CO: Hello, I'm Carol Off.
JD: Good evening, I'm Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.
CO: Beyond the pail. After an unexpected election result in the UK, I'll speak with an unexpected candidate: Lord Buckethead, the interplanetary space lord who challenged Theresa May in her own constituency -- and lost by a mere 37,000 votes.
JD: More like an "Oh, snap" election. Instead of sailing to a majority, Ms. May's Conservatives barely hung on to power -- and one Tory MP explains what he thinks went wrong with the campaign.
CO: Labour-intensive. Jeremy Corbyn can thank a huge turn-out of young voters for his party's surprise success -- and one of them tells us why she was part of that youthful surge.
JD: Under fire after the fire. Two newly-released reports criticize the Alberta government for its handling of the Fort McMurray wildfire -- but a local councillor says those reports don't go far enough.
CO: Bye-bye, Mr. Canadian Pie. A fond "Aloha" to the Ontario man whose culinary experiments bore controversial fruit: the late Sam Panopoulos, the inventor of the Hawaiian pizza.
JD: And...take two of these with boiling salted water and call me in the morning. A Toronto woman discovers that her newly purchased, sealed bottle of vitamins is actually full of dry pasta -- and noodles to say, she and the pharmacy have questions.
As It Happens, the Friday edition. Radio that offers some penne for your thoughts.
Part 1: Lord Buckethead, UK election: youth vote, UK election: Conservative
Guest: Lord Buckethead
JD: UK Prime Minister Theresa May was npt just battling for her party's hold on government last night. She was also facing a direct challenge from a daunting adversary in her very own constituency.
He appears dressed head-to-toe in black, with a long black cape and his piece de résistance: a large black cylinder on his head.
He ran against Ms. May as the independent candidate for Maidenhead. His name, Lord Buckethead.
Oddly, given his charisma and appealing platform, the self-described "intergalactic space lord" won only 249 votes. But he did beat out a person dressed as Elmo -- who received just three votes, and Howling "Laud" Hope of the Monster Raving Loony Party -- who won 119.
Lord Buckethead himself is a mysterious fellow. But we managed to track him down earlier today in an undisclosed location.
CO: Hello Lord Buckethead.
LORD BUCKETHEAD: Hello. Is this Carol?
CO: Yes it is. Is this Lord Buckethead?
LB: You are indeed speaking to Lord Buckethead. How can I help you?
CO: Am I speaking to you inside your bucket, Lord Buckethead?
LB: That is an excellent question. Not quite. When I am at rest, at leisure, I am able to wear a kind of portable head apparatus which allows me to breathe slightly more easily, but I'll tell you something, you wouldn't want to see me outside of it.
CO: And why is that?
LB: Because it's not a very nice colour. And it looks slightly profane.
CO: This is because you are in fact an intergalactic spacelord, is that right?
LB: That is correct. I travelled here from hyperspace, via the London borough of Finchley.
CO: And why would an intergalactic spacelord want to run in the British elections?
LB: Carol, that's a very insightful question, and let me answer that in two parts. One, I intercepted several Earth transmissions telling me that the United Kingdom was in sore need of effective opposition. And hence I believed that 25 years after my last venture to take on John Major, it was time for me to come again. But on top of that, I noticed that here was a British prime minister who had called a completely unnecessary general election! With that level of absurdity going on in the country, I was able to sneak under the radar and that is why, you in dear Canada, are only learning about me now.
CO: But Lord Buckethead, if this is true, that the reason why you found it was wise to run, was because the United Kingdom lacks effective leadership and because Theresa May had made an epic mistake in calling the election, why is it you only got 249 votes?
LB: Another good question. But allow me answer with this, and I will quote your earth scientist Einstein, Carol. Every answer is relative. And I urge you to look back at my past election history for a better answer. In 1987, when I took on Margaret Thatcher, I scored 131 votes. In '92, when I took on John Major, I took 107 votes. So now, when you look at 249 juicy votes, that's more than my other two efforts combined!
CO: Over these decades, that you have been running, has it always been the same you? Or are you like Doctor Who, do you regenerate for each election?
LB: I am Buckethead. We are Buckethead. We are legion. Does that answer your question?
CO: Not really ... but maybe you can tell us what Buckethead is?
LB: We're getting quite philosophical now. But I like the fact that you said it didn't answer the question. Most British interviewers are too polite, and they simply say yes, and they move on, but you're right, my last comment doesn't answer the question, does it? But never mind.
I think if you want to ask me what is a buckethead you need to see the 1984 parody Hyperspace, or as it was known in the U.K., Gremloids. That was my first appearance. That will give you more information about my being. However, otherwise, come to London, let’s meet up for a cup of tea.
CO: Is that a question for me? Are you asking me if my question was answered or not?
LB: I like this, we really are entering the philosophy of questions and rhetoric. I think if you want to ask me what is a Buckethead, you need to see the 1984 Star Wars parody Hyperspace, or as it was known in the U.K., Gremloids. That was my first appearance. That will give you more information about my being. However, otherwise, come to London and let's meet up for a cup of tea!
CO: So is tea a drink that you have as an intergalactic space Lord? Is that one of your beverages?
LB: It's taken me a while to get used to it because if you’ve seen my being on the internet, my visor takes quite a long time to imbibe, and what has to happen in a sort of, as I noted these bubble tea boutiques that appear in cities now, the tea has to be formed into a form of vapour for me to breathe. It takes a long time. But I have to say, when it does work. Oh boy, it is a particular flavour.
CO: Now, I have to say with all respect, Lord Buckethead, that your bucket does not look like a bucket, it looks more like a stovepipe.
LB: A stovepipe? How interesting. Well in that case, and you’re not the first person to comment on the bucket design, I may have to consider running in the 2022 election, or indeed 2017 election, part two, as Lord Stovepipehead.
CO: Do you think you’ll get more votes as Lord Stovepipehead?
LB: Um, no.
CO: Maybe it's your policies. What are you actually about, Lord Buckethead?
LB: Well, as a journalist Carol, I'm slightly shocked that you haven't read my manifesto. But I shall try to elucidate a few that would have interest across the pond. So how about this: On nuclear weapons, I would state a firm public commitment to build the £100-billion renewal of Britain's Trident weapons system, followed by an equally firm commitment, privately, not to build it. They're secret submarines, so no one will ever know. It's a win-win.
And on schools, Ms. May wanted to bring back 1950 tradition of selected grammar schools. I say nonsense! Even a modest amount of research reading which she must have done proves that selectiveness in secondary education is a [unintelligible] and therefore I would propose a Buckethead way of "gamma" schools, which are founded on three key principles. One, better funding for teachers, to attract bright graduates. Two, increased facilities for children, especially playing fields. And three, if any child misbehaves three times, they are blasted into deep space, with the parents provided with a lovely fruit basket, by way of consolation or celebration, depending on the child. Discipline is key, Carol. I think that will do it.
CO: Well now I actually do have a copy of your manifesto I was just trying to draw you out there. And so I am, I have looked at these policies of yours including one where you suggested on Brexit, there should be another referendum held about whether there should be another referendum. You would go, you’d call for the legalization of the hunting of fox hunters. But here's the most controversial I think. You want to ban turning Birmingham into a star base until at least 2022 so that your own dominance of space can remain intact. Why should you be our soul space ruler, Lord Buckethead?
