made on site where the sugar is added at the point of purchase, and then it becomes administratively difficult to decide, you know, what, what gets taxed in whether or not we added after, and how does that contribute, or like, look, according to what we're drinking overtime because anytime we're talking about public health policy were interested in population level effect. So who is it affecting? And if we don't include Frappuccino, or some Frappuccino is, you know, is that the majority of the drinks people are drinking now. So that's one aspect of what would it look like in Canada? What kinds of drinks, and if we don't. Don't include certain drinks. What does that mean for for different groups? I'm in, in the other question that I have is related more. So to the taxation aspect of it in terms of, you know, different jurisdictions have different laws like, whether this is a provincial tax federal tax, what could, or would that look like for first nations reserves, which are different jurisdictions, and how would that influence the purchasing environment related to sugary drinks? So that's another important question. And then the other question is about tax revenue, would that look like do we idea from places that have already implemented attacks like this? What kind of deterrent at has on the actual purchase and consumption of these drinks? Yes, there's been quite a bit of research. I would say while a growing amount and generally. So, for example, Mexico. They've seen an overall decrease in sugar sweetened Bev. Bridge purchases. But there's also been an increase in purchasing other nontaxed beverages. So it, it becomes really hard to assess what's really happening in what you're measuring is that what we should be measuring on. So one of the other places at a introduced the tax is Philadelphia, but one of the issues with implementing it in a municipality or a smaller geographic area is the Leif seen sales of sugary drinks decrease in Philadelphia. They've increased right outside the city. So what is the net game or net benefit? I don't we don't really know because it's so complicated. And then what is the other question is the revenue, you know, what else is happening to change intake like so, for example, in Mexico as a country that country had one of the highest intakes of sugary drinks? So there was probably only one way for it to go, which is down and in Canada. Our intake also. On down, but we didn't have tax. Is that just a result of kind of more awareness, more health marketing, I think so I mean in the research I've done so far, most people have heard that sugar is not great for their health. It's not a surprise to most people. They're they're quite aware. So I think that, that has contributed quite a bit probably to the decrease in consumption among certain groups, particularly the more higher educated, people have reduced their consumption in the response, either from people who kind of participate, or just from people, you end up discussing this with our people, generally for or against sugar tax because I'm fascinated by the reaction. Oh, I think I've heard everything what I say. Most people are supportive or unsupportive, I'd say it's pretty divided for a lot of different reasons. And generally, I'm pretty if people are just talking to me. I'm pretty neutral built my own feelings. So I think people are being honest. But yeah, there's, there's a mix there support, there's anger and everything in between. How similar would this be to the taxing? We do of tobacco. And do we have research that, that puts sugar kind of, in those categories or even a system like that already in place that we could use? That's a great question. A lot of people who support the sugar sweetened beverage tax have compared it to tobacco because there's a lot of the same kind of dynamics with industry and then you know, the tactics right, the tactic is the same taxing. I think there are a lot of lessons, we have learned from tobacco, which we should think about. And I mean, there are a lot of other policies that have targeted tobacco that are not taxation that contributed to changes in smoking rates. But then also how he'd be tobacco? So, yeah. Yeah. I think there's a lot to learn not just the success. So in, in the success is usually attributed to the decrease in smoking, we've seen over the last number of decades. But we also still see quite a number of people who smoke and yeah, so I, yeah, I think there's a lot to learn. Sort of the huge spectrum of responses both in support or against something like this, and given given our current political climate in which every party tends to be either for something or totally against it. Do you think there's any traction here, politically for this kind of tax? I think right now there's probably not a lot of traction discussion kind of heated up about this sugar sweetened beverage tax when the liberals, I came into government, and they were developing their healthy eating strategy, and it was considered, and then the government ended up deciding to go with different policies. So, for example, we got the new candidates food guide. They opt investments to nutrition, north Canada. And then there's also going to be a, a food marketing ban targeting children. So there won't be any marketing of unhealthy foods towards children, and that's going to be coming out in the next two years, or so, I think a lot of the discussion in the future will depend on how the next. Election goes because. Yeah, I think depending on which party gets in power that could shape whether or not this gets on the, the and then the other thing is probably the carbon tax, you know, just put in this carbon tax. So does another part does the party wanna put in another one. Here's a question without getting into because I know the freedom of choice libertarian angle of this is really an issue because people want to be able to choose what they buy and consume putting that aside would implementing attacks like this hurt. Anyone would there be anybody who would lobby against it from a business or health point of view? Well, there's already been lobbyists lobbying against it. Obviously, the big ones the beverage association and also small businesses, and I'm particularly interested in how this might affect low income groups people who are food, insecure or who struggle to afford food. Food tend to be higher consumers of sugary drinks. So I think when we're considering raising the price of a drink disproportionately consumed by people who can't afford food. That's an important ethical question. This is what we started to see now with tobacco, as you know, you're hurting, our punishing people for you know engaging in these behaviors. But there's not a lot of support for alternatives or, or in the case of smoking, smoking cessation programs or you know, in case of food, we haven't really done much to reduce food insecurity. You feel like we'll have a handle on the costs and benefits of this over the next couple of years, because, like I mentioned at the beginning, you know, this is an issue that sort of seems to pop up every year or two, and it would it would be lovely if we could figure out whether or not, this is a way forward for us, or we just have to stop proposing me, personally. Well, I think we need to kind of go back to what is the. The problem. And because this is a public health policy in my expertise, public health. I'm not convinced yet of what, what the problem is like to me, an and I'm interested in health equity. I don't see this policy necessarily promoting health equity or fairness. I mean we see the highest rates of type two diabetes, cardiovascular disease among low socio economic groups, lower income, lower education. And what we've seen with tobacco is the those are the same groups that continue to have the highest prevalence of smoking. So I, I don't see how that has could reduce inequalities I. Yeah. I think we need to get a handle on yet. What is the problem? I mean, are we going to reduce obesity nowhere? That's implemented this policy have we seen a reduction in obesity, which was theoretically, the main aim of this policy. Now. Yes. That now that would be the goal. We've Vilnai's food for a long time. That's been our ammo in nutrition, you know, meat eggs, don't eat saturated fat or any fat. And now we've just kind of villain is the next food hasn't made us healthier. I mean, people usually take up that knowledge in change what they eat. I don't see it necessarily changing a whole lot on the health front of populations. And I think I'm very interested in socially, how the tax might impact people because it's positioned as an obesity, reduction strategy in, we have a lot of weight stigma in Canada. And in high income countries where we shame and blame people for their weight. And this kind of just continues that same narrative. And I don't know that at the population level. That's all that help. Awful because there's been more and more research showing people can't lose weight. It's just almost impossible. So these are some tough questions, we need to wrestle with. We need to keep making people feel bad for the food that they eat. Natalie read a researcher at the university of Manitoba, and that was the big story. We've got more for you at the big story, podcast dot CA, and you can talk to us on Twitter at the big story. F peon looking for more podcasts. We've got a bunch, including Rosin, mocha moms in the middle and more at frequency podcast network dot com, and you can find every last one of our podcast, wherever you get them. Apple Google Stitcher, Spotify, you peck where there thanks for listening. I'm Jordan heath Rowlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
Are Torontos landlord-tenant rules just broken?
"The yesterday as Statistics Canada report revealed a result that surprised nobody absolutely. Nobody apparently renters and the Toronto area are the least happy in Canada now stats can tends to use numbers numbers to answer these sorts of questions but if you want a sense of what police happy feels like just ask beat reporter. It's incredibly complicated. Aided and very confusing to people and I think all of those things blended together have made an environment. That's very challenging for the ordinary person defined keep a safe and affordable home. That was Emily Matthew. We spoke to exactly one year ago at the time. We talked to her about a crisis in Toronto's rental market and one year later there have been a lot of reports on that crisis. There have been a lot of numbers a lot of hearings a lot of consultations and discussions about what's needed to get a handle on this problem and there have also been evictions at an increasing rate addictions that are frequently used to raise the the rent to make units unaffordable city even more affordable. You WanNa get a sense of the difference in this crisis between last year and now when we talked to emily last December she was the affordable housing reporter and now she is the affordable and precarious housing housing reporter. Because it ain't getting better I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings. This is the big story. Emily Matthew as I said is the affordable and precarious housing reporter at the Toronto Star. I'm only that's quite a title. Thank you it's not something I'd probably try to squeeze in a business card But I think it does accurately accurately described the work that I do for the star explain. Why evatt beat is so necessary right now and why? We're talking about it so why to be necessary. I think it's become pretty clear across the city of Toronto because housing is such an important and complicated heated conversation and I think one of our roles journalists is to unpack some of the policies and processes that govern the everyday lives of people who might be struggling to understand how they can and finding a home and you really need to have a specialized focus because the more you dig into it the more you realize that it. It's exceptionally complex often inaccessible accessible for people that don't have say English as a first language or even background in law of some kind. I mean that's where my job comes in. I tried to impact a little bit of those processes in problems for people. Will you were telling me. About policies that exist that were created for a different city that we're meant to be helpful and enable people people to move between homes and now in the middle of the housing crisis. They don't work so well. One of those is no fault evictions. Can you tell me what they are I can we can. We can start. Maybe at the top of the mountain so all disputes between tenants and landlords in Ontario or basically dealt with by something called the residential Tendencies Act which is a provincial and yes it was built with good intentions. It was a set of rules that would ensure that landlords could remove tenants that weren't paying their rent if need be and tenants would would have protections on the flipside of landlords entering their house or forcing them out for legal reasons so it was meant to be a good thing so it's a complex set of policies and processes and Procedures Cedars and built within that there's different types of victims so if we separated into two simple categories. We look at something. You could call a fault evictions. And that's largely when attended. He's not paying rent. And then of course you're going to be asked to leave your home right no fault addictions or something. Where tenants are acting in? Good faith. They're paying on time but there are processes that allow a landlord to remove them from the home for other reasons to examples of that would be something called able to process it starts with notice called an end. Twelve and twelve represents is when a landlord is trying to reclaim a property for personal use. So I'm living in an apartment. I've been living there for two years. I'm paying my rent. Take out the trash. I don't make any noise again. Notice that the door for my landlord saying that I need this place back for me. I needed back for my spouse certain members of my extended family and if it is done in good faith there's not much attended it can do you have to go. Is it always done in. Good faith Russia. I mean it's it's not as I mean my immediate answer of course is no because we've seen we've seen cases where people have have clearly used the law in ways that it was not intended. Am I going to point the finger at people. They say that they're deliberately doing it in bad faith can't because on inside that person's head right but I mean the things that we've reported on clearly show that the law is used in a rather loose loose fashion oftentimes to try to get people out and if that remedy fails they'll try something else so that to me is a pretty clear indication. It's being abused in in the middle of the housing crisis. How often do these? Fictions happen. and twelve and thirteen whole kit and caboodle. While I mean I I would say. It's fairly infrequent. If you were to say look at the general volume of hearings that are heard across the province Ontario so if you look at say the number of applications applications that are that have gone before the board according to the two thousand eighteen two thousand nineteen you know annual report from Social Justice Tribunals Ontario. You're looking at about eighty nine thousand applications that were dealt with by the board a very small percentage of those are these ones. Where people are you know asking people to leave to recover the property for their own use or the second category which is getting a lot of attention is something called? The slang term is a renovation not starts with something called thirteen notice and that's the bigger problem and what's the one where landlords essentially say that I need you out because a unit needs extensive renovations You have to move out. They're supposed to give you money equivalent to the rent or find you another place to live. But what advocates and activists have said and what we have now riphil reported on is that landlords have in fact used that process to permanently. Eject tenants find new ones. They can move back into pay three times. The rent and while there are monetary penalties that they face as a result of those actions. They almost stand to make a profit if they do it right. So is it common I couldn't really quantify it and give you a certain percentage but are we seeing it more and more. Yes and that's what actor reported so you know. A lot of the reason I came here today was to talk about what the Advocacy Centre for tenants. Ontario has reported numbers. They've collected through their tenant. Duty Counsel Program. Those those are the lawyers that you would go to. If you were confused tennant now you go into the board. You know you've never been before a hearing before you walk into these offices and you can get free legal help and this was to help you navigate the process and what they've done and what's great on our end is they basically condensed information from forty two thousand four hundred meetings and give us a bit of a snapshot of what tenants are telling them or causing them problems across the city. When you look at that snapshot what did you see somebody who's been covering this I see a few things I mean you could look at in two different ways. You could look at an increased frequency of use. Because they're reporting on. You know numbers that they hadn't seen before and a spike in certain types of attempt addictions the optimistic side of me also looks at it and thinks that this represents an increased awareness that if you are headed one of these notices it's not an absolute there are places you can go to get advice understand the process and then way whether or not it's something you WanNa fight and what actum engines in the report and what they've mentioned throughout is this is a snapshot this does not represent the number of people being handed these notices these only represent the people who've come in for help and it's very common when you speak to ten advocates on the ground to say that more often than not people just throw their hands up in frustration because they can't bear the option of a hearing and in all honesty. The landlord is acting in good faith in the law is in the landlord landlord side. So what's the point right. So they're seeing the fight. They're seeing this slice of battle they're not actually seeing what's happening on the ground in its full depth and breadth and I mean as a reporter. These snapshots are exceptionally valuable. And I think it's important to point out that you know this particular. One is actually endanger. The provincial. Government made a decision to cut a huge chunk chunk of money under the broad budget of legally. -tario those cuts are trickling down to organizations like actor and in particular. They stand to lose quite a bit of money from the Tenant Advocacy Z program that collected this data. They're appealing it but right. Now that's up in the air and I mean in a climate like this. I can't think of anything that we need more than good research about. What's actually Lee happening on the ground? How do you go about getting a sense of what is happening on the ground? Well there's a couple of ways I mean a lot of it comes from you know individual conversations with breath you know legal representatives tenants groups advocacy groups one of the things that I always find so useful as a reporter is just listening to people tell their stories and and one of the most interesting and Organiz places that can happen is city hall and the newest tool that's available to me and is available to our city as a whole is there's a new subcommittee at City Hall that specifically deals with the protection of affordable rental housing two of the key focuses are dealing with these rogue of my word not the council's and twelve and entertain applications and giving tenants perhaps some protections at the municipal level if these notices come to their door and this is one of the most interesting tensions engines I think happening in rental housing right now because landlords and tenants all of disputes are basically governed by a provincial law so if you are a city councillor and your constituents are coming to you and saying this thing is happening to me I don't know what to do up until this point. The city has been largely powerless to intervene and so this committee has been and created to find ways that the city can use their own tools to slow investigate or even just make sure they thoroughly track what is happening happening when it comes to these these types of addiction. So it's a really interesting time. I think what's the tension like then between the city and the province on this we talked about but this a lot it seems on this podcast. Almost every issue right now creates tension between the city of Toronto in the province of Ontario. We have a new provincial government. And I while I won't. I'd say they're entirely inaccessible. We're not getting a lot of information about what it is that they're actually doing And very early on one of the questions that we were putting to them as journalists and I say collective we journalists journalist across Toronto is what are you going to be doing about the residential tenancies. Act We know that they've been undergoing like quite thorough review. You know repeatedly asked you to. WHO's been involved in all of these conversations and just sort of shut that question off so probably have two F. But They've been saying you know. They've said out of the gate that they were going to. They were reviewing doing the act with potential legislative. Changes to happen this fall now. That goalpost has been shifted now. We're talking about potential legislative changes in winter. Twenty twenty we. We don't know the way to ship something it is. It's a long way I mean so and I mean so. We'll know. Hopefully maybe January February. I mean that's that's again in theory theory the hope but I mean right now they have control over an exceptionally powerful piece of law that decides who gets to stay and who gets to to go you know in housing across Ontario and the city. I believe and they've said this themselves has had to form this subcommittee in response the fact that you know. They haven't had any tools up until this point to deal with these issues and I mean we're the largest city in Canada and I personally think it's somewhat ridiculous ridiculous that we have an overarching provincial law to deal with housing matters when the needs of cities are so complex and so different so now we wait. We wait and see what's going to happen. Come winter regarding the law but I mean no matter what that outcome is. The city of Toronto is now moving forward to find ways to use their own tools to help Toronto tenants who are at the mercy of it landlords as well. I mean it's about protecting everybody. It's not just about the downtrodden intent. I mean this law is for all of us so hopefully hopefully we can dig up. You know tools and tricks and better ways to make sure that we all have access to homes when I was preparing for this discussion. Listen I looked up the last time you were on this podcast. And it's a total coincidence but it is almost a year to the day since we had you on and it was for an episode titled Inside Inside Toronto's Housing crisis so ago yes the city in crisis is that better or I think I know the answer. I think the sense is is is that more attention is being paid to specific issues at the municipal level. I think the city has promised and is extensively doing its best to build more affordable housing. But if you talk to anybody who's engaged say on the research side or is it who's been invested housing policy or advocacy for a long time. No no matter what we're doing we're not doing it fast. Enough and in the quantity that's needed so we're not. The needle is not moving in a meaningful way. So there's promises and pledges ages and investigations in committees. But I mean even if everybody worked overtime for the next you know two years it's questionable. We kind of housing required to meet our needs beyond reexamining The landlord tenant legislation as the new provincial government. Actually done anything since taking office with regards to this. Yeah well I mean very early on they did introduce a sort of generally-worded housing action plan. So they have promised you know that they are looking into issue the RTA that's part of it you know looking into the RTA to ensure better protections for both landlords and tenants. I mean if we were to look at the extended extended timeline favorably. We would say that they are doing a thorough review of that piece of legislation. So it'll be really interesting to see what they come out with. You know they have committed to making it easier for developers to To build but the city does that as well through a range of tax incentive programs and exchanges and discounts on land. One thing that the provincial government has done which was quite controversial and is now getting more attention in the US is they essentially said that new units will not be subject to the rent controls. Is that generally control. How much landlords can charge you? year-over-year on all of their rental housing across Toronto so purpose-built rental units and it's important to say with those are I mean those are built and meant to be rental housing units right not condominiums not condominiums A colleague of mine is recently reported. So you know there was a the building built on John Street and this is a year ago you know tenants and moved in. And you don't essentially one year after they moved in they started getting notices about renting creases. And we're talking double digits. We're talking fifteen percent twenty percent and that's essentially what the new law or this. You know peace or application of the law allows landlords to do so. That's a big incentive to free no builder to come into Toronto because if you can build a twenty storey tower and then you can charge tenants whatever you want whenever you want. I mean that's the way to make a profit. Yeah yeah is affordability or availability. A bigger issue in Toronto Oath. Great because we do need more units right and if if I was to look at it from the other direction I would say. That's what's behind that provincial. Decision as to just encourage more units on the market at whatever price crush. Yeah no absolutely and I mean that is again part of the existing tension between the city and the province. Is this idea that down at the city level as well I mean you need to create an environment. Were people want to come in and invest their money. You know they want to bring in workers in steel and you know the time it takes to build an excavate that whole process is an expensive process but at at the same time I mean you have to understand that you. Can't you have to understand that at a time when there is a serious lack of affordable housing. You can't make you know all of the best lands available to the people who were only interested in making a profit and I think the city is trying to address that through a range of programs. They're trying to ensure there's a certain number of affordable units but I mean again it's a complex and really difficult issue to address and if you pull back again look at the volume of housing were building and you ask any expert at any given time on our current time line. There's no way we're going to be able to meet the need that we're seeing on the streets right now how much of this is profiteering landlords and governments Vermont's that haven't done enough and etcetera etcetera. And how much of it is just kind of an unavoidable function of Toronto's rapid rise as like one of the most enviable destinations in the world. World like we're going to have people flooding in is it just capitalism at work. I think with any city any desirable city and Toronto is desirable for lots of reasons. You're going to see gentrification you're GONNA WANNA see people coming from all parts of the country from around the world to come live here experience arts experience culture but I think when you look at housing issues in this city city. It's not so much what's happening now but I think you need to pull back many decades and look at the big picture things like you know for decades are social housing housing public. Housing was without support from the provincial and federal government and was allowed to fall into disrepair. I mean you have to look at things like you know. I can't imagine very smart. People have known for a very long time. That Toronto was a desirable city. And I think with that in mind should've built the infrastructure to support the people they knew we're going to come and and this applies to transit the supplies to bike lanes. This applies to housing. And personally what I find. So frustrating is I again what I think of city government and I think a provincial eventual government. I always imagine the smartest planners in the room looking ahead and thinking about the city that we want to be. And we've gotten to breaking point and that didn't come without you know hundreds hundreds of meetings and consultations in money spent on certain things and I mean while they're trying to fix it now. The problem was a long time in the making and it's not just capitalism and it's not just because we're a city that's cool to live in somewhere along the way we lost our way when it came to planning and anticipating the city's needs and we're trying to fill that hole but we can't do it fast enough when you talk to people on the ground about this Tenants or landlords. What did they think is most needed right now? In Two thousand twenty if they could get something something done I would say that landlords consistently feel like people are against them. I think that landlords suffering to the impression there are always painted as bad individuals that it's very difficult for them to make a living. You know that they're managing older buildings. And you know they need incentives. They need to be able to raise. Raise the rent a little bit to manage capital repairs. They want that that system to be fair and transparent but they also are running a business and they need to be able to do that without feeling like they're persecuted if they need to to see you know fix things change the lighting And unfortunately you know the stories that we most often write about what you see is landlords. Taking advantage of the process says and that does paint a lot of good landlords with with quite a bad brush and I think a lot of landlords would like to be lifted out of that category and be allowed to run a business in the city of Toronto and that was probably a lot easier for them. You know ten fifteen years back when these tensions around you know good people making money you know just renting to people and what about Tenet's what's what's the most pressing thing that could happen next year. I mean on the policy side for those of us who watch it. I would say that you know waiting waiting for the new revision of the residential tenancies. Act is is quite a significant thing because it could eliminate or enhanced protections for tenants. And there's going to be some pieces that could mark a a real change in how it is that you. Can you know. Get into an hold onto a home. But I think if you're just talking to you know the average on the street is just a profound sense of anxiety. I mean you know how hard it is to find a place you know. Once I'm in there. What are all the different ways that I can be pushed out? You know if I'm having a small problem with my landlord you know there's bugs if there's a heating issue is it worth drawing attention to myself to get these issues resolved because it could result for trouble down the road so again. I think it's just a a lot of tension and fear. Great Excellent rental climate. It's just coming on the radio to soothe. Yeah no it's it's not ideal. I think the people are working really hard hard at all levels from the ground up to try to find solutions to this problem. But in the meantime there's a lot of anxiety and a lot of confusion and a lot of people thinking that they're not going to find a place to live that's pretty upsetting because we're big wealthy city and I don't think that should be the case. Thanks thanks for having me. Emily Matthew affordable and precarious housing reporter with the Toronto Star. That was the big story. If you'd like more from US including taking a look at just how bad it was one year ago you can head to the big story podcast dot ca and you can search for Emily's name you can also find us on your twitter at the big story you can find us on facebook and Instagram at frequency pods. And of course you can find us in your podcast player. You probably know where we are if you don't just search for us. Search for any of our fellow podcasts on the frequency podcast network and as always leave a good rating. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heath Rowlings. We'll talk tomorrow
In the Northwest Territories, voters will get creative to be heard
