Friday October 20, 2017

October 19, 2017 episode transcript

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The AIH Transcript for October 19, 2017

Hosts: Carol Off and Jeff Douglas



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: The problem is as clear as the product. Critics say companies pay next to nothing to bottle hundreds-of-millions-of-litres of Michigan groundwater. And now a state lawmaker says it's time for them to pay the piper.

JD: Unthinkable and inexplicable. Ferney, British Columbia is grieving for three men killed after an ammonia leak at the local arena. Our guest says that toxic gas should never have been there in the first place.

CO: The heart of the city. In the centre of Mogadishu, where hundreds of people were killed by bombings just days ago, thousands gathered to show they will not be intimidated by Al Shabab.

JD: Fewer bugs in the system, and that is a very bad thing. After studying flying insects in Germany, scientists are aghast to learn their population has plunged by three quarters over the past 25 years.

CO: Can you shuffle back on this mortal coil? Bryan Kupiak sure hope so. Not that he ever shuffled off in the first place, but it's not me he'll have to convince he's still kicking, it's the federal government.

JD: And…A dish that's made with a lot of heart — also liver but crucially, not sheep's lungs. And that omission plus a new source of innards means that Canadians can finally eat real Scottish haggis to the delight of everyone — except most people. As It Happens the Thursday edition. Radio that guesses its new guts, new glory.

[Music: Theme]

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Part 1: Michigan bottled water, former Mogadishu mayor on attack, Canada haggis ban lifted

Michigan bottled water

Guest: Peter Lucido

JD: In Flint Michigan levels of lead in the water have returned to normal. But understandably lots of residents are still not drinking it. Meanwhile, two hours away Nestle is extracting millions of litres of pristine groundwater to bottle and sell back to people in Michigan. Some say they are paying a pittance for that privilege. The company, and others bottling groundwater, have also been criticized in Canada for not paying their fair share. Well now a Republican state lawmaker in Michigan wants to change that in his state. We reached State Representative Peter Lucido in Lansing.

CO: Representative Lucido, across Michigan How much are companies like Nestle actually paying the state for the groundwater they extract?

STATE REPRESENTATIVE PETER LUCIDO: They’re only paying a permitting fee to the Department of Environmental Quality. That fee could range from zero to $5,000 maximum. That's for the first year and then two to four hundred dollars every year thereafter.

CO: So a couple hundred dollars basically a year?

PL: Yeah.

CO: But is there any other renewable resource where there is a tax on them? They’s what their argument is isn’t it?

PL: OK, well let's look at this. The state of Michigan makes royalties on gas, the state of Michigan makes revenue and royalties on oil, on timber — when you cut a tree down you pay for the timber — it doesn't really matter if it's renewable or not. It takes away from the essence of the Michiganders that actually live in this state. So by making an argument and saying ‘this is renewable that's why we tax and this one we don’t’ forget about it. It doesn't make sense when we've got infrastructure failure. It doesn't make sense when we've got lake problems, river problems, where we have contamination going on. And as a result why wouldn't they want to be a good partner in our infrastructure here and continue to do business the way we should in this state by being good partners?

CO: All right so tell us about your bill what would you like to see bottled water companies do or pay for the water?

PL: Here's the deal, with a bottled water company if you're extracting that very essence of what you're selling, we would say a gallon of water you pay five cents on. That five cents would go to a fund that's exclusively used for the infrastructure of water and the lakes that is dealing with making sure that there's other renewable — that's what it is, the water — resources that would be there for us.

CO: And if you did have attacks like that, a levee of five cents per gallon, how much revenue would you generate in Michigan?

PL: I'm going to let you know about the one permit on 1.1 million gallons a day. You would have $20 million plus, just in that permit alone.

CO: And you would make sure that that revenue stream didn't go into general revenues that would be it would remain for infrastructure projects?

PL: You can bet and rest assured that that money is going to get locked down, tied down, chained down for only one purpose and one purpose only. I would tie bar that bill to that fund and says when that money comes out it is exactly put in to this fund and only this fund, and never, never will this ever be touched other than for the purposes of the most sacred resource we have, which is water.

CO: Now Nestle argues that it is a good corporate citizen in your state. They say this bill is inappropriate — that's a quote, and says that they contribute to your state through employment, through purchasing. What do you say to them? How do you respond to that?

PL: Here's what I say. Nestle, you've been a wonderful partner, but inappropriate is not illegal. And inappropriate doesn't take care of my infrastructure, and inappropriate doesn't mean later on that if I have the re-source that water on the ground because our lakes are choked out and dead and not to be revitalized again, and there's not water treatment facility that can make my lake once again live, then I need to go re-source my own groundwater. And if you've taken it already it made a big profit and you haven't shared the partnership with us in taking that resource, then I think you're wrong and here's here's what I'm going to say. We're talking less than a penny a bottle. We're talking about less than a half a cent a bottle. Let's be sensible partner. You're dealing with a free product that is in our state.

CO: When you say a million litres or a million gallons a day it sounds like a lot, but they argue that the amount of water they take is a fraction of what water is consumed, and that it's not such a big deal, that you're exaggerating the amount of water that they're extracting.

PL: I guess that's their particular prerogative. But the reality is they're selling millions of bottles of this water in our state. So they're extracting water for free, they put it in a plastic bottle, which we've got to deal with the refuge and a lot of it's good recycling and good citizenship by doing it. But some of it doesn't end up in the recycling, it ends up in our lakes, our streams, our waterways — it's their product. They're the ones that put it on the shelf. We're the ones that are buying it. Good partnership would mean ‘hey you know what, let us pardoner a little bit into that infrastructure as it relates to picking up those bottles.’

CO: Now here in Canada there was a few efforts to do what you're doing there. In British Columbia they charges to nestle are $2.25 per million litres of groundwater that goes into bottles. In Ontario it's $500 per million litres, which is nothing compared to what you're saying — one gallon equals five cents, that's your levee. So what do you expect Nestle will do about your levee plan?

PL: I guess you got a couple options. If as citizen’s initiative I’d put this on a ballot, and I'll tell you why. We all have to live here after Nestle's done poaching the water, and I don't think it's fair, and I don't think it's right. As a citizen’s initiative I would say this, if the taxpayers that are actually putting the money into the state and living in a state and letting these businesses thrive, such as Nestle, then why wouldn't I also want to go ahead and say let them help us a little bit here.

CO: Representative Lucido, I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.

PL: Thank you.

