Tuesday December 12, 2017

December 11, 2017 episode transcript

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The AIH Transcript for December 11, 2017

Hosts: Carol Off and Jeff Douglas

STORIES FROM THIS EPISODE

Prologue

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: Damming with faint praise — or loud criticism. Over the strenuous objections of environmentalists, Indigenous leaders, and landowners, the BC government announces that the Site C hydroelectric dam will go ahead.

JD: Capital idea — lower-case response. Exactly zero EU member states agree that Jerusalem should be named the capital of Israel, but the country's former foreign affairs minister, Tzipi Livni, believes it presents new opportunities for peace.

CO: O ye of limber faith. Despite multiple accusations that he dated and sexually assaulted teenage girls, evangelicals overwhelmingly support Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, and our guest says that's just wrong.

JD: Bear witness. A video of a starving polar bear has sparked a global conversation about the effects of climate change, but an Inuit polar bear monitor tells us the state of that animal isn't necessarily linked to the state of the climate.

CO: Staying grounded. Climate scientist Peter Kalmus declines an invitation to a science conference out of concern for his carbon footprint, and regrets that other researchers won't send their regrets as well.

JD: And...the penny drops after the penny's dropped. A UBC student is roundly praised for rounding up evidence that grocery stores have rounded Canadians out of a big chunk of change since we ditched the one-cent coin.

JD: As It Happens, the Monday edition. Radio that never thought about it before, but that makes a lot of cents.

[Music: Theme]

Back To Top »

Part 1: Site C: Andrew Weaver, Alabama vote, penny rounding

Site C: Andrew Weaver

Guest: Andrew Weaver

JD: Today, British Columbians finally got a decision on the fate of the controversial Site C dam. The project is opposed by environmental groups, Indigenous leaders, and landowners. But as you may have heard in the news, Premier John Horgan just announced that the project will continue. We're going to hear from a farmer who will be directly affected by the project later on in the program. But first, here's part of what Premier Horgan said in a press conference, earlier today:

SOUNDCLIP

JOHN HORGAN: Cancelling the project would mean a four billion dollar hit, an unavoidable four billion dollar hit, immediately, either on BC Hydro's books or on the books of the minister of finance. The consequences of that would be a 12 per cent rate increase almost immediately and foregoing very important capital projects like schools and hospitals bridges and transit and other initiatives right across British Columbia. I know that this decision will be profoundly important to many, many British Columbians, family members of mine, friends of mine will be very, very disappointed with this. But we came to this conclusion openly by ensuring that we did the best we could possibly do to have all of the issues on the table. We've done that, and we've come to the conclusion the proceeding is the best way forward.

JD: That’s British Columbia Premier John Horgan announcing today that the Site C dam will go forward. Andrew Weaver is the leader of the Greens, the party that supports Mr. Horgan's government. We reached Mr. Weaver in Victoria.

CO: Mr. Weaver, are the B.C. Greens and the NDP still hitched as of today?

ANDREW WEAVER: Well, we're obviously very, very disheartened and disappointed by the decision today. It's the wrong decision for so many reasons, but most importantly, it's the wrong fiscal decision, and the justification being used really doesn't hold water.

CO: So will you continue to support the government?

AW: Well, we have to ask a question, of course, is you know what is it we agreed to? We agreed to a confidence supply agreement, wherein we agreed to send Site C to the BCUC process. We believe that we want Site C to cancel. And we have to ask the question what is the best means and ways of getting to that outcome? Right now, the B.C. NDP have said they're moving forward with. The B.C. Liberals have been gung-ho on site C, and it's only been the B.C. Greens holding both now the NDP and Liberals to account on this fiscally reckless decision. The question we have is does an election actually get us to the means that we want? It’s not clear to me if it does, and I think we have a much stronger position actually holding government to account on this particular issue.

CO: Before we go on through to what Site C represents and that debate, let's finish with this. Because if you do withdraw your support the NDP, the government collapses, doesn't it?

AW: Yes, so if we if we decided to put it in a non-confidence vote by when the February budget is tabled, there would be a new election shortly thereafter. You know we just had an election last May; this would be less than a year after an election. I'm not sure British Columbians want to go to the polls again. I'm not sure that you know it's the type of signal we want to give is that British Columbia is an unstable pace for government. We've said that we would work with whoever was in government or if we form government, we'd work with opposition parties. We're committed to doing that, and we realise that sometimes things don't go our way it doesn't mean we give up. It means we work harder and that's the position we're taking.

CO: But how do you stay in the same room with them? I mean you campaigned against Site C. You're totally opposed to it. Your supporters are depending on you to carry that torch, and you are saying well, we're going to stay with the NDP because it's not expedient to go to the polls right now?

AW: It's actually more difficult than that. The question should be asked of the NDP how does their caucus state together because many of their caucus members campaigned on stopping it? There is a lot of turmoil within the B.C. NDP. The B.C. Greens believe in stability. We have said the same thing. I mean the track record is there. Since 2013 I first raised the folly of moving forward with Site C because of the fact that its costs are going up. Back in 2010, it was five billion dollars. Now, today it’s 10.7-billion, and we've had you know every year, every time we open the newspaper, another billion dollars seems to be added to the costs. It's our own Muskrat Falls here in B.C. While at the same time, the other renewables are plummeting. We have our heads high, we can walk into any room proudly and say that we've continued to speak based on principle and evidence, and you know it was unfortunate the B.C. NDP, essentially, made the decision. It goes down to the fact that they cynically remove the tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges as an election promise. Without checking with credit ratings, without checking with finance experts, which transferred 4.7-billion dollars of ratepayer-supported debt onto provincial taxpayer supported debt, and that meant that there was no more room for increased debt without a credit rating hike. So if they canceled Site C, that four billion dollars would have come on debt, and we'd have a credit rating drop.

