CAROL OFF: Hello, I'm Carol off.
JD: Good evening, I'm Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.
CO: Holding pattern. Over and over again, French judges have ordered officials to free Ottawa University Professor Hassan Diab from prison. And over and over again, most recently today, French appeals courts have refused to let him go.
JD: A man on omission. Last month the federal government announced a settlement for survivors of the so-called Sixties Scoop that left out Métis people — our guest wants to fix that.
CO: Death and Resurrection. Nine days after the shocking massacre, the church in Sutherland's Springs where so many parishioners were killed reopens as a stark memorial to the victims.
JD: Tests of faith. A Quebec coroner concludes that blood transfusions could have saved two women who died giving birth last year but that the doctors did their duty by respecting the young mother's religious beliefs.
CO: Anyone with a cat knows nature isn't the only thing that abhors a vacuum. But a cat named Félicette went to space anyway. And our guest believes it's past time she was honored with an official statue.
JD: And…locking up the pool noodles. After a bunch of complaints, public pools and Brossard, Quebec announced that they are outlawing nudity in change rooms. But some swimmers think that decision is on the shallow end. As It Happens, the Tuesday edition. Radio that figures this rule, and the pools have something in common, and that is the bottom line.
[Music: Theme]Back To Top »
Part 1: Hassan Diab, Texas Church Memorial, Space Cat
Guest: Rania Tfaily
JD: Hassan Diab is going to begin his fourth year in a French prison after all. Three years ago the Ottawa professor was extradited to France. He was supposed to stand trial for a 1980 bombing that left four dead at a synagogue in Paris — that trial has never happened. And an investigative judge has ruled repeatedly that the prosecutors do not have a case. But every time that happens a second layer of courts orders that Professor Diab should be held for what it calls ‘security reasons.’ Last week, another judge ordered that Professor Diab should be released under electronic surveillance but this morning his wife got the news that that release order has been reversed as well. We reached Rania Tfaily late this afternoon in Ottawa.
CO: Ms. Tfaily, this isn't your first disappointment. What did you think when you got the news about your husband's incarceration?
PROFESSOR RANIA TFAILY: You know, even though this is the eighth time that his release order was overturned, I was really shocked. I mean, I think I remained stunned for a few minutes not knowing whether this is reality, whether we live in an alternate world, because there has been eight release orders by four different French judges. There is consistent evidence that he is innocent. Two French investigative judges had stated that there is consistent evidence that he innocent. The Canadian extradition judge here said that the evidence against him is suspect and very problematic. And honestly I still don't understand how, despite all of this, he remains detained for more than three years.
CO: I want to ask you a bit more about that in a moment but I know you spoke to your husband this morning before you got the news. What did he think at that point? Did he feel optimistic about the possibility of release?
RT: Yes he was optimistic and people who know Hassan know that he's an optimistic person by nature, so he was optimistic this time. And I think he had his hopes raised up, I also had my hopes raised up. I didn't really see it coming this time.
CO: But one of the reasons I mean, because as you point out the judges have ordered him released. They have said there is no evidence, that it's a case of mistaken identity. The, as you mentioned, the Ontario Superior Court Judge who allowed for the extradition from Canada, he said that he had profound doubts about the evidence that was presented, he wouldn't allow part of it but he had no choice because the extradition law gave him no choice. You have all these levels of the judiciary saying “where's the beef?” There's no case here. What keeps having this case kept on? Why does he stay in prison?
RT: I really don't know the answer and I asked the lawyers and today I called one of the lawyers to know and she said I don't know what to think anymore because this is so unprecedented in all of their 40 years plus of working as criminal lawyers in France, this has never happened. So I don't know. I don't know why there is so much injustice in this case when French judges are calling for his release.
CO: Do you think it's political on the part of France?
RT: This is what his lawyers have been saying, that this decision in order to keep him detained is not based on evidence, it’s just political. And part of it is to look tough on terrorism. I do want to say that the prosecutor, last Monday during one of the hearings, the French prosecutor, said that conceded that, there might not be a trial, that Hassan and might be released and allowed to return to Canada and that there's not going to be a trial. But they still keep him detained. It seems like it's like an alternate world where truth, evidence, logic, rationality don't count. And I also don't know what to think anymore, I'm stunned.
CO: You have support from Amnesty International, among others who are calling for the release of your husband. I know you have raised this case with the Office of the prime minister of Canada and with the foreign minister. Have you heard anything back from them?
RT: Regarding the prime minister's office, they said that they referred the case to the Minister Freeland. I have been in contact with her office, I met with her twice regarding this case. She told me that they are raising concerns about this case with the French officials. But I mentioned that Hassan, at that time and even today, he still continues to be detained despite all of the evidence, and that it is very important for the prime minister, Prime Minister Trudeau, to raise this case directly with President Macron because the Canadian government extradited Hassan knowing that the evidence is so problematic. There has been evidence of his innocence. Even the prosecutor is conceding that there might not be a trial. Four judges have ordered his release order he's still in prison. I don't think that any Canadian citizen, any innocent Canadian citizen, should be subjected to such injustice, and it is important that Prime Minister Trudeau advocate for Hassan, just as he called on heart from Prime Minister Harper to advocate for Canadians wrongly imprisoned in other countries.
CO: I know that you are just going off now to pick up your kids from day care and you’re going to have to tell them your news. How will you do that?
RT: Actually, I don’t tell them. I mean, they know that Hassan is in jail. We visit him, we talk about him, but I don't tell them all of the details about the case, I just say that we are all working in order to get daddy back, and that we would never give up. But I don't update them on all of the ups and downs in the case.
CO: All right, well we’ll let you go and we'll continue to follow this story. Ms. Tfaily appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.
RT: Thank you very much, thanks.
CO: Rania Tfaily is a professor at Carleton University. She is Hassan Diab’s wife. We reached her in Ottawa.
[Music: Ambient Guitar]
Texas Church Memorial
Guest: Tambria Read
JD: For the first time since more than two dozen members of its congregation were massacred, the First Baptist Church in Sutherlands Springs, Texas has briefly reopened its doors. On Sunday some residents were allowed into the small sanctuary. It has been stripped of its pews and painted white, empty chairs represent each victim. Tambria Read is a teacher who attended the church as a child and knew many of the people who were killed. We reached her in Floresville, Texas.
