JIM BROWN: Hello, I'm Jim Brown, sitting in for Carol Off. Good evening.
CHRIS HOWDEN: Good evening. I'm Chris Howden, sitting in for Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.
JB: Pain by numbers. A new study estimates that 17,000 children have been killed in the war in Syria; that's a quarter of all civilians killed. And our guest fears the true number is much higher.
CH: Permitless, parrotless pirates. When you hear of a sunken ship being plundered for gold, it sounds like a thrilling adventure tale. But an Irish marine biologist couldn't be less thrilled about the rating of a First World War-era wreck.
JB: Back with a vengeance. Two years ago, in Kentucky, County Clerk Kim Davis denied David Ermold and his partner a wedding license because they're both men. Now, Mr. Ermold is giving himself license to run against her for the clerk's job.
CH: Emergency exit. As more people call for the chief commissioner of the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls to resign, Sheila North Wilson steps up to explain why Marion Buller should step down.
JB: Running commentary. Last night, a plus-sized long distance runner told us about being heckled as she passed a spectator during the New York Marathon. And your responses show that you're not willing to let that pass without comment.
CH: And shack treatment. How a freelance journalist in London turned the shed in his backyard into the number one restaurant on TripAdvisor — despite the fact that it's, you know, just a shed in his backyard.
CH: As It Happens, the Thursday edition. Radio that would describe this as a food and watershed moment.
[Music: Theme]Back To Top »
Part 1: Syria child deaths, county clerk, TripAdvisor shed
Syria child deaths
Guest: Debarati Guha-Sappir
CH: Air strikes, barrel bombs, grenades, guns. These are some of the weapons of war that have killed more than seventeen thousand children in Syria over the last six years, according to a new study in The Lancet Global Health Journal. And the lead author of the study, Debarati Guha-Sapir, believes the number of children killed in the conflict could be even higher. Professor Guha-Sapir is an epidemiologist with the University of Louvain in Brussels, Belgium. That's where we reached her.
JB: Professor Guha-Sapir, 17,000 children killed is just a staggering number. Can you tell us how you came to that total?
DEBARATI GUHA-SAPPIR: Well, the number comes from a dataset that we used for this study. It's called the “Violations Documentation Centre Data Set”, who monitor dead bodies from war weapon deaths. So not just dead bodies you know who may have fallen from the rooftop of a house that has collapsed. But those bodies that have actually been killed by any kind of war weapon. And they shared the dataset with us, which allowed us to do some statistical analysis. And so that is where we get our 17,000 children who were killed directly as victims of war weapons.
JB: And I understand that part of your research involves looking at photographs of the dead, is that right?
DGS: It did, yes. Unfortunately, it was not an easy data collection method for us. In fact, every death — every body — has a record. And because we did not have age — we had sex, but we did not have age for many of the bodies — we looked through the photographs systematically to be able to classify them into child or adult as best we could.
JB: I can't imagine what kind of a toll looking at all of those photographs would take on someone?
DGS: It is a very harrowing kind of thing to do. And I gave up after maybe 30 or 40 of these photographs. And I said this is not for me. And we had two rather hard-nosed interns — medical interns — who went through the rest and did it. But it was not a job that I could have done because it's one thing to actually you know do what we do epidemiological analysis of data. All these numbers after a while they lose a little bit of the humane meaning. But when you start looking at pictures, the whole thing really strikes you that these are all individuals, and you identify that they will no more.
JB: So you're taking raw data and then you're breaking it down, determining gender and age, and whether it's a civilian or military casualty. What do you see as the usual causes of death when it involves children in war?
DGS: In the Syrian war, it's a little different than say in Iraq or in Darfur or in Angola, which we have also studied. In the Syrian war, If we look at the children for the first two years of the war, so the war started in 2011, if you looked at the first two years, the proportion of children was rather small. It represented I think not even 10 per cent much less as victims of the war. And this started I would even say skyrocketing from about 2013. So two years into the war, the share of children among the victims started to go up spectacularly.
DGS: Well, the thing is we can't put a hand on the fire and say why. But what do we see? We see an association of the increase in child deaths with the use of aerial bombing. As aerial bombing became the main strategy of war, which was used by the Syrian government and countries from the region, but also countries from Western Europe and North America, so once the bombing started, the share of children started going up.
JB: Now, just to be clear, just to be clear that that figure — the 17,000 dead — does that include death due to lack of access to medicine, death due to famine, that kind of thing?
DGS: No. no. no. no. no. no these are violent deaths of children caused by weapons. So if you want to look at those indirect deaths, which we've done in the other wars in the other countries, that would be much, much higher. But what is interesting is that in the wars in Darfur and Sudan and these other countries, the indirect deaths — the kind of deaths that you just mentioned — are, in fact, much higher and direct deaths from war weapons are actually very, very, very small. In Syria, that's not the case.
JB: Now, is it your contention that these huge numbers of dead children in Syria are an accidental by-product of the way this war is being waged? Or are they a direct result of some conscious decisions that have been made?
DGS: Well, It would be presumptuous of us to put forward saying this was a deliberate decision. But the numbers are quite revealing without having to make that conclusion. Barrel bombs, 97 per cent of those killed by barrel bombs were civilians. Now, when you start getting numbers like that then the conclusion — the writing — should be on the wall. We didn't write it on the wall because we couldn't because it would be going too far in a scientific paper. But if you draw the conclusion, the writing is on the wall.