LB: OK, you misread my pledge. This star base was not for Earthlings to build for their transport. It was for me. I want a Gremloid Lord Buckethead star base, and I was proposing to demolish Birmingham for that purpose in my previous manifesto. But as you can see in my return, I decided to monitor soften my policy and say that I would at least wait until the next parliament before making a final decision on the fate of England's second city.
CO: There could be an election very soon, you know, because of this situation you have over there. Are you going to run in the next election, as well?
LB: I am well aware of the situation, Carol, I was there next to the prime minister just a few hours ago. There could be a new prime minister before we have the election. It is incumbent upon me to see who that is, and make a judgement then, on whether they must face the wrath of Lord Buckethead.
CO: We’ll have to wait to see if Theresa May survives. Perhaps you can put yourself up as the new leader of the conservative party?
LB: That is offensive and I take insult at that. I am from hyperspace and I am a Gremloid. However I will say this about Theresa May while we’re on the phone. Last night, she was a picture of politeness. I was standing next to him. I bid her good evening prime minister, and she bide me good evening too. She could not have been more courteous. But I tell you this: if she chose to be less polite, with whoever advised her to call this election, I would support her in that decision wholeheartedly.
CO: All right we will leave it there. This has been an experience for me in my first interview with an intergalactic space lord and I appreciate it. I've learned a great deal from you actually, Lord Buckethead.
LB: Well that’s fantastic because I know that Lord Lightymaskface has been on earth too and I’m glad that he hasn’t managed to secure an interview with you. So if I’m the first, I am especially proud. I would like to wish the best galactic wishes to all your listeners at CBC and bid you a farewell until next time we speak.
CO: All right, good night sir.
LB: Good night to you.
JD: Lord Buckethead was at an undisclosed location in the U.K. The independent candidate won 249 votes in the UK election. And to see spacelord Buckethead in all his intergalactic glory or to share the interview you just heard, check out our website. Just go cbc.ca/aih.
Guest: Libby Mayfield, Michael Fabricant
JD: UK Conservative Party Leader Theresa May faces some formidable challenges after last night's vote. Bigger challenges than even Lord Buckethead.
Her party lost thirteen of its seats, and with that, its majority. In order to govern, the Tories will rely on Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party for support in Parliament. Standing in front of 10 Downing Street this morning, Prime Mininster May tried to strike a different tone, despite the hung parliament. Here's part of what she said.
THERESA MAY: What the country needs more than ever is certainty. And having secured the largest number of votes the greatest number of seats in the general election. It is clear that only the conservative and Unionist Party. Has the legitimacy and ability to provide that certainty by commanding a majority in the House of Commons. This will allow us to come together as a country and channel our energies towards a successful Brexit deal that works for everyone in this country. Securing a new partnership with the EU which guarantees our long term prosperity. Now let's get to work.
JD: British PM Theresa May. Meanwhile, UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for the prime minister's resignation. In an unexpected showing his party gained 29 seats. Here's what Mr. Corbyn had to say earlier today.
JEREMY CORBYN: Theresa May called this general election in her party's interests, not in the interests of our country. She saw that with the backing of the billionaires and the corporate elite, she could take your vote for granted. But she underestimated the Labour Party. More importantly she underestimated you. Now the prime minister has no authority. And the Conservatives have no mandate to privatize and cut our NHS, cut school funding. Nor do they have a mandate for their race to the bottom Brexit. While the conservatives offer cuts and ran a campaign of fear, Labour is determined to invest in you and your family. We offer real hope.
JD: U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. He has a lot of people to thank for his party's success in last night's election. At the top of his less likely has to be the country's youth. According to exit polls there was a surge in younger voters, and in university towns young people posted photographs of lines around the block of polling stations. 20 year old Libby Mayfield was one of those first-time voters. She's a member of the Labour Party. We reached her in Derby.
CO: Libby, how did it feel to vote for the first time yesterday?
LIBBY MAYFIELD: It was great. It's the first time I've voted in the general election. I voted in the referendum last year. It's very different how it's structured. It was great to have had a say in the future of my country and be able to vote for something I truly believed in.
CO: And the last time we spoke was the day after the vote about leaving the EU, about Brexit, and of course you were very unhappy about that. Have you, are you in a better mood today? Do you think this is helpful?
LM: I'm of two minds about it. I'm very glad with how well Labour did, but unfortunately it's left us in a position with a hung parliament, and the only people who will go into a coalition with the Tories are the people who are more right-wing the Tories.
So instead of having the bad government we left, we've now got a bad mixed with slightly worse somehow.
CO: And you’re pointing to that this is the party that is most likely to become the partner of the conservatives if they wanted to form a government. It's Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party which is opposed to same sex marriage, is against access to abortion, is a climate change denier as an Environment Minister. And so do you fear that now they do form a government, you have an even more conservative government?
LM: Yes definitely. I think the only thing that's going to stop that happening is the DUP are going to come to the conservatives with a very big wish list of things they want and I don't think the majority of the Conservative Party, the moderates of the party are going to be OK with that.
So what sort of deal they come to but of course this deal will probably be behind closed doors and we won’t find out about it until after it's all been done.
CO: Is it not possible though that if they can’t form a government that Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party might actually be able to do that themselves?
LM: If you combine all the other parties, so Labour and Greens and the Scottish Nationalist Party, I believe even when you add in the independents, you can't form a majority government. Obviously you can go to the queen and ask permission to form a minority. But it will be very difficult to pass anything because there's not going to be enough to have a majority.
I think if the conservatives can’t form a majority government with the DUP, I believe what's going to happen is that Theresa May is going to continue as a minority government and then step aside to be another leadership contest for the Conservative Party leader and in three or four months time, we go back to the polls and have another general election.
CO: So it may be in your first time you voted, you may be voting against the same twice a year.
LM: Yeah, voting twice in the year.
CO: Now, so many young people turned out. This is being pointed to as one of the principal reasons why Labour did so well and it's surprising even Labour. Why did so many young people turn out?
LM: Well because if you like Jeremy Corbyn or not, there's no denying the fact that what he offered is very different. Myself and my generation, we grew up under Tony Blair's Labour and then David Cameron's conservative. And when you look at it, there's not a terrible amount of difference between them. So that difference engaged peoples’ interest. And with his policies, a lot people are saying “Oh students voted because of the free tuition fees.” But there are other things like the minimum wage, protecting workers rights that really matter to the millennial generation because it's more difficult for us to buy a house, working standards are going down and so is real wage.
I think the Tories got a bit complacent because often that young vote doesn't turn out. They didn't really focus on anything I don't think they had any policies for young people. And people who had like a position of influence, they were young people.
So for example grime artists like JME and Skepta, when they got involved, and they led a campaign called Grime4Corbyn, their fans are sort of an area that is not typically politically engaged, and they did intro with Corbyn, and they just hung out with him and they just posted on Snapchat and things, and that caught people’s interests.
CO: For people, I mean Jeremy Corbyn is often compared to the US politician Bernie Sanders, and he again, same appeal to young people. He himself he only entered the Labour leadership because no one else would. And he the odds against him winning were 200-1. He still prevailed again last night. But do you think that he will deliver to the young people who were turning out to vote for him like yourself?
