JIM BROWN: Hello, I'm Jim Brown sitting in for Carol Off.
JEFF DOUGLAS: Good evening, I'm Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.
JB: Donald Trump called it very fresh thinking — it's not. More than one president has proposed naming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the past. It's just that the current one has brashly gone ahead and done it.
JD: Destruction site. The California wildfires are expanding with tremendous speed and destroying enormous areas. Tonight one woman tells us what it is like to leave your home and return to find it utterly destroyed.
JB: No exit. With today's life sentence for three horrifying murders, Basil Borucki will never again set foot outside of prison. And tonight a friend remembers one of his victims Nathalie Warmerdam.
JD: An endurance runner and what she has endured. Latoya Snell's athletic accomplishments are phenomenal. But instead of being cheered at the New York City Marathon the plus-sized runner was heckled.
JB: Half-conscious uncoupling. When it comes to Brexit negotiations the UK government seems to barely be going through the motions. And tonight a Labour MP weighs in on the latest developments — or lack thereof.
JD: And…Hounded off stage. A performance of Cats on Broadway is disrupted when a service dog in the audience apparently mistakes one of the cast members for an actual giant cat and dramatically acts out. As It Happens: The Wednesday edition. Radio that sincerely hopes no one's felines were hurt.
[Music: Theme]Back To Top »
Jerusalem Announcement, Borutski Sentence, Archive: Montreal Massacre, Montreal Ribbon Campaign, Johnny Hallyday Obit
Guest: DANIEL KURTZER
JD: Jerusalem is one of the most contested patches of real estate on the planet. And today Donald Trump waded it right into the debate over the holy city. The president up ended decades of U.S. foreign policy by officially declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel and announcing that the U.S. embassy would be moved there. Here's part of Donald Trump's speech today.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches. We are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result. Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today I am delivering.
JD: Palestinian leaders have called for three days of rage over the decision. US allies, leaders of the Muslim world, even the Pope have warned the move could derail any shot at peace and spark violent protests. Daniel Kurtzer has been watching all of this very closely. In the early 2000s he was the U.S. ambassador to Israel, when then President George W. Bush proposed this embassy move. Before him it was President Bill Clinton. Mr. Kurtzer is now professor at Princeton University and we reached him in Princeton.
JB: Mr. Kurtzer, we just heard President Trump say old challenges demand new approaches. Is declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel a new approach?
PROFESSOR DANIEL KURTZER: No, it's actually the equivalent of an own goal. The peace process has been moribund. It wasn't going anywhere when Mr. Trump took office. He raised expectations by saying the United States was going to make the quote unquote “ultimate deal.” And now he has basically taken the United States out of the game by siding with the Israeli government, offering nothing to the Palestinians on the single most sensitive and complex issue in the peace process. Mr. Trump can no longer claim the role as an honest broker.
JB: There wasn't a lot of complexity in that speech today. For one thing the president steered clear of wading into the contentious border issue in Jerusalem. What do you make of the language that he used today in that speech?
DK: Well, this was a speech devoted entirely to two constituencies only. Number one is his so-called domestic base including some significant donors, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I listened carefully for nuance and there's really nothing there. In fact, in one critical moment in the speech he actually backs away from American support for a two state solution by conditioning it on the party's acceptance, rather than saying we will advance towards a two-state solution he says will support it if the parties agree.
JB: There has been a lot of pushback from U.S. allies in the Muslim world. Even the Pope is opposed to what the president was suggesting today. Why do you think he went ahead with it?
DK: He's one of these people who pushes back when people tell him not to do things and this is a case where a lot of people told him not to do it, and he then listened to a select group of advisers who said to him “To hell with it, let's just do what we want to do.” And, you know, the reality is we all do business in Jerusalem. When I was ambassador for four years all of my meetings with government officials were up in Jerusalem and we traveled there almost every day. So it's a fiction to believe that we somehow are trying to wrest Jerusalem from Israel's hands. But given the nature of the issue and the fact that Israel itself agreed that it was a subject for negotiations. Why would the honest broker, so-called honest broker, wade into this in the way the president did. I just don't get it.
JB: And also, I guess, why now? I mean, this is not a new promise from U.S. presidents seeking election and then even after they've been elected. Bill Clinton promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem, the president you served, George W. Bush, made the same promise but it's never been delivered on.
DK: Well that's right. When they get behind the desk in the Oval Office they've taken different decisions. Presidents have realized that you don't fulfill the promise to one side in a situation where you're trying to mediate between two sides. The real problem here that Trump did not recognize is that U.S. policy and the peace process has been weak for a number of years. And rather than energize that policy and really come down on both sides and say, you know, it's time to make hard decisions, he is now believing and trying to sell this idea that by recognizing Jerusalem we've introduced a new topic and therefore people should support it. And this is self-delusionary.
JB: In the speech the president said that the U.S. is committed to a lasting peace agreement. As you mentioned earlier, he said the U.S. is open to a two-state solution if the two sides can come to an agreement. But does today's announcement prejudice those peace talks in any way?
DK: Oh, it certainly does. We've already heard from President Mahmoud Abbas that the president has effectively removed the United States from its peacemaking role. The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, has already said that this was a declaration of the U.S. walking away from the peace process. So as much as the president may want to believe that he's done something useful and positive he's actually shot himself and his chief negotiator, his son-in-law right in the foot. And they're not going to be able to proceed in any manner during the course of this administration.
JB: I just want to introduce another wrinkle to this because as this is unfolding the U.S. ambassador to Israel is quite a controversial pick, David Friedman, a former bankruptcy lawyer who's been very supportive of the settlement movement in Israel. How concerning is that for you given what the president was talking about today?
DK: Well, I took the really quite unprecedented step when Mr. Friedman was nominated to write an op-ed against the appointment for exactly these reasons. His activities during his pre-ambassadorial days were absolutely contrary to American policy, not only supporting settlements, but actively funding them. And not even in the settlement blocks that many people believe will remain within the state of Israel in the context of a settlement. He was the head of an organization funding a settlement in the right smack in the middle of the West Bank. And he has made a number of statements since entering office that have been equally problematic. Using the phrase “the so-called occupation” or the “alleged occupation” saying the settlements are part of Israel. The whole tone and tenor of this administration has been very much anti-peace process even while Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, the two people who've been assigned to try to advance the peace process, have been traveling and listening and talking and trying to develop ideas. So they've been working against themselves for the last year.
