JIM BROWN: Hello, I'm Jim Brown, sitting in for Carol Off. Good evening.
JEFF DOUGLAS: Good evening, I'm Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.
JB: Casting the “het” wide. The IOC bans Russia from competing at next year's Olympics. But a Russian sports reporter says that, when it comes to denying wrongdoing, the Kremlin will stay on track.
JD: Sparing no expanse. Two enormous, federally-protected pieces of land in Utah will shrink due to the U.S. president's latest decree. But our guest, and members of other tribes, will not shrink from a legal fight.
JB: Dividing line. In negotiations over Brexit, there's still no deal to keep the Irish border open, which is a serious concern for those who rely on that soft boundary, and remember how hard things once were.
JD: Metal detector. She was hoping to get her grandfather’s Victoria Cross back at auction today, but it sold for $420,000. So why is Lesley Kerr smiling?
JB: The lecturers become the lectured. After lots of sexual misconduct accusations against high-profile men, our guest believes it's high time that harassers in higher education were brought low.
JD: And… every trick against the book. A Nova Scotia writer shares her concern after her book-signing in a small town is canceled, after the subject of that book, a pulp mill, suggests employees express their discontent.
As It Happens, the Tuesday edition. Radio that guesses she's not one to turn the author cheek.
[Music: Theme]Back To Top »
Part 1: IOC Russia, Irish border, Academic harassment
Guest: Slava Malamud
JD: There will be no Russian flag flying at next year's Winter Olympics in South Korea. In an historic decision by the International Olympic Committee, Russia has been banned from competing next year in the Winter Games, after evidence of a widespread, state-run doping program. The decision does allow clean Russian athletes to compete as individuals. But the official record books for the 2018 Winter Olympics will show that Russia won zero medals. Slava Malamud is a freelance Russian sports journalist. We reached him in Baltimore, Maryland.
JB: So Slava, obviously, outside of Russia, this IOC decision is huge news today. But how are people inside Russia reacting tonight?
SLAVA MALAMUD: Unfortunately, and to me it's unfortunate, because it tells me that the punishment will probably not be effective. The reaction boils down to we have been victimized. It's a political scapegoating, it's a political witch hunt, it’s a scam. The evil West is out to get us. The problem is that nobody in Russia has ever covered this as it's our problem. We have allowed this to happen. We have been wrong in doping our athletes. The prevailing opinion is that it's a set-up. That Rodchenkov is some kind of a crazy mad scientist, out on a personal vendetta.
JB: This is the whistleblower you're talking about here?
SM: Yes, Gregory Rodchenkov. And the West simply latched onto it to make a political point. Or even a more patriotic look at this, Russia is financially strong and great again, and the West wants to keep us down.
JB: The announcement today, it basically said that Russia is banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics. But what exactly does that mean?
SM: That the Russian National Olympic Committee is banned, so no Russian officials can be present, no Russian symbology can be displayed, no flags no anthem, the uniforms cannot bear the word Russia, they cannot even have uniforms in Russian national colours, athletes themselves will be allowed to participate. They will be they'll participate as OAR (Olympic Athletes from Russia), but they will ostensibly represent themselves.
JB: If a luge athlete and I'm clean, and I'm from Russia, and I want to go to South Korea — if I want to go to the Olympics — what do I do?
SM: Well, there are two things to do. First of all, you apply as an athlete and pass all of the tests that are required. They have to submit themselves to doping test. And they have to prove that they are not a part of the system. Then the second thing they need to do is wait until tomorrow, when Vladimir Putin is going to announce whether Russian athletes will indeed submit themselves to this or they will just wholesale boycott the Olympics and just not go as a big middle finger to the West.
JB: But you expect Putin to announce a boycott — a complete boycott — of all Russian athletes?
SM: Actually, if it was up for me if I had my money on it, I would probably say that he’ll decide against the boycott. There are several reasons for that. First of all, Putin never does anything that's not going to benefit him politically. I don't see any major political long term benefits he can extract from a boycott. Secondly, Putin usually does what he feels the public is going to get behind. And it's very consistent with the national character of Russians. It’s go and show them. Let our athletes go there, win the metals, then go on the press conference and just let them have it. Because we are a great country, you'll never keep us down, and that kind of stuff. Putin knows that this is what the Russians feel right now. This will make them feel good because that plays into this whole idea of national victimhood.
JB: Now, the situation of the IOC was reacting to today, these explosive allegations of this state-sponsored doping program, this you know completely widespread program where urine samples from cheating athletes were being switched with clean samples through holes in the wall of the lab. I mean it was unbelievable. Do you think that what we saw today from the IOC — this decision — will force that whole culture of sport and doping in Russia to look at itself and to change?
SM: Not in a bit. Here's one change that's going to happen: they're going to try to cover their tracks a little bit better. Because the little tiny bit of self-reflection that I see in the Russian media right now is directed at the officials for allowing Gregory Rodchenkov to escape the country. They're basically saying how come we didn't make this guy disappear? We're so good at this. How come he is around? How come we allowed him out of the country to spill our secrets? Cover up your tracks. This makes me madder than anything; everybody is complicit. The nation's psyche is complicit because it's diseased right now. It's Motherland’s honour first. Truth and rules and decency and morals never even come close. And I don't think this type of punishment is going to serve its purpose. It’s only going to play into Putin's hands because he's going to be able to spin it in a way that’s of interest to him.
JB: Now, the IOC could have gone further today. The IOC could have put a blanket ban in place, and prevented all Russian athletes from competing in South Korea. Should they have done that?
SM: I mean if anything, it might have made the people stop and think about what's going on. By giving them this out — by giving Putin an ability to claim some kind of political capital — they’re basically ensured that the Russians are not going to learn a thing from this. And I know they’re speaking to. It’s a sports’ governing body for crying out loud. They can’t change the national disease that Russia is undergoing right now. Look, I mean the Americans had doping issues as well, but they didn't look outside. They didn't blame an international conspiracy. They went and they stripped Lance Armstrong of his yellow jerseys. And they banned Marion Jones, and she went to prison. We're at the point where it's us against the world.
JB: We've got Olympic Winter sports that are historically just dominated by Russians. I'm thinking of events like the biathlon, cross-country skiing, figure skating. What are those events going to look like without Russian athletes?
SM: I think biathlon is probably gone. Forget it! The biathlon is going to be dominated by the Scandinavians and the French and the Germans and whoever else. I think figure skating there will be Russians there. There's no way that an International Skating Union blanket bans the Russians because then they just they can just shut the competition down, especially ice dance. And I think that hockey is still going to have the Russian team in some way or another because Rene Fasel, the president of the IHF, is a huge fan of Russia, and you will do anything at all. If he has to dress them in the Bad News Bears uniforms to hide their Russian affiliation he'll do it. But he'll have them there.
JB: I'd like to see that actually.