"By now you've heard me describe the plight of the north when it comes to federal elections the number of seats up here is so small in any overture by a leader Party is done mostly in service to a far larger block of voters down South who care about quote northern issues but northern issues aren't a collection of concerns or a list of opinions the people here in the Northwest Territories live with them. They are everyday things minds that are closing roads that are no longer drivable recognition of land claims and the rapidly melting permafrost and that's the real stuff and if you ask people here it's not the federal government no matter who wins that's ultimately going to get most of these things doc in the Northwest Territories which government is in charge in Ottawa after this election matters mostly in regards to how much of that government's the decision making power it is willing to cede to the governments that actually get things done on the ground in the north so we'll any government offer enough of that independence or will the Northwest Territories and first nations up here in particular once again find themselves choosing the least bad add option Jordan Heath Rawlings and this is the big story today our final final episode in the northern trilogy of our lay of the land series features denizen Naccache who works for DNA now an organization that aims to advance social an environmental justice for northern people. How is democracy going up in the Northwest Territories right now. Well it'd be colonial experimented into democracy continues up here in the north and and a bunch of different ways and actually I think it's kind of a pretty fascinating place to me when it comes to political development because of indigenous rank leans itself governments living in a place in a time where governments have been created all around us plus we still have a traditional colonial entities of the territorial and federal government so that mixture is actually a pretty exciting any any place to live it when politicians do come to visit. What do they typically talk about and how how meaningful is what they address to. The people actually living there well. I think for the the reality of the north is a lot different than I think the narrative around the north and I think the narrative around the north has multi been crafted by people that don't actually live here. The majority of the population candidate lives in Sao. Oh and the majority of the population and in formulating their own story in you know when you travel south is a lot of people all the pretty fascinated by the fact that people actually look here so we get a lot of questions and honestly some questions you get. Is You do the polar bears up here so the general knowledge of the reality of the Northeast as lacking really when it comes to the actual actual Maryville with north and as northerners we don't really get to participate in crafting narratives as much so I think it would be important for politicians not to come up here to tell us what they think but actually come up here to experience our reality of life in the north and just to listen to what the people need up here when you mentioned that it's a fascinating time because indigenous nations are developing their own governments. How how is that working with the federal government. Currently I know that the liberals came to power in two thousand fifteen with a lot of promises and I'm just wondering how how people club there see them as having delivered or not as he did his people in this country the history in in Canada's not really good for us who are treated as second class citizens re this whole day. She stayed is like a regime of oppression from an indigenous into perspective and I think a lot of the issues raised in the north. We have a lot of social issues. we need a lot of statistical. Go categories that. I don't think other jurisdictions would be proud of hiring suicide like a lot of social issues. I think most most of that stems from the fact that there's decisions being made in our traditional territories and those decision making authorities don't actually loop here. Yeah Kinda stationed in Yellowknife or in Ottawa so I think being able to have these indigenous governments have more decision making power hour and forty. I think he'd be a good thing and I think alleviate a lot of the our our social issues. I like to talk about the political developments the north up here you have the government and the government he's pretty much the only signed land claims and self government agreement and they've been operating as their own government since about two thousand five and what I what I like to say that the creature government I think is is our most Canadian government we have in this country and the definition that is because the clean show are indigenous peoples of kiss and then you go in numbers from the federal government and the territorial government the okay together had immediately minds in agreed to disagreement. Canadians and indigenous people creating the government that makes the actually makes sense for the people that actually live geographic area so cincy it was created here by Canadians any of these people I think by definition creature government is our most cain government. We have in this country because they're federal parliamentary entry system as any he's never had the opportunity to create our own system the government for the people that actually here that has been imposed on us from another country so we operate in the legislative cautious that comes from another part of the world that's pretty much the definition condition of colonization as well too right. What are some of the things that is indigenous governments can do for the people living in them that are are not typically done by the federal government or the territorial government. Do there's a lot of different things we have to understand that just to paint the picture in provide some context to the reality of the north is a lot different from the rest of Canada in southern Canada. there's people that I can probably move their whole life without even meaning interacting with an indigenous person This is the population so dense but up. Here's we know we're half. The population is indigenous. So if you're like a super race in like native people this is not the place screen who kayce whether you like it or not in the grocery store or on the street you track looking at indigenous person so the awareness from you. Indigenous perspective back from the general public is much higher than the rest of Canada but also you know our capital here's yellowknife and this this colonial experiment to this government actually the territory government's turning into a microcosm of Canada when it comes to decision making and our a federal government system auto walls conceded power and people go there then make decisions that affect people in a bird up or just Columbia and Maritimes and a lot of times people from O. Bird or like you know hey all the lost the out of our business type of the thing you know that's all the decisions are made in an automobile and that's northwest territories turning into when it comes to political decision making power a lot of decision making power is happening in the L. Knight and the rest of the northern regions or like. Hey Illinois life stay out of our businesses and in the realities of communities. The communities are remote. Our population is pretty small here. In Northwest Territories like forty three thousand people. There's actually more people that live in Grande Prairie Alberta and entire northwest territories but we're also spread out where a vast land mass and some of these communities are only flying so so many communities don't even have the road access in and out in some of these communities. Don't even have the police officer officer community and some of these communities don't even have a nurse or health center and you know we see it time and again. We're all the people that come up here. They kind of come. I'm in a an attitude where they have this idea to kind of six but as the longer they stay here a million entangled in the complexities lexi's of this place this only realized that there's there's a lot more than UCI when it comes to well there's one federal l. seat for the entire territory so I guess our question because this series is analyzing the impact of the federal election on communities across cross Canada so the the first thing that comes to mind after what you've just described is what kind of promises and policies can these candidates proposed that would actually make the difference across the territory it. It's IT'S A it's a different animal and then nearly we have to be strategic and and how and who is elected concern member of parliament because in reality we don't have a lot of it couldn't go power centrally with one member of parliament and if you combined the say one party gets a member of parliament from the you con- the Northwest Territories in new down since pretty much half the country but only three yeah and then it's not a lot of political power our so we understand that reality when it comes to Ottawa and I think from an indigenous perspective a lot of the indigenous governments here are really really pushing for the completion of negotiations for nine claims and self government not only that there's a real big push for the implementation of these agreements that have already been made one of the he's holed up with the federal government is not like actually making the deals but putting it into action the implementation creation of these things and the I guess what they called it devolution with the wordy and decision making power from the federal government to more towards the indigenous in this governance. I think from an indigenous perspective that's more than priority so any leverage that governments can have two member of parliament. We're actually just going to Ottawa and lobbying goes like upper middle the bureaucracy of Ottawa goodson bunch of different ways and and in the north I think any characteristics alone in inches creativity in our imagination not that we have the luxury of time to sit around and and kind of like exercise or creative juices but we're forced to be creative in imagination because we have a lack of resources up here and and not a lot of people pay attention to us so so even if we D- are out and have strong message to Ottawa usually a lot of the solutions depend on our own ingenuity in our own creativity so a lot of the solutions to a lot of issues here Noonan. There's forced creative not kind of feebles things out so given all that how do people in the territory decide who to vote for and what do they see as the differences between the major parties well you know the the obvious fact this this election is is really crazy. You know you think about it. You know you know you know no one prime minister who has passed. It's done black-faced and Brown face but you and that's horrible but did did you know he's like the lesser of two ones compared to the other guy so here's like what are you going to do and then you know I. I really really don't think the Democratic Party will be able to get a stronghold for leadership in this country as well to you so you you call it a democracy but you know there's not a lot of choice really in the reality of our situation here and really we have have to be strategic about that. It's I think it's more like just a an exercise and duty to go and really you know like whoever gets in pretty much is this gonna be with by their political party to just ended being a proud to stand behind the current leader of that political party when they talk about more more than indigenous issues. That sounds really cynical. I'm not I'm not judging but it's sad well you know and so we're we're. He used to not being heard or or teaching up here in north so like I said earlier. We're forced to be creative and a lot of our solutions and we have to take. I like you know a stock into you. Know our situation. Where we're you gotta try to make the best of it. that's how we be able to survive of either pure for for generations generations as people but you know as you get older and you know however however many political cycles through you can see a pattern and you can see that you know really nothing changes and so. I think from the mostly the perspective here in the North 'cause ratification and implementation wobbles. Ryan crain's new very helpful in a a lot of ways and again looking at the government doesn't apple stays ratified. They're they're operating as crucial government they've been like looking at mining opportunities looking at building lanes so their their priorities have shifted and they really WanNa make government work so they're open for business and they're open in two different opportunities within their territory the other engines that are still negotiating and don't have an agreement. That's their priorities to get the the deal done. So while that's the main priority all the other priorities like mining or these were developing kind of secondary or third in the main goal all is to finish these agreements. Once agreements are done a lot of these. I think each no indigenous governments. You'll see that spike in economic activity opportunity community but for for a lot of their engines are kind of split up in their at different levels. I get himself governments when it comes to that so oh and at those different levels they have different priorities as well too and you know that's just an example of some of the political complexities and this vast territory toys that small population if a government is elected in October and I'm not even talking about which one could be any of them but that was was to make a dent in the kind of cynical outlook towards Ottawa. You just described what would have to be their top priority with regards to the territory would would it be land claims I think that should be like on top of the list even here in the north. you know the other half the population is non on indigenous and especially in yellowknife like I think a lot of people are really shocked by the diversity here and but even the non indigenous population station they're really gung ho about man claims and south garment like media deemed done so for the not only for the political development of the north. Ah The economic development north as well to you I think that these prophecies have stalled a lot of different things and we kind of like in this middle name Brown in limbo of like who decides what about where you're in north but other than that there's a lot of other major issues I mean climate change is a huge issue around the world but up here the the traditional users the harvesters the the people that take medicines the trappers the people that are on the land a lot still living a traditional lifestyle they've been sounding the alarms and the drastic ask changes in the in the territory up here the town of Tuck. Your talk is the you know they're scared that they might fall into the Arctic Ocean. Because of corrosion. water and hydrology has been changing here because of melting permafrost also infrastructure lies all the roads go we do have in the communities. We have all Bill Kerr massage so once permafrost melts roads. It's GonNa like like all their schools and buildings or foundations and so they were some of the I think some of the main issues but also jobs. They have a lot of jobs here. You either worked for the government or you're working out of mine and so there's not a lot of real options and we don't we don't we have a university up here. There's a push to establish polytechnic university. I think that will go a long way to diversifying defined our economy. 'cause you know how that Knowledge Economy University here. That's what the jobs and We have a lot of knowledge pure. That's pretty any specific trip here. The reality that I live in is that you know if I WANNA go back to university in to get a degree in more than studies. I have to go southern institution. That really doesn't get the sense of all those issues because that's that's a long lesson. I mean we've heard them from other provinces too but of all those issues. Do you get the sense that there is one that people will actually change their vote on and is there an issue. That's for the people who are single issue voters. That's the most attractive began or our population is so it's so diverse and we yeah. I've actually we have a like a girl in driving population immigrants that come from all over the world and so there's only patterns are it's pretty hard to predict and for all the indigenous regions in in people's it's incredibly diverse as well to you have to understand like official league. The governments have been North West territories recognizing eleven. I've been official languages your mortgage so that that's pretty diverse for small population and then it's really hard hard to put your finger on on that one heart but Nishi but like you know jobs on the economy's one how we take care of them and and the climate is is another one house gene you need to touch on housing and like you know the lack of healthcare care like our realities here like you'll Nathanson centralized so a lot of communities even if they have a doctor. It's very limited what the doctor can be and then they're like they have to be like records and then people have to be sent to Yellowknife just to see the doctor so that's like a lot of money to pay for the air travel from the small community. Goatee Eleanor's can be diagnosed like I said this is the place for such as population in gaslines the you know. He can't love place well. Thank you for sharing some of the narrative that we don't often get in reporting that gets to us down here. Yeah I appreciate your interest in this opportunity to it's very into to be part of the story or any story. That's coming out of the north and I think that you will find that. If you come up here not only are we complex but we really in generous and hospitable and you know we you really like when visitors come up here and because we know it's that's a long way to travel so when people make the accurate then make the effort to walk up here as well thanks Tanisha Denison NACCACHE. Oh a founding member of denny not one. That was the big story for more from us. We are at the big story podcast dot. Ca Up to eight now an hour lay of the land series. There's five more coming. You can also talk to us on twitter at the Big Story F. Leave US let us. I know what you think and you can review us. Wherever you get podcasts Apple Google stitcher spotify you will find us there. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heath Rowlings. We'll talk tomorrow
How film describes our world, even when its bad
"We all know that art is a product of the world in which it was made. Sometimes I feel like we know that as a fact we just don't understand it mostly. That's because we almost never experienced art. That's all made at the same time. We see a movie out in theaters. There's one week. Maybe we read novel. That's a few years old the next week we watch reruns of TV shows from whatever decade and play video games anytime from the eighties eighties to the nineties to the two thousand so it is impossible to consume culture like that and pull out a sense of the world that created because all that culture was made in different different worlds so in order to get a real picture of how the world around us informs our art and vice versa. You need to kind of overdose on work. That's created at the same time in the same. You need to live in it for a while and not do much else. That's really not easy to do except at certain certain places and certain times like every year in Toronto in early September when Hollywood comes to town. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings and this is the big story. Norm Wilner is senior film writer at now magazine is also the host host of someone else's movie great podcast on this very network that you should check out and he has been covering the past two weeks in his very tired I nor why are you okay. I have seen somewhere in the vicinity of sixty films and thirty thirty five shorts since we started in the middle of August but yeah the last eleven days have been you know. It's five movies a week. See five movies. A day feels like he's got. A week sounds like a lot four to five movies a day. four to five movies. He's a week is average for me but every year and this is I think this is my thirty first festivals and accredited journalists. I'm I'm old and I've been doing this forever so I'm used to the rhythm of it but yeah this is this year was a lot so what did you learn about movies and the industry in general but also about like our culture when you consume that much of it like main lining at day after day for three straight weeks and it's only a sliver right. I've only seen sixty films is a fourth. Maybe of what's on offer offer in terms of the features. I missed hustlers. I missed waves. I missed a few other films. A lot of people were talking about It's impossible to see everything they schedule the screenings against each other but it's also impossible to see more than you saw. I probably I think the theme that I saw this year. There were two there was one of the the world being broken like a general sense that everything is falling apart. Disintegrating social structures are collapsing. parents are dying. There are a lot aww parents dying this year it felt like and I'm not exaggerating. I think of the sixty features I saw forty of them. Involve cancer of some sort people die off camera. People die on camera. There are a couple of films about assisted suicide. I saw two back to back which was bizarre. There's themes of family unit. Splintering shattering people being lost I was amazed as the no bombecks marriage story which is the story of a couple that divorces badly. Nobody dies not even like there there. There's a relative died a long time before the movie started but I just kept waiting for somebody else to start are coughing. It's that atmosphere so that was one theme in the other. Theme is the larger sense of destruction that comes with the world falling apart. Just class war inequality documentaries of course it always is but but it's creeping. It's not creeping. It's actively in the dramas that we're seeing now movies about systems breaking down and abandoning people movies movies about people being crushed by forces. They don't even understand or forces. They think they do people failing to harness the power that they have or people who don't understand that they no longer have the power. That's these are classic conflict. Themes absolutely these are not new but this year it it was in everything. It was the air that the films were breathing. How typical is it of a festival that happens annually that features you know dozens dozens and dozens of the biggest movies of the year that you can pull out a really cohesive theme from you know. Thousands of people worked together to make what you just yeah yeah It happens every few years where it's just something you can't ignore. Sometimes you know the story to a coincidence three trend forcible festival theme sometimes sometimes it's easy you know there was that one year where everything was about economic collapse because it was two thousand and ten it was two years after the meltdown and everything was about that on some level so oh you look back two years ago to see what happened and of course it was trump it was the election and this is the year finally were that is the active text and not just the subtext the last year appears handling told me when he was arranging the final his final platform slate that the movies were about struggle that he found that was the common theme. They're all people struggling. This is the year that people are fighting back understanding situation and taking action Gioja Rabbit does it joker kind. Does it it's in a whole bunch of of movies and they don't know handle it as well but it certainly played this year that this is a season of movies about resistance so what do movies about resistance feel like and what makes a good one and what what was done work yeah well. I mean they're intended to inspire us and you know it feels to me like they. They should heartwarming but to your point not this year well for film right. I mean cinematic narrative. Defeat is as good as victory right because if you can die with honor right that's the Samurai movie or it's a movie like terrence malick a hidden life which is about a an Australian farmer who was a conscientious objector in in the Second World War and was put put on trial as a as a war criminal effectively for not saluting the fuhrer in joining up that was one of the most moving films I saw because it's all about what it really means to be. Eh Resistant it's about him knowing he's right and being prepared to sacrifice himself and that sort of messianic fervor being directed at something that is you know. Undeniably decent is thrilling in its way I think an oh and the other thing that I keep forgetting to mention is that the early on in the film terrence Malick Texas I political standing link ever by having the mayor of this town in Austria. That's being occupied by the Nazis get drunk and start spouting about immigrants and the language and uses his straight out of trump. It's not against deliberate. It's not vague right. They are quoting their prefacing presaging Donald Trump and saying look this is happening. Now wow this. You can't pretend this is just an isolated incident. What are you doing. What can you do and that's in a lot of movies this year. Parasite is about economic inequality. It's about this working class family of scammers living a crappy apartment subterranean apartment who ended up infiltrating the home of a wealthy architect in his family and it is implied but they get they all get jobs pretending not to know each other one becomes the the daughter's tutor and one becomes the sun's art therapists therapist and one becomes the housemaid one becomes the chauffeur and five minutes in this. Is You know oh I know what's going to happen. I did not and it went somewhere completely differently and still manages to be about the disparity of working class and upper class and literally the way things trickle down and it's never money and I've seen neither movie but the plot you just described sounds a lot like hustlers was also one of the hugely talked about moving on and I think red covered that I I didn't get to see it yeah but I'm just fascinated by at the same festival at the same time. The themes can be so closely related and you talk to the people who make these films. Oh everybody singing the same song are they cognizant isn't about the song that they're all singing. I think they all know that. The movement is happening. They're working on these films for years right. I mean it takes on average. It takes two years to make to make and release the film. The world we're in is kind of nudging us in this direction. I think if you're an artist and you're not an shirk or even if you are. This is something to to get talked about it. Something that works its way into your storytelling Ryan. Johnson's knives out has characters are openly like it said in the real world. It's an Agatha Christie St whodunit murder mystery thing and it's a delight but there are characters who are trumpers Sir Richie Idiots who have no problem. Don Johnson plays this. Guy Guy who's married into a publishing family. He's used to drinking and being wealthy and at one point he's he explains that you know well. Immigrants are in the away and we shouldn't do their work really hard and he's talking to to Latina woman. WHO's the healthcare provider to his father-in-law and something comes up about out her mother's undocumented status within the this wealthy family uses as a Cudgel on this woman when they want something and there's no question that this is the real world that's just existing in the the the this film contains the real world within it even as it's being ridiculous and having people pushing other downstairs and punch each other in the face and that's kind of great and it was absolutely invigorating to watch that and the QNA afterwards where Ron Johnson and all of these movie stars came out and you know he don- Johnson is there but also Jamie Lee Curtis and Chris Evans and Daniel Craig and the audience questions are about the money and the immigration and the the economic inequality because it's on everybody's minds did it used is to be this way and I'm not asking if there's always a theme or not but when you think back to the collections of movies that would appear at festivals like this in in the mid nineties or in the early two thousands were they always as explicitly or so many of them always explicitly about the real world and addressing it as directly. I don't thanks so I think in the ninety certainly what you saw especially after nineteen ninety nine when we had that wave of films that all won Oscars and tiff became designated as the launching pat for award season. I think for a long time tiff was really good to get a sense of what people thought was going to be an important movie or an Oscar winner. Jarno always the same thing right but you rarely got a sense that everything in it was engaged with the way we live. Now it happened from time to time there are these little glimmers but they would be couched in period pieces pieces or they would be like to films that just happened to have the same theme the Greater Push. I think I hate dependent on social media but it's probably true social media has created aided this buzz and everybody's heads where we're always aware of. What's going on in the world weather. No engagement culture is everywhere yeah and you have filmmakers who are rising up and making coming out of nowhere making movies about about women's representation in the world of art and that sort of thing. I mean it's engaged with modern culture and the present day in a way that maybe it wasn't ten years ago or ten years years ago. It would have been a small film that no one paid any attention to but now the theme is resonating with people and it's an immediate in a way that a period piece is supposed to be right movies. Are you're supposed to artists supposed to comment on us and if you're not making a movie that says something or if your movie doesn't want to say anything and you know no one is saying Oh. I don't WanNa play politics this year. No one is saying well my films not political and if they are they're probably made a bad film. Is this the other side of the coin. The we've talked about before when we talk about how all the big blockbuster movies that studios make are the same because they all are a part of the same system culture now. Is this the other side of that. We're actually all the art films who I presume are being green lit by the same cadre of Executives Disney owns Fox and Fox searchlight now and yeah and Fox searchlight delivered a bunch of stuff this year. That was the other side of that monoculture. I think it's supposed to be I don't know if it I you know you can't tell where it starts and where it stops right. Ryan Johnson made the last Jedi so so he gets to make knives out now and because he's a beloved indie filmmaker who made a massive success he can get Chris Evans and Christopher plummer and Daniel Craig and they all WanNa work with him in in his in his in his world but you also can't help but notice that Oh yeah this movie has James Bond and Captain America goofing around in it right. That's all part of it. All of this brings me to the movie that crosses both of these lines inevitably this was going to happen. Yeah Joker was a gala I do not I mean it's not I don't know if it technically qualifies as a Comic Book Movie Comic Witnesses Joker Comic Book Character. I don't know if he has his own comic. this stories he's ever been told in comic form. I guess it's pieces of it. Have I mean a comic book. Movie was the gala so how did it go. Some people really liked it. I I didn't see the gala screening. I caught it. The next day at the screening with a five hundred people and it's Joaquin in Phoenix is very good. He does some stuff. That's interesting. He lost a lot of weight for the role so he looks freakish and strange even before the other stuff happens but ultimately. I think as soon as they cast him. Creative development stopped on everything else. They just assumed he'd fixed whatever it was Everybody's been talking about the aesthetic which boroughs very heavily setting in you know quote Unquote Gotham city but it's really Manhattan and Brooklyn in Nineteen eighty-one very specifically. It's it's one of those things. It's an hour world. It's a you know big relevant thing thing but the real hook is that they wanted to create a film that looks and breathes like Scorsese movie specifically taxi driver in the King of comedy and so what they've done amazingly enough to my mind is simply make taxi driver and the King of comedy but with the joker and they haven't reworked the material or finessed it to fit fit the story. They're telling they've simply plugged this guy into those films he becomes obsessed with a young woman. He stocks a wealthy man. WHO's running for political office. That's all out of taxi driver. He has a oh he has trouble his job and the people around him don't like him. That's also taxi driver but also he wants to be on talk show as a stand up comedian which is exactly what Robert De Niro wanted as Republican in the king of comedy infected Nero is in the film as the Jerry Langford character who was played by Jerry Lewis but now he's called Franklin but it's it's clearly the same guy that's what they want but what surprised me the most is how little care has been given for what invoking the real world would do with the joker kind of situation if you're dealing with character who becomes a murderer a super villain and it's called joker. There's no question it's him. It's not that they're going to take us out and have someone else joker. They did that in Gotham last year. They couldn't do it again. What happens is you get this inevitability where you're just watching a guy who's going to be the the joker. There's no question that he's he won't be redeemed. He won't be saved. He's not going to struggle. This is going to happen to him. No matter what it's a prequel you know it's not a Prequel to any specific Batman movie but it's a Prequel to the joker and so you spend a hundred and twenty minutes watching the joker come out and it's just not that interesting and Phoenix is is doing everything he can to make it interesting is joker what a comic book movie would look like when it was fed through the themes you described of teff and where to those come in. I think they would like it to be. I think very very little thought was actually put into executing that. They've created a sense that the Gotham in the in this in this film's World Old Gotham of this film's world is riven by class problems but not racial problems which is fascinating because to make a movie about Nineteen eighty-one New York with no awareness that there were racial tensions is just dumb but also comic book in a way that works against the concept of the elevated Superhero movie that they're trying to build so the tensions are implied and sometimes explicit there speak their Thomas Wayne turns out to be kind of a right wing jerk and and says things that are very similar to trump again. They're quoting the present day in this period piece film which again makes no sense why not set in the present day and have it be commentary so if I wanted to you understand the themes we've kind of discussed and and how they come from our world and where it's going. What's the one movie someone like me who has not been to any tiff? Screenings Wings needs to see in the next few months. Oh there's a couple parasite. Bongino hosts film is all about this. Although it's always subtext it's it's the best iteration of it since it's all played through character and motivation rather than commentary and didacticism or the platform which is this tremendous. Spanish film that same midnight madness that is about people who commit themselves voluntarily to a nightmarish vertical prison where you have a cell mate or placed on a floor and you're there for a month together and there are many floors above you and many floors below and your cell has a big square hole in the centre and every day at the same time a platform filled with food descends from the first level all the way down to the bottom and there's enough food on that platform for everybody. If everybody takes their share in invariably they do not and so the people you know if you're above thirty thirty five. You're probably fine. If you're down to about sixty you're going to get some bones and you're gonna get some scraps and below that you're eating your cellmate and and it's about inequality and literally an upstairs downstairs relationship and of course every month. You get moved and you don't know where you're going. You and your soulmate will be moved either higher or lower in order to change things up and it's incredibly cruel. It's sort of the model of state-sponsored apathetic torture that was creating cube twenty years ago of Johnson tallies film but now it's perfected because there's a hope and a hopelessness. If you hang on for a month you might better your status or you might it ended up really low on the totem pole and rather than just sit with that it finds ways to tweak and twist and develop and complicate the Primus purpose and for ninety minutes here just on this ride with these characters it's amazing and Netflix has bought it so it will show up. which is the other great anything it's coming? You won't have to worry that if you missed it a tip. You'll never see it again. My last question is if this festival is all about what people were feeling two years ago so when these films began to be conceived of what in your experience usually happens afterwards. What can we look forward yeah well if last year was about struggle and issues about fighting back or in some cases. Actually some of these movies are about punching down and how people in power abuse that authority and abuse that privilege. I don't know what comes next. I mean I think next. Year is an election year. So if anything things are going to be more political in the states and the films that we see in two thousand twenty one might be utterly hopeless. Maybe we'll go back to dystopia and apocalypse is all. I can't imagine more than we're already having. I guess we have to see where the wind blows right. I don't know what happens next right now. I feel pretty helpless as as a tool citizen WHO's watching Canada's slide towards a minority government or whatever it just feels like there's nobody at the wheel right now and in the states worse there is somebody at the wheel but he keeps trying to lick it. I don't know what happens next. I don't know where art goes but I really hope that the the people who making movies this year. We're GONNA make something next year. That makes me feel a little bit better about the things they're gonNA make the year after that. Thanks that make any sense. I'm still so tired. Go get some sleep. I want want norm wilner senior film writer for now magazine the host of someone else's movie go check it out while norm goes goes home and passes out. That was the big story if you want more. They are at the big story podcast dot. CA and of course if you just want to listen to us you you can do it. Wherever you get your podcast on apple on Google stitcher on spotify or on thunderbird thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heath Rowlings. We'll talk tomorrow