CO: But is that not all true? I mean this is what Premier John Horgan is saying. He says that it never should have been started. Site C should never have happened, but to cancel would add four billion dollars to the debt. He even itemizes what you potentially lose: 66 schools, or 11 hospitals, or 12 highway projects, and he can't in good conscience do that to the people of British Columbia. Do disagree with that?

AW: Yeah, no. That argument is so shallow. It's annoying that it's so shallow. Look, the B.C. government removed the tolls on two bridges here and transferred 4.7-billion dollars of debt to the province without blinking. 4.7-billion dollars — fiscally reckless taking that debt onto the province! The same arguments could and should have been used then about schools and hospitals. The reality is those tolls were there for a reason; it was user-pay; it got the debt off the books. Now with Site C, they're essentially arguing we need to pay 10 billion dollars and lose money every single year that Site C is operating as we sell this electricity on the spot market for a fraction of what it costs to produce in order for us to keep debt off the books. It is the most bizarre form of accounting you could possibly come up with.

CO: OK, you’re presenting a principled statement here. But what the government is now faced with is pragmatic politics are they not? I mean in the end, you are a politician as well. You can see that there are pragmatic decisions that have to be made — difficult ones. Is that not what Mr. Horgan is doing?

AW: No, the difficult right decision would be to say we made a mistake on removing the tolls on the Port Mann and the Golden Ears bridges because that transferred 4.7-billion dollars onto the provincial books. And, at the same, time we've lost hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue. And that we should not proceed with Site C because it is some of the most expensive way of producing power. We can produce power incrementally across British Columbia partnership with First Nations as we need it, on a timely basis, in a much cheaper way, and will continue to build those schools and hospitals because we won't have made that decision on Golden Ears and Port Mann. That is the principled, the bold, decision that would allow us to move forward. What is done here is populist crass policy — politics at its very worst. It’s about vote-buying with removing tolls. And it's about pretending to blame a previous government because the present government does not have the courage to do what is right.

CO: You sound very passionate about this. You have always sounded passionate about this. You campaigned with passion on Site C. So again, you have talked about the turmoil among the NDP members in the cabinet there. How can you sit in the same room? How can you keep supporting this government and continue in this coalition?

AW: We’re in a minority government, not a coalition. I'm an adult, and as an adult, I believe that adults need to sit in the room. They can agree to disagree, and they can express their opinions, but at the end of the day, British Columbians voted us to actually govern. They did not vote for us to continue to play politics on a daily basis, and we will continue to work with whoever happens to be in office at the time to ensure that we advocate for the things we believe are important, and we hold government to account on areas that they don't. I think it's, frankly, refreshing that we can actually agree to disagree, that we can sit in the same room when we can look them in the eye and say you're wrong on this, and we know you're wrong and you know you're wrong. And at the end of the day, we can go home and sleep well.

CO: All right. We'll be following this, Mr Weaver. Thank you.

AW: Pleasure. Thank you.

JD: That was Andrew Weaver, the leader of the Green party in British Columbia. We reached him in Victoria.

[Music: Jazz]

Alabama vote

Guest: William Brewbaker

JD: Tomorrow, the people of Alabama go to the polls to fill the Senate seat left vacant when Jeff Sessions became attorney-general. The options are: Doug Jones, a pro-choice Democrat in a largely religious red state; or Roy Moore, an evangelical judge who stands accused by nine women of sexually pursuing or sexually assaulting them when they were teenagers. It's not yet clear which way voters will go. President Donald Trump has endorsed his fellow Republican, Roy Moore. And evangelicals across the state are also proudly standing by him, as well. That fills William Brewbaker with shame. Mr. Brewbaker is an evangelical, a Republican, and an Alabamian. We reached him Tuscaloosa.

CO: Mr. Brewbaker, what has it been like for you watching this special election unfold?

WILLIAM BREWBAKER: Well honestly, it's been a little bit painful. I see some groups that I'm associated with, I’m an Alabamian, I'm a Republican, I'm an evangelical Christian, and I see lots of trouble converging around all those polls at the same time.

CO: Why do you think so many evangelicals are standing by Roy Moore?

WB: Well, I think that's a hard question that probably varies a lot from person to person. I think some of the so-called evangelicals who are standing by Roy Moore are people who may think of themselves as mildly-religious and are conservatives of a certain stripe that might not adhere to traditional evangelical beliefs. And others I think may just have become too wedded to the Republican Party. Historically, evangelicals in the southern United States have been largely politically conservative, have had some significant political influence in the Republican Party, and maybe the habit of affiliating with Republicans has caused some of us to lose some perspective.

CO: But do you think if evangelicals go and vote for Roy Moore, is it just that they're going to hold their nose and cast that vote? Or do they believe, do they buy into what they have been told, that we had someone on this show last week that was at a church with Roy Moore, in which the pastor suggested that he was being crucified for his beliefs that this is some of the rhetoric around Roy Moore. So do you think that people actually do believe him?

WB: Well, I think one of the problems that I have with that sort of rhetoric is it seems to me to be fundamentally at odds with lots of basic Christian doctrine. You know Christians believe that all people are flawed and sinful and in need of grace. And believe that political issues are by-and-large secondary issues to the fundamental problems that human beings face. And so to cast a political election as important as this one may seem to be at the moment in sort of these cosmic terms of spiritual warfare and crucifixion and whatnot seems to me to have maybe misplaced our horizons a little bit.

CO: So what do you say to your fellow evangelicals?

WB: Well, I say first of all, that whenever we find ourselves defending the indefensible that maybe it ought to be a good warning sign to us that we need to remind ourselves where our allegiances really are supposed to be. And if we find ourselves defending things that we would attack if somebody in another party or another tribe were engaging with them then I think we've lost some moorings somewhere. So I'm deeply concerned about that.

CO: But it would seem that many Republicans are really willing to go to great lengths to say that even what they know about what Mr. Moore has done and what the women say he has done that Jim Ziegler, an Alabama Republican, said take Joseph and Mary for instance. Mary was a teenager. Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became the parents of Jesus. And he adds there's just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual. That's a defense of Roy Moore and his alleged relations with teenage girls.