JB: Can you tell us why you set out to try to put a number to how many children have been killed in Syria? What was the motivation in the first place for this study?
DGS: You know we work in civil conflicts, and the other part of the world that deals with civil conflicts, and they do a fantastic job, are the advocacy groups. But most of the stuff that comes out is usually many children are dead, lots of people died, hundreds have died. So for us as epidemiologists, this is not good enough. For us, we would need to have scientific evidence or statistical evidence to make the conclusion much stronger.
JB: And how do you hope your research is used?
DGS: First of all, our raison d'etre, as it were, is to contribute to the scientific literature on severe conflict mortality. But on the other hand, we also want to influence the international humanitarian policymakers — the UN bodies — to be faced with the reality that the kinds of war that they have been maybe not condoning, I don't know what word? But the kinds of war that we have actually let happen is actually a war against children. And this is what they have to face up to. They have to know that if you use bombs in urban areas in these countries, then your victims are going to be children. And we want them to be aware of it. We want them to go to bed with it, we want them to wake up with it, and then we hope that sometime they're going to vote differently, so we don't see this happen again.
JB: Professor Guha-Sapir, thank you very much for joining us.
DGS: Thank you for having me.
CH: Debarati Guha-Sapir is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Louvain School of Public Health. We reached her in Brussels.
CH: Senator Al Franken is out. He's the highest-ranking U.S. politician yet to resign in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. The first story of inappropriate behaviour emerged three weeks ago. Since then, eight women have made similar claims. And yesterday, fellow Democratic Senators decided to apply the pressure. By the end of the day yesterday, 32 Senators — including fellow Minnesotan Senator Amy Klobuchar — were urging him to make an exit. When Senator Franken stood up to make his final floor speech, he was defiant. And he didn't leave without criticizing a political system that dispensed with him, while offering immunity to others facing similar allegations. Here's part of his speech.
AL FRANKEN: A couple of months ago, I felt that we had entered an important moment in the history of this country. We were finally beginning to listen to women about the ways in which men's actions affect them. The moment was long overdue. I was excited for that conversation and hopeful that it would result in real change that made life better for women all across the country, and in every part of our society. Then the conversation turned to me. Over the last few weeks, a number of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions had affected them. I was shocked. I was upset. But in responding to their claims, I also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation. I also think it gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that, in fact, I haven't done. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently. You know an important part of the conversation we've been having the last few months has been about how men abuse their power and privilege to hurt women. I am proud that during my time in the Senate, I have used my power to be a champion of women. And that I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day. I know there's been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks. But I know who I really am. I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office. And a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party. Let me be clear, I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice. I will continue to stand up for the things I believe in as a citizen and as an activist. Minnesotans deserve a senator who can focus with all her energies on addressing the challenges they face every day.
CH: Senator Al Franken, speaking from the Senate floor today. He resigned after facing allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple women.
Guest: David Ermold
CH: Back in 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in the U.S., a little-known town in Kentucky made international headlines. Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis, refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex-couples. She spent five days in jail, and became a champion for opponents of LGBQ rights. David Ermold and David Moore were among the couples Ms. Davis turned away. Yesterday, David Ermold signed up to run against Ms. Davis for the position of Rowan County Clerk. We reached Mr. Ermold in Morehead, Kentucky.
JB: Mr. Ermold, I’m looking at a picture of you here signing your election papers. And you're sitting right across the table from Kim Davis, the woman who denied you your marriage license, what was that like?
DAVID ERMOLD: Surprising. Normally, that job I believe is held by her son. He handles a lot of the election issues in the office. When it comes to early voting, things like that, you see Nathan Davis. But the word really to describe the moment was a little tense, you know? And you know I think there was a little bit of tension on the other side of the desk as well.
JB: She's your opponent now?
DE: Yeah, she is. But you know she was very friendly at that particular time. And you know, to be honest with you, most of the people in that office are friendly — they generally are.
JB: Take us back to the first time you were sitting across a desk from Ms. Davis, It was July of 2015, you, and your now husband went into the Rowan County Clerk's office. Can you tell us what happened?
DE: Well, we went in with the anticipation of getting a marriage license. It wasn't as though they didn't know that we were going to be coming down. I had sent a letter in to the office over the contact form online. And I didn't receive a response. But we kind of knew that there were some issues around it. I was very clear you know that we were going to come, and we didn't want to deal with any kind of drama or any kind of issues. And yet, there it was. You know I came down with the Supreme Court ruling and I came down with a memorandum from the governor at that time. So I was a little surprised that a person would just completely ignore the Supreme Court, and would just ignore the governor of our state.
JB: Of course, that was all very well covered. I guess what wasn't quite so well covered is the fact that you, eventually, were able to get married, right?
DE: Yeah, we got the license shortly thereafter. We had 30 days to execute it. So we were married officially at Morehead State University, at the bell tower here on this campus, on September 26. It was just a couple of friends and we had an officiant. And then we had a full ceremony here at the bell tower, it was public for everyone to come, on October 31st. We had a Halloween wedding.
JB: So now, today, why have you decided to run against Ms. Davis for County Clerk?