A crisis point for abortion access in New Brunswick
"It was said many times in the election campaign and it does appear to be true. Abortion is a settled old issue in Canada. And that's not likely to change access to abortion however is different thing entirely access to abortion and in Canada. Depends on where you live. It also depends on whomever is currently running your provincial government being willing to go beyond the bare minimum of not restricting the procedure and a lot of government's not willing to do that and that brings us to clinic five five four in Fredericton New Brunswick doc and a story about how difficult it can be to provide healthcare to people who need healthcare even a place that has a desperate demand for doctors because yes five five four performs abortions. That's far from the only thing they do. It is however the thing that might force their doors closed again. I'm Jordan Heath Rowlings. This is the big story. Sarah Rochford is a writer based New Brunswick who told the story of clinic five five four at flare dot dot com. Hello Sarah going. It's going well. It's going better out here than abortion and New Brunswick I guess can you start. Can you start start by telling us what exactly clinic. Five five forest sure so clinic five five four is a small family medical practice best downtown Fredericton New Brunswick It has a big rainbow painted on the outside of it and it focuses on sort of general and sexual health care as well healthcare for Queer and Trans people and it is the only private abortion clinic in New Brunswick. How long has it been open for clinic? Four has been around around in various iterations for many years it used to be an existence as the morganthaler clinic and that was actually shut down a few years ago due to a lack of funding similar to that which is being right now by clinic side for what happened when it closed before. And how did it reopen when the Morganthaler clinic in a close essentially the community was quite afraid because a lot of it healthcare services were being a race so what happened. Was the community. Really sort of galvanize. I came together to raise money. Who reopened the clinic under a new thing and most of the money was raised by women and transports in New Brunswick? What kind of support it does it get from the province? Click with afford doesn't have any provincial support right now and that's why it's in danger of closure so the Premier Blaine Higgs. I'm in health. Minister had Fleming have been refusing to answer calls from. I advocate looking to keep the clinic open on facebook so these advocates are tagging politicians. And we're going in and unplugging themselves the health department won't talk about this at all all it will say is that private clinic aren't I'm getting your Brunswick and those who are looking to get a surgical abortion travel to market our bathurst if they don't already within those areas what is the bigger picture and this is one of the reasons That we wanted to talk to you. Because you've been on this for a while. What is the bigger picture just about access to abortion in New Brunswick in the area to abortion? Russian in New Brunswick doesn't look the same way as it doesn't other provinces so basically if you're looking to access a surgical abortion nothing go to one of three hospitals in the province and those are located in Moncton and his thirst respectively. So if you don't already live in these areas and you're looking to get an abortion. You can only get a first trimester abortion Shanna at these hospitals until you have to travel there so this means that you have to organize how care for yourself. You have to get time off. Work you organize accommodation in the town that you have to travel to because because I mean realistically after Procedure like that. oftentimes people need a little rest right. They can't just one a day sometimes. So that's kind of some of the various and right now the only place outside of the cost to get abortion is one private clinic in Fredericton which is in danger of closing a couple of governments ago. They need some improvements improvements on this and they started to provide government funded and if a guy me so. We took a medical induced abortion right. It's a pill that you take to induce abortion at home uh-huh right but I guess they're saying that these aren't super available either so what's happening is. The pill is covered by the government but the health care providers time time and a dream that pope is not always covered in full. So it's covered a little bit but anyone who might need counselling or a little bit of additional healthcare. Sometimes it's falling through the cracks. So what advocates are saying. Is that basically. It's focussed on salaries so nurse practitioner who are providing mess with more frequency right because bill per service dot. All of their time is covered. Unfortunately so yeah. It doesn't look very good. It's it's not really an acceptable service. Here how how did it get that way. So it's basically the only been that way let the environment the New Brunswick is still quite socially and religiously conservative. They have a sense that maybe goes who vote for them. Don't want this service to be available right with. I don't think it's necessarily true. I think through on behalf of some people but reproductive justice is a personal choice right so if some folks don't believe in abortion that's I think a separate issue from making it unavailable for the people who need jackass at right so yeah. It's just always been this way and government after government sort of dresses the status quo of abortion school available in these cities and not funded elsewhere. it's just it's always been this way and nothing is really seeming to change right like the provincial health authorities said that they would come in and put pressure on the government to make sure he services are covered. But we really haven't heard much news and that was a couple of weeks ago. What kinds of things are being done other behind the scenes or publicly to try to save the clinic There's been a huge public. Push on behalf of optimistic keeps US clinic clinic open and so there are rallies or protests. People are attending board meetings for the Provincial Health Authority Horizon House people deserting political pressure sure on the Department of Health and on the pro But as I said some of those calls for help are being ignored If not the majority of those calls and so it really seems to be community fighting for its own healthcare as opposed to the government stepping in and providing healthcare. How's the government government given any reason or justification or explanation beyond simply like we don't pay for private healthcare and is that consistent even across the board the response if they don't pay for private healthcare is consistent across the board so each department? I spoke to the Department of Health as well as the office said DOC right they said this is a private thing and we don't they also say that as hard as David theft the access available right now and monkeying embassador is enough. They they say if people need abortion they can go there and that's sort of the end of the story but abortion isn't the only service that this clinic provides. No no abortion is not the only service provides so this clinic is a family doctor clinic to three thousand patients and about one thousand of those are part the Lgbtq community and these people go to this clinic because Dr Adrian Edgar who was the clinic. Dr Is really well informed in this area and he can provide adequate compassionate. CARE to people So Yeah I provide service. It's those people. It provides Abortion services and it also provides general and and sexual health care. Thousand prisoners will be without a family doctor if it closes and they'll be forced to rely on the because there's a backlog of about twenty thousand patients right now Waiting for a family doctor so these people will sort of be waiting in line with everyone else. That was GONNA be my next question anyway as like why. Hi Is this clinic in such danger if there is a huge shortage of doctors in this province. That's a great question honestly and I asked the Free Mir you know what what is what are these people supposed to do and his response was just kind of that. Look Dr Edgar can go ahead and open another clinic or like work elsewhere. Swear and keep providing care to these people so I don't know why they wouldn't just fund the clinic that he already has open But that's something that I'm trying to understand a little better ourself to be honest. Was this issue and the election. I mean I can't imagine that federal campaigners weren't asked about this. Yes so interestingly we. The pending closure of the clinic was announced two weeks before the election And there were warned. Koh Test that was with may attended attended and Justin Trudeau has pledged his help on this one or at least during the election period he punched his health and he said if Mr Hicks will sit down with community or you know other elected officials and work on a way to keep this clinic open or otherwise provide care for these patients that he himself would step in. I and ensure that these discussions are had in the province. Activists are saying that they've reached out to Mr Trudeau's office and that they're not receiving a response. I me neither can kind of hear it in your voice but What's it like when you talk to people in the community that this clinic served? It sounds frustrating to say. The least. It doesn't dark story. To begin with people are not receiving the healthcare that they need And that's a pretty dangerous situation but I think part of this. That gets missed is that the people are going to take their health into their own hands. It's not as though. This clinic's closure will enforce people to birth hordes of children that they didn't plan on what what will happen is people will induce abortion themselves. I heard some stories about people throwing themselves down stairs or taking medication or poison to induce abortions in the maritimes. So when you see that coat hanger and you see this Logan never again horrific fixings like that could potentially happen here with greater frequency of clinic is closed so I think people are really scared arrest but at the same time activists are trying to take the tone that they don't make government upset and thereby unwilling to provide this service or even more unwilling. It's a scary time. Do we have any idea like what happens next. And when is there a deadline for this is there. Is there a next step somewhere. I'm not really sure what happens next at this point. Rather than how has pledged its support. It's supposed to be exerting a little pressure on government you step in and actually provide these services or make sure services can be provided but yeah there's no real deadline or anything basically activists say that it's up to the community of put pressure on our elected officials shows and actually get some attention drawn to this issue. What has the local coverage in the media been like is this? Is this an issue like is this a front page story or or is this something. That's just always endanger. This isn't a front page story so much as just something that media addresses every so often as it comes up. Look there's something to say about it you'll find a report on TV or on CBC year but it's not something that journalists go after with a lot of energy. I I don't think because in a lot of ways if not news has been the state of affairs for a really long time so unless there's something to support unless there's something to report that articulate some sort of change I think People aren't just really on it and then at the same time you know as I mentioned it's such a conservative place that I think. There's the idea that people don't I want to hear about this right but that is obviously mistaken. What is it like for the people who are fighting to keep this clinic open to have to kind of continually do this? I mean and you mentioned this is not the first time that you know people have had to rally around this clinic and it's never safe. What happens when people spend a lot of unpaid time an advocacy for their own rights is that they become burnt out right so people right now are hanging on by a thread doing all of this unpaid advocacy work? And they're getting stressed out right. You can only do that for so long. And I don't really think the owner should be on people who says to drum up some support for their own healthcare as someone who's covered it before. What's your gut feeling about this time? As the different from the last times will we have the same sort of public saving. I guess of the clinic or do we need somebody at a higher level to step in and will that happen. I think this point what's needed. Is someone else to step in. I think at this point what's being called for is provincial. Support and funding since provinces are responsible for healthcare in Canada. Because the community can't just keep funding this out of its own pocket right like people just don't have the money to keep donating to their healthcare clinics to keep the doors open. The fun and doctors are not able to provide these services free of charge. Which is what happens when folks can't pay out of pocket for them so yeah I think this time around government support is needed? And I don't think we're going to give up. I mentioned people get tired and they get burnt out. But there's a strength in this community right because it's necessary if we don't receive a healthcare are that were in danger. I think for Trans People some trans people who get pregnant. It's a very off putting experience Because maybe you feel that this isn't something that your body should be doing right like it can be a big challenge for your identity and people in those communities are people who receive care clinic right and people like that who will fall through through the cracks when they have to rely on the e R rely on a walking clinic. But that doesn't know them. What is it like? Have you talked to any of the the Trans folks who've used this clinic about the difference between using it and Using the traditional services at a hospital I talked to folks who are spokespeople people in these movements for Reproductive Justice New Brunswick and perceive the clinic And I'm not sure that either has received care. They're but I noticed really articulated that there are a lot of different realities here at the clinic. You can go and you can be sure that somebody is going to respect your Pronoun Now respect your needs respect the way that you refer to your own body and not just make assumptions about how that body should function right. So there's a sense that he take a lot of training and reading and talking to people And a lot of empathy. And that's what as far as my understanding goes. Dr Adrian. Girl has with if you go oh to another clinic and I mean I'm non binary myself so I can speak to that experience in New Brunswick you know you're always always labeled as a woman if you're an assigned female L. Person Right. They seek about she wants. She wants this she wants that. You know the default understanding is that you want to become pregnant at some point right and a lot of planning Clinton with a lot of family doctors and that's the kind of non. That's kind of judgmental behavior. You won't experience at this clinic so that's as far as I understand. It goes at least as a non about every person who's spoken with Some Trans people who advocate for the clinic. Sarah thank you for trying to walk us through. What's going on there today? Yeah my pleasure. Thanks for covering covering story that was Sarah Rochford and that was also the big story. And if you'd like more you can go to the big story PODCAST DOT CA. They're all there every one of them. We're also on twitter at the big story F. P. N.. You can talk to US yell scream at US or less about abortion you know. Oh some people will and of course everywhere. You get podcasts. Though there got US rate US reviews. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings. We'll talk tomorrow
On Vancouver Island, trees are vanishing
"If a tree illegally falls in a coastal forest in the dead of night, and his hauled away chopped up and sold on the black market. But the culprit did it out of desperation, is it still a crime. Vancouver island is seeing a massive jump in timber poaching so much so that one man who watches part of its forests says he simply cannot keep up. Why is a crime that seems logistically difficult to say the least on the rise? What is driving the desperation that makes stealing trees seem like the logical option should governments be devoting more resources to protecting these resources. And even if they did, how do you police a gigantic forest when the level of theft is a single tree at a time. I'm Jordan heath Rawlings. And this is the big story, linzie Borgen dug into this little known but fascinating issues in the Atlantic islands, -i. Hi, can you start because the story contains all sorts of things that I didn't know were happening. But can you start by explaining to me what a natural resource officer does on Vancouver island, share? So a natural resource officer is different than what they might call a conservation officer, which is what we might think of as a park warden, but a natural resource officer is essentially the law enforcement in the woods. So they are in charge of investigating poaching cases of all different kinds, whether that's deer poaching, or illegal fishing, or in this case timber poaching. And they, they also kind of approach people that are using our natural resources against the law. You kind of told your story through the eyes of one of them. So why don't you tell? Me about him and what he's seeing these days share. So Luke Clark. He's natural resource officer in the name BC. And he is kind of quite vocal these days, about the amount of timber poaching that's happening on the land surrounding the Nile, and then in towards some of the lakes on the on in the middle of the island there. And he has basically been talking about how there's been a massive increase in the number of trees that are being illegally taken, essentially one at a time from some of this land that is either preserved park land, or kind of managed by the provincial government in a sustainable way. So tell me about these trees, and how someone would actually go about poaching tree because I imagine we're talking about that. These trees are not small, they're not they're not what you might think of, in terms of the kind of massive cedar trees. You know, those Connex cedars that some of the parks have those actually are poached every once in a while. But the majority of the coaching that happens on the island is Douglas, fir or maple and those trees are definitely still old growth. They're very old, very tall. But they're not as wide around and kind of the icon, expe-. She's that we kind of identify with old growth on the coast. So, yeah. These are these are protected trees on land kind of around cities, along waterways, and they are you asked me how they get stolen. What are the logistics of that? It seems difficult. I mean it happens mostly at night. You know, you've got someone that has access to chain saw, and, you know, maybe a truck, although sometimes even a car with an empty bed, or an empty empty trunk and they're going to fell trees that are pretty close to the road towards the road so that the tree falls near to their vehicle. Which makes it easier to what they call bucket up so so slice. It up into smaller rounds that are easy to transport. So it's really in the dead of night with a chainsaw and, you know, some sort of vehicle and it's not as complicated as you might think it would be it does seem though, if we're talking about chainsaws and cars or maybe trucks near roads that it would be difficult crime to get away with how often are these people caught what kind of enforcement goes on? So it's actually pretty easy to get away with in the sense of that. There are not a ton of natural resource officers conservation officers patrolling consistently in these areas. So if you're doing it at night, and you manage to remove, you know, the majority of the tree in your truck and drive away, and you can offload that would relatively quickly, the chances of them catching you, you know, essentially with the products that you've stolen and being able to match it to the stump of the tree that it came. From is very low. How do they have do they have to do that to, to convict someone? Yes, you have to prove that the would came that was actually illegal, right? As opposed to a, a tree that, you know, maybe you've you've taken legally by a fire would permit or something like that. So it really does come down to having to prove that the wood is the same one that came from the tree of the of the stump that the natural resource officer found. So in some cases, you know, Luke, I mentioned in that story. He seen people driving down these roads, very quickly with wooden, the back that he suspects his stolen. But even if he pulled them over and looked at the wood and found that, you know, maybe they didn't have the correct permit to show that it was that it was harvested correctly, he would still in order to take it to court. He would still have to find the stump that, that would came from what are these trees worth? And how do you offload them? Who do you sell them to what are they, what are they? For. So you know what I thought was interesting. What I didn't really expect was that Luke was telling me about how the majority of this would is sold for firewood, especially at the time of year that I went. So it was ended February beginning of March in the way that he described it to me is, you know, we've had a particularly cold winter, lots of people that live on the island. They heat their homes using firewood still. They have with stoves. And if you've underestimated the amount of wood, that you need in the beginning of the winter when you order it, you're going to need more. So at that time of year, there's, there's a good market for people to put a call out on Craigslist or Kaji g or Facebook and say, you know, I'm in can anyone burn me, half a quarter would and someone can respond in say sure, three hundred dollars I'll bring it tomorrow. And there's no incentive really for that person buying to ask where it's coming from. There are also other cases where the what is being? Taken to mills or makeshift mills and being processed into things that might be sold for tables, for instance, but thought is actually not as common as just really quick sales for firewood. I guess the million dollar question is why have we seen this practice spike? Do we have any idea what's driving? So I think that, you know, Luke, or what I've been told by not only by Luke Clark, but by other people in the logging industry is that it's kind of this perfect storm of last year in particular, the wood was going for a really high price. Unfortunately, I don't have that number right in front of me. But I'll get it, you know. So the market was quite good at that point. And we're also dealing with a lot of socio economic challenges, on the, you know, I think, in the west coast in general, and across the country in general, and this is this is kind of rearing its head in terms of. Logging industry. So as normal, for instance, as its economy changes away from sawmills in lumber processing into the kind of knowledge economy that we hear about all the time, it has left a large number of unemployed. Struggling people on the island and, you know, many of those people are comfortable using a chainsaw, and they know where to take would, and they know you know, generally, how much they might get for it, and you have a need for fast money. That's kind of what has been leading to this increase in stolen timber. Did you go out and see some of the places where these trees are taken? Yep. Yeah. I spent the day in the name mo- kind of driving along serve. Yeah. Driving alongside Luke in his work truck. And, you know, the minute we kind of turned into some of these protected areas, we start. I think we saw three sites overall in two of those were new that had yet to be input into the database there, and then we, we only got turned away, essentially because I had snow snow quite a bit. But we could have gone much longer inland and seen many more cases for sure. How much of a problem is this environmentally, you know, on the one hand obviously, these are really old trees on the other hand. They are just you're, you're telling me, they're taking them one or two at a time. Right. And it's a couple of trees in a forest. So I think that, you know, that's the argument is that if someone really needs one tree at a time. Are we really, you know, should we funnel are concerned more towards kind of broad scale legal, logging by corporations, but environmentally it is an issue because we don't have a ton of old growth left and what we do have left is protected for reason, and the reason is, you know, that even if it's for instance dead, standing, which means that the treason alive anymore, but it is still standing it provides habitat for dangerous species. It provides habitat also for plant life like losses and insects that use it, and it also eventually will fall down of its own accord, and recycle. Back into the earth. So it's still very connected to the ecosystem and provides the space for more old growth to grow from it. And so because we have a little of that left. It does matter that over the course of the year. More of these trees are being taken one at a time you explain the environmental side of this. But yes, what kind of fascinated me about the story, as well is how closely it butts up with the human side. So tell me about some of those. Towns on the island that are changing and how closely it brings people into contact with the trees. I mean, this is, I think a really interesting aspect to the whole story. So the economy is, you know, the economy on Vancouver island is changing, and it's, you know, it's changing for lots of reasons including conservation efforts and efforts to preserve some of these old growth trees for their ecological value, as opposed to simply board feet or what they can get at the mill. And what that means is that you also have new people coming in that work, maybe remotely, and they wanna live in a beautiful area, and they value the natural environment of that area in a different way than someone who their family has earned their living through logging over the ages. And so there is there's a bit of a clash going on in that air in the these areas of. Kuper island where you have legacy economies that are slowly being regulated and in a sense dying out, and new economies that value the natural world in terms of opportunities to recreate on it, and the kind of more social and cultural aspects of what it means to spend time in the forest, it's interesting because the people that you talk about moving to the island and looking for the, you know, the picture perfect place and outdoor recreation all that stuff. Those aren't the people that are actually taking the trees, the people who are taking the trees are, it could be argued, and I'm, I'm just interested in this argument, or the people that really need them do need to live off the land. That's exactly it. I mean that's the that's the kind of deeper question here is can we find empathy for poacher, who's taking a tree that you and I might find valuable for? It's stunning beauty and the odd that we feel standing underneath that, but that doesn't mean that it should usurp the needs of people that are truly from a from a community and have been living there, and working there for generations, and who experience and value, the forest in a different way. I've done some other interviews on this topic in places like northern California, and in Washington, where a lot of tree poachers also are kind of, you know, struggling with unemployment in struggling with addiction issues as kind of larger shift in our culture takes place in terms of how we work and how the natural world fits into our economies. And, you know, I heard one one poacher say you know, I'm not killing the whole forest, I'm taking one tree, and I'm desperate. So what is the big deal and I can't counter that I can't how do the people who have to arrest? These folks. Or at least find them, I guess feel about that kind of contradiction. I think that they're really sensitive. You know, I think there's a part in that story that I wrote for the Atlantic where, you know, Luke shares up parking lot with this new community housing building that's been built in Nanaimo to address the homelessness issue that they're dealing with their, and he's running into people that he's given tickets to, you know, recently for illegal logging. And he you know, he feels quite comfortable going up and saying, how's it going, what's going on with this issue? You know, that you're experiencing and people, there are also feel, comfortable telling him, you know, like, you know, it's pretty easy to offload some firewood at this time of year. It's pretty easy to get rid of or to, to log, a tree and, and sell sell the wood for pretty quick profit. You know, one reason why I really wanted to interview him was I felt that he was really. Thanks to the issue, overall, and that he understood that the, the people in this region were struggling in ways that he had seen in the town where he grew up in Powell River. And that he was looking for alternative ways instead of simply, you know, ticketing people in, then having them, be fined, or being unable to ticket people at having entirely reactionary. So I thought that was interesting. When you talk to Luke, or people who live alongside them in these towns or just people who, who have been there awhile. What do they see happening down the line is this going to slow down Kim towns, find a way to kind of balance the issues? They're dealing with right now. I believe that what Luke was trying to communicate to me, was that unless are legal systems start taking into account, the kind of holistic importance of these natural resources that poaching is just gonna kinda continue along the path that it's continued on and that it may. May Abbott flow in terms of market value of the wood, but the catalyst reporting isn't going to isn't going to change. And it's I think it's a larger societal issue in terms of. Okay. We're turning away from these logging and natural resource-based Connie's, which in many ways is like fantastic. But what are we gonna do for the people that have worked in those communities? So what's being done by the natural resource officers, or, I guess the departments they work for to try to stop this. I think through Luke, they found someone who cares a lot and who has spent a lot of time, you know, in the field looking for these cases. And as part of that has taken on kind of additional outreach, and education work to prevent it. So he and his supervisor have been working on installing signs in these protected areas. That say, you know, by the way, log. From here is prohibited. And if you see anyone do please call this number. So those weren't there before, and they've also worked on meeting west crown lawyers who prosecute the cases that they are keeping track of and really trying to work with them in terms of getting the financial penalty increased. What does it depends? It depends on the on the tree that stolen in how much evidence they have at cetera. I'm you know, something that I think is quite interesting. Is that it's considered a theft of property theft from the federal government or from the provincial government? So there's a threshold right in terms of theft under five thousand dollars over five thousand dollars and theft under five thousand dollars is very hard to convince you know, an overworked prosecutor to take on that case. And so if the majority of trees are going to be valued under five thousand dollars, which they are it would take a pretty large. Case for a prosecutor to wanna take that forward, basically. And so by trying to educate prosecutors in terms of, you know, the, the dollar value on the market might be three thousand dollars. But overall it can be valued at much more than five thousand dollars due to the habitat provides and the benefits that it gives for instance, to our tourism industry, or to our recreation industry. That that's really what they're going for. That's how they're trying to convince more of war prosecutors to bring these cases forward and, and in doing so you know, making the stakes higher so that people won't even try to, to steal the trees in the first place. Thanks lindsay. Lindsay Borgen writer. An oral historian. That was the big story for more from us had to the big story podcast dot CA defined all our episodes there. You can also find whatever we have to say on our Twitter account at be big story. F P N, if you want other podcasts, we strongly recommend the ones that frequency podcast network dot com. And of course, we are wherever you get podcasts on apple on Google on Stitcher on Spotify. I'm Jordan heath Rowlings. Thanks for listening. We'll talk tomorrow.