JD: We reached State Representative Peter Lucido in Lansing, Michigan. And you can find out more on that story on our website:

[Music: Whimsical Strings]

Former Mogadishu mayor on attack

Guest: Mohamed Nur

JD: Twin blasts in Mogadishu killed more than 300 people last Saturday. More than 400 others have been injured. Even after that brutal attack however, thousands of people took to the streets of the city this week. They wore red bandanas around their foreheads showing unity and defiance in the face of al-Shabaab, the militant group suspected of being behind the bombing. Before the march the city's mayor Thabit Abdi announced, “We must liberate this city which is awash with Graves.” Mohamed Nur is the former mayor of Mogadishu. And that's where we reached him.

CO: Mr. Nur, first of all my condolences for this awful attack on Mogadishu, on your city.

MOHAMED NUR: Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

CO: What is the mood now in Mogadishu? Is there any return to normal or is it just still such a huge shock to people?

MN: There is a high tension in the mood of all Somali people, particularly the people in Mogadishu. I think they're very angry. They're very angry about what happened in the city, the number of people that has lost their lives. I think the people want action. I don't know what kind of action they want but people want action.

CO: We're talking about hundreds of people, we don't even know how many people were killed in that attack because of the huge fire. And we spoke with a health practitioner who described that she was unable to even identify bodies. And there must be that many people, everybody in Mogadishu must know somebody that went missing in that attack. Did you lose anybody?

MN: Yes, so many people, I know so many people. I know the secretary of the Minister of Commerce that lost his life, and his wife both. I know another director who was working in the Ministry of Interior. He was a colleague who came from Birmingham. I know another colleague that lost their lives, so many, a lot of students, university students — so many people. The place that the explosion happened is a very, very overcrowded road with busses, people and traffic. So I think the intention of the people that organized this kind of crime, their intention is to kill as many people as they could.

CO: I'm so sorry for the loss of of your friends.

MN: Thank you.

CO: And now you said that people are angry, they want action. They were marching in the streets by the thousands. We haven't seen these kinds of citywide movements in Mogadishu in a while. They're saying they want something to happen. What do you think that they hope that that levels of government can do at this point?

MN: Well, not only Mogadishu, it’s the whole of Somalia, and all the cities of Somalia there were demonstrations and it’s the same feeling of the people of Mogadishu. The same feeling in Galkayo, the same feeling in Garoowe, the same feeling is Kismayo. I think this explosion and this massacre of the people brought Somali people together. I think they’re united right now. With that unity they are expecting the government to take advantage of it and try to take some action that would involve and satisfy the people. And I hope that the government will take the action that the people are requesting. That means that mobilization of the people to mobilize and organize the people, and then direct this anger to al-Shabaab. If the government organizes the people, I believe that the people can defeat them easily, and can push them back from the city of Mogadishu, and any other city.

CO: And do you think it's because people are so angry and they're now getting united, that we've seen that al-Shabaab has not claimed responsibility for this attack. No one has. Do you think that that's why.

MN: Well it's definitely al-Shabaab. If you see any suicidal action, that's the fingerprints of al-Shabaab.

CO: But they've always claimed these attacks before, why do you think they have not said that they have done this one?

MN: The reason is they don't want the anger of the people. They cannot claim it. There is a difference themselves right now. Some people members of al-Shabaab are arguing that they should not claim this because it’s a disaster for their organization. So this action divided al-Shabaab itself into three different categories. So that's why they cannot claim it. Maybe the leadership wants to claim it, but so many al-Shabaab members are against this action. So I think that difference just appeared in al-Shabaab politics.

CO: And as horrible as this attack was, and how devastated people are, are you saying that you think it might be a turning point, that this may have changed things in Somalia and Mogadishu, that people are directing their anger?

MN: Absolutely, yes. This is the turning point, and I believe that anger should be directed to al-Shabaab. And I think the government should take an action that the people are requesting, which is the government should organize the people so they can flush out the presence of al-Shabab in the city. And I think if this is organized a in a way which is useful, I think Shabab will be defeated easily.

CO: The last time I spoke with you was in 2012 and you were mayor then in Mogadishu. We were talking about Turkish Airlines was going to start commercial passenger flights into Mogadishu. We've done stories about the economic renaissance in Mogadishu, the companies that were coming back, the rebuilding of this city, the opening of beautiful Lido Beach. All of these things that people were seeing their city and their country coming back to life after so many years of war. Do you think that that momentum can continue or has this attack set you back?

CO: It continues. If you have been in Mogadishu in 2012 and you know come now there's a huge difference. New buildings, new construction, new business, like big hotels, restaurants and all the things, you can see. But I think people are enjoying it but it's still the concern of security is there. And I think this is a setback. This incident is a setback and that setback will not discourage Somali people that are coming back to the country and investing in it. Somalis are very resilient and it will not scare them but it will make them strong. So I think this will unite Somali people and I hope it will be the turning point for the unity of Somalia and the demise of al-Shabaab.

CO: Mr. Nur, thank you for speaking with us and showing us that there is a little bit of light in the midst of all this darkness in Mogadishu. Thank you so much.

MN: Thank you, very much.

JD: Mohamed Nur is the former mayor of Mogadishu and that is where we reached him.

[Music: Ambient Synth & Chimes]

Canadian Haggis ban lifted

Guest: Simon Bentall

JD: There are plenty of people who think Haggis is awful — and they're right of course. It is made up of the less glamorous parts of a sheep, and yet fans think the offal-based dish is awesome. That is why it was so heartbreaking that it was impossible to import the authentic stuff directly from Scotland. Well good news Haggis fans, for this week Macsween of Edinburgh, a company known for its many varieties of Haggis, revealed that it has created a new version of the pudding. And so now for the first time in nearly 50 years Canadians will be able to enjoy an official Haggis at home. Many Scots are thrilled including Simon Bentall, who owns a store specializing in Scottish foods and goods. We reached Mr. Bentall in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

CO: Simon, why is it so important to you to get your Haggis from Scotland.

SIMON BENTALL: Well, it’s very, very important. We've been here for just over 26 years now. We pride ourselves in bringing over Scottish products. The one thing we have had trouble with all the time is Haggis because it's been banned for just over 46 years now. We do have a product but it's actually from the States, but it's not all the ingredients, but we are so excited about it because we can now increase our percentage from about 97 per cent to 99 per cent now of all the products are going to be from Scotland.

CO: So what's different. I mean because I've had Haggis, I've been at Burns night events in Canada and served Haggis. What am I eating when I have that?

SB: Well, basically there's only one ingredient, now I know it sounds gross, but actually there's been since 1971 actually both in Canada actually, and in the States, it's a ban on sheep's lungs. That's one of the ingredients, I know it sounds gross but it’s actually quite tasty.

CO: And why is it necessary to have sheep's lungs?

SB: That's been the main ingredient into the haggis itself. There's all sorts of things in there as well.