DE: It's a really long kind of answer to that one. Back in 2015, when Kim Davis was put in jail for contempt of court, and people seem to forget that. But anyway, at the rally when she was finished with her time, Mike Huckabee was here, Ted Cruz was here, and they were just using our plight, they were using our struggle; they were using the people of this community for their own ambitions. That was kind of like strike one you know I want to think about it because I was I was looking at their political aspirations and how they were going about it. You know and they didn't care if they divided the people. And then what happens? They go back to their states, they go back home, No harm, no foul, right? Because they don't have to deal with our constituents. And then another instance here that really struck me was when she was out in Romania just a few months ago. She's very concerned about the people over in that community. But she has an obligation to the people right here in Rowan County. Those are some of my concerns as far as some of the issues in the office. You know I think there could be some modernization done there. Take a look at the website; it's not as friendly as it could be. You know and I think a County Clerk — at least in our county — should be out there trying to get people to register and to vote. And I think that's part of that job.
JB: Now, there's going to be people out there who will see your campaign as a kind of a bit of payback, an act of revenge, is it?
DE: It's absolutely not an act of revenge. You know I'm a very compassionate person. I think that's what is important here is that we aren't dividing our county up anymore. We're not dividing the people up anymore. You know this divide and conquer that's coming straight down from Washington. That's where that's coming from. And they're teaching all these politicians that this is all that they have to do. And we really need to start bringing people back together and that's how we're going to move forward.
JB: Now, your husband, David Moore, what does he think about your candidacy?
DE: He has been working nonstop to make this happen, you know? He put the website together. He does the graphic design. You know he's just been working nonstop. And he gets frustrated a little bit. I get frustrated a little bit because it's hard work; both of us are tired right now. I don't know how we kept everything under wraps like we did, but we sure did do that. But I wanted to look at the field, you know? I wanted to see who is going to run. I wanted to find out just how effective I thought that those people would be. And that's why I'm running. I think that I have the best shot. And I am absolutely looking at the support that came in, the donations that came in so far that, the volunteer requests, just the messages of goodwill. You know it's amazing to me. It's amazing what people can do when they come together. And all of these people are saying that they care about us here. I'm just kind of floored really.
JB: I know you're an optimistic candidate, but your county is kind of a conservative spot. Do you really have a chance?
DE: We are a college town. I've looked at the demographics. I know what they are. I know how many registered voters we have out there. I know how many of them are Republican. I know how many of them are Democrat. We've made a lot of inroads. I've been here 14 years. And I'll tell you something. We are a little bright spot in Kentucky. They may have gone for Trump this last election cycle, but we have a really strong history of putting Democrats in office at the local level in this county. And I'll tell you something else. You know equality you know inclusion all of those things they are not just issues of the Democratic Party. There's a lot of conservative people out there that have those same issues. So I look at some of our more higher ideals what we're going for as universal to everyone in this county. And again, it's about bringing people back together. You know splitting everybody up does nothing at the local level.
JB: Well, Mr. Ermold, we'll be watching the results from Canada. Thank you very much for joining us.
DE: I really appreciate you taking the time to cover this story.
JB: Goodbye now.
DE: All right. Goodbye
CH: David Ermold is running against Kim Davis, who denied him a marriage license for Rowen County Clerk. We reached him in Morehead, Kentucky.
[Music: Show tune]
Guest: Oobah Butler
CH: Sometimes the allure of a restaurant is the fact that it's different. Off the beaten path, and when you stumble upon a review of it on the online travel and restaurant site, TripAdvisor, that mysterious, out-of-the-way restaurant has some amazing reviews. Especially for a shed that doesn't serve food. Oobah Butler is a freelance journalist who wrote a feature for VICE called "I Made My Shed the Top-Rated Restaurant On TripAdvisor". We reached Mr. Butler in London, England.
JB: Oobah Butler, first of all, describe your shed? What does it look like?
OOBAH BUTLER: My shed… OK, so my shed is about as big as your smallest bedroom. In the corner there’s a sort of toilet blocked of sort of in a false wall, a kitchen that’s on one side. It's like a granny annex, I don’t know if you guys have that there? Like a really small room in someone's garden, and it's just got everything I own inside of it.
JB: And what do you use the shed for? Is just for storage?
OB: I live in there — that’s where I live.
JB: You live in the shed!
OB: I live in the shed, yeah. This is our far our housing crisis has gone. It's not even cheap, Jim. It's not even cheap. It’s about 800 quid.
JB: So tell me how you got the idea to turn your home — your shed — into the “Top-Rated London Restaurant” on TripAdvisor.
OB: You know what? I'm quite obsessed with TripAdvisor. I think it's like a weird crossroads to the internet because like everybody is completely aware of it, and sort of slightly uses it. But not many people like properly utilise it always. So I’ve always been like the kind of people that it attracts is kind of like people who would the one star because they saw a flickering light in a restaurant. It's kind of a strange kind of guide. Yeah, it kind of just came to me when I sat one day eating toast in the place I live, which is the shed. Not much of a stretch of the imagination: maybe other people would want to eat food in this place? I don’t know?
JB: So how does one turn a shed that isn't a restaurant into a restaurant on TripAdvisor?
OB: It’s all about mystique; Warhol-Banksy mystique. Basically, what I managed to do I just said it was an appointment only restaurant. London's got quite a weird kind of food culture where like it’s always like buzzy new places. So I just made a place that looked quirky, you know was impossible to get a table at, and I told my family and friends, basically, to leave reviews — five-star reviews. I made a website, got a burner phone — a landline for it — and then it kind of just started rising up the ranks.
JB: I should let listeners know that you have a bit of a history of writing fake reviews for TripAdvisor, right?
OB: I do, yeah. It was my first writing job was writing fake reviews to TripAdvisor.