LM: If he gets into government, yeah, I totally believe he will. He didn't necessary stand because no one else would. He stood in the name of democracy. He thought that there should be a left wing person on the ballot.
Yeah I believe when he gets into power, which, I think that’s a when not an if, I believe he will deliver a Labour government for everyone.
CO: Now the first item of business will be in about 10 days when the negotiations for Brexit are supposed to begin. This is what got you interested in politics was this was Brexit.
Labour has its strategy, its idea was just a softer exit than conservatives have. So do you think it is something that will change or will it be different in any way? Do you think this election has altered the way that the U.K. might be leaving the European Union?
LM: To negotiate leaving the European Union, we're going to have to have a government in place. And I don't necessarily trust Theresa May’s the policies to get a government in place. She called this election to, as she says, strengthen her negotiating hand, and she’s weakened it. She’s shown she doesn't have a negotiating hand which is reflecting badly on the UK. And you know I was against Brexit. It does look terrible of us to say “Oh we want to make this wonderful collective of countries” and then we don't even have a person to take us out properly or cleanly. I don't think that Labour will have any impact on how it is conducted. If anything, I'd be more interested to see if the DUP has any requirements for how it [unintelligible] but I don’t think that Brexit is going to be any softer because of Labour success unfortunately.
CO: All right well we will check back with you sooner rather than later when there's another opportunity to vote. And it's good to talk to you again Libby, thank you.
LM: Wonderful, thank you.
JD: Libby Mayfield was voting in her first ever general election last night. She is a member of the Labour party and we reached her in Derby. For the Tories, last night's result was not what they'd hoped it would be. Just a few weeks ago, they seemed unassailable.
Michael Fabricant is the Conservative MP for Lichfield, who won his seat back last night. We reached Mr. Fabricant in Birmingham.
CO: Mr. Fabricant, just two short months ago, you said Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election was a bold choice. Do you care to revise that statement?
MICHAEL FABRICANT: Well it was a brave choice certainly, but it didn't turn out to be the right choice because of the way the campaign was run. We made faults on our side and I must say the Labour Party did some pretty clever moves as well particularly getting lots of young voters who don't normally vote to come out to the polls.
CO: We had tape on this show just after the election was called in, from your morning shows, your talk show, streeters. Everyone was saying they didn't want an election, this was a disaster. Nobody wanted this election and do you think that this is a mistake to have called it?
MF: Well I don't think that that actually affected the way the vote went. I think people did realize that there needed to be some very clear determination of who was running the country because of the fact that we've got negotiations coming up between the United Kingdom and the European Union. And, in fact just nine days away. But the irony is as a result of this election, the situation has not been made any better. It's actually got worse.
CO: So you saying there needed to be a very clear idea of who is running the country. It was absolutely crucial at this point. So what are the consequences of this disaster for the Conservatives and this mess that your government seems to be in at this point?
MF: Well I think we're just going to have to see how it turns out. I mean already people are sort of speculating but they will have to be another general election before too long but I think with all electioned out in the UK.
CO: But as you pointed out, you’re just about just short of 10 days away from having to negotiate one of the biggest developments in the history of your country. So are you ready?
MF: Well I wouldn't go that far. It’s nine days away, nine days away actually. The clock is ticking. Look, we've only been in the European Union for 40 years. I think the way you're describing it, it sounds like the Battle of Hastings in 1066 but it's certainly a very important piece of negotiations that we have to do.
CO: Your conservative colleague MP Sarah Wollaston said on Twitter she said "the precipitous fall from predicted landslide to minority government was wholly avoidable it was result of hubris and a failure to listen. How much of this do you blame on Theresa May?
MF: I think the problem has been that we've taken it for granted, that we were going to do particularly well and the landslide never happened of course. I didn't actually think that be a landslide. But I did think we'd have a 60 to 70 majority. Until about the last week and then I could begin to see the way it was going. But you know, in a way, it did have to be done and it was a brave move but you know it's like playing poker. Sometimes you play your hand and you win, other times you don't.
CO: But do you think that Theresa May should resign?
MF: I do not think Teresa should resign. As I said earlier on, the clock is clicking away. And in just nine days we've got the negotiations starting with the European Union. So we need a strong prime minister in place. Yes. You know, she's damaged. But I think she'll repair herself. I mean she has tremendous ability. She's not the greatest campaigner on earth. I think we've got to be honest about that. But I think that she is one of the best prime ministers that we have got.
CO: The parties that you still can turn to at this point, the discussion as I understand, that the Democratic Unionist Party, the DUP, is a possible ally, a party that the Conservatives could go into some sort of arrangement with the coalition perhaps. This is a party that as I understand is anti-abortion, opposes same sex marriage, once appointed a climate change denier as its environment minister in Northern Ireland. Where is this going to take a conservative party if that's the kind of coalition you're going to form?
MF: We've worked with the DUP over the last seven years. The Democratic Unionist Party and it tends to be on economic matters and foreign affairs and certainly does not involve anything to do with you know gay marriage which is absolutely legal and perfectly normal in most of the United Kingdom.
CO: Just finally, what’s happened with this election, will it change the Theresa May’s and the conservative party’s strategy in Brexit negotiations? You're looking at a hard exit. Mr. Corbyn of the Labour Party wants a soft exit. Do you think that this will, you'll have to change the strategy for how you leave the European Union?
MF: I hope not. I'm not actually sure that really Jeremy Corbyn, whatever he might have said in the last few weeks, actually does want a soft Brexit. I suspect that at the end of the day, what we want in the United Kingdom, what we all voted for was the ability to control our own borders, to make trade agreements with countries like Canada, and also for our Supreme Court in the United Kingdom to be supreme and not be overruled by a court in Strasbourg in France. And to do all those three things, we have to leave what's called the single market, and that's defined as being a hard Brexit.
So I'm not sure that'll change. What I hope will change is our attitude towards campaigning. There are real lessons to be learned because of what's happened over the last couple of days, and that is not to take anything for granted and particularly how to better communicate with youngsters which is how Jeremy Corbyn did so well.
CO: Well we may get to see or change the strategy for campaigning very soon. So meanwhile we will–
MF: I hope so. I hope so.
CO: We'll be watching Mr. Fabricant. Thank you.
MF: Thank you.
JD: Michael Fabricant is the Conservative MP for Lichfield. He won re-election last night. He was in BirminghamBack To Top »
Part 2: Fort Mac report, vitamin penne
Fort McMurray report
Guest: Colleen Tatum
JEFF DOUGLAS: You heard the stories and saw the images. People driving, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic while surrounded by flames. People abandoning their homes with moments to spare. Well according to two newly released reports about the Fort McMurray wildfire a lot of that could have been avoided if the provincial government had been more prepared. Further, the reports say that the Alberta government put people's lives at risk. Colleen Tatum is a local councillor in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, where Fort McMurray is located. And that's where we reached her.
CAROL OFF: Ms. Tatum, these reports say the Alberta government didn't do a good enough job communicating with local officials during the fire. And you are a local councillor but you're also a resident, so how well did the problems communicate with you?
