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The Current Transcript for January 12, 2018
Host: Catherine Cullen
STORIES FROM THIS EPISODE
Listen to the full episode
Something you might not know about me, I love movies and TV shows. One of my all time favourites is Breaking Bad. It's even available on some online streaming services. If you've never seen.
CATHERINE CULLEN: Do you remember that? Stephen Harper while running against Justin Trudeau in the 2015 federal election released that video online. It was intended to come out against the so-called Netflix tax. But it was also designed it would seem to have the Conservative leader come off as someone you might relate to, someone who loves movies and TV shows just like you. Even Breaking Bad. Well we'll leave it to you to decide just how much more or less relatable the former prime minister appeared in that video. But what is clear is that left right and centre, today's federal leaders seem to be aiming at the same goal, relatability with voters and that's where we're starting today. Then, to the more than 200,000 Salvadorans who have lived in the U.S. for years but learned this week that they're facing deportation.
[Speech in indistinct language]
CC: She says "My children are sad. They don't want to go to El Salvador. They don't know El Salvador". If her family is to stay together they may all have to leave. In half an hour I'll be joined by a Salvadoran in the U.S. who is vowing to fight this latest decision and will ask if Canada should expect some of those people to head north. Also today.
On this continent people love weed. However cannabis has a dirty secret a massive carbon footprint.
CC: Marijuana's dirty little secret and a 'Made in Canada' solution. I'm Catherine Cullen and this is the Friday edition of The Current.
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Commons People: Trudeau, Singh and Scheer keen to prove they’re just like us
Guests: Susan Delacourt, Jen Gerson, Jon Wells
We come together tonight in an exercise in democracy at its most fundamental it's a chance to have a conversation about where our country is going, for you to ask questions of me and how I see the challenges we're facing and how we're trying to tackle them. But it's also about me learning from all of you about how we decide, as a society, to build the future together.
CC: That's Justin Trudeau who's bringing his rolled up shirtsleeves to a town hall near you. The Prime Minister's cross-country tour is putting him face to face with folks from Halifax to Edmonton. He famously does well in these open style Q and A sessions and he's not the only federal leader hoping to connect with Canadians on a personal level.
I grew up in the kind of family lots of Canadians would recognise. My mom was a nurse. My dad worked for a newspaper. They had to make a lot of sacrifices for me and my sisters.
Like a lot of people. I had to take the bus everywhere because our family didn't have a car.
I learned you have to have a pretty good pitch to try to get a girl to meet you for a date at a bus stop.
CC: It is Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and a new online video hoping that his childhood might look a lot like yours or mine. Meanwhile NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has been making personal connections through his 'Jagmeet and greets'. Relatability seems to be the name of the game in Canadian politics right now and we have a pair of political junkies on hand with their thoughts on why that is and how the leaders are faring. Susan Delacourt is a columnist with I-Politics and the Toronto Star. She's also the author of Shopping for Votes How Politicians Choose Us and We choose them. She's with me in our Ottawa studio. Jen Gerson is a reporter with The National Post in Calgary but today she is in our Toronto studio. Hello to you both.
SUSAN DELACOURT: Good morning.
CC: Now Susan Delacourt. I'm going to start with you. Why is it do you think that leaders want to make a point about being relatable rather than making this point that they are the best? They're the head of the class, the smartest kid in the class. Why do they want to be just like us?
SUSAN DELACOURT: I think it's because voters - not sure they ever did choose their leaders on policy or principle or conviction. But I think as policy has become more blurred together among the parties as it's been harder to distinguish what a liberal would do in power a conservative. I think it's those partisan connections kind of disappear or look foreign to Canadians that they distinguish between their leaders by what kind of people they are. You know that that that who the person is actually makes the difference. And people want to see their leaders or their politicians now not as some lofty figure speaking from a podium they want their politicians to be people who go in there roll up their sleeves and sit down and have a beer with them or a coffee or a conversation.
CC: Are we talking about a bit of a popularity contest or is there more to it right now?
SUSAN DELACOURT: Well you know they do say that politics is a bit like high school with money. So yes it was ever thus. But I think yes it is a bit of a popularity contest.
SUSAN DELACOURT: Jen Gerson and I want to bring you in here. That idea of somebody that I want to sit down and have a beer with, we see pollsters polling around that sometimes. What's your sense of how important that is in Canadian politics?