CO: I guess I don't want to know.

SB: Exactly, it’s just like sausages.

CO: Well, from my professional journalism point of view we have to know what actually goes into a haggis — a real genuine haggis?

SB: A real genuine haggis is basically. This is quite a lot of them. It's basically offal, so you got the sheep’s lungs, the heart, the liver, and things like that. And it's binded together with oatmeal and it’s got some pig salt, it's got some onions and flavors and spices and things like that. People have a little twist on it as well. It's a quite nice taste but I say to people when they come into the shop “don't mock it until you try it.” I always believe you only live once, so try foods that you may not have experienced before. So I was on business in Scotland earlier in the year, and the in thing at the moment now they've rolled them into little balls, and they roll them in bread crumbs and fry them. So they’re little balled fried things and you can actually eat them, and you know what if you didn’t know it was haggis you think “Yum,” and get some more.

CO: I'm not sure of that. I mean from a point of view of having had some experience, I would say it's an acquired taste.

SB: Well, it's an acquired taste to some people yes it is. But I always say try it.

CO: For people who don’t know the tradition, what is the origin of haggis?

SB: OK, there's two ways of speaking about where haggis came from. Being of both English and Scottish heritage, I like this method. So I’ll do first one and I'll tell you the other method as well. It's basically originated between the 10th and maybe 13th century when it was introduced into Scotland. What it was is when the English invade into Scotland itself, they took a lot of the what they called the decent meats, which with which we eat now in the butcher's shop. And all the Scottish people had to was the left over, the offal and other things that wouldn't really be fed to the other people. So they all they had was what was what was around and what was left. So that's how they reckoned that the haggis first started, and it actually became a delicacy, and then they sold actually back to the English funny enough, and it's kind of like a tongue-in-cheek haha kind of thing.

CO: Why did it become then a kind of a symbolic thing? What was it and why is it part of Robbie Burns dinners?

SB: There are quite a few national dishes of Scotland. Haggis is quite a big one. The other one is potato cakes — patty cakes in the morning time, and of course black pudding, and square sausage, which is basically like a sausage but it's square slice like a burger but a little bit thinner. Those are the basic four kind of main staple things, but the haggis itself is like a symbol. So it comes out like a big huge sausage, like a Frankfurt sausage, but a larger size and it’s kind of sliced up in little slices but in the same kind of shape and served with potato scones around the side of it and all sorts of other things as well. It’s a celebration dish of Scotland for Robbie Burns etc. It's actually it's also not just for Burns Night, Hogmanay, which is a New Year’s celebration as well.

CO: So the haggis it's going to be made specially for Canada doesn't have the sheep's lung or has altered the recipe. Can you still sell it as something authentic?

SB: We don't know yet if it has or not. I have to go into a bit more detail about this myself, so I don't know, it may have the sheep’s lungs.

CO: Our understanding is that that's what changes it's not going to have. This company isn't going to make one without seaplane for Canadian market.

SB: So that's only one of the main ingredients in the ancient times. As I said before a lot of people do a little slight twist on it. Me personally, I mean, it is tasty, I’m an ex-chef by trade, but basically our food has always been sneered at a lot of the time. But you know it just has a lot of flavor to it as well.

CO: So for next Robbie Burns day or for New Year’s you're going to have using genuine haggis to sell the people to people?

SB: Burns night yes, hopefully. New Year’s we're going to try. We're going to try, we do have haggis already here. But it's — well it's genuine because it’s haggis — but it's not like it's not the real McCoy as it were because it's not for Scotland.

CO: All right well enjoy. Simon it’s good to talk to you.

SB: Thanks. And you have a good day. Have a good day.

CO: Bye, bye.

SB: Bye, bye.

JD: Simon Bentall owns the Scottish Loft in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario and that is where we reached him.

[Music: Scottish Folk Music]

Naked mini-golf record

JD: In the realm of human endeavor some world records seem unbreakable. Take for example Usain Bolt’s 9.58 second 100-metre-dash or Flo Jo's astonishing 21.34 second 200-metre-dash. And so when an Australian named Matt, who has only ever revealed his first name, announced a plan to shatter a similarly unbreakable seeming record, people scoffed — and they also may have jeered, because they looked at Matt, and they look at his wild ambitions, and they thought they saw an emperor with no clothes. Well, today those scoffers and those jeerers have to admit the truth — Matt is indeed an emperor with no clothes, as are all the other brave souls who set out to achieve the impossible and managed it — barely, which is how they always intended to manage it. This past Sunday against all odds, Matt and his colleagues and the Young Nudists Of Australia convinced an astonishing 47 people to gather in Campbelltown, Australia to play miniature golf — naked. Now before you ask, yes I said 47, and yes you are correct, that destroys the former record of 30 people playing mini golf butt naked, set in Essex, England in 2012. And yes, this does make Usain Bolt’s record look like say, the record for longest nonstop ironing. Actually that's a bad example because Gareth Sanders’ 2015 accomplishment was breathtaking — my apologies. The point is this they said it couldn't be done, or maybe they just never considered that anyone would ever do it. But Matt and his 46 naked collaborators heroically putted their way through Mega Mini Golf’s 18 holes, and in so doing, they expose themselves to ridicule and the risk of failure, but they overcame it by exposing themselves.

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Part 2: Fernie arena ammonia deaths, man not dead

Fernie arena ammonia deaths

Guest: Lou Roussinos

JD: The community of Fernie in British Columbia is in mourning and in a state of disbelief. As you have probably been hearing on the news, three people died at the city's arena. Officials have confirmed that an ammonia leak is the cause of death. Lou Roussinos is a power engineer and a former chief boiler inspector with the B.C. government. He is asking why ammonia was even being used in that arena in the first place. We reached Mr. Roussinos in Nanaimo.

CO: Mr. Roussinos as someone who knows about ammonia in cooling systems, what went through your mind when you heard about these deaths in Fernie?

LOU ROUSSINOS: Well, first of all, I felt deep sadness for the people passed away and also their families who are mourning their deaths. I felt so sad about it. Not surprised, but very sad about it.

CO: And why are you not surprised?

LR: Over the last 20 years at least, I have done many, numerous, 100 inspections or it's more than 100, from across the country, and what I have seen — I'm 71 years old now — so what I have seen is an unfortunate decline in what we do with safety compared to what we used to do in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

CO: And just tell us how ammonia is used in arenas and how it was possibly able to leak out?