COLLEEN TATUM: I don't feel like there was a lot of good information coming out. I feel like there was more confusion about what exactly was happening and who should be evacuating when and where the fire was in relation to the community at different points in the day. You know, I, like a lot of people, was following social media. I was feeling uncomfortable with this situation around 12 o'clock. And of course the evacuation had not been called yet. I went in and went to City Hall to see if I could get anymore information, if any information was different than what I was hearing there and sent my husband to go and be with our children. I just didn't feel comfortable at that point with them you know looking at the sky and then what I was hearing on the radio.
CO: And what were the instructions that you were getting and people who were getting about what to do?
CT: I know that I heard on the radio that some parts of the community were under, you know alert, that we should be prepared. But we didn't know exactly what we should be doing or what society should be leaving first or what exactly that would look like.
CO: So you were getting instructions that to carry on with normal life but be prepared to leave at a moment's notice.
CT: Yeah, in the very early morning, we received instructions that to carry on with normal life, but be prepared to leave at a moment's notice. So at that point most people you know didn't think that we would be evacuating that afternoon. So we took our children to school like normal. When I arrived at the school, there were rumors at that time, people were saying that the fire had jumped the river and that they heard the fire was a kilometer and a half away, and you know I didn't feel like they were accurate. I assumed that they were rumors because no official source had told the community that. And you know, personally me as a mom I just assumed that if the fire was that close to our community that I would be you know in knowledge of that and that we would be being told to prepare to leave the community or that even some parts of the community would be leaving at that point. But that's not what happened.
CO: You've said elsewhere that your sense of what you've went through, what you know now that that many people could have been burned alive.
CT: Absolutely. They could have. You know, and not to bring people back down into that pit of that day. But people ran for their lives. There’s people that tell me that they were told to get out of their car and run. There was people that ran through you know drove through flames took their children and their children were screaming in the car, asking if they were going to die and the parents were reading from the Bible. So it was a terrible day. And I don't feel like it should have ever been that close. And again, we're not here to point fingers but we just need these reports, we need to really look at what happened and we need to make sure that we're learning from it. And that's all we can do as humans in any situation is try to make ourselves better and make ourselves more safe and make ourselves better prepared for whatever may come our way in the future.
CO: And in what way, what are the main communications problems that this report has identified as to why there seemed to people like you were relying on social media because you were getting mixed messages officially.
CT: Yeah it seems, you know, the report identified a number of recommendations with their provinces saying that they are fully implemented which is great. They’re not debating any of the recommendations so they seem like they're on a path forward about learning lesson and action associated with it.
One of them is the communication. So, our first line responders, from what I hear, maybe weren't getting all of the information that the province held at the time of where the fire was, how close it was, if it was breaching parts of the city. Not all of the first responders were getting all of the same information and acting from the same page. So there is somewhat of a breakdown there. They've identified that as something that they need to work on.
But they've also identified that it will take five years to implement. And you know, I fully understand that especially in any large scale activity, you can't implement it overnight. You can probably even implement it in six months or twelve months, but the five year timeline that’s attached to it makes me worried. I do feel that that's too long and I really hope that the province is able to expedite that as much as possible. Wherever there are there barriers are implementing that, that we're able to break them down as quickly as possible.
At the end of the day this is about people being safe and people feeling safe and people feeling like that trust is there. It's a rebuilding of trust. It's people in our community especially. When they see smoke in the air, they want to know that we have a plan.
CO: In response to criticism, the government of Alberta has pointed out that almost everyone got out safely, that there were two lives that were lost in an evacuation because of a car crash. Does that survival rate count for something? Does it, is that an indication that despite all the problems they did do things right?
CT: My gut reaction to that is no. My gut reaction is that we got out because our first responders were working really hard to make sure that happened but that we got out by chance. When people are running for their lives, and people are driving through flames, that isn’t a safe zone. We shouldn’t have been in that position. To be frank, we should have never been that close. The definition of success for me is not that. I think it's a miracle I think that God is the reason that we got out that day. And so we need to be clear on that. And that we can never ever be in that close of a situation again.
CO: We will leave it there. Ms. Tatum, thank you.
CT: Yes thank you very much.
JD: Colleen Tatum is a local councillor in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. That's where we reached her.
JD: This afternoon, Donald Trump joined the Romanian President to take some questions in the Rose Garden of the White House. It was the US President's first press appearance since yesterday's Senate testimony from fired FBI Director Robert Comey. Reporters had a lot to ask.
There was Mr. Comey's testimony that the president had lied to the US people. There was his suggestion that the president had repeatedly tried to interfere with the FBI's investigation into Russian links to the Trump campaign. And there was the story about the president asking the independent FBI boss for his loyalty.
But, ever the showman, President Trump began with a tease about the possibility that he has tapes to prove everything one way or the other.
DONALD TRUMP: Well I'll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future. But in the meantime, no collusion no obstruction. He's a leaker but we want to get back to running our great country. Jobs, trade deficits, we want them to disappear fast. North Korea, big problem. Middle East, a big problem. So that's what I am focused on that's what I have been focused on. But yesterday showed no collusion, no obstruction.
We are doing really well. That was an excuse by the Democrats who lost an election that some people think they shouldn't have lost. So it was a just an excuse but we were very very happy. And frankly, James Comey confirmed a lot of what I said, and some of the things that he said just weren't true. Thank you very much. [sc] Well, I look at those hands up there, President. Do you have this in Romania too? I don't know.
KLAUS IOHANNIS: Yes. I got the microphone. If you’ll allow me Mr. President–
DT: I could only, if I could only sell that, if I could only sell it. Who would like to ask, should I take one of the killer networks that treat me so badly as fake news. Should I do that? Go ahead Jon.
Be fair Jon.
JON KARL: Oh, absolutely.
DT: Remember how nice you used to be before I ran? Such a nice man.
JON KARL: Mr. President, I want to get back to James Comey’s testimony. You suggested he didn’t tell the truth in everything he said. He did say, under oath, that you told him to let the Flynn -- you said you hoped the Flynn investigation he could let --
DT: I didn’t say that.
JON KARL: So he lied about that?
DT: Well, I didn’t say that. I mean, I will tell you I didn’t say that.
JON KARL: And did he ask you to pledge --
DT: And there would be nothing wrong if I did say it, according to everybody that I've read today. But I did not say that.
JON KARL: And did he ask for a pledge of loyalty from you? That's another thing he said.
DT: No, he did not.
JON KARL: So he said those things under oath. Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of those events?
DT: One hundred percent. I didn’t say under oath -- I hardly know the man. I'm not going to say, I want you to pledge allegiance. Who would do that? Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath? I mean, think of it. I hardly know the man. It doesn’t make sense. No, I didn’t say that, and I didn’t say the other.
JON KARL: So if Robert Mueller wanted to speak with you about that you would be willing to talk to him?
DT: I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just told you, Jon.
JON KARL: And you seem to be hinting that there are recordings of those conversations.
DT: I'm not hinting anything. I'll tell you about it over a very short period of time.
REPORTERS: When is that? Tomorrow? Now? Are there tapes, Sir?
DT: Oh, you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer. Don't worry.
Jon, do you have a question for the President?
JD: That was the United States president Donald Trump speaking to reporters outside the White House earlier today.
Guest: Anna Bauer
JD: When Anna Bauer purchased a bottle of Greens Plus vitamin capsules from her local Shopper's Drug Mart, it seemed just like the other bottles of vitamins on the shelf. It wasn't that heavy; it rattled when you shook it, it was fairly expensive.
