Thursday January 11, 2018

Thursday January 11, 2018 Full Episode Transcript

Note: Transcripts may contain errors. If you wish to re-use all, or part of, a transcript, please contact CBC for permission. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print. Copyright © CBC 2018

The Current Transcript for January 11, 2018

Host: Anna Maria Tremonti



[Music: Theme]


While the courts have seemingly failed the victim the university now has the opportunity to change the narrative. I and those who signed this petition implore the university to take a stand against sexual violence and expel Connor Neurauter.

ANNA MARIA TREMONTI: That's a reading from an online petition begun by students of the University of Calgary and now reaching beyond in a very public push against a judge's decision to delay a student's jail sentence for a sexual offence, so he can complete a semester of study. That kind of public incredulity is not limited to this one case. In the last several months in two other cases where there's been a guilty plea of assault offences, Canadian judges have accommodated the perpetrators' university schedules and aspirations. At a time of the #MeToo movement, are Canadian judges too accommodating? What message do they send? Hear the debate in half an hour. Also today.


I was asked to promise that nothing like this would ever happen again and I refused to promise that. I said that if a patient said that they wanted to die at home, I would do so.

AMT: Dr. Ellen Wiebe went to a long term care home to administer medical assistance in death because staff at a patient's religious health care institution would not offer it to him. Today we are looking at the divide between the legal right to assisted death, and the argument that right does not extend to publicly funded religious institutions. That's in an hour but we're starting in California where disaster comes in frightening and devastating stages.


The only words I can really think of to describe what it looked like is that it looked like a World War One battlefield. It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere.

AMT: I am Anna Maria Trmonti. This is The Current.

Back To Top »

'I saw tree trunks roll up my driveway': What it's like to get caught up in California mudslides

Guests: Fabiola Ramirez, Kevin Rittner, Brent Ward

[Music: Theme]

AMT: For the people of California. It is a catastrophe upon a catastrophe. After the wildfires that ravaged so much of the state in recent months, this week's saw torrential rain and deadly mudslides.


VOICE 1: We have a mudslide that is taking place right now. You can just see the power of that water.

VOICE 2: We had four feet of mud, raging through, counter high, through my house.

VOICE 3: It was just like in the middle of the river, you just see water gushing down the hill.

VOICE 4: We thought the fire was terrible, and this is absolute devastation.

AMT: At least 17 people have died as a result of the landslides in Southern California. They've left highways snarled, properties destroyed, they've also brought out some of the best in people as neighbours help neighbours such as Berkeley Johnson who made an unexpected rescue.


We were worried about our neighbour's house. I went out to see if they were okay and we heard a little baby cry. [Sobbing] And we dug down and found a little baby. We don't know where it came from. We got the mud out of its mouth. I hope that it is okay. They took him right to the hospital. But it was just a baby, four feet down in the mud. I am glad we got him. But who knows what else is out there.

AMT: As people across southern California deal with emotional scenes like the one you just heard, we are joined by Kevin Rittner. He is a resident of Montecito, California. We've reached him down the road today in Santa Barbara. Hello, Kevin.

KEVIN RITTNER: Good Morning Anna Maria.

AMT: Well, you are away from your house. What happened to your house?

KEVIN RITTNER: We got hit by the by the initial- by the first flood that came in this morning. If you look at the TV shots of the Montecito Inn Hotel that seem to be all over the news, our house is right across the intersection from that one. And it got hit pretty hard, at about 02:30 in the morning right after the rain started.

AMT: Was there an evacuation order already?

KEVIN RITTNER: There was an evacuation order put in about a day in advance but our area south of the upper village was voluntary. Everything about that area was mandatory and we were used to that because we had all just been mandatorily evacuated about three weeks ago from the Thomas fire that was in that area as well.

AMT: So when this mudslide hit, could you hear it? Like what went on?

KEVIN RITTNER: It was about 2:00 - 2:30 in the morning when the rain started and I couldn't sleep because you know we had heard that everything was coming and we were prepared to leave. We needed to. The power went out. And then you hear - it is an unforgettable sound. It sounds like the ocean, if you've ever stood by it, ten times louder. And then you can't see anything but there is flashes of light overhead and you think 'oh it's thunder and lightning' and it's not. It's transformers exploding and its power outages and electricity sparking in the neighbourhood, as they blow through and take down the power lines. And then through just through what ambulant light you have, you see a river of water go right down all of [unintelligible]. And the only sound is that roar - that dull roar and a rumble like a small earthquake and then the snapping of branches. I saw three tree trunks roll up my driveway at that - at that moment and like 'Oh crap this is much worse than anybody thought it was going to be.

AMT: And you had to get out right then, huh?

KEVIN RITTNER: We well we had a full house. So right after the Thomas fire happened - we had our three week old now son, in addition to our two year old son and my wife and my father in law and mother in law and their dog were all staying with us to help us with the kid. So it was immediately apparent at the front of the house - you weren't going to be able to get out that way. The cars were not going to be able... We won't be able to get to a car and get out. So I ran to the back of the house, while my wife put on some heavier and warmer clothes and just looking at the back and there's already a torrent of mud coming down - coming down through the back yard, and my mother in law comes through the hallway that leads to the back studio where they're staying, and she and the dog comes through, you can hear the mud break through the back door in the studio and basically moved so fast it slammed the doors to the studio shut. And at that point when you were we were trying to yell for my father in law who was still in the studio. So I had, probably stupidly, hauled myself through the back door into the yard where the river was already running, in sweats and my Croc sandals, running to get him through the water and I can't. You can't get to him. You can't get to him. I get to the gate on the other side of the studio to try to get in there and yell at him. And he says he's fine is on top of the bed but the mud is already risen the top of the bed and I'm already seeing debris flying by me on the right hand side. And so I retreated and we tried to get back to the house to try to figure out how to get everybody out safe. And the only thing that we can look at is to maybe get on the roof but at this point we're completely surrounded.

AMT: Did somebody come and rescue you?

KEVIN RITTNER: It took about an hour and a half before we were able to see anybody. Once we got to the point where we realised the mud was not going to come into the main house and we could calm down for a minute. There were flashlights on the other side of [unintelligible]. No but there were still a river it was just that torrent, at least six feet high of water running down the street continuing to push things up and I did see one rescue worker, yes.

AMT: And that water, there is stuff in it. It's muddy water with like things in it that can hurt you as well, right, like trees and cars.

KEVIN RITTNER: YEs. Alders and that was the shocking thing. Once the waters receded my driveway had somebody else's work truck in it, big alder - easily as big as the engine compartment - on that truck, trees just spars when I'm walking through it later you can feel there's everything. There's propane tanks and patio furniture on my back. it's everywhere.