JEN GERSON: I wouldn't say it's very very important. It may or may not be paramount. I would disagree with Susan a little bit in the sense that I do think voters care about certain policy issues although it's very very difficult to predict which policy issues that they're going to care about or where they're going to fall on a particular divide on any particular point. Increasingly I think tribalism is becoming a prevailing indicator of how people are going to vote. That said I think people do tend to score points on the issues of relatability and popularity. I would point out of course the latest ruling from the Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson on Trudeau's Aghakhan trip. That damaged Trudeau not necessarily just because it, according to her, broke federal conflict of interest acts but it also damaged Trudeau because it showed that he was the type of guy who was going to pal about with a billionaire royal on a private island. I mean that's not a normal experience that most Canadians have. And I think that that's also part of why the Prime Minister's office tried to keep it - the fact that he was vacationing there - secret because none of us will ever get those types of opportunities and it undermines his ability to come across as this relatable person to the average person buying coffee down at Tim Hortons.
CC: I think we're going to want to dig into each one of the leaders in a moment but I still want to stay looking at the broader picture in Canada right now and just ask you Susan, you know we hear a lot about Canada, the idea that the tall poppy syndrome here that there's something particular about our outlook, but to what degree is this unique to Canada or does it tell us something about what Canadians specifically want?
SUSAN DELACOURT: I think we're in strange times about populism and what people want from their leaders because you know Jen is right. It is it is very true that Canadians are distrustful of people who are not having experiences like they do, wealthy people, lifestyles of the rich and famous kind of people. And yet in the United States where this is run rampant, this populism, they put a billionaire real estate developer in as president, whose experience of life is so far removed from normal Americans that well you couldn't probably find somebody who is more different. So in a way Trudeau is a bit like that too. I think Canadians are almost conflicted on him. They kind of want him to be different. They want him to be extraordinary. They don't mind the idea that he's an international rock star or celebrity and yet they get really annoyed when he does things like fly off private islands on vacation. So you know I think we're in uncharted territory about this. That's sort of a I don't know if you can predict this for us right now of how much people want to relate to somebody and how much they want somebody to be different.
CC: What's interesting with the Donald Trump comparison because of course the other side of that what brought him to power so many people say is his closeness his understanding of the needs a lot of people felt in areas like the Rust Belt for instance in the United States. I wonder Jen Gerson, do you think it's a is it a good thing or a bad thing? Can we say that Canadians want their leaders to be a bit like them?
JEN GERSON: I think it's a human thing. It could be used for good or bad ends. I would want voters to be aware about the degree to which all political leaders wheedle and manipulate them I mean manipulate is a loaded term. I mean manipulate in a fairly benign way. You know how much they are trying to seem relatable and why they are trying to seem relatable and what are they're trying to distract from when they when they try to come across as relatable. So you know it's not necessarily good or bad thing. Donald Trump is an absolutely fascinating example of this, I agree with you Susan. But I think what should also be pointed out about Donald Trump is that yes while he did come from the super-wealthy inherited wealth billionaire class, part of the reasons why he became so relatable and became so popular among the groups that he did - well there were many reasons none of them not all of them positive or a few of the positive. But one of the reasons why that was the case was because he played against his class right. He he said look "I'm so rich and wealthy and powerful. I know exactly how these jerks operate and I know how to get the corruption and the evil vile rich people out of Washington that was the message that he came across on. I think Susan is quite correct that the suit that Justin Trudeau faces a paradox. Most Canadians want him to go out in the world and present this positive brand of Canada and that and yet kind of punish him for being of this glamorous wealthy class. But at the same time I don't see Justin Trudeau playing against that class or playing against that stereotype quite a lot either.
CC: Okay we're talking a lot about Justin Trudeau here and so I actually want to bring someone else into the conversation right now somebody who is at one of these town halls that the prime minister has been doing across the country. He's done three so far. There are three more coming. We're going to check in with Jon Wells. He's a reporter with The Hamilton Spectator and he was at the Prime Minister's town hall in Hamilton earlier this week. He's on the line now. Hello Jon Wells.
JON WELLS: Hi Catherine. How you doing?
CC: Good. I want to know what you made of this whole - it is something of a spectacle I suppose the question and answer sessions. What was your take on the prime minister with his rolled up shirt sleeves talking to the people of Hamilton and how that was received?
JON WELLS: Well I thought it was a heck of a show. You know when I came back to the office after being there an hour and a half of questions and answers and I said you know he puts on a great show. It was difficult to sort of focus on specific answers he might have given to questions in terms of details and so on but no one works a room like he does.
CC: What makes it a great show. What was it that led to that description?
JON WELLS: His style. I mean you know that the town hall format. He set up in the middle of the gymnasium floor at McMaster University. And as I said in my story that there was a stool they put there. He sat on that very briefly in the start, I know he is sitting down. And that was it. The rest of time is he's walking the floor he's facing the audience from all different angles. Know very cognisant of showing himself to different parts of the crowd, his passion that comes through is his answers. I mean he's still you know for a middle aged man he still gives up that youthful vibe and it looks like he could have been from MacMasters debating club up there, with the earnestness that he does that he carries himself. And the way the audience was responding to him. It was a packed - it was about 2000 people in this gymnasium and packed and a lot of media of course and he had the audience on their feet near the end with a standing ovation for one of his answers. So, shell. Yes you know if you ask me what did he say on certain policies or what was the key takeaway message, I couldn't tell you other than that just in is fighting for Canadians and the man can work a room.