SM: I think Bad News Bears it's probably the best name you can have for team Russia at any time.
JB: Slava, thank you very much for joining us.
SM: No problem at all.
JD: Slava Malamud is a freelance Russian sports journalist. We reached him in Baltimore. We have more on this story on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih
Guest: Pamela Arthurs
JD: Presently, there is no significant border between Northern Ireland, and the Republic of to the south. That's because both are, presently, part of the European Union. As you may have heard on the news, however, that Irish border has become a thorny issue in Britain's negotiations with the EU over its exit, and that peaceful, open border may be in jeopardy. Yesterday, British Prime Minister Theresa May left talks in Brussels without a highly-anticipated border deal. Her proposal was scuttled at the last minute by the Northern Ireland unionist party that is propping her up her government — the DUP. That has people who live along the Irish border worried. Pamela Arthurs is one of them. She's the head of the East Border Region cooperation group. We reached her in Newry, Northern Ireland.
JB: Ms. Arthurs, why is an open border so important to the people in your region?
PAMELA ARTHURS: Well, an open border is critical to us here along the Northern Ireland border because we can trade freely, our health authorities can work seamlessly across the border. Really life in terms of we know it is critical in terms of working across the border.
JB: Can you give us some examples of the crossings that happen there every day?
PA: Well it's seamless. If you were here, you wouldn't realize that you had crossed the border. There's nothing to say that you're in the other jurisdiction, except and Northern Ireland, it's miles that we have instead of kilometers in the Republic. We remember the days when there was a hard border there. We just don't want to go back to that.
JB: So if I'm injured, and I'm put in the back of an ambulance, I'm taken to the closest hospital. Not to the closest jurisdictional hospital?
PA: Yes. But with Brexit, were not clear us to how that will work in the future. And even if you take, for example, blood supplies, again they will move across the border. But in the future, we don't know about that. We do remember situations where the ambulance stopped at the border, and the patients were transferred.
JB: Let's just remind our listeners the way it used to be. Because the border hasn't been open that long — almost two decades — after the Good Friday peace agreement. Can you remind people how difficult that was to achieve?
PA: The Good Friday agreement really, in my book, would be a masterpiece in terms of appeasing all of the competing interests that we have here in Northern Ireland. But I think there was a will there because we had suffered not only in Northern Ireland, but in the southern border counties, we had suffered for so long. People wanted something different. We had, as you know, the bombing, the shootings, that was just life. It really was a masterpiece in terms of finally agreeing on peace. Since 1998, we have been working through that process. It's still a process. I don't think anybody would say that it's failed at this stage. The unfortunate part about Brexit is that it has exposed the tensions again. Because in Northern Ireland, one of the big party political blocs supported Brexit, and the other didn't. But it's important to say that the European Union played its part in the peace process. It was always the backdrop to cross-border cooperation. It also financed many of the projects that have enabled us to modernize and develop our border society.
JB: So given all that's been achieved, in your mind, how much of that is now at risk because of Brexit?
PA: Quite frankly, I don't know. And I don't think anybody could tell you that. But what we do know is that border controls generally worry people because in the past those have always been the subject or the target for you know violence. Not only that, I think what's even more worrying is our economic situation. And in a situation where you know suffers then you're more prone to have you know difficulties politically.
JB: Now, it looked like there may be a solution to the Irish border question. But then the agreement, if it was an agreement, was scuttled by the DUP, the Democratic Union Party, which is essentially propping up Theresa May's government, which is against any kind of special consideration for Northern Ireland. How did you react when you heard that that deal had, apparently, been taken off the table?
PA: Well, it wasn't surprising to me I suppose because the DUP party support Brexit. They believe that Northern Ireland will be better off with the United Kingdom outside of the European Union. And then the other big political bloc are against Brexit. So that does not surprise me that DUP because they will not finance any border during the Irish Sea that would, in their eyes, separate them from the United Kingdom. I suppose the one thing that you know all of them have signed up to last year was that they didn't want a hard border. But it's just you know squaring that circle of you know how do you not have a hard border if Northern Ireland leaves with the U.K., the Single Market, and the Customs Union?
JB: So today, how do you rate the chances of keeping the border open?
PA: Well, it does change daily here, so it's hard to know. The fact that they were close to a deal yesterday gives me some kind of hope. But again, certainly from a Northern Ireland perspective, we are used to many twists and turns before we come to a final outcome on anything.
JB: Now, you live on the border. What is your biggest fear if this is not resolved properly?
PA: Well, if we have a hard border, many small businesses would not remain in business as a result of the tariffs. From the health perspective, we would have a situation where our children here in Northern Ireland, who currently go to Dublin for cardio surgery etc., they will not be in a position to do that. It would just be an impact across all sectors of our society. But I suppose the most worrying one would be if there was violence associated with you know with the hard boarder that would be probably the worst outcome. But that's not something that we can foresee.
JB: Ms. Arthurs, thank you very much for joining us.
PA: Not at all. Thank you.
JD: Pamela Arthurs is the head of the East Border Region cooperation group. We reached her in Newry, Northern Ireland. Prime Minister May faced some intense criticism today over her political stumble in Brussels. Here's what Keir Starmer, the Brexit spokesperson for Labour Party, said in the House of Commons earlier today:
KEIR STARMER: Mr. Speaker, what and embarrassment.
[Sound: The crowd agrees]
KS: The last 24 hours have given a new meaning to the phrase “coalition of chaos”. Yesterday morning, Number 10 was briefing that a deal would be signed. There was high expectation that the prime minister would make a triumphant statement to The House. By teatime, we had a 49-second press conference saying the deal was off. It's one thing, Mr. Speaker, to go to Brussels, and fall out with those on the other side of the negotiating table. It's quite another to go Brussels, and fall out with those supposedly on your own side of the negotiating table. If ever there was a day for the prime minister to come to this House and to answer questions, it’s today. But Mr. Speaker, let's not be fooled that yesterday was just about choreography. There are two underlying causes of this latest and most serious failure. The first can be traced back to the prime minister's conference speech in October last year. That was when she recklessly swept options such as a Customs Union and the Single Market off the table, and ruled out any role for the European Court. And yet, maintained that she could avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. Well yesterday, the rubber hit the road. Fantasy met brutal reality. Labour is clear that there needs to be a U.K. wide response to Brexit. So the question for the government today is this: will the prime minister now rethink her reckless redlines, and put options such as a Customs Union and Single Market back on the table? Because if the price of the prime minister's approach is the breakup of the Union and reopening of bitter divides in Northern Ireland, then the price is too high.
JD: That was Labour's Brexit spokesperson, Keir Starmer, speaking in the British House of Commons earlier today.
