CBC Digital Archives

This Hour has Seven Days: Fertility drugs and pension plan ads

In just two seasons between 1964 and 1966, This Hour has Seven Days staked its claim as the most defiant and controversial program in Canadian broadcasting history.~ Created by Douglas Leiterman and Patrick Watson, Seven Days launched a new era of public affairs television, actively taking on the role of the nation's ombudsman and interrogator. Some — including certain members of the CBC brass in Ottawa — called it "sensationalism," "arrogant" and a breach of journalistic neutrality. But Canadians loved it. Millions tuned in every Sunday night at 10 p.m. to watch the show everyone would be talking about the next day. The CBC Digital Archives presents nine complete episodes here, selected from the 50 programs made before the show was cancelled. Due to copyright issues, satirical sketches and songs that originally aired between news segments have been edited out.

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"We're privileged to be back," says host Laurier LaPierre. It's the season opener for the second year of Seven Days, and they waste no time stirring things up. New host Patrick Watson challenges all the party leaders to take a turn in the hot seat answering voters' questions in advance of the coming election. A controversial new fertility drug puts motherhood on the fast track. Larry Zolf finds discrepancies in a series of ads for the new pension plan, and an Indian Affairs agent loses everything just for trying to help.
• Only NDP leader Tommy Douglas and Ralliement des créditistes party leader Réal Caouette accepted the Seven Days invitation to appear on the program to answer voters' questions in the run-up to the 1965 ballot. The election, held Nov. 8, 1965, resulted in a Liberal minority government for Lester B. Pearson, with the Progressive Conservatives led by John Diefenbaker as official opposition. • The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) came into force on Jan. 1, 1966. It is a contributory plan that supplements the Old Age Security plan on the basis of lifetime payments into the plan. At its inception employees paid 1.8 per cent of their earnings up to an annual maximum, which was matched by their employers. The advertisements discussed in this episode were part of a government effort to inform Canadian about how the plan would work and what it would mean to individual taxpayers.

• Clomiphene citrate (clomid) was not approved for use in humans by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration until 1967. Today, it remains one of the most commonly used fertility drugs in Canada and the U.S.

• Patrick Watson, one of the creators of the show, took over on-camera duties from John Drainie at the beginning of the second season due to Drainie's illness. Drainie died of cancer Oct. 30, 1966. He was 49.

Medium: Television
Program: This Hour has Seven Days
Broadcast Date: Oct. 3, 1965
Guest(s): Dr. Herbert Coverman, Marianne Favreau, William Grant, Dr. Robert Greenblatt, Herman Kahn, Judy LaMarsh, Carolyn Linden, Alice May Piget, Shelia Sklar
Host: Dinah Christie, Laurier LaPierre, Patrick Watson
Reporter: Jack Webster, Larry Zolf, Peter Pearson, Cliff Solway
Duration: 47:11

Last updated: September 17, 2013

Page consulted on October 29, 2014

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