But when her daughter opened the bottle the next day, she found something decidedly less nutritious than vitamin capsules.
We reached Anna Bauer in Toronto.
CO: Anna, what did your daughter find when she opened that bottle of vitamins?
ANNA BAUER: She found a bottle full of penne pasta, dried pasta, just in the bottle.
CO: And had it been tampered with? The top?
AB: No, it was sealed. It was a sealed bottle.
CO: So she opened the seal and inside she finds pasta, dried penne?
CO: Well what did you think when she told you about that?
AB: Well she thought, she thought it was a practical joke. She said you know what. She was so confused. What is this? Oh my gosh and I said “We have to take it back right away. This is weird. This is totally bizarre-o.”
CO: It's very bizarre-o. So you took it back to what, it was to Shoppers Drug Mart right?
AB: Yes we took it back to Shoppers Drug Mart, I asked for the manager, showed him it. And he offered an exchange, and we said fine. And she went and got another bottle of the Greens Plus capsules, and we shook it and we were like OK. That sounds right. I said “You know, let's just open it just to be sure.” Opened it sealed with the cashier and the manager there, and it was another bottle of dried pasta.
AB: Yes. And so, his face almost like she dropped. He was so shocked he ran. And before I even said anything he ran back to the aisle, brought another bottle, opened it. Same thing. Three bottles of pasta on the counter.
CO: And when he when you first brought your bottle in and showed him, do you think he was skeptical about how this managed to–
AB: I mean, I definitely considered that, that it is my local Shoppers Drug Mart. I’m there for a fair bit. So I didn't feel any way about it. I mean I think I thought it for a second. But by who, who would do that? I spent so much money there? Why would I tamper with one thing?
CO: What did he say about that?
AB: He said “Wow this is, you know I'm going to have to talk to head office and if you're if this is happening, I’m for sure going to have other customers today that this is going to happen to, but I don't know if that happened further.
CO: And what have you learned since?
AB: Nothing. I've heard nothing from Shoppers. I reached out to the brand that sells the vitamins and they apologized and said yes they had heard of it before. But in their experience so far, it’s only happened at Shoppers, and they also sent me an un-tampered with bottles. Their opinion is that it happened in the Shoppers. What's the word, like depot, facility.
AB: Because they said you know, when it leaves their place, it’s definitely not like that. She said We're sending you a bottle and it'll be fine.
CO: But wait a second. They told you yeah yeah we've heard this happens, yeah it isn't our fault. It happens in transit. I mean, is that an explanation?
AB: I said well I said you know sort of like “So what's happening? and they said “Well we've contacted Shoppers but it's a slow go. You know it's a corporation,” and that's not much of you know not much… at the time. I was pretty concerned because I actually get a fair bit of medication every month from there and all of a sudden I felt a sort of panic, or you know well what's going on at the Shoppers Drug Mart facility? Of course it was funny to open up three bottles of pasta. But what about real medication, you know? That's where I had concern.
CO: And when you find out that this that sealed top of the bottle which we rely on, they always say if it looks like it's been tampered with, don't use it, you know, bring it back. But when you see that that’s sealed, that’s some kind of seal of approval, seal of security. You know that you've presumed that everything is OK in there.
AB: Right. Exactly.
CO: Now this Green’s Plus, is this a particularly expensive vitamin?
AB: Well this bottle cost, we got a refund, well after the third bottle, I said OK we'll take a refunds. And it was $50. So pretty expensive.
CO: Right. So what are they… do they think that someone is replacing the past and then repackaging and selling the real stuff?
AB: That would be my guess. You know at that price point, someone can sell it anywhere for half the price.
CO: I wonder what the street price of Green’s Plus is.
CO: Yes. And so it really is something that obviously someone, or some people are going to all this trouble.
AB: Yes and it just makes me wonder you know what else what else is that tampered with, really.
CO: Are you hoping to get a better explanation either from Shoppers or from the company?
AB: Probably it seems like all things point to Shoppers and because they're the ones I haven't heard anything from, I just, yeah, you know, you want to hear that it's being investigated, that they're looking at security footage. I mean this doesn't seem like something one person can do. There’s got to be a couple of people so what's going on over there at their facility?
CO: And is anyone cooking up pasta penne for dinner.
AB: Yeah I think I will tonight.
CO: Anne, it's good to talk to you. Thanks so much.
AB: OK. Thanks take care.
JD: Vitamin penne. We reached Anna Bauer in Toronto. And we did reach out to Shoppers Drug Mart, and Shoppers sent us a statement that reads in part, quote:
"We are aware of a few isolated incidents where vitamins have been replaced with pasta in a specific product line at certain Shoppers Drug Mart stores within the Greater Toronto Area. We do not believe that there is any risk to our customers' safety. We are conducting a full investigation."
Sam Panopoulos obituary
JD: He was the great Greek-Canadian inventor of a delicacy usually associated with Hawaii.
Sam Panopoulos, the first person credited with first putting pineapple on pizza back in the 1960s, has died. He was 83.
Even after all these years, pineapple on pizza remains controversial. So controversial, in fact, that the President of Iceland said he would like to see it banned. That was back in February of this year. So, at the time, we called up Mr. Panopoulos at his London, Ontario home, to get his take on that.
Here's part of that interview, with guest host Helen Mann, from our archives:
SAM PANOPOULOS: When I when I was working on pineapple pizza, he wasn't even born. And there was no patent, no place, nobody owned it. Nobody owns the name or anything like this. How can it be illegal?
HELEN MANN: Well, I mean he's the President of Iceland. I guess he has you know some power?
SP: He can have whatever he wants, I don't care.
HM: You haven't got a patent on the pineapple?
SP: No, no. I wish I had.
HM: Yeah because it's kind of a big deal right?
SP: Yeah. Those days when I first come up with it, there was nothing to it. You know what I mean. It was just another piece of bread cooking on the oven.
HM: Now everybody has pineapple on their pizza it seems.
SP: That’s right.
HM: What is it that inspired you to put pineapple on pizza?
SP: That was back in the late ‘50s, you know ‘60s. And pizza wasn't even in Canada — nowhere. Pizza was coming in through Detroit, through Windsor and I was in Chatham and that was the third stop.
HM: In Chatham?
SP: Yeah, and I had a restaurant there. We’re doing all the other things and I went down to Windsor a couple of times and visit places. I said let’s try pizza you know. Then we tried to make some pizza and then along the way, threw some pineapples on it and nobody liked it at first. But after that, they went crazy about it. Because those days nobody was mixing sweets and sours and all this, they were interested in plain food.
HM: You were a pioneer.
SP: Yeah. Anyway, after that it stays. We’d sell pizzas in Chatham and in London for the next 40-45 years.
HM: Do you like pineapple on your pizza?
SP: Yep, yep.
HM: So what was pizza like in the days when you started out?
SP: Well, I don't know everybody says Italian pizza. I've never seen anything like this in Italy when I started back in 1954. We're coming over by boat and the boat stopped in Naples and there was a little wagon selling lots of stuff with all the passengers. And one said pizza on it. I went to try one it's one and the guy slices up a big bun, put some sauce in it some, some spaghetti in and that’s all the pizza was then.