Guest: Karen Kelsky
JD: We've heard just so many allegations and revelations about sexual misconduct by famous men in powerful positions. But calls to address men's behaviour beyond Hollywood are getting louder. And in the rarefied world of higher education, critics say they're hoping the so-called "Weinstein effect" will also bring about a moment of reckoning in the academic world. One of those critics is Karen Kelsky. Ms. Kelsky is a former tenured professor and department head. She's also the founder of "The Professor Is In," which provides advice to those seeking academic careers. Last Friday, Professor Kelsky began an open survey, and invited academics to anonymously share their personal stories of harassment, and the impact that has had on their lives and careers. Several Canadian universities have already been named in the stories shared. We reached Karen Kelsky yesterday in Eugene, Oregon.
JB: Karen Kelsky, let me begin by asking you what motivated you to come up with this survey?
KAREN KELSKY: Well, I consult with thousands — over the last six years — thousands of Ph.Ds. at different stages of the academic career. And I have heard countless stories of sexual harassment. And when the Weinstein news broke in the States, and all of these other sexual harassment claims started to come out into the media, I thought back to all the people that I had heard from — all the women basically. And I thought you know reading the stories that are in the media right now that one of the most important things that people can do is tell their story. And so I decided to use the platform that I have in order to make a space for people to be able to tell their story anonymously. And I have no intention for this survey to be considered a scientific survey, a quantitative survey. This is really holding space for women, in particular, to be able to share their stories with others, read other stories, and know that they're not alone. And hopefully in the end, ultimately, I hope that departments and department heads, tenured faculty, deans, provosts will look at these stories and realize the kind of institutional change that has to happen.
JB: Now the survey went up on Friday, how many people have responded so far?
KK: Substantive responses are going on 700 right now.
JB: Why do you think there's been so much of an uptake? Is it just because it's in the news so much today?
KK: Well, I'm sorry to say that I think it's because these stories are so common in the academy. Combined with the fact that our consciousness has been very abruptly raised about how egregious this kind of abuse is, and how harmful it is on women's lives and women's careers. The numbers have been there all along. It's just that women are beginning to feel empowered to talk about it more publicly.
JB: Now, of course, everyone's heard a lot lately about cases in the media, cases in Hollywood. But is there is there something unique about the culture of harassment inside academia?
KK: I think there are many elements of academia that are unique. The first is that it's intrinsically hierarchical. There are huge power imbalances between the people who occupy different statuses like graduate students, Ph.D. candidates, newly-minted Ph.D., assistant professor, associate professor these are very meaningful and very different categories. And the people who occupy the higher categories have enormous power over those beneath them. They can basically make or break their careers. That's not an exaggeration to say junior people require the recommendations and the validation of senior people to get anything. To get funding, to get jobs, to get journal articles accepted. So you can't rock the boat. And then the other aspect of academia that's interesting is that because it's kind of a way of life, rather than just a job, the professional and the personal are really mixed. And you'll find yourself at conferences, symposia, even certain kinds of advanced classroom settings your academic work is going to be taking place over drinks, informal settings. It's no secret that many job interviews take place in hotel rooms. So you know the lines are blurry, and young, vulnerable women can find themselves in very ambiguous circumstances with senior males, and alone with them and drinking, for example.
JB: Is it also safe to say that as you climb up those levels from undergrad up to tenured professor or department head, every level becomes increasingly male and increasingly less female?
KK: Absolutely. You know in the United States — I'm not sure about Canada — there are more women than men who enroll as undergraduates. In the humanities and Ph.D. programs, the numbers are about even 50/50. Then at the point where you get hired to your first job, it’s probably about 60-40 male. And then by the time you get to tenure, it's beginning to look like 70-30. And then by the time you're looking at the full professor or dean, administrator, upper level administrator, it's like 80-20. And there's a lot of very intrinsic gender-related reasons for that, not just having to do with harassment, having to do with children, and work/life balance, and things like that. But yes, the upshot is that people in power are overwhelmingly male in virtually every field.
JB: So walk us through your survey. How does it work? What are some of the specific questions that you'd like answers to?
KK: I just want people to tell their own narratives in their own work. So the questions are: what happened to you? What was your status at the time? What was the status of the harasser, especially relative to you? What is the type of institution where it happened? And then I get very precise about the impacts and the consequences. So were there any consequences for the harasser? First of all, many folks basically say, in fact, the majority say, I never reported it. And oftentimes, it's because I saw what happened to my colleague or I just fear the consequences. But in the cases where they did report yeah, overwhelmingly there were no consequences. The department hushed it up, they blamed the victim, they hounded the victim out of the department, out of the program, very parallel to Hollywood, to Weinstein, to let's protect the powerful men because the junior women are really viewed as dispensable.
JB: So it sounds like what you're describing is for a lot of these victims these situations were career-enders?
KK: Yes, a heartbreakingly large number say I left the academy. I didn't get my Ph.D., and it's just devastating to think of the loss of talent and contributions to the sum of human knowledge.
JB: Now, I understand you have heard from some students at Canadian schools, is that right?
KK: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Toronto, York, UBC.
JB: And are the story is basically interchangeable with the ones you're hearing from your country?
JB: You say in the survey that all of the identities of the participants will be anonymous. Do you also guarantee anonymity to the accused in these stories?
KK: Absolutely, and I have a staffer who is going through every entry to make sure that nobody is named in the survey itself. If people want to name somebody, they're welcome to email me privately. But I guarantee absolute confidentiality. I will not share names.
JB: And what will you be doing with the information that you collect?
KK: I'm going to try to publicize it as much as I can on my own blog and in my column, which is biweekly in the U.S. Chronicle of Higher Education, in order to get it to the widest possible readership. So that again, it can affect institutional level change. Even if people don't know the names, and I don't think they have to, they can see how deep this rot goes in the academy.
JB: Karen Kelsky, thank you for joining us.
KK: Thank you so much.
JB: Bye now.
KK: Bye bye.
JD: Karen Kelsky, runs the academic consulting service "The Professor Is In." We reached her in Eugene, Oregon. Professor Kelsky has been conducting an anonymous survey with stories of sexual harassment in the academic world. Since our conversation with her yesterday, the number of entries in the survey has gone up to about 850. The CBC has not verified any of the survey entries. For more on this story, you can go to our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.Back To Top »
Part 2: Bear Ears National Monument, Nova Scotia book event
Bear Ears National Monument
Guest: Shaun Chapoose
JD: The site occupies more than 525 thousand hectares — that's 1.3 million acres. It's known for its breathtaking sandstone buttes and canyons. It's home to archaeological sites that are priceless repositories of thousands of years of history. It's large in size, enormous in importance. But the Bears Ears National Monument in the state of Utah is about to become a lot smaller. Because yesterday, U.S President Donald Trump announced that he would shrink the size of the national monument by more than 80 per cent. He also said he would reduce the size of the state's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. That is not sitting well with Shaun Chapoose. Mr. Chapoose is the chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee. We reached him in Salt Lake City, Utah.