WB: Well, first of all, I can't resist saying that Mr. Ziegler needs to go back and check his bible again because you know Christians believe that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth. So Joseph's alleged parental relationship would seem to be a really, really odd leg to stand on. Look, I don't understand why Christians are not troubled if they believe the accusations against Judge Moore, which I find to be on the whole credible. Of course, you know there's no way to have a trial and put people under oath and all the sorts of things you might like to do in a situation like this. But you know I don't know what to say about that? Again, I think this is precisely when I said defending the indefensible a few minutes ago exactly what I had in mind.

CO: Now, polls are showing that not only is Mr. Moore still doing pretty well and lots of people believe he's going to win this election, but that a large number of women support him. One poll just a week ago four out of ten women still support Mr. Moore. And they say that they don't believe the stories about Mr. Moore. They think it's a fabricated by the liberal media, and so they're not saying that he did it, we don't care. They're saying they don't believe it even happened.

WB: Well again, I don't know how you reached that conclusion? The allegations seem credible to me. I will say that I think and look, I appreciate many of the good things he's done as a public servant in our state. I think it's unfortunate that the Democrats couldn't have found a candidate who was a little bit more moderate on chiefly the abortion issue to have run in our state. I think they could have been walking away with this election.

CO: You’re thinking of Doug Jones, the Democrat. But his position on abortion, he said I'm not in favour of anything that is going to infringe on a woman's right and her freedom to choose. So is it safe to say that you're not going to vote for Roy Moore, but you're not going to vote Democrat?

WB: That's right. You know I think there are a lot of people like me that will either do that or will write in somebody like our popular football coach Nick Saban.

CO: But you mentioned that there is this attachment of evangelical Christianity and Republicanism is something that is historic. Do you think that the end of this process of this election there will be other people besides you who question that relationship?

WB: Well, I certainly hope so. I think people have been questioning it for a while. Certainly the last presidential election and amount of so-called evangelical support that President Trump got has raised a lot of questions about that. So you know one silver lining I see in the cloud of Roy Moore's possible election to the Senate is that people may be forced to confront that very question.

CO: But then where do they turn politically?

WB: Well, that's an interesting question. I think the Democrats might have an opportunity if they can moderate some of their rhetoric on social issues, maybe there will be another party formed, or maybe evangelicals will do what I find myself doing in this election. And that is sitting out, and maybe turning our attention to something besides politics for a change.

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

WB: Oh, my pleasure. Thank you.

JD: William Brewbaker is a law professor at the University of Alabama. He's also an evangelical, and a Republican. We reached him in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Alabama special election between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones will take place tomorrow.

[Music: Cultural]

Penny rounding

Guest: Christina Cheung

JD: Ditching the penny wasn't supposed to cost Canadians a cent. The idea was that, yes, stores would take your bill, they’d round it up, or down, to the nearest nickel. You might lose a couple of cents on a purchase, but you'd gain them back on the next. It was all supposed to balance out. Or so we were told. Fortunately for us, Christina Cheung decided to check. Ms. Cheung is a 19-year-old undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia. Her paper on what all that rounding is really costing Canadians is about to be published in a prestigious economics journal. We reached Christina Cheung in Vancouver.

CO: Christina, what inspired you to investigate the economics of abandoning the penny?

CHRISTINA CHEUNG: Well, I'm a very frequent grocery shopper. And I tend to use cash because I don't have access to a credit card. So looking at the receipts after taxes have been applied, I realized that it is always a guessing game as to how the last digit was round. So I thought wouldn’t it be interesting to investigate how depending on how any items I buy and what the tax rate is like, how penny rounding is going to come down at the end of the year?

CO: The assumption has been since we got rid of pennies that it would be revenue-neutral as they say. So sometimes you'd pay, it would round off to your favor and you'd we'd be up, and sometimes it would be down, and that would it would always round off, and eventually, it would just sort of even out on its own. That's the assumption. Did you question that assumption?

CC: Yup, definitely. So looking at the 10 possible digits we have, we see that every two digits form the effects of rounding. So the theory is that as every digit has equal chance of appearing, which is 10 per cent in this case, then the net effect of rounding would be zero. But I'm sure that as a consumer, you've noticed that most prices in the stores end in either eight or nine. In fact, a study found that 82.5 per cent of the goods in a U.S. convenience store end in nine. In my research, I found 60.8 per cent of the grocery price data end in nine. This means that the potential net rounding wouldn't be zero.

CO: So that's your theory, but then you had to test it. What did you do in order to test your theory?

CC: I collected over 18,000 price data from three representing grocery stores.

CO: What does that mean? Did you do go and hang out in grocery stores and gather this data by yourself?

CC: Yup, another colleague and I, we went to the grocery store in December last year. We went down aisle by aisle and took pictures of over 18,000 prices. And then from the pictures, we would record the prices on an Excel spreadsheet at home to have a comprehensive price list.

CO: And how long did that take you?

CC: Wow! That took me roughly 6-7 hours a day throughout my winter break and into January as well. So I would say one-and-a-half months of mere price collection.

CO: OK, before we go on to what you actually learned and what you’re able to prove, this wasn't an assignment. You’re a, undergraduate student; you don't have a lot of time to play, so you did this on your own?

CC: Yeah, that's right. So last year the interesting thing was that I took too many courses for an undergraduate, but I also took up individual project, “The Penny Rounding Project” in my spare time.

CO: You don't have a lot of spare time do you, Christina?

CC: I don't.

CO: And you did this over your holidays?

CC: Yes, that's right. During my reading break and also during the winter break.

CO: I just wanted to make sure people understood that you took this on as a labour of love. And now, you collected 18,000 different price points in these stores. What did you find?