CC: One of the things that we're talking about today, the sort of thrust of our discussion is this idea of relatability. Was it your sense that he was trying to relate to the people of Hamilton? That that was an important message?
JON WELLS: Not really. I came away thinking as I have in the past, with Trudeau is that he is a fairly polarising figure in terms of the way he communicates. I think for those who stood in line for over an hour to get in there that they love him. He fired all cylinders and they could they were swooning and you know they're taking a selfie and you can see in the faces of the people as they were leaving how happy they were to have just seen the man in the flesh. And for those that he put off with his style and there are those too, thereI saw some anchoring faces that maybe didn't get a question answered. You know I got an e-mail from a reader the next day saying that you know in terms of a story that I wrote that why is the spectator in love with this went with this 'selfie loving moron' [chuckles] A colorful language, clearly for those who don't like the style. It just reinforces it for those who love it. At that event he was gangbusters and he delivered.
CC: And what do you think it accomplishes at the end of the day for the prime minister?
JON WELLS: I think the of the day, I think in terms of the media coverage of the event, it's amazing they have been very cognisant of the fact, they had a massive Canadian flag there which they did take from a tour stop to tour stop. The [unintelligible] were good. And I think you know when we are in the media and I emphasised in my story a couple of people who - there were a couple of outbursts during his talk. I refer to them as hecklers. And I had a reader say you know why was the one woman a heckler simply for showing a legitimate question kind of thing because she went off format. But I sort of focus on those sort of the TV the sound bites showing Trudeau fighting back and handling these questions and appearing as opposed to sort of the usual happy guy kind of look that he has, looking quite fierce and angry and I think for him I think what it accomplish is it gives him some great visuals and shows him trying to connect with the common people the sort of grounding exercise as he put it. Even though, I'm not sure how many of the common people were at McMaster University at two o'clock in the afternoon in the middle of the week you know. So I don't think his connected with regular people but I do think it's helping him with his image and with the optics for sure.
CC: Okay, excellent. Jon Wells Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us about this.
JON WELLS: Thanks, Catherine.
CC: Jon Wells is a reporter with The Hamilton Spectator. Jen Gerson I want to bring you back in now what did you make of what John just said there.
JEN GERSON: I thought he made some really excellent points. I mean these town halls are fascinating to dissect. I think there's a general consensus that Justin Trudeau does very well in this type of a format. You know he is very good at connecting with people. He's very good at empathising with people and he tends to handle hecklers well. I think that the problem that he's going to run into here is that it's one thing to run a town hall when you've just been elected and people are just trying to find out who you are - You know the sorts of coverage that you get for that kind of a town hall, it tends to be positive it focuses a lot on your performance not a lot on substance. But you know we're mid-term now, which means that people are going to start challenging him on his actual record and as a result of that the headlines coming out of these town halls are going to focus on the questions that are lobbed at him and his responses. And so you know we're not getting a lot of headlines that are about just 'Justin Trudeau bats the act of the park in this town hall', yet again even if you necessarily did. The headlines we're getting out of this are 'Justin Trudeau handles another set of nasty hecklers. Justin Trudeau faces another question about the mercato payment. Justin Trudeau is asked about the ethics commissioner and the AghaKhan situation'. It's 'Justin Trudeau answers questions about the Summer Jobs Grant program that now isn't going to go to churches and charities who won't side an attestation that they're for abortion rights'. I mean it's tough stuff that he's having to deal with. And if he thinks that these sorts of town halls are going to change the channel on what has been a really difficult set of months for the Liberal Party, I think he's going to be disappointed by that.
CC: One thing I've found so interesting in all of this, Susan Delacourt, is his answers and trying to think about to what degree they have been satisfying to the people asking these questions. That very first town hall in Halifax in particular, he got some very tough questions I'm thinking of that man suffering from ALS, dying, who said you know I can access assisted death I. I'm not having a very easy time accessing experimental treatments. I mean so often.
SUSAN DELACOURT: That was a searing question, yes.
CC: There were many very powerful questions and so often what the prime minister has to say is 'I hear you. I am very sorry for what you're going through' but there's not a lot he can do. I wonder where that leaves us?
