Monday November 20, 2017

November 17, 2017 episode transcript

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As It Happens Transcript for November 17, 2017

Hosts: Carol Off, Ivy Brooks and Chris Howden



CAROL OFF: Hello, I'm Carol off.

CHRIS HOWDEN: Good evening. I'm Chris Howden, sitting in for Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.

[Music: Theme]

CH: Tonight:

CO: Heroic restraint. Yesterday in Kabul, an Afghan police officer came face-to-face with a suicide bomber, and his decision to grip the attacker in a bear hug saved lives, but cost him his own.

CH: The situation is, unfortunately, fluid. Days before TransCanada asks Nebraska regulators to approve the last leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, the company's original line gushes nearly 800-thousand litres of oil in South Dakota.

CO: Kept in the dark. Nearly two months after Hurricane Maria, much of Puerto Rico is still without power, and a former governor blames incompetent officials for agreeing to outlandish sums to restore the country's electricity grid.

CH: Walking wounded. She was crossing the street when she was hit by a car that kept driving, even while she lay on the pavement. And tonight, a Toronto woman tells us how her recovery is going.

CO: A re-ringing endorsement. After our interview with an Ontario man who retaliated against phone scammers by calling them back repeatedly, you called us, and it turns out a lot of you are pros when it comes to cons.

CH: And...we get a crash course in journalism — and it's Ivy league. With a deadline approaching, tough-as-nails nine-year-old reporter Ivy Brooks sits down to interview Carol, and makes it sound like child's play.

CH: As It Happens, the Friday edition. Radio that proves a fourth-grader can give someone the third degree, without a second thought — and it's first-rate.

[Music: Theme]

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Part 1: Afghan officer, hit and run victim, Ivy’s interview

Afghan officer

Guest: Sayed Najib Asil

CH: It only took him a few crucial seconds to act. Yesterday afternoon, in Kabul, Afghan police Lieutenant Sayed Basam Pacha confronted a suicide bomber. What he did next is hard to imagine: he tried to stop the attacker by throwing his arms around him in a bear hug. Moments later, the bomber detonated the explosive vest hidden under his coat. At least 14 people, including Lieutenant Pacha himself, died in the process. The Islamic State in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the attack. 25-year-old Lieutenant Pacha is now being hailed as a hero in his country. Sayed Najib Asil is a longtime friend of Lieutenant Pacha. We reached Mr. Asil in Kabul.

CO: Sayed, first of all, I'm sorry for your loss.

SAYED NAJIB ASIL: Thank you very much. Yeah, yesterday was a very bad day for us.

CO: How did you find out that your friend had been killed in that attack?

SA: Yeah, yesterday I was at the office, I write for my work. Before a while, one of my friends called me. He told me in Kabul in the streets an accident happened. Our teams and our journalists went there. I checked my Facebook and my Twitter and I found some things about that accident. But I don't know about the casualties that were killed there. Suddenly, I checked my Facebook and see one picture from my friends I didn't recognize at the first moments. After that, one of my friends called me and he told me that said my friend, Sayed Basam Pacha, was dead in the blast in four districts of Kabul. I didn’t believe it at that time. I tried to call him. I called him, and the first time his phone was off. After that, I called his father. His father didn't pick up my phone. After that, I called one of my other friends and he picked up my phone. He told me yes, it's right. Unfortunately, he lost his life.

CO: I'm so sorry.

SA: Yeah, it's Afghanistan conditions. Every day we are losing our young people.

CO: You called it an accident, of course, this was a suicide bombing and your friend didn't just die as a passer-by. He wasn't just somebody who was there at the place. He tried to prevent other people from being killed. What have you learned about what your friend did, and how he ended up being killed in that attack?

SA: Yeah, as you heard that yesterday in Kabul, there was a gathering in one of the restaurants in Kabul. Yesterday, he was assigned to maintain the security of restaurants, which hosted a big gathering there. The bomber wanted to enter. When he saw the suspect person at the first moment, and whenever he tried to enter a big crowd in the area, the explosion happened after that.

CO: Yeah, but what did your friend do? What did Sayed Basam Pacha do to prevent that man from getting in? Can you describe that?

SA: Yeah, and at the first moment when he saw the bomber — the suicide bomber — he shouted to him. And the bomber tried to enter the big area beside of him. After that, the suspect tried to enter the parking. At that time, he was running and hugging…

CO: You say hugging. He gave him this big bear hug. Your friend threw his arms around this suicide bomber who then detonated his explosives.

SA: That's right.

CO: And now we know that in addition to your friend, Lieutenant Pascha, another seven police officers were killed, six civilians were killed, 18 people wounded. But it could have been much more, couldn't it? I mean if the man had got inside the restaurant, it would have been a much bigger death toll. He saved a lot of lives your friend.

SA: Yeah, as the local media reported here in Afghanistan, in Kabul especially, around 14 to 16 people were killed. Around more than 10 or 15 people were injured. So if he didn't hug the suicide bomber, the casualties would rise.

CO: Can you tell us a bit about your friend? What was he like?

SA: Yeah. Pasha never expected to die. He was always worried about the victims. But he never thought that one day he would get killed. He wanted to make changes in our country, especially the police. He really hated corruption, especially among the police. Also, he felt very bad when people assumed the policemen are corrupt. I think Basam is a hero. I don't know how to express my feeling? It's very horrible news.

CO: And he certainly is a hero. And I know you've been trying to talk to his family. How is his father dealing with it? Because his father was also a police officer, wasn't he?

SA: Yeah. Yeah. Yesterday, several times, I tried to talk with his father. But, unfortunately, I can't. But at night, we went with another friend to his home. Today, also, I saw his father. His father also is a police commander. Today, he said my son sacrificed himself to save other people. He’s proud of him. But as I saw today his father, he completely broke. He could not talk longer with us. And he just cried. He was very nervous and very sad.

CO: Do you have any memories of your friend? How will you remember him? Is there any special moment with him that you cherish?

SA: Yeah, of course. And every week and every two weeks, Me and my friends, and especially Sayed Basam, we had together in parks and we talked about his achievements and his passions and future. Also, he had very good passions for higher education. He wanted always to continue advanced studies, especially in Britain. And he had the determination to stay in our country. However, his father was a very rich person. But his father many times also told him that you can live in other countries. But he loved his country. He loved his friends. He wanted to serve for the Afghan police as a young person.

