Thursday September 07, 2017

September 6, 2017 episode transcript

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The AIH Transcript for September 6, 2017

Hosts: Carol Off and Jeff Douglas

STORIES FROM THIS EPISODE

Prologue

CAROL OFF: Hello, I'm Carol Off.

JEFF DOUGLAS: Good evening, I'm Jeff Douglas. This is as it happens [Music: Theme]

[Music: Theme]

JD: Tonight:

CO: The calm within the storm. When Hurricane Irma hit Anguilla, 19-year-old Nisha Dupuis kept her cool, because she was on the air on her local radio station, providing updates.

JD: A flood of memories. When they look back on their ill-timed trip to the British Virgin Islands, our guests will not recall pristine beaches, nor relaxation. They will remember a catastrophic storm, and a submerged rental house.

CO: Move on up. A Canadian senator says that America's loss should be Canada's gain. Undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation should apply to live north of the border.

JD: Some alarm, but no surprises. An Ontario judge stays all charges in the death of a drum technician killed during a stage collapse at a Radiohead concert in Toronto. His father wonders if he will ever see justice done.

CO: Toxic vacation ships. If you're planning a cruise to get away from it all, a German environmental group says you can't get away from one simple fact: the gigantic vessels belch a gigantic amount of pollution.

JD: And… it's not Danish, but it is a tortured Hamlet. In an effort to save a tiny Swiss village from disappearing, a bold plan is hatched: to turn all the empty houses into a kind of scattered hotel. As It Happens, the Wednesday edition. Radio that figures if that town's not going to check out, someone's going to have to check in.

[Music: Theme]

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Part 1: Hurricane Irma: Anguilla/British Virgin Islands, Radiohead stage collapse ruling, Swiss village hotel plan

Hurricane Irma: Anguilla

Guest: Nisha Dupuis

SOUNDCLIP

[Sound: Now that’s a storm!]

JD: Meet Irma, one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic. Today, the Category Five storm slammed into a string of Caribbean islands. It left Barbuda, St. Martin and Anguilla badly damaged, without electricity and largely cut off from the world. As it moves on toward Florida, hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing, or preparing to ride out the storm. As the hurricane hit the small island of Anguilla, Nisha Dupuis did not have time to panic. The 19-year-old was on the air, trying to help listeners to her local radio station survive the storm. We reached her earlier today.

CO: Nisha, How long have you been hunkered down at the radio station so far?

NISHA DUPUIS: OK, so far, we came over to the radio station really early yesterday at about 10:00 a.m. But we did leave; we went to have some outside broadcasts. So we went over to the supermarkets to let people know which supermarkets were still open and which were not. And then we came back over and then we've been here since then.

CO: Now the storm the worst of it has blown over. We're talking to you mid-day here in Canada, so what's it like right now outside the station window?

ND: It's very, very gloomy here. If I'm looking out the window, I'm going to describe for you what I'm seeing OK Carol? So I'm seeing over a large tree, completely tilted on the side, uprooted from the roots just lying near a building. They are galvanized zinc on top of the roofs just kind of floating around. If you listen carefully I'm not sure if you could hear it in the background. But the wind is still powerful, not near as strong as what we just felt. But we can still hear the wind, you can still see that there was definitely something and there's still something in the atmosphere. I see a van in front of me, one of my co-worker’s cars got totally just kind of shifted out of the parking lot. His windshield and his windows completely smashed and just trees everywhere just trees flat. That’s what I see when I look out.

CO: At the height of the storm what was it like?

ND: Oh, at the height of the storm you could feel the pressure in your ear. You know like when you go into an airplane and you feel that that pressure? That's what it felt like and not to mention the wind — the howling of the wind — and the bashing against the shutters. We had a set of shutters just flying off of our windows. There was flooding going on. We were trying to protect the equipment and protect the board, while still receiving calls from people who were in distress. Some crying, some calling saying that their shutters are blown off, their windows are open, their doors are blowing open and they have children in the house and they don't know what to do, they don't know what's the next step to take and, at the same time, we're here at the same time experiencing flooding, trying to protect ourselves from the force of the winds, as the shutter blew away right in front of our board. So one man had to stand there holding the board for hours just to protect us to be able to keep going on air.

CO: Was it frightening at that point? When the winds and the shutters were blowing off?

ND: Yes, it certainly was because here we are trying to protect ourselves from the force, while at the same time trying to help people with protecting themselves. And so that experience required so much composure. And, at one point, I'll be honest with you, I did lose composure just a tad bit because something slammed against the window and I just had to do a little yelp just because I didn't know if it was one of the shutters that blew off. Another point where it really sank in for me was when my mom made me to know that the roof of the hospital was lifting and that flooding was happening, my mom is a nurse at the hospital, and then I started to be concerned about my family's safety, my mom's safety, whether I'd ever see my mom again. And in growing up in the Caribbean, it's like you hear of hurricanes all the time. And for someone like me being 19, I never got to experience a hurricane of this magnitude. So I’d always hear the stories of older people speaking about hurricanes. But this time I really got to understand what it means to survive a hurricane.

CO: I think under the circumstances I think losing your composure just a bit is perfectly in line with your response and how I would have responded. Speaking of your mom, is your mom, is your family OK? Have you made contact?

ND: I haven't been able to make contact with my mom. To be honest, I feel very heavy even talking to you right now, I'm just a bit tearful because I don't know what is going on with my mom. So I just really want to make sure that she's OK. But for right now, I'm just staying as positive as possible; you know trying to keep people up to date? So I kind of got wrapped up in that and it kind of distracted me from a bit of the weight of not hearing from my family as yet. But I hope to be able to hear from them soon.

CO: When do you think and how will you be able to make contact with your mom and make sure she is OK?

ND: I'm not sure. I'm not sure. As soon as I can go down to the hospital, I will go over and see if she's OK. I've been trying to call, but no answers. But we have been told that the roof did blow away. There is flooding, so there's a lot happening right now. So I can imagine that they're so occupied like with just serving. Again, it comes back to serving your people. At the end of the day, I can imagine that they're so occupied with just making sure that the patient is safe.

CO: And do you have any idea about your home — your house — if it is still standing?

ND: No, no, right now, we're just accessed the damages around the government building. I can tell you that they are in a pretty bad shape. Even the AC vents are kind of like tossed to the sides, the trees in the yard, cars that were parked outside are just cars destroyed.