CC: Well, I found that in aggregate, consumers lose 3.27-million dollars to penny rounding. And my estimate is rather a conservative one.

CO: This is all Canadians right? This is the ones that you have looked at who use cash in grocery stores, basically, is that right?

CC: That's right. In my calculation, I factored in the percentage of people who use cash, and the number of these cash and actions that are subject to rounding.

CO: What did you do with all this information that you gathered on your own?

CC: I recently presented my paper, and I'm very lucky to say that I topped first of all finalists and applicants. And I will publish my paper later next year.

CO: You won the International Atlantic Economic Society's Best Undergraduate Paper competition. That’s right?

CC: That's right.

CO: And you're going to be published in The Atlantic Economic Journal.

CC: That's right. It came to me as a big surprise because it's a competition that usually undergraduate students who have graduated apply to. And these are students who have graduated from honours economics programs with their thesis paper. So coming with my second-year personal project independent research paper, I'm very surprised and glad at the same time that I came off as first.

CO: Well, a big congratulations, but you know what? You deserve it. I mean what you did and how you did this on your own and the initiative you took is absolutely commendable.

CC: Thank you. Thank you, Carol.

CO: So when they say when someone says “a penny for your thoughts”, they get a lot for that.

CC: Yes, I should have put that at the beginning of my presentation.

CC: Christina, it's great to talk to you. Thank you.

CC: You too, Carol. Thank you for your time.

CO: Bye.

CC: Bye.

JD: Cristina Cheung is a third-year economics student at the University of British Columbia and we reached her in Vancouver.

Back To Top »

Part 2: Jerusalem: Tzipi Livni, climate pollution

Jerusalem: Tzipi Livni

Guest: Tzipi Livni

JD: He went to Brussels with a blunt plea for the European Union. But Benjamin Netanyahu got an equally blunt response. Today, the Israel PM urged the EU to follow Donald Trump’s lead. But, the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the answer from member states was unanimous: there would be no recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, especially in the absence of a peace agreement. Tzipi Livni is an Israeli opposition member of the Knesset, and the country's former minister of foreign affairs. We reached Ms. Livni in Jerusalem.

CO: Ms. Livni, what do you think about the reaction your country's prime minister got in Europe today regarding recognition of Jerusalem as the capital?

TZIPI LIVNI: Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel is something that is important for me as an Israeli as well. But I do believe that we have another opportunity. We have the president of the United States supporting Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, but also supporting ending the conflict in an agreement based on two states of two peoples.

CO: But is that what he said? Is that what you got from President Trump?

TL: No, he said that it depends on both sides. But his speech was clear. He referred to realities on the ground, he said that the Jerusalem is the capital of the world, and frankly, Jerusalem is the capital of the Israel since 1949. It is true that this is one of the most sensitive issues in the future negotiations between us and the Palestinians. But President Trump also said that he says nothing that would jeopardize a final status agreement.

CO: Just to go back, to finish up with what happened in Europe. You didn't get any response from European countries that are going to follow suit with President Trump. Even the Czech Republic, a very close ally to Israel, said the U.S. president’s declaration is bad for peace. And that the European Union is saying that maybe we have to take charge of this peace process because they feel that the United States has made itself not a legitimate part of that process at this point. So again, what do you say to Europe?

TL: What I say to Europe is also what they say to the Palestinians: instead of focusing on the president’s declaration and feeling frustrated maybe, let's speak about the future. I negotiated in times of frustration. I entered the negotiations room as the chief negotiator on behalf of Israel in times of terror. Listen, I'm not naive to think that the Palestinians feel joy from the declaration. I understand that they feel frustrated. But frustration is not a work plan.

CO: At the same time, the issue is East Jerusalem, isn't it? And it’s the border. So is there no value in determining where that border is before you make a declaration as Mr. Trump made? Isn't that the message you're getting from the outside world at this point?

TL: Yes, this is the message that we get. Nothing changed. President Trump didn't take Jerusalem off the negotiations table. It's there since Oslo agreement. What he said is that the borders will be defined in negotiations. So let's enter the negotiations room and discuss not only Jerusalem, but all the core issues.

CO: Do you have faith in the U.S. peace initiative? This is what's led by the U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and the son-in-law of Donald Trump, Jared Kushner. They are pursuing what Mr. Trump has called the “ultimate deal”. Do you have faith in that process?

TL: I called for President Trump to fulfill his promise to make the ultimate deal.

CO: do you have faith in what they are doing? Sorry to interrupt you, but do you have faith?

TL: I hope so! I don’t know!

CO: Do you feel are on the right course?

TL: It's not about faith. It's about information. And since I don't know what's going to be in this plan you know I cannot say something with substance about something that I ydon't know what's in it.

CO: Isn't the problem that we don't know what Mr. Greenblatt and Mr. Kushner are doing? They have presented nothing. They're asking people to take on faith the process that they're in without revealing anything of what they are actually coming up with. I mean isn't that the reason why Europe is saying today we may have to take over because we don't have faith in what the United States is doing?

TL: I think it's too early to say, frankly. We don't know, I don't know, they don't know, nobody knows what they will put on the table. Now, frankly, we have also in Israel internal disputes amongst us. What are the right parameters for peace? And there are those you know that may be completely against the idea of two states for two peoples. But I do believe that there is no status quo. And therefore, I truly hope that Trump would make this step and he will put on the table will represent the possibilities of both sides to make compromises and reach the agreement. Both sides need to make compromises, Israel, and the Palestinians.

CO: Does it worry you when you see as you've seen on the weekend Hamas, Hezbollah feeling emboldened by this declaration on the part of Mr. Trump, and to see the Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat say well, we can't even go to the table until the U.S. reverses this decision?