CO: Sayed, once again, I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. He just sounds like a wonderful young man and thank you for telling us about him.

SA: Thank you very much. Thank you.

CH: That was Sayed Najib Asil. We reached him in Kabul, Afghanistan. Yesterday, his friend, Lieutenant Sayed Basam Pacha, was killed while trying to stop a suicide bomber. At least 14 people died in that incident. If you want to read more of that story, go to our website:

[Music: Ambient]

Orrin Hatch

CH: By the time Republican Senator Orrin Hatch lost his cool last night, the Finance Committee he chairs had already passed his party's tax plan. But it was clear Senator Hatch had had it up to here with his pesky Democratic colleagues by that point. They'd been trying to pass an amendment that would halt tax breaks for corporations, if wages didn't grow. And they took issue with the GOP's claim that cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 20 would make businesses more willing to give workers a raise. Here's Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, whose comments clearly got under the skin of Chairman Orrin Hatch.


SHERROD BROWN: I just think it would be nice just tonight, before we go home, to just acknowledge with this tax cut really is not for the middle class it's for the rich. And that whole thing about higher wages, well, it's a good selling point. But we know companies don't just give away higher wages. They just don't give away higher wages just because they have more money. Corporations are sitting on a lot of money now. They're sitting on a lot of profits now. I don't see wages going up. So just spare us the bank shot…

ORRIN HATCH: I’m going to spare it. But I'm going to just say to you that I come from the poor people. And I've been here working my whole stinking career for people who don't have a chance. And I really resent anybody saying that I'm just doing this for the rich. Give me a break! I think you guys overplay that all the time and it gets old. And frankly, you ought to quit it.

SB: Mr. Chairman, the public believes it.

OH: I’m not through. I get kind of sick and tired of it. True, it's a nice political play.

SB: Well, Mr. Chairman, with all due respect, I get sick and tired of the richest…

[Sound: Lots of fighting and a gavel]

OH: Listen, I’ve honoured you by allowing you to spout off here. And what you said was not right. That's all I'm saying. I come from the lower-middle-class originally. We didn't have anything. So don't spew that stuff on me. I get a little tired of that crap. And let me just say something. If we worked together, we could pull this country out of every mess it’s in. We could do a lot of the things that you're talking about too. I’ve had more bills pass than everybody on this committee put together. And they've been passed for the benefit of people in this country. Now, all I can say is I like you personally very much. But I'm telling you this bullcrap that you guys throw out here really gets old after a while. And to do it right at the end of this was just not right. And it takes a lot to get me worked up like this.

CH: Republican Senator, and Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch, with some choice words last night for his Democratic colleague, Senator Sherrod Brown.

[Music: Rock]

Hit and run woman

Guest: Elena

CH: The video is hard to watch. A woman is crossing the street when she's hit by a car and thrown into the air. She lands hard in the middle of the street, and lies there. The driver doesn't stop. Yesterday, Toronto Police released that footage, in an effort to find the vehicle and the driver. The woman who was hit is named Elena. She's asked us not to use her last name. We reached her at a rehab centre in Toronto, where she's recovering.

CO: Elena, what was it like for you to watch this video?

ELENA: It was very hard for me to see. I remember only the colour of the car, but I couldn't remember anything else. I didn't know that I flew in the air. I didn't know too much about all of that. It was really, really hard for me. I'm lucky to be alive.

CO: The video is very difficult to watch. Watching it myself, to see you fly through the air like that and the driver carries on. And so you don't remember anything about it before that moment?

E: Before yeah, it was green for myself. So it was the intersection I waited for it to be green. There were a lot of people in the bus stop, and I said I'm not going to have a seat in the bus; there were so many people. I remember looking up a diagonal to see how many cars there are. I saw two cars. I don't remember more than two cars. And the first car passed and the second car just hit me.

CO: It’s a clear blue day.

E: It was sunny, really nice, not very cold; a really, really nice fall day. I went to catch the bus going to Younge and Lawrence for the walk and stopped in church and say a prayer and go to some stores and Indigo and to go back to my mom's nursing home.

CO: And that was your plan for the day?

E: Yes.

CO: Did you see the driver?

E: No, absolutely not. I cannot remember. If I close my eyes, I see patches of white because the car is white. But that's it; nothing else.

CO: Were you still conscious when you're lying on the ground?

E: Yes, I was because the first thing that went through my mind I said let's check my toes and see if they move. And I said Thank god my toes are moving, so I'm not going to be paralyzed. And after, I reached the phone to call my husband. I told my husband I said listen, I was hit by a car. He said what do you mean? I just left you at the gas station. What do you mean you were hit by a car? I said I was crossing the street. So he came back.

CO: It seems that everybody stopped to help you, except the person who hit you.

E: Exactly, even the first care that passed, the driver stopped and came to see me. The other driver didn't even slow down. I felt like a full impact. Like boom, boom, boom.

CO: The police say it's not possible that the driver didn't realize that he or she had hit you.

E: Yes, yes, of course, he realized that he hit me. Or she hit me; I don't know.

CO: As you say, you could have been killed. What are your injuries?

E: Oh, I have a lot of bruises, a small crack on my pelvis and on the right side now I have a lot of pain. I have a lot of pain, but I'm trying really, really hard to improve myself. But the pain stops me a little bit.

CO: You're at a rehab centre right now. It takes time.

E: I know I'm going to be home, but it's going to take probably two-three months to feel better — to feel good.

CO: And what are they telling you? Will you make a full recovery?

E: I’ll make a full recovery. As of now, I’m walking with a walker. I'm trying to use a cane, but it's a little bit hard because I walk like a duck. I’m a little bit wobbly like this. And I'm trying to use the stairs to climb the stairs to come down. And this I'm trying.

CO: It sounds though the plans you had for that day were very busy. You're a busy person.

E: Well, because my mom is in a nursing home, and I go there five times a week at night to feed her. And I love to walk. And we went on holidays, so I just want to see a little bit of the city. I feel alive to walk, and for this I’m trying to be active. I'm 61, so I don't want to get old.