JB: So you've your phone, and you've got your website, but you need to have some good food photos for this to really work. How did you set up those alluring pictures of food when you aren't actually a restaurant?
OB: Well basically, Jim. I just went to my local hardware store, and bought things like toilet blocks and marbles…
JB: I think our listeners would probably know those as urinal cakes?
OB: There you go! Urinal cakes, see, it sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Then we used shaving foam and things like that — lots of things that look edible, but if you ate, would kill you. So I just dressed those up. Because the whole thing was like this like strange kind of kind of deception, I wanted people to be traveling over my foot, literally. Because in one of the photos is my foot, disguised as a bit meat.
JB: All right. Well you've got your reviews, and your phone, and your photos. When did you start to gain traction? How did this thing start snowballing?
OB: I mean I started doing it, and I was kind of like a telemarketing Congressman. I had like a wall chart of people I’d contacted. I had all my friends and stuff. And I was crossing people off you know checking back in with them. And as this is all happening, things just start to get out of control. So people started applying for jobs at my non-existent restaurant. People start turning up outside of my non-existent restaurant. You know even though I hadn’t put number on it, but had the name of the road. And then people were trying to blackmail me to get tables. There were TV executives trying to get in contact with me. As we went further up the rankings, it got more and more ridiculous.
JB: And then, eventually, you became the “Number One Restaurant in London” on Trip Advisor. How long did it take you from the day you were taking photographs of urinal cakes to the day you hit “Number One”?
OB: OK. Right, so I came up with the idea in April. I got it verified in May. November the 1st, 2017, The Shed at Dulwich was the “Number One Restaurant in London”. So it's the long game, but that's the only game I can play.
JB: So then you decided you had to tie a bow on this thing — you had to end the project — how did you end the project?
OB: Right. OK, so this is the thing, right? I thought getting to “Number One” would be the end. But that wasn't the case, right? So you can't leave it at that. I left my phone — the burner phone for The Shed — at a friends over long we can, forget about it, when I went to pick it up, there was 116 missed calls on it. Like this is like a serious thing. So I decided what can I do? So I opened The Shed for one night only, basically?
JB: And just to be clear, you can't cook, right?
OB: I cannot cook, so I have ready meals. One pound microwavable meals, but we just dressed them up so they looked like fancy food with edible flowers, micro-herbs, and all sorts of things like that.
JB: So how did they react when you when you when you dropped the frozen mac and cheese in front of somebody?
OB: OK, so, basically, the first two people I had were two Americans that they had chose to spend the first night in London at my non-existent restaurant. We served them this food and they looked so miserable. There was this moment that I can just remember so clearly. I was looking from a distance, that the woman, who described herself as a as a foodie, she got a phone to take a photo of the mac and cheese, looked at it through the phone and then just didn't take the photo — she put it away. I felt kind of guilty at that point. The funny is, Jim, as they left, they told people independently that they loved the place — that they absolutely loved it. It was like the power of the internet is so strong that people will not even trust what's in front of their eyes or is what is going in their mouths.
JB: Oobah, thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.
OB: Thank you so much, Jim. I really liked that.
JB: Bye now.
OB: Bye bye.
CH: Oobah Butler is a freelance journalist for VICE. We reached him in London. If you'd like to see the shed-slash-restaurant it's on our webpage at: www.cbc.ca/aih.Back To Top »
Part 2: Irish shipwreck, AFN MMIWG vote
Guest: Kevin Flannery
CH: Over the past few weeks, fishermen off the coast of Dingle, Ireland have been catching something strange in their nets. They're hammocks, used by wounded Canadian soldiers during the First World War. It's believed they come from a passenger ship that was sunk in 1915. The Hesperian was bound for Montreal when a German sub torpedoed it. Thirty-two passengers died — among them, a Canadian soldier. Why these items from the century-old shipwreck are appearing now is a mystery. But Kevin Flannery thinks he's solved it. He's a marine biologist, and the founder of the local aquarium. We reached him in Dingle.
JB: Kevin Flannery, how did you come to learn that artifacts from this shipwreck were surfacing off the coast of Ireland?
KEVIN FLANNERY: Well basically, we've got some deepwater fisherman and they operate where fish accumulate. And fish tend to accumulate near high peaks, rocks, or wrecks. And they were shooting their nets there. They shoot a wall of nets along the bottom of the ocean to catch Pollok, and when they hauled up their nets, attached to the nets where some artifacts from a ship. When they brought the artifacts ashore to me — because they tend to bring anything weird and wonderful into the aquarium into me in Dingle — and I got the coordinates, the global positioning system, and we identified it as the ship Hesperian that had been torpedoed in September, 1915.
JB: Now, you say artifacts. Can you describe what's been found?
KF: Well, what you call them on the state-side, or Canadian-side, I think would be faucets — we call them taps. There were, basically, taps from a bath. And there was the piping was attached. In actual fact, the taps were still in working order. And also in the last few weeks, they have found large quantities of canvas debris in the same vicinity. And I believe they would be from the hammocks because the vessel had been converted for conveying wounded Canadian soldiers back to Canada in the First World War. And these hammocks would have been made of canvas.
JB: So nothing of great value, other than I guess you could melt down the taps for their brass?