AMT: Kevin it's lucky you all got out. You're all okay now and I know you're in Santa Barbara. We have to leave it there but it's good to hear that you got out. Thank you for speaking with me today. Take care.

KEVIN RITTNER: Thank you very much. I hope a little on the ground perspective helps your listeners understand.

AMT: Helps a lot. Kevin Rittner thank you. Kevin Rittner lives in Montecito, California. He's in Santa Barbara right now. The waters and the muddy debris have stopped rushing in Southern California for the most part. The scramble is still on because they're still searching for people missing. And of course they've got to clean up the mess and destruction. Fabiola Ramirez is a reporter with KSBY TV. She's in Montecito. Hello.

FABIOLA RAMIREZ: Hi. Good morning.

AMT: Have you been working all night long?

FABIOLA RAMIREZ: I got a few hours of sleep but I've been out here since this broke our and I got to witness myself to that morning around 3:00 a.m. and been following up ever since. And everything that I been keeping an eye on, every day, you think that it can't get any worse and every day you just keep coming across these that are just natural disaster.

AMT: Well Fabiola, he talked about a voluntary evacuation or other places were under 'mandatory'. How much did that play into it, the people were still in their houses?

FABIOLA RAMIREZ: Well you know this is what the county did. The county went ahead and put mandatory orders for people who lived on a certain area, up where they thought it was going to be most affected. Now the other areas were on a warning, which is something that they did a fine job on and everybody was on top of it and everybody warned everyone. The thing is nobody imagined how massive this was going to be and how destructive this was going to be. And all those areas who had a warning, there was just no time to turn this warning into an actual order. And it came gushing down really really bad. There was no time.

AMT: Our last guest talked about the sound of it all. You heard it as well, huh?

FABIOLA RAMIREZ: Yes. What first happened is I was driving around in the rain, trying to keep a close eye on things and all of a sudden I see lightning and the lightening hit a fire line breakers and it was an explosion. This explosion lit up the whole sky. It was like you were seeing a big glow in the distance. And that's when we heard there was a house on fire [unintelligible]. So I tried to get close to the house and try to find the house where this was happening and as I turned a left, on to a road, going downhill, all of a sudden I see this powerful gushing water with trees and boulders and a van just being pushed around and thrown up against trees coming my way. My [unintelligible] did get stuck as well but I knew that if I stayed there and - despite my car already being moved and pushed and hit, if I stayed there I was going to be pushed down, all the way down the hill possibly even all the way and smashed and hit. And so I reversed as much as I could and got out of there. Like he mentioned it was like the ocean but ten times louder. And you could hear cars crashing up against homes you could hear trees. You could see the trees because there was a glow in the sky you can see the trees falling one by one just trickling down falling and hitting. And screaming, I could hear a girl screaming for help and I could see you know trying to get to the second floor yelling out the window for someone to help them, fire crews rushing up and down the street trying to figure out where to go or who to save because it was just chaos at that morning. It was the worst thing I've ever experienced.

AMT: What's the image you can get out your head, Fabiola?

FABIOLA RAMIREZ: [Sighs] So many of them but [sighs]. I can't even explain which one that I've seen, but I can tell you which one that is engraved in my head that I heard and it is the man who had to pull from four feet under the mud, and fire crews and first responders as well him, had to take mud out of its mouth and try to make the baby come back and they took him in the ambulance. Right now we're still trying to hear anything from this baby but we haven't received any confirmation as to what happened.

AMT: Yes we had that clip at the top. Do we know, did they find the mother and father of that baby?

FABIOLA RAMIREZ: We haven't heard anything at all. We've heard of another baby. A similar story to him where the mother is missing and the father is in critical condition in the hospital, but we have not received confirmation of this is the baby that in fact was saved. You know there are so many stories, so many babies, so many fathers and mothers that are missing and it's hard to tie all these together. I mean there's still people looking for their family members at this point.

AMT: Yes. Well thank you for bringing us up to date. And we know the search goes on today. Thank you for your time Fabiola Ramirez.


AMT: Fabiola Ramirez is a reporter for KSBY TV and she joined us from Montecito, California. In the wake of this latest disaster the people of California will be asking what can be done in the future to prevent more mudslides happening. Further up the West Coast here in Canada. The people of B.C. should be taking note as well, according to my next guest. Brent Ward is a professor of geology. He's chair of the Earth Sciences Department at Simon Fraser University. Brent Ward joins us from Coquitlam, B.C. Hello.

BRENT WARD: Good morning, Anna.

AMT: Maria what are you thinking as you listened to those experiences we just heard?

BRENT WARD: Well it's pretty devastating just to listen to that and to look at all the pictures. This is a huge natural disaster.

AMT: What happens during a mudslide, Brent?

BRENT WARD: Well in California they get them all the time especially after the fires, but sediment is mobilised in the creek, and it turns into this kind of slurry of boulders and mud and gravel and whatever else it picks up. And it comes down the creek and it's scouring. It's picking up all the sediments accumulating in the creek. And then when that creek exits in to what we call the fan - like when it comes out of the narrow creek valley - that material starts spreading out. And so the descriptions you hear of things being knocked down and destroyed, these are very very powerful landslides. And you know they have enough velocity to go very long distances on relatively level ground.

AMT: How fast do they travel?

BRENT WARD: Well they can travel up to 50-60 kilometres an hour. So you can't outrun it.

AMT: Yes. So if you're in the path - and that's why we just don't even know, they say about 24 people are missing, they don't even know yet, huh?

BRENT WARD: Yes. No it is not good.

AMT: So how did the fires in this area contribute to the vulnerability of that land?

BRENT WARD: Well it's a complex system. The [unintelligible] forests in there are you know it's kind of a fire ecosystem. So they actually need to be burned quite often for the seeds to germinate. They also have a lot of - they're oily, there is a lot of hydrocarbons in them. So they burn very very hot. So you remove all that vegetation. Some of those hydrocarbons actually get driven into the soil to make it what we call hydrophobic, so water doesn't penetrate in. So now you have no vegetation, you get a really intense storm like we've had. It mobilises that sediments strips off that thin layer at the top and then all that material is dumped down into the creek and then we generate our debris flow which then travels downstream.

AMT: So B.C. had devastating fires this past summer. How vulnerable are parts of B.C. to something like this?

BRENT WARD: Well, we always see an increase in debris flows after a fire for many of the same reasons. We don't get the hydrophilic soils as much but certainly removing all that vegetation generates a lot of sediment that then gets into the creek. So when we do get either an intense summer rainstorm, or more likely in the interior where the fires were a very rapid snow melt then we can trigger landslides that translate into debris flows in those channels that go down and affect the fan. And unfortunately some people are living in some of these fans in areas where are threatened by these landslides.