SUSAN DELACOURT: Yes. I've been saying to people, I've been a little disappointed in how Justin Trudeau has been learning the lessons of saying nothing. I covered him in opposition as well and travelled with him a bit and he used to be a lot more interesting when he gave answers. He seems to have regarded the job of being prime minister is to say as little as possible which is a disappointment. And I am hoping, I think these town halls [unintelligible] so did Jonathan. These town halls have two purposes, what we see and what people attending those town halls get out of Trudeau. But also what he himself gets out of them too. And I think it's good if he realises that people are willing to get up there and ask him hard questions. Itmay make him think twice before he you know answers with silly talking points.
CC: Okay I want to move on to Andrew Scheer now. He's just put out a new video we heard a little bit of it earlier. Let's listen to a little bit more of the audio from that.
I always had to get a job to pay my own way. I think that's a lot of people to experience had a paper route as a kid. I sold popcorn at football and hockey games. I have been a waiter. Now that I'm older I realise how much these jobs depended on local businesses hiring young people like me.
CC: There you go. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. Jen Gerson what do you think that Andrew Scheer was trying to achieve in putting out that video?
JEN GERSON: I think he's playing two games here. Firstly not very many Canadians know who Andrew Scheer is or what he stands for. So there is a getting to know you period. He's that he's embarking on. He's just trying to introduce himself in a very basic way to Canadians. But I mean I think the subtext of a lot of that is also very clear and this is a longer game. He's portraying himself as the anti Trudeau. Look at me I had an ordinary childhood. I delivered papers I had you know ordinary parents. I wasn't you know hanging out at 24 Sussex Drive watching Princess Diana swimming in the swimming pool. I mean he's very much again going to this idea of being relatable to ordinary people and the lives of ordinary people. And I think that that is a longer term play, that that is a play that that's predicated on this idea that people are going to turn against - or at least a significant chunk of the Canadian electorate - is going to turn against this all-style-no-substance-glamorous prime ministers Trudeau.
CC: Okay Susan I don't want to wrap this up with a ‘we're almost out of time’. We haven't talked about Jagmeet Singh. So I'd like t to bring him in here because he is not seeking a seat right now in the House of Commons. He's out speaking to a quote unquote ordinary Canadians. What do you make of that?
SUSAN DELACOURT: He's playing a long game. He's playing very much the game that Trudeau did. You know he's trying to be - the Trudeau didn't spend much time in the House of Commons either and I say constantly. If being the best in Parliament won elections Tom Mulcair would be prime minister right now. So I think Jagmeet Singh is doing what Justin Trudeau did. Can you win an election imitating your rival? We'll see.
CC: Yes particularly when we see the liberals trying to eat a lot of the NDP lunch from a from a policy perspective. Jen Gerson a last quick word on Jagmeet Singh.
JEN GERSON: I haven't seen much of him. I mean I'm in Alberta and I'm sure that I'm not his audience. That's fine. I think that he was a very interesting candidate to have won the NDP leadership. And of course being the first candidate to win a major party leadership is a really big thing but to be honest with you I think he's been a bit absent.
CC: Okay we're going to have to leave it there. Thank you both very much. Susan Delacourt is a columnist with I-Politics and the Toronto Star. She's also the author of Shopping for Votes How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them. She's with me in our Ottawa studio. And Jen Gerson is a reporter with The National Post in Calgary, she was in our Toronto studio. The CBC News is next. And then we are going to talk about the 200,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S. this week who were told that they have to go. We'll meet with one of them was says she's vowing to stay and fight. I am Catherine Culllen. You're listening to the Friday edition of The Current.
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Trump's alleged 's---hole countries' comment frames plight of 200,000 Salvadorans facing deportation
Guests: Yanira Arias, Daniella Burgi-Palomino, Angela Ventura
CC: Hello I'm Catherine Cullen and you're listening to the Friday edition of The Current.
CC: Still to come: Legal recreational marijuana is on its way and it will be a cash crop like no other. But it comes with an impact on the environment. In half an hour, we'll hear why marijuana production is such an energy intensive affair with a carbon footprint that's much larger than you might imagine. But first give us your tired your poor.
And this breaking news from the Department of Homeland Security. 200,000 Salvadorians many who have lived in the U.S. since 2001 are being told that they have to leave the country by September 2019 or be deported.
The Temporary Protected Status or TPS granted to Salvadorians after an earthquake back in 2001. The Department of Homeland Security says the damage from that quake does not justify another extension. The announcement sparked an impromptu rally outside the Capital.
These are people who have been living by the rules, getting background checks every 18 months, getting their fingerprints for more than 20 years. Time to give some of those TPS Holder's citizenship.