JB: Now in the short term we've seen the Palestinian leadership call for three days of rage in Gaza City. Hundreds of Palestinians were protesting today by burning the American and the Israeli flags. How concerned are you about the potential for sparking unrest that this announcement has today?
DK: Well, we all have to be concerned. The State Department has already put out an upgraded travel warning. This is from the same government that just made the announcement. And we've seen before how anything related to Jerusalem can spark protests and demonstrations. You remember just a couple of months ago Israel installed magnetometers as a security device to protect people going in and out of the Haram esh-Sharif Temple Mount, and that sparked demonstrations. So this is exponentially more challenging and more problematic.
JB: I’m just trying to wrap my brain around the fact that the U.S. State Department is issuing travel advisories based on danger constructed by a speech delivered by the U.S. president.
DK: Yeah, welcome to the wonderful world of Donald Trump and his administration.
JB: Daniel Kurtzer, thank you very much for joining us.
DK: My pleasure.
JD: Daniel Kurtzer is a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, currently a professor of Middle East policy studies at Princeton University. We reached him in Princeton, New Jersey. And we have more on this story on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.
[Music: Lo-Fi Reggae]
Guest: Danielle Pecore-Ugorji
JD: Life in prison with no chance of parole for 70 years. That was the sentence handed down to Basil Borutski today in Pembroke, Ontario. On September 22nd of 2015. Mr. Borutski murdered three of his ex-partners — Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Natalie Warmerdam. With today's sentence, handed down on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, he will almost certainly die behind bars. Danielle Pecore-Ugorji was a close friend of Nathalie Warmerdam’s. We reached her in Ottawa.
JB: Ms. Pecore-Ugorji, what do you make first of all the sentence that was handed down today?
DANIELLE PECORE-UGORJI: I don't call it justice because justice would be having these women in our lives, in our communities, and our families. It would be two young people growing up with their mom. But I do call it the best possible outcome.
JB: So satisfied within the parameters of what was available?
DPU: Yes, yes absolutely. He will not, he will not get out of prison in his lifetime and I think that's the best we could hope for.
JB: Do you still have any questions about what led to these women's murders?
DPU: No. I'm more familiar with what led to Nathalie's and, of course, I’ve know Natalie my whole life. So, you know, I knew her when she was in a relationship with her murderer and, you know, was aware of everything that was going on. So I don't have a lot of questions, no. I think I know what went wrong. I've seen it go wrong for other women. I've seen the same problems have similar impacts on other women's lives. So, no I don't have particular questions, but I do think that the system needs to be re-envisioned.
JB: What did she tell you back then about what she was going through?
DPU: In the second week of her relationship with her murder her mother and I had significant concerns for her safety. So our concerns actually predated Nathalie’s own concerns about her safety. So my involvement or my understanding of the situation goes quite a ways back. And I don't feel that I'm the right person to speak for Nathalie. But I can speak about my concerns and about her mum's concerns.
JB: Well, speak about then, because I think it's important for people to know what other people were saying at the time before these crimes were even committed.
DPU: Well, the Ontario Death Review has a list of 100 factors that are part of the review of women who've been murdered by violent men or by their partners every year. And her mom and I went through that list of factors and were very concerned about a number of things — things Nathalie was telling us and things that we were seeing in her relationship, such as his attempts to isolate her, his attempts to separate her from her family and to diminish her relationships with people like with her mother. His always being the victim, always blaming her for things.
JB: You're a close friend of Nathalie's. Can you tell us a little bit about her what she was like?
DPU: I can. Nathalie was probably one of the most generous cheerful people I've ever met. She would give you the shirt off her back literally. A lot of stories have come forward since her death as well ofpeople who say, you know, if Natalie hadn't been there for me at that time, if she hadn't helped me through this — Natalie was a nurse — or, you know, if she hadn't stayed up all night talking to me or helping me with this issue I wouldn't be here today. So I think there's a lot of stories in the community about how she's helped people in a personal and a professional capacity. She was also incredibly smart, intelligent, interested in what's going on in the world. Some of the things I miss most about her are our conversations about what's happening in the world and how that fits with her values or how it didn't. So that's what I miss most about her.
JB: Now this is December 6th this is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Does it feel significant that this sentence was handed down today?
DPU: It does. It does feel significant, and I think it feels significant because this day is a day specifically to remember the 14 women killed at the Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989, and here we are talking about more murders that happened in 2015. But these murders — I mean murders of women at the hands of their violent partners, at the hands of violent men — are happening every day throughout the world, throughout our province. There are a number of women who are either living with violence or who have been impacted by violence. And this just kind of I think brings it home for people so I know Renfrew County has been significantly affected by this, by these murders, and for this to happen today I think is an additional reminder that that action is ongoing and needs to continue.
JB: Do you see that change coming? Do you see the action continuing and making progress?
DPU: I wouldn't call it a change but I've certainly been part of a number of organizations in Renfrew County and a number of initiatives that women who are working very hard for change. So that predates these murders and absolutely is continuing.
JB: Thank you very much for joining us and thank you for telling us about Nathalie.
DPU: You're welcome.
JD: Danielle Pecore-Ugorji was a friend of Nathalie Warmerdam, who was murdered by Basil Borutski in 2015. We reached Ms. Pecore-Ugorji in Ottawa. Again today Basil Borutski was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 70 years.
Archive: Montreal Massacre
JD: And as you heard Jim mention there today marks a horrific anniversary in Montreal, and in this country. 28 years ago tonight, 28 women were shot in École Polytechnique in Montreal. Fourteen were killed. Genevieve Cauden was one of the 14 who survived. As It Happens spoke to her the day after the rampage. And here she is speaking to former host Michael Enright. This is from our archives. She begins by describing the moment the killer entered the classroom she was in.