CO: Well, you're not going to. You're going to be walking again. They're telling you that.

E: I hope so.

CO: And your pushing yourself to make sure that you get back…

E: A little bit too much. A little bit too much. I should slow down a little bit because it's more pain if I do it go, go, go, go, go.

CO: How does it make you feel that police have not found the person driving the car?

E: They tried. The police tried, and I trust the police that, finally, they will find the person.

CO: And they've told you that they have some leads. They have some evidence of who it might be.

E: No, I really don't know. The police didn't communicate with us this way. They said they are investigating, and they asked me if I wanted to go public. I said why not. Because this way, if they are going to find the person, you never know, we may save a life.

CO: That's what the police are saying. They put out a news release because they are looking for help for anybody who might have seen something. But it's also a good warning to others that they will find you.

E: Exactly. It’s a good idea to find that person. If you are watching the news, of course, every day hit and run, hit and run, hit and run; accidents on the sidewalk and everywhere. It has to stop. The drivers really have to be careful when they drive and to watch for pedestrians.

CO: I hope you make a full recovery. I'm sure you will because you sound really like you're on the way. Thank you so much for speaking with us.

E: Thank you.

CO: Bye.

E: Bye bye.

CH: That was a woman named Elena in Toronto, who was injured in a hit and run last month. Police have just released a video of the incident.

[Music: Hip-hop]

Ivy Interview

Guest: Carol Off

CH: Earlier this week, we told you about Ivy Brooks. She's a nine-year-old student at The Linden School in Toronto. She wrote Carol a letter that began, quote, "Dear Ms. Off, my name is Ivy and I would like to interview you." Unquote. But Ivy didn't just leave it at a letter. Like any determined journalist, she gave us a call to remind us about her deadline — November 22nd. Well, deadlines we get. So today, Ivy joined Carol in the As It Happens studio for her interviewing debut.

IVY BROOKS: Do you mind telling me how did you start your career?

CO: How did I start my career in journalism?

IB: Yeah.

CO: All right. Well, I started when I was in university, and I had no plans to be a journalist. It was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted to be a famous novelist, or a poet, or something. And there's a newspaper at my university, this was at university of Western Ontario in London. And the newspaper was called The Gazette. And it was awful. It was just so bad. And I would say this isn't even worth picking up. It was free, and I didn't even want to take it — it was so bad. And so my friend said to me well, if you think it's so bad, why didn't you go and write for it and make it better. And so I said I'm going to do that. So I went in and I started working for the student paper. And I got hooked. I became a journalist.

IB: Yeah. Because something that I'm actually doing is I making a newspaper for the town that I live in.

CO: Really?

IB: Yes, I haven't quite made the copies yet.

CO: What’s your town?

IB: My town’s called The Pocket.

CO: Oh, OK. The pocket in Toronto though?

IB: Yeah.

CO: What kind of stories are you going to do?

IB: Just what's happening around. And it's called What's In Your Pocket? So, yeah so.

CO: So do you want to be a journalist?

IB: Yeah. What's your favorite part about being a journalist?

CO: My favorite part about being a journalist is exactly what you and I are doing right now: interviewing people. That's the best thing. You get to ask them all kinds of questions, and they have to answer. And if they don't answer, they squirm, or they look uncomfortable, or they try and get around your question, and you have to pull them back and say you didn't answer my question. I love doing that.

IB: Yeah. And have you ever been scared when you were like interviewing someone?

CO: Have I ever been scared? You know, often. I'm scared right now. This is really… I'm being interviewed. You're making me very nervous. I don't know where we're going with this conversation. You could ask me anything, and I'd have to answer.

IB: And so at my school, I'm going have social justice data fair. And. And what do you think is like the most social justice thing happening around the world?

CO: Tell me what you think… social justice data did you say.

IB: Yeah. Our whole class is doing it, so we're doing it around like for water. And how like heavy it is for women to go out and carry all that water. Like go over to the lakes and put them in buckets and carry them on their heads. And it can also hurt their backs a lot because it's really heavy. And every like two minutes, a child dies from a water-related disease.

CO: Imagine if we had to walk down to Lake Ontario. So that's how far those women have to walk to get the water sometimes. Imagine if you and your mom, because usually the women and the girls, in the mornings you have to walk down to Lake Ontario, and then carry the water back on your head or in big jugs because that's the only place you could get it. Wouldn’t that be horrible?

IB: Yeah. And then it would prevent you from getting like an education and stuff.

CO: So what do you think is the answer to that? What's the solution?

IB: Maybe getting like taps and stuff into people's houses. And so they can just turn on the water and have water. Another question is have you ever been in like a war field interviewing somebody?

CO: Yes.

IB: Where was it?

CO: Different places. What used to be called Yugoslavia, that country fell apart, and it had a lot of wars. All the countries separated and there were wars in every single one of them.

IB: Have you ever had a child in here being interviewed before?

CO: Have I ever heard someone like you interview me? Never! This is very exciting, and as I say, I'm very nervous.

IB: Yeah, it's very exciting for me too because I've never done this before.

CO: Why did you want to? Why did you want to talk to me?

IB: Well, first we're going to try Julie Payette. But she was away meeting the queen.

CO: She was busy — uh huh, moving down the list, yeah.

IB: So we decided to do you. And I was actually listening to As It Happens that at that moment.

CO: What did you think when we called you back?

IB: I was really excited.

CO: Well, you wrote this letter. Thank you.

IB: Thank you. Do you have any funny stories from when you were interviewing some people?

CO: Funny stories… Well, a lot of the stories I do are not very funny. But sometimes you know it's funny when people won't tell me things. And we had this one wonderful woman who had a secret. She lives in a place in Ireland, and we wanted to find out who won the lottery. And she was the only person who knew. And she wouldn't tell us. And we called her back over and over again. And she said no, you'll never get the truth out of me. And we tried everything we could. And she was so funny. And we had a lot of fun with that.

CO: What are your dreams?

IB: My dreams… to become a singer, or a journalist, or a teacher, or an astronaut, or a scuba diver.

CO: Wow!

IB: Yeah!

CO: All right. Ivy, you know I'm going to have to go. This is a lot of fun! But I have to go and do a show called As It Happens.