AMT: So as you watch what's happening in California, what can B.C. learn from this?

BRENT WARD: Well it won't be as extreme. I mean we wouldn't get that size of a storm. But again, here we will be relatively prepared. I mean we had a lot of experience after the big fires, I think it was 2003, there was an increase in debris flows. They know what to expect now and so authorities in the area will be warning people mapping out different houses on fans that need to be concerned and then give people that information.

AMT: And I guess that that's part of the issue as well, where were homes are in relation to this land as it becomes vulnerable when we have more fires?

BRENT WARD: Yes for sure. And you know you've seen a situation where people are moving up into the mountains and it's steep mountains in California. And so they're living on flatter areas which are actually areas that are formed by debris flow deposits. So it's kind of a land use planning issue. You know it's long periods of you know - a beautiful place to live. You look at some of those 'before' pictures and you know everybody would like to live there, but there are these periods where people are exposed to this very intense hazard - I guess two, really - debris flows and the previous fires.

AMT: Right and we know the governor has said that's the new normal. We do know that mega fires are an issue for Western Canada as well now.

BRENT WARD: Yes we had our worst fire summer ever.

AMT: This past summer, yes

BRENT WARD: Yes. It was the biggest ever.

AMT: Okay well Brent Ward, thanks for bringing us up to speed on what you're looking for. We appreciate it.

BRENT WARD: Thank you, Anna Maria

AMT: Brent Ward a professor of geology, chair of the Earth Sciences Department at Simon Fraser University. He's Coquitlam British Columbia. Let us know what you think as you listen to this - these stories coming out of California and how they're watching them elsewhere, with the new normal. You can tweet us we are @TheCurrentCBC. Find us on Facebook. Go to our Web site Stay with us. The CBC News is next, and then sex assault victims are increasingly believed and supported in society as large. And yet when it comes to sentencing in some cases of assault or sexual assault some people are saying the justice system is too lenient and accommodating to some men convicted of those crimes. We're going to look at that story and some specific cases when we come back after the news. I am Anna Maria Tremonti and you are listening to The Current on CBC Radio One, Sirius XM, online on, on podcast and on your radio app.

[Music: Theme]

Back To Top »

'Justice can wait': advocate says leniency for convicted sex offenders ignores victims' rights

Guests: Brian Labby, Barb MacQuarrie, Michael Spratt, Jonathan Rudin

AMT : Hello I'm Anna Maria Tremonti and you're listening to The Current.

[Music: Theme]

AMT : Still to come, where the right to religious beliefs and principles collides with the right to medically assisted death. In B.C., a publicly funded Jewish nursing home has lodged a complaint after a doctor who helped a patient to die on its premises against its rules. Where to draw the lines in this new world of legal doctor assisted dying? We will hear differing views on that in half an hour. But first, justice delayed.

[Music: Theme]

AMT : The count is up to more than 33,000 it's still climbing fast. That is the number of people who have signed a petition calling on the University of Calgary to expel a convicted sex offender. His name is Connor Neurauter and last week the 21 year old was convicted of sexual interference with a 13 year old girl. He was sentenced to three months in jail. But Mr. Neurauter will not be starting his sentence until May. The judge delayed it so he could finish his school year first. That decision has left the victim's mother furious. We cannot name her because that would identify her daughter who is a minor.


Obviously it is unjust, to accommodate his schooling. And I did not know that until we went into sentencing on the fourth. My understanding was that he was going to be doing weekends for 30 weekends starting when we got back to Calgary, like the first weekend we would be back in school he would be serving his sentence on weekends.

AMT: Well Connor Neurauter is not at school this week and the University of Calgary said he is reviewing that situation. Brian Labby is a reporter with CBC Calgary. He's been covering this story and he joins us from Calgary. Hi Brian.

BRIAN LABBY: Hi Anna Maria.

AMT: We have to be careful about giving details that can identify the victim, but what can you tell us about what happened?

BRIAN LABBY: Well we know that Connor Neurauter was known to the to the family of the victim for several years and, as you pointed out, that's all we really can't say because we cannot obviously see anything that would lead to the identity of the young victim. But essentially he was known to the family and it was the spring and summer of 2015 when Conner started a relationship with this 13 year old girl, a so-called relationship. And according to the victim's mother he essentially pursued her daughter over that time frame in this light to then exchanging nude photos of each other over social media and that type of thing for her for several months. The young victim went to a friend's mother and explained the situation. She was terrified. They kind of hatched a plan to try and distract Connor from her by using her friends to essentially swap photos with Conner as well. The mother found out about all of this and contacted the 13 year old mother. And then of course they went to police and charges were laid in the summer of 2016. So that is basically the background. And as you mentioned I mean the mother is obviously very upset she said this was a long and lengthy process. The charge was laid in in 2016 and then of course we had the sentencing just last week. So she's saying that it was very frustrating. There were several crown prosecutors attached to the case. She says that there were several delays in sentencing and getting to trial, a lot of procedural delays and she claims that the courts were accommodating Connor's hockey and school schedule through that whole process.

AMT : His father disputes that. Does he not?

BRIAN LABBY: He does. He says that, you know I spoke to him and on several occasions and he was telling me that his son was not playing hockey at the time. But the mother of the victim disputes that she says that she was in court every single time and she was quite emotional when she told me about this because she knows that it's been stated that that Conner wasn't playing hockey at the time. She said she was there. She heard the defence counsel raise these points asking for adjournments because Connor was at hockey camp. He was travelling with the team or whatever the case may be. But in her view, those special accommodations were granted.

AMT: What was he charged with?

BRIAN LABBY: He was charged with one count of sexual interference and one count of possession of child pornography.

AMT: There was a plea though.

BRIAN LABBY: There was yes. So there was an arrangement that was made. So he pleaded guilty to sexual interference and on the last week following the sentencing the charge of possession of child porn was officially stayed.

AMT: And so what do we know about the accommodation so that he can finish his school year? How did that come about?

BRIAN LABBY: So essentially he served, according to the B.C.'s prosecution's service, Connor served the first day of his sentence on January 4th and that's the day that he was sentenced. And then the remainder of the sentence he was allowed to serve it intermittently. So the next day he'll be incarcerated is May 4th. And obviously that will be after this current semester at the University of Calgary.

AMT: And so the judge made the judge make that clear? He said that this would be so he could finish the semester?