CO: Now, we have to let you go. I know you got other calls to deal with and I really appreciate speaking with you and I'm glad you were there for all those people. And I hope you get news about your mom and your family really soon.

ND: Thank you, I appreciate that.

Bye Nisha.

ND: Thank you. Goodbye.

JD: Nisha Dupuis is a 19-year-old radio announcer for Radio Anguilla. We reached her there earlier today. And after we spoke with Ms. Dupuis, we did hear that her mom is safe.

Irma: British Virgin Islands

Guests: Damien Chapuis, Rusty Sokolov

JD: After leaving Aguila in its wake, Hurricane Irma scored a direct hit on the British Virgin Islands. And during the storm, that is where we reached French tourist Damian Chapuis.

CO: Damien, what is happening with the storm right now?

DAMIAN CHAPUIS: So just before we had the wind in one side and it's just been changed maybe like 15 minutes ago. And now, the wind is very, very, very strong. All the trees are ripped out. Half of the house is almost destroyed. We have water everywhere on the house, of course, no more electricity, no more water. It's just that we cannot stand outside. Everything is destroyed.

CO: And so it's still quite windy?

DC: Oh yeah! You cannot go out. And the owner of the house is 81-years-old and it's the first time in his life also that he’s seen such a hurricane. I don’t remain here, you know?

CO: Now why do you think you need to be evacuated?

RUSTY SOKOLOV: Because houses are destroyed here; everything is destroyed. Half of our house fell apart. We are in the second half, but half of the house is gone.

CO: Who is that speaking?

DC: That my friend. He is with me.

CO: And what's his name?

DC: Rusty, yeah. Oh, can you hear that? It’s a big blast! Oh my God. Oh my God, it's crazy.

CO: Rusty can you take the phone and talk to us?

RS: Yes. So the owner has left the house because he has considered it too dangerous to stay for him here. He told us that it probably will get destroyed and if you stay here it’s your own responsibility. He suggested for us to go to the church nearby. But right now, it's too late for us.

CO: And so the owner has left and he thinks you should get out. What can you do at this point?

RS: Nothing. We can just remain here and wait until the end. We still hope we survive here.

CO: But Rusty, why does he think that the House will be destroyed. What's he basing that on?

[Sound: The storm knocks out the phone]

CO: Say it again, I didn't hear you.

RS: The owner is a local architect, so he really thinks that the house will be destroyed. And we can really see that this house — all the parts — were already destroyed. It’s just falling apart, you know?

CO: Is it possible for anyone to come and rescue you? Or is it just too dangerous?

RS: Right now, it's just impossible. The wind is so strong that you know we can see trees flying around and parts of the house flying around.

CO: And can I just ask why you didn't walk to the shelter earlier?

RS: First of all, we don't know where it is? In which direction? We saw one church here and we thought it was there, but they told us it was not.

DC: And we were not thinking it would be so strong, you know?

CO: I’m curious about how you're managing here? Because I know you're laughing, it's probably a bit of nervous laughter, how worried are you about your safety?

RS: Of course, we are worried, but we can't do anything.

CO: So you're going to just stay there? It's going to get going to get dark pretty soon. Are you going to be OK?

RS: We think so because according to forecasts, it should get over in a few hours.

CO: If you could give advice to Florida, which is going to get this soon, what would you tell them?

RS and DC: Go away!

RS: Take airplane, do whatever you need, but just from Florida.

DC: There will be flooding.

CO: Damian and Rusty, I appreciate both of you speaking with us. And I'm sorry you're in that situation, but it sounds like you got a good frame of mind for getting yourselves through.

DC: Thank you.

RS: Thanks very much

CO: Take care.

RS: Bye Bye.

CO: Bye bye.

JD: We reached Damian Chapuis and Rusty Sokolov on the British Virgin Islands earlier today. And for the latest on Hurricane Irma, you should go to www.cbc.ca/news.

[Music: Ambient]

Radiohead stage collapse

Guest: Ken Johnson

JD: Radiohead’s singer Thom Yorke tweeted today, quote, “Words utterly fail me.” He was reacting to a decision by an Ontario court judge, to stay charges in a deadly stage collapse more than five years ago in Toronto. In June of 2012, Radiohead was in Downsview Park in Toronto, setting up for a show. In an instant, the stage structure collapsed, killing the band's British drum technician, Scott Johnson. Mr. Johnson was 33-years-old. Charged in his death were the entertainment company Live Nation, a staging company called Optex and an engineer. But after lengthy court delays, the judge ruled that the defendant's rights to a timely hearing were violated, and the charges were stayed. Ken Johnson is Scott Johnson's father. We reached Mr. Johnson at his home in Hickleton, UK.

CO: Mr. Johnson, what's your reaction to this news that these charges have been stayed?

KEN JOHNSON Totally disgusted really. It is heartbreaking and it's just not fair.

CO: You've waited more than five years for someone to be held responsible for your son's death.

KJ: Absolutely. We’ve been involved and we’ve, obviously, attended courts to find out what happened. But now, we're in a position where we are no wiser than we were five years ago.

CO: What were you hoping that you would get from this trial?

KJ: Scott had an overwhelming sense of fairness, and we just wanted really to know the truth as to how the incident happened. We have ideas having listened to a lot of the evidence. But we’d hoped… I suppose our mood has changed over the years in that if had we had earlier contact with the defendants it may be that needn’t have gone this far anyway. But, obviously, no one wanted to speak in the beginning, so that tended to harden position and make us feel more aggressive. We've gone through all the emotions really hate, you know vengeance and then we find ourselves still in a position where Scott would be saying to us what happened? Why am I not here anymore?

CO: In the ruling from the Ontario court judge Ann Nelson, she wrote that no doubt this decision will be incomprehensible to Mr. Johnson's family, who can justifiably complain that justice has not been done. Does that help at all that's the judge, as she stayed these charges, at least recognized that?

KJ: No, it’s a minor understatement, to be honest. It is appalling that they can sit there and come out with that sort of comment, which is flippant. I don't find it caring. I find it insane that the previous judge left when there were only three days to complete the case. And I suppose she's quite correct, we're less than happy with this outcome. I think if anybody had seen any of the evidence, or actually read some of the manuscripts that the first judge had written, they would find it unbelievable that a modern new law can be used.