IB: Yeah.

CO: It's been good to meet you.

IB: Nice to meet you too.

CH: Ivy Brooks is in grade four at the Linden school in Toronto. She grilled Carol in the As It Happens studio today. To see more, including Ivy's letter and some photos of her in action, go to our website:

Back To Top »

Part 2: S. Dakota spill, Puerto Rico latest

S. Dakota spill

Guest: Kent Moeckly

CH: State officials in South Dakota say the Keystone pipeline spill will take months to clean up. Reports of a massive leak in the state's north-east Marshall County started coming in early yesterday morning. Once TransCanada crews arrived, they confirmed that 795-thousand litres of oil had seeped out of the line. The incident comes just days before the oil company is to ask Nebraska regulators to grant approval for the last part of Keystone's sister pipeline, the Keystone XL. A section of the original Keystone pipeline runs underneath Kent Moeckly’s farmland property. He's in Britton, South Dakota.

CO: Mr. Moeckly, when did it become clear to you that this pipeline was leaking?

KENT MOECKLY: I received a call yesterday from a fellow landowner. This person informed me that there had been a leak. And that person didn't know where it was, and asked me to see if I could locate it. And so I headed out to the farm — our farm — and see if there was anything there. And I couldn't find anything. There's another parcel of property about four or five miles south of the farm, also on the pipeline. Got hit by the pipeline, and I thought well geez, I better check. So I went down there, I got just about straight north of our property. I got hit by this barrage of fumes, and I said oh my lord, that's crude oil. And so I knew that I was in the vicinity.

CO: And what did it look like? Were there any vehicles yet — any cleanup crews?

KM: Apparently, TransCanada hired the local fire department, and stopped traffic to keep people away from this.

CO: Why would they do that? Is it dangerous to get too close to the oil spill?

KM: Well, it is. The oil company spent the money to train these little fire departments up and down the line. And they trained them, but I really doubt that most of these people are trained for the kind of horribleness that these spills are. Crude oil is just deadly. There's so many chemicals that are so bad that you really should not be near — downwind I guess you'd say — of this oil.

CO: So in addition to this smell, what's the impact of a leak like this? This is about more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil on the property. What will be the impact on that neighbour's land?

KM: Hopefully it doesn't come as far… We’re about three quarters of a mile they tell me from the spill for ours. But on the neighbour's land, it has to be just horrible. We don't know how long this leak has been going out? And the computers that TransCanada has can only pick up a drop in pressure so much. And if that drop is less than what the computer can actually pick up, you've got thousands of gallons of oil oozing out of that pipeline into the ground around it, up and down the pipe and not even coming to the surface. That could have been happening for quite some time before finally maybe the leak got more because they said that they finally on their computers noticed a drop in pressure.

CO: What's the land there being used for where the spill is? And what will be the effect on being able to use that land?

KM: Oh, it's farmland. And, of course, the way it stands now, anything that has oil on it is dead. They typically I'm told come in and remove the dirty soil and haul it out to some site where I don't know if they process it, or bury it, or what. And then they claim they'll haul good soil back in. But everybody rolls their eyes when they hear this because it's just a huge task. And our experience with TransCanada is their ship shot. They really don't do a good job. And speed is what they want; in and out. And we put up with this from day one. So it could be a real tragedy for the land owners.

CO: TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline is being approved. And that's oddly — coincidentally — Monday is the day when in Nebraska — in your neighbouring Nebraska — the regulators will decide whether to approve that final Keystone XL route. So what do you make of the timing of this spill?

KM: Well, I'm happy for the timing because I think they need another shot of energy to wake everybody else up. That is not aware of the dangers of these pipelines. But I think it will have an impact on this Nebraska pipeline. Nebraska people seem to be a very much shrewder bunch of people than South Dakota. South Dakota rolled over. We had a governor that just rolled over and couldn't wait for the big money to come through. Nebraska, I didn't see that quite so much, and I'm very proud of them.

CO: But at the same time, Nebraska's state officials said today that the spill will not affect their decision to approve or deny Keystone XL. And that they're going to be based on public hearings and evidence they've got. So they say this won't have any effect. What do you say to that?

KM: Well, I think that's very ignorant if that's true. I mean how could it not have an effect? The pipeline is the pipeline — same company. So to say well, that has no bearing on it. You're blinder than most bats that we know.

CO: As you know, this is the argument that they often give. There are just thousands — tens of thousands — of miles of pipelines all through the United States carrying crude oil — many of them in your own state. Are opposed in general to pipelines or is it TransCanada specifically?

KM: Well I tell you, I didn't know much about pipelines until we had this one jammed down our throats. So I'm a student of pipelines. I'm just learning. But I'm also learning that the older a pipeline gets the more rotten it gets. But my experience has been with TransCanada and this Micheal's Construction out of Wisconsin, and they absolutely were slipshod. And they ignored us. Whenever we had something that we'd prefer happen — they just went on. It's like time is money, we're going to charge through there and you just step aside.

CO: You know the argument that they give. And I'm sure you've heard it. We’ll repeat it here. That pipeline spills are not as bad and they're not as frequent as they are for other forms of transportation like train or by tanker trucks. You're driving in your car; you're using fuels, so how are you going to get the stuff to you if not going to have it by pipeline?

KM: Well, I drive a Prius. So I get over 50 miles a gallon, and I pollute half as much as other vehicles. And I think everybody should start doing things like that.


KM: We’ll need a lot less fuel.

CO: One last question about Keystone XL and the approval that may or may not come in Nebraska. TransCanada insists the Keystone XL will be different. It will be state-of-the-art. It will be the safest crude oil pipeline in operation in the United States. What do you say?

KM: We've heard it all before. We've heard the same story. And now look what we have: oil running on the ground.

CO: Mr. Moeckly, I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.

KM: Thank you so much.

CH: Kent Moeckly is a member of Dakota Rural Action whose property is crossed by the Keystone pipeline. We reached him in Britton, South Dakota.

[Music: Spanish guitar]

Sarah Silverman

CH: Recently on the program, we've told you — over and over again — about women who've come forward with allegations against powerful, high-profile men. One of those men is comedian Louis C.K. Last week, the New York Times published sexual misconduct allegations against him. The next day, Louis C.K. admitted the stories were true. Now, a fellow comedian — and longtime friend — has responded. Here's part of what Sarah Silverman had to say on her show "I Love You, America".