HM: You had a spaghetti sandwich?
SP: Yeah that's what it is. This whole thing an American invention, you know what I mean. They did it first in Boston and the places around. And Detroit in those days big, a lot of people live there. And guys from Windsor pick up the thing and they started making it there. We visit Windsor and then we see what is going on there. We had a restaurant in Chatham, which is not too far from Windsor. We didn’t know what the hell to do with it. We were putting bacon, peperoni and mushrooms. That was the standard things you put on pizza.
HM: They sound like good things, is that not good enough?
SP: Yeah, yeah, that was good enough, but the pineapple come up over there while we're working on them. It was a kind of pineapples on the shelf, you know?
HM: You just had some around?
SP: We just spread some on top and at first, I had a bite and I like it. I pass it to some customers that didn't like it to begin with, but after a while that they went crazy. Everybody wants it. After that, everybody started putting everything on it. You can put sardines. You can put salmon in it. You can put green peppers, onions, whatever you want today and everybody eats it.
HM: So you agree because the President of Iceland also says seafood is good on pizza?
SP: Yeah it is, but after my pineapple, tell him.
JD: From our archives, that was Sam Panopoulos speaking with guest host Helen Mann. Mr. Panopoulos was the first person known to put pineapple on a pizza, at his restaurant in Chatham, Ontario, in the 1960s. Sam Panopoulos died Thursday. He was at 83 years old.
To hear our complete interview with Mr. Panopoulos, go to our website: cbc.ca/aih.
Part 3: Deplorable Pride, UK election: Scotland, Dr. Seuss museum
Guest: Brian Talbert
JD: Brian Talbert had big plans for a float for this summer's Pride parade in Charlotte, North Carolina. He hoped it would scream "American patriotism." But when he submitted his plans to Charlotte Pride, his float was rejected.
Mr. Talbert is part of a group of gay Trump supporters who call themselves "Deplorable Pride". And he says the parade's organizers are discriminating against him, because they don't agree with his politics.
We reached Brian Talbert in Albemarle, North Carolina.
CAROL OFF: Brian what was your float going to look like.
BRIAN TALBERT: It was going to be 27 foot long on a flatbed. We were going to have it red white and blue. We were going to have a giant replica of the Statue of Liberty. Our float was going to be lined all the way around with American flags, rainbow flags and Make America Great Again Trump flags. And we have those alternating all the way around. We we're going to have female impersonators wearing Make America Great Again evening gowns. We were going to be playing pro-American music. And you know we got to have our riders and we were going to be throwing candy and things to the crowd and we were it was going to be something to be proud of.
CO: And was there anything particularly supportive of Donald Trump involved with this.
BT: We were representing that we were proud and saluted our 45th president of the United States the same way we would have done any other Republican president.
CO: And you call yourselves “Deplorable Pride.” Is that right?
BT: Yes. That was from the word that Hillary Clinton used to describe us people who voted for Donald Trump, who were deplorable and irredeemable, which were Hillary Clinton's words.
CO: Why was it important for you to be in this Charlotte pride parade?
BT: It's been something important to me. I have missed a few years but I actually marched in the very first Charlotte pride parade in 1994. And we had absolutely no supporters up and down the streets. There was no booths. There was nothing. We were just a few, maybe 50 people and we were told we were met with nothing but opposition the entire block we were going around. And we were thrown out as we were spit on and I marched in that march and everything, to get to 2017 to where the bathroom bill has just been repealed and then everything, and the first action was a gay group denying another group. It was like a slap in the face from everything from going from 1994 to now. It was it was like backwards for my gay life.
CO: What have they Charlotte Pride organizers said is the reason why they are not going to let you participate?
BT: That we were spouting anti-LGBT rights with our float.
CO: And why do they say that? Can you tell us about that?
BT: That's all they said. They would not elaborate anymore as far as to the news or to anyone else who asked them a question. And they've said that they have the right to decline participation in the parade and that offered to anyone who doesn't reflect the values, and they said that there are other organizations espousing any anti LGBTQ religious or public policy stances would be rejected. So that was the official reason they have given.
BT: There's nothing we were doing that would have violated any of those terms for us. I was going to be as pro-gay as I possibly could because I am very, it’s very well-known. I'm a very open gay Republican. I do not hide either one of them. I’m proud of both of them. They're the ones I'm showing that they're the ones that turned the back on their own kind when they expect the rest of the world to accept them for how they are. They're no different than anyone else. They can act like bigots either. They have to be stopped just like every other class of people that become a bigot.
CO: A lot of gay people believe that the US President Trump is anti-gay. Why do you as a gay man support him?
BT: Well Donald Trump honestly, is like the only Republican candidate to ever invite the gay group to be in the DNC. I mean the RNC. You know, his way to do that to extend that, he's not against the gays in anyway. He's said I’m nowhere, I’m not. But you claim I am. He said what the Supreme Court decision was asked if he was going to try to overturn the gay marriage. He said no. The Supreme Court ruled on that. It is over, it is the law of the land. And he supports it fully. His administration will not touch that that law. But yet everyone on the gay side, or the left side seem to say that we're all going to still go to concentration camps and everything. It's ridiculous. I believe that not only will he save my country, he will say my gay community. The man is a unifier in my opinion.
CO: He did say things of that nature while he was campaigning. But people in the LGBTQ community feel that after he became president, that he did demonstrate anti-gay sentiments.
BT: Well, I would like his example.
CO: I'll just give you the couple they've given. They point to the revocation of the federal guidelines saying that transgender students have the right to use school bathrooms that match their gender identity, and they also point to vice president Mike Pence, his choice for vice president, who signed a law that [crosstalk] I’ll just tell people, sorry, I'll just interrupt you just to tell so people understand what the reasons were.
BT: With Mike Pence, our float was not representing Mike Pence or any member of his administration. We were representing the 45th president of the United States and we would have represented the next one. Honestly, as a gay man. I know what it's like to have not had rights. I'm an older gay man. I'm 47. I know what it's like not to have rights or be respected or anybody. So I know what I've gotten. We do not have one less right than what any other person walking around in Charlotte, North Carolina doesn’t have.
CO: Can we just talk about Mike Pence for a moment, because he did, Mr. Trump did choose him as the vice president.
BT: I'm not I'm not getting into public policies of the United States. I am a gay man in North Carolina trying to fight my whole community. I'm not going to have to sit down and fight with about my country. I'm not doing that alone.
CO: But Brian, my point is only that–
BT: I’m interrupting and I don't want to be rude, but I'm not talking about Mike Pence, his beliefs. I believe everyone has a right to their own beliefs. No one has to accept me. That is not a right that I do have. I'm not answering for them or anything. I'm discussing about me being discriminated by my own community that is pissed off about Mike Pence doing something that they claim that I did. It’s a circle, there's a circle and Charlotte pride started it by discriminating against their own kind.
CO: And that’s the rea–
BT: They’re hypocrites, they’re the biggest hypocrites I have run into in my entire life.
CO: And that's the reason they're giving is the politics of this for the reason why you're being rejected.
BT: Every time you walk down the street, I don't know if you've ever been to a gay pride parade in the south down here but I guarantee you it is nothing but politics all the way down from one end to a gay pride to the other end. But it is always Democrat. It's always one-sided.