CO: I just want to fill in some blanks for people. I believe what you're referring to is the new law that came into play in the midst of this trial, which is that a trial cannot go beyond 18 months. Otherwise, a judge can declare a stay of the charges, which is what happened. And the other thing you mention is that the presiding judge in case, Shaun Nakatsuru, was appointed to a higher court just three days before the end of the trial. And that meant that there was a mistrial, which started things all over again. So these are some of the things that happened, right?

KJ: If somebody doesn't find that unusual then they must be walking about with their eyes closed. I cannot believe that an individual of some responsibility examined what had gone on over the last five years that he could justifiably come to the conclusion that the other judge came to the other day. I appreciate that the companies involved have had this problem hanging over their heads. But there were 13 charges of negligence.

CO: In the course of the trial days I know you were flying back and forth at your own expense to be there in court for as much of this as possible. Were you able to learn anything that shed light on how this happened? How your son died?

KJ: Absolutely. What I learned when I was there that the cause of the collapse was some beams up on the top of the scaffold that were overloaded and they were flattened. Now, that is a fundamental error. The scaffholder said he put this stage up 23 times before. But he said in all honesty, we never had anywhere near the weight that we had on the stage with Radiohead’s gear.

CO: And Radiohead was a big show. They were with a lot of equipment.

KJ: A big show and it is very easy to see how it happened and it was an error in judgment. I also believe the weight of the roof itself was not calculated. And to me, you know that needed to be knowledge. Whatever we do, or what happens would never bring Scott back. I just don't see that this is justice. I hope they sleep well at night because as far as we're concerned, they let him down.

CO: Tell us a bit about Scott. What kind of a person he was?

KJ: That's a little bit more difficult to talk about. Scott, he was gentle, he was loving. I don't suppose you ever hear the words about anyone who's been killed. But I assure you that you wouldn’t ever hear a bad word about him. He enjoyed his life, he enjoyed his music, he played drums himself. He was a very competent drummer; he’d been playing since he was a teenager in a band writing their own music and playing in London when he was 15. We had to go with him at that time because he wasn't old enough to go into the venues that he was playing in. How excited was he that he was working with Radiohead?

KJ: He was so excited. He’d been working with Philip, Radiohead’s drummer, in one of Philip's old bands and then Philip asked him to come on this tour. He was thrilled. To be working with Radiohead is the probably the height for any technician to be working with these people. And it was ironic I think it was the last gig as well on that tour.

CO: Well, Mr. Johnson, I'm so sorry that that time with Radiohead came to that. And I'm so sorry for your loss.

KJ: Thanks very much for your call.

CO: Thank you so much.

KJ: OK. Take care.

CO: You too. Bye.

JD: Ken Johnson is the father of Scott Johnson. He was a 33-year-old drum technician. He was killed after a Toronto stage collapsed in 2012, before a Radiohead concert. We reached Ken Johnson in Hickleton, UK.

[Music: Ambient]

Swiss village

Guest: Elia Frapolli

JD: There are only 16 residents in the community of Corippo in Switzerland. And everyone fears that that tiny little village is just going to close up its last resident moves away or dies. And so some people have done some thinking, and now, they believe they have an idea to save the village. Elia Frapolli is the director of tourism for the region. We reached him in Chino Switzerland.

CO: Mr. Frapolli, can you first of all, just describe this village? What does Corippo look like?

ELLIA FRAPOLLI: Corippo It's a really small village in a quite steep valley. And the village is made of many small houses and every house is made of stone, the wall, the roof, everything is made of stone. It is an ancient village. Some of the building has been built for 300-400 years. And in the 19th century, it lived more or less 300 people. Right now, there are just 16.

CO: Where has everyone gone? Did they move to other places, or how did the village become so depopulated?

EP: Life in the southern part of Switzerland in the 19th century was quite difficult. People were quite poor and migration was an important thing, so many people migrated to other places in the world because it's not easy to live up there. And right now, people in the village are growing more and more aged. And that is not easy for young people to live in such a village. But it's a great place to spend holidays.

CO: And I understand the only person who actually works — who's not retired — is the mayor of Corippo?

EP: You are right. All the other person in Corippo who live for the whole year there are retired.

CO: So people are concerned that as the population ages further that eventually Corippo would become a ghost town. So what's the idea? What have you come up with as a solution to help the village survive?

EP: So they decided to create an innovative project. It’s like a hotel, but it's not a normal hotel. It’s let's say a widespread hotel. They don’t want to destroy everything and build up, but they want to use every single small house made of stone as a room of widespread hotel. The reception, by the way, is the restaurant of the village. In this way you can keep the authenticity of the village because it's really important, but bringing new life, new people.

CO: So what's the selling point? Just give us the pitch for how you would get tourists to come and stay in Corippo?

EP: Yeah, so in Corippo life is real. You really feel that the village is authentic. The houses are there for hundreds of years. And it is like they talk, you can turn off your cell phone and spend a couple of days in a place where you feel being in another century. So you really slow down, you relax.

CO: How are you going to keep it from just becoming a theme park though?

EP: Yes, this is important. The idea is not to transform Corippo into a theme park. Also the inhabitants they want really to keep it alive. If they want to keep cost low and they don't want to stay there for the whole year because it's quite difficult. Doing it with tourism can be easier because, of course, tourists they come, they spend some days and weeks and this is a way to keep it alive with people coming from around the world to see the charm of this village because this charm comes from the fact that the village is authentic.

CO: And when will this village hotel be open for business?

EP: Yeah, the project right now is it's ready. And they're still looking for the last part of their financing. And then they will start up to renew the buildings, so I'm hoping a couple of years that the project is ready to welcome the first guest.

CO: OK, well I wish you luck and I thank you very much, Mr. Frapolli.

EP: It’s been a pleasure.

CO: Bye bye.

EP: Bye bye.

JD: We reached Elia Frapolli in Ticino, Switzerland. Mr. Frapolli is the director of tourism for the region.