SARAH SILVERMAN: This recent calling out of sexual assault has been a long time coming. It's good. It's like cutting out tumors. It's messy, and it's complicated and it is going to hurt, but it's necessary. And we'll all be healthier for it. And it sucks. And some of our heroes will be taken down. And we will discover bad things about people we like. Or in some cases, people we love. Let's just say it, I'm talking about Louis. And I've, of course, been asked to comment. And in full honesty, I really, really, really don't want to. I wish I could sit this one out. But then I remembered something I said on this very show that if it's mentionable it's manageable. So I'm going to address the elephant masturbating in the room. And in full disclosure: I'm still processing all this [censored]. But here's where I'm at on it as of this moment. It could change tomorrow. And if it does I will keep you posted. One of my best friends of over 25 years — Louis C.K. — masturbated in front of women. He wielded his power with women in [censored] ways — sometimes to the point where they left comedy entirely. I could couch this with heartwarming stories of our friendship and what a great dad he is. But that's totally irrelevant, isn't it? Yes, it is. It's a real mind [censored] you know because I love Louis, but Louis did these things. Both of those statements are true. So I just keep asking myself can you love someone who did bad things. Can you still love them? I can mull that over later certainly. Because the only people that matter right now are the victims. They are victims. And they're victims because of something he did. So I hope it's OK if I am at once very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad because he's my friend. But I believe with all my heart that this moment in time is essential. It's vital that people are held accountable for their actions no matter who they are. We need to be better. We will be better.

CH: Stand-up comedian Sarah Silverman, speaking about Louis C.K. Last week, he said that sexual misconduct allegations made against him by women in the New York Times were true.

[Music: Electronic]

Puerto Rico latest

Guest: Anibal Acevedo-Vila

CH: Nearly two months after Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico, a huge number of residents are still without power and basic services. 50 per cent of the island has no electricity. And intermittent blackouts have pushed that number even higher. Meanwhile, the island's power authority is coming under criticism for signing a 300-million dollar contract with a tiny Montana energy company — Whitefish — to repair the power grid. The government has now promised that contract will be canceled. Anibal Acevedo-Vila was the governor of Puerto Rico from 2005 to 2009. We reached him in San Juan yesterday.

CO: Mr. Acevedo-Vila, when's the last time that you had power in your house in San Juan?

ANIBAL ACEVEDO-VILA: In my house… I lost power I think it was late on the 19th of September. But it was when the hurricane was hitting, so we're talking about basically September 20th.

CO: So a couple of months ago. It's been about 60 days since you've had it.

AAV: Basically. It's going to be two months in a matter of days.

CO: What do you make of this contract that was signed between the utility in Puerto Rico and this company whitefish Energy to do the repairs on the power lines? What do you make of that 300 million dollar contract?

AAV: Well, I feel like everyone who has read the contract there's no way to explain that. There's no way to understand that. And it has hurt Puerto Rico because the recovery has been slower. And the government of Puerto Rico has lost a lot of credibility in the public opinion in the United States, in particular in Congress, which we need now for Congress to appropriate the adequate funds for the reconstruction recovery of Puerto Rico. And there are many doubts.

ER: Baby wheezed like a hardened smoker and then coughed. Jared's throat tightened. The room blurred as his eyes watered. He swallowed loudly. Baby roused from the exam table and liked his arm. Jared leaned his head against hers. I'll give you folks a moment the vet said. After he left, Jared's mom sat, shoving her hands deep in the pockets of her leather jacket. The fluorescent lights hummed. His mom's left leg jiggled impatiently.

ER: Jared wiped his nose on his sleeve. The harder he tried not to cry the more he cried. The painted concrete walls echoed back his sniffling to him. I'm going for a smoke his mom said. Baby thumped her tail when his mom came over to squeeze Jared’s shoulder. His mom's eyes darted around the room, but she avoided meeting his. Normally, she'd be telling him 16 was way too old to be acting like a big [censored] wuss. But they could hear that that and the receptionist talking in the front room. So she stayed quiet. She patted her jeans as she walked out. Probably forgot her lighter in the truck. The world is hard. His mom like to say you have to be harder. Baby licked his cheek. I’m going to miss you he whispered into her ear. Baby lifted a leg and farted. Jared laughed and then it turned into crying that faded into more sniffling. His heart was a bruise because Baby's heart was full of worms. The X-rays showed them curled in its chambers like glowing balls of wool. Time stretched and folded, so it both went too fast and too slow. After his mom finished smoking, she’d come back and drive him to school. He hugged Baby hard and she grumbled. He wasn't going to be alone after she died. But the world was going to be a lonelier place without her.

CH: Eden Robinson reading from her novel "Son of a Trickster." Ms. Robinson has already won this year's fifty-thousand-dollar Writers Trust Fellowship, and is on the shortlist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. The Giller will be awarded next Monday. If you missed our interview with Ms. Robinson when she won that fellowship, you can listen to it on our webpage: And we'll have a reading from our final finalist — Ed O'Loughlin — a bit later in the show.

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Part 3: Innu foster care, Wood Buffalo

Ferdie Pacheco obit

CH: Doctor Ferdie Pacheco was always in Muhammad Ali's corner. The so-called "Fight Doctor" was the ringside physician for Muhammad Ali from the early 1960s, back when the famed fighter went by the name "Cassius Clay". And he was in Mr. Ali's corner until 1977, when Dr. Pacheco urged the boxing legend to retire for the sake of his health. But Mr. Ali kept boxing. In 1992, Dr. Pacheco wrote, "When Ali wouldn't quit the exciting world of boxing, I did. If a national treasure like Ali could not be saved, at least I didn't have to be part of his undoing." In 2002, Dr. Pacheco and Muhammad Ali had their final encounter. The boxer had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. As the pair hugged, he said to his former doctor in a slurred voice, "You was right." Dr. Ferdie Pacheco died yesterday, at his home in Miami, Florida. He was 89. After his retirement from Mr. Ali's camp, Dr. Pacheco went on to have a successful career as an author, a painter, and an Emmy-winning boxing analyst. From our archives, in 1977, here's Dr. Pacheco speaking to Dick Beddoes on As It Happens about a fight between Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton, in which Mr. Ali's jaw was broken:


FERDIE PACHECO: He was able to move in the second round with his tongue, which means that the jaw was out. He heard click. He could move it, and he asked what does this mean? What does it mean I could move my jaw? And he had blood there. Of course, it was evident that it was fractured. But it was it was in place. As I said, there was no danger to his life, or to permanent disability. And there was no one that could stop the fight. He just simply would not allow the fight…. first of all, not any of us believed that Norton could last long, even with a broken jaw.