GENEVIEVE CAUDEN: We were in the class and three people were at the front talking, three students. And we hear shots, and we hear people scream but we thought it was a joke. And after a guy came into the class he was really, he seemed to be really normal, and he said two to three people, three students at the front to go with us. And he said to us that it was real, it was not a joke.
MICHAEL ENRIGHT: And he was shooting at the girls in your class?
GC: Yeah. When I was on the floor I didn't know he was killing the girls. But I knew because I have four of my friends who are dead. We were the only eight girls in the class.
ME: Did you did you think about your friends when he started shooting? Were you thinking about yourself?
GC: One of my friends on my side started to scream and cry and all of this, you know, because I think it's the first who had been shot. But I didn’t want to see this because I knew that it was not pretty to see. I just closed my ears and closed my eyes and stayed there. And he shot me. I was afraid but I knew that it was better to stay there than to move because I will be killed also, so I stayed there only.
ME: How old are you Genevieve?
GC: 19 years old.
GC: I think it's like a dream, a bad dream, but I know it's true and I don't realize.
JD: That was Genevieve Cauden speaking to As It Happens a day after the Montreal Massacre. She was shot along with five others in the second classroom the killer entered.
Montreal Ribbon Campaign
JD: Today in China Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marked the anniversary with a moment of silence and a white ribbon. For almost three decades people have been wearing that white ribbon in remembrance of the women who were gunned down, and to show a commitment to ending violence against women. Erin Hogg has been making and distributing those ribbons in Montreal for 15 years now. She's 83 years old and a retired nurse. Earlier today she spoke with CBC Montreal's Shari Okeke.
ERIN HOGG: I remember one small, little hole in the wall that sold me the ribbons early on. And it was husband and wife and the place was colder than charity in there. I guess they heat and they wore their overcoats and when they heard what I wanted the ribbon for they gave it to me. I can't remember when it started but eventually it wasn't going to be done at all if I didn't do it. People drifted away, the person that started it moved on to another position out of the hospital. It petered out until I was the only one that was doing it and it was important for me to do that for some reason. And I'm very glad that I did because it has proven to be a marker for some people. And now, of course, there's generation, more than a generation, that doesn't know what you're talking about a lot of the time. But it's very personal to me because it happened in Montreal, and I think it is for everybody who remembers it's very personal. It was shocking, really shocking and the fact that it was so close. And so many and for no reason, no reason, I found it very upsetting. And one thing that really bothers me is that for the 6th of December remember his name but we don't remember the girls’ names.
JD: That was Erin Hogg. She is a retired nurse who has been handing out white ribbons in Montreal every year for the past 15 years. The city of Montreal is holding its annual memorial ceremony tonight and for the fourth year 14 beams of light will illuminate the Montreal skyline between 5 and 10 p.m. in honor of each of the victims.
JD: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte and Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz.
[Music: Sombre Guitars]
Johnny Hallyday Obit
JD: Everywhere but France and Quebec he was largely dismissed as a novelty act, a second rate imitator of American rock and roll artists. But in France and in Quebec Johnny Hallyday was a God. Mr. Hallyday has died. He was 74 years old. He is known for a huge volume of French accented covers of rock hits by everyone from Elvis to Prince. And even if you didn't see his magical qualities you could not deny his astonishing quantity. He sold more than 110,000,000 records. Nor could you deny his ability to get bums on seats. In France his concerts easily packed stadiums. In fact, he once played to a crowd of almost a million people. And here he is describing his first show in New York to the Times Square Chronicles in 2014.
JOHNNY HALLYDAY: I didn't expect so many French people coming to the show. I didn't know there were so many French people living in New York. But New York is a great place. I love New York — a lot of energy having.
REPORTER: It looks like you didn't live one life but ten, a hundred lives. What still makes you emotional after all this time? What makes your emotions go up?
JH: We love music. We love the audience, we love the people so we are happy to go on stage.
REPORTER: You’ve got four kids and three grandkids. What is your legacy you want to give it to them? What do you want to wish for them to keep in their heart about you?
JH: A French rock singer. I'm French but I do rock n roll. I adapt rock and roll in French and I do some songs in English, of course, but I do a lot of songs in French. You know, music International for me so it doesn't matter the language.
REPORTER: If you will have to pick one person, after all this time, that you like had the biggest influence in your life — it can be when you were kid when you were an adult right now — somebody that really you know influence you forever?
JH: Really, the first one was Elvis — and Bruce Springsteen — my two my two favourite singers. And Elvis influenced me a lot. I mean, he made me want to do rock and roll when I heard Elvis for the first time. When I was a kid Elvis was my idol. So I always look at his video and say “I want to be, I want to do that. I want to do rock and roll.” Nobody did rock and roll before me in France. So it was very French songs before, you know, and so I decided I wanted to be a rock singer. So when I started I did all the Elvis songs translated in French and after that we started to add our own material.
REPORTER: Do you think the people, after all this time, really know who Johnny Hallyday is or there's still some misconception about who you are?
JH: In France they know who I am that’s sure. In America I don't believe I know they know me that much but I'm sure they have heard of my name, but most of them come to see me for the first time.
JD: That was French rock and roll star Johnny Hallyday in an interview with The Times Square Chronicles in 2014. Johnny Halliday died today at 74.Back To Top »
Part 2: California Fire, Plus Sized Marathoner
Guest: Samantha Wells-Zuniga
JD: The fires arrived early Monday morning and they have been growing ever since, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes. The hardest hit areas include the cities of Ventura and Santa Paula where the fires have destroyed more than 55,000 acres of land and reduced more than 150 buildings to ash. One of those buildings was an apartment complex in downtown Ventura. Samantha Wells-Zuniga lived in that building. She was forced out but returned today to see what remained. We reached Ms. Wells-Zuniga in Ventura, California.
JB: Ms Zuniga, let me ask you first of all how you and your family are doing today?
SAMANTHA WELLS-ZUNIGA: I guess we're doing as well as can possibly be expected under the circumstances. We’re alive and thankful for that I was able to get out with my grandson. We’re very thankful to have my family and everybody safe.
JB: Now take us back to Monday evening. Can you tell us, first of all, when you found out you may be in danger?