BRIAN LABBY: So it's my understanding that this was a joint submission on behalf of defence crown. Essentially because Connor was admitting to the sexual interference, they came up with this with this plan that you would serve time in jail. He would be on probation for two years. He would be added to the national sex offender registry for the next 10 years. And then of course he would receive this 90 day sentence. But as you heard from that mom that wasn't her understanding that he would be able to finish up his school studies this semester. So she was expecting him to be sent to jail right away. And as you heard she was thinking that he was going to be serving the term on on weekends. So as it turns out it'll be a straight 90 day block but she was not expecting the delay you know to allow him to finish up his schoolwork.

AMT: And we know this petition is now circulating. I looked at it last night, I looked again this morning it keeps climbing. It is reaching beyond the University of Calgary.

BRIAN LABBY: It's really taken off. I mean this thing has only a couple of days old and it's over 30,000 now. That exceeds the total student population of the University of Calgary. There's 30,000 students. There obviously is more than 30000 on that petition. And the woman who started it is Kaitlyn Casswell. She pointed to another case, it was a high profile case in the States involving a swimmer who was given special accommodation for his behaviour and his background. And she compared the two cases and she saidthis rape culture that exists where where offenders are given special accommodation, she feels that this needs to stop and that's why she was motivated to start the petition, but it really has to ask. But so far the university is just basically saying listen this whole thing is under review. We don't really know when they're going to come out with a response.

AMT: Okay Brian thank you for bringing us up to date.

BRIAN LABBY: You're welcome.

AMT: That's Brian Labby a journalist with CBC in Calgary and that's where we reached him. Well Connor Neurauter is not the only young man to get what many are calling preferential treatment by the courts in Newfoundland and Labrador. Twenty year old Lancelot's Saunders pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend earlier this year. He was given an absolute discharge with the judge noting his plan to go to university and move on with his life. And a Queen's University student named Chanse MacDonald pleaded guilty last April to assaulting a teenage girl at a house party. His sentencing was delayed until August so as not to disrupt a four month internship which he needed to continue as a Queen's business student. It is these kinds of stories that frustrate Barb MacQuarrie. She is the community director with the Center for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children at Western University. Barf MacQuarrie joins us from London, Ontario, hello.


AMT: So how do you process what you're hearing when you hear these kinds of stories?

BARB MACQUARRIE: I just see a complete refusal to weigh the rights of the victim against the rights of the accused. We do have - in the preamble of an act for the recognition of victims rights in Canada, it says it is important that victims rights be considered throughout the criminal justice system. I just don't see that happening here at all. We see lots of accommodations for offenders and not wanting to harm their future. I see no indication that anybody has thought about what those offences are going to mean for the victims and their futures as they try to - not just cope with what happened to them - but cope with the response of the justice system that's intended to help right and wrong.

AMT: Well what impact does accommodation and sentencing leniency have on victims?

BARB MACQUARRIE: I think what it says is that this is not a very serious crime, we can wait. It's okay. Justice can wait here. What happened to you is obviously it's not right but it's not serious enough for us to deal with it right away. And it's that serious enough for this to actually have a bad impact on the future of the person that committed those crimes.

AMT: Well we just heard from our reporter Brian Labby that the accommodation in the case in Calgary was a joint plan on behalf of the defense and the crown.

BARB MACQUARRIE: Yeah we did. We did hear that and we also heard that that mother, and so I assume therefore the victim herself, didn't know about that. And so you know we have a lot of problems in the way our courts - our whole criminal justice system is dealing with survivors. It's very difficult for survivors to get there in the first place. It's very difficult for them to be heard. To be believed, to even get a conviction. And then once they get a conviction they're not privy to whatever negotiations are going on whether it's a plea bargain, whether it's an agreement about sentencing. This is not respecting the rights of victims. This is not taking into consideration the impact that these crimes have had on them and how it affects them. They're looking for some kind of closure out of these criminal justice processes so that they can move on with their lives. And so it seems to be okay to lead their lives hanging in the balance.

AMT: You know we are told that the justice system is about justice and rehabilitation. Is accommodation worthwhile if it minimises the impact on offenders and improves their chances on rehabilitation?

BARB MACQUARRIE: I think that you know we have a lot of approvals to make in the justice system, a lot. I would like to see it be more about rehabilitation. What I really object to is this kind of ad hoc decisions be made by judiciary that in this case will make it accommodation. We don't see that across the board. We don't see that where the offender is at an immigrant, a person of colour, an Indigenous person. So how are we justifying this? It's not a fair system. Literally what we see is where the accused looks like a privileged class of our society. White male, educated or pursuing an education that's what we seem to be willing to make accommodations. That's completely unacceptable.

AMT: Barb Macquarrie stay with us. We have to others wanting to join our conversation. Michael Spratt is a defence lawyer with Abergerl Goldstein and Partners. He's in our Ottawa studio. And Jonathan Ruden is a program director with Aboriginal legal services. He's with me in our Toronto studio. Hello gentlemen.

MICHAEL SPRATT: Good morning.

JONATHAN RUDEN: Good Morning Anna Maria.

AMT: Jonathan Ruden. You work with many indigenous clients. What challenges are they facing in court? Do they get accommodation like the ones we're hearing?

JONATHAN RUDEN: The reality for our clients is that unless the court has significant information about the person's life then we often don't see rehabilitation necessarily prioritised. It's one of the reasons that we prepare what are called Gladue reports often for our clients so that the reality of their lives becomes apparent to the court so, the court understands what some of the root causes of their behaviour is, some of their history and then we are able to come up with sentences that truly address the issues that face them.

AMT: So as you listen to Barb MacQuarrie and her criticism of what we've just heard, how do you respond to that?

JONATHAN RUDEN: I think one of the problems in the criminal justice system is that we tell victims the value we place on what happened to them is reflected in the sentence we give the offender. So that turns it into a zero sum game. Whatever the offender gets, the victim doesn't get. And we do a very bad job with is actually providing services to victims. Vic times should be getting counselling. They should be able to start working on their healing railway because certainly what we see with our clients many of our clients who are convicted of sexual offences were themselves abused when they were younger and they didn't get the help they need. So what we need to do is try and decouple this. You get and you lose and say when you are a victim you start to get services, because our criminal justice system asks victims just to participate in the system and that doesn't provide them with the services they need.

AMT: So your bigger concern here is not the accommodation on the side of those who have been convicted in these cases that were raising, but in how we're treating the victims in terms of how they get help to move forward.

JONATHAN RUDEN: We should be we should be helping the victims as soon as they come forward. This shouldn't have to wait until the matter ends and then once the murder ends as far as the criminal justice system is concerned what the services the victims get is none of their business and that's a problem.

AMT: Okay Michael Spratt what are you thinking?