Theres lead in our drinking water. Why are we just finding out now?
"In a country like Canada that's developed and rich full of clean natural resources. Water water is something we just take for granted or at least we thought we could take it for granted. When you hear you're about high lead levels and drinking water? Your thoughts might turn to the crisis in Flint Michigan. We've heard a lot about that but now a new investigation has found drinking water. Water in some Canadian cities actually exceeds the dangerous levels seen in flint and people have been consuming it without knowing what you just heard heard was one of several dozen stories across the country that came out of an investigation earlier this month. By a full team of journalists the investigation itself itself was unusual it employed a cast of reporters and editors and researchers and scientists as big as the credits a Hollywood film but it was the results that were really terrified not just because the investigation found that hundreds of thousands of Canadians are likely drinking bad water but because just from city to city and town to town and province to province the standards are different. How often the water is tested? How it's tested? What counts is is a pass where the results are posted? If they're posted lead in the water is the current that runs underneath this story. But it's the lack of attention Russia to the infrastructure. We ignore until it's dangerous but as the real problem here and so now that we do know what now and why didn't we know earlier. Jordan Heath Rawlings. This is the big story. Robert CRIBB led a team of investigative reporters at the Toronto Star and other outlets. Hugest start by explaining explaining where this investigation came from one of those investigations. That just comes out of real life so a number of years ago. I was doing some reading on lead for other reporting and reading about the horrifying impacts on the body and it it one of the articles. I read said that you know one of the leading causes causes. Today is no longer paint or other factors it's or gasoline because it's all been removed. It's actually food and water and I live in an old neighborhood and Toronto which is one of the areas that have led so I had it tested and my water tested and it was elevated with let and I had a young daughter at the time and I stelvio daughter but at the time she was very young and the demographic that is most vulnerable to health impacts long term health impacts courses children and the impacts are terrifying drops. Can I Q cognitive development issues. It's a nightmare. Yeah Magin so I Immediately had The pipes dug up my front. You're a dugout by the pipes removed retested like forty nine times. I'm still testing because there's numerous factors that can change over time so that was at the beginning of it for me and so I did some local reporting on it. I got data in Toronto and I found thirteen percent exceedances rates Afford for Toronto Homes Old City. Toronto homes which again was terrifying triggered a huge public outrage and so I followed the issue this was back in twenty fourteen when I I got onto it and I've finished ever since but what struck me about at the time was this isn't this is not a local story right. This is literally infrastructure the Structure Coast to coast hundreds of thousands of kilometers of lead pipes buried in the ground feeding water into our homes. I mean for those living in these homes. Is your drinking water out of thirty of thirty foot lead Straw you know and so how do you possibly get the scope and depth required to tell that story of properly in a national context given the shrinking resources of journalism. The fact that we don't have any money anymore or ambitions have been diminished dramatically And yet such an important story. So how do you tell that story. In a way that gives it proper scope and depth breath. I've been working for a number years now on this. This kind of new collaborative model for investigative journalism where I teach at Ryerson so I have this team of students and and gradually relief played with the this model of taking these investigations. We do in class and getting them to a publishable point. Where you're you're you're bridging the classroom in the newsroom newsroom? And you're moving story so this has been happening over the few years. It took a long time to have a line of eager young students. You've got this incredible manpower of these students who work hard and deep and you know traditionally. When I started teaching we would do this every year? And then we at the end of the semester. Give them a grade and we throw it all out and it made no sense wants to me because it's a good work. It wasn't publishable work. It wasn't ready to go but it's a huge body of knowledge that we came into possession of which we then threw away. It made no sense so the trick was figuring out. How do you bridge the gap? And it's a big gap because newsrooms don't necessarily trust student work and and so there's some skepticism about that and so ultimately I would sorta take up the torch and I would do them for the reporting in some cases students would continue to work with me after the course was over and we found kind of this model and it started working and these stories would start run ending on the front page or on TV and CBC and C. TV would pick them up. And I bring an editors and so I've been buildings model and the lead thing seemed perfect to me for this. Because we could incorporate journalism students from coast to coast. We could literally get the entire landscape of the country. And as long as we're all kind of coordinated and asking the same questions and filing the same for new information requests and and going about an organized way it it could really be magical article and so this group in Montreal. Concordia University Institute for Investigative Journalism Got Involved. They were sort of the headquarters. I'm sort of manage the troops I had my students working on it. I worked with Tronto Star reporters and how facts and Emma tennant Vancouver and it turned into what is the largest over journalistic collaboration Asian Canadian history. So broadly when you got everybody on board filing the same Freedom of information requests and getting the same type of results has also anyway. What did you find? It was shocking. Actually I mean. I knew that this was a big problem and I knew that we were gonna find some striking things. There was no question in my mind that this was going GonNa be high public interest story about it but the data in the end We're talking about twelve thousand tests from coast to coast thirty more than thirty communities. He's reputable tests because there's lots of different water tests and many of them are not worth the paper print or not but when we dug deep and we worked with scientists three leading international scientists on this issue a third of the test essentially exceeded the federal guideline. How does that happen? It's a great question and the answer is multifaceted and it. It took us a year literally to figure out the why to that. The big issue of course is that we've got lead still this this legacy plumbing material buried in underground and under streets and in our homes and it is toxic. It is a neurotoxin. It eats away at our organs. It has health implications nations ranging from as I mentioned with kids to Increased rates of stillbirth to hypertension cardiac issues. It's a nightmare. And so that's the literal. Why because it's there it remains there then the question becomes so why does it remain there if we know that this is true? Yeah and the answer to that question is because it's an intractable problem. We're talking about billions of dollars to remove it and there's jurisdictional problems because the lead crosses over property line so a in the street that's PROB- that's city pro- problem that they have to deal with and they're wrestling to deal with that in. Most cities are working working hard at that but remains for example in Toronto. Forty thousand odd pipes that are led and on the sit on the private side Your House and my house. There's thirty thousand of those right and that's our responsibility then. Digging that up is going to be between two thousand to five thousand two in some cases ten thousand dollars depending on where your house is situated on the property and whether you have to dig up the driveway etc and so it's expensive and the other element of this is the reason that you and I have never talked about this or nobody talks about. This is because it's invisible. It is truly one of the most visible health issues because it's buried literally buried under the ground. You don't see it taste it touch it you wouldn't know if you're drinking it and it's infrastructure which is not sexy. There's never been a politician. Titian who's ever been elected on infrastructure shoes. Nobody's going to put that in their platform. We're GONNA dig up the roads and spend billions of dollars on on pipe. How did we not know? Like what is the testing for this. And municipalities and provinces are there any regulations. Yeah so here's the reality of the Canadian. Mm Federation It's this is one of those challenges so in the United States. Let me start in the United States. You've got strong. Federal EPA Environmental Protection Agency with federal rules rules and federal mandates and laws. That say. Here's how you must test. Here's how often you must test. Here's the threshold at which you must act et Cetera in Canada waters of provincial jurisdiction. So you literally have thirteen different Jurisdictions each with different standards because while there's federal guidelines they are guidelines and and so everybody deals with it. Differently so it's a total patchwork to total patchwork of how how you test when you test. What what threshold you meet? For example right now the federal threshold for Lead the safety level is five parts per billion but only two or three provinces. Use the five parts of it really in Ontario where we're sitting it's ten most provinces. It's ten is double and the way they test them Cetera so in the vast majority of the country we've found is these tests if they're happening are secret you can't get them. Ontario's is a rare exception. They do publish the test. You can get them. They're not particularly user friendly. There's ZIP files on a government website. You'd have to UNZIP it you'd have to have some sophistication and how you look. Look at it and analyze it figure out what it means but I mean at the very least it's public in the vast majority of the country. It's just not you can't see it you can't get it. It's buried in government hard drives. It is a totally shrouded problem and nobody has ever demanded transparency eh before this when you looked at levels across the country. How high is the variance? You know city to city community to community are there some that are just off the charts and somewhere for most things are fine or we. You know going going house to house. Almost we actually did go house to house with with one of the benefits of these. This sort of army of student student journalists we we went knocked on doors across the country and your project has credits by the way at the bottom of the movie. Yeah it does and there's about as many people interested. There's there would be at all he would so you can send people house to house we send people has to has. Yeah it was. It was an extraordinary thing. It really elevated the the project I think because they they they knocked on doors and said Hi. Here's here's where we are student researchers. We'd like to come into your house and take a sample from your tap and We've got great great cooperation and that gave us this whole other set of data which effectively mirrored what we were getting so it gave us great confidence about forty percent. It was a little higher actually forty percent one of those tests in thirty two different communities across the country exceeded the level so across the country. They varied pretty widely The cities that we we found with the highest levels Include Montreal Saskatchewan's particularly bad. So S- Saskatoon. Regina Moose jaw a town in northern. ABC called Prince Rupert. We really focused there because they have particularly corrosive water acidic water and then So that would be the highest here and then downward on word you know. There's there's there's a range for sure. There was a range but everywhere. We looked found problems. There's no question I mean it's it's everywhere. It's an insidious problem wherever ever there's lead there's going to be spikes and then we also we focused on. Schools is a sort of a separate story so we gather data and schools which I guess have old pipes so a lot of the time. Yeah the issue with schools interesting. It's a little bit different. Most of them don't have lead pipes feeding the buildings because the buildings are too big but they they have real lead issues because of fixture so the lead is lead soldering when water fountains and we found incredibly high terrifying imperceptibly as a parent it was terrifying to see these numbers as somebody. Who's now listening to this and probably freaking out a little bit? What can an individual listener Jenner due to find out about their neighborhood their kids school et Cetera? So the answer is it depends on where you live. So if you're in Ontario Urine advantage for example you can so you can access that information you can certainly look at our stories and you'll see some great detail there and we published a an online database for school so every single single school that has been tested in the past. Two years is in there as you type in the name of Your Kid's school and you'll see test results if you're virtually everywhere or else It's much tougher. So you're going to have to be sort of an advocate for yourself. You're going to have to call the city you're GONNA have to ask About what they know about your particular killer house whether it's fed by lead In you can certainly hire somebody to do a test. The city the city where you live may in fact do do free tests so if you ask them they may do that. Some offer that but either way you can get your water tested that that should give you definitive sense of whether you have led and and then in terms of your kid's school again if you're in a place where it's not published you're GonNa have to make some phone calls but listen it's indefensible for a school school board or school principal not give this information like. I can't imagine what what would be the argument here right so if you demand it they're going to have to give it to you. You mentioned earlier that this whole thing. So insidious because it's so invisible. Are there any signs. Either you know old house old neighborhood or even just off color and and water that would indicate like maybe I better get tested now. No there's nothing in the water. You would be totally invisible. These issues around discoloration of water or or or smells and water has nothing to do with lead. Those are other issues right so lettuce is invisible and by the way it's not boy lable either right so you can't just boil your way. Oh Oh it doesn't it's still there. It's a heavy metal. You can actually look at your pipe. The pipe coming into your house feeding it Lead has particular characteristics which you can which you can look at and and look up you can try and find a map. Some some cities provide maps to show where led maybe or is likely to be A. Ah Plumbers going to be able to tell you that or if the city will come to the House and and test your water they should be able to tell you that but it's it takes a bit of work so what comes next next either for you and for this project or to deal with this problem so we we're Launched today actually phase of the project so phase one was led so that was a series of dozens dozens of stories about as it going to get worse. Oh my God Well there's GonNa it's going to get more Removing pass led so today we we did a story about another contaminant in water. Very common across the country called trihalomethanes T H. M's called. We focused on on a town. Just north of Toronto called Tottenham that where the levels have been very very high for over a decade fifteen years or so and politicians. Sion's have not informed people who didn't know really until this year about this time we started asking questions and This exists in hundreds of communities across the country and it's again a very serious potential health concern of potentially carcinogenic cancer causing and particularly in Commun in small communities that draw water from wells ground groundwater from wells Is is a real problem. But when when's the last time you heard anything about this I mean no no who's ever talked about this right so a lot of the series has been focused on telling stories. I haven't been told sort of around water you know. There's there's lots of water stories all the time. But there's there's all these hidden contaminants are tainting our water that we know nothing about. I didn't know anything about any of this stuff really. But it's real like it gets real. When does something like this achieve critical mass in public opinion? Because I feel like we've spent a ton of time focused on Safe Flint Michigan and the water crisis there and how close is some of the stuff you found to being that in level of severity. We we actually did a whole piece on. Cities can cities that have lead levels levels comparable or or higher to flint and among them. Were the ones I mentioned earlier. Some which is crazy now flint to be clear flint was this convergence of numerous. Actually twelve people died and yet not from the lead but from Legionnaire's disease right so there was also bacteria there. There was a perfect perfect storm of several factors. So we're not suggesting that Montreal's flint but if you just look at lead levels period compare lead to lead flint versus as Montreal flint versus Mussa. You know there's a compelling and striking comparison there and in some in some way in some cases it's a higher in Canadian cities that said I mean so so it's a great question. So what is the tipping point right like at. What point does this move from? Being a a story in the newspaper that was kind of interesting and disturbing to something that demands and compels action the way it didn't flint one would argue if you look at flint it was deaths people died right and so if that's the threshold we the the problem with lead. Here's another problem and there's another reason we don't talk about lead we've never we're talking about lead is because let isn't something a high lead intake isn't something that is going to send you to the emergency room door. It's not going to display itself self immediately. This is a long-term im- eating away at the body impact right and in non-detectable invisible so the again the insidious quality of lead is that it. It doesn't have the direct cause and effect today That's GonNa put you in a hospital or kill route over time. It's has tremendous this impacts but again we you know it's human nature. We have short attention spans. And if if you can't show me a dead body then Maybe it's okay right and so I don't know what it whether this is gonNA reach a tipping point. One would think given the weight of evidence here that we've laid out would compel attention focusing of the mind to the point where we're perhaps we don't need people die in front of us for us to take action on this but we'll see. Does this breathe Reeve long enough to compel action. We'll sit extra that's rob. Crib is an investigative reporter order with the Toronto Star. That was the big story if you'd like more head to the big story podcast dot ca if you'd like to learn more about the tainted water investigation you can head to the Toronto Star and look under star investigations if you WANNA talk to us about this or anything else. We are at the big story F.. PM On twitter. An every episode of this little podcast is available. And all of your podcast feeds all of your favorite podcast applications. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heath Rowlings. We'll talk talk tomorrow
Health Care is a major election issue. But whats on the table?