SWZ: Well, to be honest I had been shopping at the Pacific View Mall afternoon for Christmas so I was not on social media or anything, I had no idea that there was even a fire until I arrived home about 9:30 maybe quarter to 10. When I arrived and proceeded to get out of my car, I mean, the winds were like 50 miles-an-hour and it literally felt like it looked like it was snowing but then I realized it was ash. When I went up to my third floor apartment my deck and everything was completely covered in ashes. I thought the building was on fire but I went downstairs and ended up speaking with my neighbours who told me that the fire started in Santa Paula. They said it's about two and a half hours from here. It has a lot of a city to burn through. One of the neighbours had somebody that they knew that worked on the fire department and they said that we should be OK.
JB: So no one was panicking at that point?
SWZ: I mean, you could see the glow in the sky and I feel like people were panicking but we haven't had power so I think that people were just kind of trying to go on social media and stay in touch with people who knew people about the fire department. But the wind was picking up faster and faster and I went in my room, my daughter kept asking me “What do you need, what do you need?” At that moment you think in your head that you'll know exactly what to grab a disaster strikes. But when it really does all I wanted to do is get my grandchild out of my house. And I looked out my bedroom window and the glow had tripled. We ran out of the house, got in the car and left. My son came looking for me 20 minutes later and said “Mom your building's already on fire.”
JB: And then you got in the car and started driving. Was it was it hard driving away, were there were there fires near the road?
SWZ: It was kind of apocalyptic. There was no lights, no street lights everything for as far as I could see all the power was out. It was like it was snowing. The ash was so thick in the air. The smoke was so thick and it still is — just black and gray. I'm about to go up and take some pictures of where I used to live.
JB: I also I understand that when you drove away you stopped and you actually watched your home burning?
SWZ: Well I left and took my grandson and my daughter and we moved to where we were in safety. And then my son-in-law wanted to go back and make sure that there was nothing we could do. He wanted to know firsthand instead of just going on hearsay. So we actually drove back and we stood a few streets below my apartment and I actually videotaped my apartment falling off the side of the hill.
JB: It must've just been unbelievable watching that happen to your home.
SWZ: It was, and then on top of that ABC News was there recording it and so now everybody knows that I was underneath there. So it's been a little overwhelming.
JB: What have you lost?
SWZ: Well, I mean, I lost everything in my entire house. All of my memories and possessions, pictures photo albums. I recently got a nice promotion and went and refurnished my entire apartment to the tune of about ten to twelve thousand dollars that I'm still paying on — all of that is gone. I have a room set up for my grandson. I have all of the memorabilia from the day he was born and from the days my children were born and all of that is gone as well. So, I mean, everything that you love and cherish that you would have in your home is everything that I lost. So I basically have two or three pairs of clothes and my children and that's all I have in the whole world.
JB: And how is your grandson handling this?
SWZ: Well, he's four and he's a little traumatized. You know, he kept telling us he didn't want to die in the fire and he's the kind of child that he brings it up in every conversation you have. He keeps wanting to go back to grandma's house because that's his favourite place to be. And we keep trying and gently let him know that grandma's house is not there anymore. How to explain that to a 4-year-old?
JB: Now can you tell us where you're staying now?
SWZ: Well, I did stay with my daughter’s in-laws the last two days. I'm really unsure at the moment. I mean, I live by myself and I'm independent so I have a lot of people offering me places to stay. I'm at the Red Cross right now trying to maybe get a few jackets and necessities just so that I can get through till I figure out what's happening. I'm just — I just don't know. It's all new and I just don't know. I don't know. What do you do when you had yesterday, day before, I woke up my life was perfect. I was out shopping with my family having a great day. Fast forward 24 hours and life as I know it is completely over. And I lost everything.
JB: Well you don't have your grandson and you still have your daughter and your friends.
SWZ: I have the most amazing friends, a network of people who have set me up a GoFundMe page, and I have people calling me to bring shoes and clothes. And, I mean, I was luckily over the course of my lifetime I've been fortunate enough to surround myself with the most amazing group of people. And so the outpouring of love and support that I have received is astounding.
JB: And we're just so glad that everyone made it out safely as well.
SWZ: I know we're hoping that everybody's safe and the fire is still roaring so I'm going to look to see what I can volunteer and maybe try to jump in and help people that haven't lost their things because if they have a little bit more time maybe people can be a little bit more fortunate to grab some things than I was.
JB: So that's your immediate plan then to volunteer to help other people who are going through the same thing you're going through?
SWZ: Yes most definitely. I work for an amazing company who's offered to give me time off with PTO not of my own to help me do what I need to do, and I feel like that's going to be one of the most therapeutic things for me to try to help people you know help maybe people get some of their possessions and save their loved ones.
JB: Well Ms. Zuniga, good luck, and thank you very much for talking to us today.
SWZ: Thank you. I really appreciate you guys reaching out to me.
JB: OK, all the best, goodbye now.
JD: We reached Samantha Wells-Zuniga in Ventura, California.
[Music: Electric Guitar Strums]
JD: Colin Kaepernick may not be playing pro football at the moment but that has not stopped him from making an impact. Last night the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback accepted the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, recognizing his work fighting racial inequality and police brutality. Mr. Kaepernick, of course, sparked a national debate last season by kneeling during the national anthem in protest. He is now a free agent, and he filed a grievance against the NFL in October alleging that he remains unsigned because team owners colluded to keep him out of the league. But during his speech yesterday he said that he would continue protesting with or without the NFL.
COLIN KAEPERNICK: I accept this award knowing that the legacy of Muhammad Ali is that of a champion of the people and one who was affectionately known as the people’s champ. I accept this award, not for myself, but on behalf of the people because if it were not for my love for the people I would not have protested. And if it was not for the support from the people I would not be on this stage today. With or without the NFL’s platform I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people.
JD: That was part of the speech given by Colin Kaepernick last night while accepting Sports Illustrated's Mohamed Ali Legacy Award. And you can hear his full speech on Friday December 8th, that is of course this Friday, when the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson Of The Year ceremony airs on NBC.