CO: Tambria, what was it like for you to step into the First Baptist Church on Sunday?
TAMBRIA READ: It was heartbreaking. This is a church that I grew up in. It usually has nice wooden brown pews and some religious artwork on the walls, and the whole sanctuary is stark white.
CO: Now I understand there were dozens of people who worked around the clock, 72 hours, to take everything out — all the damaged structure, all the pews, the equipment, everything. And then to create a completely different environment, that's what you saw.
TR: Yes. And I feel it was very tastefully done. Some of my students who are youth members there were concerned because it didn't look like their church anymore. But it is a memorial. The walls have been spray painted white, as many holes as possible have been patched, and the outside the inside are spray painted white. The chairs are white. The victims’ names are painted in gold calligraphy on the back of the chair.
CO: The emotions, I mean, the mix of things. First of all, your memory of what it was like to be in that church before. And did you imagine, or try not to imagine what happened there?
TR: I tried not to visualize. I am a visual fine arts teacher and I really worked at not visualizing my friends and I thought about things that were there as a child. The pews and the hymnals, the Bibles, there are always Bibles with the hymnals, and I really, when I was talking with other people in the sanctuary I didn't come to tears. I’m kind of a stoic person and then when I got away from the other few people that were in there, because they only allowed about 10 people at a time, and there are grief counselors there and one caught my eye and I just lost it. I can't think of anything else significant other than I'm assuming it won’t be there much longer.
CO: They’re not going to keep the church at all?
TR: I do not think so. I have not heard from Pastor Frank exactly, but I've heard him on the radio saying that it will be taken down and a new structure built.
CO: You mentioned Pastor Frank, this is Frank Pomeroy, who wasn't there that day, but his daughter Annabelle, 14 years old, was there and she was killed. Pastor Frank Pomeroy spoke at the service on Sunday. How is he doing?
TR: What he said Sunday in his service is that if you know me well you know that first Corinthians 13 is his favorite verse. And it talks about how love never fails. And he said that evil came into our church and the devil tried to take us over. But we are resilient and we know that through love we can conquer the devil, and we will survive and grow and move on.
CO: We spoke with Mike Clements just after the shooting, a pastor in Floresville, and he said what one of the things he said he was bracing for were all the funerals that they would have to hold and attend in the coming days in trying. They said they're already trying to make arrangements for that. How many funerals of you attended?
TR: I’ve attended all of them so far. Saturday I couldn't make it to the church service in La Vernia for the Rodriguez couple, but I did attend their graveside service. And the cemetery is an elongated horseshoe sort of driveway. And only the family were allowed to park inside — the drive it was full — and the pasture, at least three-quarters-of-an-acre was full with cars on Saturday, and even more cars yesterday for Annabelle's. And we were happy that Frank spoke, he said he wasn't going to speak for his own daughter's funeral, but he just wanted to thank everybody and talk about the community's strength and what a fun loving young lady Annabelle was. And during the service for Annabelle in La Vernia, which was my recollection of Annabelle, she was a young lady that never knew a stranger, and every time she saw me, and it wasn't very often, she'd just come up and hug my leg when she was little, “Hi, I've been missing you.” And as she got older she would hug my waist and she apparently did this with many, many people.
CO: There was eight members I understand the Holcombe family that died in that shooting, including one, that was the unborn child was part of that family. Did you know the Holcombe’s?
TR: Yes, I taught Brian and Karla's — all of their children. Their funeral is tomorrow. John, Crystal’s husband, is also a former student of mine. And this is all very sad. And luckily I was able to see John after church service on Sunday. And I asked ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’ He asked if I could help find the bagpipers, because his dad had mentioned that he really enjoyed the bagpipers, and there is a local family who are related to the people that Sutherland Springs is named after, they're going to play bagpipes for the Holcombe family tomorrow.
CO: This congregation, Sutherland Springs, how does a town come back from that? This is half the congregation was lost.
TR: Just the strength of relying on each other and faith in God that goodness will prevail. This was caused by one person's inability to deal with his own demons, his own stresses in life, and coming together and helping each other we will grow and become stronger.
CO: Tambria, the community sounds so strong and I think that is, as you say, going to help you get through this. And I appreciate your generosity today telling us about people.
TR: Well thank you, and please pass the word that we are a strong community, and we're a group of good people and we have a rich history. I Hope people look at other historical events not just this one.
CO: I think that comes across, what you’re saying, thank you.
TR: Thank you. Take care.
JD: Tambria Read lives in Sutherlands Springs, Texas. We reached her today in nearby Floresville. You can see more on this story, including some photographs from inside the church, the memorial, on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.
[Music: Ambient Bass]
Guest: Matthew Serge Guy
JD: We know Laika the dog. We know Ham the chimpanzee, but very little is known about another animal that went into space — a cat named Félicette. Back in 1963 Félicette became the first, and only, cat to experience the weightlessness of space. But unlike Laika and Ham, the noble Félicette has no memorial. Matthew Serge Guy has begun a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of fixing that injustice. We reached him in London via Skype.
CO: Matthew, how did you come to learn about Félicette the space cat?
MATTHEW SERGE GUY: Well, I came across, basically, a towel in the kitchen that you used to dry plates with. I was at work and the towel commemorated 50 years of the date of the first cat going into space, and it just kind of grabbed my attention because I was obviously aware of — Arcade Fire wrote a song about that dog. And then everybody knows the monkeys because you know see Space Chimps in cartoons and stuff like that, they’re kind of like a wider part of popular culture and I just didn't know that a cat went to space. I thought it was fascinating.
CO: And I don't think anyone knows, or not many people know that this cat went to space and it was sent there and France put first cat in space.
MSG: Possibly the only one as well. I think it's part and parcel because the space race very much being between the dogs and Russia in the in the monkeys in America. The cat in Europe kind of got forgotten about along the way.
CO: But why do you think France wanted to put in a cat in space?