MICHAEL SPRATT: Well I think that we have to realize and maybe take a step back and look at some first principles and our criminal justice system and that is that due to judicial discretion especially in sentencing is not sort of an ad hoc process but it's a fundamental and pivotal part of the way things play out in court. Any sentence has to take into account not only the circumstances of the offence, not only consider the victim's impact which we do, but it also has to look at the circumstances of the offender. And when you look at the principles that a judge brings to bear when they sentence somebody, we're not just looking at principles of retaliatory justice or retribution but there are important principles of rehabilitation and reintegration. And so what can be seen as accommodation is sometimes just a furthering of rehabilitation of goals because one of the things that all of these cases have in common is that these individuals will eventually be released from jail. And as a society we've chosen a different path than some other jurisdictions and you can look south of the border for this. When we concentrate on rehabilitation we actually see recidivism rates go down and crime levels reduced. And so there are important and broader aspects that come into play here. But I do agree with Barb that victims of crime need to be brought into the loop. There needs to be clear communication. No one who is the victim of a crime should go into a sentencing and not know what's going to happen when there is an agreement between the defence counsel and the crown.

AMT: What role does race in privilege play in this do you think, Michael Spratt? These are three young men and they are white. They are heading to or in university.

MICHAEL SPRATT: One of the things that we often see as justice is blind and that's not true at all. If you're white, if you're privileged you're treated differently. If you're a police officer who is accused of a crime you're treated differently. And the way to correct that is not to to remove what's being called accommodations from some people but it's to ensure that you know not only do we take into account those factors that go ahead and handle that privilege with certain people, but that we actually try to broaden our scope and look at individuals who may not enjoy that privilege to make sure they're not treated more harshly because they have been marginalised a disadvantage. It's something that we don't do well in the justice system but I think it's an issue that [unintelligible] being open to or the last number of years.

AMT: Barb MacQuarrie there are times when we applaude a judge's use of discretion.

BARB MACQUARRIE: I'm not against discretion. I'm not even I get accommodation per say. I am against the way it needs to be applied. And I think we have some agreement that if you go into the court with some privilege then you're going to get better treatment. I also agree that we need to include victims so that they're not being revictimized by these accommodations, so that they're part of the whole process and understand the decision making and understand that this is not to ignore their pain, their suffering, the impact that the crimes have had on them. It's to potentially have a better outcome for that offender. I think any victim can understand that we don't want these offenders to go out and do the same thing again. But but until they can see that their lives are taken seriously and that their pain and suffering is being taken into account and these processes, we are just going to have this view that we have now that accommodations are unfair.

AMT: We are in a moment of the #MeToo movement, Michael Spratt, we're seeing there's a petition calling for Connor Neurauter expulsion from the University of Calgary. It's got tens of thousands of signatures on it already. What role does public outrage play?

MICHAEL SPRATT: Well we've definitely seen over the last decade that this sort of individual and extreme cases have driven our criminal justice policy and that's led to unconstitutional laws that have been struck down. And if we look back in history we've also seen occasions where you know public sentiment has resulted in arguably poor policy choices and you can go back as far as the opium act of the early nineteen hundreds and there certainly are echoes of racism in in the genesis of some of our drug laws. And that's not to say that we should consider changes in public attitudes and so the modernisation of how we look at very complex issues, but we always have to be careful that we're not undercutting some of the very important principle., I don't think anyone here is advocating for that. But when you're looking at changes we have to make sure that proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the presumption of innocence, the onus on the state to prove someone's guilt, the right to silence, that we don't erode those because that can lead to wrongful convictions and that can lead to regret in the future.

AMT: Well Jonathan Rudin you think? What role does public outrage point in some of this right now?

JONATHAN RUDEN: I think the difficulty is that we have to realise that sometimes people commit crimes but we have to look them do their sentence and then get on with their lives. One of the difficulties now is people get criminal convictions and they can never work again. If you have privilege you may be able to get a job. But for a lot of people view of a sexual assault conviction of whatever sort you'll never really get a job ever working in any social service field. And so these sentences which seem sometimes too lenient there are other aspects to them that are permanent aspects to them. But we don't think about some of those things.

AMT: What about the victims of sexual assault? Does that mean that if your are young men and you sexually assault a teenage girl, that's okay, they're fair game because it might hurt your future otherwise? What we are saying?

JONATHAN RUDEN: No I think what we're saying is if you victimise a girl then you have actually taken a program and things have changed and you have understood what you've done, then at some point, we will let you back what participatin in society. But again to get back to the point I made earlier, the issue is apart from whatever happens to that individual, to the offender, we need to provide services to victims from the outset because they're dealing with all sorts of trauma. If it takes two years for a case to resolve, what are we doing for the victims over those two years? We need to have services with them and we need to start doing it right away.

AMT: Barb MacQuarrie, what do you think about public outrage and what we need to do? Do we need to change something? Is there a danger in changing something?

BARB MACQUARRIE: I think the public outrage is a reflection of a shift in norms and values in the way we're actually viewing sexual violence or violence against women more broadly. I think it's a really important shift. I think that our criminal justice system - We can all agree it has been great at dealing with these issues. And so I don't think that we could come up with quick answers about what should change. And we don't want to compromise the principles of justice. We don't want to undermine our judicial system. At the same time, when we look at the reality of women who go there after they've experienced crimes of violence, the experience it's across the board is difficult and often we victimising. So things do need to change.

AMT: Can I just ask why wouldn't we want to change a judicial system that was created by elite white men at a time when women were not valued, arguably when women were seen as chattle? Why would we want to change that system?

BARB MACQUARRIE: I don't say we don't want to change the system. I say we want to be careful but so are those principles that we have of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and everybody being treated with fairness and justice. And actually the purpose of somebody being in that system to be rehabilitation and not just punishment. But we can't just throw people off the island. We can't just say well you're no longer part of a community because most people do come out of jail at the either end. So that that is important, but we're not doing it right. We need to make changes. We need to balance the rights of victims in a way that we haven't. We need to understand what are the biases in all of our processes right from that time a charge is laid right up until a conviction is delivered, how we see and how are we understanding crimes of violence against women. I think that's a really long involved process and I think we need many minds to come together on.

AMT: Is that happening?

BARB MACQUARRIE: To my knowledge in sort of very fragmented isolated spaces.