[Music: Whimsical Orchestra]
Plus Sized Marathoner
Guest: Latoya Snell
JD: There is no way anyone can question Latoya Snell's accomplishments as a runner. This fall while we have all been indoors watching Netflix, she has completed the Chicago Marathon, the New York City Marathon and the New York Road Runners Ultra-marathon. But during races she sometimes has a hard time being taken seriously — because to many people's eyes she doesn't look like a marathoner. She's a plus-sized runner who embraces the term fat. And while she was running last month's New York City marathon, instead of being cheered on she was heckled. We reached Latoya Snell in New York.
JB: Latoya Snell, hello.
LATOYA SNELL: Hi, how are you?
JB: I'm just fine. Now let me start by asking you to take us back to this moment in the New York race. You're on the twenty-third mile, what happened?
LS: When I was turned the corner at Marcus Garvey Park, that’s somewhere around like Upper Manhattan of Harlem, I had a guy that yelled at me and he said “It’s going to take your fat ass forever” — and I apologize I know cursing isn’t allowed on the air — and at first I didn't think that it actually happened. I'm like “What, what did you say to me? And then he repeated it again. And at this point I encounter him and at first I was overwhelmed with frustration so I ended up cursing him back when he actually said it and in turn two people came over and, after two minutes of us arguing back and forth, they suggested to me that it wasn't worth it. So I just tried to go away but I was already in my feelings at this point.
JB: So he's standing next to the race and he's yelling this at you as you're running by?
LS: He was yelling as soon as I was turning the corner. I turned the corner and it was going to take me on to Fifth Avenue, pretty much in a couple of steps, and he just yelled it out. And I was just surprised that he was actually willing to repeat it, to let me know that he was saying this to me.
JB: So what did this do to your race?
LS: It threw me off for a little bit, I have to admit, but I'm thankful for my friends who I vented to online directly after the transaction transpired. And I am thankful to people that I actually saw on the course who kept me, put my head right back into the game because without them I'm not sure. I think I would've continued, but I don't think I would have continued with the same momentum that I had at the beginning of the race.
JB: You'd just be replaying that moment over and over again I would think.
LS: Yes, absolutely because, I mean, it's not granted it's only for miles left but it's still three to four miles but it's still three to four miles.
JB: You don't have to convince me.
JB: If I'm on foot I don't believe I've ever put the word only before the words three or four miles.
LS: Yeah I had to remind myself I am a marathoner, you know, so to everyone else they’re like ‘what that's a lot of miles’ you know. But to me three or four miles is like going to the corner store and back. But a little bit longer probably about ten times.
JB: So what was it about how you look as a runner that you think offended this person or set him off?
LS: I think that people think that especially plus-sized people I think they feel like we lack discipline and I don't fit the stereotypical mold of what a runner’s body would actually be, which is lean and, I guess, the opposite is kind of viewed when someone looks at me.
JB: Was this an isolated incident?
LS: Yes, this was an isolated incident on this particular race. I've never been on a race, but this is not the first time I've ever been heckled about my weight in general. I experience it at the gym and with my blog, Running Fat Chef, I experience it a lot through e-mail or through social media.
JB: You say that we as a society have certain expectations about how a runner, particularly a long distance runner, is supposed to look. But what about the running community itself, do they have those same expectations?
LS: The running community in general is usually very supportive. But there are you know a few people who would think otherwise.
JB: Now you're a blogger, you're out there, you write about fitness, about food. When you post pictures of yourself running online what you hear back?
LS: Usually it’s, I want to say 80 to 90 per cent of the feedback that I get, is exceptionally positive. Once or twice, probably I want to say about once or twice, sometimes three times a month. Depends on you know what topic I'm talking about. That's when I'm usually getting some type of heckler that’s sending me some type of hate mail that's ranging anywhere from picking my size to basically taking some of the information that I put out on my blog — because I'm very uncensored and unfiltered — and they'll kind of dough it back at me throw jabs and insults.
JB: What kinds of things?
LS: Everything from being fat to actually picking at my son at one point, which I thought was very deplorable of someone actually picking at my son's Type 1 diagnosis, accusing me of being a bad parent, all the way down to being called the N-word in a multitude of ways.
JB: I always wonder why people go to websites to post comments like that. If you don't want to read those websites or those blogs why are you reading those websites and those blogs?
LS: I think that it’s to a point where sometimes people's self-esteem is sometimes so low or so shot that sometimes they have to find a way to kind of deflect that and throw it onto someone else. And I don't think that this is an exception. You know, I'm certainly not the first, and I'm probably unfortunately not going to be the last, person to experience something like this. All I can ask people to do is just rise above it and just don't let these type of things define who you are as a person. You are the person that gives that power away or it can preserve it.
JB: Still it must make it tough sometimes to just keep going with your blog when you read these things.
LS: Oh yeah, absolutely. There are some of them that I actually troll back. You know, I've said comments right back or whatever but most of the time I'm actually looking to engage people in a conversation, a healthy conversation versus just doing insults. Because insults across the board are just not going to it's not going to get any type of productivity. But if you can actually stimulate a conversation, a healthy one, where both parties can hear each other across the board, that's where the growth comes from because honestly my incident is one, but we have so much to do as a society we have so much more work to actually put out there.
JB: So what do you say to people who just simply don't believe a plus-sized runner can actually be healthy?
LS: Don't believe me just watch.
LS: I don't think that that I owe, or anyone owe, anyone an explanation for what we do or what motivates us. All we have to do is just prove it to ourselves and other if people can see us moving and actually living our lives in a healthy manner, then that's the only proof that anyone really needs and if they don't they choose not to acknowledge it then oh well.
JB: So what runs are you training for right now?
LS: Well, at the moment I don't have anything really set in stone for my 2018 calendar. I will be doing the New York City Marathon next year and I'm hoping that I actually get into the Chicago Marathon for the third year in a row. But for this weekend I will be at the Ted Corbitt 15K in Central Park. And at the end of a year for the New Year's Eve run I will be with New York Road Runners all over again in Central Park on December 31 to bring in my new year.
JB: Thank you very much for talking to us today.
LS: Absolutely. Thank you.
JD: We reached Latoya Snell in New York City. And we have more on this story on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.