TL: You know when we launched the last round of negotiations, we had a meeting with President Trump. And I was there with Saeb Erekat, and President Obama asked what is the best advice? And my advice was to ask Israelis and also to the Palestinians not to listen to background noises. Just to focus in what decisions we need to make toward reaching an agreement. And this is also my advice to the Palestinians, those who want to create a Palestinian state. And frankly, Hamas is not fighting for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Hamas cannot accept the right of Israel to exist for many years now. The best thing to do right now is to embrace the idea of two states for two peoples, and to isolate those extremists that would never, never, never accept anything that is connected to peace.

CO: Just finally, we hear from Donald Trump as you did, and you feel you feel this is good, you're happy about his proclamation. But, at the same time, if it's not followed up by anything concrete from his envoy and from Jared Kushner, is it possible that this declaration will cause more harm than good?

TL: You are pushing me to say something about the declaration. It's not about the declaration. It's all about not achieving peace.

CO: We'll check back with you later to see how this plays, out and I appreciate speaking with you, Ms. Livni. Thank you.

TL: OK, bye.

CO: Bye bu=ye

JD: Tzipi Livny is an Israeli opposition member of the Knesset, and Israel's former Minister of Foreign Affairs. We reached her in Jerusalem.

[Music: Ambient]

Trump accusers

JD: First, it was Democratic Representative John Conyers. Then, it was Senator Al Franken, and Representative Trent Franks. All left office over sexual harassment claims — all just last week. In his resignation speech, Senator Franken pointed out what he called the "irony" of his being forced to leave when the president himself hadn't been held accountable for, quote, "bragging on tape about his history of sexual assault." Unquote. And today, three women who've accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct held a press conference to demand an investigation. Samantha Holvey, Jessica Leeds, and Rachel Crooks recounted their experiences with the U.S. President. They're asking for a congressional inquiry into his behaviour. At least 13 women have come forward with accusations against Donald Trump, ranging from sexual harassment and misconduct to sexual assault, including unwanted kissing and groping. Here's what Ms. Crooks, who was working as a receptionist at Trump Tower when she met Mr. Trump, said earlier today.

SOUNDCLIP

RACHEL CROOKS: About 12 years ago, as a young receptionist in Trump Tower, I was forcibly kissed by Mr. Trump during our first introduction. Mr. Trump repeatedly kissed my cheeks, and ultimately, my lips in an encounter that has since impacted my life well beyond the initial occurrence and feelings of self-doubt and insignificance I had. Unfortunately, given Mr. Trump's notoriety and the fact that he was a partner of my employers, not to mention the owner of the building, I felt there was nothing I could do. Given this hostile work environment, my only solution at the time was to simply avoid additional encounters with him. I shared my story last year because it was relevant. Mr. Trump dismissed his words in the Access Hollywood tape as locker room talk. But having been the victim of such actions I knew better. I decided to let my encounter with him be known, along with the various others. Yet, our stories seemed to fall on deaf ears. Recently, the #MeToo movement has gained momentum and women have found strength in one another and the courage to come forward, leading many powerful men to suffer the consequences of their actions. Trump, however, has escaped his past unscathed. But over a dozen women have come forward about his sexual misconduct. And we have video proof of him promoting such behavior. In an objective setting without question, a person with this record would have entered the graveyard of political aspirations never to return. Yet, here we are with that man as president. I want to believe that as Americans, we can put aside our political inclinations and admit that some things, in fact, do transcend politics. That we will hold Mr. Trump to the same standard as Harvey Weinstein, and the other men who were held accountable for their reprehensible behavior. Therefore, I ask that Congress put aside their party affiliations and investigate Mr. Trump's history of sexual misconduct.

JD: That was Rachel Crooks, recounting her experience, or alleged experience, with President Donald Trump earlier today. The White House has released a statement denying the accusations. That statement reads, in part, quote, "These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year's campaign, and the American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory. The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes, and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them." Unquote.

[Music: Ambient]

Climate pollution

Guest: Peter Kalmus

JD: This weekend, 25-thousand scientists from across the U.S. and around the world boarded planes and landed in New Orleans. New Orleans is hosting the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting, an annual affair for scientists who study the earth, the sun, and the planets. Peter Kalmus was invited. He's a climate scientist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. But he turned down the invitation. Not because he's against the conference itself, but because he'd have to fly to get there. We reached Mr. Kalmus in Altadena, California.

CO: Mr. Kalmus, this is a pretty big science conference you're missing out on this week. What stopped you from getting on that plane to New Orleans?

PETER KALMUS: Well, I stopped flying in 2012 because I realized very clearly the harm that it causes to fly. And the bar was very high for what would justify a play for me, and I haven’t reached that bar yet since then.

CO: What do you make of the climate scientists who did go to New Orleans this week? What is your estimation as to how much CO2 they might have contributed?

PK: Well, the average round trip that they're making is a little bit over 7,000 kilometers, so it's roughly on the order of one ton of CO2 emissions per person. And I'm absolutely not trying to shame the scientists that are there — that’s not my intent at all. I think they're doing absolutely critical work. But what I'm trying to push for is that the planet is on fire, it's flooding, the effects of climate change are really obvious, and I think that we need a cultural shift. We have to wake up as a society that burning fossil fuels is causing real harm. And one way that we can do that is for people who really get how serious this is to start modeling change in their own lives and shifting what we view as normal.

CO: You've written that you estimate that the climate scientists who attended the New Orleans conference contributed about 30,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

PK: We took an informal survey of I think about 100 scientists, and we came up with the number of like 7,500 kilometers as an average for the round trip.

CO: Do climate scientists tend to fly a lot?

PK: All scientists and academics tend to fly a lot. I used to fly a lot myself. In 2010, I flew 50,000 miles. And that flying made up about 75 per cent of my own personal emissions. You know it's a culture of flying to conferences; it's a culture of flying to meetings. We get work done best, frankly, when we're face to face. So you know a lot of bullets fly several times a year, international trips, domestic trips.

CO: But you say that all academics fly a lot. Is your view the climate scientists should know better?

