CBC Digital Archives

It's Debatable: Is democracy working?

Drugs, student power, non-conformity, problems in education - adults can talk about these subjects all they want, but it's the students who really know the score. This was the premise behind It's Debatable, a CBC Radio program that ran on Friday evenings during the socially turbulent years of 1967 to 1969. Recorded in high school auditoriums, the panel would typically consist of two teenage students (usually a girl and a boy) and an adult expert in the topic at hand. Walter Pitman hosted during the spring of 1967, but the host from September 1967 onward was the witty and provocative Elwy Yost.

When it comes to the Canadian government, everyone's a critic. Is democracy working in Canada? This is the question discussed in this 1967 episode of It's Debatable. The panel consists of two high school students, a history teacher, and former Ottawa mayor Charlotte Whitton. The animated discussion touches on several democracy-related subjects, including whether the voting age should be lowered to 18, and how a politician's private life (including illicit affairs) affects his or her job. 
• Charlotte Whitton was the first full-time woman mayor of a major Canadian city. She was mayor of Ottawa from 1951 to 1964. For more on Whitton, please see the CBC Digital Archives clip First big city woman mayor.

• In this clip, the panellists refer several times to the Gerda Munsinger affair, a 1966 Canadian political sex scandal. For details on the Munsinger affair, please see the CBC Digital Archives topic Politics, Sex and Gerda Munsinger.
Medium: Radio
Program: It's Debatable
Broadcast Date: June 2, 1967
Guest(s): Jeff Brewson, Donna Farrell, Mr. Lesiak, Charlotte Whitton
Moderator: Walter Pitman
Duration: 29:23
Photo: Duncan Cameron / Library and Archives Canada / PA-117107

Last updated: June 17, 2013

Page consulted on February 24, 2014

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