CC: This situation in the United States for the 200,000 Salvadorans who learned this week that they'll now face deportation when their protected status ends in September 2019. The president Donald Trump only seemed to add fuel to the fire yesterday with his disparaging remarks to lawmakers about the countries of origin of some immigrants. And this morning the president tweeted that the immigration deal presented yesterday was a big step backwards and that the USA would be forced to take large numbers of people from high crime. Beyond the political rhetoric that swirls around the immigration debate in the United States, however, these issues are intensely real to the people whose lives as they know them are at stake in political decisions like these. Yanira Arias left El Salvador for the United States in the year 2000 and has been living there under temporary protected status or TPS. She's also the national campaigns manager for Alianza America a group that assists immigrants from Latin America. We reached her this morning in San Francisco, hello.
YANIRA ARIAS: Good morning Catherine.
CC: Good morning to you. I want to know how much of a surprise was this announcement that temporary protected status was coming to an end for people from El Salvador.
YANIRA ARIAS: [Unintelligible] for Haiti back in April 2017. That was one of the strongest indicators of where this of initiation was going. It was a matter of a time and as well getting to know the details for Salvador. Following Haiti, we know that we heard on [unintelligible]. So although we were waiting for that announcement it was a very disappointing statement and as well it was painful for myself as for other TPS recipients and for thousands of families.
CC: And you work with a lot of people too from El Salvador in addition to your own experience. What are you hearing from the community right now?
YANIRA ARIAS: I am sharing a lot of uncertainty. There are thousands of parents concerns for the future of their children and it told them themselves. It's not the same a dynamic in families. Right now, every single day those children are thinking about the future of parents, their own future. If they are going to be separated or are going to be sent to a country that they don't know.
CC: Yes it's difficult to imagine having to make a decision like that. I wonder if you can tell us a bit about your own decision to come to the United States. What brought you to the U.S.?
YANIRA ARIAS: Yes I was a journalist back in and El Salvador and I took the decision of leaving to the United States in the late 90s. We were just transitioning from the ten year war in my country, financed by the U.S. and my workplace was in the city of San Salvador and I needed to commute in buses and walking and that commute turned into a very uncomfortable experience on a daily basis.
CC: You were being harassed.
YANIRA ARIAS: Harassed on the streets and also on the boss and there was an increase of robbery on the busses and also on the streets. And situations were going from verbal to physical and the physical a little bit more aggressive. And there were situations in which I needed to fight back in order to walk safe from those situations.
CC: And since you left there have been since you came to the United States there have been of course those two earthquakes that prompted the temporary protected status. San Salvador is perhaps the most violent city on earth in terms of the homicide rate. I wonder at this point, 18 months left in temporary protected status as it now stands, can you imagine returning to El Salvador?
YANIRA ARIAS: No can't. I will say hey now that I'm sharing my story I reflected that I saw the first indicators of where El Salvador is now position as the most violent country in the [unintelligible]. I cannot imagine myself in a country where job opportunities are not available and where instability is a issue that is in fact impacting beyond a normal way of life for every citizen in El Salvador. And after two decades here, I basically will be a stranger in my own country.
CC: So what are you going to do?
YANIRA ARIAS: I see in my position as an organizer I think we have time to fight back and try to find a solution with Congress - within Congress. The president says that, as well the secretary of the Department of State, that only Congress has a solution for my situation and for around a thousand people under TPS. And second when I look for legal counsel and certainly when I make sure that I'm not the only person engaged these efforts. I'm not the one, last year there were being mobilising thousands of people, including folks that have never been involved in organising around TPS in alliance which is great. And when the time comes up when I take a decision at the moment I think I'm going to conform that uncertainty into action. I cannot...
CC: Yanira are you still with us? It seems we've lost Yanira Arias. She was originally from El Salvador. She's now the national campaigns manager for Alianza America. We reached her in San Francisco. Daniella Burgi-Palomino of the Latin American Working Group has been listening to your story. Daniella is the group's senior associate from Mexico Migrant Rights and border issues. She's in our Washington studio. Danielle are you there?
DANIELLA BURGI-PALOMINO: Yes.
CC: Hello. Now unfortunately we got cut off with Yanira but I do wonder, we got a sense of her story there, how typical is that?
DANIELLA BURGI-PALOMINO: It's very typical. We as the Latin America Working Group have been privileged to work alongside advocates like Yanira and the thousands of others that she was mentioning as a part of a broader coalition of civil society organisations but also TPS beneficiaries 'tepesianos' themselves who have been working hand in hand with advocacy organisations like ours to come to Washington D.C., to knock on the halls of Congress in the past year, to seek a renewal for temporary protected status not just for those from El Salvador but also from the 12 other countries that are protected by TPS.
CC: I do want to dig deeper into the political realities in a moment but just on an individual level, what are you telling people that they can do beyond political pressure to try to remain in the United States if that's what they wish to do?