PK: That's a complicated question. I mean I think climate scientists do know better. But you know we tend to feel that you know our work is justifying or flying more and more as each year goes by. I personally feel that there's more than enough science to tell us what we need to do, which is to stop burning fossil fuels. And you know as individuals and also as a society we're not doing that. Part of the reason why, in my opinion, is it's very normalized to burn fossil fuel. So when thought leaders, climate scientists, climate activists are burning more than the average person, that sends the message that maybe it's not that serious or maybe it's too hard to stop burning fossil fuels. So I'm urging thought leaders not necessarily to go cold turkey, but to really consider how their personal actions might play into the messages that they're trying to send to society. And that they have leverage to change what we view as normal.

CO: You’re saying that climate change activists are often people who fly a lot as well?

PK: Yeah, I think recently you know some celebrity climate spokespeople and some prominent climate activists have come under fire for flying quite a bit. And I wonder what would happen if some of them made dramatic reductions and public reductions to their own fossil fuel use? A lot of people say well we need to fly to get our jobs done. I suspect that in a lot of cases climate activists, climate scientists trying to persuade the public that this is a serious issue might actually find that their messages are heard even more effectively if they reduce their own emissions.

CO: But as a scientist, you're not an activist. I mean you do have work to do for your institution for your own career. And so for you to make a decision not to go to any of these conferences to meet face-to-face and you say that you actually do get quite a bit of work done, it’s an effective way of working. So what are you sacrificing?

PK: Well, you know my career in science would frankly progress a bit faster if I flew. More people would know my work. But you know we all have a lot of roles in our lives. Scientist is one of my roles I'm also a father and a citizen. And in those roles, I feel a need to sound the alarm that this is this is more serious than the average person thinks.

CO: You said at the beginning that you weren't doing this in order to shame the other scientists. But it sounds like you are doing that, aren’t you?

PK: Well, I would say that I'm hoping to raise awareness. You know in that piece in The Guardian, I tried to be pretty careful to tell it from my own personal perspective. I can't really sleep well at night when I know that I'm contributing to this problem. So I want to be as much of a part of the solution as I can. But you know I recognize how challenging it is. Everyone is going to have their own path. You know as a group I think that we could do a little better. I think we could fly less. And I'm not convinced that our science would suffer for it.

CO: And what reaction have you had from the scientists this particular convention or any of them — any of your colleagues. What are they saying about your article in The Guardian?

PK: Well, I think it probably depends… even among scientists, there's sort of a spectrum on just how serious and urgent we see the problem. So those of us who kind of agree that it's extremely urgent are very supportive. But you know it's sort of a frontier of cultural shift so it's kind of an uncomfortable space you know not just for me, but for the group as a whole, you know? So there is also a bit of defensiveness I think. But I feel that in 10-20 years from now, burning fossil fuels gets less socially acceptable, I think this view will age well.

CO: We'll leave it there, Mr. Kalmus. Thank you

PK: Thank you, Carol.

JD: Peter Kalmus is an atmospheric scientist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the author of "Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution." We reached Mr. Kalmus in Altadena, California. And we have more on this story on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.

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Part 3: Site C: Farmer, polar bear update

NYC attack

JD: Early this morning, there was an explosion in a pedestrian walkway connecting three downtown subway lines in Manhattan, New York City. The only person injured was the suspected perpetrator, a 27-year-old man, bent on carrying out a terrorist attack. Afterwards, Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at a news conference. Here is part of what he had to say.

SOUNDCLIP

BILL DE BLASIO: Let's be clear, as New Yorkers, our lives revolve around the subways. When we hear of an attack on the subway, it's incredibly unsettling. Thank god the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals. Thank god our first responders were there so quickly. The choice of New York is always for a reason. Because we're a beacon to the world, and we actually show that society of many faiths and many backgrounds can work. And we show that democracy can work. And our enemies want to undermine that. The terrorists want to undermine that. So they yearn to attack New York City. Finally, I want to say the governor invoked that phrase we can't say it enough times when you see something say something. This is the difference maker. We've seen it time and again. When an everyday New Yorker sees something that doesn't make sense, hears something, sees a package, gets a feeling that something's wrong, don't hold it to yourself, tell a police officer. They are the ones who can take the information and act on it. It's so important to speak up because you could be saving many lives by doing so. I'll finish by saying this: this is the most resilient place on earth. We’ve proven it time and time again. We proved it just over a month ago, we proved it on 9/11, we're going to prove it again today. The terrorists will not win. We're going to keep being New Yorkers. Let's get back to work. Thank you.

JD: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a news conference this morning.

[Music: Sad piano and guitar]

Site C: Farmer

Guest: Ken Boon

JD: As we told you at the beginning of this program, BC Premier John Horgan announced today that the controversial Site C dam project is going to go ahead. And for Ken Boon, the NDP government's decision hits home, literally. Mr. Boon is a farmer who's been fighting against the project for over a decade. And now, he could now be forced to move out of his home. We reached Mr. Boon in Bear Flat, British Columbia.

CO: Mr. Boon, what does this decision mean for you and your family?

KEN BOON: Well, it's one more setback, but you know we've had a few of them along the way in the battle against Site C. And somehow our side has always managed to bounce back and survive. But I must say this is a pretty bad one. We expected a lot better out of the John Horgan NDP government. But we didn't get that today.

CO: How many years have you been fighting Site C?

KB: Well, over 10 years. And, of course, many have been fighting it longer, up to 40 years. My wife's grandfather, whose house we live in now, was involved in it right at the beginning in ‘70s.

CO: And what would it mean to you, what does it mean to you, well, it seems at this point it is going to be built. What are the consequences for you and your family?

KB: Well, we would lose our homes and most of our farmland. So you know I'd be a pretty devastating hit for us, and others just like us through the valley here. And, of course, the people of B.C. will lose out on 107 kilometers of river valley, and much of that is class-1 farmland and low elevation river valley in the far north. And that's just all going to be destroyed.

