Tuesday October 17, 2017

October 16, 2017 episode transcript

Note: Transcripts may contain errors. If you wish to re-use all, or part of, a transcript, please contact CBC for permission. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print. Copyright © CBC 2017

The AIH Transcript for October 16, 2017

Hosts: Carol Off and Jeff Douglas

STORIES FROM THIS EPISODE

Prologue

[Music: Theme]

CAROL OFF: Hello I'm Carol off.

JEFF DOUGLAS: Good evening, I'm Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.

[Music: Theme]

JD: Tonight:

CO: One truck. More than three hundred people dead. Since the truck bombing in Mogadishu, our guest has been treating victims. Tonight, she'll tell us what she's seen.

JD: Morneau, noon and night. After recent revelations that the Finance Minister failed to disclose an interest in a French villa, the Conservatives go 24/7 with demands for an investigation.

CO: Dr. Kitty: neither kitty nor doctor. But the 19-year-old Toronto woman who went by that dubious name is accused of practicing cosmetic procedures without a license, one of which left a woman with a nasty infection.

JD: She fought for answers, now, her colleagues will do the same. An influential Maltese blogger was killed when her car explodes. Our guest says there's no end of suspects in her assassination.

CO: Duty and the beast. Roland Hendel was crushed when he had to flee the California wildfires without his dog, Odin, who insisted on staying to protect his goats, and stunned to find Odin there to greet him when he returned.

JD: And...well, he taco-ed a good game. Okay, the game involved fajitas, but you come up with a pun, right? My point is: a Texas man is arrested, when he makes a crucial error that reveals he's stolen more than a million bucks' worth of fajitas from work.

JD: As It Happens, the Monday edition. Radio that figures: if you took the wraps, you'll take the rap.

[Music: Theme]

Back To Top »

Part 1: Mogadishu attack: Canadian doctor, California doctor, basement cosmetic surgery

Mogadishu attack: Canadian doctor

Guest: Hodan Ali

The attack goes beyond anything Somalia has ever seen. On Saturday afternoon, a powerful truck bomb sent shock waves through Mogadishu. Witnesses say the blast left devastation the size of three football fields. It also left more than 300 people dead, hundreds injured and an unknown number of people still missing. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but Somali government officials are blaming al Shabaab, the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group. Hodan Ali has been working since Saturday to treat victims of the blast. She is the medical director of a primary care clinic in Mogadishu. She Somali-Canadian. We reached her in Mogadishu.

CO: DR: Ali, we are trying to grasp the scale of this attack on Mogadishu. What does the site of the explosion look like?

HODAN ALI: The site actually looks like a place where a nuclear bomb went off. It is a totally devastated area of the Mogadishu. One of the busiest intersections, and the bomb went off at the most busy time of the day, where people are either going home or are closing up shop for prayers at 3:30 p.m. The site just looks like Armageddon — this apocalyptic image. I don't even have the words to describe how horrific it looks.

CO: Where were you when the first explosion went off?

HA: I was about probably three-kilometers away from the actual site, but it felt like it was right behind me. The strength of the explosion, I was driving away from work and it went off and you know the dust and all the debris and the wind that comes with it hit us. You know as experience teaches you in this environment when something like that happens — a bomb happens — there is usually another attack imminent to create you know chaos and confusion. The second bomb happened within about 45 minutes. That bomb was meant to go to a site close to the previous explosion, but luckily, they got detected and it didn't happen at the same site went to the site. I went to the site and it was absolutely a nightmare. You couldn’t see anything, the smoke, the fire body parts, the debris; I mean it is unbelievable you couldn't recognize anything. I mean that's a street that we pass by every day and it looks nothing like what I had seen before. I left Somalia as a child. I've never experienced a civil war and having to see this, I immediately was disoriented. But it wasn't about me, it was about getting those who were affected to hospitals and making sure people didn't die and making sure we were able to get survivors quick treatments.

CO: You say that this is something you haven't seen because you haven't been exposed. Few people in the world have been exposed to seeing this deadly. This is one of the most extreme cases of terrorism in the world in some years. So what you experience, what you were witnessing, was immense, wasn't it?

HA: Absolutely, intense and out of reality. People who lived through the 30 years of civil war were just shocked. People couldn't talk. Everybody was just disoriented and devastated. We see these things on TV. I mean I've been to some bombings here. I've been here was some of the bombs that happened, but nothing — nothing that I can actually verbalize to you, Carol — can fully describe what we have seen. People turned into charcoal. We couldn't recognize people. And the sad thing is we don't have a mechanism beyond just visual identification to identify people because of just the resources are so limited here. So families don't even know… I know colleagues who have perished there. Their remains are not even present because of the impact of this explosion. The vehicle that had exploded itself evaporated like there's nothing left of it.

CO: And we know that there are hundreds of people dead, and hundreds of others, if not more, still missing. And what we're told is that because of what you're describing, they may never find remains, they can't identify remains.

HA: Absolutely, we will never know the true numbers. We are hoping that families come forward of the missing and were able to create a registry that would give us a more accurate idea. It’s so devastating that there's nothing that you can identify practically even human remains… people that we've pulled out their bodies have just reduced to you know the size of your hands. The human mind cannot process what has happened in Mogadishu. The world needs to know that what has happened in Somalia and Mogadishu it will never be forgotten. I hope this is a turning point for this country to unite against this evil that has wreaked havoc for so many decades. This is a time that Somalia actually needs allies and friends to help us move forward. We need assistance, we need first responders, we need trauma teams to come to Mogadishu to help us at least save the survivors. Some of them have been evacuated to Turkey, Ankara. Thanks to the Turkish government, who really have stepped up in the aid of Somalia once again.

CO: In the long term, you're hoping that this at least if anything comes of this it's some awareness of what is required to stop the terrorism, to stop al-Shabaab. But in the short term, you say there was no coordinated triage because of shortages. You don't have supplies you need. What is it you need the world to contribute at this immediate point in order to help with this crisis?

HA: What we're transferring right now — the patients that we’re taking to Ankara — are patients that we should be able to manage here. But because we don't have facilities that are functional, we have empty buildings that can't really be used for anything, we can rehabilitate them, train locals to be able to provide basic medical care, train local surgeons to be able to manage these. We cannot export our wounded every time a disaster happens. We are grateful to the Turkish government. We're grateful to everyone who's assisting — who's coming — but what we need is for us to localize these types of expertise.

CO: Just on a personal level, Dr. Ali, I know for the past 48 hours, you have been dealing with this this atrocity. You've lost a colleague. You know people who are among the dead or who’re missing. I know it's personal for you as well. How are you coping with this?