[Music: Trance Bass]
Guest: Amanda SchochetBack To Top »
Part 3: Halifax Explosion, Brexit Critic, Shashi Kapoor Obit
Guest: Martin Lalli
JD: 100 years ago today at 904 a.m. the city of Halifax was shattered. Out in the Harbour Narrows the French cargo ship Mont-Blanc collided with the SS Imo. The resulting explosion killed around 2,000 people and left parts of the city in total ruin. This morning at a rainy gathering in Halifax's north end, Parliament's poet laureate George Elliott Clarke recited a poem to mark the anniversary.
GEORGE ELLIOTT CLARKE: The Mont-Blanc crew dreads their cargo. It’ll erupt in a flash. And the sailors scattered like rats. Shore rowing like devils for Turtle Grove shore. Not before trying to alert alarm. Imo's men to monkey, mimic, that is to say scram. An obliterating jolt is on the horizon, itself obscured by tons of hardcore smoke. Robust, heaven-curdling smoke, inky majesty shifting itself skywards. Hundreds of feet so that the Mont-Blanc looks like a smokestack. Few expect the future say Mont-Blanc crew tugging madly to Darthmouth’s shore, or throw themselves face down on soil and grass. Bidding for a hiding place from apocalypse. Vince Coleman, alert, alarmed, taps urgent percussive morse Imo ship in harbour is fixing for Pier 6. The Hawks doomed to detonate hold back trains outside Halifax. Yes this is my last message. Goodbye boys. Yes Mont-Blanc self-immolating makes halifax now as much bullseye as shells have made Belgium. 9:04 a.m. Amen
JD: That was Parliament's poet laureate George Elliott Clarke are citing a poem at a gathering to mark the 100th anniversary of the Halifax explosion this morning.
Guest: Troy Adams
JD: And as Nova Scotians look back at that disaster some say the experience of Black Haligonians is being overlooked. Troy Adams is an actor who grew up in a public housing complex near the African-Nova Scotian neighborhood of Africville. He is acting in a play about the explosion at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. And at the same time he's calling out the museum for its portrayal of the explosion and its aftermath. We reached Troy Adams in Halifax.
JB: Hello, Troy Adams.
TROY ADAMS: Hi.
JB: So if I was to stop by the Maritime Museum to check out this Halifax Explosion exhibit how much space would I see devoted to the experience of Black Nova Scotians in this disaster?
TA: Two lines.
JB: Two lines?
TA: Two lines next to a picture with three African-Canadian women walking down Campbell Road, which is now known as Barrington Street.
JB: Do you remember what those two lines said?
TA: It said Africville wasn't affected by the explosion because it was sheltered because of its location and it only had one casualty, which is which is false.
JB: So there were only two lines about Africville and those two lines were wrong?
JB: How do you feel about that?
TA: In the research that I've been doing one of the sources that comes up is that that's the information you get. In further investigation into this I learned that there were over six people, six casualties from Africville. But then the more you dig the more information you can get. Unfortunately, a lot of that information, because number one the city didn't send anybody into Africville to survey the damage because of the explosion, it was just — Africville was forgotten about.
JB: Now after the explosion — 100 years ago — there was a massive relief effort. Do you know how much of that relief effort was actually directed at Africville.
TA: None, none. And the relief trains went through Africville. There is a report from a soldier during the explosion, who was on one of relief trains, where the train stopped around Africville, they were told because of falling snow. But when he looked out it was because of dead bodies — there were dead bodies on the tracks.
JB: So when you look at this exhibit at the museum how do you feel about this?
TA: When I first looked at it, considering the play that we're doing, which is the first time that you get a First Nation or Black perspective regarding the explosion — I was kind of heartbroken. You know, I was excited to see the exhibit and then I checked it out and they had a huge First Nations section. But, you know, then I discovered how little they had on Africville. Mind you, I did contact the museum yesterday morning. When I got to the theater, the curator at the museum came up to me and thanked me for going public with this story. And it was a genuine apology, and they have a genuine desire to correct it. And I went, when we had the show this morning I checked the exhibit, and they did in fact change the the Africville section of the exhibit. It's not perfect but they did take down the two lines that they had and went in a bit more detail about the effects of Africville after the explosion.
JB: Well that must have been heartening to see that?
TA: Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised and it actually made me feel kind of hopeful regarding their response. And again, like I said, I went in there today and there they're on it. So they want to change that perspective and they want to bring in more culturally diverse artifacts and information into the museum period — not just regarding Africville.
JB: How are you remembering the Halifax Explosion today?
TA: I'm glad that African-Canadian or African-Nova Scotian voices are being heard now and that is just coming out. And it's a step in the right direction. I mean, as a country we have a long way to go but, you know, this is a step in the right direction, I believe. So hopefully there'll be more information that comes forth and brought to light.
JB: Thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate your time.
TA: Thank you.
JD: We reached Troy Adams in Halifax.
[Music: Ambient Bass Tones]
Guest: Seema Malhotra
JD: Today the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union got even messier and more complicated. The biggest surprise today had to do with what are called Impact Assessments. Those are formal reports on the various economic impacts of Brexit on various sectors. And people were under the impression that by now such reports would, you know, exist. But today Brexit Secretary David Davis made clear that they do not. Here's what he said when questioned.
DAVID DAVIS: There's no there's no systematic impact assessment.
HILARY BENN: So the answer to the question is no. So the government hasn't undertaken any impact assessments on the implications for leaving the EU for different sectors of the economy? So there isn't one, for example on the automotive sector?
DD: Not that I’m aware of, no.
HB: Is there one on aerospace? No. One on financial services?
DD: Well I think the answer is going to be no to all of them.
HB: No to all of them? Right.
HB: Now doesn't it strike you as rather strange given experience around the committee in which you have — the Government undertakes impact assessments on all sorts of things all the time — that on the most fundamental change that we are facing the country, you've just told us that the government hasn't undertaken any impact assessments at all looking at the impact on individual sectors of the economy?
DD: The first thing to say, Mr. Chairman, is when these sectoral analyses were initiated they were done to understand the effect of various options what the outcome will be. You don't need to do an impact assessment, a formal assessment, to understand that if there is a regulatory hurdle between our producers and the market that it will have an impact, it will have an effect. The assessment of that effect, I think I've said to you before, is not as straightforward as people imagine. I'm not a fan of economic models because they have all proven wrong.