MSG: Well, as far as I can tell you specifically want to put a cat in space because they thought it was funny. From a scientific point of view, what I could tell, it's because back then in the early days of the space race scientists didn't really know what would happen to a living organism once it left the safety of Earth, as you know lots of things like cosmic radiation, they had no idea what the long term or even the short term effects that might have because you know Félicette’s flight only lasted 15 minutes.
CO: And any idea how Félicette herself got chosen? Why this particular cat and who she was where she came from? Do you know anything about her history?
MSG: Well, this is the thing it’s kind of very hard to get any sort of concrete, absolutely idea of the true things that happened because of so many varying tales of what happened online. What I do know is that she was kind of a Parisian cat. It’s unknown whether she was purchased from a pet dealer or she found on the streets as a stray. In terms of how she got selected for the mission, again there are conflicting stories of whether she was simply the best cat for the job, like she had the most calm demeanor, and was therefore most suitable to be strapped into a rocket. And there's other stories about simply she was the cat that put on the least weught so she could actually fitinto the capsule. And there's another story about, apparently a male cat named Felix was supposed to do the mission, but then he ran away the morning of the mission, and Félicette stepped in.
CO: Good for Felix.
MSG: It’s hard to know if he ever existed at all. Some statements say that he's just kind of like an artifact of the story being twisted over the years.
CO: What happened to Félicette after she came back from space?
MSG: So she landed 15 minutes after takeoff and was discovered by a helicopter recovery team in Algeria. And then she was flown back to the Paris lab of the French space agency and they kind of kept her under observation for a while and then, because of wanting to know the effects of space on a living organism, she was a put to sleep.
CO: They put her to sleep, you mean they euthanized her, they killed her. And then they tried to find out what effect their space had had on her after she was dead.
MSG: Yeah, on her brain, that's kind of like part the reason I suggested a statue, just for the kind of memorial aspects of it, but not just to Félicette but it's kind of like all of the unwilling participants of the space race, because ultimately they didn’t know what they were doing.
CO: So when did you get the idea that you should actually do some sort of commemoration for Félicette?
MSG: I kind of read about the story for a while and became interested in it. And then I’d always talk to people in the pub or at work, just how I spoke to you at beginning of this conversation did you know a cat went into space. And invariably they always say, no, and the more people spoke so I just thought something should be done to right the wrongs of injustices she’s faces with her story being kind of forgotten.
CO: And have you raised enough money on Kickstarter to get your statue to Félicette?
MSG: I think about two thirds of the way. So we know there's a lot cat lovers on the internet. So…
CO: And where will this commemoration, where with the statue to Félicette be?
MSG: We intend for it to be in Paris because that's where she was allegedly from. That's where the space agency was that sent her to space.
CO: And is she going to be — is she going to be in a space capsule, or how are you planning to have us remember Félicette?
MSG: The way that this process works is we need the money to sign off, not just the physical creating of the materials, but also artistic input from the sculptor. So we’ve got some sketches and stuff but it’s more or less going to be a cat and a rocket, but what shape that takes I something we’re working out throughout the process. I imagine it's something like, imagine how you sometimes see a cat set atop a scratching post, but instead of a scratching post it's a rocket and maybe she's looking into the stars or just getting ready to take a leap into the unknown — something like that, some nice meaning.
CO: Or she's looking to escape before they shoot her in this space.
MSG: That's another interpretation.
CO: What happened to that kitchen towel that had this commemoration to her?
MSG: Well we lost when we moved office about three or four months ago. And funnily enough the people that make the tea towel somehow read what I was doing and they sent me another one in the post, so I’ve got another one now.
CO: Well Matthew, I'm glad you're doing for Félicette — she deserves it — and I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.
MSG: Thanks very much.
JD: That was Matthew Serge Guy we reached him in London. And if you'd like to see some photographs of Félicette the cat, head on over to our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.
Archive: Space Monkey Wedding
JD: And you know, Félicette got us thinking back to 1979 when we brought you the story of another animal that went into space. Her name was Ms. Baker, a monkey who made a pioneering space flight two decades earlier. And when we covered that story Ms. Baker was about to get married for the third time. And at 21 years of age Ms. Baker's husband, Norman, was much younger. He was just five-years-old. Dan McCoy was an Alabama district court judge and here as part of his conversation with former As It Happens host, Barbara Frum, before he joined the two monkeys in matrimony.
BARBARA FRUM: What will the bride be wearing?
DAN MCCOY: As far as I know she'll be wearing a very natural, a very natural attire — her normal and natural attire and so on the groom.
BF: Will they be brought in cages?
DM: I'm not sure what the arrangements are at this point.
BF: That could be humiliating.
DM: Well no they have a very special environment out there. Their own temperature and environmentally controled area.
BF: You're going to them, they're not coming to you.
BF: And what would you actually say?
DM: I'm not sure, I think I will have to ask Norman for his license, I'm not sure what response I get from asking him for a marriage license. And I suppose in the lighthearted matter of it all just conclude by pronouncing that primate and simian maybe, or something of that sort.
BF: And invite Norman to kiss Ms. Baker.
BF: Oh it's so nice.
BF: It could be all this honour that’s kept her alive.
DM: I suppose so. She’s treated very well. And apparently her rocketing into space 20 years ago, or more, didn't have too much adverse effect on her.
JD: That was Dan McCoy, an Alabama district court judge, speaking to Barbara Frum back in 1979.Back To Top »
Part 2: Métis Settlement, Quebec Pool Nudity Ban
Guest: Robert Doucette
JD: Last month Ottawa announced a $750 million settlement for survivors of the Sixties Scoop. Shortly thereafter, it was discovered that that money was set aside for First Nations and Inuit peoples, but not for the Métis. Like thousands of other Métis, Robert Doucette was taken from his family and placed in a foster home in the 1960s and now he has filed a human rights complaint against crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett claiming she discriminated against the Métis people. We reached Robert Doucette in Saskatoon.
CO: Mr. Doucette, when you first learned that you and other Métis would be excluded from this settlement what was your reaction?
ROBERT DOUCETTE: I was devastated. I was dumbfounded, sad, disheartened, and, you know, I actually felt re-victimized again. I felt we re-victimized by the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett, and I just for, the life of me, could not understand why when they are talking about healing and reconciliation would do something like this and re-victimize people again.