HA: To be honest, I have tried to avoid thinking about it for now. I know at some point in the next few days it will hit me, and I'm hoping to seek some counseling and some help from family and friends and my faith is a big part of that counseling. I think I'm one of the privileged folks who can thank goodness you know recognize symptoms and get the help that I need. I think we need to relay that and give the same opportunity for victims as well.

CO: Dr. Ali, I admire your strength at this time and I appreciate you speaking with us. I know you're very tired. You have been working so hard without much sleep. And thank you for speaking with us and take care.

HA: I really appreciate it. Thank you, Carol. Take care.

CO: Bye bye

JD: Dr. Hodan Ali is a Somali-Canadian who currently runs a primary care clinic in Mogadishu. That is where we reached her. And we do have more on the story on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.

[Music: Ambient guitar]

California fire dog

Guest: Roland Hendel

JD: As the wildfires in California got closer and closer, Roland Hendel was faced with a very, very difficult choice: whether to force his dog Odin into the car, or leave him to stay with the eight goats it was his duty to protect. In the end, Roland made the decision to leave his dog, his goats and his home and escape. He had no idea what he would find when he returned home. We reached Roland Hendel in Sebastopol, California.

CO: Roland, and at what point last week did you know you had to leave?

ROLAND HENDEL: Really the point it became clear to me was when the winds went crazy. So the combination of seeing actual flames approaching and watching them grow bigger and ash beginning to fall that we knew we had to leave immediately.

CO: So when you're getting ready to go what kind of animals do you have, or did you have there?

RH: We have three other dogs, one is Odin's sister, and we had two cats on the property.

CO: And you had your goats?

RH: And our goats.

CO: So what was your plan for the evacuation with your animals?

RH: We did not have much of a plan. The fires had not started yet. It was a nice evening; we had been sitting out and had a barbecue that evening. And we were just getting ready to go to bed. We were aware of no fires around. There were no evacuations anywhere at the time. We were the very first to be hit.

CO: And so you saw the flames coming and you knew you had to then get out. You had your dogs. How did you get them in the car? What was the plan there?

RH: We loaded up all the animals that we could. I'm not a professional rancher. We have a little hybrid hatchback and we have a truck. And so again, we loaded up all the animals into the hybrid and I went to get Odin and you know the plan was to sort of open up all the gates for the goats and just hope for the best. At this point, yeah, we didn't have much of a plan.

CO: So without much of a plan you opened the gates to let the goats go out and try to do whatever they could to survive. And you were going take the dogs with you.

RH: Yes. I did not feel that I had time to load the goats in a trailer. I had my 14-year-old daughter and we had to get out.

CO: And what did Odin do — your dog — how did he respond?

RH: Well, he was walking back and forth in front of the goats and he takes care of them at night. He and his Sister take turns. At night, Odin won’t leave the goats. During the day, Tessa stays with the goats and Odin patrols. And so Odin walked back and forth. And when I approached, he sat down in front of the goats. And I know that look; he wasn't moving.

CO: What do you mean wasn't moving? He was going to stay with those goats?

RH: Yeah, and I wasn't taking him away. He's done that to me before when I tried to kick him from the goats at night just to give them medicine. He won’t leave the goats at night.

CO: How did you respond? Because you had to get out, you had your daughter, you needed to leave. How did you respond to Odin’s reaction?

RH: I ran and opened the gates to the pasture and I said Odin, take care of them. I’ll come back.

CO: I’m so sorry Roland. But then you had to get out, didn't you?

RH: We had to leave immediately. The cars behind us on the road had fire pouring out of the windows, just minutes after we left. It was life-and-death. But by the time we were going down the road, you could hear the twisting metal of transmission towers falling and propane tanks exploding.

CO: Oh my Gosh!

RH: I’ll never forget it.

CO: What were your thoughts about Odin at that point?

RH: Well, at that point, honestly, we were trying to escape the fire. Every direction we went seemed worse in that direction before. We went north and the fires were coming north. And so we turned around and headed south down the freeway and cars were coming in the opposite direction. You know they're coming northbound in the southbound lane, so that's not good. And we knew we couldn’t go west because that's where we came from. So we headed east and went through a suburb, that’s no longer there, and made it down south to Sebastopol. Only then did I really you know really have to face the full weight of the fact that Odin and the goats were left behind.

CO: Did you think that they could survive that?

RH: I was hoping they could. I didn't know what else to do at that point. So we were hoping somehow they were OK. Some miracle happened.

CO: And so tell us about that miracle. Because everyone who's listening is sharing this grief with you right now. What happened the next day, when you returned home?

RH: They were there. Odin was there with all the goats. And the goats came up when they saw us, running up for kisses and cuddles. They were there and I couldn't believe it. Oddie was weak, and he came and licked us and gave us kisses. He’s having trouble with his eyes from the smoke, and his fur was all singed and orange. He looked small and he was limping. And he was lying down a lot. He was clearly exhausted. And everything else was gone. Every structure on the property is decimated. There's nothing.

CO: Your house?

RH: Our house is gone, our barns are gone, my workshop is gone, my friend’s Airstream, our trucks, everything is just in ruins.

CO: But there was Odin, surviving it all.

RH: With eight goats, he didn't lose a single one.

CO: What breed of dog is Odin.

RH: They're Great Pyrenees. We got them specifically because we ended up falling in love with the goats more than we were supposed to. And it was the best way to secure their survival.

CO: And so they need to be protected from the mountain lions, and that's what Odin and his sister, Tessa, were doing?

RH: Yes, mountain lions and coyotes.

CO: But in this case, Odin was protecting them from fire?

RH: Yes, that's correct. I believe what he did was there's a large outcropping of rocks some five feet high or higher, where the goats would always play and jump around and play “king of the hill”. And it's in the middle of a pasture that the goats had cleared meticulously. And I believe what happened was Odin took them all into the middle of that rock outcropping because I can see there's a lot of droppings that weren't burned.

CO: And how is he doing? How is he physically doing?

RH: He's doing great. He got a full checkup. He was coughing a bit, but he doesn't show any signs that he's damaged his lungs badly. The worst he seems to have suffered is his paw pads are singed, and that's why he was lying down all the time. And he'll make a full recovery.

CO: You've lost everything else, but you have Odin, Tessa and the goats.

RH: And my daughter and my friends and all this compassion that we've experienced from the community. And we feel actually you know really feel blessed.

CO: well, Roland, thank you for telling us this story. And tell Odin, give him our thanks too and a big hug from us.

RH: I sure will.