CO: Can you imagine any way in which you could still take part in the parade, with or without your float?
BT: Why do I want to be a part of something where they deny me even being a part of. I've had people tell me I can't even be a member of the gay community anymore, like they have power over that or something. You know what I'm saying?
CO: Is there any effort on the part of Charlotte Pride to reach out to you?
BT: No absolutely none.
CO: There's no common ground you can find with them? No way to talk this through?
BT: I want to reach common ground know when are you coming round because I've said this in every statement that I've made since this happened. The only way that any side is going to understand each other for gay republicans and gay liberals to get together is for us to sit down together and start talking to each other and stop vilifying somebody just because they're exercising the right to vote for the U.S. president.
CO: There are a lot of gay Republicans in the United States. Are you getting support from them?
BT: I'm studying to get support from the Log Cabin Republicans. I was reached out today by the national director of the Log Cabin Republicans. We're going to have a talk in the coming days.
CO: That's a pretty strong and Washington based group so they are reaching out to you?
BT: We are now part of, the Republicans have now included us, we are voting bloc inside the RNC. So that's how pro-gay we really are.
CO: Brian I really appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.
BT: I'm sorry ma'am. I'm not a rude person and I do want to apologize to you. I do not have any ill-will toward me about that.
CO: No not at all. No need to apologize. We're just trying to understand. But thank you Brian.
BT: Thank you ma'am. You have a nice evening.
CO: You too, bye-bye.
JD: Brian Talbert is a member of a group of gay Trump supporters called Deplorable Pride. He was in Albemarle, North Carolina. We did contact Charlotte Pride for a response but we did not receive a reply before we went to air.
U.K. Election: Scotland
Guest: Hannah Bardell
JD: The British Tories weren't the only one to suffer setbacks last night. The Scottish National Party took a major hit. They lost 21 seats. In a stunning result, the party's former leader Alex Salmond lost his seat. So did the party's current deputy leader, Angus Robertson.
And in a speech, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon signalled the party may drop its plans for a second Scottish independence referendum. Hannah Bardell is an SNP member of parliament for Livingston, who won re-election last night. We reached her in Livingston.
CO: Ms. Bardell you kept your seat. But why did 21 of your fellow candidates lose theirs?
HANNAH BARDELL: I think it's a complex picture and we're still to be honest picking over the details. But I think in terms of the Labour seats where we lost seats to Labour, I think you know that Corbyn had a very attractive manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn had a number of things in his manifesto that the SNP have actually implemented in Scotland. So, you know people wanted to see more progressive politics. But also, we’ve got to remember that the SNP is at its height up until two years ago, at its height, the most that we ever had were 11. So this is an incredible result for the SNP, you know to take this number of seats, to take 35 seats, is a fantastic result. But it is bittersweet because we have lost a number of very talented and valued colleagues.
CO: The most obvious defeat was former Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond losing to the conservatives. So what does that mean? He's called your biggest beast What does that mean to the SNP to lose Alex Salmond?
HB: It is a devastating blow. There's no doubt about that. Alex was the person that brought me into politics. I worked for him. I opened his first garden constituency office. And that part of the world has been liberal democrat; it’s also been conservative in the past. I think Brexit plays a role here in terms of how people feel about that issue, and also, unfortunately the conservatives in Scotland went on independence. You know, this election was not about independence. This election was about the issues at Westminster waste and about Brexit but other parties sought to make it out and mislead people, I think, unfortunately. So what it means to lose Alex is that we have lost an incredible political talent, that the greatest politician of his generation. And I am sure he will still be supporting us and still be around. And he may even make a comeback. You just never know.
CO: Now you mentioned that the referendum on independence. And this is, you’re saying that it's the conservatives raises an issue. But last March the Scottish parliament voted in favor of holding a second referendum on independence. Do you not think that last night's results is at least some reflection of that that people in Scotland do not want to go to another referendum?
HB: Not really because we won the election. We won the election in Scotland so you know, by definition, if we had chosen to stand on that mandate, we would have won that mandate, but we didn't. We choose to do the right thing which was raise the issues that Westminster is about for foreign affairs, defense, international development, welfare. We have a mandate for another independence referendum, by as we said and Nicola said, today, it's about people having a choice and seeing what the Brexit deal would be. So we said that you know, we would only consider it if the conditions meant that Scotland was such as Scotland being taken out of Europe against its will, people in Scotland voted by a majority to remain within the European Union. And it certainly looks like because of the mess Theresa May, the UK prime minister, has made of the situation, and arrogantly called an election thinking she would win it. At that timetable he was going to slide.
CO: You mentioned Nicola. Nicola Sturgeon, first minister, and she said today that undoubtedly, the issue of an independence referendum was a factor in this election result. So even she is suggesting that maybe it was a mistake for the SNP to be pushing for a second referendum. You don't agree?
HB: What she was seeing was that it was a factor because other parties made it a factor in the sense that we had leaflets coming through our doors from opposition politicians that had no information about what they were standing on, no information about what they wanted to do for the country or for the constituency. Just that they were opposed to independence and that is, it’s really pure politics. She was, you know very clearly pointing out the fact that the other parties unfortunately you know brought the issue up repeatedly instead as a smokescreen instead of explaining what they were going to do for people if they were elected to Westminster. And that is very disingenuous.
CO: But now there's another layer of confusion in this because the people in Scotland voted against Brexit and yet what we saw last night was a Tory revival. Conservatives did quite well, the Scottish Conservatives went from one seat to 13 seats. It's the biggest victory they've had since 1983. So how do you explain that? Why do you think that, and conservatives of course support a hard Brexit. So why do you think so many people in Scotland voted conservative?
HB: The conservatives might have done better in Scotland, but across the UK they have done very badly and they will be judged on their on the record, on their actions and I think it's still difficult to say what all the reasons are. And we need to take time as we well to reflect on the result and really understand and that is one of the things that we're very good in the SNP is taking that time to reflect, going out and talking to people. We have still had a very good result in Scotland. We have still won the election in Scotland by a country mile, more votes than any of the other parties put together. So you have to put it in that context.
CO: Does anything of last night’s, yesterday's election, does anything of that change how Brexit will be executed? Because this is, the clock is ticking very very rapidly here on the beginnings of negotiations.
HB: Absolutely, absolutely.
CO: What influence do the change of seats in parliament have, if any, on how Brexit might be negotiated?
HB: Well it's difficult to say. I mean, I think that quite possibly, most of the UK and the international community are probably going to be pointing and laughing at Theresa May for what is the biggest own goal in political history to call an election and lose your majority so arrogantly. But I think the fact that she's having to go into a coalition with the DUP is going to be very risky. I'm not convinced that she will hold on his prime minister. I think we might have a new prime minister because the conservatives can be ruthless. And I don't you know, it's very difficult to know. But as you say, the clock is ticking, people, the world is going to be watching, and looking on in dismay. People want a proper process and they want it to have proper scrutiny and that's something that the conservatives have not been good at.
CO: All right we'll be watching. Ms. Bardell, I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.
HB: Thank you very much for your time. All the very best.
JD: Hannah Bardell is the re-elected member of parliament with the Scottish National Party. She is the MP for Livingston and we reached her in Livingston, Scotland.