DANIELLA BURGI-PALOMINO: Currently the advice is to seek legal counsel to approach the many organisations like Yanira's and others that are located across the U.S. that are trusted organisations who have legal counsel, legal advice available first. And to not fall prey to that potential fraud that could exist from people wanting to take advantage of TPS beneficiaries in this situation currently. But the first piece of advice really is to look at your individual situation and to see what other legal options there might be. Because we do think that there might be some for the thousands of CTS beneficiaries that have been affected by this.
CC: Yes some 200,000 and I wonder is there is there any way to say at this point how many of those people might be able to stay through other legal means?
DANIELLA BURGI-PALOMINO: There really isn't. It's really hard to say. Some two thirds of TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador have a U.S. citizen child. So there might be an option there some of them may have just never dig in deeper into their own immigration history and you know might not know of another relative or might not have ever taken the opportunity to have their spouse sponsor them. So there's a whole host of other options and the only way to find out is by approaching, getting that trusted sort of legal advice.
CC: Okay. Let's turn to the broader political picture now which has been making a lot of news even in the last 24 hours as it was reported that President Trump was in a meeting yesterday and he used some vulgar language - a derogatory term - for countries such as Haiti, some African countries, it's thought that El Salvador is included in that as well. He's questioning why the United States rather is taking people from such countries. I wonder what you thought when you heard that?
DANIELLA BURGI-PALOMINO: It's just a completely racist statement that I think you know sheds once again the president and the conservative elements within his administration their true colours, which since last January have been to implement just a very xenophobic and racist agenda, and one that you know really only paints one picture for immigration to the United States which is you know a white European sort of vision, and one that cuts off immigration and receiving refugees and immigrants from practically the whole world. What his statements yesterday don't represent, I believe, what the large majority of Americans believe this country stands for and what they feel our immigration system should stand for, as well, which is one that's based on the fundamental values of due process, of receiving those who are fleeing persecution and of welcoming strangers.
CC: I wonder the character of his choice of words but there's also the content the significance of it. Does this make it seem that much less likely in your opinion that you're going to be able to reverse this decision the decision?
DANIELLA BURGI-PALOMINO: The TPS decision?
DANIELLA BURGI-PALOMINO: Well at this point I think we're looking for a longer term solution like Yanira was alluding to. And there are a couple of options currently - five legislative proposals that have already been presented in the House of Represents lives and in the U.S. Senate. So I think you know initially we're seeking the longest extension that we could for TPS beneficiaries. The Honduras decision is coming up in May that will impact about 60,000 Honduran TPS beneficiaries in the U.S. But what's really needed is a longer term solution to 300,000 TPS beneficiaries that have been living in the U.S. as permanent residents. They're not temporary individuals like the status eludes them to be.
CC: Well and that's what I wanted to get to as well, though it is ultimately the name of it temporary, there are people who look at this and say it was only ever supposed to be temporary. It had to end. What do you say?
DANIELLA BURGI-PALOMINO: Temporary protected status has been renewed for the past 20 years under both Republican and Democratic administrations. And it really requires a comprehensive assessment. The decision to renew every 18 months requires a comprehensive assessment of the conditions in country. And although the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kristen Nielsen, earlier this week, said that that was a part of the decision on El Salvador, we think her assessment was completely insufficient and flawed. Because when you look at the conditions currently in El Salvador you really need to look at the comprehensive situation and not only was TPS the status granted on the base of the earthquake but it was also granted on the government's inability to accept its citizens. And that condition we believe still stands because of the combination of factors of violence, insecurity, corruption that exist currently still in El Salvador. I've been there multiple times in the past year and I've had government officials tell me they can't protect their own citizens and they would not be able to receive 200,000 individuals to the country.
CC: I wonder Daniella. Canadians are asking questions about this because with the case of Haitian migrants rather who were under TPS, we did see an influx of people across the border around rumors that that was ending. Do you think there could be a similar situation? Do you think people from the Salvadoran community may try to come to Canada?
DANIELLA BURGI-PALOMINO: I have not heard that specifically in the past couple of weeks. What I have heard is Salvadorans and other TPS beneficiaries being forced to consider returning to their home country or staying in the shadows in the United States. And it's - as you alluded to - it's an extremely difficult decision to be forced to consider with their family members and leaving family members even behind. But that's what this administration, time and time again, has shown to present you know immigrants here who are resided for decades here to be forced to make, which is basically making a decision of moving between a rock and a hard place. Of course you any undocumented immigrant that you know is forced to make such a decision, I believe when governments and when states fail to protect their citizens you turn to family networks to receive protection. And so I think every it's going to depend on an individual case what every person's decision they decide to make. But by and large what I've been hearing is a decision to either stay in the United States and live under the shadows, or to return to a home country that likely they no longer know. And unfortunately I think you know the majority of people really do want to stay in the United States that's been their home for the last 20 years.