KF: Well, nobody’s going to melt the taps because fishermen — usually if they find something weird and wonderful — the will bring it in. But they tend not to go to the wrecks or places where people would have drowned. Because there is… how would you say? Superstition, you don't touch anything belonging to the dead at sea. And fishermen are very much like that. Now, obviously, she was carrying 800 passengers when she was torpedoed. The most interesting fact is she was torpedoed by the same U-boat that sunk the Lusitania. And with 800 passengers aboard, the possibility is they could have been carrying their own personal wealth or treasure. But the most interesting fact was in the last month or so, when the fishermen went down to shoot their nets in the vicinity again, a very large ship was hovering and working over the wreck of the Hesperian.
JB: Do you have any idea what it was doing?
KF: Nobody has any idea. It wasn't sending out an AIS, which is not Automatic Identification Signal. So the fisherman didn't know what this vessel was. She was extremely large, she had a helicopter pad, and she was virtually anchored over the wreck of Hesperian. So when the fisherman returned, they found quite a lot of other bits of debris, especially this canvas. So, obviously, the wreck of the Heserian they feel was interfered with for some unknown purpose.
JB: So someone was diving in and around the wreck. And that would have resulted in some of the debris — the hammocks, the taps, and pipes — being discharged from the wreck?
KF: Exactly, that is what they believe. Now, where she's situated 50 miles off of the coast is extremely deep. So nobody could dive, other than using a ROB, and possibly, using some explosive material to gain access to whatever they were looking for, be at the safe, or the contents of something that we are unaware of.
JB: Is it legal? Can pirates do this?
KF: This is the conundrum — the question — I posed because I am very aware that within the exclusive limits of the state, which is 12 miles, there is regulations governing the diving. You cannot dive on wrecks without a license from the state. But it's only within the exclusive limits of the state, which is 12 miles. Anything outside the 12 miles, which is in the jurisdiction of the European Union or international waters, it seems is open for open season.
JB: Now, I understand not only was this ship sunk by the same U-boat that sank the Lusitania, but one of the victims of the sinking of the Lusitania — a Quebec socialite — her body was on this ship when it was sunk?
KF: That is correct. Mrs. Stevens, and she was, as I say, she was drowned when the Lusitania was torpedoed. Her husband wished to intern her in Canada. And she was, obviously, embalmed, and the coffin was placed on board the Hesperian in Liverpool. And for some strange reason, god forbid, the poor woman. The ship was torpedoed and she's still buried at sea.
JB: How is it that the ship has been just left on the ocean floor for 100 years?
KF: This is the way it has happened. There’s a huge volume of ships — a great number of ships — like this all around the world and all around the cost. And supply vessels — very sophisticated supply vessels — that were servicing the oil industry are now available. And maybe these are now being used for the purpose of looking for salvage, or looking for something like that. But I think the people that died on board should be offered the protection of the state of which they belong, i.e. Canada, or the UK, or Ireland, or whatever else. Because I, personally, think that it is their grave and they should not be disturbed. So then what do you think about the people who are doing the disturbing?
KF: I’m greatly aggrieved if they do not have a license — if they're not doing it legally. And, personally, I don't agree that people drowned at sea where they are laid to rest that they should be left there. As far as I'm concerned, and most people in the fishing industry, nobody goes to see people who were drowned at sea. It's sacrosanct that they've been left there.
JB: Kevin Flannery, thank you very much for your time today. We appreciate it.
KF: It's been a pleasure, Jim.
CH: Kevin Flannery is a marine biologist, and the founder of a local aquarium in Dingle, Ireland. And if you'd like to see some photos of the Hesprian, and the artifacts, head to our website: www.cbc.ca/aih
Leonard George obit
CH: He was known for his wisdom, his wit, and his work protecting First Nations land, water, resources, and culture. Leonard George, one of the most beloved Indigenous leaders in Canada, died yesterday. He was 71-years-old. Leonard George was the chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the traditional territory surrounding Burrard Inlet in British Columbia. He was the son of the late Chief Dan George. And, like his father, he had a distinguished career in cinema, appearing in classics like "Smoke Signals" and "Call of the Wild". He was also a powerful actor for First Nations. For his work as an economic development visionary and spiritual leader, Leonard George received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013. In 2005, he was diagnosed with throat cancer, and had to re-learn how to speak, eat, and even sing. Two years later, in July of 2007, he recorded an essay for CBC Radio. Here's Leonard George reading "This I Believe".