JD: That was Brexit Secretary David Davis speaking earlier today. His comments have only amplified concerns surrounding Brexit. Seema Malhotra is a British Labour MP who was part of the Committee on exiting the European Union. We reached Ms. Malhotra in London.
JB: Ms. Malhotra, how much of a shock was it for you to hear that there are no impact assessments?
SEEMA MALHOTRA: It was staggering to hear today that there were no impact assessments. After a long journey through parliament, where the secretary of state and other cabinet members have been giving evidence to committees, the whole of Parliament has been under the impression that this work has been ongoing, and it was quite a shock, I think to all members of the committee, to hear the secretary of state say today, quite categorically, that these reports, these impact assessment to understand the impact of Brexit on our economy, didn't just not exist, the work hadn't even begun.
JB: How is that possible?
SM: Well, that's something we still need to understand. What's clearly been going on is that the government's playing a game of words on this. And whilst today the secretary of state said that he believed he complied with the instruction of Parliament to provide the sectoral analyses as he described them, what he said, categorically, is they haven't done any quantitative analysis and they wouldn't and they haven't done that into any sector. And to come to the committee after all this time when the big question that we all have for businesses and families in our constituencies and the economy of the nation where we already understand and have seen in our budget just two weeks ago as well that Brexit’s having a very serious impact. To have a government that isn't even asking the questions, let alone have the answers as to what the impact’s likely to be, and therefore can have the strategy to address that. I think beggars believe and it makes me a much less confident that the government has got this under control.
JB: I'd just like to get your reaction to a couple of things we heard from Philip Hammond today the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He said today that “Cabinet hasn't discussed what the end state will look like and that there had only been general discussions on Brexit.” What do those statements suggest to you?
SM: Well, it has been a day of intriguing revelations and for the chancellor of the exchequer to have told the Treasury Select Committee I think his words — that there hadn't been a full discussion and there hadn't been a mandate for how the end state would be — suggests to me that the government is at loggerheads — that the cabinet is divided quite fundamentally on this. It doesn't bode well for this government and it doesn't bode well for us getting the best deal through the negotiations if things that we should have decided on a long time ago are still stumbling blocks and if the cabinet itself is completely divided on the way forward. In one way I wasn't surprised, in another way it makes me incredibly worried.
JB: But if the government is so unprepared, if the talks as Jeremy Corbyn describes them are in a shambles, why isn't your party advocating just reversing Brexit? If you're not ready reverse it.
SM: Well, it's not really about saying would we reverse Brexit. This is about saying the country voted to move forward and to exit the European Union, it's about saying how do we have an honest dialogue about the challenges and about the options going ahead. We said within the Labour Party that we would want to see us stay within the Customs Union and the Single Market, at least through a period of transition. That will give stability, it will make sure that people's rights aren't affected, it will give time to have a proper negotiation and more detailed negotiations for the longer term on where there are risks say to the financial services sector and how services can be provided. Services are particularly an issue, a big part of our economy, but not so easily covered by free trade agreements. But if you take, as one example, there's a leaked Department of Health study revealed that a hard Brexit — leaving the single market and customs union and doing so without a proper plan and transition in place — could leave our NHS short of 40,000 nurses within ten years. That's just one indicator of a government service that’s quite worried about the future. If we want to move forward with our eyes open then we’ve got to be open and honest.
JB: I guess, as a politician, sitting back and watching this whole mess unfold is probably going to get your party more support than less?
SM: There's a lot of people who are starting to question what the Conservatives are doing, and not just that but their absence of focus on the domestic agenda. Decisions aren’t being made, bills aren't coming to parliament, motions that are passed in parliament to be ignored. There's a growing sense that the government is treating Parliament with a total lack of respect. What people are recognising is the Labour Party that's got a far more coherent view, not just of how we leave the European Union and what an end state should look like, and what the priorities should be for protecting our prosperity, our jobs, our rights, and a really good, strong ongoing relationship with the European Union. But they're also recognising that we've got a strong focus on a domestic agenda for prosperity, for public services, that's incredibly important — for education. Those are the debates that we're calling in Parliament and the government is currently choosing to ignore.
JB: If there was a referendum do-over tomorrow how do you think it would go, what would the results be?
SM: I don't know that anything would change as much. I think there would be maybe a different level of debate and I think people would be wondering what leaving the European Union would mean. They were told it would be the easiest negotiation ever and they had the impression that everything that is working currently would continue to be the same. That isn't going to be the case. So I couldn't currently see things change because we're still relatively early on in the sense we're not going to leave the European Union yet for another 14 months and things are changing day by day. But what I will say is changing is that concerns are growing about what leaving is going to mean and how ready we are as a country.
JB: Ms. Malhotra, thank you very much once again for joining us.
SM: Thank you.
JD: Seema Malhotra is a British Labour MP. We reached her in London.
[Music: Jazzy Hip-Hop]
Frankie MacDonald Bobblehead
This is right Frankie MacDonald. A major storm is on its way to Nova Scotia. Wednesday December 6th. 2017, it’s going to bring up to 30 plus millimetres of rain especially in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, including Sydney, Nova Scotia. It's going to be wind and rain and sideways rain. There'll be big waves crash on beaches and shores in Nova Scotia. People in Nova Scotia are be prepared. Stay warm and dry, be safe.
JD: Nova Scotia’s Frankie McDonald delivering a sadly soggy forecast for the East Coast. Mr. Macdonald is a 30-year-old amateur weather forecaster with autism from Sydney, Nova Scotia. You have probably heard his forecasts before, either on this program or on his wildly successful YouTube channel. Now Frankie's fame has spread so far that the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee is creating a bobblehead in his likeness. It has signature grin and upraised thumbs. What is even more unique is that it sounds like Frankie MacDonald. Frankie's number one rule when a storm is approaching — be prepared. Speaking of whichm you should be prepared because the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame Museum in Milwaukee will start selling Frank MacDonald bobbleheads in February.