CO: And what did you hear from other Métis? What did you hear from — did other people say the same thing, did they call you?
RD: You know, for the last months I have heard the same stories from a lot of Métis Sixties Scoop survivors, including my brothers and sisters. They are saddened and they're in a state of disbelief as to how this could have happened this, especially when you look at under Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution it says, Indian Inuit and Métis, Métis are the recognised Aboriginal Peoples of this country.
CO: Let's talk about what the government is offering, the federal government is offering as their explanation. They say that this settlement for Sixties Scoop survivors applies to — and this is language the government uses — “Status Indians or Inuit victims” and that Métis or non-Status Indians who survived the Scoop, that they are not included in this and that would be possibly for another phase of negotiations. What do you say to that?
RD: What do I say to that? You know, in my complaint I point out that when Minister Bennett has violated the Charter of Rights Section 15, where every individual is equal before and under the law, and our rights are equally protected. I don't feel equal. And further to that under Section 5 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, where it is discriminatory practice to deny access to any service. You know, this compensation is a service. This service was not extended to Métis foster adoptee, Sixties Scoop survivors, and we suffer equally, along with our families when our children are taken during and after the Sixties Scoop. I don't understand. One of the other excuses that I heard was that Métis people from Jeffery Wilson, a lawyer for Chief Martel Brown saying that they couldn't identify who the Métis were. I’ll use myself as an example, when I was taken away on September 2nd in 1962, I was assigned a social services number identifying who I was. I was put on the Saskatchewan government’s adopted Indian and Métis directory list. On my registration of live my birth it says Métis.
CO: So you have documentation despite the claims that Métis do not have identification as Métis and that was, you say, this is one of the arguments they've used. Is this consistent, do most people have something that indicates that they are registered as Métis?
RD: Well, I can't say that it would be consistent with everybody, but my mother sure put for all of her kids Métis. And the kids — the other foster kids that I lived with in the Doucette foster home, they were all Métis. I obtained 255 pages of information this summer from the government of Saskatchewan, which is available to all 60 survivors if they apply it to. So this idea, this smokescreen it's ridiculous. The documentation is there.
CO: Right now also in this you say that the government is indicating that Métis are not the same. They don't have the same status, as Indians as it's called Under the Indian Act. But was your experience any different? When you were put up for adoption, when you put into foster care in the 1960s, were you treated any differently, was that process any different and it was for First Nations or Inuit Sixties Scoop survivors?
RD: When the federal government got this great idea in the 1960s to co-fund a program with the province of Saskatchewan called Adopt and Indian/Métis program, it didn't matter if you were First Nations or Métis, if they wanted to come and take you — they took you. And all through my life I knew I was Aboriginal, for one reason or another I was always nice and brown and everybody kept calling me chief. And when it really hit home for me was when I was a teenager and I wasn't allowed to try out for a hockey team because they said I was an Indian — that's when it really hit home.
CO: Robert what were you taking? When you were taken from your mother, your family, where did they put you?
RD: Well, on September 2nd 1962 I was living with my family in Buffalo Narrows and social services came that day. And according to my auntie and my mother and they loaded me up in a car and without really telling anybody, they took off. And how the story goes is that my Nimushum, who could speak five languages, was chasing the car and was throwing rocks at it and swearing in every language that he knew. And for over 20 years he would say to my mother in Cree “Go and find my little man because I want to see him before I die. I want to see my little man before I die.” And I never met my grandfather, everything that has happened to our First Nations and Inuit people in this country for the last 200 years has happened to Métis people. They took my grandfather away to residential schools, they kicked us off our land, they promised my Nimushum, 111 years ago, two-hundred-and-forty-acres of land and our family is still waiting for that land.
CO: But you are standing up to this, you are filing this human rights complaint. What do you what do you hope to achieve?
RD: Well, I hope for a number of things. I hope Prime Minister Trudeau says publicly that he believes that Métis people have outstanding Aboriginal title and rights that he is going to recognize, affirm and defend. The second thing I'd like to see is Minister Bennett apologize for victimizing Métis people a second time. The third thing I would like to see is the opportunity for Métis Sixties Scoop foster and adoptee survivors have the same opportunity that’s being being afforded to First Nations and Inuit Sixties Scoop survivors. You know, and I think the most important thing of all of this is that I would like to see this country start respecting Métis people. Because that is exactly what I was taught by my foster father was that thing that you should have the most in this world is respect. We keep hearing all of this stuff about reconciliation and wanting to get do the right thing. Well, I'm here to say to Prime Minister Trudeau and Mr. Bennett, do the right thing.
CO: Mr. Doucette we will be following the developments and your human rights complaint. And I appreciate speaking with you today. Thank you.
RD: No it is my honour and privilege, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my story and the story of thousands of other Métis Sixties Scoop survivors across this great country.
CO: We hear you. Thank you.
RD: God bless you.
JD: We reached Robert Doucette in Saskatoon.
By The Numbers: Canada Post
JD: For the country's 150th birthday the Canada Post building in Ottawa chose to celebrate the past by making itself a present. The idea was to wrap the building on Sparks Street, in a delightful colourful banner. I mean wrap it entirely, roof to sidewalk, in a giant sort of tarp that was quote “customized to reflect the corporate vision/spirit of the public services department” unquote. I know such fun, but of course gigantic wraps, even fun ones, are complicated and expensive. So here, courtesy of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, is how much it costs to cover the covering by the numbers. $82,500 — the cost of just designing a tarp that could cover the whole building, possibly so pricey due to the necessity of reflecting the corporate vision/spirit of the public services department. $110,710.30 — how much it costs to actually make said giant corporate vision/spirit reflecting mega tarp to cover the building. $330,409.91 — the charge for installing the, admittedly impressive, branded 150th anniversary wrap on the Canada Post building on Sparks Street in Ottawa, and removing it at the end of the year. And adding in further design manufacturing and installation charges — $555,272.10 — the grand total for the huge commemorative building wrap. Now having never had my house wrapped in a massive ‘Happy Birthday Jeff’ tarp, I have no idea if that's reasonable or not, but it does seem a little high. And that is how Canada Post tried to cover itself in glory but wound up surrounded by controversy.