"When voters say that healthcare as their top priority in this election and a lot of them do what are they really saying first of all is it just a reflex because Canadians derive a big part of our national identity from universal healthcare it is a thing that we have talking about when you ask them what they love or hate about our system and what government should do to fix it the healthcare is funded federally so their transfers about forty billion dollars a year to the provinces so that's the main role and then the second role which is one that the care on social media and you will be flooded with anecdotes most of them wonderful a few of them horrifying about people's experiences in our hospitals and actions might help shape the big picture long term vision of health care in Canada that's a very different thing from the healthcare most Canadians Dr Offices and the easiest way to understand why we're so passionate about our healthcare is to listen to Americans talk about it if there's one thing that no one can agree on in Washington it's healthcare plan but everyone does have an opinion including those who say Canada should be a role model you have a nation access more than anything else and how much of a role because what we're trying to understand is of the promises made over the last few weeks what will actually have an impact in Canadian so how much of a role does the federal government actually play in providing sort of the on the ground access services you mentioned so they don't play a large role for most Canadian it has two major roles for most people and one of them is the transfer of money so they fund healthcare to twenty twenty two percent issue it is top of mind it's clearly a passion but does it matter in a federal election and if so how much because here's the thing while federal party's debate among themselves is trying to influence provincial policy with that money so do you target the money or just write a check and say the provinces relation the armed forces are seen p prisoners so Ottawa has some delivery but it's a very specific groups so what does Ottawa and yet there is no to move to an American healthcare system I would say to my colleagues this not a better example so yes Canadians care about this healthcare so getting the care that they need promptly in an affordable manner and a a decent you don't being treated decently I think it's a boat then in terms of delivering healthcare to you know the average voter in a province where their provincial government is by enlarge looking after their healthcare because they seem to care uh-huh healthcare delivery provincial the federal government's responsible for delivery but with fairly specific audiences the the indigenous of them have in this election and others what are they typically talking about what are they referring to. I think when people talk about healthcare they're taking about access bordering on the United States to nations that are probably as close together in so many respects any donations in the world a conservative prime minister before Canada Votes Audrey Card is a health reporter with the Globe and Mail Hey Andre when Canadian site healthcare as their top issue and a lot unfunded coast to coast about ten billion dollars a year as much as twenty seven billion dollars up front so massive investments so that's the big one for the do as you wish and that's where the difference is with that in mind then what are some of the biggest differences between the proposals from the various parties uh I'm Jordan Heathrow this is the big story and there are four days to go those who actually taking a very cautious approach they say they're going to spend sixty billion dollars over four years on health issues with pharmacy moving conservative provincially but also in this campaign about how the Conservatives will move towards privatization and I don't think that any of the concerns huckle belief is that a provincial jurisdiction and they should stay out so that's the big one what about in terms of the transfer payments to provinces does this basically every party promising to keep them the same or increase yeah that's a good example of why we have a lot of healthcare discussion in federal Canadian sorta have this dislike for the notion of privatization even though we have you know the the paradoxes we have a lot of private healthier in Canada more than most countries how do the parties themselves use the fact that Canadians site healthcare as an issue among themselves when they're campaigning well he'll scare federally just sort of gene truly vague terms the discussion takes tends to take place. I feel like I've heard a lot of rhetoric provincially for sure with a lot of governments you have this notion that we we don't like it so no government nobody who wants to get elected is gonNA come out and say we want to privatize hospitals or have almost have revolved around that the the DP the Greens at both made massive Pharma Care promises they're going to have a national for Macaire programs people seem to care a lot about what Ottawa can and doesn't do yes so people are not always clear on that division of powers but I know health section in the debates and that was telling but of course everybody got in their their mentioned of how Medicare and they're going to protect that sorts the smaller DP Greens parties probably don't have a lot of chances governing so they can make these wild promises then we then we go to the liberal no private drug plans physiotherapy hearing aids dental all this stuff is is private to varying degrees and in terms of specifics beyond Pharma care are there any other ways that any other things I guess that voters who would rank healthcare as their top priorities should be uh rhetorical device everyone loves medicare you know it's almost our religion and you'll hear that passing you know during the leaders debates there's actually no word and and then everything else is in there covered under the legislation so there's not really any private care in those domains private hospitals in Canada there's don't and that's very different from other countries so you know when we talk about this this rhetoric about privatization it doesn't really mean anything unless you talk about specifics hospitals and it just creates this these logjams I think we really missed out on this most serious how we can fund a longer term care we're how we can keep people in the community and I think there's a lot of opportunity there for the parties but I chose not to go there unfortunately how dire is that situation a little private delivery of medical care there's some exceptions but those are almost one hundred percent private and then everything else is all over the map so we have tons of it's upstream so we just don't have a place for people who are older and frail and and need care we don't have places for them in the community so they end up in they're saying they want more private healthcare but beyond that no one else re talking about when we talk about promising more private healthcare what would act jason to that is is you've done some work and I've seen some stuff elsewhere about issues that are adjacent to healthcare that aren't technically included in that so for instance you wrote made any new big promises what happens in regard to homelessness and its impact on the health care system that could potentially Asian I mean we've done a couple of podcasts about various provinces and aging population and its impact on infrastructure has come up a few times semester attention to when they look at the platforms when I think there's a large absence of talk about long term care senior care so that's a big I think if you look at the the big issue in healthcare these days is Pharma cares we're talking about is for for many years so I think the the promises have come or lack of three percent a year so nothing to debate there remember whether that's a good number office for Canadians decide that they have promised to same thing election there's violent agreement parties that they're all going to do exactly the same thing so they've promised to increase the transfer payments health the health transfer a lot about health drink at our campaigns but we don't talk at all about social services and those are what really impact the health of the population more broadly so that's another the proposals actually do that right no nothing that they say explicitly and they're very careful to say that they're not interested in that and I think that's that's true surely be available in Canada like how how set in stone is our universal healthcare and what could governments do to get around it well what we have in thirteen billion dollars for affordable housing so for social housing and that that's significant the liberals have invested this over the last few years but as far as they know that dealing with the problems they may have substance use disorder mental illness It's hard to treat any of those things if you don't ever doctors that you pay for the Conservatives are not saying that and neither is anyone else the closest is the the People's Party fairly marginal party Mexican bit me care being the primary one so they say they want to kick start the idea of a national program and the Conservatives actually want nothing to do with Pharma Care there philosopy you for your head or anywhere anything to eat how come this isn't part of the health care debate of so much money is going to taking care of these folks and we're also fretting about hallway medicine that they have to do with income transfers you know basic income housing education and you know we talked at the outset we don't talk about entities a system quite out of date so it was created in the sixties where the where hospital and physician services are one hundred percent publicly and you know there's many ways one of them the the main one is this philosophy called housing. I if you give someone a home somewhere to live it's much easier to start The Social Services System about one hundred sixty thousand dollars a year so the question becomes how can we spend that money more wisely to make their lives better I love Medicare because it's a mixed system it's very complex mixture in this campaign in particular I think the the other issue that we et Cetera so I was just reading recently about some researchers showed a homeless person you'll see sleeping on a great in Toronto that person will cost issue in particular related to health care and the work in reporting you've done that you wish Canadians understood better when they're trying to decide who to vote for what would it be that is seen as provincial issues as we kinda sidestep it and I think the other thing is the these are very complex issues there's not a an easy solution we didn't talk about the three d been neglected these is the opiates crisis so the the worst public health disaster in Canada in in many decades thousands people dying a year and you know each party has made some minor promises to spend more money but really no discussion. I didn't hear the word old they're just saying we're going to spend a little bit more money to do or doing now which is not working tremendously well that was on my list to ask you about because we've talked to people across problem just alone I think the last numbers I saw there's about thirty five thousand people on the wait list for a long term care beds so it's not it's a it's a massive problem. Oh boy well I guess I wish that they understood the system better that they just didn't hold for this bland rhetoric about private is bad public is good area that's really quite neglected the only thing every song in the campaigns in the promises with DP made a quite a large promise of issued get out we talk about provincially in Ontario. They used the terminology hallway medicine there's all this waiting in the system and you know that the problem is not he's recently about homelessness and how the role it plays in our healthcare system yeah so the reality is most things that impact our health have nothing to do with then wait times or the service. I'm getting on the ground when I go to the doctor we have the discussion of on a couple of it always come up during the leaders debates and this is a severe public health problem that can we haven't seen for forever and it's it's unfortunate with drug use if they're elected people fear they may try and shut down some of the supervised injection sites etc so again there should be fodder for debate there as the country and the impact neighborhoods has been tremendous and yet I can't remember a single new policy proposal through this entire campaign and it's it's like many things that's all that it's not getting disgusted any any serious way well one of the other things that I wanted to ask you this kind of at the same time this clogs the system to yeah so why isn't it a bigger discussion I think you know we get caught up in a minute you know I I can write the solution to homelessness housing and that's true but beyond that there's a lot of stuff that has to be done we have to figure out why are people yes I think as far as I what I looked up to the parties has promised to spend some money on dealing with the OPIOID issue the liberals affordability is an issue and one of the things he was kind of grappling with is the idea of things leg Pharma care which would potentially help a lot of people save money in the long yards to homelessness and kind of preventative care seem very similar in that we're trying to we're trying to talk to people about the streets how do we treat their mental illness these very complex issues they don't lend themselves well to two soundbites during an election if there was one the long term impact of of something that they're feeling right now and I wonder how how do you broaden the healthcare discussion so that it becomes more solution you know as long as until we have safe drugs on the streets people are gonNA keep dying and the Conservatives at the other end of the spectrum field that that's enabling p there's one these were paying for this you know we're paying for homelessness we're paying for a lack of affordable housing and the question is do we want to pay it from our our last he's with universal medicine well we we spend far less than than most countries on public health care so we we have. Dan have done a fair bit in the last years they've come a long way but you know we still this is not being treated as a crisis that it is the Greens is there are major differences but we just don't seem to get to that in the campaign we talked to Mike Apple who's a business reporter yesterday about as I mentioned in passing before we spend a lot on private fair although we seek we don't so we don't spend our tax dollars has wisely run would not necessarily help balance any budget whatsoever in the short term and the policies you're you're talking about with Regan gave us a lot of money well you know it's very very costly to have someone living on the street they used all kinds of other social services the emergency rooms shelter social programs and less on on sickness care so again that we tend to let people degenerate and get sick and then we treat them really well but you know love. America doesn't the father of our healthcare system was named the greatest Canadian of all time going pose a question about Canadians experience with their health agean never seen that in in Copenhagen to be thanks Andrea Andrea Picard Health reporter we have too many of them to treat so they feel are always so how do we invest in that prevention and then I think the larger philosophical issue is the one I mentioned in passing we we believe in the collectively I started we believe in individual individuality I and Canada's can sponge between that US you know the yes and spent on social services so social housing etc and in candidates only thirteen percent so not surprisingly Denmark has better the health outcomes they have lower health spending because they they make sure people are healthy and and taken care of in the first place but again it all comes down to individual reigns supreme and the European or Nordic view of the `collectivities important and we we kind of are on the fence and we we do neither well so that he is other countries I don't think and then the big difference is not so much healthcare but it's social services so if I take a country like Denmark twenty seven percent of their GDP the Globe and Mail that was the big story you want more they are all at the big story podcast dot ca including countless election episodes the store you can also find us absolutely everywhere your favorite podcasts are distributed that's apple and Google and Stitcher spotify and Pod catcher thanks for listening I'm Jordan Heath Rowlings we'll talk more politics tomorrow it's most effective we'll get the best bang for the buck Other countries when I look at European countries they invest more in you know the `collectivities spend more on that's I think our challenge as a country philosophically as we have to figure out where we sit on the spectrum right and how do we currently stack up against other country you can also talk to us about all things election and please God other things too at the big story F. Peon we'd love to hear from you and you can rate and review us in the pocket The Public Treasury or willing to pay it from the right pocket privately we're going to pay for these issues one way or another so we have to figure out how to do it let's that they want to decriminalize drugs so that's the most radical policy proposal life seed it's one that many academic say is ultimately. Lasalle you the people feel responsibility for those around them more than we do here you know the notion of someone's sleeping on a great I can't imagine.
Will Quebec change its mind? And change the election?
"And if there's one thing you can count on about politics in Quebec that every election will be unique even in re in memory it was a surge in Quebec that gave the end ep it's best federal showing in history and then it was the province's quick turn on the party just a few years later -servative games and why won't anyone even Canada's most progressive leaders vowed to fight the provinces discriminatory Bill twenty-one voters to follow the trends of the rest of the country and when they do make up their mind they tend to do it for their own reasons they tend to do it quickly so with less than two weeks uh-huh and what did happen to the end ep in this province less than a decade after they turned most of Quebec or yes things change quickly six to go before Election Day will change its mind or will the province's voters stick with the Liberals Kenny Resurgent Bloc Quebecois stand in the way of politics in Quebec for the Canadian Press but we caught him chasing the conservative campaign around the country where he was on the streets of Toronto I just say Good Morning I start every one of these by asking the same thing which is house democracy going in Quebec these days walker she is alive and well in the back neural elections in the makeup of the MP's that You guys have sent to Ottawa that's way quebecers are known to be very sickled with their vote particularly at the at the federal sir politics and it's almost a national sport here while I was GonNa say to an outsider it seems like politics can change so quickly and Quebec I'm just thinking about the past too fast and I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings and this is the big story Giuseppe Valley and take covers elves the national government the parliament is not the legislature the National Assembly so we need to see themselves nation apart and because a lot of Canada's seems to have fallen out of love with Justin Trudeau but when we talked to our our pollsters spoke to upholster the other day he said the fall in love they look the fallen leader's fall in love with leaders and that's why you saw Jack Layton was the level and I've actually ridden about this series but the way I think in the way I see it is because the federal government is not that important think of the federal government or Federal Waltz competitors the provincial government as president or life and it's it's makers love balletic love talking about politics debating politics the political shows are very popular and I would also say that journalists talk about changing policies are being influenced by what he what he or she reads in the paper or here's on television on the rating himself quebecers very in tune of so really the work of the federal government has you know what can you do they're they're not as loyal and they're the leaders a lot more impede do so well into that sort orange wave when his MP's won the majority of Quebec see for following election you saw the liberals get forty seats They got the does not seem to be the case in Quebec. Well let's be careful when you say that because the election hasn't happened yet at the beginning of two thousand fifteen it was the and Mr Bush it was asked this earlier in the week at the the bait the french-language debate he was asked how many pieces of legislation has the block ever passed Jordy of convicts seats as well and so like the voting blocks in order to have the most power in the most influence they voted blocks and those blocks can swing wildly from go to one specific party in swings wildly from election to to accept at least according to the polls in this one which is really interesting news and I know that that might seem a little shocking Canadians. US Canadians outside outside Quebec when they think of governments they think is fairly of what did they think of a large contingent of block members to Ottawa because he says all they'll do night and days it's fight for next interest if they vote for liberals undershirts and feel the so-called intellectual class they hold a very up trauma place in society even sometimes you're the politicians the premiers Alburto for instance and he says if you vote for block you know the people you're sending the parliament they will only fight for you and of course the other side is Following Andrew shares playing around Canada how has he done connecting with quebecers because that was one of the big questions someone who is working very hard to convince quebecers that the block it's still relevant that is a party that they should vote for this should send up so we haven't seen him out on the campaign trail connected with tobacco I haven't seen that immediately but I can also tell you with sheer is at least a hundred the question about abortion wasn't able to answer he wasn't able to really in a position himself as as a in in a humanizing way it's between the Liberals Conservatives in the block and a lot of you writings around Montreal if the Liberals and the bloc that are fighting for won election to another whether it's the block the progressive conservatives the Liberals or the MVP in every election the majority of seats seem to new education and healthcare night I understand it but a provincial issue across the country but in Quebec the Quebec government you know they call them. CBS federalists voice but the difference awesome of law is we will we will fight for the same policies but you'll actually have a government that can -servative GP these parties has to be pushed from different directions they might not be able to take an exciting time because they have to appease people in British Columbia Convince Quebecers to vote conservative to hugh torpedoed his campaign because he had such a core for showing and they speak about for the same voters the block in the Conservatives that More nationalist vote the same people who voted for the so called nationalists colorful someone from the art scene is very good on television he's very good speaking he's not just a French speaker these very eloquent area than speakers and acas obviously a one of the biggest swing provinces in Canada and he needs to make inroads there have you seen that this week this week he was in Montreal for a couple of days but it was really debate auto hammer all connects interests older they want us to have this Leonova the so-called seat at the table liquor Liberals or conservatives maybe and what are the only ones who can give it to you so he's trying to hammer that message home and his French is not as excellent as you work a little harder at to just come across someone who's more personable because that's what they like will you mentioned the few government in Quebec and window seats the MVP votes seems to have ruby collapsed into that on it's been going down every say shall the election of bubbles and fees look you make love and their leader you love has certainly impressed into ball he's impressed people with elite you know he giving people will really have to see which so supple weeks to campaign well we're talking do right now and you're in downtown Toronto walking around because you spent the past week connectors over the issue now you know that's what journalists say that's what the media says really remains to be seen whether or not he was hurt we'll see over the next couple of days with the polls to see go ahead and then the Conservatives and the liberals eventually took over so we'll see right now you have a lot of way races across the with him it's it's very simple it's politics as those votes and you can see how off your bills mentioned before he's saying we will support the policies of the provincial government we will be a voice for quebecers in Ottawa and when one is in Tibet by the way the political parties of behaviors that you know those parties who who are you know highly coveting connects seventy eight eligible seats can against the cultural autonomy you know at this point it's almost a little less about the concept of secularism of state secularism and almost more about this is packers asked that but I think one of the things people in English Canada were startled about the past week or so is that neither the liberals nor the end ep or the Green Party also offers a very decent human being but he doesn't always that that doesn't come across on television and on the radio and I think that that's probably something is GonNa happen the taxes and for the province to to send back to Ottawa they WANNA have one tax return now the block wants that the Conservatives want that they're similar to the Conservatives and the block in that they're thereafter the nationalist vote and I wanted to ask about obviously the hottest issue for the rest of Canada out of Quebec has aided that they would protest it what are the politics at play behind that because it's fascinating to me it's clearly it's clearly something that goes against their philosophy but yet they won't mess the least competitive shoot will compared to the WLAC Mr Gacek so there's a little bit of a language barrier there Mister Scheer seems a little more and bill twenty one and it's understandable that the parties campaigning for that vote I mentioned wouldn't want to protest flaws who actually believe Bekker's want one tax return right now 'cause makers file provincial federal tax separately the Quebec government has asked for Quebec collected a seventy eight seats so I can only on -Tario in order to get those seats you have been popular with the people who live in those writings and it shows how the parties are reacting in Jacqueline do you do have a point to say Quebec there's going to be particularly love at them but I would also say that I don't WanNa use it in critical words because you actually get to know him as that's done on the Caffeine Chia he's actually quite warm a genuine and and will leave us alone on areas of our competency you know that being said you know the other political parties are certainly maybe putting ah so it's almost more about convection autonomy conviction jurisdiction and telling the federal government you know we are in a federation he's our ten separate provinces in Canada and he evaded the question because the answer is zero right so come back 'cause they're gonNA ask do they want a so-called protest vote that they want to Vo- blocked and say people this is a law that was passed in Quebec's legislature by Quebecers by a new government that was I received in the jury and a very sizable majority every religious symbols at work and I guess if it's difficult because these political parties want to win votes they WANNA gain power all political parties in my opinion we'll know that this law is discriminatory this law suspense charter rights for Muslim women seek men Jewish men your morals to decide on this issue particularly the ones who claim to fight for minority rights because this law there's no two ways about it and you WanNa reason losing seats in Ontario and in in in the west of the country maybe even Canada it's looking to make up those seats in Quebec and what's happening to the vote there what writings or what areas of the province should Canadians from the rest of the country be looking for returns from fault the media into certain saw his performance at the debate as less than stellar it ranges from he didn't do up the seats that they're gonNA lose and other places in Canada liberals are standing a lot of Quebec Justin Trudeau the leader not just during this election campaign by the leader flipped so again there's that there's that battle between the block of between the Liberals and trying to get that collapsed votes and you're right it seems the liberals are going to be more and more and more in combat because the oath Quebec Ontario but I mean that's nothing new Canadian the lands are often about Quebec girls been treating Quebec knowing that if they want to maintain their majority the polls say they have to really run up the score and Quebec and Ontario in order to make Alex before and it would have been rejected because because Canadians have the right to freedom of expression the shoot 'em over and this law suspends those rights for people who the bill twenty one in June and it also shows Canadians how much support this law has indoor province in and the government is also wrapping this law. Okay so let's get back which governing could make at the moment so they're fighting for the same voters and Quebec and Andrew Scheer has his message to this is what I mean very very very residency them a lot on television you see them actual thing he makes he makes a portable saying that you know my government has the you know if the Liberals are able to take for the block is able to take those seats that's GonNa be a really good side of who's going to be doing well or who's going to do well really do have to run up the score but the block is also looking for seats as well so I guess I would imagine in the next two weeks over the course of the campaign yeah I think that it was a solid showing on his part and really result of rumors going on in the campaign trail about you know about certain scandals here they're like every days ago Mr Trudel Sutin you know clearly win wasn't a fantastic night's for him but he did it to do and empty there's all kinds of rumors but we all know that campaigns concerning influence the voters there's another two weeks left so I would thanks for this thank you very much just pay valiant of the Canadian Press that was the big story we only have three to come back to Quebec campaign chose face and have a strong debates and if you look at the last of the first French language TV debate we're also in all of your podcast players and if we're not in yours tell us and we will put ourselves there thanks for listening I'm Jordan Heath Rowlings we'll talk tomorrow remorse go an hour lay of the land series you can find them all at the big story podcast dot ca you can also find us on twitter we're always there at the big story F. Doc that thrusts the liberals back into majority power so think of Quebec has perhaps Canada's swing vote you cannot predict their patterns you can't rely on Quebec and if you want those seats it's very difficult to come out strongly give those one woman who see that reflected in the rhetoric of all the problems how have the limit among those seats so Justin Trudeau was going to happen to avoid getting more scandals over the next couple of weeks is going to I and it's and it's very clear again and quebecers government knows that they had to use the constitution that notwithstanding clause to force this law through because it would have been fourteen seats that the peak earthy hold look very juicy to to the Liberal Party of a few blocks as well that's a little thing that they can on election day around the Quebec scenario the conservatives very strong that's the base of as a couple of liberal seats there's two seats you want the same thing they want to jet power and they want to maintain power and if you want to get power Canada though seventy eight seats with very tempted -servative fall back in the second place right now just a few points it depends on the poll averaging of Saint Police had to block and they're really fighting so the area around Montreal is going to stay in the role or I guess I shouldn't make predictions like that the liberals are very strong much
The world has never been more convenient. What is that doing to us?