CO: How long has your family and your wife's family been farming that land?

KB: My wife's grandfather moved here in the late ‘40s, so yeah, it's been quite a while.

CO: And what kind of farming do you do?

KB: We grow a mix of grain and hay, and we have a market garden operation that we lease out our river bottom land. We also run a campground for the public, and we build log homes in our spare time.

CO: How much of that land has been expropriated for Site C?

KB: All but about 10 acres. We've basically been put right out of business here as far as farming. The campground, which actually belongs to my mother-in-law that we lease, the highway realignment would go right through to main infrastructure on that, so it's destroyed. We’d basically have no farmland left.

CO: And what do you get back for that? What's the deal?

KB: Well, they expropriated it because we refuse to sign it over. And that was actually a year ago tomorrow was when that happened. And they just paid us at the time they determined it was worth. And they did that to the other land owners in the valley here too. So that's another long drawn-out battle because, obviously, everybody thinks the price is too low. And now, it looks like the project is going to proceed that battle as well. As well as many as well as many others, such as the chosen alignment of the highway here, which was rife with problems, including going through First Nation burial site, and right by an active sweat lodge. So you know now grief is going to start all over again. And you know John Horgan has taken that all on himself. You know that was, of course, the previous government's problems. And now, it looks like they plan on carrying on with it.

CO: And Premier John Horgan said today that he can't punish British Columbians for the mistakes of the previous government. And he says that Site C should never have been built, never started. But now that it has, there’s four billion dollars of debt that would be incurred if they actually dropped the project completely. And that would do serious damage to the credit rating of British Columbia. And result in the loss of all kinds of infrastructure projects they wouldn't be able to finance. So can you see that this is a trade-off he seems to be willing to make?

KB: Well, you know and that's how John Horgan chose to paint it. You know this was a problem started by the previous government. The final report from the BCUC clearly showed that the project was not past the point of no return. And that was really what that whole exercise was supposed to be about. And John Horgan’s government said they would, in addition to looking at the financial aspect from the BCUC, they would look at the other impacts in the valley. Well, the other impacts in the valley are all horrible you know trampling of First Nations rights, loss of farmland, kicking landowners of their property, that all comes with Site C, and it's almost like they didn't put any value on that.

CO: And he hasn't said what he's going to do with First Nations. But he says that in terms of what they're going to do for agriculture, which I'm sure matters to you, that a 20 million dollar agricultural compensation fund will be contributed because of the finances of Site C. And that the Government will establish a new dedicated B.C. food security fund. Does that mean anything to you?

KB: Wow, it sounds like hollow words. The 20 million dollar fund had been already announced by the previous government. You know when you look in light of climate change sure people focus on the fact we're going to need more power. Well, B.C. is very well poised. We have all the battery storage in our existing reservoirs. What we need to do is actually build some more renewables. And then at the same time, you know we're only about 50 per cent self-sufficient in food in this province. And flooding more farmland will not address that problem. It’ll only make it worse.

CO: Can you see that you and the others who are going to lose out with Site C that you were the line of least resistance — probably the most expedient way of resolving it? I guess you were a price worth paying.

KB: Well, you know possibly that's how they're looking at it. We're just looking at it through the lens of right and wrong. You know even based strictly on a financial basis, the economics are proceeding with this project are far worse than stopping it now. And that was clearly demonstrated by the BCUC process and even afterwards in the debate that started after the final report. We debunked the arguments that were put forth. But it just seems like the NDP government has chosen to ignore that.

CO: What will you and your family do? Are you going to have to leave?

KB: Well, ultimately, if this carries on we will have to, obviously, move out of our house. We're not sure what we're going to do., and like I say, I don't know you know will this project ever actually be completed yet? You know I don't rule out the fact that it may not yet. And how that all shakes down I don't know. But right now, we're just trying to absorb what happened today. And we'll take it one day at a time.

CO: We'll leave it there. Mr. Boon, thank you.

K: OK. Thanks, Carol.

JD: Ken Boon is a farmer who's directly affected by the construction of the Site C dam. We reached him in Bear Flat, British Columbia.

[Music: Ambient]

Pot tax

JD: You know when I was young, a marijuana transaction involved subterfuge. But these days, drug deals just aren't what they used to be are they? This afternoon the Federal Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, met with his provincial and territorial counterparts to cut a deal on how they'll divy up the tax revenues once they become Canada's weed peddlers. Minister Morneau announced that Ottawa would be taking 25 per cent. Then reporters asked about his prices. Here is some of what the Finance Minister had to say.

SOUNDCLIP

BILL MORNEAU: The agreement we got to really was a statement of what our principles are. Our principles, our goals, are very much about ensuring that we get rid of the black market. And that means that we need to get to a price level for marijuana that's sufficiently low that we can get rid of the black market because we know that will keep kids more safe. Our best estimate right now is that the total final price, inclusive of GST or PST, the situation is different in each province. The harmonized sales tax will be ten dollars. So that would include everything underneath from production costs to distribution costs to excise tax to sales tax. So those things are all included. And, of course, we will work together to make sure that we're actually meeting our goals over time because that's, essentially, what we're really focused on — all of us. And you've heard from everyone. No one's here for revenue. Everyone is here thinking about how we can assure that our kids are safer than they are today? Because access to marijuana in Canada is certainly a challenge, and it is by definition, fuelling the black market and criminals, so those are our goals. We think we've gotten to a really important place today to you know, frankly, make our country safer over the long term.

JD: That was Finance Minister Bill Morneau, speaking to reporters in Ottawa today.

[Music: Bluegrass]

Polar bear update

Guest: Leo Ikakhik

JD: The video has been shared millions of times, and it has provoked an outpouring of horror and sorrow. Last Friday, As It Happens spoke to Cristina Mittermeier of the group SeaLegacy about images a member of her team captured near Baffin Island of an emaciated polar bear, struggling to walk. But over the weekend, we received a number of comments from people from Northern Canada, who objected to the image being used to illustrate the issue of climate change. Leo Ikakhik is a long-time polar bear monitor in the Nunavut town of Arviat. That's where we reached him.