[Music: Whimsical 50’s Band]
Quebec Pool Nudity Ban
Guest: Roland Bérard
JD: Over the course of the 30 years that he has been going swimming at his local pool Roland Bérard hasn't thought much about it. The man from Brossard, Quebec strolls into the change room, strips down, slips on his suit and heads to the pool deck. Now however, Mr. Berrard will have to think about a new routine, because he will have to change into his Speedo in private. Brossard has officially banned nudity in the change rooms of its public pools. We reach Roland Bérard in Brossard, Quebec.
CO: Roland, there's a bulletin in the local newsletter, as you know, this month it says “cover up in the locker rooms.” What do you think of that?
ROLAND BERRARD: Well, I was a bit surprised when I heard of this new rule, that I did not know existed and, has not existed for the last 30 years that I've been living and using facilities. So I was surprised and I'm a bit taken aback, questioning the validity of the pertinence of this of this rule.
CO: And you've been going swimming in this place some Brossard for the past three decades, is that right?
RB: Well, not continuously, but I have been using it facilities since we moved here, and lately for the last couple of years I've done much more often.
CO: What kind of facilities are there for people to change? I mean, how open are these locker areas?
RB: They're open, they're quite open, there’srows of lockers. And then there's a common shower area just before you go into the pool.
CO: There's a separate men's and women's?
RB: Separate men's and women's, yes.
CO: But if you're bringing your children you're bringing your children to this area.
RB: Yes. If you can bring your children to this area and I think until the age of seven-years-old you can also bring a child of the opposite sex into that into that room if you're the parent.
CO: When did the complaints begin, as far as you know, about nudity in the locker room?
RB: Well, the city said it has been about one a month for the last 12 months, in the past year. There may have some been some before, but it started off from a multiple complaints to one a month.
CO: And now is there any reason for that? I mean, was it something that I mean, is there something going on? Is there one particular person who is was a bit more conspicuous than others who’s bothering — I mean why do you think suddenly, in this past year after you've been going there for 30 years, that there is seems to be a problem?
RB: Well, I can't really answer that question because I haven't seen the complaints. Perhaps — Brossard’s a very multicultural city — maybe there's a generational change that's going on. I really don't know because, as I said, I've never been aware that this has been a problem, it hasn't been any time I've gone in that pool or any other pool that I've been to in my life.
CO: Have you seen fathers bringing their daughters, their girls into the changing room?
RB: Well, right now I go in the morning early in the morning for the lap swimming. So I haven't seen any children. I might have when I was bringing my kids to swimming lessons but I don't remember now.
CO: Now, I guess for this idea of banning nudity in a locker room — it's difficult right? I mean, so what are they expecting you to do? How do you how do you manage that?
RB: What they're asking us to do is there's a couple of cubicles in the in the change room, there's a couple of toilets, they’re asking us to change in the toilets and they're asking us to shower with our bathing suits on so that you're always covered. Or walk around with a towel as an alternative.
CO: But if you're naked, if you're changing into your clothes, you have to go into the toilet cubicle.
RB: That's what they're saying. And they seem to have a saying now that it's a rule, it's not a law it’s a rule. So it's still in flux because there are no signs up yet in the locker rooms. This came out a couple of weeks ago.
CO: How are they going to monitor this? I mean, are there going to be people coming in and looking for those who might be strutting around nude? Are they going to be based on complaints?
RB: That's a good question. They may tailor it to the times when there's children in the dressing rooms, they may choose the times, I don't know. There's also the fact they're saying that the people, the cleaning staff, go in at any time and there's a discomfort there about the nudity, or the lifeguards when they go in if they have to go in for any kind of an emergency. That’s another thing that the city has said, but again I have never seen that as being a problem.
CO: And how will it change your routine at the pool?
RB: It will change my level of freedom, I guess you might say, my level of doing what I would have to do — change, to take a shower and go home or go into the pool. It's not the end of the world. I mean, I can comply, which I will if it ever becomes a strict rule, but I feel that it's restrictive and I feel that it's somewhat regressive, as well, and repressive. So I'm questioning the necessity of this at large.
CO: And you think it has to do with the multiethnic nature of the community?
RB: No. No I just said that the Brossard is multiethnic, and I don't know that any complaints are related to that, I don't think they are. I think it's more, from what I've heard and the city would have to confirm, it's more parents that are with their children that are concerned.
CO: Are there other reasons though for making this decision in Brossard. I mean, they're building a new aquatic centre that will change things, as far as changing goes. So what's happening there that might be part of this decision?
RB: From what I know there's going to be one change room for all in the new aquatic centre, so there's going to be private stalls and hopefully private showers to change into. And I think part of the reason there is to accommodate everything that's going on with transgender people, and it really gets away from that problem if everybody's in the same dressing room and they have to change in the stalls. And I think that's the the reasoning behind that. Again the city would have to confirm, but that's what I understand.
CO: And what do you think of that.
RB: I think it's one way to go and if that's the way it is, that's the way it will go to the pool knowing that if you use that pool that's the way it's going to be. So I'm going to comply with that and no problem, it’s just in existing facilities, I think that they're not set up for that. And I don't really think it's necessary. And as a society I'm wondering where this is going, in terms of having to cover up. It’s repressive and what gets repressed somehow comes out sometimes in a distorted way. So is this the way to go, is this what we want? That's where my questioning is coming from.
CO: Roland, we'll leave it there. I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.
RB: OK thank you very much Carol.
JD: Roland Bérard is an avid swimmer and a resident of Brossard, Quebec. And that is where we reached him.
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Archive: Liz Smith Obit
JD: She covered all the biggest stars from Bette Midler to Frank Sinatra and Madonna. And along the way Liz Smith gained her own celebrity status as a grandam of dish. Ms. Smith — one of the most prominent gossip columnists in the U.S. — died this past Sunday in New York City. She was 94 years old. For more than 25 years Liz Smith's column called simply, Liz Smith, was one of the most widely read columns in the world — partly because of her habit of breaking tabloid scoops, including the story of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow's impending parenthood and the death of her friend Nora Ephron. More famously, she also broke the news of Donald and Ivana Trump's divorce. In 2015, Ms. Smith wrote a column in which she revealed a disturbing epiphany for her. It was called quote “I think I invented the Trumps,” and in it she outlined how she got to know the family, Mr. Trump's rise to fame and the profound effect that they had on her career. Back in 1980 Liz Smith was a guest on As It Happens. She spoke with former host Barbara Frum about the novelist Norman Mailer and his many marriages. Here's part of that conversation.