JB: Mr. Chapoose, what do you think is behind this announcement that the size of these two national monuments are going to be reduced — the Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Bears Ears?
SHAUN CHAPOOSE: I think it really had nothing to do with the monuments. It was more-or-less, there were political deals being made at Washington, D.C. that required congressional delegation of the senator from Utah to support it. And it was known that the State of Utah were perturbed or upset when the monument declared. So I think the political climate of what the nation faces, plus the president needing the votes, created a perfect storm for the Utah delegation to do away with this monument because they've always had a desire to get control of that land.
JB: And why did the Utah delegation want these monuments reduced?
SC: In that part of the region, San Juan County, it's littered with artifacts, first of all. And they've had raid after raid, there have been people prosecuted you know for stealing, grave robbing, and so forth. So this place is littered with all these artifacts, plus it has uranium, and the local community felt like they should be the ones who’d benefit from that resource. But once it got placed into a monument, restrictions could be enforced that hadn't been enforced. So they felt they were fronted by that being designated. And it upset them even more that five tribes — or Native American tribes — were actually the ones who spearheaded the effort.
JB: Now, you mentioned resources. You said there's some uranium on these sites. What other resources are we talking about here?
SC: There's uranium, there's a potential for some oil and gas development, there's timber in the in the region. On the Grand Staircase that’s got a real large coal deposit now.
JB: Let's talk a little bit about what could potentially be lost here? Because there were some maps leaked last week that show the Trump administration's plans to reduce these things by more than 80 per cent of the land that's there now. What will that cost the people of Utah?
SC: Well, now these resources are going to be at the whims of the local county officials and the state. And once the resources, archaeological sites, whatever you want to call them get destroyed, they're done, they're gone, they don't exist no more. And so basically, it's like losing a national treasure.
JB: Describe these sites that we could be losing.
SC: They're, basically, a monument or a hole in the ground that certain tribes use for ceremonial purposes that are still intact. There's rock homes — cliff dwellings that are still intact. There are petroglyphs littered throughout all the canyons. There's pottery that are still buried in grave locations or just in ceremonial locations. That's what is at stake. That's kind of what's in danger. And there's also certain plants or medicinal plants — herbs and stuff — that only grow in that region. And Native tribes still use them to the state.
JB: So those are the physical things that could be lost. What about the symbolic value of these national monuments? When the Bears Ears monument was designated by President Obama, just shortly before he left office, what did that symbolize for Indigenous people?
SC: It actually was a victory in a way of saying hey, you are relevant. You know that you are part of now North America. Because up until now, you've never had a Native American tribe or a group of tribes ever petition or participate in the designation of any monument. And so when they were able to bring forth an effort to do this, and actually be acknowledged and put into the proclamation in an advisory role it, was a moment for all tribes too say you know what? We have finally let the past be the past, and now we're moving into the future.
JB: So that's what the Obama announcement symbolized. What about Trump's announcement this week? What does that symbolize?
SC: Basically it just says hey Indian, go sit back in your corner. You know the federal government, citizens of Utah, the non-Natives they’re the controllers of this. And will decide what's your best interest?
JB: Now, I know that members of your group believe that this move that President Trump announced this week that it violates the 1906 Antiquities Act, which was meant to protect things like sacred sites and artifacts and historical objects. But President Trump has been quoted questioning that law. He says that it's another egregious abuse of federal power. What you have to say to that?
SC: Well, I guess he should know he just done it himself. That’s what’s interesting. The same comment he uses for the former president he's exactly doing the same thing. But in the Antiquities Act, it never gives specific authority to any president to undo or do away with, which he tries to say it. And his track record in court isn’t exactly stellar, so I'm not too worried about what his opinion is.
JB: And what about the argument that some local people are making — the people that might want to graze cattle there, or mine for uranium, or drill for gas and oil? The argument that this land is ours, it could be providing economic benefits to us, so we should be able to use it as we want?
SC: Well, that's not exactly factual either because the land itself is federal land, right? So it's public land. And in the proclamation, it actually did set aside grazing rights, it set aside oil and gas development, it, basically, addressed all of the things that they're saying, all of a sudden, were taken away. Nowhere in the declaration did it change anything that was already available to them. And, as for San Juan County, their economic hardship is due to their own desire to you know keep themselves isolated. Because it's been proven once you have monuments or areas like this, tourism dollars are also coming in, you get more people within the area, which creates business. And if they were so concerned about the economics of the county then they wouldn't be trying to balance the two. And the proclamation did do that. So they felt that, all of a sudden, they didn't have this big backyard that they were free to run around and pillage.
JB: Can you tell us how you're planning to fight this announcement this week?
SC: Oh yeah, well we after the announcement yesterday, our legal team have already you know prepared court documents. So the moment we heard the announcement, we quickly came out, and we started filing legal challenges.
JB: So it's not over yet?
SC: Oh no, it’s just starting now.
JB: Mr. Chapoose, thank you very much for joining us.
SC: All right. You have a good day.
JB: You too. Bye now.
JD: Shaun Chapoose is the chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee. We reached him in Salt Lake City. If you'd like to see some photographs of those national monuments, they’re on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.
MMIW Thunder Bay
JD: Today, their families of the women gave tearful testimony before the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Thunder Bay. Here is some of what Mary Skunk’s sister Sarah was last seen in Thunder Bay in 1995. They had not seen each other for 10 years when Sarah disappeared.
MARY SKUNK: She came to our home for a while. I think she stayed for a week of five days. I'm not really sure? That was the last time I ever saw her. In Thunder Bay, 1985. All I know is that there's just nothing in me. Deep down, I feel like I know she's been missing. And I just ask myself sometimes, or just say out loud, or write on a note Sarah, where are you? Where is she? What happened to her?
JD: That was Mary Skunk, testifying about her missing sister Sarah, at hearings in Thunder Bay. Inquiry commissioner Michele Audette was in tears after hearing the testimony.
MICHELE AUDETTE: We represent an institution, a national public inquiry, that is supposed, and I believe to be one-of-a-kind tools to say Canada, something is wrong. And don't pretend that it's just happening in Attawapiskat, or in Kenora, or Downtown Eastside Vancouver, but it's happening across Canada, not only in 18-something-hundred, but also in 2017. And I agree. I agree we can do more. And we have to do more. The system failed, and it's still failing today. Am I going to lose my job because I see that? Maybe, but I'll sleep well because I have to say it. And I said it before, and it will continue, your words triggered the anger that I'm trying to put aside. You help us to build those questions to the police, to the coroners, to health and social services, to child protection, to the justice system. What happened here, or there, or everywhere? You are helping me as a mother and as a commissioner to build those questions.