"Look i spend a lot of money so that i don't have to do things myself. You probably do it to a large asia and rapidly growing chunk of our economy literally tens of billions of dollars per year in canada is based on the assumption that there is always we something else that can be done for you to save you time. If you're willing to pay just a bit more for it. It's been this way forever of course but in the past several years we have created an entire industry that doesn't actually sell anything except convenience and we're all buying it happily for the most part but what else you are we getting in the bargain. I'm jordan jordan. He is the big story gail mcdonald they feature writer at the global mail who wrote an essay about the tyranny of convenience. I i hi there. Why don't you start by telling me the laziest thing you've ever used technology for well. I think i've actually put it in the story. It was most definitely finally i i live above whole foods in toronto and i had looked up this recipe and it called for salt and i don't know if you ever shop but whole foods i don't but anyway it called for this salt that i'd never heard of and i'm pretty sure it would have been there because they deal in specialty stuff <hes> and instead of i think i actually made myself sound a little bit better in the article that wrote about convenience and the tyranny of it. I <hes> chose to you. Sit on my butt. Pick up my phone or to the salt. It was there the next morning when i opened the door. That was kind of the first thing that made me realize is that i was opting for the easy choice all the time and then the next time was ordering patio furniture and instead going to home depot or canadian tire or a more patio ish spot sure where you can sit in the chairs all that stuff try them out route instead. I ordered it online and it was a prerequisite that it came assemble excited want the hassle of doing that so basically i was sitting in a pile of boxes x.'s taking reams of plastic off cushions and i realize that i just didn't like the way i had become so slothful. I i wasn't doing anything that required effort. I just wasn't putting myself out there to actually walk and talk to people and do chores the way that i used to so yeah the reason we wanted to talk to you because you described it so well in your piece so maybe you can try to define for us. What is the tyranny of convenience. I think what it means means is. We've always been a convenient focused society since the fifties and will even earlier with as banal l. as it sounds like the invention of canned beans. We've gone to canned goods than we invented washing machine. Everything we have done has been about making our lives easier that in and of itself is not about thing. It's very good thing but with a i technology the options now are making our choices the matter of lifting a finger instead of actually physically washing the walking to a washing machine gene and doing the actual labor. We're not doing labor anymore. We're not doing anything that requires some effort some thinking some inconvenience everything we're choosing and everything that's being offered to us is about making life easier simpler and frankly less rewarding. Is there a threshold somewhere that we crossed because to your point. I don't think anybody would argue that. The invention of the dishwasher or washing machine was a bad thing but there's it's gotta be a line somewhere where it goes from things that are freeing us up to make the most of our time to things that are actively discouraging us from interacting interacting with the world. Will i think if you think about it think about the technology that is available when you take something as basic as social media area and how pervasive it is it appalls me when i'm walking home from work and i see pretty much i would say ninety five percent of the people walking with their face into their their phones not looking at anybody on the street not bothering to see which direction they're going. They just kind of do it like they're a bunch of drones walking down the sidewalk and even that it's just we are so programmed to be osman's. Almost it's now. I think that's the threshold and it's only people that are a little bit alarmed by the fact that menial chores banality l'idee things like that are actually something to embrace instead of something to shun. They're the ones that i think are going to kind of lead a counter revolution and take back some of the the more boring stuff of their life and find satisfaction in it that gets at what i was going to ask you next 'cause i can't and i hope i'm i hope i'm only speaking for myself but i don't think that i am i can't find satisfaction in walking four blocks to pick up my food when it could just be brought brought to me or to use your example. I don't find any satisfaction in assembling furniture like i will pay just moved. I will pay whatever it costs to not do that and i don't know when my brain switched and maybe it was just because it became an option not to have to yeah i get your point but do you find satisfaction picking up your phone and ordering something online like. Does it make you happy to have food delivered to your doorstep. Stop instead of taking the time the thought and the preparation in buying your groceries actually spending the time to prepare para dish that you've thought about and put care into. I don't know if you've kids or if you have a family but do you actually get satisfaction out of feeding your kids is giving them a great meal hearing them say dad while that was a great dinner. Thank you so much. I would love to hear say that for the record but she's not going to know no. I i do find that when you go to the market and buy your vegetables in the morning and spend the afternoon cooking you take more time with your food food to taste it to experience it. <hes> and you want the people around you to figure out the word enjoy it. Yes yeah you feel much better about it right and and i guess what fascinated me about your piece is trying to figure out what that is actually doing to us the process of not engaging like it's one thing to say like garden even notice that i i ordered my and i ate it but do we know what that is doing to us. What toll that takes well. I think i interviewed i. I think she's in the story. Her name was making caselli and she's a stand up comedian in toronto and i absolutely loved what she said so she he told me how her and her partner east love getting up in the morning they'd have piece of paper sitting on their counter instead of itemize list plugged into their phone and they would have things to do like pick up the dry cleaning <hes> maybe go by some fresh flowers at the market things like <hes> they would walk around. They would say hi to their neighbors. They would maybe stop for lunch may be discovering new cafe where they had a really great cup of coffee and instead she said that all the do now is basically sit it or lay in bed with their phones and take off the boxes by ordering things that they might need and they don't do that kind dove lisi meandering wandering around the neighborhood where they <hes> actually meet people face to face and have a conversation sation. She just finds that her saturdays in her sundays are way more dull and they're not as fulfiling how do we we start to convince ourselves to do these things. You mentioned that there. Someone's gotta start a mini revolution about reclaiming the pleasure in everyday activities activities. Where does that begin. I think i think really if you look around. You're already see it beginning <hes> the artisan community <hes> when it comes to food food farm-to-table cuisine. There's a big push. There's a lot of people that are actually really making an effort now to <hes> get to local the markets and do that kind of shopping support the local <hes> farmers. There's there's a there's a growing swell swell of individuals who care about the people that actually put in time sweat tears into making products or produce or whatever it is that they are giving to us. They're taking the time to say okay. I'm gonna make an effort to come to you and those kinds of businesses are actually flourishing. <hes> this one lady after i wrote the p. she she sent me an email and it was really thoughtful and she said the one thing that you didn't think about was how how all of these click bait options. I e anything you can click on to get delivered to you immediately. She said they're destroying. Small towns sounds all the tiny retailers mom and pop shops that you stu subsist because of people being loyal to them coming to them. They're starting to disappear now. It's not just because of convenience per se. It's also because of big box retailers ars but that's an earlier form of convenience. You know with the big box. Go there do everything all in one swoop. That was just another incarnation nation of the you know the rollout of convenience that has been chugging along for the last hundred years that god knows what level it will get to with with technology. Do we have any idea how quickly the click an order and get it off. The internet economy is growing well well. I think if you consider just the <hes> amount of purchases that are done on the web so in the worldwide for instance stints almost two point nine trillion dollars was purchased last year in canada alone were expected double what we did in two thousand sixteen and by this year will have spend forty billion dollars online so is growing exponentially and with services like amazon ebay. All of those different ones will even them more conventional couriers like u._p._s. and fedex etcetera. They're all trying to find a way to go to zero emissions and make things a little bit more environmental friendly in my piece. I didn't wanna hammer on about the environmental impact talked. All the easy choices were making but there's absolutely no question that everything that we're doing when we're relying more on airplanes since on vans to bring us things. All these things are taking a toll on the environment just this morning. I was reading the paper and there's a new book out by tatiana schlossberg. That's caroline kennedy's a daughter who's was a science reporter for the new york times and she's just written a book about <hes> this very phenomenon and she calls the inconspicuous consumption and it's about the environmental impact that you don't know oh you have and i have not read it but i'm going to and it what makes me happy. What makes me feel better is that all of these things are starting to be written. People are starting to think about all of this stuff in a much more concerted and wholesome way. I guess who do you you think or where do you think i guess we first documented how far we'd come in the race for convenience and how much could cost us. When did we start to realize just how far we were going. I don't think we've realized that yet <hes>. I don't think that most people even even give it. A second thought. I was shocked at the response at the story. I wrote about convenience had what was it was overwhelming. It was bizarre really really because it was a topic that nobody has thought about that said there are some there are people who are far more learned learning than i am who are starting to write <hes> fascinating essays in places like the new york times and the atlantic all these publications that are starting according to examine the tyranny of convenience and how we need to start thinking about the choices we make instead of always opting for something that is almost a mindless thing to do. We should maybe start making our lives a little bit more difficult and by that i mean maybe we should not order from ubereats and maybe we should actually walk two blocks and go to the grocery store and maybe we should take an hour and make a meal for our family while maybe they stand around and actually talk to you and you have a conversation with your child about her day her homework. I'm sure you do that anyway. But wouldn't it be nice if she just kind of hung out with you while you showed her how to make a dish that otherwise she she would never know how to make because you just ordered in one of the things that stopped me and my tracks from your piece the same way you've gotten that response is i think we've talked about all the individual aspects of what you describe on this podcast. We've certainly talked about social media addiction and what it does to us. We've definitely talked about packaging waste and what the the proliferation of plastics have done to the planet and we've talked about how we don't connect in person anymore like we've done episodes on all those topics but we've never put it together to to figure out what's at the root of it and to realize that your motivations for doing all those things that aren't good for you are simply convenience and laziness. This is a tough thing to grapple with and i think it's it's a hard sell to convince people to go backwards. That's a really good point. I don't think it anybody is advocating to go backwards. I don't think that's it at all. I think it is instead of moving forward at at such. A breakneck speed always putting yourself. I always making sure that you're choosing to do things that require the least amount of energy and effort on your part. I think that all people are trying to say is every once in a while. Put the brakes on. Take takes some time. Grab a hobby this wonderful <hes> writer. His name is tim wu. He's a lawyer columbia. He said when you think about it. Hobbies are really a waste of time. Why would you build a model car when you can go out and buy one well the point is you to build the model car because you get satisfaction of using your brain and actually figuring out how to put it together. You me an example of something you've done. Since you wrote this piece that you wouldn't have done before you wrote it. Well one thing i am doing but i didn't do it today to get here because i always under hurry and after go somewhere after her work but i have been i live at <hes> a busy intersection in toronto and i have been walking to the rom role winter you museum picking up one of the city bikes biking it on one of the multiple blake bike lanes that are in this city now and doing doing it to work and coming home the same way that's one thing i did not do before the other thing that i am actively doing is. I am looking for the farmers markets. I am trying to find those smaller. <hes> vendors who need my dollars versus a lob laws or a whole foods are so eas who really doesn't isn't. I'm trying to do those kind of things and the other thing that i i am actively doing now is i'm trying to grow my own vegetables. I live in a condo. I have started a vegetable garden on the balcony and i get so much the joy out of going out there and watching you know the tomato start to grow <hes>. I guess the main thing i've done is i've just kind slowed down a bit and just done some few more things. You'll fashioned way exco gail mcdonald feature writer at the globe globe in mail. That was the big story for more from us. You can find us all in one convenient location at the big story podcasts dot c._a. You can also talk to us us on twitter at the big story on a gain. Don't even have to do anything but use your phone and of course you can subscribe for free on your phone wherever you get podcasts casts apple google stitcher spotify we deliver thanks for listening. I'm jordan heath rowlings. We'll talk tomorrow <music>.
The election is on. A debate looms. Wheres the PM?
"Today is the day that Canada's forty third federal election officially begins and tomorrow. You'll finally get to hear from the people who want to be your prime minister. Oh I know it feels like you've been hearing from those people for months already already but you actually haven't you have been hearing from their speechwriters from the people who do their policy from their ad gurus and from their social media media team. You know what that sounds like a got into politics to help people like the people I serve here in Pano for more than a decade people. Tell me I'm different from the other leaders and I am from coast to coast. I hear the same thing people are getting by but they aren't getting ahead. I I believe the government should work for all of US TV McColl of protecting our children's future so you can get ahead not just get by tomorrow you get them on stage taking questions they've not been briefed on defending their proposals attacking one another directly live all of them in front of a studio audience except not all of them just six days on tell city TV teams up with Mcclain's for the first is leaders debate before the federal election. Justin Trudeau has declined to attend saying he will participate in two dates organized by the leaders debates commission as well as one with a private French language television network so you'll be seeing the people who want to become your prime minister but not the guy who's already got the job. Why isn't Trudeau there. It depends on who you ask but it's not the only debate the prime minister plans to mess and that is certainly a change in the last time around so why are we talking about official debates this time and what are they who chooses them what factors into a leaders choice to make or miss one of the unofficial L. Debates. What should you be looking for from the leaders who are there and will it hurt shootout be off somewhere else campaigning while his rivals attack him live on television and Jordan Heath Rawlings and this is the big story. McCormack McSweeney is our guy on Parliament hill covers the hill four Rogers radio and for city news and he joins us. I Cormac Hey Jordan. How's it going this going very well well. It's almost debate season. It is getting excited so how many official debates are there and how soon and how often do we actually get to hear properly from these leaders in front of a real live studio audience. Well the official debates if you will the ones that were put together by the debates commission set up by the government. There will be only two of them. There will be one in English and one in French and the one in English is taking place on October seventh. The one French is taking place on October tenth and both both of them are happening in the NAP national capital region actually at the Canadian of Museum mm-hmm Canadian Museum of history in in Gatineau just across the river from Parliament Hill and that's where the federal leaders will be squaring off but there is a debate tomorrow night right yes there is so I mean you know we use the term official debates but a AH last election we had a number of different debates and what exactly is official in that way. I just like to say that they're the debates. Those two debates are the ones that are being set up by the debates commission. We also have a number of private media companies who have pitched their own ideas for debates city TV and Mcclain's clains and and city TV as a Rogers property and were owned by Rogers so we'll get that out of the way but city TV Mcclain's do have a debate taking place and it will feature three of the four major party leaders Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not going to be attending but just like in twenty twenty fifteen the city TV Mcclain's debate. I will be the first out of the gate in this sort of election season we also have a couple of other debates that were pitched etched the munk debates they're going to be hosting one in. Toronto based on foreign policy and and foreign affairs and then Teva which is a Quebec television network they will be hosting one as well but the prime minister will not be at the debate tomorrow. Why not and was he there the last time we did this yes he? He was naturally many believe that his performance in the city TV Mcclain's debate was impressive with better than most people had expected and was a big turning point in the campaign right out of the gate for the Liberals you know in the lead up to the twenty fifteen election campaign pain the new Democrats were the official opposition and under Thomas Mulcair they were seen as the big contenders against Stephen Harper and the Conservatives it wasn't quite quite clear where the liberals would go and in two thousand fifteen the Conservatives said I believe it was one of their campaign staff said to the media that if Trudeau shows up with his pants on he'll have won the debate they sat expectations pretty low for Justin Trudeau and he actually had a pretty decent showing in that debate he you know if it weren't for those lower expectations he might not have been seemed to have been as big of a winner as he actually was out of that but he he showed up with pants on and then some with the with that debate and it really started that momentum for the Liberals and he had a couple of really good clips that did that made the news that really helped the liberals out in the rest of the debates that that continued afterwards and the momentum built from there and they they jumped from third party status to government in one election. which was the first time that's? I believe that's ever happened in Canada so that was a big debate for the Liberals and and yet they've decided not to take part in this one. The reason being given by the Liberals is that they think that there should that'd be only two debates if the reason why they set up the debates commission in the first place and so they felt that the 2015 strategy by the Conservatives creatives was to try and split up audiences to avoid scrutiny and prevent a momentous like moment from happening and to try and stop the opposition parties from having one big debate that would really shift the campaign. They want to get back to those bigger moments. They say that they can reach more Canadians through the official debates because those are run by a consortium of media companies but you know there there remained questions about whether that's true or not in this day and age of of streaming and Internet access across the country almost anybody can watch anything that streamed online but nonetheless on the last that's the reason why the liberal say they will not be attending this city TV Mcclain's debate or or the munk debates but they have however agreed take part in the survey debate which is going to be happening shortly before the the so-called official debates so that's the reason why they say they won't be attending this but there might be more than that you know there are a lot of experts who weighed in on a as to why and some of it might be strategic. One factor is that when you're launching a campaign and you're criss crossing the country. Do you really want to be bogged down by a debate. Prep and taking yourself off the campaign trail. It's a big question to ask and every campaign has to decide whether it's GonNa work for them or not. Clearly all the other party leaders feel that it's going to work for I'm in the they've agreed to do the monk debate as well as the city. TV Mcclain's debate but for the Liberals They don't think that's the best strategy because it does you know especially especially in a shorter campaign. This could be short as the minimum thirty six days. You know it's going to take you off the campaign trail quite a bit and it's GonNa keep you in Ontario which she's a key battleground but for the liberals they wanted to try and hit up. BC and Quebec a little bit more there are others who say that the the prime minister is kind of playing the strategic game that that liberals are accusing the conservative playing in the previous election and trying to make sure that everything works to their benefit so the the least amount of debates means the least chance that the opposition has to really take down the government and they could be more prepared for less debates and this is an incumbent government. The liberals are now empower. They're not the third party Ryan to seek out as much as they can get. They're going to have a much more more guarded campaign to try and protect leader and protect the party's so that they can get reelection so you've kind of alluded to it a couple of times but I want to know more about the leader's debates commission who created who controls it is it controlled by the government and if so how fair is that it was set up by the government and and not necessarily control. It's meant to be an independent commission. That doesn't really have political involvement. It was set up last year by the government up to try and set up these debates in the last in the two thousand fifteen vote we saw the departure of the typical consortium debates and those you know in many elections before that you had a series of media networks sort of team up to host the the two big debates and and typically it was two maybe three debates that were having an election campaign depending on the length and what the Liberals wanted to get back to was that so they set up this debate a commission. They put David Johnston in charge of it. This is the former Governor General somebody who also had had run and moderated some pretty the famous debates in the past he was the moderator for that Info at the famous showdown between Brian Rooney and John Turner and that debate really really did shift the campaign away from the Liberals and John Turner and and really helped helped out Brian Mulroney but nonetheless David Johnson ed up the commission. They got a team together. They looked at the best ways to do this and how to host the debate and they've decided added to bring it in again a consortium of media networks to take part in this and help moderate this debate and we're going to have those two who debates October seventh and October tenth what of the other party leaders or parties in general and saying about the debate commission and the quote Unquote official debates are they happy with them. I I know they might not be happy with the number but are they happy with how that's come together. In general or are there accusations. There haven't been any major accusations. We don't don't have Andrew Scheer in the Conservatives launching campaigns against the debates commission or anything like that I think when they were setting this up there were some questions from some. MP's who were trying to suggest or allude to the fact that maybe the government was trying to set up the debates in their favor but those those criticisms have not been heavily pushed by the opposition parties in in any way whatsoever and I mean it's it's hard for them to you. Try and accused this debates commission of being a partisan leaning commission when you have somebody the former governor general who who was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the conservative government of the day to be the governor general so you know if you trusted him to be an unbiased intelligent person to be the Queen's representative of our country surely you can trust him to be an unbiased intelligent person to run a debates commission and he's got history at running debates in the past as well so he he did seem like a pretty perfect choice for the job and we didn't see the criticisms really you know really ramp up in any way in the lead up to all of this but the criticisms that the opposition has not about the debates commission. It's about the other debates. It's the city. TV Mcclain's debate the monks debate and the caveat debate and really the biggest issue is not about how these debates are going to be run. It's about WHO's taking part. What's going to happen at those debates when the prime minister is not there. How do you have a debate without him. What would the other party leaders strategy. Maybe going into that debate without a person to take on while I guess they're hoping that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be a big punching bag and they they will be at every opportunity likely bring up the fact that he's not there to defend his record and he won't be which might be an issue for people who will be watching watching the city TV Mcclain's debate you're going to hear a lot of accusations from the opposition leaders and and they all have their own issues that they want to bash the prime minister about and they'll take every opportunity to do that. I know in conversations with Paul. Wells the moderator of this debate. He said he's not GonNa let any party leader off the hook regardless who who ends up showing up and so he's going to be holding all of them to task if you saw the twenty-fifth debate you know that he did that so as much as you conservative leader Andrew Scheer or Peter Jagmeet Singh or Green Party leader Elizabeth may will be Maybe trying to target the prime minister for not showing up. I think they're going to have to answer for their own policies as well and whether they have shortcomings or whether they could be taking some different strategies to deal with some of the important CNN issues that are facing Canadians They're going to have to answer to that as well so even though you don't have the prime minister that doesn't mean it's not going to be a very informative and very important debate. Let's put it this way as well right now. There's a huge fight for the progressive vote in our country. The End EP and Greens are struggling struggling in the polls when it comes to the overall picture by the end EP really will want to try and take on Elizabeth May and the Greens because right now a lot of the support the MVP is losing is bleeding to the Greens so as much as the Greens are far behind. They're actually seeing a bit of a surge overall from historic support and so so while they're gaining some steam the end EP is at risk of losing more support to the Greens and so- Jagmeet Singh will not just be targeting the prime minister. He'll he'll be targeting Elizabeth. May and both will be targeting Andrew Scheer because they want to be seen as the new progressive alternative to Prime Minister Mr Justin Trudeau and the liberals they're going to be going after all those voters who are disappointed with the Liberals and the last four years who don't think that Justin Trudeau lived up to the promises or at least the hype that they had in twenty fifteen and they're looking for an alternative right now. We haven't seen any single alternative alternative that people are really rallying behind but that could change potentially with debates like the city TV Mcclain's debate so we'll have to see how it plays nope but it's a very interesting dynamic going into it with or without the prime minister involved. What do you want to see from Andrew Scheer and this debate because when I think about the optics of it you know he wants this to be a two person race where he can beat up on Trudeau as much as possible but when he's onstage onstage with two leaders who are way behind him in the polls. Does that make him kind of look like one of a gang as opposed to like be opposition well. That's one of the optics ex that could play into this and possibly one of the reasons why the prime minister decided not to take part in this debate exactly the scenario that you say they are Canadians. Etienne's will see the prime minister off doing whatever he's going to be doing. During the debate or on the debate day and you're going to have the other party leaders all all kind of lumped together and so that's that's something that they'll have to try and make sure they have their media lines ready to go to try and and make sure that they don't look like it's Andrew Scheer as just another one of the opposition members and not prime ministerial. He's going to have to appear prime ministerial on that stage and that's what he's going to want. He's going to have to separate himself from Elizabeth. May and from jug meets sing to try and make sure that that he leaves the best impression with the voters who tune in but at the same time you know there are a lot of questions about conservative policies about the conservative platform coming coming up like all elections journalists and I think a lot of Canadians Wanna dig into some of the details of what these plans are and usually during elections. A lot of the plans as we get from. The parties are kind of vague. They don't have all the details. It's not like they're putting forward piece of legislation where you can sift through every tiny little aspect dove it. You're getting you know sometimes a few paragraphs maybe a page maybe a little bit more than that depending on where the party wants to show its strength breath and there are rightfully so a lot of criticisms for every party when they released their platforms and I think there will be a lot of questions about trying to get some exact details about where the conservative stand on a lot of issues and this goes for the MVP and Greens as well well. Here's the thing so they're going to have to explain their plans and defend their plans. Do we have any sense yet if deciding not to attend. These debates is hurting Trudeau because you know I know that the city Mcclain's debate is put on by Rogers which also which also owns the big story and your radio stations but I don't care who it's hosted by. Oh I the first reaction I had to this was there's a month and a bit before the election. I want to hear from my prime minister and maybe that's just me but it was like a pretty visceral real gut reaction. I have to say Yeah I mean the twenty fifteen election was kind of unique with a number of debates we had we normally don't have that number of debates federally through our elections but I guess depending on how you see it was amazing. It was a good change for our country or you know liberals. I guess yet. They want to move back to less debates. throughout you know politically again. I think there's something to be said about that strategy of keeping a leader on a campaign trail hitting the writings that they need to hit where they're competitive where they need to make sure that they they meet with the locals and and get and leave the best impressions to help some of those candidates and push them over the top but also you want to make sure that you're leaving a good impression on the national stage as well and you're reaching as many Canadians as you can and you know there's a very valid argument to be had that the more debates the better put put your political leaders to the task past have them duke it out over important policy issues that actually matter to Canadians and so there is that debate to be had whether it's going to hurt the prime minister or not. I I mean I guess that remains to be seen in the polling that will be done after the mclane city to debate but in the lead up to this we have not seen any significant impact one way or the other a four the liberals and the Conservatives we haven't really they've been deadlocked for weeks and weeks now at the head of the polls and and so far we we've yet to see them. actually really have a drop or a pickup as a result of this debate debate on my last question is let's. I'd say we do see that. After tomorrow. Night's debate and the polls reflect the fact that Trudeau wasn't there and everybody beat up on him. How firm is the commitment to only only doing the two official debates and the debate? Would you wonder if something would change if he noticed some negative results Zolt. I'm not sure how flexible they'll be to changing their strategy on the debates. it seems like the Liberals are pretty clear and and we won't really have an I don't think there are any proposed debates that are supposed to be taking place after the debate commission debates and so it would it it would take somebody stepping up to propose debate following those for them to reconsider if they needed to but that's a risk as well for the liberals if they have a poor showing in the one one English debate that they're attending and most of Canada is in English Canada and if there's a big problem for the prime minister he'll have to wear hear that until voting day and I'll have to do damage control afterwards. There will be no chance for redemption. I guess if that ends up taking place but but maybe the liberals are calculating. I don't know this but maybe they are calculating that the best damage control will be to get the prime minister on the campaign trail and addressing media on their campaign in plain rather than actually going toe to toe with some of the opposition leaders again but it's a risk. It's a political risk and any time a party decides where they want to take part in in terms of debates. They're always making these political calculations behind these decisions and this is. I guess the risk that the liberals are willing to take. I guess we will see F duck in the public pays off. Thank you Cormac. We will indeed thanks very much appreciate being here. Cormac McSweeney Parliament Hill in Ottawa. That was the big story for more from us. We're at the big story podcast dot. Ca We are also on your twitter quitter. At least we are a few follow US big story. F. PM and we are in your podcast application if you have one and if you're not listening to this on a web browser if you are doing that had an open your favorite podcast application and subscribe for free you get every last one. Thanks for listening Jordan Heath Rowlings. We'll talk tomorrow
Fentanyl, heroin and more. Available for home delivery.