LR: Ammonia is a refrigerant, much like water is a refrigerant — a liquid that during the evaporation cycle from a liquid phase to gas phase, it absorbs heat in order to become gas. And that's called the refrigeration effect. The manufacturers of refrigerants they're all listed in a Canadian standard called the CSA B-52 — one of them is ammonia. Now just to maky your listeners understand a little bit about the potential hazard of those gases is that the CSA classifies those refrigerants in six classes. A1 is the lowest class or there's the least toxic — they're all toxic — but the least toxic and least dangerous. And then it goes to A2, A3, and then we have the B-class refrigerants which are B1, B2 and B3. So the higher the letter the higher the number, the more dangerous and more toxic the gas and more flammable the gas is.

CO: And where is ammonia on that scale?

LR: That's the question. Ammonia today is the most dangerous gas that we have listed in CSA, in the Canadian standards. The reason for that is because many years ago in the Montreal Protocol we removed all class B3 refrigerants because at that time we deemed them to be extremely flammable, very explosive and very toxic. The only refrigerant that was left, was left in class B2. And that's the only refrigerant today, that is the highest toxic, and most explosive and most serious refrigerant in the business — and that's ammonia.

CO: But here we're talking about rinks, we’re talking about hockey rinks and we're talking about places where kids go, crowds go to watch games, a lot of the public there. Why on earth would we be using something that dangerous. I mean what do you make of it? Have you ever asked that or alerted anyone to that to the possibility that something like this might happen?

LR: Well, some of us have done that, but really Carol it boggles my mind. It truly boggles my mind there is no legitimate reason today in the industry why we would use a refrigerant such as ammonia in a place where we have our children, young people playing hockey, the NHL, curling people like myself. At 71 you go curling, you don't move as fast as a 10-year-old or a 15-year-old or 20-year-old to get out of the ammonia. You’re likely to suffer and perhaps die. So it really boggles my mind why we still use such a harsh, toxic and very bad refrigerant in an industry, particularly an industry where we have public assembly.

CO: But do we use it in other things? Do we use it in hospitals or schools — I mean, in our homes?

LR: So we have made regulations a long time ago, back in the 40s in fact, where we eliminated the use of ammonia from all places such as hospitals, schools, universities, colleges, churches, theatres, movie theaters, in your apartment building, in your car. We do not use it because we know how toxic it is, even a small leak could cause death or at least serious damage to your lungs and vocal cords for many years to come or perhaps for your life.

CO: Do you think this was an accident waiting to happen then?

LR: Absolutely, absolutely. I don't know if you have the time, but I can tell you that three months ago after the election in British Columbia we have a new government. And because a person close to me works in the in your news system, in another company, I said, “Boy I wish that you could get me some how to talk to somebody through your TV organization, to get to the the premier or somebody important because something is going to happen. I've just done a few inspections lately and I'm really scared that we're gonna lose some lives.” She says “when you come back from your vacation I'll arrange something for you.” I came back two weeks ago and I have a very, very bad cold, so nothing was done. And then on Tuesday we have three people die. It is so sad to lose people. The problem is that there's so much vested interest by certain individuals in that industry to continue to use ammonia. We have fought it for years and years and years and we have a hard time convincing people to switch to a safer gas.

CO: Well perhaps this is the one that will do it. And that's it's quite alarming that you saw this coming Mr. Roussinos. I appreciate you telling us about it though. Thank you.

LR: It is truly a sad story and what it is, is that we now have an opportunity and I hope the lives of the three people are not in vain. I truly hope that before too long somebody is going to step in and make a commitment to use no more ammonia in places of assembly such as arenas and curling rinks.

CO: Mr. Roussinos I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you so much.

CO: Thank you for having me on. Bye, bye.

JD: Lou Roussinos is a power engineer and a former chief boiler inspector with the B.C. government. We reached him in Nanaimo.

[Music: Piano Ballad]

Morneau on CBC’s “The House”

JD: Bill Morneau insists that technically he didn't have to do it, and that he's never broken any rules. But today candidates finance minister announced that he would be putting his assets in a blind trust and divesting from his family-built company. The decision came after days of relentless questions and conflict of interest accusations. Opposition MPs cried foul that the minister had a stake in the Morneau Shepell pensions management fund, while introducing pension legislation that could possibly benefit him financially. Well during an interview with CBC's The House, host Chris Hall asked the minister why he only decided now to put his assets in a blind trust when he had had two years to do it. Here's part of that conversation.


MINISTER BILL MORNEAU: I had the great privilege of getting appointed to a job where I could have a really big impact and committed to the prime minister, and to Canadians, that I would make sure that my affairs were arranged in a way that was absolutely conflict free. So the only way you can do that is by respecting parliament, by working with the ethics commissioner, which I did. I think what we saw this week is some people saying maybe that's not enough. And so for me the decision to go above and beyond what she asked with a blind trust and then selling, actually divesting myself and my family's assets, that's much more than she would have expected,

but for me that's OK, because I want to get on with what Canadians have asked us to do, which is to continue doing well for them and their families.

CHRIS HALL: Some people got the sense that you don't have any choice at this point because of all the issues that have come up. You yourself said it’s become a total destruction. You actually had no choice if you wanted to continue in politics.

BM: I haven't pondered that. What I can tell you is, I sat with a team of people a couple of nights ago and I presented this idea to them. They didn't present it to me. And what did I think about in those moments? I said, ‘you know what is going to enable me to do the work?’ And I actually worried ‘Let's make sure they don't do something that makes it harder for the next person to take this job.’

JD: Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaking to Chris Hall, host of CBC's The house. And you can hear that whole conversation when The House airs this Saturday 9:00 a.m. CBC Radio 1.

[Music: Ambient Tones]

Man not dead

Guest: Bryan Kupiak

JD: We called Bryan Kupiak up, we spoke with him, you're going to hear from him in a second. We think that means he's alive. And if you happen to work for the federal government please tell your colleagues that he really needs your help, because after Thanksgiving weekend he received a surprising letter from Service Canada. We reached Brian Kupiak in Kamloops.

CO: Mr. Kupiak, how did you come to find out that you were dead?

BRYAN KUPIAK: It was after my mom's funeral. When I did the paperwork for my mom at the funeral home they made a mistake. They put my social insurance number down with all of her information. So my mom wanted to be buried in Winnipeg, so I took her from Kamloops to Winnipeg. And I come home, it was right after Thanksgiving and it was Tuesday. Tuesday I was over in the Service Canada making sure all of my paperwork was done, because I was away and all that kind of stuff right. And I get home and I get the mail and I get a letter from the government and I open that thing up and it was from the Tax Office and here it says “Brian Kupiak, the state of Kupiak, Brian.”

CO: Which means that this is what you get when you are deceased?