JC: Commissioner Michelle Audette, speaking today at hearings in Thunder Bay Ontario in the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Tomorrow is the last day of hearings in Thunder Bay. Tomorrow’s hearings will be closed to the public. You can read more about Sarah Skunk’s story on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.
[Music: Sad piano]
Nova Scotia book event
Guest: Joan Baxter
JD: A reading, some pleasant conversation, most likely quite a bit of tea — the usual, uncontroversial stuff of a small-town book signing. But in Nova Scotia last weekend, a local author was forced to cancel an event to promote her book, "The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest" at the Coles in New Glasgow. The book chronicles the history of the pulp mill in Pictou County, and its effect on the environment and the economy over the years. We reached the author, Joan Baxter, in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia.
JB: Joan Baxter, let me start by asking you to tell us the reason that Coles Books gave you about why they didn't want to host your book signing?
JOAN BAXTER: That's a good question. First of all, they said there had been complaints made to the bookstore. And we're talking about Pictou County, a very small community, and the bookstore is in New Glasgow, not far from where the pulp mill is located. That there had been complaints that there had been they didn't use the word threats, but that the bookstore staff were very nervous, that they were worried about my safety. They talked about a possible ugly incident.
JB: I can't imagine that was a phone call you were expecting. How did you react when you heard that?
JOAN BAXTER: I initially, I have to say, I didn't react very well. I was very upset. I think I made a comment about are we living in North Korea or Nova Scotia? And I mentioned that I had worked for years as a journalist in Africa, and I didn’t expect this to happen in a democratic Canada.
JB: Now you didn't know it at the time, but it turns out that the operator of the mill, Northern Pulp, was not particularly happy about your book. Tell us about the letter that the company sent to employees and retirees, suggesting that they oppose your book and this particular event?
JOAN BAXTER: Yeah, I only laid eyes on that letter yesterday. It was leaked to some people in Pictou County, who passed it on to me. And I have to say that my mouth — my jaw — dropped to see the kind of things that were being said. There's no date on it, so I couldn't tell exactly when it was written. But you know I know that it had been arriving — I'd heard about the letters arriving — at the bookstore. So the communications director is encouraging former employees and employees to sign a form letter protesting my book signing on December the 2nd in this bookstore. And to send this form letter to Chapters headquarters in Toronto and to the bookstore in New Glasgow.
JB: And also, to threaten to take their business away from Chapters and Coles.
JOAN BAXTER: Yes, exactly.
JB: In fact, the letter says this book is a direct insult to the nearly 1,000 combined employees and retirees at the mill.
JOAN BAXTER: Yeah, how many of those people read it? That's my question. I have no problem engaging anybody in a discussion with the book. We live in a country with freedom of the press and free expression. And everybody has a right to read things and disagree on things. But, first of all, that book is a journalistic piece of work that details 50 years of history of a pulp mill and government involvement. And sometimes, it looks like corporate capture and interviews with people who have been players in the protesting of that mill for 50 years. And the mill was given a chance to speak to me many times. I requested interviews with the managers, with the board members, the chair of the board is actually a former premier of Nova Scotia, he didn't answer my letter, and the communication director, the very same person who penned that form letter, wrote back to me halfway through when I was working on the book, and said that the board and management of the company would not participate in my project.
JB: So originally, you thought I guess concerned local citizens were calling up the bookstore angry about the prospect of this possibly critical look at their mill. Then, you found out subsequently that it was an orchestrated campaign that was that was set in place by the owners of the mill. How did you feel when you heard that?
JOAN BAXTER: Wow! Shocked, it's not the kind of communications I think that is very effective. Honestly, I think it's backfired big time because it's given the book a lot more publicity than it would have had otherwise.
JB: You make a good point there. If you want to sell a book, do exactly what Northern Pulp just did with your book.
JOAN BAXTER: It’s true. I wouldn't be talking to you if this hadn’t happened.
JB: So tell us about the book itself? Are you — as this letter says — are you orchestrating an attack on the ongoing operations of a local business?
JOAN BAXTER: No, I'm a journalist. And I have I think there are close to 1,000 endnotes in this book. They take up about 60 pages. It's an extremely well-researched and documented book that traces the history. And I did a lot of archival research and I inserted interviews with people who've been involved with the mill in one capacity or another over the years. As I say, the management and the board didn't want to talk to me, so I never got their points of view. But it's not my point of view. That the messages coming from that book is not from me, it's from the people that I interviewed and the people who have been trying to get one government after another in Nova Scotia to do its job and protect its citizens from water pollution, air pollution, look after their health, and protect the health of their forests, and to stand up to a large, wealthy corporation and industry.
JB: We contacted Northern Pulp, and they did send us an email response. And I'll read you part of it. It says, “To have a book demeaning their day-to-day work life can understandably elicit passion in wanting to stand up for their contributions to the mill and workforce of the forest industry in Nova Scotia.” How do you respond to them?
JOAN BAXTER: I'd love to know where it's demeaning. Are we in an age where you can't do journalism and cite facts and use documented, some of it's peer-reviewed stuff, and talk to experts in all fields and put it down on paper? It's almost something I would expect to happen south of the border.
JB: So if Northern Pulp, or any of the administrators or owners of Northern Pulp, have objections to your book, you'd like to hear what those objections are specifically?
JOAN BAXTER: I have said from the beginning — I said it at a launch of the book — I will engage in a discussion with anyone who's read the book. But until they've read the book, they're not in a position to write a form letter complaining about it or to dismiss it as demeaning or whatever other word they want to come up with.
JB: Joan Baxter, thank you very much for joining us.
JOAN BAXTER: Thank you, Jim.
JD: Joan Baxter is the author of “The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest”. We reached Ms. Baxter in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia.
From Our Archives: Christine Keeler obit
JD: For most of her life, Christine Keeler's name was synonymous with scandal. The former model became a household name at the height of the Cold War, when the so-called Profumo affair exploded in the UK. Ms. Keeler was involved with both British cabinet minister John Profumo and a Russian diplomat at the same time. After lying about the affair, Mr. Profumo was forced to resign in 1963. Ms. Keeler, who changed her named to Christine Sloane to escape the notority, died yesterday of lung disease at the age of 75, her son, Seymour Platt, told The Guardian, quote, "She was a good, decent person, and she got a very unfair label that was hard for her to live with." In 1980, Christine Keeler spoke to As It Happens guest host Peter Gzowski about the aftermath of the Profumo Affair, and her memoir about it. Here is part of their conversation, from our archives.
PETER GZOWSKI: Tell us about your life now? By some accounts, you are not doing very well?
CHRISTINE KEELER: Oh no, I'm not at all. But my book isn't coming out until November, and I’m just sort of keeping my head above water and living on the social security. And I had my son with me. My youngest son is with me, and he’s next door playing in his bedroom at the moment.
PG: How old is he?
CK: He’s eight.
PG: Does he know about his mum's past?