LEONARD GEORGE: I believe in the spirit in me, and the ones in love, and the spirit of Mother Earth. The roots of my belief are inherited from my people — Tsleil-Wautuh Nation — and from all the Natives in North America. We all have a relationship with the great spirit. But the real lesson about the strength and the beauty of the spirit came from my youngest son Isaac. I've not always fully understood my culture, as my early days were tarnished by the Indian Act, residential school, and religion. I as a human being was damaged. But my spirit kept me alive. My first turning point in my life came when I met and married my wife, lover, and best friend, Susan. We had five sons, or maybe I should say four boys because Isaac was too spirited, gay. We lost our second son at six months of age. He died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Our first six years together were shaky because of my drug and alcohol addiction. It was like I was there, but I wasn't there for my family. Now, I’ve been clean and sober for 31 years. And Susan and I will celebrate 37 years together this August. We have shared a lot in our time, the laughs, joys, fears, insecurities, frustrations, tears, celebrations and successes — all at a very deep level. Susan has always encouraged our family to follow Natives ways, sweats, pipe ceremonies, fasting, foods, and philosophy of the spirit. Our biggest challenge and test the spirit within has come in the past few years. In the late fall of 2005, I was diagnosed with cancer in the throat. I was devastated. I had thought I was immortal. Home was the only place I wanted to be. I curled up like a baby and cried. Susan was there for me. We began the journey of healing together. A few months after that, our son Isaac came home to live with us. He had HIV and AIDS. He needed healing as well. The three of us spent the next nine months together. Susan put her own health challenges aside, and nursed us both through the harsh treatments, tests, medicines, and hospital stays. For me, it was a good, warm healing process. For Isaac, it was his last days on earth. In the end, was Susan on Isaac’s right and me on the left, surrounded by his brothers, and his sisters, and his friends, nieces, and nephews. We sent him to our ancestors in the spirit world, while singing and drumming a spiritual song. Isaac was half English, half Salish. He was deaf and he was too spirited. He loved each of those cultures to the fullest. With compassion and love for them all — without any compromises or regrets. The way he described how the spirit world feels and the peace you feel made death seem beautiful. I now accept that I am mortal. When Susan and I feel like we're in a tsunami of emotions, we focus on our spirituality, our sons, our daughters, and our grandchildren. And also in our beautiful Isaac. He taught us how to see the world through a rainbow of beautiful colours. Thank god I had cancer. It caused me to stand home and experience the spirit inside myself through the love of my family, and the courage and beauty of Isaac. I believe with greater compassion and love and sense of peace than I ever have, and the spirit in me. For this I believe. I'm Leonard George, in Vancouver.
That was the late Leonard George, with his essay “This I believe”. The reading first aired on CBC on July 5th, 2007. Leonard George, a beloved and influential Indigenous leader, died yesterday. He was 71-years-old.
AFN MMIWG vote
Guest: Sheila North Wilson
CH: To really get to the bottom of things, they want a change at the top. Today in Ottawa, at the Assembly of First Nations special meeting, Indigenous leaders voted in favour of the resignation of the chief commissioner of the National inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It's not the first call for Marion Buller's exit. Many others have said they've lost faith in the process. And within the inquiry itself, there's been a significant loss of staff. Sheila North Wilson is the Grand Chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak. We reached her in Ottawa.
JB: Grand Chief North Wilson, can I start by asking you how you voted on this motion requesting that the chief commissioner resign?
SHEILA NORTH WILSON: I actually didn't vote. I left before the voting actually started.
JB: On purpose? You purposely didn't want to vote?
SNW: Yeah, on purpose. Because the last time we got this to the chief’s table, the vote didn't pass. And I was okay with that because you know we have to follow our democratic process. But I was not happy with how Commissioner Buller handled it afterwards, and said that even if it had passed, she wouldn't have stepped down anyway. So I don't think she respects this process. I said what I had to, and I did what I did leading up to it. And I wanted other people to take up the call if they wanted to.
JB: So you didn't vote. Had you voted, which way would it have gone?
SNW: Well absolutely, I would have voted “yes” to have been forced to resign. And I did in my heart and in my mind.
JB: Why? Why do you think this inquiry would be better without Marion Buller?
SNW: She's a very intelligent woman, and I don't question that at all. And I don't even question her intentions in wanting to help in this situation. But she leaves with her head and her knowledge more than she leaves with her heart. And that's not what this inquiry needs. This inquiry needs someone that has compassion on the subject, but also compassion, of course, first of all, for the families, the survivors, and victims of this whole issue. And to me, she doesn't have that. She's too much like she's in a courtroom or a judge. And I saw that myself today when I was standing next to a woman that was sobbing, and her son was vomiting in a bag because he was so distraught. And she kept him talking like a robot. And you know she could have paused for a second to acknowledge that they were in turmoil. And I had to flag down the support worker that she brought with her. And she could at least paused and asked for the support worker to come. But to me, that just shows that she she's not leading with her heart.
JB: The Assembly of First Nations did vote today to ask her to resign. And it's not the first time her resignation has been has been requested. Did anyone suggest any other ways to try to repair the lost confidence in this process, other than removing Marion Buller?
SNW: They did that in July at the summer AFN assembly, and the resolution to have her resign didn't pass because a lot of the chiefs that were there want to give her another chance and take time. But we knew in Manitoba because our families told us that they weren’t feeling included. They were feeling like they were on their own in trying to navigate through this process. And so there were solutions offered in July, And she could have at least acknowledged some of the concerns. And she could have at least tried to make amends, and tried to meet with some of us who had strong concerns, and represented strong concerns. But she didn’t. She just kept going status quo, and she actually dug her heels and said that she wasn't going to resign.
JB: Now, the chiefs didn't just move a motion to ask for Buller to resign. They also called for an extension of the inquiry. And one of the chiefs told CBC that she doesn't want to see Marion Buller go because that would only delay the inquiry further. How do you respond to that point of view?
SNW: I respect everyone’s point of view. And I didn't support an extension either if she was going to lead it. But this is already more than halfway through the inquiry process time that was mandated. We have yet to see some of the real work that has to be done. And we shouldn’t just be hearing and seeing victims crying. That’s re-victimizing them. Let’s respect them a little bit more and start the healing process. And do that more in a humane way. And then start working on the real issues, including the police's role in all of this, the child welfare system, poverty, and the whole effects of colonization that are impacting our Indigenous women and girls.
JB: Today’s resolution is non-binding. How do you think this resolution today is going to change things? Will it make a difference?