Back To Top »

Part 2: Canadian senator on DACA, cruise ship report

Canadian senator on DACA

Guest: Ratna Omidvar

JD: As many undocumented immigrants in the United States contemplate their future, one Canadian senator has a suggestion: why not come north? Yesterday, of course, U.S. Attorney-General Jeff Sessions announced he is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. And as a result, as many as 800,000 people in the U.S. could be left without work permits, or without protection from deportation, unless Congress comes up with a new law replacing DACA in the next six months. Well, Ontario independent senator Ratna Omidvar thinks that some DACA recipients, also called Dreamers, could have a bright future here in Canada. We reached Senator Omidvar in Toronto.

CO: Senator Omidvar, why do you think Dreamers should come to Canada.

RATNA OMIDVAR: Canada actively recruits between 250,000-285,000 immigrants per year. And we look for the kind of qualities, competencies, languish proficiencies that these young people have already. Plus on top of it, they are young. So I think the United States’s loss could well be our gain.

CO: And what is our gain? How would we benefit from having some of these Dreamers come?

RO: We get people who speak the language, who have been educated in universities and colleges in the United States. Some of them have had work experience. They understand the North American way of life, working life and the usual settlement issues that face immigrants coming from other parts of the world, who may not speak English or French as a first language, does not impact to that extent with Dreamers. They will have issues, I don't want to pretend you're know getting a job will be easier for them, but it will not be automatic. But most importantly, I think when they come to Canada they will need to function as Canadians and trust our institutions and our government and our system.

CO: There are approximately 800,000 young people who fall into this DACA category of Dreamers. How many of them do you think Canada should accept?

RO: The numbers question is always a difficult one. You know I have always maintained that annual numbers put us in a strait jacket. So if I put a number on the table it sort of shocks people. I'm saying over three years we could accept 10,000-30,000. These numbers are very small, just as the numbers for resettling Syrian refugees and the large scale of things, but very small 25,000 out of I don't know how many million were displaced.

CO: I’m just a bit confused as to what category you think they should enter the country? You referred to refugees also the immigration program. Should they come as refugees? Should they come as immigrants? As students? What's what are you thinking there?

RO: Well, I've spoken to a few Dreamers and then I've put forward the options to them, they have been most attracted by two categories. One, is economic, put your name forward, get assessed as any other applicant and compete. They liked that idea. They're young, they're vibrant, they have confidence. And the other program that they like is coming to Canada as international students. Today, I just read that Huron College at the University of Western Ontario has offered a scholarship to Dreamers to help them transfer their credits and come to Ontario to complete their education. So these kinds of initiatives are very I think attractive to these young people.

CO: You know there are a lot of people who are waiting to bring their families over, a lot of people who are waiting to come to Canada who have applied. You know it takes a very long time. People are on lists and being processed for years. And so what you're suggesting is if we are to take Dreamers would they displace others who have been waiting patiently, who have applied, who have family here, who have been trying to come to Canada? I mean would this be an additional program? Or something that would take up places that others were hoping to take?

RO: Well, I'm not calling for an additional program. I do think some flexibility in the numbers this year or over the next three years would be desirable. But the economics dream does not have a waiting list anymore as it used to have. The family reunification stream yes, there is a very long waiting list and I would like to see that dealt with in as nimble a manner as we have done in other fields. But one stream does not complicate matters for another stream. I think this is a very complicated question. And special circumstances do call for special responses. We have done that in the past. We have always occupied a big place in the imagination of people who are looking for a new life.

CO: One of the reasons why there is support in the United States, especially among Republicans to repeal DACA and to see these young people deported is because the claim that they take jobs away from Americans. And so, as you point out, they're educated, they're professionals, they have careers. Are they not going to do the same thing here? Will they not be taking jobs away from Canadians?

RO: We have labor market shortages in this country. We are actively recruiting 250,000 immigrants per year to fill some of these labor shortages. We are a growing, expanding economy. I've had e-mails today from people who are in mid-sized and small cities in Canada who are saying please apprecate that they come to these places because we're losing population. I think our need a completely different from those of the United States. And by the way, it is false to state that one set of people with skills will take away jobs from another set of people. That has been disproven time and time again by economists.

CO: How do you think Canadians might react to this suggestion of yours if it should come to be? We've seen some people are quite unhappy about the border crossings by Haitians and others coming from the United States. Do you think you have the same feeling about Dreamers?

RO: You know Canadians come in all shapes and sizes. And Canadian opinion on these issues is as mixed and varied as that in other parts of the world. But one thing I know the compassion of Canadians for people, especially young people, is high. I believe that if such a program were to be launched — were to be announced — in large part, Canadians would welcome them. I have had a stream of messages today and to be perfectly honest, I'll say half are telling me to go home and half are saying good job. So you know you don't win this by public opinion.

CO: We will leave it there. Senator Omidvar, Thank you.

RO: Thank you very much.

JD: We reached Senator Ratana Omidvar in Toronto.

[Music: Ambient]

Bat family

SOUNDCLIP

TADHG FLEMING: Catch him! Catch him, Derry. Derry, catch him.

JD: That is the frantic voice of Tadhg Fleming, moments after a bat flew into his parents kitchen in County Kerry, Ireland. The viral video of the Irish family's harrowing attempts at catching the bat was posted yesterday. It already has over a million views. We're going to pick it up at the point in the epic battle when Tadhg’s father, Derry, starts trying to snatch the bat out of midair with a tea towel. His mother Maureen looks on in horror from behind a glass door.

SOUNDCLIP

TF: Mom, will you get out? Derry, will you catch him?

DERRY FLEMING: Will he eat me?

TF: Oh [censored], oh, oh oh. Catch him, Derry. Mary, will you stop looking in the door? Catch him, Derry. You’re doing great.

JD: Well despite Tadhg’s encouraging commentary, Derry’s efforts were not working, until he upgrades to a bigger towel: a beach towel in fact. At which point, the family dog wanders into the frame and adds to the drama… in the worst way possible.

SOUNDCLIP

TF: That’s it! He nearly got him that time! No, he's still flying around the place! Quick! You're doing a great job, Derry. Did you get him? No, he’s making a mockery of you boy. The dog’s pissing! The dog is out there peeing.

JD: And then, finally, as the dog finishes relieving himself, Derry connects with the beach towel.

SOUNDCLIP

TF: You’re tiring him out. He’s like McGregor; he's got no legs left. Go on! Catch him now!