DICK BEDDOES: Was he in pain?

FP: Oh, he was in continuous pain. There’s no way to break a jaw and not be in pain. Hell a broken jaw is painful without anybody hitting it. You can imagine ten rounds. One of the qualities he's got nobody imputes to him because of his good looks is that he terrifically tough. He’s tougher than any gargoyle fighter that ever lived. You know you have to look at the Rocky Grazianos that Tony Galentos and those guys and say oh boy! Are they tough! Would I hate to meet them in an alley! Well, Ali is not that guy. You wouldn’t mind meeting him in an alley. He’d probably shake your hand in an alley. But inside the ring there's nobody that can make Ali quit. There's nobody that can outlast him. When he comes out outlasting people, Ali will be there after everybody else has gone to the showers. He’s got something in his head that allows him to pull out the last round the last two rounds just when you think he can't do it anymore. Like in Manila he'll come up with a brilliant two or three rounds. Just when you think he's ready to cash-in his chips like he was in Africa, he'll come up and beat the guy, and intuitively know that the other guy has reached as far as he can go; he no extra tank and no extra fuel. At that moment, Ali switches on the extra tank and takes off. And that's what makes a champion. That's what makes this man the most incredible champion I've ever worked with. I think he is the most fantastic fighter I've ever seen.

CH: From our archives, that was Doctor Ferdie Pacheco in 1977. Dr. Pacheco, Muhammad Ali's ringside physician, died yesterday. He was 89.

[Music: Folk rock]

Innu foster care

Guest: Jane Philpott

CH: "We are facing a humanitarian crisis in this country where Indigenous children are vastly, disproportionately, overrepresented in the child welfare system." That's what Canada's Indigenous Services Minister said earlier this month. But Gregory Rich seemed to find the Minister's words hard to square with the government's behaviour. Mr. Rich is the Grand Chief of the Innu Nation in Labrador. A huge percentage of his community's children wind up in foster care. And yesterday, Chief Rich told us that Ottawa wasn't going to be participating in an upcoming inquiry into the issue. Here's some of what the Grand Chief had to say.


GREGORY RICH: When these kids are removed from our communities, there's a loss of culture, a loss of language and a loss of connection with their parents and also with their siblings. You know when a child is removed from the community it's very similar to the residential schools. And the consequences are very tragic. And sometimes I'm pretty upset when I talk about this at the table because things are still happening that happened like 50-60 years ago.

CH: That was Gregory Rich, the Grand Chief of the Innu Nation in Labrador, on the program yesterday. Jane Philpott is Canada's Minister of Indigenous Services. We reached her in Timmins, Ontario.

CO: Minister Philpott, we just heard Grand Chief Rich describing how upsetting it is to see history repeat itself. And is hard to imagine after everything we've recently learned about “The Sixties Scoop” and residential schools that it is repeating itself. What do you say to Grand Chief Rich?

JANE PHILPOTT: Well, I absolutely acknowledge he has said that there is a very serious set of circumstances that we're facing as a country as it relates to child welfare for Indigenous children. They are still vastly overrepresented in the child welfare system. And it's absolutely critical that we address this. And we've certainly expressed that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the system across the country. That's one of the reasons why I've called for an urgent meeting in January where we're bringing together provinces and territories and First Nations, Innuit and Metis leaders, along with the agencies who are involved in child welfare in this country. And we've got to find ways that children are not apprehended at the rate that they are currently. And that we find ways to support families being reunited.

CO: All right. The reason why we were interviewing Grand Chief Rich is because he had anticipated that the federal government would be at the table for this inquiry into why so many of their children are removed from their Labrador Innu communities? Two communities that there's 165 children in foster care. 80 of whom are outside of their communities. He wanted to know why you're not going to be at that meeting. Why the federal government is not going to be part of it. Why not?

JP: Well, in fact, this is a provincial inquiry that he's referring to. There's a provincial inquiry that's taking place. It's an investigation of deaths in the two communities. So we are not formally part of the provincial inquiry. But we are absolutely participating in the process. So he probably knows and I am certainly happy to affirm to you that we're supporting that process financially — $250,000 to support activities around the inquiry. We will, of course, be providing documents, responding to the recommendations, et cetera. And we're part of actually a much larger process that’s a roundtable that we put two million dollars into to address child and family services in these two Innu communities. So there's a lot that's being done that's a part of the bigger response, including committing to building group homes in each of the communities that are part of Innu Nations.

CO: The thing is is that the then Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett told CBC last summer that she expected to participate in this inquiry. That it was of a Federal level of importance that the federal government had to be there. So what's changed?

JP: Well, as I said, we are participating. It's a provincial inquiry….

CO: Are you going to be at the meeting?

JP: There will be representatives that will be participating in this. We're supporting it financially. We're there making sure that they've got the documents that they need. We will be certainly following it very closely. But it is a provincial inquiry, and they're using their provincial legislation for it.

CO: So you say your people will be there. But will you be in the room? Are you one of those people?

JP: A federal minister would not normally be at a provincial inquiry.

CO: You know this is what Grand Chief Rich is pointing out. All the problems they have the reasons why these children are removed and put into care is for reasons of that they have addiction problems. They have housing problems. They have labour problems. They have employment problems. All of which are federal responsibility. So he points out you can't have a meeting like this and discuss why these children are taken into foster care if you don't address the failure of the federal government to provide what they need to keep the children in these communities. So what do you say to that?