SNW: I hope so. I hope she heeds to the call this time. And I hope that the government is listening, and I know they are. I hope that they also heed to the call because this is the chiefs’ wishes now. They are in full support, not completely full support, but in a majority support. You know they should respect that and move on that because we're wasting time dealing with this issue that shouldn't even be an issue. We should be worried about all the root causes of what's happening. Ultimately, what it is is we're seeing our nations are suffering. When our women children are healthy and they’re not supported and they don't have everything that they need to sustain themselves, then our whole nation suffers. And if our children are suffering then you know we have to do things differently to change that, so we can start healing our nation and showing the real prosperity and the resilience of our people. It is there, but we’re not seeing it. All we’re seeing is the victim side of it. I still have a lot of hope for it. It's just that we can't do it this way at this moment. And I don't mean any disrespect to her or any of the commissioners. But I also have to be mindful of the families that are you know in turmoil. And they have to feel that someone is helping them in feeling like they can lead this process in the way that they need it to be.
JB: Grand Chief North Wilson, thank you very much for your time today.
SNW: OK, thank you.
JB: Goodbye now.
CH: Sheila North Wilson is the Grand Chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak. We reached her in Ottawa.
Listener Response: Plus-size runner
CH: She did what most of us can't. Then she did it again, and again. Last night, we aired an interview with marathoner — and ultramarathoner — Latoya Snell. As a runner, she hasn't only had to fight the usual physical and mental battles to knock down 42.2 kilometers in a single go. She also recently faced down a heckler — who attacked her for her appearance while she was running the New York City Marathon. On-line — where she's not afraid to embrace the term "fat", and post pictures of her work-outs — she's also gotten abuse. But we're happy to report that the response you had to her interview was almost entirely positive.
JB: On Twitter, Ali Anningson, wrote "Let me get this straight. People literally standing around and doing nothing are heckling someone who is running an actual marathon?" And "Sirius" chimed in, "I don't think the heckler has the fortitude, stamina nor strength of character to put themselves in Latoya Snell's shoes. I have friends/loved ones who are fit, active & not small. Ignorant attitudes around weight & size anger me. Run, Hun!
CH: Over on Facebook, the tone was similarly supportive. Tracy Mann wrote, "Wow! She is an inspiration. She should have challenged the heckler to run the rest of the marathon with her — I bet he could not have done it." And finally, Pangi James wrote, "And this is why they are on the sidelines. You go girl. Keep being awesome."
JB: Thanks for all the comments. And if you'd like to hear our interview with Latoya Snell, just go to our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.Back To Top »
Part 3: Border greeter, B.C. rescue
Jay Piggot obit
CH: Two years ago, Jay Piggot was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. But he was determined to spend the rest of his life saving the lives of others. Jay Piggot, a North Shore Rescue team member and paramedic, died on Tuesday morning. He was 36. He had been fighting bile duct cancer, which attacks ducts around and inside the liver. After his diagnosis, he signed on as a full-time paramedic with the British Columbia Ambulance Service. He was chosen for the elite helicopter rescue team with North Shore Rescue. In a Facebook post, the group called his tenacity and strength "awe-inspiring." They also described him as a hero. Mike Danks was a friend of Mr. Piggot's. Yesterday, he spoke with Rick Cluff, host of CBC Vancouver's "The Early Edition".
MIKE DANKS: It's a tough one. Jay was incredibly brave through this whole ordeal. And never stopped asking everybody else how they were doing up until even yesterday. You know where he was surrounded by family and friends. His children were there. And he was always checking in with everybody else to make sure that we were OK, and to let us know that everything's going to be fine. So you know I think that really speaks to Jay and his character. And you know we really did lose a hero yesterday.
RICK CLUFF: What was it though about the work he did with the North Shore Rescue, with B.C. Ambulance? He did further training because I know he was part of the helicopter flight rescue team. He did long-lining and whatnot. What was it that that he loved about this?
MD: It was about giving back to the community. It was about helping others. That was his motivation. And shortly after becoming a paramedic, he ensured that he took the time to teach others about those skill sets and how they could operate in this field. And he really paved the way on medical calls. He made sure to always try to be available, and to respond to those calls, and to mentor others how to operate in those austere conditions. And that's what made him happy to see you know patients being dealt with in those situations correctly and ensuring that that was going to happen for years to come to with our team.
CH: That was Mike Danks, a friend of the late Jay Piggot, speaking with Rick Cluff on CBC Vancouver's “Early Edition”. North Shore Rescue Team member Jay Piggot died on Tuesday from a rare cancer that affected his liver. He was 36.
Guest: Janet McFetridge
JD: According to the federal government, more than 9,000 asylum seekers crossed into Quebec from the U.S. between August and November 1st of this year. Many of those who seek refugee status in Canada are crossing by foot south of Montreal, where they meet Janet McFetridge. Ms. McFetridge is an American who lives near the Quebec border, every week, she greets these asylum seekers with care packages. We reached her in Champlain, New York.
JB: Ms. McFetridge, what are you giving to the asylum seekers as they approach the U.S.-Canada border?
JANET MCFETRIDGE: I have a collection of hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, jackets that I'm handing out to whoever is underprepared for the weather in this northern part of the country.
JB: Oh, that's incredible. What kind of reaction are you getting?
JM: It's mixed. Most everyone is very grateful. Some of them do not need anything at the time. Most of them however take something, and they almost always say god bless you as they take it.
JB: And where do these gifts come from?
JM: They've been donated from local residents in my small village, and some from the surrounding area, for the most part. Some of them are hand-knit hats and mittens, and others are newly purchased items. It's a pretty caring community, all in all.