JD: The triumphant moment when the Fleming family finally traps a bat that flew into their County Kerry, Ireland home. You can find the full video of the bad invasion on our Twitter account @cbcasithappens. That's all one word. And if you’ve ever had an unwelcome run in with a creature in your own home, we would love to hear about it. Our email is aih@cbc.ca. And you can give us a call, that is our favorite, especially if you have a recording like that. 4162055687.

[Music: Stage]

Cruise ship report

Guest: Dietmar Oeliger

JD: It is the type of holiday many people dream of, and might spend years saving up for: a week-long, or a weeks-long vacation aboard an enormousm, shiny cruise ship, traveling the high seas and exploring beaches and cities around the world. But an environmental group in Germany has quite a different view of that industry. One that might make you a little bit seasick. Nabu has just released its annual report on cruise ship pollution. It looked at dozens of vessels traveling around Europe, or traveling in Europe. And it decided not to recommend any of them. Dietmar Oeliger is one of the authors of the report. He is the head of transport policy at Nabu. We reached him in Berlin.

CO: Mr. Oeliger, were there really no cruise ships that you looked at that you could recommend?

DIETMAR OELIGER: Unfortunately not. I mean we found out that the pollution from the cruise ship industry is still massive, even despite that they claim newer vessels are clean and green. But we made measurements at quite a few cruise lines and it proved that most of them, or nearly all of them, their attitude to the environment is poor.

CO: And will get to their attitude in a minute. But just the ships themselves, why are they so bad for the environment? What are the problems there?

DO: The thing is that all of them run on the dirtiest fuel you can imagine, it's heavy fuel oil, it's quite toxic and it's a residual of the petrol industry and it contains a lot of dirty stuff. And on top of that, nearly all of the cruise ships don't either have a catalyst or a particular filter. What we know from trucks and cars so that altogether sums up to a really poor environmental situation for cruise ships.

CO: And you mentioned this particulate, which there is no screen for them as there are in cars. And the report says that the fuel that a midsize cruise ship can use is as much as 150 tons of fuel each day, which emits as much particulate is one million cars, is that right?

DO: That's correct. And the reason for this is that their engines run 24/7. I mean even if they're in the port, they have to keep running their engines because it's not only a transport mode, it's also a hotel facility, they have a spa on board and restaurants and that needs a lot of energy. More or less, the same energy as well a mid-sized city needs. And well in combination with the dirty fuel that sums up to this dramatic comparison.

CO: Now the people who are on the ships I mean it's obviously bad for the environment that this these emissions are going up. But what does it mean for those who are actually cruising around on the boats themselves? I mean are they breathing that in?

DO: Well, unfortunately, we were not allowed as an organization to have measurements on board. Therefore we helped two major TV stations from Germany and one from France to go undercover onboard and to make measurements with our help with our measurement device. And it showed that the amount of emissions that the passengers breathe on board is more than 20 times higher than on a main road with a lot of pollution. So especially the particulates, they are really dangerous for your health.

CO: Now you write in the report that the cruise ship companies show contempt for their customers. What do you mean by that?

DO: The thing is that the cruise companies know what they are doing and they know about the problems that result from their emissions. But still, they order new ships and don't install emission abatement systems on their ships. Even the newest, or most of the newest ships that cost about a billion dollars, they don't even have an emission abatement system that would cost a million. I would say this is really irresponsible.

CO: I mean you’re putting the onus on the companies themselves to clean up their acts. But there's a few examples where there's voluntary pollution control or environmental control. This is a competitive industry; they’re all cutting costs where they can. So is it really that the companies themselves that should be making these changes? or should this be legislated and forced these companies to do so?

DO: Yes, of course, legislation would be the most effective way. But legislation is made by the International Maritime Organization, which is located in London. And it's an organization where countries like Liberia, Panama, or Greece have a strong position and that is because most of the ships are in these states and these countries very often are not really interested in environmental regulation and strong enforcement. And that's the reason why this organization — the IMO — they are really

slow in progress and in environmental progress. And that's the reason why we say we can't wait for IMO. We have to be much faster. And as the cruise industry is making a hell of a money and they are not having containers on board, but people. And that is the reason why we say well they have to stop. They have to use emission abatement system voluntarily and we can see that a few of them they already started doing it.

CO: Would you recommend to people not to take cruises?

DO: Well, I wouldn't go on a cruise ship for many reasons. I would not say that people shouldn't go because if it's a once in a lifetime dream for them, if they saved a lot of money to do it, that's fine for me. But I would say if you have the choice to take this or that ship then take one that is doing quite well in terms of environmental regulation. The other advice I would give is if you are on board, please stay in front of the chimney because even our lung doctor organization in Germany gave a warning that sitting behind the chimney on an on deck of a cruise ship is really dangerous for the health.

CO: OK. This is all very useful information. Mr. Oeliger, I appreciate speaking with you thank you.

DO: Thank you very much.

JD: Dietmar Oeliger is a transport expert with the German NGO Nabu. We reached him in Berlin.

[Music: Ambient]

Holger Czukay obit

JD: Over the years artists have discovered what these weirdos were up to, which was creating a kind of hybrid music that wasn't exactly like anything that came before it, or since. Can was unpredictable, but there were elements you could count on. Namely, the rhythm section, which you could literally count on. Drummer Jaki Liebezeit was like a funky metronome. And when the bassist Holger Czukay locked in with him, they created a bed of sound that you could dance to… while everyone else in the band did weird things over top. Holger Czukay died yesterday. Less than nine months after the death of Mr. Liebezeit. Mr. Czukay was 79-years-old. Now, like everyone else in Can, Holger Czukay was restless, which is why no two of Can’s records sound the same. They combined jazz, funk, prog rock and electronic music. And when he finally left Can after nine albums, Mr. Czukay began incorporating tape manipulation, sampling and shortwave radio into his music. His constant explorations of new technologies and new techniques meant that he was often, in fact usually, working outside his area of expertise, but that was by design. He once said, quote, “Inability is often the mother of restriction, and restriction is the great mother of inventive performance.”