BK: Well that's pretty much it. So I called a government number and I talked to this gentleman his name was Mohamed, and “I said Mohamed I got one of these papers.” I explained it to him. And I said, “Can you tell me what's going on?” So he said “give me a couple of minutes” and I gave him a couple of minutes. He comes I said, “Mohamed tell me am I deceased? And he said, “Yeah, you are”

CO: He told you that you were dead?

BK: Yeah.

CO: And how did you react to learn that, that you were dead?

BK: Well, this has got to be some kind of dumb joke or something like this, right. But it wasn't, and it's been frustrating because they're just starting to change me back now. I should be all OK by November, but nobody can promise anything. So they canceled my pensions and I didn't know what else I had to start checking into driver's license, banking all that kind of stuff, if I had any bad things going on there.

CO: So how does a guy go about becoming un-dead once Ottawa has decided that you are dead?

BK: Well you know, I'm kind of a funny character. I take things to the top. I’ve put calls in to my mayor's office here, I've called Cathy McLeod, I have called John Horgan, the premier. I've called even Justin Trudeau. There's numbers you can call, so I've called and left messages all over the place.

CO: And you're calling them and telling them that you're not dead.

BK: Yeah, yeah.

CO: And has anyone called you back to talk to you about this?

BK: Cathy McLeod, I got some of these government folks.

CO: And what did she say?

BK: Her secretary has been just fantastic. I'm going through all of these efforts because I do not want to see this happen to anybody else.

CO: I mean, if you're dealing with every layer of government up to the Prime Minister, you've got all these ministers you're contacting. What does it take to get yourself out of this situation? How do you bring yourself back to life when Ottawa decides that you're dead?

BK: Actually you can't. Ottawa’s got to decide to bring you back to life. There's so many branches, that's why it takes so long.

CO: There's actually — Service Canada — somebody from that department was interviewed by the CBC and they said that “when we become aware that an individual has been incorrectly declared deceased we act immediately and take necessary actions to correct any error as quickly as possible.” Which begs the question, how often do you think this happens?

BK: I don't know but I've been told that people hear about it but I'm the first one that they've ever came across. But it does happen quite a bit.

CO: The others didn't tell anybody that they had been incorrectly deceased.

BK: Probably not, but like I say, I'm a different sort of guy and, you know, I figure I might as well have some fun with this while I'm trying to get myself back to life.

CO: What is your wife saying? What are your friends saying?

BK: My wife she knows I got a sense of humour and she knows everything will be OK because it's just the type of guy that I am.

CO: So she's not making jokes about having a dead husband?

BK: Oh, I think maybe she makes them at work or something like that. But, you know, no she's pretty darn good.

CO: And so and so your wife is being ok about it, and your friends and family are seeing the sense of humour in this.

BK: Oh, everybody is in a sense of humour and. I'm getting calls from people I haven't seen in like 30 years. It's quite funny. Oh, “you are alive right.” Yeah.

CO: It's exaggerated that you're dead. But I mean but it's not helping you get back to your pension cheque and all this stuff right?

BK: No, but they said I should be getting on the first of November.

BO: Mr. Kupiak, You sound very much alive to me. And so if that helps at all and we can get this message to Ottawa, and it's great to talk to you.

BK: OK. You have my phone number.

CO: Yes.

BK: OK. Could you pass that on to Justin Trudeau?

CO: I'm sure he's listening. And he now knows that you're very much alive.

BK: Yeah, yeah. And I'd like to talk to him, I mean, he's got a sense of humor, I can tell.

CO: Good enough. We'll do that. All right, take care.

BK: All the best to you.

CO: You too. Bye, bye.

BK: Bye.

JD: Brian Kupiak is alive. We reached him in Kamloops.

[Music: Ambient Chimes]

Man Booker Prize winner George Saunders on CBC’s “Writers and Company”

JD: The book features multiple narrators, most of them ghosts, history both real and fictitious, and Abraham Lincoln and this week it won George Saunders The Man Booker Prize, which comes with more than $80,000 and of course a great deal of prestige. Lincoln in the Bardo is Mr. Saunders’ first novel. It follows William Lincoln, son of U.S. President Abe Lincoln, and various other characters who are stuck in the Bardo, a transitional space between death and rebirth in the Buddhist tradition. Baroness Lola Young, chair of the Man Booker judging panel, described the work as witty, intelligent and deeply moving. Mr. Saunders himself has described it as having a “weird form” and being “off putting to some readers” — as was the decision to award the prize to an American for the second year in a row — off putting to some readers. Until 2013 of course, the Man Booker was open only to writers in Commonwealth countries, Ireland and Zimbabwe, and then it was opened up to authors from around the world. Still, none of this grumpiness makes the former technical writers win any less well-deserved, nor any less remarkable — in part because Mr. Saunders’ words almost didn't make it to print. Earlier this year Mr. Saunders spoke about the inspiration for Lincoln in the Bardo on CBC's Writers and Company. So here he is with host Eleanor Wachtel.


GEORGE SAUNDERS: We were in D.C. about 20 years ago, it was during the Clinton administration I remember, and my wife's cousin just pointed out this crypt and she said Willie Lincoln Lincoln's son was buried there and Lincoln was so grief stricken that he, according to the newspapers of the time, went in a couple times and somehow interacted with the body, held the body or looked at the body. And as a young writer I was like ‘oh my god that's my book.’ And then the other was like ‘no it isn't.’ I didn't think I had the chops for it actually, so I kind of just put it off for 20 years.

ELEANOR WACHTEL: You grew up in the land of Lincoln.

GS: That's good part of the reason everything was Lincoln all the time.

EW: It’s on the license plates.

GS: Yeah, I just felt like it's like writing your book about Jesus, you know, I was thinking ‘no that's too hard.’

EW: Were drawn to him as a kid? Did you read up on him?

GS: No, not really.

EW: Because I mean, Lincoln was from Springfield but he practiced law in Chicago, which is where you lived.

GS: I knew about him but I wasn't fascinated with him.

EW: I know for Lincoln in the Bardo you did a lot of research and I read a zillion books and your novel draws on a lot of actual historical material from the time of the Civil War, letters, journals official reports, some of them, real some of them kind of made up.

GS: Alt-facts

EW: Alt-facts.


GS: Uncomfortable laughter.

EW: But to get back to the ghosts, tell me about the Bardo itself. What is it?

GS: In the Tibetan tradition it means transitional state, and it's just that this particular Bardo starts at the moment of your death, and it just goes to whatever is next. So in the Tibetan tradition it would be reincarnation, in the Christian tradition it would be the judgment enactment. I departed pretty quickly from the actual textual Bardo, but in that I think that last forty nine days. And my understanding is that for most of us we don't notice it but for a spiritually advanced person it would be a period of hallucinogenic visions, some frightening, some beautiful depending on what you are into when you were alive. One of the texts I read indicated that whatever mythology you think in now that's what you'll see. So a Christian will see Christian symbology, a Buddhist will see Buddhist, if you're Kardashian fan good luck.