"I don't think anyone would deny that narcotics. Sometimes shipped through the mail a few months ago Canadian provinces jumped right into that business model. We even bought some weed on this podcast. A well. I thought I would have to go through one more step. Okay. So big shifted is you by going through it did. That was us back in October on the unfair cannabis store website. It was an almost too easy process. As Donald Trump would say, it was very legal. It was very cool. But those are not the only drugs available for sale on the internet heroin fennel methamphetamines, some of the drugs behind a skyrocketing. Overdose rate that measures as the worst Canadian public health crisis since the Spanish flu, those are all showing up on the doorsteps of savvy users or even more likely of criminal distributors using it to cut product and sell on the street. The police are not able to search packages. They suspect contain these substances because of an arcane quirk and Canadian post a loss. This is the kind of too dumb to be true story that maybe helps explain why this overdose crisis is already awful and is still getting worse. So why isn't anyone doing anything about it? Like now. Jordan, heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. And I am thrilled to be back in this chair. I'm thrilled to still have a job after the fantastic guest house. We had last week today. I'm surrounded by Claire B's. Claire Broussard is always right across from me. Our lead producer and mcclain's reporter Lehrer. Brunell who broke this story wide open last week. Thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me. So how do people in this country yet highly illegal drugs delivered to their house? Well, it is a lot like ordering something on Amazon, actually if you're buying it directly. There are on a corner of the internet known as the dark web, which you can only access a special browser and you can't they're not indexed by Google. So if you have the knowledge to be able to access the Dirk web, you can find these markets that are selling all kinds of things not just drugs by you know, counterfeit passports, all kinds of stuff like that. And if you know how to find these markets, you can, you know, search of different vendors again a little bit like Amazon or other sort of big online megastores like that that are offering all kinds of different products, and you can click on it. And Joe it sent to your house. You can even leave a review I won't ask you how to do it. Because that would be maybe, but how hard is it when you say, you if you have the knowledge to get onto these sites. How hard is it did you do it? I didn't do it is pretty hard. I found it more challenging than I expected it to you. Because so first of all, you, you know, I don't, you know, you need computer union address, and you do internet connection. These are things that, you know, not every drug user necessarily has access to. But so, you know, once you have all those things you have to know how to download the browser. You have to know how to find the a euro of the market or you have to know, you know, how to find a website that has the various listings of the Urals you'd be interested in. So you need a little bit of sorts. Of insider knowledge, they're just begun with anytime, you send a message on their especially if you're sending a sensitive stuff like your address in particular, most vendors want you to send it in encrypted format. So you have to learn how to use PGP, which is not the simpliciter most user friendly thing to do. And then finally you also have to pay for it in bitcoin. So you have to know how to do that. So it's quite a quite a few barriers to entry there for for the average person when you went through all the hoops to finally log on to the dark web and explore these marketplaces. What did you think? What was it? Like, honestly, it was a lot like using the internet in nineteen Ninety-seven knows. What really struck me? Yes. It's very slow. It crashes all the time because. Yeah, I, oh, of course, after I did it. But if you has the way that the the browser you have to use works. It's routing your IP address to a bunch of different services around the world. It's a sort of slower and more cumbersome process. And so also, you know, all the sites are very simple all the. Graphics us. You know, so that the load quickly. But yeah, that was brought me right back to you know, using ICQ and that sort of thing back in the day. Did you make any purchases did not make any? On this podcast by accident. Assuming you can do all that. And you browse the marketplace and leave reviews and presumably follow the reviews you make a purchase. Then what happens? Well, then the the product that you ordered is gonna just like you order any other product on an ecommerce website. They're you know, they're going to put it in a package. Many of them advertise that they'll you know, they'll do things to make it more, discreet. They'll put it in silica gel packets or like hide it in some sort of way. And then it's the, you know, the same way that dining packages sent to your house to get sent to your house through the mail or kind of male. So in particular, these vendors are using candidate POS candidate hosts shipping method of choice because in Canada. There is a quirk legal quirk. That means that the police can't search packages sent through the mail, even though they can get a warrant to search packages that are sent through career services. This goes back to the days when you know, the mail was letter. There's that was that was what most of the bulk of the south going through the mail was when this law was designed, you know, thought we don't want police to have the power to just open your mail, and re read your private personal correspondence the same way that we don't let police just top our phones things like that. What it didn't anticipate was that, you know, letter meal was waiting to become less important for candidate posts in parcels? We're going to become a bigger and bigger part of their business. And so now, we're in this strange situation where the exact same package sent through private courier service has a lot fewer privacy protections than one sent through the mail. It seems insane. That we've gotten to we've gotten this far down the road of converting our national postal service to a package delivery service. Because I can't remember the last time I got a piece of mail that was not either a Bill or a financial statement or a package from Amazon or somewhere, and these laws haven't changed at all. Yeah. No. It hasn't been updated. And you know, I talked to some liberal MP's about why they don't want to. Change it to close the loophole. They consider changing it in two thousand seventeen. There was you know, a consensus from law enforcement officials the RCMP the CBS a the Canadian association of chief of police were all saying, hey, this is a problem we need you to close this loophole. The liberal government considered it and decided not to act, and I don't have a lot of information about why they made that decision when I reach out to them. They basically highlighted some other measures. They've taken to address the final crisis and said, they think the system that we have in pleased, which is basically police work with postal inspectors because postal inspectors can open the mail strangely. Even though police can't they actually have more power than police. Do they basically said that system is functioning the way it is? And we're not planning to change it when you talk to some of these people in law enforcement, how big a problem do they say this? They say something that comes up pretty regularly. So again, yeah, I spoke to with the RCMP's head of organized crime. Who said that, you know, it's true that they do find a way to make things work within the system. Yeah. He cited a big investigation. They did project crocodile involving fennel sent through the mail where they did, you know, they basically brought a postal specter along with them. So that they could open packages on a case by case basis. But that it, you know, it's something that stands in their way on a pretty regular basis and gets in the way of investigations, what do Canadian postal inspectors do to screen the mail. What does that process look like with police involvement? I asked that question. I didn't get a ton of details. And they said they you know, they didn't want to reveal exactly what their processes are for screening the male. But they do, you know, they said, they said they exist. They said they do have some I know that if you know if something is visibly leaking or smells funky, or if somebody wrote feno handle with care on a package, something like that. It would get escalated up to a supervisor. I'm not sure exactly what measures they haven't pleased in terms of do they have rays and sniffer dogs. They didn't want to go into detail about that you talk to drug users who do order these products through the mail. I did. Yes. How does it? Arrive have they ever had any problems? How please are they with the service? They're getting the ones who I talked to you who do this on a pretty regular basis said that it works. Great that they've never had any problems that the, you know, don't really expect to ever Kevin issues that both them and the vendors they buy from are aware of the difference in, you know, legislation for if you send it through Canada poster career service, and that they feel pretty safe and secure doing it to the RCMP give you a sense of what this loophole looks like in regular course of business or a scenario in which this impacted an actual investigation. Yeah. Well, I think a good example is of what police can do when it sent through a private courrier. So I found a case involving a Calgary man who had some packages shipped involving methamphetamine ingredients to a UPS box. And so in that case the CBS actually caught it as a. It's coming in alerted police. You know that this this person at this UPS box was getting some legal substances being sent there. So police were able to get a search warrant everything going into that ups box. That's only police can't do. So it was a candidate post with with candidate post if it's candidate post PO box. They can't just say we want to warrant for everything going in there, even if they have reasonable suspicion that there's some funny activity going on like they didn't this case they have to do it on a case by case basis with the postal inspectors. But because they were able to get a warrant for everything going into box in this case get some information about who owned the box. It got the rental agreement the got cooperation from the UPS store owner. And then you know, they were able to intercept more stuff that was going into the UPS box. Gather more intelligence on this person, and the kind of stuff they were up to and they use that as evidence in the case. So that's something. They can't do if it's through Canada Post. Do we have? Or does anybody have a sense of the scale of this problem of how how much illegal drugs are being? Sent through the mail. Well, one thing we we know that the CBS as the majority of their final seizures are coming through the mail. So they're seizing millions of fatal doses worth of fennel every year. And that's what they're catching yet. And they say that. Yeah. The majority of occasionally it'll come through a cargo shipment or something like that. But most of the time because fennel in particular, it's really well suited to going through the mail because it's you only need such a small amount of it to be extremely potent. Right. So you have fifteen thousand potentially fatal doses and just thirty grams which you can fit in a letter sized package. So, you know, you're even a boat shipment of fennel can be in, you know, quite a small package easily sent through the mail. So that's the one in basically these laboratories in China. Make the fat knowl-, you know, you can order it directly from them. It comes into Canada through the mail gets process. And that's just a, you know, an easy way to ship it in that was what I was going to get you to explain next actually is the the whole international. Connection of all this. And the fact that while some of it might be on the dark web some of it is not. Yeah. That's right. So I think it's important to make a distinction between most people the federal overdose crisis is not being driven by people ordering it directly from the dark web. So what's happening for most of the fennel? That's coming into candidates organized. Crime groups are ordering it from laboratories in China. They are so ordering online. It's still coming through the mail, but they're ordering it in bo- quantities. Which again, a quantity is not actually very much in terms of weight. They're processing it mostly in laboratories in western Canada into things like counterfeit heroin and Oxycontin. And then the end users are doing it. They don't even necessarily realize they're doing funnel. Most opioid users aren't seeking out fennel some of them are. But they're doing these drugs. They're distributing them to regional street dealers who don't even necessarily know what they've been cut with and that's what's causing the overdose crisis. Because people don't know what's in the drugs that they're doing it kind of brings up an interesting. Quandary in that. Although it's against the law and his using Canada Post in a way that legislation clearly never intended the users. The direct users who are getting their drugs over the dark web and through mail delivery are getting safer products. Yeah. That's one of the interesting byproducts of the system, and how it's changed the drug trade is it sort of made a dichotomy in a way where people who have the resources and the knowledge in order to navigate the dark lab doing all those things are described, you know, buying crypto currency figuring out how to use cryptic messaging services there an advantage where they can because he's these markets have a lot of information that aren't available to your average street drug user, you know, people are leaving reviews if if it was cut with a dangerous amount of fennel, somebody would probably leave a negative review. What are these markets even ban federal entirely, so they have a degree of quality control from these markets that you know, gives them gives them a level of assurance. Whereas on the other hand, you're new. Your street drug user who has to rely on the stuff from just these regional dealers. You don't even know what's in them. Things have become much riskier for them as a result of ecommerce in the drug trade. Is there anybody, and I know no direct action happened as a result of of what the police asked for in two thousand seventeen. But is there anybody in Ottawa working on this as far as you can tell it? So we're working on that as a follow up where still calling around to opposition MP's trying to get find out if there's really anybody who's taking this on. That's the nobody would jump on this issue. Honestly, I it doesn't make a lot of sense to me, especially since I mean, just the it seems if you're concerned about privacy. If you think that it's really important the packages being sent through the mail shouldn't be searched by police that's a fine position to hold. But why is it okay to have different standards for packages sent through the courier than through Canada Post. That's the part of this that I can't think of any reasonable defense for why should be that way. It's a remnant. Right. It's to your point is a remnant from when the mail was something different than UPS. Yeah. That's exactly right. When you know things things sent through the course of post the people who designed that freezing. And the candidate post doc they were thinking of letters they weren't thinking. Well, it's a bit hard to pin down because the candidate post corporation acts is from nineteen Eighty-one. But that's because that's when the Canada Post corporation was created. But the wording I understand dates back to long before that, and this whole sort of concept behind that of, you know, strict privacy regulations for the mail to these. Loopholes exist anywhere else is this is this something unique to Canada. Does it put us at a disadvantage when it comes to trying to stop the infiltration offensive? Well, interestingly the US has the same problem. But for different reasons, actually, I started looking into this because I learned about a US Senate report where the the this Senate committee, you know, found a whole bunch of online fennel dealers communicated with them, and actually, you know, subpoenaed records of they're paying the ass. You know, what's your Western Union, number or whatever they're using for payment? You know that we're actually able to trace who was ordering it within the US. It was really interesting, and they found the same thing that it was the US postal service that was being used. They came the conclusion it was because they had less strict screening than the couriers did and because they use less sophisticated data collection in terms of where it was coming from. So I don't think they have the same dual legal standard of what police can do search the male. But they have the same problem for a different reason. How much? Would it take to actually close this loophole? Is it just simply a matter of updating that act and saying now police have suspicion they can open a package. I as far as I know. Yeah. It would be you know, the same way that you have to amend any Bill, you know, they'd have to pass it through parliament's, and, you know, go through all that sort of thing. But I don't think there's any, you know, anything special in there. I don't think it would violate any Tertre rights or involve anything is their privacy lobby that knows about this in his defending the males right to privacy. I contacted the Canadian civil liberties association, and they actually Canada what you might think. Also agreed that they think it's would be fine for policing, basically that they you know, fed it's fine. If they have the same rights to look at packages going through Canada poses through career services, they want letter mail to be protected still so packages under thirty grams was police would like the power to look at those two because as I mentioned, you know, you can. Ship a lot of fun on a thirty grand package. But yeah, they basically said as long as we keep reductions for letter mail and the standard should be something more like getting a wiretap than getting a regular search warrant. We don't see any reason why there should be the difference in the privacy standards between private courrier packages and handed oppose packages. So it's not even like there's a special interest group standing in the way of any legislation. I mean, if there is one I can't find one obviously candidate post, I did reach out to and they said something sort of similar to the liberals that we, you know, we think the system we have in place is working. Well, we're we cooperate with police investigations. So, you know, obviously, they're not jumping up and down saying that we should change the law, but that's sort of the one group I could find that, you know, isn't really in favor of it. When you publish this late last week. I know that that some radio stations and television stations immediately jumped on it because we wanted to talk to because it it's just one of those things that seem staggering that. It's it it happens like this. What's the response been from some of the people you talked to and has there been or do you sense there might? Any movement because this is an election year. Right. This is an issue might be easy to get on board. With yet. We're we're indefinitely hounding. Some people are trying to, you know, come back to them. Get more reaction, it's been hard. So far. It's not something that a lot of people in Ottawa seem to really want to jump on and comment on even though it seems like it would be an obvious one. For the conservatives, for example to jump on teams. Like an obvious issue for them to pick up. Right. I reached out to their public safety critic didn't hear back from either. So we're gonna we're gonna keep on them. And you know, see if we can answer out of somebody. But so far not much. Thanks. Thank you. Claire Brownell reporter investigator at McLeans that was the big story for more from us. We are as always at the big story, podcast dot CA. We are at frequency podcast network dot com. We added a new show Roseanne mocha if you live in Toronto, you know, them if you don't live in Toronto, you really wanna know them find it there check it out. You can also find us on social media at the big story. F P N on Twitter and at frequency pods on Twitter on Facebook and on Instagram, and we would love visit wherever you get your podcasts to throw us a rating throw us a review, we need to tell people how much you like this show. So that they don't replace me. Jordan, heath Rowlings. Thanks for listening. We'll talk tomorrow.
Can we change locker room culture from the inside?