CC: Daniella Burgi-Palomino thank you very much for your time.
DANIELLA BURGI-PALOMINO: Thank you.
CC: Daniella Burgi-Palomino is with the Latin American Working Group. She is their senior associate for Mexico Migrant Rights and border issues. She was in our Washington studio. Well Salvadorans facing deportation from the U.S. might look north to Canada rather than heading back to El Salvador. Certainly something similar happened last summer when a wave of Haitian migrants crossed into Canada, as rumors swirled that they would lose their protected status in the U.S. As many as 250 people a day were crossing into Quebec at the time, despite warnings from the Canadian government that many of them would not be allowed to stay. This week Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussein said plans are in place in case there is a surge of people from El Salvador.
We do have Canadian laws that need to be respected which is that you can't cross our borders irregularly and if you do, you will be apprehended and processed by our police services and our CBSA agents. What we're saying is we are prepared and we continue to be prepared domestically to engage and make sure that we respond even better the next time there's an influx, if there's an influx and then proactively engage with these possible sources of asylum seekers in the United States to to correct the record, provide accurate information and make sure that we engage so that they know the real nature of the Canadian Immigration System.
CC: Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez is also heading to California once again next week for outreach work with Hispanic communities. If Salvadorans in the U.S. do head north to Canada, Windsor - Ontario is one place that they may choose to come. Angela Ventura works closely with the Salvadoran community in Canada. She is a representative of the El Salvador association of Windsor. That's where we reached you this morning. Hello Angela Ventura.
ANGELA VENTURA: Yes. Buenos dias.
CC: Buenos dias to you. I wonder what you think of the Canadian government's message that we just heard there to Salvadorans in the United States to think twice before they come to Canada
ANGELA VENTURA: Well I believe they are right. After we have a little influx of not just the Haitians but other refugees, I believe the population of Canadians are a little bit tired of receiving refugees. But I am pleading to the government of Canada to consider, as you hear Yanira in Los Angeles. She speaks very well English. She deals with her degree which is journalism. So she is a good example that she can come as you know a professional which is just under the economic class as press entry, professionals, skilled workers. And also the nominee program for the province of Ontario is accepting construction workers, agricultural workers and the requirements are minimal. So what I'm asking the Government to reconsider to say 'Well yes because they're going to be deported from one country is going to be affecting that application'. But that requirement can be adjusted to accept them in Canada.
CC: Certainly listening to what the government is saying around this they have been encouraging people to apply through the kinds of programs that you are suggesting, but I suppose the other part of the equation is whether or not Salvadorans want to come to Canada. Whether it's through programs for skilled workers or just because they're worried about being deported from El Salvador and crossing irregularly as we've seen with the Haitian community. What are you hearing about whether or not Salvadorans are interested in coming here?
ANGELA VENTURA: Well I've been hearing a lot from the past, I would say since Monday an amount of text, calls, messages I receive him last night. Around 110 people inquiring to come to Canada. Because they wanted to have the people who has the skills and they are thinking 'well can I come?' But they don't want to do it illegally or irregular.
CC: They want to do it through these executive programs like skilled workers.
ANGELA VENTURA: Yes but you know for the application, some of the applications states: 'Were you ask to leave a country?' or deported from a country. And the answer will be 'yes'. And that would affect their application. So what I'm asking is to make some adjustments to the applications because some of them right now they are losing their TPS but they have an extension until September. So their status in the United States don't be affecting their applications to come to Canada. Yes there are interest to come. Some of them don't have the skills to bring into the country. But I would say the majority are professionals. I was disappointed with the comment of the president of the United States. But I think everybody's disappointed. And I was like an outrage, but then I felt 'well no'. I am proud to be a mother. And I want my daughter to be proud to be Salvadorian and have Salvadorian heritage and we are hardworking people. The only thing we have Catherine in El Salvador, the only resource that we have is human resource and we are proud of it. We work hard. We are survivors. We are creative. For example in New York, there is a lady who is TPS recipient. She owns seven restaurants in New York area. So it means that that person works really hard. So why we don't take her entrepreneurial skills and [unintelligible] into Canada with a lower funding request.
CC: I do want to know Angela, just before we let you go, how much hope do you have though that the situation can be resolved politically in the United States?
ANGELA VENTURA: At this point I was disappointed the way - even though the body language of the Congress people were trying to convince the president of the United States to asses DACA, the dreamers and we did negotiate in the wall and the dreamers and they were kind of begging. Their whole body language it says 'we are begging you'. So I be honest with you. It's a miracle that can change the whole political situation in the United States. Just a miracle.