CK: No, in fact, today, he told me that everyone has told him that his mother was in the paper.
PG: What do you tell him?
CK: I just told him I didn't see anything, which I didn't because I didn't get the paper.
PG: Some day you're going to have to answer a bunch of questions from him.
CK: I think he knows me or what I am, you know? And that’s it. No, I don’t think that.
PG: Have you been exploited through your life?
CK: Yes, I suppose I have. I suppose we all have at some stage. But that’s all passed now. I'm just very eagerly getting on what the future.
PG: Is the book naughty?
CK: I think it's a good book. I think it's the best account that's ever been written of what happened. That’s on record, and I think it's a good book. No, I haven't whitewashed anything. In fact, friends have told me it’s got very spicy bits in there, but I don't see it.
PG: Do you regret that, Ms. Keeler? Do you regret what happened to you in the ‘60s?
CK: No, I'm not going to regret anything. I don't think anyone should regret anything. There's always a reason for why things happen. I haven’t found out why yet. But I’m sure there must be a reason for everything horrible that happens to anyone.
JD: From our archives, that was Christine Keeler speaking to As It Happens guest host Peter Gzowski in 1980. Ms. Keeler died yesterday. She was 75-years-old.Back To Top »
Part 3: Babcock trial, Victoria Cross auction
JD: Another powerful man has fallen to sexual harassment allegations, although that's not how he's playing it. Today, Democratic Representative John Conyers — whose 53-year-long career makes him the longest-serving current member of Congress — announced that he is retiring. The 88-year-old has been fighting allegations by two women that came to light in November. They say he groped them, he exposed himself. Democratic Party leaders have since pressured him to resign, and he's the subject of a House Ethics Committee review. From a hospital where he is recovering from an illness that his son blames on stress, Mr. Conyers told Detroit radio host Mildred Gaddis that he is stepping down. Here is part of that conversation.
JOHN CONYERS: Yes, I’m in process of putting my retirement plans together. I will have more about that very soon.
MILDRED GADDIS: Congressman, OK, and I want to get some clarity here — and I think I do have it — but for the record, for those who may not have understood or heard what you said, is that you're very confident in your legacy. You are today, at this time at this moment, in this period, preparing for your retirement — a date in which you are not prepared to announce at this moment?
JC: Yes, I thank you for helping me get the sense of focus. I am retiring today, and I want everyone to know how much I appreciated the incredible, undiminished support I've received across the years.
MG: Congressman, as you exit this interview, do you still maintain that the allegations that have been leveled against you are false?
JC: Whatever they are, they are not accurate or they're not true. And I think that they are something that I can't explain where they came from.
JD: That was former Democratic Representative John Conyers announcing his resignation today, after allegations of sexual harassment.
Guest: Lisa Hepfner
JD: Today, in a Toronto courtroom, Dellen Millard made his last pitch to the jury. Mr. Millard stands accused of killing twenty-three-year-old Laura Babcock, with his friend Mark Smich, five years ago. Ms. Babcock was last seen in July 2012. The Crown contends the men burned her body in an incinerator. For the last six weeks, Mr. Millard has represented himself, and that’s a rare move in a first-degree murder trial. He has cross-examined dozens of witnesses. And today, he made his closing arguments. Lisa Hepfner has been in the courtroom, covering the trial since Day One. She's a reporter with the Hamilton news channel, CHCH, but we reached her in Toronto.
JB: Hello, Lisa.
LISA HEPFNER: Hi, Jim.
JB: Thanks so much for joining us. I know you've had a long day. Just how long did Dellen Millard's closing arguments take today?
LH: Well, we started at 10:00 a.m., and we finished just after 5:00 p.m. So we had a couple a short breaks in there in the meantime. But it was a full day — he spoke the entire time.
JB: Can you describe the case that he made to the jury?
LH: I would say that he read evidence that we heard over six weeks. And he just tried to pick it apart. He tried to I guess make it look like it wasn't really possible that he killed Laura Babcock. So for example, he started with is Laura Babcock even really dead? And he went in to certain witnesses who thought they had seen Laura Babcock after the time the Crown says that she went missing, which is July 3rd and 4th of 2012.
JB: Because a body has never been discovered. That's right. So there's a picture that was retrieved from one of Millard’s devices that was taken on July 3rd or 4th that looks like it could be a body wrapped up in a tarp. And it looks like it was taken at his farm. And so there are certain bits of evidence that look like she could be dead. We have photos of a large animal incinerator that Millard had. And there was stuff at the bottom in certain photos that looks like the burning of the bottom of that incinerator. So there is bits of evidence, but there's no actual body.
JB: Now, you were watching Millard today, and watching the members of the jury. What was your sense about how his argument was going over with the jury members?
LH: I think he I think he made a couple good points. But I think he came off as cocky, frankly. And I don't think that the jury was feeling warmly towards him. So there were several times where he tried to be lighthearted, or make jokes, or smile at the jury, or you know concur with the judge on a point. Nobody ever smiled back at him. Nobody laughed along with him. They all kind of looked incredulous. I think I saw one juror roll his eyes at one point. You know the law was trying to make the point that anybody can buy a cell phone; anybody can get a new number. Stuff like that I don't think really resonated with the jury.
JB: I guess it's tough to smile along with a joke from somebody accused of murder?
LH: And it kind of felt like he wasn't getting that sense from the jury. That he didn't have the empathy to understand that everyone else is feeling that a woman is dead, and her family is sitting here. He didn’t feel badly for these people.
JB: Now, explain the Crown's theory about what happened to Laura Babcock?
LH: So the Crown believes that Laura Babcock and Dellen Millard had a relationship starting around 2009. And they were still friendly. Millard says that they weren't sleeping together anymore, but they were still friends. Everyone else seemed to think that they were still sleeping together. We heard that he had girlfriends, and was sleeping with a lot of women. The Crown says that his main girlfriend at the time, Christina Noudga, was upset because Laura Babcock and her were talking about Dellen Millard. Laura Babcock said she was still sleeping with him. That mad Christina Noudga angry. And then we have text messages between Millard and Christina Noudga, in which he says I will remove her from our lives. I will take care of this. And Noudga really likes that conversation. So the Crown’s contention is that Dellen Millard killed Laura Babcock and incinerated her body in order to resolve this love triangle. Millard’s case that he's been trying to make is that he didn't care about Laura Babcock or Christina Noudga, he had lots of girlfriends. He was sleeping with lots of women and didn't care about any bickering between the two women.
JB: And, of course, what makes this trial so unusual is that Mr. Millard is representing himself. And that's led to some very surreal moments because some of Laura Babcock's family members were actually taking the stand during the course of this trial. Can you describe Mr. Millard's behavior in the courtroom?