CO: Thank you. Bye bye.

RH: Bye now.

JD: Roland Hendel’s home in Sonoma County, California was destroyed by wildfire. We reached him in Sebastopol, California. And if you'd like see some photographs of Odin, go to our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.

[Music: Ambient]

From Our Archives: Jessica McClure

JD: 30 years ago today, all eyes were on Baby Jessica. Baby Jessica was the 18-month-old girl who had fallen down and abandoned well in the small town of Midland, in Texas. And for 58 hours, rescue workers raced to save her. On October 16th, 1987, one paramedic, Robert O'Donnell, was lowered into the tunnel on a rope and he pulled Jessica McClure to safety. Mr. O'Donnell described the daring rescue to former As It Happens host Michael Enright. From archives, here is part of that conversation from October of 1987

SOUNDCLIP

ROBERT O’DONNELL: It was hard for me to compose, especially the first time when I went into the tunnel and tried to get Jessica out. I was unable to. I didn’t have enough room, I could barely reach her, I couldn’t even figure out the position she was in. She had her left foot dangling down in the well. At the time, we didn't have the room and I didn’t know the position of her body, so we couldn’t extract her from well at that time and that was real emotionally draining.

MICHAEL ENRIGHT: But could you touch her?

RO: Yes, I could touch her. It was real cramped when I went in to try to touch her. At first, I positioned a light best I could so I could see in there. I'd go up and with my left hand, I could touch her left leg, I could get her to move her left leg, she’d wiggle her foot.

ME: Did you talk to her?

RO: Yes sir.

ME: What did you say?

RO: Her mother had also told us that her nickname was “Juicy” she was more familiar with that name than she was with Jessica. So I did call her Jucy and she wasn’t crying any, she didn't act like she was in any pain. She was just scared, cold and was just wanting out.

ME: Now, when you found the hole was too small and you had to go back. You had to be pulled back up to the surface. You must have felt awful at that point. What did you do?

RO: Well, that was one of the most trying times. Anytime I mentioned about having to leave her in there, I would get teary-eyed and I almost cried — my voice would crackle. They had doubts about me going back in, but I reassured my chief. My MS chief was totally supportive of me going back it. The second time the hole was much larger; I was able to move around. She was in pain once in a while. She did cry some. She’d tense up her muscles while I was pulling. I had smeared the walls with K-Y jelly and I finally got her all the way into that and she finally started sliding easier. And I got her out and it was total elation. I got a little over excited and just said like great or something. I said it too loud and startled her. She jumped just a little bit, but she was just totally relaxed, relieved, more or less, gazing around at her new surroundings that she had finally been able to get to.

JD: Robert O'Donnell was the paramedic who rescued 18 month-old-Jessica McClure from an abandoned well, exactly 30 years ago today. He was in conversation with former As It Happens host Michael Enright.

[Music: Ambient]

Basement cosmetic surgery

Guest: Julie Khanna

JD: She went by the pseudonym “Dr. Kitty”. And if that sounds unprofessional, apparently it is: she’s a 19-year-old, accused of performing illicit cosmetic procedures in an unlicensed basement in Toronto. And now, Toronto Police have charged Jingyi “Kitty” Wang with aggravated assault, after a woman was injured when one of these procedures was botched. And some plastic surgeons are saying that stories like these are becoming all too familiar. And, as you can imagine, they can be extremely dangerous. Dr. Julie Khanna is a cosmetic plastic surgeon at the Institute of Cosmetic and Laser Surgery. We reached her in Oakville, Ontario.

CO: Dr. Khanna, what kind of procedure was Dr. Kitty, as she's known as, accused of performing in her basement?

JULIE KHANNA: Well, from my understanding, and I must admit Carol, my understanding is pretty limited, but I understand that she said she was injecting some sort of filler into the face.

CO: So what are these face fillers used for?

JK: There are two types of injectables we use in the face. Usually, we use something that adds volume. When you're looking at your face in rest, if you have any areas you'd like to make fuller like your lips that's when we use a filler. And then the other thing we have is Botox, which is removing wrinkles.

CO: Well, obviously, people think that it's pretty easy to do. So what can go wrong if you don't know what you're doing when you're doing let’s say start with a filler?

JK: Well, when we talk about fillers, there definitely can be significant complications with fillers. The most significant thing that we can have is where you put the filler in the wrong place. It could make you blind. When fillers are injected in the wrong place it can actually block the artery to skin and the skin can actually die.

CO: So the woman who was reported — this is how Dr. Kitty was caught because a woman was having the procedure in her basement clinic and got a very nasty infection. What do you think went wrong with that procedure?

JK: Well, there's one or two things or a combination of things that could have gone wrong. Number one, the technique for doing it wasn't clean or sterile. So the equipment being used, the preparation of the skin, the needles that were being used, weren't sterilized or taken care of properly, or weren't new. Or it could be a combination of not only that, but where the blood supply was damaged and skin blood supply couldn't heal. And then you get a higher rate of infection when the skin has lost its blood supply.

CO: How often do you encounter a patient who needs help because they have had some kind of a DIY cosmetic procedure?

JK: You know, unfortunately, Carol, we see this too often. We see it not only for injectables, we also see it for laser treatments, where these clinics are you know using lasers and going Oh, I think it works for this in treating different areas and patients are running into huge problems — and then the worst thing that I'm often seeing is, unfortunately, surgery even being done by non-surgeons without any training.

CO: Surgery! What kind of surgery?

JK: Unfortunately, I have seen everything: tummy tucks, face lifts, on lifts, anything, breast implants, having disasters after having either traveled abroad or having a non-surgeon operating on them.

CO: Do you ever ask people what were you thinking when you let someone that doesn't have a license to do this, who doesn't really have the experience to do this, cut you up or do things to your body like this?

JK: You know what Carol? It makes me very sad. I think this is unfortunately taking advantage of our younger generation, where you know they're a little bit invincible. You know nothing can go wrong with them. And also looking for price, they don't look at those details as closely, or don't understand the nuances as closely. I mean the fact that you know would you consider a 19-year-old plastic surgeon? You just can't do that. Most of us are 29-30 before we are qualified.

CO: And do you think that in part it's that young people there's a huge pressure to look perfect. And this is why so many people are getting surgery. You must be seeing them even in your clinic. That people believe this is a perfect look they need to acquire?

JK: Well, you know what? The Kardashians have changed a lot of things. Kardashians have also made it clear that even if you're young, even if you're beautiful, you should be getting work done. And Instagram and Snapchat, like we have to present this artificial perfect self at all times. And that's pretty scary and it's pretty hard to live up to for these young ladies.