3

Part 3: Rohingya family, small business tax: doctor, pun book

Rohingya family

Guest: Muneeza Naqvi

JD: Given the sheer number of people trying to escape the violence, it can be hard to get a clear idea of the personal despair of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and what they are experiencing. Until you hear the story of the family of Kefayet Ullah. Mr. Ullah recently fled that violence, along with other members of his family. But this past weekend, he was forced to return to retrieve the bodies of his brother and his sister-in-law. Kefayet Ullah spoke about his loss to Muneeza Naqvi, a journalist with The Associated Press. We reached Ms. Naqvi in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, near the Myanmar border.

CO: Muneeza, can you tell us a bit about Kefayet Ullah and how he's doing?

MUNEEZA NAQVI: Kefayet Ullah, he's a stoic man. So when you meet him, his grief isn't immediately obvious. He will not share it with you, or display it openly. But you can sense within you know a short while of talking to him that his suffering is immense and how he's holding it all together is pretty miraculous.

CO: The story is just extraordinary and so deeply tragic. How did Kefayet learn that his brother and his brother's wife were killed?

MN: His cousin in Myanmar, who had witnessed the killing, called Kefayet and told him about their deaths.

CO: And what did he learn as to how they were killed?

MN: He learned that the house where his brother and sister-in-law, their family home, was surrounded by Myanma soldiers and Buddhist monks, who attacked the two, demanded money, stole valuables from the house and then stabbed and killed the brother and raped and shot his sister-in-law.

CO: And were there children with them?

MN: Their 2-year-old son was with them, who were spared. So Kefayet actually found his nephew with his parents bodies.

CO: And how difficult was it for Kefayet Ullah to go back to retrieve the remains of his brother and his sister-in-law.

MN: In terms of a physical journey, it's not the long distance. Where he is in Bangladesh is very close to the border and his home in Myanmar is very close to the border. So the distance isn't great, but the risk is huge. But it seems something that he knew he had to do. I mean when you talk to him about it it wasn't a question he even asked himself. I mean his brother and his sister-in-law were dead. His nephew needed to be brought back. Their bodies simply had to be brought back. And so he went and got the bodies.

CO: When you say brought back. His brother and the family had returned to Myanmar, they were with Kefayet in Bangladesh, where they had fled because of the violence. Why did his brother and his brother's wife return?

MN: On the face of it, it seems almost silly that they would risk so much to go and take baths. Well when you see how squalid the conditions in these camps on the Bangladesh side are, I mean is stagnant water and there's hardly any food, there's no drinking water, under the sun it’s scorching. They simply wanted, as Kefayet Ullah told me, simply wanted to go the other side and just clean up and wash themselves and change their clothes for the Eid festival.

CO: And this was over the weekend. The Eid al-Adha festival and that's what they wanted to prepare themselves for?

MN: Absolutely. They wanted to make a very quick trip and just clean up and come back and celebrate the festival.

CO: And they thought they could do that safely?

MN: They thought they could do it quickly, slip into their village and just come back within hours.

CO: When Kefayet got the news, how did people respond? Because I would imagine a lot of people wanted to know in that squalid camp if it was possible to do what the family had done. If it was possible to go back and just retrieve some clean clothes to have a moment away from the camp. How are people — other people — in the camp responding?

MN: You know the way the community here functions, they just did they stick by each other. They go back and fetch members of their family, even when some of them have escaped. So these are risks which seem extraordinary to us, but it seems that these are risks they take for family, for community. I don't know in a strange way to maintain some sense of normalcy and control over their lives. It seems almost extraordinary that they would and yet, they do.

CO: Can you tell us a bit more about where they are all living? What the camp, or the makeshift camp, that Kefayet Ullah and his family are living in?

MN: So Kefayet Ullah and his family with dozens of other families in this particular spot it's no man's land, so it's not actually Bangladesh. But literally it's like a couple of hundred meters of rice paddy field and they are on a little hill in these… not even tents… just basically plastic sheets strung over bamboo. And into these are crammed whatever they could bring with them, kitchen utensils, a bag of rice and that's about it. And you know tattered blankets. Small children, elderly parents all crammed into these little spaces. There is no running water, no latrines, no toilets. So it's extremely unsanitary and a very difficult way to live and it depends on the kindness of aid agencies and local volunteers for drinking water, for food. I mean they have absolutely nothing.

CO: And how many people are we talking about here?

MN: Oh my goodness! I mean in the Cox’s Bazaar area tens of thousands I mean U.N. figures say almost 150,000 people. I mean at border crossings every single day you see thousands. I mean I have seen thousands come in in a single day everywhere. I mean Cox’s Bizarre in the markets on the sides of the roads, in open fields, in extremely miserable conditions are all of these people with their children wand their tattered belongings. It's heartbreaking.

CO: And one family, one man, Kefayet Ullah, one of these Rohingya that you were able to get a story from I guess you can imagine that every single one of those families knows people that has stories of that nature.

MN: Oh my goodness, yes. Every family has horror stories. I mean stories of suffering and starving and exhaustion and losing loved ones. They’re losing everything. These are largely still poor people and they've lost whatever little they had. I mean paying thousands of you know local currency to smugglers to bring them across, losing a child on the way, or a parent on the way, fields of soldiers opening fire. I mean if you could interview every single person, I suspect you'd get a story of horror from each person you interviewed.

CO: Was Kefayet Ullah able to find a place to bury the remains of his brother and the wife?

MN: He has, it's a clearing in the woods quite close to where his family’s camp is. It's a small sort of makeshift local graveyard and cemetery. It's right there in the words, where other villagers and other locals have also buried dead.

CO: And he has the 2-year-old little boy with him?

MN: He has the little boy with him and he's been looked after by his parents, by his wife and they're looking after him.

CO: Muneeza, it’s just such a tragic story among all the other tragic stories that you're encountering there. I appreciate you talking to us. Thank you.

MN: Thank you very much, Carol.

JD: Muneeza Naqvi is a journalist with The Associated Press. We reached her near the border with Myanmar's Rakhine state, in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh.

[Music: Sombre]

Small business tax: doctor

Guest: Nadia Alam

JD: The prime minister joined Liberal MPs in Kelowna, British Columbia today for their annual caucus retreat. On the agenda were tax changes that have upset small business owners, including farmers’, lawyers’ and doctors’ groups. One of the key issues for doctors in particular is the government's plan to eliminate something called “income sprinkling”. It allows doctors to spread out their income amongst family members to reduce their tax exposure. Nadia Alam is the president-elect of the Ontario Medical Association. She's also a family doctor in Georgetown, Ontario and that is where we reached her.