AMT : Okay we have to leave it there. I'm really sorry. We're out of time but thank you all of you. I've been speaking with Barb MacQuarrie the community director with the Center for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children at Western University. She's in London, Ontario. Michael Spratt is a defence lawyer with Abarget Goldstein and Partners. He's in our Ottawa studio. Jonathan Ruden is program director with Aboriginal legal services. He's with me in our Toronto studio. Let us know what you think of what's happening in this wider discussion. You can tweet us @TheCurrentCBC. Find us on Facebook. Go to our Web site and click on the Contact link. Stay with us. In our next half hour, when religious healthcare institutions block access to medically assisted dying, is at the government's place to step in? We'll hear from a B.C. woman who says it broke her heart when a Catholic hospital denied her father access to a doctor assisted death. I'm Anna Maria Tremonti this is The Current on CBC Radio, 1 Sirius XM. Online on, on podcast and on your radio app.

[Music: Theme]

Back To Top »

Should Catholic hospitals have to provide access to medically assisted dying?

Guests: Lisa Saffarek, Robert Breen, Andre Picard

AMT: Hello I'm Anna Maria Tremonti. You're listening to The Current.


That care home was the only home for Barry Hyman and he chose to die in his home. He had the right to make that choice. I know that the family put in a formal request to be allowed to have it done there and that it was denied.

AMT: But despite that denied request, Dr. Ellen Wiebe did help Barry Hyman fulfil his choice. She visited the 83 year old at the Jewish nursing home where he lived in Vancouver and provided him with a medically assisted death. Dr. Wiebe, who you heard just there, was speaking with CBC radio`s As It Happens, Monday, after the Globe and Mail reported on a complaint against her. The Louis Brier Home where Mr. Hyman lived and died has a policy against medically assisted death being performed on its side despite being a publicly funded home. When medical assistance in dying - or MAID - became legal in Canada in 2016, the law made it clear that physicians and health care workers opposed to it would not be obliged to perform MAID. It did not clarify rules around entire institutions such as a nursing home. And now a growing number of Canadians are dealing with the legal limbo. Lisa Saffarek father Horst was one such person. Lisa Saffarek is a Nanaimo, B.C. Hello.

LISA SAFFAREK: Good morning, Anna Maria.

AMT: Can you tell me a bit about your dad? Why was he in the hospital?

AMT: My dad was quite elderly. He had been enduring a pretty good quality of life and then his lungs started to fail towards the beginning of November in 2016 he was hospitalised with some difficulty breathing and it went downhill from there.

AMT: And where was he?

LISA SAFFAREK: St. Joseph's Hospital in Comox, British Columbia.

AMT: And why was he at that hospital?

LISA SAFFAREK: Is the only hospital in his community. He had retired there and lived there for many many years, over 25. It was definitely part of his home. He'd been to the hospital for a few surgeries and you know he'd considered it part of his community.

AMT: When did he tell you he wanted a medically assisted death?

LISA SAFFAREK: It was interesting. I feel like he actually tried to prepare me for it because as soon as he was admitted he was talking to me about the challenges that were going on with St. Joseph's Hospital and MAID. He knew, he was up to date on you the fact that Dr. Wriggler had gone to the ethics board about it and there was some controversy and everything. He kept talking about it and I really didn't connect the dots until about midway through November when dad told me that he would like to have some control and how he passed. It was clear to him that he was not getting better and his doctors had shared the same information with him. And so the fact that he's been talking about the ongoing ethical controversy about MAID being offered at St. Joseph was his way of preparing me that he wanted to access this.

AMT: How how did you react to his desire to do that?

LISA SAFFAREK: It was devastating but understandable. It was it was a shock. And then you know once I was able to get my head around it then I was fully supportive of him in wanting to access it. It's scary, you don't know - especially when you can't breathe it is every moment scary. But when you're not sure what that looks like towards the end then you just want to have some control over that. So yes, I was able to support dad and was happy to do what I could to make his final wishes come true.

AMT: And what did the hospital tell you about what would have to be done to make that happen?

LISA SAFFAREK: Honestly the hospital didn't really talk to me at all until the end of the last day, I would say, when the CEO reached out to me. But Dad's physician and Dr. Wriggler who was willing to perform the procedure, they were are only support. And that was part of what made it awkward. You know as the only time that dad could talk, I mean this is the biggest decision that you could ever make, and the only time that dad could talk about it was the five minute visits with his physician, or when I was there or my sister was there. It was really hard for him that way. But I think the staff are put in a very awkward position of not being able to be there for the patients spiritually or emotionally when they know that they cannot support the procedure to happen there.

AMT: So what did you do?

LISA SAFFAREK: Dad was obviously very frail. His condition was changing constantly and stuff, and so we had to keep a very close eye on where we were going to need to move him. We did need to transfer him. He was ended up being - because you know his oxygen levels were falling and we wanted to try and meet his wishes. We ended up transferring him to Nanaimo at the beginning of December and it was a few days before he would have been able to access MAID, because of course there is that ten day waiting period.

AMT: And how was he transferred?

LISA SAFFAREK: By ambulance.

AMT: How far away is that?

LISA SAFFAREK: It's a good hour, hour and a half. He was fine when he arrived but he ended up not being able to access MAID, Anna Maria. He was exhausted that next morning and he went downhill very very quickly and ended up passing away by noon the next day.

AMT: So you had arranged this. Did did were you there when he died the next day? Where you with him?

LISA SAFFAREK: I was yes I was. I was. I just you know it was [sighs] - I would say honestly the goings on before the transfer was even harder for him in some ways. He just felt that he was being a lot of stress on us and Sr. Wriggler, but at the same time really wanted to have control over how he went and stuff. He had a lot of mixed feelings about it. It was stressful as opposed to being able to just be peaceful and enjoy his last days with his family. There was this ongoing stress you know above our heads and then to have to go to a new facility where he was not familiar with and such. And I think it took a lot out of him. It also met my sisters had planned on coming that day you know thinking that they would spend the last three days with him and unfortunately they weren't able to.

AMT: So after this happened, as you look back on this and you mourn your father, what would you have liked to see change if you could have changed something?

LISA SAFFAREK: You know I am a healthcare professional myself and I absolutely respect that we need to respect other people's values and their ethics. But you know considering this is incredibly simpe procedure with a few injections, we are a publicly funded health care system and people should be able to access the service wherever they are including close to their home, as long as there's a physician there who is who's willing to provide the service of course. But we shouldn't have to move people and we should ensure that there is emotional and spiritual services there to support people as they make this decision as they work through all the things that come along with it. I'm just really sad that - I think my dad felt really alone if I wasn't there. And then that move was just - it was really stressful on us as a family. It was stressful on him. And obviously possibly you know contributed to him going earlier. But it just - it took away from us being able to celebrate dad and just to enjoy our last moments with him.

AMT: Well this time sorry for all you've gone through and for your loss.

LISA SAFFAREK: Thank you, Anna Maria.