CO: Didn't the Kardashians make what's known as “buttock injections” famous?

JK: Yes they did. And you know that's one of the things we have seen in the hotel rooms and shady clinics. People are having buttock injections with fillers and it's very, very dangerous.

CO: Describe what that is for people who don't know what a butt injection is?

JK: They're using different things to fill the buttocks. Now, the only thing as a plastic surgeon in Canada that we will use to give you buttock shape is either your own fat or you can use buttock implants as well. But some of these people are using industrial-grade silicone and injecting it into the buttock. And we're seeing huge collections of infection. We're seeing pieces of this breaking off. You can even lose a limb because those pieces can break off, get in your bloodstream and go to your arms or your legs. It's quite frightening. Those type of fillers can cause massive infections or massive breathing problems.

CO: Do you think police are doing enough to identify these as potential crimes?

JK: You know I think it's new to us. People don't know what to do with it because we're so used to living in a medical system where we trust people. If somebody says they’re a doctor in Canada, we trust that, you know? We really believe that and people are taking advantage of that. And that's the sad thing. So I think the police are starting to push more and more to get involved and to pursue this and to press charges. A lot of people feel they can't because these so-called “doctors” don't have any money, they're not going to be able to pay them anyway and they often disappear because you don't have their real name, you don't really have a real address. You know you may not be able to find them, which I've seen more than once or twice.

CO: All right, all very worrisome. Dr. Khanna, I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.

JK: Take care.

JD: Dr. Julie Khanna is a cosmetic plastic surgeon. We reached her in Oakville, Ontario.

Back To Top »

Part 2: Morneau: Finance Critic: Pierre Poilievre, Malta journalist death

Morneau Finance Critic: Pierre Poilievre

Guest: Pierre Poilievre

JD: An Italian restaurant outside Toronto became a scene of a peculiar bit of political theater today. Prime Minister Trudeau was announcing a cut to the small business tax. But the questions from reporters were all for Bill Morneau. And the Finance Minister was standing right there. But Mr. Trudeau would not give up the mic. The questions were about the news that Mr. Morneau had not disclosed his ownership of a French villa, and about a Globe and Mail report that his wealth is not in a blind trust. Here is Prime Minister Trudeau asking for questions.

SOUNDCLIP

JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Happy to take some questions from media now.

VERONICA TANG: Veronica Tang from Global News, my questions are actually for Minister Morneau.

JT: I'll take them.

VT: Okay. You got an opportunity to chat with the Prime Minister, I’m happy to be here.

JD: And the Prime Minister went on to answer. Then came this question.

SOUNDCLIP

JOSHUA O’KANE: Hi Mr. Prime Minister, Joshua O’Kane with the Globe and Mail, I do have a question for Mr. Morneau directly if he’d be able to answer one.

JT: Yes, but you have to ask a question of me first because you get a chance to talk to the Prime Minister.

JO: You know why having had these conversations with the Ethics Commissioner, why didn't Mr. Morneau put his substantial holdings in a blind trust to insulate himself much like yourself?

JT: The Ethics Commissioner works with all parliamentarians who consult with her to ensure that what they are doing meets the highest standards of integrity and responsibility that all Canadians expect of parliamentarians. And the Finance Minister followed exactly every recommendation that the Conflict of Interests and Ethics Commissioner made to him. That is what people expect of our parliamentarians and that's what they expect of our ministers.

And then, finally, Mr. Trudeau turned to the Finance Minister, and Mr. Morneau walked up to the mic.

SOUNDCLIP

JT: Sure Bill, come on up.

BILL MORNEAU: What’s your question?

JO: Why did you not choose to put your assets in a blind trust?

BM: Well, I think the Prime Minister said it well. We've got a system that encourages people who've done other things in life to come into public life. And we've got an approach with the Ethics Commissioner that allows people to lay out their assets, to listen to the recommendations of the Ethics Commissioner and then take those recommendations. And that's exactly what I did. I disclosed all of my assets to the Ethics Commissioner, I listened for what the best way to ensure I wouldn't have a conflict of interest would be in her estimation and then I moved forward and I complied with that approach to the letter.

JD: So I was Finance Minister Bill Morneau, before that you heard Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking to reporters and Stouffville, Ontario earlier today, we asked to talk to Minister Morneau too, we were told no. Pierre Poilievre though is the Conservative Finance Critic. We reached him in Ottawa.

CO: Mr. Poilievre, you heard the Prime Minister, then you heard Bill Morneau saying that he did everything the ethics commissioner told him to do. Why aren't you satisfied?

PIERRE POILIEVRE: Because Canadians don't know where their Finance Minister’s interests lie. When Bill Morneau was entering politics in 2015, the most recent filings showed that he had over 30 million dollars in shares in the business that his father founded, Morneau Shepell. He has received employment income from that company as late as 2016, while he was Finance Minister. This week, we learned none of those holdings are in a blind trust. Therefore, he knows whether he owns shares in the company, yet he won't say. He's been asked dozens of times by opposition MPs and media whether he continues to own shares in this very large corporation that is heavily involved in the financial sector, which his ministry regulates. Yet, he won't tell us whether he’s still invested in it.

CO: All right, but he says that. Ms Dawson, who is the Ethics Commissioner, has told him that he doesn't need to be in a blind trust or put his assets there because his assets are not considered to be controlled assets. And these are quotes from himself, but he said “under the Conflict of Interest Act, only controlled assets need to be in a blind trust.” She has told him he doesn't have those, and so it's not necessary. So if the Ethics Commissioner is satisfied, again, why aren't you?

PP: Well, all he has to do is make known what he does hold. We're asking him to be open with Canadians about his financial interests. He could merely respect the motion that I'm putting before the House of Commons to reveal all the documents that he shared with the Ethics Commissioner. And then that Canadians can judge for themselves.

CO: Do you see any evidence; do you see any place where there is a conflict of interest or a potential one that you are flagging?

PP: We have to know what his interests are before we can judge whether there's a conflict of interest. I've asked him if he continues to own 30 million dollars in shares in the business his father founded. He won't answer. If he can answer that question then we could discuss whether or not he has a conflict between his private interests and the public interests.

CO: He's pointing out in the clip we just heard that this is something that perhaps might discourage people in business who have been successful in business from going into public life.

PP: Well, I think you know President Donald Trump made very similar arguments in the United States, but that's not the issue. The issue is why not be open with Canadians? No one begrudges success. No one begrudges is someone doing great things in the private sector. No one begrudges having been part of an intergenerational family business. I think all of those things are great, as long as they are married with openness. Canadians have a right to know what interests — what financial interests — their Finance Minister has. And I'm asking that the minister tell them.