GS: So it’s really this idea of this idea of sort of supersizing whatever is habitual in your mind. So I think I started out thinking I'll be very factual about Lincoln, about the Civil War, about the lay out of the graveyard, about the Bardo. And at some point you're like ‘wait a minute is this a catalog or a novel?’ If it's a novel the effect you're going for is that moment at the end of a work of art where you just go ‘whoa.’ Or maybe even go ‘woah,’ you're speechless. That lasts a bit, then the analysis begins. But I think an artist is involved with that post-art shock, or whatever it is you want to call it. When I thought about that I’m like “This it doesn't really matter if it's factual, it just matters if it kicks ass basically.”

JD: Author George Saunders speaking with Writers and Company host Eleanor Wachtel. You can hear the full interview this Sunday at 3:00 p.m., 3:30 in Newfoundland, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, Mountain and Central Time right here on CBC Radio 1.

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Part 3: Insect decline, Louvre sex sculpture

House destroyed

JD: John Brown was picking up his girlfriend from work when he got a call. It was a friend telling him to get home fast, a wildfire was threatening his property. And when Mr. Brown returned to his home in Wheatland County, east of Calgary, he saw destruction. Here's part of what he told the CBC's David Gray on the Calgary Eyeopener today.


JOHN BROWN: At that point when I was sitting on the left side of the property my truck was parked a couple hundred yards away. And then I just ran and just at that point we just knew it was gone. You could see the living room and our bedroom, and the flames you could — it was just, it was unbearable. It was the worst thing I’ve have ever seen in my life. The heat, the smoke, the smell of it, we still can't get that smell out of our nose — it was horrible. But then the good stuff started to happen. That evening, somebody said that this is your dog and we went we looked at him and we’re like, “No that’s not our dog” he was just so burnt. And they said it was a male I guess, they were just having trouble and just identifying the animal because with of the burn marks. So anyways long story short, we ended up going there in the morning the next day and I just had to check. And I just had to check anyways again and we went and we saw her. I just said her name and and she just she recognized it, and I just I can't believe how much she's changed. She's only a nine-month-old puppy, but now she looks like a matted old golden retriever. But she's supposed to be white.

DAVID GRAY: So if I've got this right, you lost four dogs, but that one pup managed to get out somehow? How would she get out?

JB: Honestly I have no idea, I have no idea. I don't know if she broke through a window. She was always an interesting character. Like we always kind of — we lived on a farm so we'd always have the screen door — we always leave a little slit in the bottom so that the cats could jump in and out. And then when the dogs started doing that they started jumping through that part too, so we ended up just getting rid of that. But she for some reason would never jump through that door. She would always put her two paws on the front of it, walk backwards and pull it and kind of open it, kind of like pulling it that way. So I don't know maybe, I just I don't know. I don't know how she got out there. I don't know. I'm just glad she did.

JD: John Brown lost his home and four dogs this week to a wildfire in Alberta. He was speaking with CBC's David Gray on the Calgary Eyeopener earlier today.

[Music: Ambient Bass]

Insect decline

Guest: Dave Goulson

JD: The discovery by bug experts was very bad news made even worse by the fact that they made the discovery on nature reserves — protected land. A study released this week shows that the population of flying insects has plunged by three quarters over the past 25 years. The data was collected by amateur insect experts in Germany, but scientists say that their findings have vast implications for the rest of the world. Dave Goulson is an entomologist at Sussex University in the UK. He's part of the team behind the study. He had some alarming words to describe the decline of flying insects. We reached him in Brighton U.K.

CO: Mr. Goulson, this week you wrote that we are currently on course for “ecological Armageddon,” which sounds very distressing. Do you want to expand on that?

DAVE GOULSON: It does sound pretty melodramatic doesn't it? But I think it would appear to be true, and I think we need to help and take notice. I've been involved in this study that was published today, which is based on 27 years of insect sampling across Germany. And it basically shows that the inside population is full by about 75 per cent in a 27 year period. And a lot of people might think ‘well that's not such a bad thing really,’ insects are horrible, busy, bitey creatures you know, good to see the back of them. We should be terrified because insects make up the majority of life on Earth. They pollinate three quarters of the crops we grow and all the wildflowers, they’re food for umpteen beautiful birds and amphibians and bats and mammals and so on that we like to see, they help to keep pests in control in our crops — they do umpteen really vital things. So if we lose the insects we're in big trouble.

CO: You’ve gone further, you said, “If we lose the insects and everything is going to collapse.”

DG: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, life on Earth would be unrecognizable because we would lose most plants as well. Most birds, most of everything, and the human race would starve, we couldn't feed our current population without pollinators.

CO: Can you describe this area in Germany where this study took place where you have the data from there and it involved amateur entomologists in that part of Germany. Tell us how did you gather this data?

DG: It was collected by amateur enthusiasts across pretty much the whole of Germany, across a really big area, using what are called a Malaise trap, named after a Swedish guy who invented them. They're basically like small tents, they look a bit like a tent anyway. But the idea is that the flying insect bumps into them and falls into a little pot. And they put these traps over these decades and collected what was caught. And then relatively recently started analyzing what they'd found and that was when this this really dramatic decline became evident.

CO: Is it possible that this area that was studied in Germany, a large swath of it, but are there conditions in Germany, the use of pesticides or whatever, that would indicate that Germany was unique in this or at least an exception to what might be happening elsewhere? I mean, how can you generalize that this is happening everywhere?

DG: Is it happening in France, the U.K. Canada? We don't know for sure. We do know that other insects are declining. So this isn't the first piece of evidence that suggests something is going wrong with our insects. But it is perhaps the most dramatic. In terms of Germany in some way unique, it's not unique in any way that is obvious to us. The way they farm the landscape, it looks actually very similar to the landscape in in much of the developed world. Big fields of crops, lots of pesticides used exactly the same pesticides that are used in other developed countries.

CO: So what are the theories as to why the decline has happened?

DG: Our best guess is that these are little nature reserves that were sampled surrounded by farmland. And that the farm and essentially acts as a kind of sink that in the flying insects fly out and they don't often come back, because the farmland surrounding the nature reserve is essentially hostile to insect life, because there's no food for them, there are no weeds, and no flowers. There are lots of pesticides and so on. Essentially that has kind of knock on effect even for the bits that are protected because they're surrounded by hostile terrain.

CO: You know in Canada people are thrilled when we have a summer with few bugs. We talk about that as a good thing and they're considered to be pests, we call them pests we call it pest control. So what do you say? Is their general attitude that we're happy we get rid of bugs?