JP: Well, he makes an incredibly important point. And I absolutely agree that we will not address child and family services and the reform that’s necessary across the country. And we will not prevent the apprehension of children without talking about all of those things that you've said. I have said repeatedly in my new role that we need to make sure families are reunified. And we prevent the unnecessary apprehension of children. That we support prevention work, including making sure people have adequate housing and that their health care is addressed, et cetera. This is a very specific provincial inquiry about three deaths, which will be very, very important. And we will absolutely depend on the information that is acquired through that inquiry process. And we will respond to the specific recommendations of that inquiry. We we'll participate to every extent that we can appropriately participate in a provincial inquiry. And we firmly knowledge that we will not see reformation of the child and family services process for Indigenous Peoples of this country unless the federal government, the provinces, territories, child welfare agencies and First Nations, Inuit and Metis leaders are all gathered together. That's what we're doing in January to be able to look at the big picture.

CO: OK. But what he points out, and we've heard this so many times from Indigenous communities. That they become Ping-Pong balls between levels of government — between the federal government and provincial governments. That the federal government says well, this is a provincial responsibility. Child welfare that's not ours, and then the province says well, you know you're Indigenous people that's the responsibility of the federal government. All the things you're saying. There are problems in your communities. That's all federal government. We have nothing to do with that. We've seen this over and over again, Minister, that Indigenous communities become tossed back and forth between these two levels of government. When is that going to stop?

JP: Well, Carol, I will tell you you will have never heard me blame anybody else for the problems associated with child and family services. But what I will say is I'm not pointing fingers at anyone, but I'm inviting everyone to be part of the solution.

CO: If you do acknowledge that this has to be a co-operative thing between federal and provincial levels for the crisis that these communities — Labrador Innu communities are dealing with — if you're not going to be there will you have people from your department — from your ministry — at that roundtable? Will you actually put people in the room?

JP: Well, it's not a roundtable. It's a provincial inquiry. And yes, there will be federal participation.

There will be people there they will be providing support and documents, and following the process extremely closely.

CO: All right. We'll leave it there. Minister Philpotts, thank you.

JP: Thank you very much.

JD: Jane Philpott is Canada's Minister of Indigenous Services. We reached her in Timmins, Ontario.

[Music: Ambient]

Wood Buffalo

Guest: Melody Lepine

CH: Wood Buffalo National Park is home to some of the world's largest freshwater deltas, wood bison, and several waterfowl and songbirds. In 1983, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But now, scientists say Canada's largest national park is in dire need of help. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature says the park is significantly threatened by hydroelectric and oilsands development. And the UN's World Heritage Committee is now urging Canada to take action by 2018. Melody Lepine is the director with Government and Industry Relations at the Mikisew Cree First Nation. Members of her community live alongside the park. We reached Ms. Lepine in Edmonton.

CO: Ms. Lepine, how did you respond when you saw this report from this Union of Conservationists?

MELODY LEPINE: Mixed feelings: one, another sign of relief that there's another organization confirming what our community has been saying for decades that there are significant concerns in Wood Buffalo National Park. And, at the same time, you know saddened and disheartened that another indication that Canada is failing to protect you know what is an important area for our community, but also, an important area for Albertans, Canadians and the international community being a world heritage site.

CO: What is it about the park that has made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

ML: So it was designated as a site under nature, and because of these unique characteristics, such as the predator-prey relationship between wood bison and wolves, as an example. It's got one of the largest freshwater deltas in the world — the Peace-Athabasca Delta — it’s staging grounds to numerous migratory birds. And it's home to many Indigenous people, including the Mikisew Cree.

CO: What's the state of it now? What is the situation according to this report?

ML: Well, the report is another indication that you know it's deteriorating. So those outstanding universal values are being threatened by a number of different activities occurring outside of the site of. Up the Athabasca we have the expansion of the oil sands. And on the Peace side of things, we have huge dams — hydroelectric projects. And a recent one that is forthcoming is the Site C. And specifically the delta’s drying up. You have climate change, which is exacerbating and making things much worse.

CO: You mentioned the Peace River. One of the issues and cited in the report is that the Bennett Dam in British Columbia had an impact on the flow of water. And now, the belief is that the B.C. Hydro's planned Site C Dam, which has been quite controversial. What is the anticipation of what that is going to do to the conditions in the park?

ML: Well, you know that's a good question because we were asking the same questions to Canada. And through wrote the environmental assessment process, BC Hydro and Canada failed to assess the impact on the delta. So you have another huge proposed project going through the assessment stages. But not once have they ever did a proper assessment to determine what the potential impact would be on that delta. They said oh, the delta’s too far away. So they didn't include it in their assessment.

CO: Now, in an e-mail statement to Canadian Press, Parks Canada says it welcomes the report. But it says that the focus of the report is too narrow. And this is what they say that in many cases the conservation challenges stem from outside the national park boundaries, such as climate change. The report does not take into account future management actions or Parks Canada's specific responsibilities in Wood Buffalo National Park in the face of these potential challenges. What do you make of that response?

ML: It's another example that Parks Canada and Canada as a whole is saying you know they're going to do something. They seem to state goals that they would like to achieve, but we're not convinced because we don't actually see steps in action.

CO: OK. But I think what they're saying is that if, I understand this correctly, is that what the problems are — the biggest problems — are outside the scope of Parks Canada. And in the case of climate change, not entirely in the hands of the government itself, so there is nothing more they can do about the issues that are the biggest impacts according to this report.

ML: I disagree. I think Canada can do a lot of things. They can cancel Site C. They can regulate flows on the Peace and Athabasca River. They can convince the Alberta government to fix LARP — the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan. We need other departments as well, Environment Canada and Fisheries and possibly others that can work together.

CO: It’s 45,000 square kilometers. And this report done by this Nature Conservation Union — a 1,300 member organization, 10,000 experts — and they say that there has been considerable slippage. This is considerable deterioration of the park since the last report in 2014. What can this report actually do?

ML: I think it's another call to action. It's an alarm. It's a signal to Canada saying hurry up! Develop the action plan! Adopt all 17 recommendations that you UNESCO have supported and endorsed. And start to make some movement.