AMT: Thank you. Bye bye. That's Lisa Saffarek and she joined us from Nanaimo, B.C. We have got another viewpoint on this story from Robert Breen. He is the executive director of the Denominational Health Association of British Columbia. His organization includes St. Joseph's Hospital in Comox. It also includes the Louis Brier home in Vancouver and the home in Vancouver is the one that filed the complaint against Dr. Ellen Wiebe for defying its policy on medically assisted dying. Robert Breen joins us from Richmond, British Columbia. Hi

ROBERT BREEN: Good morning Anna Maria.

AMT: How do you respond to the concerns that Lisa Saffarek raises?

ROBERT BREEN: Well it's a very challenging thing that everybody has to deal with both at the facility level and at the individual level. But from the very beginning a number of our members have gone through the whole process of their ethics committees, their discussions around how faith based facilities can respond to requests for medical assistance and dying. St. Joseph by the way is no longer open as a hospital. It's been replaced in November by a publicly owned hospital in Comox and one of the big challenges there was St. Joseph's was the only health care facility in that community. As a Catholic facility, they were not able to perform medical assistance and dying and so it became a challenge because there were no other options. That's no longer the case. But it comes down to I think the issue of the ability of people now under the law to pursue medical assistance in dying. And also the rights individuals and under individual. I think we look at the society as being treated as a person which in law that is usually the case. And the whole culture of these organisations, that have been in place for decades, in some cases over 100 years, and have operated on those cultures and those values and those moral and ethical underpinnings of the organisations. Now some of our members will allow the assessment and will allow the procedure to happen on side and some of our members will not and it just depends on the understanding that they have of what their procedure means to their fundamental beliefs.

AMT: And so who decides that? The actual administration of whichever institution it is under your membership?

ROBERT BREEN: It will not be the administration that decides, it will be the board. And some of our members basically see participating in that process which means allowing it to happen on their site is being complicit. And they have a very strong view that being complicit in the act is against their values.

AMT: But you say some of them allow assessments but they don't allow the actual administration of the assisted death. Do they allow any employees to participate in administering MAID?


AMT: Are the employees necessarily of the same faith?

ROBERT BREEN: No it's not really an issue of whether the employees are of that faith. That's basically the underlying culture and values of the society which applies to everyone who was in it. Employees have the right on their own time to go with people when they leave the facility but not in the facility and not on organisational time.

AMT: So you say the society meaning the institution?


AMT: But these institutions receive public money to provide health care. Why should they be allowed to prohibit a legal medical procedure?

ROBERT BREEN: I think the funding is a bit of a red herring. The reason I say that is all of these organisations - I mean the faith based facilities of B.C. have some of the longest wait lists for placement for residential care. There is a reason for that is because of the reputation of they have for the care that they give in alignment with their own values and principles.

AMT: So you saying it's a red herring.

ROBERT BREEN: Just because something is being paid for doesn't mean that you should abandon your underlying principles and do it. So for decades and decades they have operated under those values that say we don't wed old hasten death and we don't prolong death. And the fact that money is being paid for the operation of that facility doesn't mean people should change those values.

AMT: Well these are religious values.

ROBERT BREEN: Not necessarily. There's many facilities in B.C. they are members of the Association whose boards do not want to do it because they have an underpinning that its not right to hasten death.

AMT: Because they just believe that or because they believe that on religious.

ROBERT BREEN: Well, I can't see that for certain. I in many cases it's based on religious belief and in some cases it's just based on moral and ethical debate that they have heard about what's right and what's wrong.

AMT: And what would you say to those who say what about the right of the person who's doing the suffering, the patient?

ROBERT BREEN: Well the one thing that all of our facilities have now had time to work through this, is they recognise that individuals have access to that. So virtually all of them have now said: (A) we will never refuse somebody to come into the facility who has stated they want to have medical assistance and dying and (B) we will provide the absolute best care to those individuals until such time as they have decided they want to go forward with it. And right up until the time that they transfer they will get all of the same care and attention that any other patient would get. We just can not perform that final act on our site.

AMT: Do you expect this to end up in court?

ROBERT BREEN: It may. I mean the law has clearly given the right of individuals to say 'I can participate in that because it violates my personal values' whether it be moral or spiritual or whatever but it has been silent on whether or not a society or a facility - Facilities don't refuse it. It's the society that acts as a law, in law, as a person. It's the society that says this is our culture for decades. These are immoral beliefs or spiritual beliefs and we just can't do it. So that may be when it ends up in court, whether or not a society has the same rights now in the law as an individual.

AMT: I guess because am asking you the question that we're talking about a hospital and you call it a society. So I guess that would be what the court would decide. Is it an institution? Does that institution have an agency, like a person or does it not? Can an institution have those same rights?

ROBERT BREEN: Well again that's going to be what will have to be debated because I mean if something were to happen that people think they should sue for, they will sue the society. They will probably sue a bunch of other people as well, but the society is held accountable by curiously I guess for want of a better term for whatever it is done in their organisation. So that it's not the bricks and mortar it's the actual society that over all of the decades has operated under that culture.

AMT: Right. Can I just ask, we were talking about people who are going to die, who get the right to to to get medical assistance in death under Canadian law. What about the compassion of treatment of a patient who is dying in pain and wants to have some control over their death. What about health care that has compassion in it for those people? Is there some second guessing of this refusal on compassionate grounds?

ROBERT BREEN: Well I would say that in the faith based facilities there will probably be more compassion in terms of the spiritual, the emotional support that individuals need.

AMT: But the compassion they want? What about the compassion that they want which is their right to die?

ROBERT BREEN: So what they want is to exercise an act that is legal now but they want somebody else whose fundamental rights and we don't talk about the rights of the individual or the society to operate under their own religious beliefs and ethical beliefs. So I think that's what's going to be when you say it is going to go to court. Does your right to have a procedure done to you, ending your life, oblige me or somebody else whose moral beliefs say that I can't do that to do something against their own beliefs.

AMT: We come right back to the same question, you are right. Robert Breen thank you for explaining where you're coming from on this. It is good to hear your voice.

ROBERT BREEN: Okay. You're welcome.

AMT: Robert Breen, executive director of the Denominational Health Association of B.C. He joined us from Richmond, B.C. There is a long history of religious involvement in health care. According to my next guest resolving this current conflict and resolving that divide or bridging it in this relationship won't happen quickly or easily. Andre Picard is a health reporter and columnist with The Globe and Mail. He's the author of several books about Canada's health care system. He joins us from Montreal. Hi Andre.

ANDRE PICARD: Good morning.

AMT: That's the crux of it right there are. Whose needs and rights trump whose? Who has control here?