DG: Well, I've spent my whole life studying insects, I love insects so I'm clearly biased but that makes me really sad. Insects make up the majority of life on Earth. We think there might be as many as 10 million species on Earth, and two thirds of them are insects. To dismiss them all as pests is kind of crazy. I mean, yes there are a few that are pests. But the vast majority are either useful or do us no harm whatsoever. Pollination is an obvious one but also they're really important that recycling nutrients and animal dung. It’s not a very glamorous job, but if it weren't for things like dung beetles and flies then all those cowpats produced by cows would just build up in the landscape until there was no room for the grass and the nutrients wouldn't be released back to the grass to grow. So I mean that's just another example there are many, many more. Basically insects are an absolutely vital part of the connected sort of web of life on Earth.

CO: Well we make a few distinctions I guess when we're getting rid of insects, between the ones we like, the ones we want to keep, the butterflies, the bees and the ones who get rid of, the mosquitos and blackflies or whatever it is. Is it because we have a kind of scorched-Earth way of approaching insects, we just get rid of everything. Is it possible to deal with insects that we want to control without killing the others?

DG: I think it is. I think we've gone down a really kind of crude and clumsy way of controlling insect pests. This idea of just throwing highly toxic chemicals at them and polluting the landscape, a lot of the chemicals are turning up in our food, in our water they build up in the soil. I think a lot of people just think the way we farm is the only way to feed the rather large human population but actually there are lots of alternative ways of growing food. Using no pesticides at all is one option. Organic farming produces slightly lower yields but only about 80 per cent of conventional farming. So if we ate just a little less meat and wasted a little less food, we could easily go organic the world over and use no pesticides, so that’s one solution, which is just there, you know, we don't have to go down this route.

CO: All right well it's a very worrisome study. Mr. Goulson I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.

DG: A pleasure.

JD: Dave Goulson is an entomologist at Sussex University in the U.K. We reached him in Brighton.

[Music: Arpeggiated Guitar Strums]

Wedding stories

JD: The memories themselves will last a lifetime. But even so, two far flung Canadian couples are a bit happier today about the return of some prized nuptial momentos. The first couple lives in Halifax. Phil Mabley and Karine Matte were getting wedding photos taken in Halifax's Public Gardens last summer when suddenly their limo went up in flames. Not a great omen perhaps, but luckily no one was hurt. Inside the limo however, was their marriage license, which they assumed had gone up in flames as well. Today though, they got it back on here they are speaking to CBC Halifax's Anjuli Patil.


PHIL MABLEY: Yes, somebody posted in the Halifax buy and sell, “Does anybody know the couple from the limo fire? I found some things in the back of their limo and I’d like to see if they want them back.”

ANJULI PATIL: All right so you go you pick it up. What kind of condition is that in?

PM: It's slightly charred, it’s actually kind of amazing that any of it survived through There are like 15-foot flames.

AP: Can you still make out what it is?

PM: Oh yes.

KARINE MATTE: Definitely we can read our name and the number and everything.

PM: The receipt was still in there too.


AP: What do you think of the fact that this survived a big limo fire?

PM: Well, Karine here seems to think it's a sign.


KM: Yeah kind of, it’s hard to not believe it's a sign at some point considering that everything else burned and that this piece of paper is still kicking, and is kind of in good shape actually.

PM: Even the gentleman that found it was kind of shocked. He was at the wreckers and he's just walking by, he said he just happened to look inside and he could see the papers just sitting there. So when you look at what the remnants of the limo was like I'm shocked anything survived.

AP: What are you going to do with it now that you have it? I imagine you went out and you replaced it.

PM: Oh yeah, we had to replace the next day because we had to get married without a license because we thought it had gone up in flames. So we've already replaced it. I think we're just going to end up framing it and sticking it on the wall. It’s a pretty good story to tell.

JD: That was Halifax couple of Phil Mabley and Karine Matte speaking to CBC Halifax's Anjuli Patil. Our second wedding story comes from the prairies, specifically the community of McCord, Saskatchewan 80-year-old Bill Wilson told CBC's Garth Materie how he lost his wedding ring 51 years ago — and how it was miraculously returned.


BILL WILSON: I was driving down a road, it’a actually just a track between two cultivated fields, and a grasshopper flew in and landed on my chest. So I captured him between my thumb and the fingers of my hand and flipped him out the window. And shortly thereafter I noticed my ring was gone.

GARTH MATERIE: It's gone somewhere on this road allowance essentially. Did you keep looking for it over the years?

BW: Oh yeah, we looked. I wouldn't say every year, but occasionally.

GM: How was this ring finally found?

BW: Well, this young lady who lives a little over a mile away from where we where I’d lost it, she was taking a walk and she noticed this thing on the ground and she dug it out, took it home and cleaned it up, and then pondered how what she was going to do with it. So she phoned her grandma, who lived about an hour away, and I happened to be having coffee with grandma a couple of days later. And so she told me about finding this wedding ring and she said “Do you remember a story about anybody ever losing a wedding ring there?” And I said “Yes, I did. I do.” I said “It’s mine.”So a look of disbelief came acrossher face. I said “I lost one in ‘71 there abouts,” and I wish I could have had a picture of her face. She couldn't believe that it had been found after all these years. One of the few first people told about it was the owner.

JD: That was Bill Wilson speaking to CBC Saskatchewan's Garth Materie.

[Music: Ambient Strings]

Louvre sex sculpture

Guest: Joep Van Lieshout

JD: There is no shortage of sexy art in the Louvre. You can't throw a stone without hitting a nude. You can't throw stones period, just FYI, but even among those exhibitions of exhibitionism there is no place for a sculpture called Domestikator, too risqué for the fancy museum. However, not too risqué for a different fancy museum. At the beginning of the month the sculpture by Dutch artist Joep Van Lieshout was deemed too sexually explicit to be installed in the Louvre’s Jardin des Tuileries during the International Contemporary Art Fair, after which should seemed Domestikator would not see the light of day in Paris. But then the edgier Pompidou Centre has come to the rescue. We reached Joep Van Lieshout in Paris.

CO: Joep, what do you think of the reaction you're getting to your sculpture?

JOEP VAN LIESHOUT: Well, the first reaction that we got from the Louvre was very disappointing because they wanted to ban the sculpture, which was a pity, but now it's at the second venue the Centre Pompidou, and there it gets a second chance and that's very good because then people can see the sculpture and also can experience the meaning and know the meaning of the artwork

CO: And what people — I mean, the most crude description of it — someone says it looks like two buildings having sex. Can you describe what the Domestikator looks like?