CO: And will it do anything to change the status of Wood Buffalo National Park as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

ML: Well, you know Canada has some deliverables to bring forward to the World Heritage Committee. You know they have a strategic environmental assessment that to do in March. They have to report on the progress they're making on the action plan in February. And if they can't convince the World Heritage Committee you know what they're doing is enough to protect Wood Buffalo then it could be listed as “in danger”.

CO: All right. We'll leave it there. Ms. Lepine, thank you.

ML: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

CH: That was Melody Lepine. She's the director with Government and Industry Relations at the Mikisew Cree First Nation. We reached her in Edmonton.

[Music: Ambient]

Gillers Ed O’Loughlin

CH: Nelson Nilsson has travelled to Inuvik to look for his missing brother. At the same time, in the same place, Fay Morgan, searching for information about her grandfather's work as an apprentice on Scott's 1910 Arctic expedition. The two meet when Fay mistakes Nelson for a cab driver, and asks for a ride along the ice road from Inuvik to Tuktoyuktuk. That's how Ed O'Loughlin's novel "Minds of Winter" begins. It's one of five books shortlisted for the Giller Prize. We're featuring readings by all the nominees, and this is the last one. Here is Ed O'Loughlin, reading from the first few pages of "Minds of Winter".


ED O’Loughlin: They were driving on the sea ice a mile from the shore, when a little brown creature ran out in front of them. It was heading out to sea, but the headlights confused it and it dithered in that beam. Nelson stood on the brakes and the car lurched to a stop, throwing face against her seatbelt. What is it she said? Nelson, who found he wanted to impress her, got out of the car and stood over the little animal. It had tried to hide under a tongue of snow. But they could both see it plainly. The size of a hamster; its fur turned gray by the veneer of snow. Nelson put on his gloves and picked it up. What is it? She said again. And he turned and held it up to her. It's a lemming. They live under the snow. She joined him in the funnel of the headlights. I'm standing on the open sea she thought. It's the Arctic winter. A month of night, and I'm standing on a frozen ocean. And that man is holding a lemming. The little rodent stopped struggling and sat quiet in Nelson's palm, its nose twitching, staring at her with tiny black eyes. She reached out her hand then quickly withdrew it. What's it doing out here on the sea ice? I don't know? He turned a full circle studying the problem. A mile to the South, the North American mainland came to its end. A low snow-covered hump on the snow-covered sea. A timber fishing cabin shuttered for the winter sat on its edge — the only visible detail. To the north, the sea ice stretched off to infinity. Its snow carved by wind into motionless ripples. But there was no wind today, just a tremendous cold. Silent apart from the idling engine. It's come from the land I guess, he said. Heading due north right out to sea. I don't know what it wants out there? To the west from where they had come, the ice road curved out of view between tons of black stubble. The willows which grew on the last Sandy spits of the Mackenzie Delta. To the east, a distant spring of light's hard and the dusk revealed their destination: the coastal Hamlet of Tuktoyuktuk. Another ten minutes and would have been there, thought Fay, instead this. She hugged herself and shivered, already missing the warmth of the car. The sky was a sad shade of silver. Turning pink in the south where the sun had tried and failed to clear the horizon. To the north, the stars held firm against the civil twilight. Perhaps it’s lost, she said. Nelson caught it in both hands.

It sniffed between his fingers. Maybe he said, or maybe it's trying to kill itself. They say lemmings do that. She'd heard that too of course. What else did anyone from London know about lemmings? But she had never expected to meet one. I always assumed that thing about lemmings and suicide was just a legend, she said. Nelson didn't seem to hear her. Having transferred the learning to his left glove, he was stroking its back with one finger. The little creature stretched out its neck as if liking the attention. Nelson smiled to himself, then looked up at Faye. I'm going to turn it around he said. I’ll let it go, pointing back towards the mainland. With a bit of luck it'll find its way back to the shore. It would only die out there. He jutted his chin to the north. Nothing to eat; nothing to nest in. That's interfering with nature, Faye thought. But it was none of her business. The Leming was his. She watched Nelson cross the ice road. Bubbles of trapped air quivered like ghosts in the black depths beneath them. At the far side, he knelt and pressed the back of his glove against the ice. Uncurling his fingers so the lemming could escape, but now it wouldn't leave his glove — clinging to the bridge between index and thumb. It doesn't want to go, said Faye. They must tame very easily. I don't know about that. Nelson scooped the lemming from his palm, propelling it headfirst towards the foot of the snow bank. Startled it vanished into its elemental, burrowing back towards the shore. Nelson peeled off a glove, took out a pack of cigarettes. If you think about it, he said. My hand is probably the only warm thing that's ever come across in winter. No wonder it liked it. They stood there together waiting to see it them and with double back bound for the sea again. And when the cigarette was finished and it hadn't reappeared, they got in the car and drove on to Tuktoyuktuk.

CH: That was author Ed O'Loughlin reading from his Giller prize-nominated novel "Minds of Winter". The winner will be announced Monday.

[Music: Spanish guitar]

CRA reactions

CH: You may recall his re-calling. Last night on the program, we spoke with Kevin Underhill, a man who single-handedly attempted to take down telephone scammers who claim that they're from the Canada Revenue Agency. By calling them back… repeatedly. After the interview, Talkback heard from many of you who have received similar calls. It seems you have a few different ways to handle the fake government agents who are trying to put you in the slammer for years of unfiled tax returns.


DAVID SHINDLER: Hello AIH. My name is David Patrick Leo Shindler. I'm calling from the Mackenzie, British Columbia. This is not a scam. One thing I've learned to do is when they call you, just ask them for their number. Just say hey listen, I'm really busy. Can I call you back? It often shuts them up to you because it's like suddenly, it's their time that you're playing on and it matters now to them.

KAREN MICHAELS: Hello there. This is Karen Michaels. I had the same message and I knew it was a scam, except that they gave me a 613 number, which I think is Ottawa, and would have been long distance. I didn’t bother. Otherwise I would have done something silly as well.

CH: Talkback getting an earful about how to punk telephone scammers. Helpful public service announcement: the Canada Revenue Agency will not call you threatening jail time, or asking you to recite your credit card number into the phone. And neither will we, although we appreciate it when you recite other stuff into the phone. Our Talkback number is 416-205-5687. You can also find us on Facebook or Twitter @cbcasithappens. Or you can email us:

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