LH: So Clayton Babcock, Laura Babcock's father, testified on the first day, and talked about his relationship with his daughter. It was very emotional, of course. And then Millard, representing the cross-examination, almost seemed cruel. He was asking whether Clayton ever hit his daughter. He was asking about her mental health issues. Did you know she was working at an escort? It seemed callous coming from someone accused of her murder in a courtroom where he's trying to deal with her daughter's murder.
JB: Were any members of Ms. Babcock's family in the courtroom today?
LH: Yes. In fact, it's a growing contingent of Laura Babcock’s family that's been coming to trial. Her parents were there and then some other family members.
JB: And how did they seem to be doing?
LH: they’re holding up. I caught them having a difficult time today during Millard’s closing arguments, when he was talking about them and how bad their relationship was with their daughter. And he was really trying to make the case that she probably just left and went to Montreal because she didn't get along with her family or anyone else. And doesn't that make sense that she didn't want to be around these people? So I think that was difficult for them to hear, and they didn't look very kindly upon him when he was making those admissions.
JB: So Lisa, what's next?
LH: So tomorrow, Mark Smich’s lawyer, Tom Dungy, will give his closing arguments to the jury. He's been pretty quiet. So we have two accused in this trial, and we haven’t heard much at all from Mark's Smich’s lawyer. He did not present any evidence, he rarely cross-examined any witnesses, and so he starts tomorrow. If he doesn't have much to say, we may hear the beginning of the closing argument from the Crown as well. I would expect that the jury will be sequestered starting on Monday.
JB: Lisa, thank you very much.
LH: Thank you, Jim. Nice to talk to you.
JB: Bye now.
LH: Bye bye.
JD: Lisa Hepfner is a reporter with CHCH in Hamilton, Ontario. We reached her in Toronto.
Roy Moore supporter’
JD: In any other race, the allegations might've sunk the candidate for U.S. Senate. Not, apparently, in Alabama. And not, apparently, when the candidate is former Judge Roy Moore. So far, eight women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Moore. Six of whom were underage at the time of the alleged incidents. Last month, the Republican National Committee had cut ties with him — Donald Trump was oddly silent. But with one week to go before Alabama voters go to the polls, there's been a turn: President Trump is throwing his support behind Mr. Moore, and so, suddenly, is the RNC. And in Alabama, his long-time supporters are more loyal than ever. This morning on CNN, Roy Moore supporter Janet Porter was interviewed by host Poppy Harlow, who is eight months pregnant. Things got heated. Here's part of that exchange.
JANE PORTER: One of the jobs of journalists is to not just take an Academy Award performance at face value. You need to dig into the facts…
POPPY HARLOW: 30 People corroborated her story who knew Roy Moore between…
JP: Actually, actually, they didn’t. 1982
PH: They did, according to the reporting from The Post.
JP: Poppy, we need to make it clear that there's a group of non-accusers that have not accused the judge of any sexual misconduct or anything illegal.
PH: Leigh Corfman is one of the eight women.
JP: Let’s look at the women shall we.
PH: Let's look at the women. There are four women who have accused… I ask the questions here, OK? There are four women who have accused the candidate of sexual assault or abuse. There are four more who have said that when he was twice their age, they dated him, he dated them when they were teenagers — ranging from age 16 to age 18. Are you comfortable well with all of that? And are you saying that all of these women are lying?
JP: If people of legal age share a meal together that’s, frankly, none of my business. I think what matters in this race is let's look at the accusations. For example, let's look at Beverly Nelson; everybody knows her yearbook is a forgery, including her to her attorney who on your network wouldn't deny that it was a forgery. Everything in that story is false
PH: That’s not what Gloria Allred said in her interview with Alisyn Camerota in this chair, on this show. Roy Moore has not been on CNN to answer these questions for himself since February 2015.
JP: I can see why.
PH: Why won't he come on and talk to us?
JP: There's a reason why people have the phrase “fake news” because you're not investigating the false accusations, the credibility problems that are screaming from the forged yearbook, to every single thing that's been disputed. And so I think that he has a right to stand with the people of Alabama and not be subjected to more and more harassment against people who are out to get him. So I side, instead of with the with the lynch-mob media, I side with the man who stood for the Ten Commandments, who stood for God, who stood for his principles, has an impeccable character, is the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet, who never did anything beyond any sexual misconduct or anything illegal in any way. If you care about child abuse, you should be talking about the fact that Judge Roy Moore stands for protection. Not only of our Second Amendment so rights we can protect ourselves against predators, for the rights of babies like your eight-month baby that you're carrying now. Doug Jones says you can take the life of that baby and we should pay for it.
PH: Let’s leave my child out of this. Let’s leave my child out of this.
JP: Well, it's really the children of Alabama that we're talking about. And the Alabamians understand that if we're talking about what's at stake here we're talking about fake allegations — concocted stories — about an innocent man versus real threat of a child abuse, not only in the womb, but also in the locker room.
JD: That was Janet Porter, a Roy Moore supporter, telling CNN host Poppy Harlow why she believes more attention needs to be paid to the women who are not accusing Roy Moore of sexual misconduct.
JD: Millions of people have watched an underwater video showing bloody effluent flowing into the ocean from a farmed salmon processing plant near Campbell River, B.C. It's not inspiring. And it's as bad as it looks. Tests have shown that the effluent contained piscine reovirus, or PRV, a highly contagious virus linked to heart and skeletal muscular disease. It makes fish lethargic, and vulnerable to predators. And there are concerns that wild salmon could be infected by the virus. Today, Bob Chamberlain went to Ottawa to voice his concerns after Question Period today. Mr. Chamberlin is Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and Chairman of the First Nation Wild Salmon Alliance. Here he is, for the record.
BOB CHAMBERLIN: For the government to allow the fish farm industry to knowingly place Atlantic salmon in the open net cage fish farms that are infected with piscine reovirus is an utter abandonment of the precautionary principle, which is the foundation of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. And it's time now that the government and Minister Leblanc used the full extension of the powers which he possesses and embrace the precautionary principle in British Columbia. We saw a recent media release about how the Fraser River sockeye are being considered to be placed under the Species at Risk Act. The rivers in our peoples’ territories in North Vancouver Island, one of them had five hundred pink returned this year. It's on the verge of extinction. And for our First Nation and our membership to take protest action on a number of fish farms in our territory to push the governments both federally and provincially to embrace the UN Declaration, which they've committed to Canadians to implement is a travesty. And what we seek is for free, prior, and informed consent for wild salmon protection in British Columbia. I believe that Canadians, and British Columbians, and the federal and provincial governments need to understand that the vast majority of First Nations of British Columbia stand absolutely opposed to open net cage fish farms. Such is the value that they placed upon healthy and abundant wild salmon stocks. So it's time now for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to revisit the mandate that it has. Do the right thing and save wild salmon, and to find the necessary resources to adequately implement the wild salmon policy. It is a commitment that was made by this government and I can tell you that there is no new money. And with no new resources to implement the wild salmon policy, it is just empty rhetoric the government is trotting out for Canadians.