CO: Dr. Alam, why should doctors, or others who have companies, why should they be allowed to avoid taxes in ways that the Canadians can't?

NADIA ALAM: So that's a really good question, Carol. One of the things that I should point out is physicians and small businesses they're not like other Canadians. They have extra expenses. If a large portion of your money is going towards taxes, that's less left to grow your business. This is the whole reason why corporations were created by the federal government during the 1970s and so on. Physicians who were recognized as small businesses were allowed to start incorporating around the early 2000s, and that was out of this recognition that for a physician to do their job, they need an office, they need secretaries, they need equipment that can often be very, very expensive. When you look at Ontario specifically, physicians pay for about three to four billion dollars of health care infrastructure just to take care of their patients.

CO: OK. But I just want to talk about the specific things that are being proposed to change in the small business tax law. One of them what they call the “sprinkling of income” and that means that the money that's coming into a company, let’s say a doctor’s company or a physician’s company, can then be diverted to other people in the family, children young people and so it helps to reduce the income of the principal earner and reduce the taxes that they pay. So how does that help a doctor reinvest in the health care system?

NA: So that is more of a strategy used to help fund further education of their children, right? That's how some physicians use it. Now some physicians use it as a way of giving income to their spouses, who often give up their own careers to help support the physician and their family while the physician is working round the clock. Health care is 24/7, right? It doesn't stop. Often, there are times when I'll get called out of my home in the middle of the night, even when I'm not on call, to help take care of one of my patients in the hospital to help support another physician as they're working. That can happen to a physician, they have very unpredictable schedule. So often, when a physician works, their spouses cut back on their jobs just to be able to support the physician in doing theirs. It becomes a family business. It's kind of like a calling, right? it's not just about the physician doing their work it's the family supporting the physician as they're doing their work because of the recognition that taking care of patients is one of the most joyful, difficult, challenging, rewarding things that you can do.

CO: Well, I think that I'm sure there are people listening to this who are on salaries, who are working not within their own businesses who make the same sacrifices, who want to further educate their children, who have spouses who have to sacrifice their careers in order to support them, who are not getting any of these benefits. So why is it that you should have those benefits? When others who are on salaries who have who are getting money from companies shouldn't have those tax breaks?

NA: Well, Carol, I think you're absolutely right. I think everybody should have these benefits. However, the government has chosen the group that are allowed these benefits, right? So the government has created programs for salaried individuals to be used to help with tax deferrals, which is what this really is. It isn't about not paying your fair share. It's about paying a bit now and a bit later. And in the meantime, building up a small pot of savings to help support a business. I think that should be allowed to other families. I think it's totally fair to say to other families and say if your spouse has sacrificed their career to help support you in yours you should be allowed to income split with them. I think that's totally fair. But that's not something that I have control over. All I've got control over is the fact that the government has given it to us and has told us — and encouraged us — actively encouraged us to set up websites, webinars, seminars, videos talking about how physicians and lawyers and accountants and small businesses should incorporate.

CO: It doesn't look like Finance Minister Bill Morneau is going to yield on this one. He argues that these loopholes create two different classes of taxpayers. That's his argument and the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has said that people who make $50,000 shouldn't pay higher taxes than doctors who make $250,000. What do you say to them?

NA: I think it's really disappointing attitude. Both Mr. Morneau and both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about using these 75 days for consultation. They wanted to get feedback from physicians, from lawyers, from small businesses, from everybody impacted by these changes, which is pretty much every single small business across Canada. I don't know about you, Carol. I live in a small town. Small businesses are the backbone of my town. So if these changes go through, I'm genuinely worried about what's going to happen to our local economy, what’s going to happen to my patients and what's going to happen to my ability to keep my clinic running, right? Am I going to have to fire staff? Am I going to have to stop buying extra equipment, or new equipment, or upgrade? What are these changes going to make for me? So when I hear that the government's digging in their heels — when Mr. Morneau and Justin Trudeau — are digging in their heels it's really upsetting because these are genuine concerns that I will have.

CO: We’ll have to leave it there and I think people will have a lot to say about this. I appreciate you speaking with us, Dr. Alam.

NA: Carol, thank you so much for having me on the show and asking all these great questions.

CO: OK. Thank you. Bye bye.

JD: Dr. Nadia Alam is a family doctor and the president-elect of the Ontario Medical Association. We reached her in Georgetown, Ontario. And if you'd like to hear more on the story, you got to tune in to The Current on CBC Radio One tomorrow morning. Anna Maria Tremonti is going to put the new tax plan to the test with a farmer, a doctor and the owner of an electrical engineering firm.

[Music: Ambient]

Sound of the Day: Endangered pangolin

JD: They are about the size of a cat, but they don't have fur, they have a coat of scaly armor. Pangolin —also known as scaly anteaters — are a protected species. They are however, also believed to be the world's most commonly trafficked mammal. When pangolins feel threatened they curl up into scaly balls and that is a great defense against animal predators, but a fairly poor defense against human poachers. And poachers hunt pangolin because their meat is considered a delicacy in parts of Asia and their scales are used for traditional medicine. Last week, customs officials in Thailand seized more than 100 pangolins and nearly a thousand pounds of scales. Enter Jackie Chan, the martial arts star, he has just released a new video called “Kung Fu Pangolin”, in which he teaches the pangolin how to defend itself using kung fu. This is our Sound of the Day.

SOUNDCLIP

[Sound: Martial arts movie soundtrack music and the sound of punches and kicks]

JACKIE CHAN: Up until now, pangolins’ only defence from poachers was to roll up into a ball. But now, all species are protected by law. So please never buy pangolin meat. When the buying stops, the killing can to.

JD: Actor Jackie Chan in a new video campaign that urges people to stop poaching and consuming pangolin. The endangered mammals represent up to 20 per cent of the world's illegal wildlife trade.

[Music: Industrial]

Pun book

Guest: Joe Berkowitz

JD: Joe Berkowitz has taken a deep dive into a subject that is near and dear to our hearts here at AIH. Mr. Berkowitz is a staff writer for the magazine Fast Company. His new book is called “Away With Words”… that is “away”… not “a way”. And it recounts his journey into the world of… competitive punning, which for a show that makes a show of its penchant for puns, made it pretty much impossible for us to not give Mr. Berkowitz a call. We reached Joe Berkowitz in New York.