JVL: Well, it's a cubicle building, it looks a little bit like build built out of Lego. If you look well you can see two figures. It could be a man and a woman, could be a man walking his dog, it could be two rugby players. It's very much in the eye of the beholder.

CO: OK well a man walking his dog, basically what it appears to be is a figure is upright and seems to be penetrating the figure that has four a legs. So what are we to make of the Domestikator.


JVL: Actually the meaning of the word has actually nothing to do with sex or bestiality. It has to do with the domestication. And domestication is a very important process that started a long time ago with humans starting to do agriculture. And like that they could stay in their vilalgel and they could develop a culture. So the world that we live in nowadays, with all the beauties, is the result of domestication.

CO: So who or what is being domesticated here?

JVL: It's the man domesticating nature — the world actually.

CO: And are you positive about that or is this a criticism?

JVL: No, domestication by itself is a very positive process. I mean, the human with all it’s ingenuity and creativity and persistence make the world a better place. Without the domestication we wouldn't have hospitals, universities, wealth, so it's a positive process. But the thing that I would like to bring to the attention is that with this domestication we have always pushed in the borders, and the contemporary domestication is actually things like robotization and genetic manipulation, artificial intelligence, big data. So this is the new technology how the human domesticated the world. And I think it's going to be a very, very big difference, because it will have a huge impact on the humans and our society. So what are the Domestikator tries to do is to start a discussion about the pros and contrasts of these technologies of domestication.

CO: Well it's possible that this larger dialogue of domestication has been lost on the Louvre. Jean-Luc Martinez said that the sculpture is getting attention that people consider it too rude to be put in the garden in the Louvre. He said it was near a children's playground. What do you make of his objections?

JVL: I think if you look at the sculpture it looks very, very innocent, there was nothing perverse to see. And I think he looked very superficially and didn't really think about what was the meaning of the piece. And unfortunately this is something that's happening quite often in museums that become like big companies nowadays and are very dependent on visitors, sponsorship and so on. So they become very afraid of the public opinion, and so they want to avoid any risk so they say “no, no, no we don't want it.” And that's a pity because it really leads to self-censorship of artists and curators and museums.

CO: And why do you think the Pompidou Centre was receptive to it? Now it's been moved from the Louvre to the Pompidou. Why do you think that they're OK with it?

JVL: I think everyone should be OK with it because it's a very interesting sculpture that doesn't talk about perversities. It talks about our future, about the ethics of technology. And I think they really look at it the second time and then they say it's ridiculous to ban this.

CO: And it was on view in Germany for what three years before it came to Paris. Did you have any problems in Germany?

JVL: No, in Germany there was no problem at all. And so I was also very surprised that it happened. And actually the exhibition was curated by a fellow Canadian curator Natalie Kovacs, who is from Toronto.

CO: So is it possible that the Domestikator will be coming to Toronto?

JVL: That would be great, yes. Below that big tower of yours.


CO: The big tower, you mean the CN Tower. Yes I guess it would work quite well with that. That would be very complimentary themes there. And so but one question, because you mentioned the reaction to public art, we’ve seen in the past few years provocative public sculpture has been vandalized quite a bit lately. Are you worried about that in Paris?

JVL: No, I think it would be really a pity if that would happen because I don’t make my work to provoke people or to evoke aggression or something. What I’m really interested in is to give the possibility for people to interpret it in their way. So I don't expect that it will happen. That would be a pity if that would happen because it would be short sighted.

CO: It's good to talk to you Joep. Thank you.

JVL: My pleasure. Bye, bye.

Co: Bye, bye.

JD: Joep Van Lieshout is the creator of the Domestikator. We reached him in Paris. And if you would like to see an image of Domestikator — parental discretion advised — go to our website:

[Music: Ambient Tones]

New New Zealand prime minister

JD: Today, nearly a month after the general election, New Zealanders finally learned who is to be their new leader — 37-year-old Jacinda Ardern. She is the country's third female prime minister and the youngest since 1856. Now at the time of the vote on September 23rd, the incumbent Prime Minister Bill English was strongly favoured to win re-election for the National Party. Ultimately however, both the National Party and Ms. Arderns Labour Party fell short of the 61 seat majority required to form a government, and that put the head of the anti-immigration New Zealand First party, Winston Peters in the unlikely role of kingmaker. And Mr. Peters kept the country in suspense until today when he announced on live television that he would throw his support behind Labour. Together with support from the Green Party that pushed Labour into a winning coalition position. Ms. Ardern acknowledged, at a press conference earlier today, that Mr. Peters has been offered the role of deputy PM, and he is still considering that. Here's a bit more of what she had to say.


PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN: I want to thank New Zealand first for the decision they I have made. I know it has been significant and difficult. I want to thank them for the time and consideration they put into the negotiations and I can confirm that they were indeed dominated by discussion around policy and ensuring that consensus existed on the issues that were of the greatest importance to each of us. They formed a solid foundation on which we will now build a coalition government. I also, in the same vein, want to thank and acknowledge the New Zealand Green Party. We've also engaged in a robust policy negotiation with them also.

JD: Jacinda Ardern, who is set to become New Zealand's 40th prime minister, speaking at a press conference earlier today.

Heart attack pasta

JD: You saute some garlic and onions with a lot of bacon and beef, you throw some tomatoes in there, you pour it over pasta — spaghetti bolognese. Take some egg yolks, parmesan cheese and a significant amount of pancetta, poured over pasta — pasta carbonara. Or hey whatever, you take an egg yolk, you will get into some heavy creamy, add parmesan, you pour it over pasta — fettuccini alfredo. And I know what you're saying you're saying ‘Jeff all those meals are so rich, they're bad for your heart’ and of course you're right. Unless we make the noodles healthier and I know what you're saying now too and it's fine that you keep interrupting. You're saying ‘Jeff arethat noodles are really the problem if the sauces are full of bacon and cheese and cream?’ And I don't know it's a good point, but can we for just now celebrate this important breakthrough, because researchers with the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy have just announced the creation of an exciting new pasta. It is made of durum wheat flour, which is not new, and whole grain barley flour, which is a new ingredient. And this whole grain barley flour contains beta-glucan and that enhances the development of new blood vessels, which in the researchers words act as a natural bypass. They reduce stress on the heart, they reduce the size of any circulatory obstruction and therefore reduce mortality. And they have tested it on mice. So case closed. But you say ‘Jeff a study on mice doesn't necessarily mean this magic pasta will help humans. Plus you haven't answered my question about the rich creamy sauces.’ And you know what? I've had it with you with your naysaying saying OK this isn't it…Oh, my heart, OK deep breath, and a little more of this carbonara.

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