[Music: Whimsical Banjo]
Shashi Kapoor Obit
Guest: Aseem Chhabra
JD: He rose to stardom on boyish good looks and an entrancing smile. But Shashi Kapoor was much more than just a pretty face. And over time the Indian actor's particular combination of talent and charisma would make him famous far beyond Bollywood. Over his long career Mr. Kapoor starred in more than 150 Bollywood films and he was the first Bollywood star to make the crossover to English speaking movies. Shashi Kapoor died earlier this week. He was 79 years old. Back in 1978 Mr. Kapoor spoke with the CBC's Vicki Gabereau about the beginning of his career when he met his wife who had died four years earlier.
VICKI GABEREAU: You've done lots of Shakespeare haven't you?
SHASHI KAPOOR: I have because I was very lucky to be associated with a Shakespearean theatrical company, the Shakespeareana International Theatrical Company, and we played Shakespeare, Shaw, Sheridan, Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde Brandon Thomas, of course. That's where I met my wife. And thanks to her, I mean, we've got lovely kids and we were together for 28 years it was very nice.
VG: Very nice indeed.
JD: From our archives, that was the late Shashi Kapoor speaking with the CBC's Vicki Gabereau In 1978. Last year Aseem Chhabra published his biography of Mr. Kapoor. We reached Mr. Chhabra in Macau, China.
JB: Now at first Mr. Chhabra, this is obviously a very big loss. How would you describe the allure of Shashi Kapoor?
ASEEM CHHABRA: You know Shashi Kapoor came from a very big film family. His father was a filmmaker, actor, theatre personality. His two brothers were also actors, his oldest brother Raj Kapoor was a hugely popular director and it's a dynasty. Shashi himself, stood out for many reasons, including the fact that he he was perhaps the most handsome actor in Indian cinema —Bollywood and elsewhere in Indian cinema. Really, very handsome, very charming, very likeable and his essential training started with working with his father in that theatre group. His father told very clearly that just because you're my son doesn't mean that you'll get the lead roles immediately. You have to start to the bottom.
JB: Coming from such a big film family, as you describe, was Bollywood stardom always his dream?
AC: No, it was not actually. So what's interesting is he got his training with his father’s theatre company, he quit school, in his teens, and then in his late teens he joined a British traveling theatre company in India. It was called the Shakespeareana and Shashi Kapoor joined them because his father suggested he should work there. So Shashi basically wanted to continue acting in plays because that's where his heart was. He realized at a certain stage — he was married young, had a son within the first year of the marriage — so he realised that theatre was not a very viable profession financially speaking, and so with much reluctance he actually joined films.
JB: When you were researching your book about Mr. Kapoor what did you learn about him as a person?
AC: A lot of what Shashi Kapoor became was the influence of his wife. Jennifer came from a very middle class theatre family, you know, had seen years of struggle, and then there was struggle even after she married Shashi, but she wanted to give a very normal life to her children so they lived in Mumbai but outside where the Bollywood families lived. And the children sort of — there was no television at home — the kids actually all public transportation, they took buses to school even though the fact that their father was such a successful movie star. A lot of his values really came from his wife also and his father. And that's why it's this commitment that they made to this theatre. Because they felt that you know Mumbai needed a permanent theatre, and Shashi at the premiere of every play, he would come for the first show performance and he would sit at the back and watch the play.
JB: Now you mentioned the influence that his wife had on him. She died quite young didn't she?
AC: Yes, I think she was 50.
JB: And how did that affect Mr. Kapoor?
AC: That completely devastated him. It completely devastated him because he was really in love with her. I write in the book that after the funeral, they had a small home in a village and he got into a boat one afternoon and went into the ocean and he wept and wept, his son was aware of that. He lost his anchor when his wife died.
JD: Did you get a chance to meet Mr. Kapoor when you were researching your book?
AC: No, because the first person I talked to was his daughter and she told me he had dementia. And unfortunately my father had passed away two years three years before and my dad had dementia. So I knew exactly what that means, so I didn't even insist.
JB: I'd like to just spend a minute or so talking about Mr Kapoor's influence on the cinema today because it's common now for Bollywood actors to make it big in Hollywood as well — we have the example of Priyanka Chopra in Quantico. But back in the 60s when Mr. Kapoor was doing movies like The Householder and Shakespeare Wallah and Heat and Dust that was definitely not the case. How important was Mr. Kapoor's career for Bollywood actors today?
AC: Not many people in fact, I mean, I'm not saying that I'm a pioneer in that but a lot of people who read my book said to me that they were surprised that they didn't know that part of Shashi Kapoor’s career. I went to New York in 1981 — I came as a student — and I started watching some of these films most of them are not available in India on DVDs or were not playing in theatres ever. So people really did not realize it, but the efforts, you know, he did it all because it gave him a certain kind of satisfaction to do that work. Definitely if you look back he was the first Indian actor who sort of crossed over. You know, people don't his films played in Manhattan and in L.A. and Chicago in arthouse theatres and New York Times and L.A. Times reviewed his, Variety reviewed his films. It was remarkable at that time that the top critic of New York Times would comment on his performance for instance.
JB: Mr. Chhabra how would you like Shashi Kapoor to be remembered?
AC: I think one of the reasons which motivated me to write the book and he was still alive then was that I realized that the current generation, and maybe the people in the last 15-20 years, really don't know Shashi Kapoor’s work. It's only the older generation that remembers him. But I think his work — his son has this is the story all the six films that he produced. Shakespeare Wallah just in early November had a theatrical release in New York City. It was a 1965 film so 52 years later a restored version of the film and that's traveling across America and may come to Canada also. It is wonderful that people are lining up in the US and watching these films. I want people in India also to remember him for that.
JB: Is there a song of Mr. Kapoor’s that you'd like us to play?
AC: Definitely. There's a song from a film called Sharmilee called Khilte Hain Gul Yahan. It’s a lovely romantic song from the 60s and 70s and most people recognize them because these songs continue to play on retro radio station all the time.
JB: Thank you very much for joining us.
AC: Thank you. Thank you.
JD: Aseem Chhabra wrote the 2016 biography Shashi Kapoor: The householder, the Star. We reached Mr. Chhabra in Macau. Shashi Kapoor died this week. He was 79 years old.
CBC would like to acknowledge the support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.