ANDRE PICARD: Yes obviously that's clearly the issue is: Does an institution have conscience rights? And I think the answer to that is quite clearly no. They don't. And if they do then the rights of an individual trump those rights. I think you know the Supreme Court as you mentioned earlier said in its ruling on MAID that individuals can be conscientious objectors. It was silent on institutions and I think when the Supreme Court does something even an omission, its quite deliberate. I think they were saying no the institution does not have those rights.

AMT: So the argument that my last guest was making is that its not an institution, its a society of people.

ANDRE PICARD: Well I think thats just a legalistic argument. Call it what you may. Can this body, a group of people or bricks and mortars, do they have more rights than an individual? Clearly I think no under our Constitution.

AMT: How much of a role do religiously affiliated institutions play in our health care system in Canada today?

ANDRE PICARD: Well they have a really really long history. The first hospital in Canada was founded in Quebec City in 1654 by Augustine Friers. And religious institutions ran our healthcare system as a charitable act radium to the 1950s and 60s when we introduced public funding. So the whole culture of our health system, the whole structure has a religious foundation and I dont think we can throw that out. You know we don't want to through all the good things that these institutions have brought us into our healthcare system and they do a lot of good. To this day, I'd see Catholic institutions are among the most progressive and interesting in in our country. St. Mike, St. Paul's in Vancouver. They do a really great social work in addition to medicine. So we can't forget that aspect.

AMT: And how much public funding do Catholic institutions or any religious institutions receive if they are hospitals?

ANDRE PICARD: The funding is exactly the same for all hospitals. Its roughly 100 percent funding whether its a religious institution or not. There is very little difference if you walked in from another country, walked into a Catholic hospital in Canada. You wouldn't notice the difference aside from maybe seeing a little cross here or there. The employees are not necessarily Catholic, the patients are not necessarily. So there is very little difference in being kind of absorbed into our public health care system over the last few decades.

AMT: Are there strings attached to funding when it comes to an institution that is religious?

ANDRE PICARD: Well we've never really fought that out. We've had this debate, the debate we're having today, we had about abortion 20-30 years ago. Catholic institutions still don't provide abortion services on their premises. So we've never really resolved the whole money issue just hangs out there. Every time a new ethical issue arises we say you know people say 'oh well we'd better cut off their funding if they don't provide all services' but we tend to resolve these issues in a fairly Canadian way by being pragmatic. Finding runarounds to these issues.

AMT: I have a clip I want you to hear. We spoke to Daphne Gilbert who is an associate professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa and a member of its Center for Health Policy and Ethics. She'd like to see the federal government take a position on this and make the legislation clear but she also says that's probably not going to happen.


I think unfortunately what we're going to end up seeing is a repeat of the played out with the Carter situation, where you have a patient who is denied medical assistance in death having to bring the claim forward and obviously for that person it will not be resolved in time to of help or of assistance. And it'll just be a case that carries on in the name of that person by their family. There's lots of brave people out there who will no doubt do that. It's just unfortunate if it has to be done on the backs of a person.

AMT: She of course is referring to the Carter decision which eventually led to a change in assisted dying laws. But what do you make of what she's saying that the legal challenge is the only way to get clarity?

ANDRE PICARD: I think she's perfectly right. That's the only way these issues tend to move forward in Canada. No politician wants to touch this with a ten foot pole. There's religion, there is end of life, there's ethics involved here. Nobody wants to touch that. So what we're going to have is a case on the margins that's going to go to court and there is going to be the resolution of the question you've been discussing all morning: Does an institution or a society or a hospital whatever you want to call it, does it have rights? Now I think to also keep this in some context that there have been thousands of assisted deaths in Canada since the law was introduced. It's working pretty well. There are some real botched issues at the margins. We've heard a couple this morning and these were foreseeable and they're are largely preventable. So we have to remember that, that we can avoid these issues but there's probably going to be one or two at the margins that yes they're going to end up in court.

AMT: Well we keep hearing about access, right, if you don't live in a big city where you have some options on which institution you can have someone be in. If you're in a small town in Canada or a medium sized town you might not have the ability to access this.

ANDRE PICARD: Well that's where it gets really tough. There's a lot of small towns with one Catholic hospital. And if they refuse to do MAID,if they refuse to do abortion what happens? This is a lingering issue that we haven't resolved. Now what's happened in other countries like the Netherlands, the Netherlands is well known for its assisted death. It has a very strong religious core in some regions. What they do is they actually have a van that goes around and they provide assisted death. There's different ways of doing this. The question becomes how much of a fight we want to have with - Where do we want to draw the line with religious institutions? We want to cut off their funding? We want to force them to do this? I don't think any of those are practical or good solutions.

AMT: Okay so I guess we wait for... There hasn't been a challenge on this one.

ANDRE PICARD: Not on this specific issue but were still fighting about dementia patients, mental health patients, and this will not be coming without a doubt.

AMT: Okay well Andre Picard thank you for your insights.

ANDRE PICARD: Thank you.

AMT: Andre Picard is a health reporter and columnist at The Globe and Mail. We reached him in Montreal. Time for a word from the team that puts this program together. So.


Padraig Moran: Hi. I'm Padraig Moran, the digital producer here at The Current. This week the show was produced by: Idella Sturino, Lara O’Brien, Howard Goldenthal, Ines Colabrese, Pacinthe Mattar, Rosa Kim, Willow Smith, Samira Mohyeddin, Susana Ferreira, Kristin Nelson, Karin Marley, John Chipman, Corey Sidaway and Liz Hoath who is filling in as senior producer this week. The Current's writer is Peter Mitton. Our web producer is Lisa Ayuso. Transcriptions are provided by Rasha Shehata and Nikhil Sharma. Our technical producer is Gary Francis. Our presentation producer is Josh Bloch. And our documentary editor is Joan Webber. And thanks to freelance producer Richard Weycraft and our network producers across the country Ann Penman, Michael O'Halloran, Suzanne Dufresne, Susan McKenzie and Mary-Catherine Mcintosh. Our senior producers are Richard Goddard in Toronto and Cathy Simon in Vancouver. The executive producer of The Current is Kathleen Goldhar.


AMT: And a reminder if you're listening today and you want to weigh in on some of the debates we've been having you can tweet us @TheCurrentCBC find us on Facebook. Go to our Web site Click on the Contact link. That's our program for today. Stay with Radio 1 for Q. Tom power will speak with Leila Slimani. She is the French author whose latest novel The Perfect Nanny has already taken France's top literary prize and is now being released in North America. Remember you can take the Current with you to go on your CBC Radio app free from the App Store or Google Play. I'm Anna Maria Tremonti. Thanks for listening to The Current.

[Music: Theme]

Back To Top »

CBC would like to acknowledge the support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.