CO: Joe, what exactly is competitive punning and why would you want to do it?

JOE BERKOWITZ: Competitive punning is when a group of people go on stage, are given a category and they have a short period of time to make all the puns they can off of it. And then present them to a crowd and have the crowd choose who did it the best. And I was sort of a reluctant person roped into it, or ask nicely to participate. But then I was shocked to find myself in a position of seeing 500 people screaming in response to a pun.

CO: Whaaaaat!

JB: Yes. And you know which is a far better reaction than the eye rolls and Twitter unfollowings that I usually get when I make a pun. So I was there on assignment, but I very quickly got into it and I started participating in the pun competitions myself.

CO: What was the event that you were at?

JB: It's called Punderdome. And the first one I went to was a special edition of it, where the regular Champions competed with the editors of the New York Post. So what they did was they had the usual six people come on at a time and a couple move on to the next round. But in this case, for the last round that's when they brought out the New York Post editors and they read out a story and then two different teams had to compete to come up with the best pun headline. Like when Tiger Woods was arrested for drunk driving and the headline that was “DUI of the Tiger”. And so you know the New York Post are generally known for having really punny headlines. So the editors did well. They came up with some good puns. They just were not quick enough. And so they got beat.

CO: So what does it take to win?

JB: Well, the main thing actually is presentation because you could have kind of a mediocre pun, but if you put it in a story, or if you just really sell it, or telegraph that you're aware that this is kind of a dumb thing you're doing that can make all the difference. And it might not save you on its own, but if you do have some clever ones and you know you lead with a really clever one and you close with a really clever one and then present well the so-so ones you have in the middle, that will get the job done.

CO: How good are you at this?

JB: Me, I'm middling to competent. You know right there and I got better as we went along like the first time I went to one I was the second worst of the six. So and then by the end of the book, you know the book is all about a bunch of Brooklyn punners going down to compete in the O'Henry Pun Off in Austin. And after that's all over with, I went back in Brooklyn at Punderdome I did the best I’d ever done. And I had this great run. The category was amusement parks and I just came up with like eight puns in a row that were in a story about like me proposing to my wife, you know? And so I got down on Disney and I did a ring toss and it keeps going on like that. And that was like my shining moment. And I have not been able to replicate it yet.

CO: But now that you've written a book about this, you’ve establish yourself as a pundit.

JB: Yeah, I'm sort of worried about what's going to happen now, whether everyone who talks to me is going to be expecting me to pun a lot.

CO: Yeah, they are. Absolutely, I'll tell you why I know that. Because this show that you're on right now, As It Happens, is a show that does a lot of puns and people expect my co-host and I to pun whenever we show up at things. They just think we should be able to do that, which is mostly written by our writer, Chris Howden. If you don't mind I'm going to give you an example, we have these headlines at the top of the show. I’m going to play you what Chris Howden can do with a food topic here it is.

JB: I'm excited to hear it.

SOUNDCLIP

JD: Rejecting a call to straighten up and fry right. Belgium's tourism minister says the EU has no business trying to change the way his fellow citizens cook their fried potatoes. And establishes himself as a brave friet-dom fighter. As It Happens, the Tuesday edition. Radio that advises the EU, as the old Belgian saying goes, let the chips fall where there's mayo.

CO: So that was just a bill from our archives. It's a pun that we liked. We love puns at As It Happens, but we have people who tell us that they can't stand them. What do you say to people who simply hate puns?

JB: Well, I've given this a lot of thought and I think when people think they hate puns it's because there are a certain kind of pun they hate and they just tend to notice those the most. Because puns are in everything that's kind of annoying, you know? They’re in advertisements and they're in novelty menu items and they're in the daytime news banter, sometimes that can be a little on the nose. But then also puns are in everything that's great too, you know? they're in the chyrons on the Daily Show and they're in the shows like Veep. Veep is littered with puns and so is the show Bob's Burgers. So yeah, I guess I understand where people are coming from because you know before I started writing this book, I sort of had internalized you know the idea that puns are just comedy kryptonite and you don't do it. But then now my own awareness has developed so much that I notice them everywhere. And I appreciate them more when I hear a really funny one.

CO: Well that's a punder statement for you. Joe, I’m not even going to try. It's great to talk to you, thanks.

JB: Thanks for having me on.

CO: Bye.

JB: All right. Take care.

JD: Joe Berkowitz is the author of “Away With Words: An Irreverent Tour Through the World of Pun Competitions.” We reached him in New York.

[Music: Hip-hop]

Vinyl Café recordings

SOUNDCLIP

STUART MCLEAN: Well, that's all the time we have for today show. I'm Stuart McLean, so long for now.

JD: Well there is a familiar voice, maybe one you haven't heard in a while. Of course, if you are a fan of the Vinyl Cafe then you know you can still pay a visit to the world's smallest record store any old time, to hear stories from the one-and-only Stuart McLean, who died in February at the age of 68. But if you're a really big fan of the show, then the news today is not small. Next month, a collection of 13 previously unreleased stories will be available as a four disc set and you probably share this sentiment of the show's long-time producer Jess Milton, who curated the collection. Jess said, quote, “I miss Stewart so much. But listening to his voice while I edited and mixed this album brought back so many happy memories of sitting in the wings for all those Vinyl Cafe shows. Unquote.” Like the one recorded in May, of 2014, at the Kings Theatre in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Here is a short clip from a story Stewart told that night called “Have Snake, Will Travel.”

SOUNDCLIP

SM: They went across the highway to a service station that had a little restaurant attached to it. As they waited for their meal, Murphy pulled out his wallet and began counting his money. Put that away said Dave. This is on me. Murphy was actually looking to see if he could afford to get his own hotel room. When Sam, Murphy and Dave got back to their room… Don't spoil it for the rest of them. The three of them stood by the door, peering in. The road case was tipped over, the lid was ajar, Rupert was gone. I knew it said Murphy I saw this coming a mile away. So did the lady in the first row said Sam.

JD: That was an excerpt of a previously unreleased story from the Vinyl Cafe “Have Snake, Will Travel.” It is part of a new collection of previously unreleased stories from the show, which comes out on October 6th. It's already available for pre-order at www.vinylcafe.com

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