Mr. Ikakhik, how did you react when you saw this video of the starving polar bear?

LEO IKAKHIK: Everybody probably was shocked to see a really skinny bear. But this is not my first time seeing something like this, not only on polar bears, but other species. I wasn't totally surprised because these kind of things happened. Mother Nature is going to do that, and you know it’s just part of the cycle. It's kind of sad to see that kind of image, but what can we do?

CO: But now, the message that was put out by National Geographic when they published this video and this is one of their photographers. They write on that: “This is what climate change looks like.” From your point of view, is that climate change that killed that bear?

LI: The climate change is not a big reason that this bear was starving. And no, I’d say this bear was sick and probably never recovered. I wouldn’t really blame the climate change. But at the same time, I'm not saying that I don't believe in that. But it’s just part of what the animal goes through.

CO: But now, this video has been shared millions of times. People are seeing it, people are deeply moved, this is for them maybe they understand what climate change might mean in the Arctic to look at this bear. If they believe it's climate change is there anything wrong with that? If they presume it's climate change or they see it as a symbol of climate change, is that wrong to conclude that?

LI: I would not say totally wrong. But in some parts it is wrong. And there could be other little thing that could happen and would affect the animal.

CO: So you're saying that there's many reasons why this polar bear could have been so sick and dying. And I think the people taking the photograph say they don't know for a fact it's climate change. But the website is saying that temperatures are rising, sea ice is melting, and climate change is killing the polar bears, that they are losing access to seal meat, and they won't survive because of climate change. Is that a fact from your point of view?

LI: When they say the ice is melting and the bears are going to starve to death I don't believe in that because I'm from the north, and so as we're speaking, you can ride your snowmobile on the bay ice as far as you can go and it’s solid ice. Probably in some areas it's melting, but the bears in open water. Not once, not twice, I don't know how many times I've seen a polar bear with an Arctic char in its mouth. A different bear with a seal in the open water. And I mean the ice is not the only place that are successful hunting. They can catch like pretty much anything, whether it’s in open water, or on ice, or land.

CO: Just if I understand, you saying that the big mammals like polar bears, they can move quickly, they can go other places and get food. From what you're seeing because from the south from as we look, we worry about the polar bears because they’re such beautiful, big animals. But you live there, what are the effects? What are the things that you're seeing that climate change is doing in Nunavut?

LI: Not only bears go through like starvation. Like even small rodents will go through this. And you know we don’t know what's going to happen. So the climate change like the ice melting and all that is not the only reason things will go wrong. For example, everybody thinks that the bears are not going to survive because of the melting ice of global warming.

CO: Why do you think the reaction of people in the south to this video why do you think it was so different than your reaction and people in the north? What’s that's the difference about?

LI: Since I'm from the north, like I would really fall for the video that it's going to affect every polar bear. It's like it's kind of hard to explain, but I'm pretty positive with that the polar bears are not decreasing, and the climate change is not really killing them.

CO: All right. Mr. Ikakhik, we have to leave it there, but I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.

LI: Well, thanks for having me.

CO: All right. Bye bye.

LI: Bye.

JD: We reached polar bear monitor Leo Ikakhik in Arviat, Nunavut.

[Music: Spanish guitar]

Old Gowns

JD: Sometimes, it pays to go through an old box of junk covered in rat poop. Because, under that crust of poop, that box of junk may actually be full of hundred-year-old gowns belonging to your great-great-great grandmother. Or that's what John Leroux and his mom discovered, anyway, when they were going through their family's summer home. It turned out those gowns belonged to his relative Mary Ann Douglass, a trained musician and opera singer from Aberdeen, Scotland, who settled in Bouctouche, New Brunswick in the late 1800s. CBC reporter Tori Weldon spoke with the family about the discovery.

SOUNDCLIP

JOHN LEROUX: One of the most interesting things we found was a neck insert or a yolk. That to me, it just looked really familiar, it's black and gold in these sort of Chevron patterns. I kept looking at it reminds me something, reminds me something. Well, the formal photograph of her and my great-great- great grandfather when they got married, she's wearing this. So it's circa 1885, so we have a photograph of her wearing this piece, which is extremely rare.

BETH LEROUX: When we got the house, and it's an old farmhouse, it needed a whole lot of things done. A lot of people said oh, you are you going tear down build something new. Well no, Johnny doesn't tear down things in New Brunswick. But we did get a dumpster because there were things we had to throw out, old toilet seats, and paint cans, and everything from way back in the 1800’s. And again, some people would have gone up with a shovel and just thrown it all out. But that's not what Johnny does. And he made an edict that nothing, nothing in the house was to be thrown out or put aside until it went through him. He’s got things categorised. But even within the family, I thought Oh, why are you doing all this? Well yes, that's what Johnny Leroux does.

JL: Now, they understand. There was one instance in this shed walking into the house there was an old rancid cardboard box. And to be graphic, it was full of probably raccoon poop. But someone I could tell would have just tossed it. But I knew there was something at the bottom, so I put on the gloves, what's at the bottom? Well, we found a 100-year-old clarinet and some surveying instruments and some old toys from the mid-19th century, which are just precious. So you never know. If you have the wherewithal to take your time, it's always worth it. You find treasures.

TORI WELDON: What do you plan to do with it all?

JL: We'll share it with people to show as a collection of how a family lived in the mid to late-19th century. It's really rare, so we have the clothing, you know books, we have pharmaceuticals they used, we have their letters, survey instruments, we have kind of everything and anything, and it just shows how a family lived. And it's really, really precious to have that. And it makes me just feel much more connected to this place.

JD: That was John Leroux and his mom Beth Leroux, speaking with the CBC's Tori Weldon.

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