CO: But do they have a right to know everything? Does everyone have to disclose everything? Or isn't that why we have an Ethics Commissioner, who is to put the guidelines out. To say this is what you have to disclose. This is what you don't have to disclose. And if she is satisfied, once again, she's saying that she recommended a screen. And, apparently, Mr. Morneau has put such a screen in place: his chief of staff.

PP: Well again, according to public insider trading filings that were released prior to Mr. Morneau entering public life, everybody was aware that he owned 30 million dollars in shares in Morneau Shepell. So all he has to do is tell us now does he still own those shares? There should be no damage to him in revealing that information; it was public before he got into politics. Surely now, more than ever, the public should have a right to know.

CO: Are you suggesting that the rules should be changed to force disclosures? Are you saying that what they have now as guidelines for people like Mr. Morneau are not sufficient?

PP: Well look, I did some research today. There are junior staffers with five figure salaries in this government who are forced to put their $5,000 RRSPs in a blind trust. I think it's just a little strange that the Prime Minister would not expect the same thing of the man who has the most control over financial markets.

CO: Did every member of your Conservative government put their wealth into blind trusts?

PP: If they had controlled assets, yes they did. I know I had a blind trust and some members decided to divest. They just sold all their stocks and bonds, so they didn't need to have a blind trust because there was nothing to put in it. We don't know that that's the case with Minister Morneau, he could tell us that he sold all his shares in Morneau Shepell and that would probably end that discussion, provided he hasn't invested in a different publicly traded company. But, so far, he's not giving us any of those details. And we're merely asking him to be completely open about his financial interests.

CO: So did some of the Conservatives in your government do what Bill Morneau's done?

PP: Well, we don't know what Bill Morneau has done because he won't tell us. What we do know is that he had $30 million dollars in shares invested in the business his father founded. But we don't know if he’s sold those shares or if he still holds them. We also know that he fails to report his company in France, which holds his villa there. He was required by law to report it, and he took two years to do so. Only reporting it after journalists found the omission, so the question we have is if he missed that what else is he missing?

CO: All right. We'll leave it there, Mr. Poilievre. Thank you.

PP: Thank you.

JD: Pierre Poilievre is the Conservative Finance Critic. And we reached him in Ottawa. For more on Bill Morneau’s disclosure dust-up, and how it's affecting the Liberals’ attempt to change the small business rules, tune into “The Current” on CBC Radio One tomorrow morning.

[Music: Electronic]

Malta journalist death

Guest: Herman Grech

JD: Daphne Caruana Galizia filed her last blog post today. Within an hour, the journalist was dead. Her car exploded near her home in Malta. Ms Caruana Galizia was the country's most high-profile reporter. Politico described her as “a one-woman WikiLeaks”. Her work on the Panama Papers earlier this year prompted a national election. Herman Grech knew Ms. Caruana Galizia. He is the online editor at The Times of Malta. We reached him in the capital, Valletta.

CO: Herman, first of all, I'm sorry for the loss of your colleague.

HERMAN GRECH: Yes, OK, thank you. But it’s a shock to the entire country. I think it even shocked her fiercest critics.

CO: What can you tell us about the bomb that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia?

HG: What we know is that she just got into her car, she just drove away for about 100 meters 200 meters and the car just blew up basically. It took police quite a while to establish it was her in the car because the body was blown to smithereens basically.

CO: It was a very, very powerful explosion.

HG: It was a very powerful blast, definitely was heard around the island basically. So it was definitely intended to not maim, but kill.

CO: And her son — one of his sons — ran out to see and discovered this scene. Do you know how her family members are doing?

HG: Well, obviously, they’re all in a state of despair. People did fear the worst for Daphne Caruana Galizia because of the way she wrote. She was very, very critical of people in government. She basically threw punches and then sometimes dealt very, very heavy blows. She had a lot of enemies.

CO: But she was very critical of the government. What kinds of reporting had he been doing about government leaders?

HG: Well look, she's been writing for a good 30 years now. She's always been critical of the Labour Party, the center-left party here, and any of its exponents and supporters. But what really put her in the limelight in the last year-and-a-half where the Panama Papers. She does a whole exposé about the Panama Papers, in which some officials from the government who are actually implicated. So that put her into the line of fire. But in reality, she was even critical recently of the center-right party’s new leader. She was really having a go at him. So whoever it was, a former EU commissioner, whether it was a politician, or somebody that is just a supporter, she would just go there and get the pictures and write things about them in a very fierce way. I mean let's be very clear, she was resented by many people here. But she definitely had a very, very good pen and that she was a good journalist. So trust me, the list of suspects is going to be very, very high.

CO: There were reports by Maltese television that she filed a complaint to the police a few weeks ago that she was receiving death threats. Did she ever speak to you or your other colleagues about threats she was receiving?

HG: No, no. That's the first we heard about it, but I do know that she has received threats in the past. She’s even written about it that she’s been receiving all sorts of threats. So we don't know about this most recent threat could possibly be unrelated. If I had to put in my in my opinion about this I don't think anybody who wants to kill you would send you a death threat before.

CO: And describing her work, she was fierce, she had all these going after her through the courts, she had death threats. What was she like? What drove her to do this? To do the work she was doing?

HG: It's a good question because, in reality, it wasn't like even profitable. She was a newspaper columnist with us — with The Times of Malta — before she moved to another newspaper. But what made her really, really popular and hated in equal measure was her blog, which she's been running for the past 10 years or so. According to her, it was just a quest for the truth about trying to rid Malta of all the corrupt people. And she has been throwing punches at the government and anybody who supported the government for the past year-and-a-half, and especially this is the Panama Papers broke. But she did have so many other enemies. It's not necessarily from the government, she attacked drug dealers and you know sometimes she drew her own conclusions. I might not have agreed with journalistically, but, certainly, whatever she did, this is no way to deal with a vocal critic. We're all shocked today. It’s the first journalist who has ever been killed in Malta.

CO: And the opposition political leader is calling this a “political assassination”, pointing the finger toward the government of Joseph Muscat, and saying that this was the consequences of the collapse of rule of law. What do you say to that?

HG: I can see where it's coming from because if you look at the trust ratings in the institutions here, they’ve been on a downward spiral. As much as this country is doing well economically, if you look at the trust ratings of the police and the army, they don't have much trust from the public. So what the opposition leader I'm assuming was trying to say is that this is the result of things going into free-fall. And people feel that they can do whatever they want. This is about the fifth or sixth car bombing in about two years. That is shocking for a small island like this.