BARBARA FRUM: Don't you admire Norman Mailer for his very thick skin. Not every man could carry this life of his off.
LIZ SMITH: Yes I do admire him, he has the courage of his convictions and I think he is a very sensitive man and actually a very sweet fellow. But he, I believe more than anyone, understands that he is a comic figure to some people because of having been married a number of times and involved at other times when he was not yet un-involved from someone else.
BF: What's amusing now, of course, is that he's getting on and so he's got to marry them two by two. He's got to squeeze more in.
LS: Yes, he certainly had a full life.
BF: What's his average with each of his wives? How many years before he gets bored and moves on?
LS: His average seems to me about seven years with each one of these women.
BF: That's funny because that's what I thought too. He sort of like got a model in Jacob, work seven years for Leah, you know, and then moves on.
LS: Right. I don't, I don't agree though that he will move on again because this woman that he is really emotionally involved with now, Norris Church, is a terrific, fabulous woman. She's very beautiful, and very dear, and very simple and very sweet. And she really is devoted to Norman and his to her. So I think they have won a high degree of social acceptance in New York life.
BF: Do you think that the whole trend in the world to serial monogamy comes from people like Mailer? He's quite a pacesetter really — he's just got the money to do what a lot of people want to do.
LS: Well, I don't think he does have the money. I think he's always chronically broke, but he does make a lot of money. The thing is I think that it's interesting that he always insists on marrying, he's like Elizabeth Taylor in that regard. He always thinks every relationship is the last and is very serious one and I don't believe he would have ever lived with Norris or with Carroll out of wedlock if he could have married them.
JD: That was gossip columnist Liz Smith in conversation with former As It Happens so was Barbara Frum back in 1980. Liz Smith died last Sunday. She was 94 years old.Back To Top »
Part 3: Quebec Coroner Report, College Strike
JD: There is that old saying, once bitten, twice shy, which is good enough. But is it not better to just avoid being bitten in the first place? Now some of you might remember a story we told you a couple of years back. During the summer 2015, Australian Professional surfer Mick Fanning, was competing in South Africa — he was attacked by a shark. Mr. Fanning was able to escape, and he even punched the creature at one point. Well on Monday, British doctor Charlie Fry had a similar shark encounter while surfing off the coast of Australia. Dr. Fry got away with a puncture wound on his arm and here is how he described the moment after the shark encounter to the Today Show in Australia.
DOCTOR CHARLIE FRY: Yeah, it was bleeding. I didn't really notice it at the time because when you're sort of surfing all you’re thinking is “I'm about to die. I'm literally about to die.” So I was sort of just surfing and going get in as fast as possible to sort of just ride the way for as long as you can and then just start paddling for your life essentially. But yeah, it was it was very, very hectic, very, very hectic.
HOST: Tell you what, it’s very reminiscent of the Mick Fanning incident. Where did it come to your mind to hit the thing in the head?
CF: Yeah funny, funny you mention it actually because obviously me my friends have just started surfing and we saw the YouTube clip of it Mick Fanning saying that he punched it in the nose, so when it happened I was like just do what Mick did, just punch it in the nose. So Mick, if you're watching or listening, I owe you a beer, thank you very much.
HOST: Just do what Mick did and punch it in the nose. That should be on a T-shirt. Hey your parents are back in the UK. Have you told this story yet?
CF: Yeah I told them. It took a while to tell them yesterday. I wanted to make sure that everything was OK. It's amazing how the stories develop, you sort of think it's going to be a really cool story, and then already a newspaper article’s come out saying, “Oh I don't think I can tell Mom,” I'm like you're killing me. And then another story has been like “the surfer tried to catch a wave and missed” I’, like you’re joking, I wasn’t trying to catch a wave I was just there.
CF: For the record I would have caught the wave if it was there.
JD: That was British doctor Charlie Fry in conversation with the Today Show in Australia after his encounter with a shark.
[Music: Rhythmic Tones]
Quebec Coroner Report
Guest: Luc Malouin
JD: Luc Malouin had the sad task, this morning, of explaining the deaths of two young mothers. Mr. Malouin is a Quebec coroner. He was reporting on his investigation into the cases of Mirlande Cadet and Elöise Dupuis, both women died in childbirth in separate incidents last year. Both had suffered blood loss — but both refuse transfusions because of their faith as Jehovah's Witnesses. We reached Luc Malouin in Quebec City.
CO: Mr. Malouin, could blood transfusions have saved the lives of these two women?
LUC MALOUIN: I could say probably at 90 per cent. And I say probably because in the case of Madame Cadet in Montreal, she got a blood transfusion very quickly and she died.
CO: And it's just with that case with the case of Mirlande Cadet and she had refused the transfusion because she's a Jehovah's Witness. Her husband refused for her as her vital signs were diminishing. How is it that in the end she did have a blood transfusion?
LM: Because her father mother were not in the same religion. And they make pressure about their son in law and quickly he changed his mind and said “OK we will do everything to save her.” So a couple hours after the birth of the baby she got a blood transfusion.
CO: And the birth of the baby was successful, the baby was fine?
LM: Exactly. So, you know, life is life, in every case we could say yes blood transfusion can save her life but sometimes something can happen.
CO: How did Mirlande Cadet make it known that she did not want a blood transfusion?
LM: When she was admitted to the hospital she told the medical people there.
CO: And what are the responsibilities then of the medical people when someone says something like that?
LM: With our law, especially human rights, they have to respect her choice.
CO: They have to respect her choice even if the baby was stressed, if their baby’s life the, unborn baby’s life was threatened in some way? Would they have to also abide by her desire not to have intervention?
LM: We have two cases — for major people, people who are over 18, they must respect their choice. Under 18 they have the right to go to the judge and obtain all authorization to give and to do everything to save the baby.