Dr. Seuss Museum
Guest: Ted Owens
JD: It's a rare and a wonderful thing to find Yertle the Turtle, The Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two all under one roof.
But those characters, and many others, are the rhyme and reason for a new museum in Springfield, Massachusetts -- hometown of the man who created those characters. It's called "The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss", and it has just opened its doors.
Ted Owens helped put the museum together. He is the grand-nephew of Dr. Seuss -- whose real name was Theodor Geisel. We reached Mr. Owens in New Castle, Maine.
CO: Ted can you describe what this museum of Dr. Seuss and his world looks like?
TED OWENS: The museum that just opened in Springfield is actually in a really nice atmosphere. Several buildings built around a grass quadrangle that has Dr. Seuss animals in it. And one building at the far end of this grass area, a stone granite building that has been totally converted over to basically show the work and artifacts of Dr. Seuss with the lower floors basically being devoted to kids where it's more interactive. And the second floor is devoted more towards his personal artifacts which includes old family photographs going back to the early 1900s and before, and personal notes and letters that were written to me and my mom and my dad over the years.
CO: Can you tell us a bit about that? I mean so downstairs we've got the world of his books and his stories and all those characters that kids know so well. Upstairs is this, his personal world. What role did you and your family play in helping them create that part of the museum?
TO: Well my mom for many many years, her whole life, has had family photo albums that have been passed down to the family. And then he would communicate with the letters, and they were like a five by seven piece of paper that had the Cat in the Hat printed on it. The Cat in the Hat was on the left hand side and on the right hand side of the cat on these notepads, he would write a quick little note, and if you were lucky, he would actually do a little scribble or a little cartoon that would incorporate the cat on the left hand side of the paper. So you get these Seussian characters embedded in with the notes that he sometimes wrote to you.
CO: When we speak about Doctor Seuss, we’re actually speaking of someone whose real name is Theodore Geisel. What was he like? What was your great uncle like?
TO: Well everyone knows him through his books where he would labor on them for months if not years. And I remember many times visiting in his studio where we had have preliminary sketches hung on the walls with both drawings and also with the words. And he was constantly playing around with the words and trying to get everything perfect.
But as a person he was humorous but not in kind of a stand-up comic type of way. He wasn't making jokes. He just had kind of a whimsical view of the world where he could look at what may have been a mundane event that you may have even have been there for and he would have a way of describing it and just slightly twisting it and adding interesting names to it where he would get you laughing. So it's whimsy, there was whimsy in how he spoke. He could be a very serious person too. He, you know, read the news voraciously and was very interested in what was going on in the world but he could then take that and put a humorous spin on it.
CO: What do you think he wanted to get across with the book like The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham. What do you think, how did he want to reach kids?
TO: I think he wanted to entertain them, number one so they would want to read and be engaged in the stories. Through his illustrations and the words, I think that was pretty easy to do. But if you're open to it he also was writing in a way that there was a moral or there was something a little bit deeper and beyond the words. Basically what he was doing on many of his books was using a limited vocabulary but breaking the mold of how books back in the late 50s early 60s were usually written for beginning readers where they tended to repeat the same words over and over and over again. He would make them rhyme. So you actually get a another part of your brain to be engaged because not only were you telling the story but there was a rhythm and a pace to them that was quite different than other books.
CO: And what do you think people will get out of this museum?
TO: He was a very unique individual in that he was a superb artist and I knew him first as an artist who happened to be my uncle and not as someone who wrote books. And I think what you get from that museum is you're seeing the other side of him, the personal side of him, which also had wit and humor, but he was also talking and engaged about what was going on in your life but he could put a Seussian spin on it. And that to me is what people will see. They will see who he was more as a human as opposed to his very labored work that he put out there in printed form.
CO: Well there’s another side of your great uncle that is called the darker side. And I'm thinking of Theodore Geisel’s earlier work. His cartoons and drawings that are widely considered to be racist, show black people as savages in grass skirts, and Arabs on camels. A lot of stuff, anti-Japanese, that was considered, well, still is considered quite offensive. Did he talk about that? Did he regret that material?
TO: He very much regretted it. I think he felt and what I vaguely remember with conversations with him when I did have a conversation about it was that you get kind of swept up for example during the war, World War II, you get kind of swept up in the sentiment of you know a certain group of people may become your enemy because you’re at war with them and so therefore they get portrayed in a certain way. And he remember on a couple of different occasions was very apologetic, saying that, you know, that is not how we felt or who we was but it was kind of part of picking up how things were done at that time. But it was not what he would have done later in his life nor what it was and that was not in his heart.
CO: Do you think it would have been useful to have that in the museum to know that this is an earlier iterations of his work that he later distanced himself from?
TO: Possibly so. I mean I think you need to understand a person, you need to see their entire life's body of work. And sometimes there are things that people are not proud of that they did, that people change or their true feelings come out later on in their work and kind of corrects what they did in the past. I mean he wrote you know, his book, The Star-Bellied Sneetches, is about relations with other people and this was kind of a continuous theme in his stories is that we all need to get along and that we're not to pick out enemies and say just because you're different you're not equal. And his books and many of his stories, that was one of the reoccurring themes.
CO: Is the museum getting a lot of visitors?
TO: Yes. The opening weekend, I don't know how many thousands they had but it was quite a steady stream the entire weekend, and I think this will be a very unique experience for people to again see everything from preliminary sketches to personal writings to things that are… it can be kind of a window into who he was as a person.
CO: All right we'll leave it there and thanks for telling us about your great uncle, Ted.
TO: Thanks very much. Bye-bye.
JD: That was Ted Owens, grand-nephew of Dr. Seuss. We reached Mr. Owens in Newcastle, Maine.
JD: On March 23rd, 1965, two hours into the flight of the Gemini 3, astronaut Gus Grissom made an ominous remark: "It's breaking up. I'm going to stick it in my pocket."
John Young, the other astronaut on the mission, replied, "It was a thought, anyway... not a very good one. Pretty good though, if it would just hold together."
Fortunately, neither man was referring to the actual spacecraft. But it was still serious. They were referring to a corned beef sandwich.
You can't eat sandwiches in space. The crumbs go everywhere, which means they could get in someone's eyes, or worse, get into the instruments and mess them up.
In this case, luckily, nothing happened. Mr. Young smuggled the sandwich aboard, both astronauts took bites, and after ten seconds they thought better of it. But that one incident caused a significant kerfuffle.
Congress did a lot of tut-tutting, and NASA issued new regulations about food on flights.
Ever since, the idea of safe zero-gravity bread has been a kind of a holy grail. And now, a German company is hoping it has the right stuff to bake in space.
The company is called Bake in Space. It has developed a special dough and a special oven for the particular conditions aboard the International Space Station. The bread must be crumb-free. The oven must use no more than 250 watts of power. And when Bake in Space's pilot project begins next year, company bakers will control the whole procedure remotely, from Earth -- by monitoring video of the bread's progress inside the special oven.
That we refuse to give up on space bread is testament to humanity's resilience. Also its unhealthy dependence on carbs. But let's celebrate the resilience.
And even if it doesn't work this time, well, it's better to have loaved and lost than never to have loaved at all.
CBC would like to acknowledge the support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.