CO: And now to go after this journalist, so what effect do you think this will have on journalism in Malta? Do you think this will have a chilling effect on those who are trying to expose government?

HG: We all don't know because none of us expected this. I mean this is a brutal murder of a journalist and this is a complete attack on freedom of speech. And the Prime Minister, to be fair to him, I mean he was completely attacked by Daphne Caruana Galizia over the last few years. And he said this is unacceptable, to the extent that he's even roping in the FBI to investigate the case.

CO: Herman, we'll leave it there. Again, sorry for the loss of your colleague — this sounds really quite awful. I appreciate you speaking with us tonight. Thank you.

HG: You're welcome.

CO: Good night.

HG: Good night.

JD: Herman Grech is the online editor at The Times of Malta. We reached him in Valletta.

[Music: Classic rock]

Texas fajitas

JD: Luis V. Saenz, District Attorney for Cameron County, Texas, told the Brownsville Herald, quote, “When Mr. Escamilla reports to work the next day, he is confronted… and he admits that he had been stealing fajitas for nine years.” Unquote. There you go. Any questions? I see a few thousand hands go up. OK, so let me just back up a little bit. Who's Mr. Escamilla? Gilberto Escamilla, he worked at the Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department, in Brownsville, Texas. Seems he was in charge of ordering food for inmates. What is this about stealing fajitas? Well, one day in August, Mr. Escamilla took a day off to see his doctor. That same day, a driver called the kitchen at the Juvenile Justice Department: he had a delivery of 360 kilograms worth of fajitas — That is 800 pounds worth of fajitas. And the woman who picked up told the driver fajitas were not on the department menu. To which the driver replied something like, “Really? That's weird. I've been delivering fajitas here for nine years.” So the woman told her supervisor, and the next day, Mr. Escamilla was fired. The day after that, he was arrested. OK. Let me explain the scam he was running. It's not super-complicated: he was taking these fajitas, which were paid for by the Juvenile Justice Department, and selling them himself. In the words of District Attorney Saenz, “He would literally, on the day he ordered them, deliver them to customers he had already lined up.” Now, we don't know how much he made over nine years, but we do know the value of the taxpayer-funded fajitas he stole: $1.2 million. Oh, and if you're waiting to ask what is next for Mr. Escamilla's career, or what a fajita is, those questions have the same answer: that's a wrap.

Back To Top »

Part 3: Kirkuk: latest, poutine championship

Mayim Bialik

JD: You may have read Mayim Bialik’s recent piece in The New York Times. Ms. Bialik is the actress best known for her current role on “The Big Bang Theory”, and for playing Blossom on the sitcom of the same name. Well, last week, The Times published her op-ed entitled “Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein's World”, which followed, of course, numerous allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault against the Hollywood producer. The piece has received a lot of backlash from readers and also fellow celebrities, who have called her remarks “victim blaming”. At one point in the article, Ms. Bialik writes, quote, “As a proud feminist with little desire to diet, to get plastic surgery, or hire a personal trainer, I have almost no personal experience with men asking me to meetings in their hotel rooms.” Unquote. Well today, during a Facebook Live, Ms. Bialik addressed the criticism surrounding her piece, saying she regrets what it became. And early on, she said, quote, “The only people who are responsible for their behavior and assault are the predators who are committing these horrendous acts.” Unquote. Here's a clip from later on in the conversation, beginning with a question from The New York Times’ Bari Weiss.

SOUNDCLIP

BARI WEISS: A bunch of readers are still sort of harping on this connection that they saw you making in the piece between dressing modestly and harassment. Margie Shustack, for example, writes: “What does dressing modestly have to do with harassment? Harassment is about power.” And I think you would agree with that. What I read from you in the piece is that you personally choose to dress modestly as a personal choice because you don't want to lead necessarily with the way that you look, correct me if I'm wrong.

MAYIM BIALIK: Yeah, no, I think that's a larger point. So I appreciate you using the word “harping”, and for bringing it to my attention. Because, as I said, I'm you know… well yeah, let’s start again. I think that I will state it again, I'm pretty sure that I said it explicitly: how you dress and how you behave has nothing to do with you being assaulted. Assault and rape are acts of power. They’re not acts of sexual desire. I get that and I really do intend to convey that I understand that. What I'm talking about specifically was the culture of Hollywood. The way that women are encouraged to present themselves and the way that men encourage women to present themselves. For me, I feel protected in my industry more when I keep parts of me private than if I did not do that. That may not be true for all women. I'm not saying that makes me immune to abuse or assault. I'm not saying that the way that any woman dresses holds them responsible for being assaulted because of how they dress or behave. I'm simply stating that for some women, and I know I'm not alone, for some women, protecting parts of ourselves in terms of how we dress gives a feeling of comfort and a layer of protection, but it does not make you immune to assault. Again, I’m speaking about Hollywood, it’s a very, very specific world that I am speaking from my experience in as a person who chooses to not engage in certain ways. I am not passing judgment on women who do. I sincerely hope that people can hear me when I say that.

JD: That was Mayim Bialik, speaking during a Facebook Live earlier today.

[Music: Cultural]

Kirkuk: latest

Guest: Fazel Hawramy

JD: In the fiercely independent Kurdish region in northern Iraq, many were expecting a very long fight with approaching Iraqi military. But today, the city of Kirkuk fell quickly to Iraqi troops, and the Kurdish flag was lowered from government buildings. The arrival of the Iraqi military has led to a mass exodus from the city. Fazel Hawramy is a freelance journalist who spent the day on the outskirts of Kirkuk. We reached him in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.

CO: Fazel, can you describe what you saw as Iraqi forces took Kirkuk today?

FAZEL HAWRAMY: Well this morning, I went from Sulamaniyah towards Kirkuk. And before we reached Kirkuk, we saw hundreds of vehicles coming from Kirkuk and trying to flee from the city towards Sulaymaniyah. There were many people in these vehicles that they were coming out like children, elderly, women, Peshmerga adults, like all sorts of people trying to flee the violence and go to Sulamaniyah to a safer place.

CO: And when you say flee the violence, was there that much violence? Because it was anticipated to be quite a clash, what actually happened?

FH Well last night, the Iraqis attacked around midnight. In the south of Kirkuk, the Peshmerga fought for four hours. There were casualties on both sides, but then some of the commanders within the Peshmerga force they gave in and they let the Iraqi army and the Shiite militia to go towards Kirkuk. And that was when the Peshmerga lines fell apart, and the Iraqis advanced quickly towards the city.