CO: And just talk about the case of the other woman Elöise Dupuis who also died, she was a Jehovah's Witness. What's the story of what happened to her?
LM: She arrived at the hospital and the medical people there that she doesn't want the blood transfusion. But after the first operation to — I don't know in English, French we say césarienne.
CO: Cesarean section.
LM: She had another operation, a hysterectomy, and after these two operations her health was going down, and down, and down. She didn't have enough blood in her to save her life.
CO: And she died six days after giving birth.
LM: Yes, around that.
CO: And her son survived.
CO: Do you think in the case of these two women that the medical staff have found the right balance between the patient’s rights and their obligations?
LM: Unfortunately they did not have any other choice than to respect their choice, even if they don't want to they have the right to do it.
CO: And so in other cases, now what you're saying is a signal sends a message that this is what doctors should do. They should respect the request of someone who is a Jehovah's Witness or for whatever reason they refuse a blood transfusion.
LM: When I do a report I have to to ask first, what's the law? Well the law they have to respect and I don't have to put my own mind and my own feeling — just the law.
CO: It's also possible, and has been true, that people may say no they do not want some kind of an intrusion like a blood transfusion. But in the crisis of the moment they can change their mind they can want, in any emergency they may want to live.
LM: Absolutely. And for Madame Dupuis, when she was alone with a physician operation in the room they offered her blood in her secret way. So no one would know that she would accepted blood. And even at that time she refused.
CO: In the case of Elöise Dupuis there was a Jehovah's Witness hospital liaison committee at the hospital. Did they play a role? Was there pressure on Madame Dupuis to abide by this non blood transfusion?
LM: I find no of that to the person. That person met the physician on two occasions and explained to the physician what can be medical treatment if they don't use blood, but the physician in the hospital already did this medical therapy. So it changed nothing.
CO: So you don't believe there was any interference or any pressure on her by the Jehovah's Witness?
LM: I don't have any evidence of that.
CO: In the end, do you conclude that these cases were handled properly and that there really is nothing to have done differently?
LM: I don't see anything that can be done differently, except that after when we study that kind of case we know that we have to save time to give a chance to the mother and maybe the next time we can do better in doing the pre-board, meeting with physicians to choose exactly what we will do if problems to occur. So you save time when problems occur because all is settled.
CO: Monsieur Malouin, I appreciate speaking with you, thank you.
LM: You’re welcome. Bye, bye.
JD: Luc Malouin is a Quebec coroner. We reached him in Quebec City.
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Listener Response: Ivy’s Assignment
JD: Earlier this month, As It Happens received a letter — not an e-mail nor a text — but a beautiful handwritten note. It was written in pencil and it says “Dear Ms. Off, My name is Ivy and I would like to interview you.” Now Ivy it seems has a school assignment and was hoping the Carol might be able to help out — and her request is reasonable. She's flexible on the date and the time, she's happy to meet anywhere, although she does say that coming to the As It Happens studio would be ‘ultra-cool’ — her words. And she even includes a list of questions that she might asking, including the very loaded, “Do you like your job? Now unfortunately things are always a little bit hectic — busy I'll say, around here and Ivy's request got shuffled in among some papers on our Senior producer's desk. I should stress that John Perry is very busy and very important and controls the paychecks and he does a terrific job. But he did misplace this note. Anyway today we arrived at the office to find this voicemail.
IVY: Hello, my name is Ivy, I'm from Toronto. This is a message Carol Off. So you know my name already and I go to the Linden School and I have to do an interview, and I think it would be cool if I could do an interviewer for my interview. My due date is November the 24th. And some of the places we can meet are your workplace, your place, our place or on The Only Café. Please let me know, I hope you got my letter and thank you.
JD: What a pro. She explains who she is clearly, the request is concise, she even includes what might be the most important part of an interview request here at As It Happens — a deadline. So Ivy, thank you so much for following up so professionally. I spoke to Ms. Off on your behalf. She says she would love to speak with you and when you come in you can sit in her chair. Now if you — that is the rest of you — would like to leave a voicemail. Give us a call (416) 205-5687, we'd love to hear from you, although you're not likely going to be as cute as Ivy. You can also find us on Facebook or Twitter at CBC As It Happens, or you can e-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org. And if Ivy has inspired you, we do still accept and welcome mail. P.O. Box 500, Station A, Toronto, Ontario, M5W 1E6 — that is the first time in seven years I've read that out.
[Music: Ambient Tones]
Nancy Friday Obit
JD: In her own way Nancy Friday redefined what it meant to be a woman. The best-selling author covered everything from male and female sexual fantasies, to the relationships between mothers and daughters. Her frank discussions on these and many other subjects helped create what one reporter called “a confessional feminism.” Nancy Friday died earlier this month at her home in Manhattan. She was 84 years old. In October of 1985, Ms. Friday was in Toronto to promote her book Jealousy. She spoke with former CBC radio host Vicki Gabereau on that subject — including the psychology of jealousy between siblings. Here's part of that conversation.
NANCY FRIDAY: The interesting thing is that Freud left siblings almost out of his theory in his research. Freud had a lot of sibling problems, he had to be numero uno in his home. And when he wrote his memoirs he didn't even mention his brothers and sisters. And so the psychoanalytic theory, and our whole thinking really on behaviour — because Freud of course is at the base of all this — all of our thinking and behaviour until very recently has left out these extremely important relationships, and they feed so directly into jealousy because jealousy between siblings is normal and to be expected, so that if in your family if the rivalry say with your brothers and sisters however, left you feeling that there was nothing you could do to somehow get your parents eye on you, in the same way that it was on your brother or sister, and all your life it seems as a young person you competed, and tried, and achieved, and won prizes, but in no way could you get that parental eye, that smile on you as it was on your brother or sister. And the sad and tragic thing in these kinds of competitions that go on in families is that you never will. But some people just never give up trying. For some reason parents favour one child over another. Parents are human beings and they don't think children know it, and of course children know it. And these kinds of people, people who feel themselves to be the less favoured child, grow up to be people who try to find that kind of love, that kind of adoration that they didn't get from their parents they try to find it in their lovers and their mates. You know, sometimes people who were the less favoured child let’s say, do find that mate who sees them as the moon and the stars and the sun and the universe, and that's great — so long as it lasts. But invariably your mates eye is going to wander off of you and so you're going to find yourself in this position where you are very easily jealous. You want to be everything to him or her. The business of our brothers and sisters is just one of the most powerful routes to later vulnerability, to jealousy.