"This is Melena Williams are laundry to me we just wanted to remind you to listen to our wonderful podcast black team. So if you haven't heard black T before it is a conversation that we have about difficult and sometimes very uncomfortable conversations in Canada's black community and were kind of funny, but I'm funnier than under. I'm not gonna argue with them is definitely a year than I am. If this sounds like something that's up your alley. Please subscribe wherever you get your podcast. Thanks. We're going to talk about locker rooms today and about what goes on inside them you've likely heard over the past week just how ugly it can get a hazing gone too far Toronto police investigating an alleged groups sexual assault at Saint Michael's college school, you set with a stern warning for anyone in possession of the Saint Michael's college, videos, delete them or face child porn charges of horrific hazing at a private Toronto. All boys school with more charges expected. Six boys arrested today have each been charged with assault gang sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon. And yes, the extreme and horrific reports of abuse at Toronto Saint Michael's college school may not be typical of all boys high schools or team sports like football and hockey. But we definitely know by now that they aren't unique either. So how do we define locker room culture? How can coaches and the adults supposedly in charge Tele good locker room from toxic one before it ends in the worst kind of bullying and abuse all boys schools and contact sports from grade school to the pros and the power dynamics of dozens of boys and young men spending hours together. None of that is just going to vanish. So what can we do right now to make that healthier? Jordan, heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. We're not going to talk much today about these Saint Mike scandal, frankly, it's graphic and disturbing and it's changing every day. It's better left to our colleagues at city news. And at six eighty news who broke this story. But what we want to get out today. Here are the dynamics that exist in every locker room everywhere how they work, and what might help them work in a positive way. So our guest is Donovan Bennett from sports net. Lifelong athlete now a reporter who covers locker rooms in the pros. He's spent his entire life and locker rooms recreational athlete now, but was one at a somewhat high level, I suppose. All through high school and university. Yes. Went to an all boys school. Yes. What happens to a young man when he walks into locker room in high school sports for me? I had a good experience. And I'm sure that's not the case for all. But the locker room, and it's not too dissimilar from the locker rooms I've been around covering professional sports. It's the sanctuary. It's the place whereas team you feel most comfortable, it's your domain. There aren't coaches really hanging around certainly at the high school level and for the most part of the university level. There isn't media hanging around. It's just the place where you in your teammates can be free and unencumbered. And so honestly the best memories when I'm with former teammates at any level are not even so much specific things that happened in games or in practices. The best memories are often in a locked room. Which is why when our favorite politician, Donald Trump, you know, used the locker room as a guys to excuse his bad language. Yeah. Could it took? Personal fence to it because although certainly that talk happens in locker rooms locker room talk isn't explicitly just saying bad things about people who don't happen to be in that locker room. But there certainly is a freeness and locker rooms, and there certainly is a hierarchy of power that exists on teams that exhibit themselves in the locker room space for sure describe that hierarchy. Yeah. We'll the rookies are important. You're just happy to to to be here, and how does that manifest itself? So in a healthy first of all in a healthy locker room, certainly. So it's and I think the key word would be in healthy locker room because I do believe that again, this is pro college high school the locker room culture is set by the best players or just the alpha. So I imagine the Golden State Warriors locker room is much different with Steph curry at at the head of it. When dre not screaming at people then the Timberwolves locker room when Jimmy Butler was the head of its Steph. Curry is known to be family. Guy and leads with empathy. Jimmy Butler was known to terrorize his teammates until he was traded. The culture kind of comes from the the best players in the most senior players down in that manifest itself in small ways. But that meet a lot like who controls the music where are the locker situated, what players have more than one locker those things are unintended consequences, but they actually have important meaning as far as who's valued. There are things rookies have to do. They have to set up the field before the games and practices. They have to bring water they get to choose the recruitment last all of those things that constantly remind young players and rookies that you just got here, you need to earn your stripes. And if you make it two year three four five then you'll have the benefit of choosing what EDM track we listen to. And what does it look like an unhealthy locker room in unhealthy locker room? It look. Looks like people are trying to gain power by taking it away from others. People are looking to humiliate to shame to exhibit their power to take the spotlight off of themselves and put it on someone else. And so even as a rookie is I've been in locker rooms in both Canada in the US in there. There's some differences there. But ultimately the same even as a rookie. There were some things that I was willing to do or I just had such a strong sense of self that came from my parents who are, you know, West Indian and stubborn that like I felt no weighs about saying. Like, yeah. No. I'm not doing that. I don't really care who you are. Or how long you've been here. What kind of stuff is that? So for example. So I I went to school in the United States. I for university my first year, then I transferred to Canada. So I mean, I guess in my first year in Canada. I would be technically a rookie. But the way I saw it. I'm. Not a rookie have already played a year of university football. So are there are some things that others would do that. I decided I'm gonna I'm getting out of. And I I just wouldn't do it in the first place. This didn't happen on a team that I played on. But, but I'll give you example, something that happened in general, the it's called the elephant walk, you may or may not know where I'm going with this. But where I don't wear. Well, it's probably for the better where players would would be would be forced to like walk around in a circle holding like the general part of the rookie in front of them. So I'd never happened on the team that I played on. But if it did I wasn't doing it and the elephant walk. I don't care if I was first or second year thirty then on football team. It's not just rookies oftentimes your first time to dress come to play you you have to do something. Sometimes that's something innocent. So for example, the first time you got the chance to play or to dress when you had morning breakfast before you could eat your breakfast, you'd have to go out to the. St. get a woman to come in. And like say to the team this is her name is one thing about them. And then give that player on the cheek and then leave so guys for like a couple of weeks would not be eating breakfast because it took them so long to get someone to come in. Luckily, I was able to do it in like a couple of minutes, but that was in the early two thousands. Now looking back at that experience, although harmless at the time outside of the context people look at and say, why are you running around as limits come inside? Why are you kind of harassing him? Why is you have to give you a kiss on the cheek like there's we we're in such a different time that what was seen as like just an annoyance for player during his first time. Addressing would be seen totally different where we are as a society another thing that I wouldn't have been willing to if I was asked to do it was it's called hot boxing. If it's the first time dressing, everyone who's first time dress you've got to go back in the washroom at the back of the coach buses, not big. Yeah. And you got to throw all your clothes out of that. Washroom. A veteran ties them all in a knot those and back, and you got to figure it out and come out dressed properly. So I mean, there's some could be dangerous situation with a bunch of people in there. I'm it's it's normally a laugh, and it's funny guys can't do it. If they're in there for a while. But also if it's early in the year, you could have like fifteen guys are dressing for the first time if it's late in the year, you can have two or three. So those are the things that again at the time and in the context, it's like it's harmless, you're gonna have to do this once they will never have to do it again. But given our current climate current time people could feel like if I'm forced to do this. And I don't have agency in the decision. Well, it's humility comfortable. The issue is a word that we're using constantly nowadays is consent. Yeah. We often use it in a totally different context. But we have to look at consent across the board and these types of things which for the most part are harmless. They crossed this invis-. Zabol line of. Well, this is initiation. Will this is hazing? Well, this is bullying. Well, this is harassment. Well, this is assault where this is sexual assault. So it is a slippery slope from okay, the rookies have to get up in front of the team in sing or have to impersonate a coach to, you know, police confiscating videotapes, and that's the other thing that's a major difference from when I played as social media. Yeah. A lot of this stuff happened. And after it happened. No one had any recollection of it. Or now it can and will often live forever. If you've been humiliated in a particular way that would add to it because it's not like something only four people sour forty people sides everywhere right in the big thing to in this. This is why it's incumbent on the leaders the best players. The captain's is understanding and reading the room reading the players understanding, what players would would be willing to do this would revel in. It would find it as. A badge of honor. And which would be uncomfortable or feel like they wouldn't want to do it. But they don't have the agency to speak up for themselves. And that's a part of leadership also is being able to read your team. But also being able to step in and say, you know, what? So and so doesn't have to partake in this to be a part of this team. If x person wants to that's great. But if y person doesn't that's that's also great. How do we know when something's going wrong in the locker room because I think one of the things that we've heard a lot around the incidents alleged incidents at Saint Mike's and previous instances of of crossing the line into hazing and bullying and assault. Is that nobody spoke up and nobody felt like they could speak up. What what's that culture? Like. And who is it on to come forward? It's a good question. I mean, how do we know? It's too far. I think when the law is being broken. That's a that's a good start. I remember when the incident happened at McGill two thousand five I was a student at western on the football team. At the time and McGill loss their season because of the virtually very similar incident to what happened at Saint Mike's players were initiated broomsticks were involved players were taken to a squash court, and when that broke, but we were like, whoa. What's going on in Montreal? What's going on to McGill? I mean you played with a lot of guys on the team in high school. So, you know, it's not foreign to you know, the people on that team and how far different their version of hazing was from ours. The coaches further these incidents are all often out of sight out of mind. Yeah, we have captains for reason. Take care of it. I wanna know about it and not that they actively want plausible deniability. But there have enough going on that they trust the captains to be their liaison and deal with it. When that broke it became a responsibility for coaches because it impacts your your livelihood and your your program and so. So they were basically like cease and desist on anything. That comes close to that Seoul, they came into your coaches came and talk. Yeah. And for the rest of my tenure there it was an under no circumstances where you allow to separate rookies other than things like setting up the field things that was sitting in front of the team exactly things that would happen in plain sight that no one would bat an eye. So that's what's been. I mean, both fascinating. And I guess really disappointing to me about the last week because that you know, you've worked in sports a long time. I used to also work in sports. And I remember the McGill incident. I remember the stories about a young man who was humiliated being hot boxed on an H L bus and every time those stories surfaced. We did talk about this. And I guess maybe I naively felt that we turned a corner, and that this kind of culture had changed. I think it has changed. But I I don't think it's necessarily changed with the actors with the. People who are on teams who with the people who are passing on that generation than leaving our public tolerance for it has changed certainly. But but I don't think that's changed within sports. And I I do think we need to have a greater conversation about even the harmless stuff are there. Other implications. There's a whole spectrum, and you kind of mentioned a line, right? That we need to figure out where the line is between like things that are team building. And that don't harm anyone and things that cross the line into hazing and bullying and assault. But there is a whole spectrum of locker room behavior. Like we started off talking about quote, unquote, locker room talk. Right. And and how that can be not necessarily stuff that goes on in every locker room, but nasty stuff as well. And I know we've talked a lot about things that we never thought about before like throwing like a girl, and if we can have this conversation all we want you and me, right. But it's until that message gets through the locker room, and I don't know how to make it received. I guess. Yeah. And I mean, part of this culture is part of the barrier. Or of entry of women being in sports sports in in a in a big way because the locker room culture, certainly right because then you are putting those women are putting themselves in potentially awkward positions. But also this the the negative locker room culture, you know, could be infringed upon because there's a woman more readily around which by the way is not necessarily a bad thing. Like massage jury talks all the time about hiring women that will make your culture better. Oh, make your your workplace better than the raptors practice what they preach as far as the amount of women. They have in their scouting department in their analytics department in their business office the coaching with their nine oh five team all the way up, and what's the culture like in the raptors locker room compared to other professional locker rooms outstanding. Like, you wouldn't have. I mean, I'm a you're only there for so much. But from what I see in comparison to two other locker rooms, it's it's night and day. And I do think that matters. I do think it changes. I was talking to a friend of mine who who I went to high school with. And although there are there are lots of positives that you get from being in a an all boy school environment. And again, I had a great experience. Things are different when women around you just you wouldn't have as readily incidents like that happening with men trying to be over Maskell in. If there was a woman standing ten feet beside them. And so I do think that helps to clean it up. So does that mean that, you know, single sex schools are no longer necessary or dangerous? I don't think so. But I do think that you have to think about how many female role models are at that school. How many female teachers are being hired how many female coaches do male sports teams have being cognizant of these things. And as you mentioned having these conversations is important because I think they do have real life, implications and. Regardless of the type of school or level of sport. You don't want to have an incident like we had recently, and we shouldn't have had another one after two thousand and five this alleged incident was an all boys school. Of course, the sports teams at that school are all men in most teams are tell me about the pressure to be a man to be masculine and a locker room and team culture. Yeah. It's it's a it's a good point. Right. Like when people talk about the masculinity being toxic and a luck room in the pressure to be macho there is a bit of that. I mean, it's in rooted in sports, right? You want to dominate someone. You wanna scream over them you want to exert dominance when that leaves the competition of the the weight room or the field and goes into activities elsewhere, that's certainly problematic. I mean, you don't want to be driving around in your car acting more masculine than other people or doing that in your day job. So so certainly in in the case of initiation when you're trying to exhibit your masculinity on someone or in many cases. Take away the masculinity of someone else. Right. But even as far too. It's hard hard if not impossible to be gay and locker room. Yeah. Well, I don't think it's I don't think it is a coincidence that a lot of these scenarios are getting someone to pretend to perform sexual acts or have sexual acts performed against them. Right. I think there is certainly an inference there that is troubling which makes it again, even more difficult to be gay in these situations or or just to have these spaces feel inclusive. Write I it. It certainly seems like you are making a statement based on the type of acts that that often are related in these hazing cases. I do think though that this is an opportunity to reframe and redefine what it means to be masculine what we're living in a culture where we're not even sure how much that's important even say, well, I'm masculine. Not masculine. But people are talking about. Oh, well, you know, this guy who's he stood up in this situation. Like a man. Well, what does that mean? Right. So we can change that conversation. And to me, this is an opportunity to say, well, no, the I want to say the manly thing to do. But the the right thing to do oftentimes would be not showing leadership in forcing someone to do something that's not necessarily the only way you can show power. But you can also show power by saying, you know, what we're not doing this. Or you know, what this person is not going to be object to this. It takes more guts to lead that way. Certainly, certainly. And so we talked about the the all boys private school aspect of this the motto or the creed at the private school that I went to was quick e like men be strong. Right. And so certainly you could say, well, what what does that what is that trying to imply, and you know, again, I think this is an opportunity in two thousand eighteen to say, well, you know, being strong would be. She being strong willed being strong would be having a strong sense of self being strong would be helping others feel strong. I think we can use this as an opportunity to change the way young boys who let's be honest at this age are still finding themselves out who they are what being masculine even means. I think we can use this paternity to say to them being macho is in shoving someone in the locker is important water over their head. There's nothing inherently masculine about that or there isn't anything inherently positive about that. But but being strong can be stepping in. When you see something. That's not right. Thanks Donovan anytime. Donovan Bennett of sports net dot CA. That was the big story for more from us. Visit us at the big story, podcast dot CA. Or if you want to check out black tea, and you really should find them at frequency podcast network dot com. You can find us on social media at big story podcast on Twitter on Facebook on Instagram. We'd love to hear what you thought of this episode, especially if you've been in locker rooms in your life, and you have ideas on what could change thanks for listening. I'm Jordan heath Rowlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
Whats the next disaster we need to prepare for now?
"Having to fix a problem that four weeks ago nobody ever thought would be a problem? Something that nobody expected. This came out of nowhere. You may not in fact be shocked when I tell you that. Lots of people predicted this from scientists to doctors to past presidents who even prepared for it to billionaire philanthropists who gave Ted talks and science fiction writers who wrote books a lot of people predicted a pandemic but the United States. And if we're being fair about a lot of countries including US still weren't ready the pandemic we're living through right. New is one of a number of scenarios that worry analysts and scientists. It's a low probability high consequence event that means it probably won't happen in any given year but over years and decades it gets far more likely and if we're not ready just like we weren't ready for this one. It can be devastating. So what exactly are the threats that we should be preparing for now as we deal with the pandemic what worries the giant intelligence apparatus to the south of US and other intelligence agencies around the world? I mean look. It's been a few months of nonstop virus anxiety so we figured we should maybe find you something new to worry about your welcome. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings and this is the big story. Garrett graff is a writer with politico who put together a very interesting list hi Garrett I think for having me no problem we uh we. We realized that had been a while since we checked in with our neighbors to the south and a as soon as we did we say you guys are fretting about a lot of things but just first of all I mean. How are you guys doing these days? I think the mood in the nation is darkening. I think there is both a sense of. This is not going to be a short crisis. Either in terms of the public health aspect or the economic aspect and that the government is not rising to the occasion in the way that we are used to as Americans seeing our government rise to the occasion that Such as we have found bright lights and hope in leadership here it has been largely at the local level and at the state level and that the federal government still seems dramatically outclass by the scale of handle. That's unfolding right now. I mean I will tell you. There is a ton of discussion amongst our political leaders up here To simply ask the federal government to please keep the border closed because I think that the general populace is is. Frankly worried about you folks. Yeah and Vermont is Where I live is actually in very good shape in that. We are one of just three states right now. That is actually has Qisas moving in the right direction and We are beginning to reopen But you know when you look at all of the states surrounding us. They they are still in the midst of really terrifying outbreaks. And the reason. We're calling you today because we wanted to kind of get a sense of what's going on the states and what you guys are thinking about. And what comes next and you put together A very interesting and somewhat depressing piece for politico about something called the domestic threat assessment. So why don't you tell me I what is it? And how did you make it ashore? So an annual tradition in the United States for the last dozen or so years is that each winter the director of national intelligence here the person who oversees the seventeen different intelligence agencies that make up the US intelligence community issues what they call basically a collective worldwide threat assessment It's twenty or thirty page. Document that lines what they see as the forthcoming risks geopolitical military strategic technological. And and other you know the A pandemic risk has been a regular part of that document for many years. Now this winter for reasons that appear having to do with the intelligence communities fear of provoking president trump An angry him The public release of that document and the Congressional hearing that normally accompanies that has been postponed or or perhaps even canceled entire is. It's too early to know and so what we set out to do with. This article was put together something that could substitute for it. Not Look at every possible event. That could unfold at the geopolitical level but to look at the other challenges that the US really faces that fall into the category of Pandak that is low probability high consequence events because I think one of the challenges that we have seen with the PGA Public response to pandemics is the extent to which humans misunderstand low probability high consequence events which is that. They are not no probability. That's what they are are events that at any given moment are unlikely but if you begin to measure on a scale of decades or even a half century they are much more likely to occur and that yes a pandemic in any single months is in unlikely occurrence but you know they are something that unfold you know really regular release three to four times a century and that one of the things. That's really stunning. When you begin to look at the situation we find ourselves in right now with the novel. Coronavirus and covid nineteen is that this exact situation was foretold in official reports and government reports at a high degree of specificity the US government was putting out social distancing guidelines in two thousand twelve. The need for more hospital. Ventilators has been identified problem. You know for more than a decade that if and when a pandemic occurred we were not going to have a nothing later. So that's been something that people have known And that the warnings out there so our goal with this piece was was effectively to ask the question. Well what else are experts worried about right now? What else are they warming about? That would still come as a surprise to us if unfolded tomorrow so on that note. Let's let's start going through the list because I think that I learned a lot from this piece. Not necessarily but what's on it but about how the experts are thinking about what's on it. So for instance the first one which is globalization of white supremacy. Something I think everybody understands is going on and is a problem but tell me a little bit about what the experts said about it and about how close we are to something really disturbing One of the things. That's what my role is. Is I cover national security and I. I'm not a health reporter A national security journalist and the thing. That is most interesting to me right now when you look at the landscape of terror threats is the thing that most sounds like the warnings that US in Western officials were giving in two thousand about Al Qaeda is when they talk about the rise of the globalization of white supremacy in which is a threat that has been around literally for centuries but what is new within the last couple of years. That they are warning about is the way that they are. Seeing a white nationalist and white supremacists begin to unite in a shared global agenda and ideology. That sounds a lot like Basically the way that Isis was able to inspire adherence in two thousand fourteen and twenty fifteen to carry out attacks from afar that What was really terrifying for the West in the? Us and Canada was the way that Isis in two thousand fifteen was able to encourage people through social media radicalized people through online recruitment efforts and let them lose to attack people at home that you didn't have them having to travel anymore Overseas like Al Qaeda did get that type of terror training and that that is very much what we're beginning to see now that the Christ church shooter in New Zealand I referenced. The attacks took place in Charleston South Carolina or on a Norwegian summer camps it over recent years and that these types of attacks sort of increasingly. Look the same and sound the same. And that's for many Western law enforcement national security officials day to day. That's the thing that they are most worried about now. as opposed to the fears of say Islamic terrorism You know five years ago not kind of brings us to number two which I mean. Maybe it's maybe it's not intrinsically tied together but I feel like it's related and that is a tax on trust and truth and as somebody who works in the media. I I also don't like that but can you kind of explain to me how. That's a disaster threat on par with you know some of the other stuff that we see on this list. Yeah this is what I think. Many experts say is the almost inevitable next. Turn of the screw of cyber attacks and disinformation. And what this when you look. At the way that for instance data breaches have holded over the last decade. Most of them have focused on fast. Getting into accompanies records and then stealing the records but what experts are warning about now. Both in technology companies in a national security and law enforcement is data manipulation back. And that could come in two different ways wine. You could see actual records being manipulate someone getting into a stock exchange or a financial institution and changing the records so that people could no longer trust that. The money that was in their account was the money that was supposed to be there or that. They couldn't trust that the stocks that they thought that they bought they actually bought and you can imagine the chaos. That could unfold from something like that. The second category of this is effectively. What what people referred to as deep fakes which is a you know a powered Manipulated data or audio. That could make a business leader. Sound like he or she was saying something that they never sat or make a political leader sound or looked like he or she was saying something that they had never said And you can imagine it. You know the scandals that could unfold on one end of this and you could imagine geopolitical instability. That could unfold from this as well. You know if there was a leaked video or audio that purported to be for instance president trump announced saying that he was going to nuke North Korea in sixty minutes or launch nuclear weapons at Iran on Tuesday could imagine the instability or countermeasures. That could unfold from that. That could be truly catastrophic and now numbers three and four with which both kind of go together in my mind because they're just both horrifying which are biosecurity and massive tech disruption. Tell me tell me what those worst case scenario look like. Yeah so the on the bio security side there are all manner of warnings of which sort of pandemics are just one of that on the one hand you know. There is actually much longer and richer and deadlier wine of lab accidents than we would like to imagine From labs at work on biosecurity at with highly contagious Highly lethal pathogens. You can also imagine on bioweapons From a nation state or a terror group and again this is actually an area where there is a longer history of these incidents than many of us. Remember in the United States we suffered a around of anthrax attacks in two thousand one that were sent through the US mail In the nineteen nineties a doomsday cult in Japan actually a creed sarin gas in unleashed it on the Tokyo. Subway and narrowly averted killing thousands of people than on tech disruption side year a lot of conversation about cybersecurity risks and the dangers to the power grid or utility infrastructure. But cyber isn't the only thing that could drive a fear of A large tech disruption that actually space weather solar flares are a very real threat and one that we are really only beginning to wrestle with and there is a high probability. We will actually Face a solar flare event at some point in the next decade or two. And the problem for something like that is that it has the potential to knock out over a very wide scale electronics and particularly power infrastructure Power generators and that they have some some of the same problem that ventilators have in the current pandemic prop it. Which is you know. They are large and expensive and there aren't a lot of them There aren't a lot of extra power generators lying around. And so if you're looking at a scenario where you have lost dozens or hundreds of them you're talking about a scenario where that power is not coming back in some parts of the affected region for months or maybe even a year or year and a half the next one on this list is just simply nukes and obviously. I feel like I know that one is this just Like a mainstay on this list every single year when the DNA doesn't a effectively yes with the following twist for most of the first decade after nine eleven what Western officials worried about was the idea of loose nukes A terror group zest saying a dirty bomb or improvised nuclear device or stolen or or purchased on the black market nuclear device and actually Western governments have done a very good job of lowering the supply of those types of devices and lowering the demand crushing groups like al-Qaeda in Isis. That would have once possessed to those ambitions so it in some ways. What is terrifyingly new in? This threats is the fear is once again on highly controlled nuclear weapons so that is nation states and their nuclear weapons that you know the the president of the United States is not necessarily the most emotionally stable individual. He possesses soul unchallenged. Nuclear Launch Authority at any time for any reason and there are very plausible scenarios that you could play out Between North Korea and the United States Iran the United States even Russia or China in the United States where escalation situation gets out of control and leads to an exchange of nuclear weapons great. I'm glad that we got to that. Part of the of this list next up is climate change. And I'm GonNa let you explain why it's on this list but we don't can. We not go into too much detail because I feel like it's just now it's just it's bad it's awful there's no way to stop it etc Yes and I think that is the fundamental challenge of this is that climate change is basically a backdrop for everything else. Which is you know. It is making storms worst. It is making it you know. It is going to begin affecting sea levels where humans can live and where humans can eat and all of those changes introduce huge geopolitical instability You know there are six hundred million people in the world who lives at sea level if you have sea levels rise over the coming decades five ten or twelve feet. That's a lot of people you're putting into motion and remember you know that the European crisis That has grown out of the series of a war is really only quote unquote only a couple million people the US border crisis on our US Mexican border that has led to all Donald Trump's talk about the wall. That's a crisis. Really only involving a few hundred thousand people you can sort of imagine the impact that you could begin to see with climate refugees climbing into the tens of millions or even hundreds of millions over the decades ahead. The next one on the list is really fascinating. Because it's a the next level Impact of covid nineteen. And how did that end up on the list and what are kind of the ripple effects of this pandemic and the problems That the US and other places have had with it and this was not one that was on my horizon at the start of a reporting out this article because I had very intentionally wanted to leave aside the question of the human and economic toll of the pandemic in which we are currently living because we have no idea what it is going to be like over the next few months the next year the next eighteen months but in talking to the experts the scientists the national security officials intelligence officials that I interviewed for this. They said the CIA. The real challenge of the pandemic isn't going to be in the next year or two. It's what happens because of pandemic over the next five to ten years and that for instance the United States might just not beat the moment it might just not successfully manage this crisis and leaving US I again. The human economic toll of that there are enormous security benefits that accrue to the United States and I would say Canada because United States is the most powerful nation in the world and this is where people want to come and innovate. This is where people want to come in learn and there are incredible implications for the United States and North America. More broadly if you know the. Us actually does manage to beat this virus it you know in two years and then wakes up and realizes that the world has just moved on that. There are all of these Geopolitical events. You know the rising China retrenchment of of Europe the this sort of slide from a united Democratic Front across Europe that this is really only going to accelerate and the instability in Europe because of Brexit is going to be affected by all of this and so for the United States. There is a real challenge and for the West more. Broadly of what happens if we don't manage this crisis successfully in give rise either to more authoritarian tendencies around the world in general or given opening to China that it wouldn't have otherwise. Had you ended this list with unknown unknowns and I won a quote you said it is a all manner of unimaginable things that could pose an existential threat to modern society which is Just very broad. And kind of apocalyptic. -Ly thoughtful of you I think. Can you explain it? Yeah it you know. One of the challenges that Mother Nature and science constantly remind Darst of is how little we actually understand about the world around us. So what else is out there that we don't really understand it and I do want WanNa give of a little bit of hope here. Which is there are some threats that you hear people weren't about that you don't really need to worry that much about in the near term Super Bowl Tinos these massive globe altering explosions One of which is underneath as it turns out Yellowstone National Park. They are real. They are a newly discovered astrophysics threat. Another thing that we didn't understandings did not that long ago but that they are they happen on a scale of hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of years and so it would be enormously bad luck for us to face One of those anytime soon and similarly now a extinction level asteroid will hit the United States at some point But you should probably still save for a happy and healthy retirement and not count on a comment wiping out anytime soon. Although that again falls into the category of things that we don't necessarily have a great understanding us that you know last year we were actually all surprised. Astronomers were surprised by a city killing sized asteroid that passed just a fifth of the way between the Earth and the moon without us even noticing without us having any awareness that it was coming so they there are things out there that we are not thinking about that We probably should be worried about but those are very hard to plan for. And I know I've had kind of a fatalistic tone in this discussion because it's it's kind of a time like that right now but I mean if if anything else this list Should drive home. The point that being asked to you know stay in your house and watch Netflix's and endure. This is not the worst thing we could be dealing with right now absolutely And I think it is an important moment to really think hard society wise about these things as I said that are low probability high consequence events. And how can you be better systemically prepared for them when they happen because the truth of the matter is they will happen again and we should not be as caught by surprise as we always tend to be indeed and I hope I hope everybody listening of takes that to heart? Thank you so much. I appreciate you taking the time. A wonderful conversation thank you. Garrett graff of political. That was the big story. If you'd like more including plenty more on various disasters including this one you can find them the big story PODCAST DOT CA. You can find us on twitter at the Big Story F. P. N. You can get mad at us by email by sending one to the big story podcast hat. Rci DOT ROGERS DOT COM. And you can get mad at us if you must by finding us on your favorite podcast APP and telling us what you think. We'd much prefer if you gave us a good review but we take them all as long as they're honest. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heath Rowlings. We'll talk tomorrow.