CO: When you say that the Peshmerga forces sort of fell apart — those lines fell apart. This is a formidable fighting force, what exactly happened? What is it that disintegrated that force so quickly?

FH: I think it's too early to say, but it appears that in two critical points around Kirkuk, around 4:00 a.m., The Peshmerga fighters they retreated. And that gave space to the Iraqi forces and the Shiite militias to advance on the city. In the Kurdish media and the Kurdish people right now that they talk about this incident, they say that a group of commanders collaborated with the central government and they allowed their forces to come in to Kirkuk and to take Kirkuk without bloodshed. The other side says that you know if we didn't allow them to come in because the Iraqi army had such a formidable force, and the army was so strong to come towards Kirkuk. If we didn't allow them to come in there would be bloodshed in the city. So we allowed them to come in in order to reach an agreement. But right now in Kurdistan, people are talking about the betrayal of some of the commanders who were supposed to protect Kirkuk and who have been talking about defeating the Iraqi army and the Shiite militia for the last week in the Kurdish press and in the Kurdish media. But now, people say what happened?

CO: OK, so without confusing the uninitiated too much, we have to I guess explore this this rift are split between Peshmerga forces because there are, more or less, two factions are there not there? There those who are part of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and then those who are part of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. And they disagree on their relationship with the Iraqi central government, is that right?

FH: Yes, the background to this is the referendum — the Kurdistan referendum — which happened on the 25th of September. the KDP, or the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Massoud Barzani, they supported the referendum. The PUK, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, were split. One faction was supporting the referendum; the other faction was opposing it. So it seems the rifts and the differences over the referendum has been extended to now. And it seems that faction has come to an agreement with the central government to allow them to come and take over the city again, and that that seems to be what happened today.

CO: Another part of this that is deeply puzzling to those outsiders is that the United States and Canada is working with these factions who are fighting each other. I mean Canadian Special Forces are working with Peshmerga, so you have two forces, the Iraqis and the Kurds, who are supposed to be fighting ISIS, both supplied with military equipment and backup from the United States and Canada. And yet, they're fighting each other. So what does this tell us about the kind of allies that are now involved here?

FH: I think, as I said, there is a sense of betrayal from some of the commanders. Many people see the position of the anti-ISIS coalition the United States and Canada that they have also betrayed the Kurdish people. People say here that for the last three years, we've fought ISIS alongside Canadian Special Forces, American Special Forces, we've lost around 1,800 Peshmerga, over 10,000 have been wounded in this battle — and now that the battle has come to an end as a result of the sacrifices of the Peshmerga forces and, of course, the Iraqi forces. Now the Canadian government, the American government, the British government and other governments have let us down. We needed their help now. They needed our help; we gave them what we had — giving 1,800 Peshmerga, over 10,000 wounded. But today, we needed them and they weren’t there to help us.

CO: Fazel, We’ll leave it there. A lot more of this story we'll be covering in the coming days, but I appreciate you very much for speaking with us tonight. Thank you.

FH: You're welcome.

JD: Fazal Hawramy is a freelance journalist. We reached him in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.

[Music: Ambient]

NASA announcement

SOUNDCLIP

MARCELLE SOARES-SANTOS: It is that classical challenge of finding a needle in a haystack. With the added complication that the needle is fading away and the haystack is moving.

JD: Astrophysicist Marcelle Soares-Santos, describing an exciting new deep space discovery at a press conference today. For the first time, scientists have observed a kilonova explosion. The event, which was first spotted in August, occurred after two neutron stars collided in a distant galaxy 130 million light years from Earth. That is very distant! And the data from that cosmic explosion offers new information on the source of gamma rays — being, of course, the most powerful form of energy in the universe — and the creation of heavy elements like platinum and gold. It also provides the first visible evidence of Einstein's gravitational waves. Here is how Andy Howell, who is a staff scientist at Las Cumbres Observatory, described the discovery

SOUNDCLIP

ANDY HOWELL: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, two neutron stars merge together, but we only found out on Earth on August 17th, right before the solar eclipse. And we've been keeping this secret this whole time about the bust. This was really exciting because neutron stars are the hardest thing in the universe. Harder than a cue ball, harder than diamond and we really want to see what would happen if you smashed two of them together at near the speed of light? So this is like a cosmic-scale atom smasher of energies far beyond humans will ever be capable of building.

AH: When they smashed together, theorists told us that you should get these little chunks of stuff flying apart that are basically atomic nuclei bathed in the sea of neutrons. And that's how you get the neutron-rich heavy elements on the periodic table like gold. So they basically said up in the sky, there is a big a giant, explosive train wreck that makes gold. So astronomers scrambled to get observations. And about 11 hours after the merger, the supernova survey really hit the jackpot and found the first evidence of an optical transient called a kilonova, an amazing explosion associated with this merger of two neutron stars. We finally now know what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? And the answer is: a kilonova.

JD: Staff scientist Andy Howell of Las Cumbres Observatory, speaking at a news conference today. Scientists announced the first ever observation of a kilonova, an epic explosion caused by the collision of two neutron stars that produces gamma rays, and never-before-seen evidence of gravitational waves.

[Music: Movie soundtrack]

Poutine championship

Guest: Darrien Thomas

JD: When it comes to eating the Canadian culinary delicacy that is poutine, it is usually best to pace oneself. Yet over the weekend, in Toronto, competitors at a poutine “eat-off” were encouraged to do the opposite: shovel in as much fries, curd and gravy as possible. And in the amateur category, 18-year-old Darrien Thomas came out on top, eating a little over two kilograms of poutine — 4.5 pounds — in five minutes. Despite that achievement, Darrien Thomas is still able to speak. And so we reached him in Orillia, Ontario.

CO: Darrien, congratulations… I think.

DARRIEN THOMAS: Yes, thank you.

CO: What was it like to be stuffing all of that poutine into your face in front of a crowd on Saturday?

DT: It was great! It was delicious poutine. It's my second year competing. Last year, I did five pounds. This year, I did four-and-a-half. And it was just great to be in front of the crowd and eating in front of the people of Toronto.

CO: What is your strategy to stay focused in this competition?

DT: Just keep my head down and try to tune out the crowd. Because like when I was up there, it basically felt like I was up there by myself, just keep myself focused and continue to eat the poutine.

CO: And when you say eat it, you are not just eating it, you are stuffing it in your face, right?

DT: Yeah, it gets to be a little bit gross. But it’s about the competition, it’s not about being part of a beauty pageant or anything.

CO: OK, a little bit gross? I mean what is your strategy? Tell us how you managed to do to put that much poutine down in five minutes?