JB: It sounds like it. I'm curious what made you want to do this in the first place? What brings you out there every day with your care packages?
JM: I feel it's the least I can do for people who are on this life changing journey with consequences that are uncertain. It's a small action for me to take to better prepare them for the weather that we have here. Many are coming from areas that are much warmer, Florida, Texas, other places in the south. And it's just something I think is the right thing to do.
JB: Now, we know that there are thousands of people crossing into Canada. Tell us who you're seeing?
JM: Right now, I'm seeing a lot of Nigerians. That seems to be the largest group that's coming through right now. In the summer it was Haitians. And you know there are always other groups. And I don't ask them necessarily where they are from, but often, they are open enough to say something about their country of origin.
JB: If they're if they're willing you'll spend time with them, you'll talk to them, will they tell you about their lives?
JM: No, in that I don't really ask them. You have to imagine they've traveled a long way, they’re in a taxi, they’re at a dead-end road, and they've got police waiting for them about ten feet away, and they're very, very nervous. It's not a time to have a long conversation. So I don't really try to strike up a conversation. Some of them, however, are so scared that they just want to make sure that they're making the right decision. I can't give them any legal advice. And I certainly don't. And I don't tell them what to do. But a word of comfort of you're going to be OK Goes a long ways.
JB: You must see a lot of families too?
JM: I see mainly families. And it's very, very difficult to see these children. Most of the children look terrified. They know their parents are very, very serious. The kids, some of them are crying, some of them have been put in charge of very heavy luggage that they need to somehow pull across this dirt path. But the parents are so serious. This is such a big decision that they're making. And, of course, the kids sense this, but they don't understand what's going on. So it's mixed emotions on the faces of the kids. And, honestly, some of them think they're off on a trip. They're running around, and they're giving me high fives, and they're very excited to be going to someplace new.
JB: So it's just a complete range? A bit of everything, basically?
JM: It's a bit of everything. And, of course, I have no idea what the parents have told the children. And also, a lot of different languages spoken. So they don't always communicate that well in English.
JB: But even the children who don't know what to expect, the adults generally do, they know that they're going to cross the border, they're going to be arrested, and they're going to have to await the Canadian government hearing their refugee claims.
JM: I'm not sure that they're all that well-informed, to tell you the truth. I usually say to them do you know what to expect? Because I want to make sure they understand that they are going to be arrested. And most of them understand that part. I don't think that they know much about the rest of the process that happens after that.
JB: Now, you have quite an interesting and unusual perspective on all of this because you lived so close to the border. How do you think your fellow Americans — your townspeople in Champlain — how do you think they feel about these refugees, who are basically saying goodbye to the U.S. and coming to Canada?
JM: I'm sure there are a lot of diverse opinions on that. Some of them I'm sure are quite happy to see them go. There's an anti-immigrant feeling across the country in various places. But I think, generally, people support the idea that I'm simply reaching out to help someone in need. And handing them a hat and a mitten, and wishing them well is the right thing to do and humanity. So not taking a political stand on it, I think most people support the effort to just reach out and help people.
JB: How do you feel though about the fact that, essentially, it's the political climate in your country right now that is making these people so fearful, scared to stay, and feeling so impelled to leave?
JM: Honestly, I can't even believe that it's happening. This is definitely not the United States that I felt I knew. I don't think that's the foundation of the country. I think you know we’re founded on immigrants. We all, except for the Native Americans, came from somewhere at some point in time. It makes me angry. I can't believe people feel they must do this to seek a safer, better life for themselves. Yeah, so it does make me mad. But the only thing I can do is maybe offer them just a little moment of goodwill as they pass through.
JB: Well, I guess if nothing else, their last memory of America will be a pleasant one.
JM: Well, you know it is my hope. I do want that to be what they think that there's some compassion in some Americans, which I truly believe in — that most Americans are very compassionate. I just want to give that to them as they are going onto a new country and a new life with uncertain futures.
JB: Ms McFetridge, thank you very much for joining us.
JM: You're very welcome. Thank you very much.
CH: That was Janet McFetridge. We reached her in Champlain, New York.
CH: Today, Beverley McLachlin heard her last case as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. In her 28-year career as Chief Justice, she’s heard more than 2,000 cases, and wrote more than 400 judgments. At the end of arguments today, she spoke briefly about her time on the court. Here is part of what she had to say.
BEVERY MCLACHLIN: 28 years is quite a long time, although it flew by. And I will miss the court. I will miss the work itself. I will even miss the long nights of homework. In fact, that may be the biggest adjustment that I have to face. What am I going to do with my evenings? But Frank assures me that he will be at my side to help solve that particular problem. Whatever lies ahead, I know that my time here will always be the centerpiece of my life. I was made a judge of the trial court in 1981, a year before the charter was adopted. And we all wondered what lay ahead? Well, now we know. And I've had the enormous good fortune to be a judge during this time when Canadian law I think has gone from strength to strength, when the Canadian justice system has emerged as a strong and potent force for good in our society. It's been intellectually stimulating, it's been hugely challenging, and there's not been a day when I haven't thought I am the luckiest of people.
CH: That was Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLaughlin, speaking from the bench for the last time today. She will officially retire from the court on December 15th. And on December 17th, she will be Michael Enright’s guest on “The Sunday Edition”.
[Music: Spanish guitar]
Same sex vote
TONY SMITH: Third reading of the bill Raiding for an act to amend the law relating to the definition of marriage, and protect religious freedoms, and for related purposes.