JD: That was author Nancy Friday in conversation with former CBC radio host Vicki Gabereau in 1985. Nancy Friday died earlier this month. She was 84 years old.
[Music: Upbeat Ambient Bass]
Guest: Jodi Baxter
JD: Students at Ontario colleges are waiting to hear when they will get back to class — and they have been waiting for 29 days and counting. It is the longest strike by college faculty in the province’s history, and today a class action lawsuit was launched on behalf of the 500,000 Ontario college students who have been affected by said strike. Jodi Baxter is a mature student studying nursing at Fleming College in Peterborough. She is eager to get back to class. We reached her in Lindsay, Ontario.
CO: Jodi, we're now in week five of this strike. Could you have imagined that it would go on this long?
JODI BAXTER: No, not really. When faculty talked about it previous to actually going on strike, they kind of mentioned a three week kind of mark. And so to go on to week five, looking into week six — definitely did not picture it going this long .
CO: And there doesn't seem to be any end in sight.
JB: No. Unless faculty vote ‘yes’ to this offer, but it's not looking that way. The media is not portraying it that way.
CO: What's this like for you, because you have four kids, lots of driving to do, daycare everything else —what effect this has had on your day?
JB: Well, I'm sending children to daycare of that don't need to go. In the first couple of weeks it was all right because you had some work to do, so I could sell my day studying or catching up on assignments that are due later on in the semester. It wasn't that bad, but now that it's going onto week five, I don't have as much school work that I can really do. So you're kind of just waiting in limbo. I mean, I'm busy because I'm a mom with kids. It's not like I'm sitting around doing nothing. But it's not what I want to be doing.
CO: And could you put a daycare on hold until the strike ends?
JB: Not an option. If I take them out I lose the spot and I had been on a waiting list to begin with to get in, so definitely not an option.
CO: At what stage, what level were you at in your nursing studies at Fleming College?
JB: I actually had just started in September. I'm a first-year student.
CO: As far as you understand, what are the implications for you getting to this year?
JB: As of right now Fleming’s said that as long as the strike wraps up this week we’ll only be extended a week into December and winter classes will start up again in January. But until they know exactly when it ends they haven't really communicated past that.
CO: If this strike does end, the consequences for you will be that you're in school right up to Christmas?
CO: The kids are going to love that.
JB: Yeah, it's not a great situation, especially if it extends into the time when they're off school themselves, right? Because I'm scrambling to figure out what I'm doing with them when I'm in classes.
CO: Just to briefly go to what the issues are in the strike. The union representing faculty members says one of the big remaining issues is academic freedom, and they don't feel the College Employer Council is ensuring that their professors and teachers have control over the courses they teach. Do you do you support your teachers?
JB: I can see where they're coming from, but I can also see how the colleges have the perspective of, you know, especially with nursing, they're told what needs to be taught because there's an exam that you have to pass at the end of it. So I do think there needs to be a governing body, you can't just decide what you want to teach you have to follow a set guideline. But in the way of teachers don't like how they're forced to pass students that maybe don't deserve to be passed, I can see their perspective too. So you know I'm on one side or the other. I just want to be back in class.
CO: And what about your fellow students? Is there a general support or lack of support for your faculty?
JB: You know the media has portrayed it as if students are supporting faculty, but any students that I talk to, or people that I know in my program, are really just frustrated. I don't hear too many people saying oh yeah I'm glad that the teachers went on strike and I'm supporting them. Most of them just say you know we just want to be in class.
CO: And in fact there is a class action lawsuit from the Ontario College students just launched.
JB: So yeah it does indicate that people are upset and aren't necessarily supportive.
CO: And that's just launched, I believe, today. They're saying that they have lost five weeks of courses, these student fees were prepaid, and that the colleges have not provided the training and the instruction and they have not refunded the money, so they're suing them for breach of contract and breach of the Ontario Consumer Protection Act.
JB: Well that's interesting.
CO: Could you see yourself joining that class action suit?
JB: If I were to go back to school next week I would probably just let it go. But if it extends much longer and I lose a semester, or have to repeat the semester then yeah I could definitely see myself going that route.
CO: It's a difficult impasse isn't it, because usually when the dispute is over money or time or when it's over things, people, negotiators often say that's can be easier to resolve. But when it's over principles like they're saying they want more freedom. And the colleges are saying no you want control and we're not going to give it to you. It seems like a really difficult impasse doesn't it?
JB: It does seem difficult. I'm not sure where —I kind of feel like they need to meet in the middle somewhere and come up with a solution. But, I guess, it sounds like they've tried to do that and haven't come up with one so I don't know what they do. But as far as I'm concerned it just needs to be ended somehow, however that looks like.
CO: You're going back to school as a mature student. You're looking to start a career in nursing, if it is protracted strike, if it does go on. What does it do for your dreams?
JB: Well, it just puts them on hold. And as a mature student I'm already — not that I'm old — but I'm not young either. So I would like to get on with my life. I wouldn't like it to last any longer than it has to. I didn't expect to be sitting at home on my computer trying to teach myself the information, that's for sure.
CO: And that's where you are?
JB: Yeah, that’s where we are.
CO: How do you explain this to your kids?
JB: They have a lot of questions, especially when they're listening to the radio when they hear words like union and bargaining.
CO: Trying to explain a union to a nine-year-old.
JB: Yeah, how do you explain that? You know there's a group working for the faculty and who the faculty bosses are like the colleges and all that kind of stuff it's hard. They just know mommy is not in class amd mommy wants to be in class.
CO: And mommy wants to be in class, unlike them, they’d be perfectly happy to be on strike.
CO: Well Jodi, I hope everything works out and I appreciate speaking with you. Thanks so much.
JD: Jodi Baxter is a mature student studying nursing at Fleming College in Peterborough. We reached her in Lindsay, Ontario.
CBC would like to acknowledge the support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.