DT: You can do pre-chews — you squeeze it with your hands to get it all mushed up — and you put it in your mouth and make sure to use water because water is pretty important to help wash it down. And just continue to put it in your mouth. And once your body says it's time to stop, you just got to completely ignore that response and continue to eat the poutine.

CO: Let’s go back to the first thing… a pre-chew? I mean this is a dinner-hour show; people are eating, but at the expense of that, what is a pre-chew?

DT: You grab it with your hands and you squeeze it. So it sort of like mashes it up so the fries aren't as hard. So you basically do the chewing with your hands before you put it in your mouth. Your jaw doesn’t have to chew as much, so you can just swallow it down as you put it in your mouth.

CO: Now, you have a feeder — someone who's helping you, is that right?

DT: Yeah, yeah, he just brings the boxes, so I don't run out of poutine. We were lining it up with six poutines in front of me, and I just continued to eat. He’d my water would fill up my water and cheer me on, pushing me to what I did on Saturday.

CO: And you put down four-and-a-half pounds of poutine in five minutes. But this is in the ammature category. Can you imagine what it was for the pro, who won by eating more than 20 pounds of poutine?

DT: Yeah, your stomach would definitely be at max capacity then. But Carmen Cincotti, he's been doing it for a couple of years, he's had a lot of experience. And I imagine when I'm at the amount of experience that he has, I could hopefully do as much as he does and push to win that contest.

CO: For people I mean you know this radio, they can't see you. But you're not a big guy, are you? I mean you're pretty scrawny, in fact.

DT: It's like me and Carmen Cincotti, we’re basically the exact same size. same with like Matt. It's usually the guy with smaller statures that can get the poutine down because your stomach can expand a lot better. It’s usually the smaller guys that get the larger amount of food down.

CO: What's your theory on that? I mean bigger guys have bigger guts, don’t they not?

DT: Yeah, we're going to have like basically the same sized stomach. It’s just like the layer of fat that’s going to stop your stomach from naturally expanding. So that's been theories going around that the skinnier guys don't have that layer of fat, so their stomach can expand.

CO: Now what gets somebody into competitive eating?

DT: Well, it was weird like this one contest in Barrie. I was chosen out of the crowd the day of, and I went up there and I did 14 slices — three-and-a-half pizzas — in 12 minutes. And it's pretty weird because that day, just like an hour before, I had lunch and then I went up there in a three-and-a-half pizzas in 12 minutes.

CO: And the rest is history.

DT: Yeah, it's all good after. Like last year, I entered in on a Facebook contest to see if I could compete last year and I came in third place. And then this year, they asked me to come back and I ended up winning with four-and-a-half pounds.

CO: What does your mom think of these championships?

DT: Well, my mother, she finds it a little bit gross. But she's also my biggest supporter. Like she can tell it’s something that I'm good at. At the end of the day, she wants for support stuff that I'm good and she can tell that I'm having fun up there. It's not something everybody can do, my mom finds a little the gross, but she's also very supportive.

CO: She probably remembers when you would pre-chew your food at a much earlier age when you were a baby.

DT: Yeah, I guess it's a similar technique. So I guess I've been doing that for a lot longer. That’s a good analogy.

CO: All right. Darrien, good luck with your career as a competitive food eater, but thanks for speaking with us.

DT: Yes. Thank you.

CO: Bye.

DT: Bye.

JD: We reached Darrien Thomas in Orillia, Ontario.

[Music: Hip-hop¸

Sean Hughes obit

JD: “I matured very late in life.” Sean Hughes told The Guardian newspaper back in 2012. “I was blocking things out with drink. But you have to come to all these places on your own.” The Irish comedian and former panelist on the popular BBC game show “Never Mind the Buzzcocks” died today. He was undergoing treatment for liver cirrhosis. He was 51-years-old. Mr Hughes — who at the age of 24, was the youngest comedian to win the coveted Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards — joked about pushing his body to hedonistic limits in his earlier days. But late in life, he ditched cigarettes, he became a vegetarian and he gave up drinking entirely… at least for a time.

JD: He said “I knew I was drinking too much when I had to be put out at a party. I don't mean I was asked to leave… my jacket was on fire.” And he also touched on his own mortality and his stand up as he did in this set, recorded last year at Dublin's Project Arts Centre for “Comedy Showcase”, a program on Ireland's national public radio RTE.

SOUNDCLIP

SEAN HUGHES: So I'm at the age now where I could die, I probably won't. But I could have a heart attack. It'll be sad, but you go he’s 50, he drank and smoked. It's not like James Dean, it’s not young you know? But because I’m 50 I've actually made a will, and I've got a house in London where the shops are and no mortgage — they’re quite expensive. I've left the house in my will to Shelter the Homeless Charity. What a weird ummm! I’ve also in the will, but had the stipulation that homeless people have to live there as well. I find right-wing papers always do that thing about I don't give money to the homeless because they only spend it on booze and drugs. If I lived in an alleyway that's how I'd spend my money as well, just to take the edge off somewhat. If someone so gave me £50 I wouldn't be going you sell some quiche? But my idea basically is homeless people — people who take drugs and stuff — I think we're all addicts. I really do. Because basically I quit drinking and smoking for two years and I was so condescending to people. All you do is substitute one addiction for another. I mean look at you drinking there, you've got no control over your life whatsoever. I’m on my third decaf soy latte of the day with a big family of maltesers, where’s you control? I'll tell you why they say this: it's because we've got two sides of our brain. You've got common sense and we got mumbojumbo. And they battle with each other every day, making decisions. Mumbojumbo is a lot more fun, but it gets you into trouble. I've known her since I was 12, how I started comedy I was 14. And mumbojumbo said to me Hey Sean, why don't you pretend to be Australian today? I went that sounds like a great idea! And I like “Neighbors” — I still do to be fair. So I know all the lingo. I know they call crisps “chips”, and so I went into this newsagents and I went could I have some chips please, mate? He went this is newsagent's, what are you talking about? Chip shops up the road. Naw mate, the chips — salt and Vinegar chips. I’d like some salt and vinegar chips, mate. And we had a big discussion for about 20 minutes — I stayed in character. He was talking about French fries and all that. And, eventually, we came to pass and then it gave me the crisp. And I went thanks for the chips, mate. And I gave him the money and gave him change and he how's your brother by the way, Sean?

JD: That was stand-up comic and BBC presenter Sean Hughes, performing last year in Dublin. Mr. Hughes died today. He was 51-years-old.

Back To Top »

CBC would like to acknowledge the support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.