JD: Bob Chamberlain is the Vice-President of the Union of B.C. Indian chiefs, and Chairman of the First Nation Wild Salmon Alliance.
Victoria Cross auction
Guest: Lesley Kerr
JD: We spoke with Lesley Kerr last month. She had just recently learned that her great-grandfather's Victoria Cross was set to go up for auction. He’d received the prestigious military medal for bravery at Passchendaele, during, of course, the First World War. Years ago, Ms. Kerr's father sold that medal to make ends meet. But Ms. Kerr told us she was hoping to get it back. The problem is that these medals historically go for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today, the auction for that Victoria Cross took place and it sold for $420,000. So where does that leave Lesley Kerr? We reached her in Vaughan, Ontario.
JB: Hello, Ms Kerr.
LESLEY KERR: Hello.
JB: So is it you? Are you the buyer?
LK: I am the donator to the Canadian War Museum to help out in the purchase of the medal.
JB: So the Canadian Museum bought the medal today?
LK: Yes, I reached out to them a few weeks back, asking if they wanted to work together to purchase the medal? And so if they were to purchase the medal, I would I would donate a certain amount to them to help them out.
JB: Are you comfortable telling us how much you donated?
LK: Yeah, I decided not to disclose the amount.
JB: But you are pleased with the way things transpired today?
LK: Yeah, I'm really relieved. I am really happy to know that it's going to be on display for everyone to see. That it’s not going to be hidden is somebody's house or it's not out of the country. And then I think it's such a great story to be told. And I think that more people should know about it.
JB: Now the last time you were here on our show, you said you were considering betting on the medal, but only up to a certain price.
LK: Yes and that price wasn’t the starting bid. So it was out of my reach. And realizing that, that's when I reached out to the Canadian War Museum.
JB: You knew you wouldn't have a chance of being the winning bidder, unless you started looking around for some support — for other people to take part with you?
LK: Absolutely. Yeah, for sure.
JB: Why are these medals selling for $420,000?
LK: You know, in my view, I don't think it should be for sale. I think it's a historical relic. I believe the Americans don't sell their medals. I think it's whatever people are willing to pay for, right? Just like a piece of art. If people are willing to pay for a Picasso for multi-million dollars, then it goes the same way.
JB: And does this happen often? Citizens approaching a museum and saying know I'll assist you if you're interested in purchasing this artifact?
LK: I've heard of it in the past, but that was only after me asking around. So I thought that was my only option really.
JB: Did you have any doubts about what you were doing? About throwing all of this money at the War Museum to help buy a medal?
LK: Yes, absolutely. Many doubts, many doubts that led me to only finalize everything last night — the night right before the auction. Me thinking about what's it worth to my family? You know it's a good chunk of change, so am I being dramatic? Am I overacting? And would my father kill me if he found out?
JB: How do you think your father would have reacted?
LK: I think he would have shaken me a little bit, and then in the end, he would have said you know I understand the reason why you're doing it. And I think it's not the money at that point. I think it's a matter of displaying something Canadian that would have, potentially, been in someone else's hands. And for all these years, it's been in someone's house, and I’ve been looking for it. It's very difficult to find, so I wouldn't want that to happen again. It's part of our family. It’s part of our family pride, and Canadian pride for everyone.
JB: Do you know where the medal was all those years?
LK: No, it was years I was searching for it, and it always had a private owner or a private buyer.
JB: And was that information made available during the sale this week?
JB: So you still don't know where it was.
LK: I still don't know.
JB: Now remind us about your great grandfather, and why he was awarded this medal during the First World War?
LK: It was in Passchendaele, he was trying to overcome the pillbox, which is like a little fortress in the ground where the Germans were, and to steal their weaponry. Anyway, it's was a very difficult battle, as you know, historically. And so he crawled so the Germans didn't see him, he went around the flank, and shot them. Took some prisoners, and as the army was retreating, then he opened fire on them. And that helped his regiment to continue on forward.
JB: I was reading a little bit about your great grandfather to prepare for this interview. I didn't realize that after going home after the First World War, he fought again in the Second World War.
LK: He went back. I guess that was just in his blood — incredible.
JB: So for all of the Canadians who will be seeing this Victoria Cross, what would you like them to know about your great grandfather?
LK: The idea of perseverance and not being intimidated, and if you have a goal, to pursue it — not giving up. I think that's just for life in general — life goals — and not letting fear in your way.
JB: Sounds like a lesson that you've learned during the course of the last few years trying to track down this medal?
LK: Yeah, absolutely. You know and I have the letters in my library, and that's sort of a symbol of that life lesson. Just keep going — keep pushing on.
JB: So the journey has ended. How do you feel?
LK: Oh, so relived. I feel like there's that closure, you know? It's not entirely back in the family, but at least it's out and for everyone to see. And I know where it is. I can show my children where the medal is with pride, and know that at least I made some small assistance in purchasing it. I feel like I've contributed to something, and I hope that my children will carry forward.
JB: Well, I'm very happy the story turned out the way it did. Thank you so much for coming back on and telling us about it.
LK: Always a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
JD: That was Lesley Kerr in Vaughn, Ontario. Ms. Kerr helped the Canadian War Museum purchase her great grandfather's Victoria Cross at auction today. If you'd like to hear our original interview with Ms Kerr, visit our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.
[Music: ‘60’s Rock]
Neil Young archive
JD: It's a sprawling archive spanning more than fifty years with over a million songs in it. Is that a ridiculous overestimate? Half a million? Maybe a million is too low? I don't know. If I sound overwhelmed, I think that's fair. I think it’s a fair response to Neil Young Archives — the brand-new website, officially launched at the beginning of this month. It contains the vast, vast majority of the songs in his vast, vast catalogue. If you’re looking for "Aurora", the first song he ever recorded, with The Squires, in 1963? It's there. How about "Forever", with the band Promise of the Real, from the album "The Visitor", which came out last Friday? It’s there. "Love to Burn", with Crazy Horse — the middle song on "Ragged Glory", released in 1990 at the exact midpoint between those two other songs? It’s there. Also probably "Heart of Gold" I don’t know, I assume. There are photos, videos, a complete timeline, all of it inside the virtual "file cabinet". Also, a Frequently Asked Questions page, which informs me that there are actually around 900 songs in there. And they're not done: we're also informed that the archives will be updated, quote, "pretty damn often", which is very exciting and deeply concerning, because navigating this thing is a little like orienteering in a forest of giant redwoods with a malfunctioning compass. Access to the site is free until June 30th of next year. So go on in, but heed the words with which Neil ends his "welcome" video:
NEIL YOUNG: So here we are, we’re back at the archives. This is how you get around. So you just go around this whole thing. And don’t forget to have a good time and try not to get lost.
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