CC: Angela Ventura thank you very much for taking time to talk to us today.
ANGELA VENTURA: Muchas gracias.
ANGELA VENTURA: Muchas gracias to you. Angela Venutra as a representative of the El Salvador association of Windsor. Up next the less than green side of legal marijuana. I'm Catherine Cullen and this is the Friday edition of The Current.
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Growing weed is not so great for the environment — what Canada can do to make it greener
Guests: Jonathan Page, Bruce Linton, Jake Brenner
CC: I'm Catherine Cullen and you're listening to the Friday edition of The Current.
[Sound: Inhaling and exhaling]
CC: For some Canadians the pungent smell of marijuana might bring to mind nature. Let's say tree hugging hippies. But the truth about marijuana and the environment is less than euphoric and with legal recreational marijuana on its way, more and more people are opening their eyes to the environmental impact of growing all that pot. That's because marijuana plants require a great deal of water and when they're grown indoors under artificial lights with air conditioners and dehumidifiers they can consume a lot of electricity. In fact one peer reviewed study from 2012 estimated that indoor marijuana production is responsible for about one percent of all energy consumption, in the United States, in the entire country. In California alone, it's believed to be responsible for 3 percent of the state's energy use. And so with legal industrial scale production on its way here many are asking how growing pot can be made more green. In Maple Ridge, British Columbia one license grow op says it's already prioritising the environment. Alexander Close is the creative director of Tantalus labs.
Okay. So we're going to move right this way. Excellent. After you. Notice the smell. [Chuckles] It's it's quite a distinct smell. So what we have here is a greenhouse that looks not unlike many other agricultural greenhouses in British Columbia. The difference is we have different systems that we've put into play. So that smell, that aroma that you're smelling right now, none of that makes its way outside because we have a natural odor filtration system that we use. We use a system of rainwater recapture here. So looking at the ceiling here there's troughs all along the roofing that leads towards a drainage pipe and goes back to storage ponds at the back of the facility. We then reuse that water It is triple filtered and that's what we use for our irrigation. The big difference between this facility and an indoor facility in comparison is that we use up to 90 percent less electricity. And that's because we're using natural sunlight. So if you go back and you think 'okay if I were to recreate nature in a box, I would need those three elements. I would need to use the water and the nutrients. I have to recreate sunlight as well. And I would use high pressure sodium light bulbs or LED light bulbs are the best light bulbs that I could find'. And while they're great and they can provide a lot of sunlight, they use a lot of electricity and then the lights get hot and you have to cool the lights and then you have to dehumidifier the air. And so that creates this system that consumes an excessive amount of electricity. So the difference between Sunlab is we use natural light. We're creating the ultimate environment for cannabis. We call it a day Swaffer weed.
Alexander close the creative director of Tantalus labs in Maple Ridge, B.C. We reached out to the Federal Government's Department of Environment and Climate Change a spokesperson told us that marijuana facilities will be subject to existing regulations for medical marijuana but that they are not planning any new regulations to deal with environmental concerns. Our next guest is calling on the Government to consider ways to lessen the environmental impact of growing marijuana. Jonathan Page is a botany professor at the University of British Columbia and the founder and CEO of Anandia Labs, a cannabis biotech company that creates new varieties of marijuana. He joins us from Vancouver. Hello Jonathan Page.
JONATHAN PAGE: Good morning Catherine.
CC: Good morning to you. So what do you want the government to consider when it comes to the environmental impact of marijuana?
JONATHAN PAGE: Well as the clip that you played before indicated that the consumption of electricity by cannabis growing is substantial. And what I did together with colleagues in a submission to the parliamentary health committee over the summer was to call on them to allow a range of options for growers, not just the sort of indoor system that we have now, but it would include outdoor growing. So the Tantalus lab group in Maple Ridge are talking about using sunlight and their greenhouse sounds you know very sustainable and there's many other greenhouses going up and in the cannabis industry and are being used now. But outdoor is still not at this point permitted and are our brief to the Standing Committee on Health is you should include outdoor production as a means to get more sustainable as well right.
CC: But there are proposed regulations right now that the government has still just wrapping up actually public consultations on those outdoor does appear to be an option that they're consulting on, correct?
JONATHAN PAGE: That's right yes. So I think it was a good response to what we said and what other people said as well that outdoor should be possible. And you're right the draft consultation document does include outdoor and I think that's a win for sustainability in this industry. But it's not a done deal. So we want to keep making sure that that message is heard.
CC: I guess what we're talking about are certainly what the government's objective is in all of this is to replace the existing black market with a legal market. So theoretically all of this marijuana is being grown already, right, at least in theory. So why should legalisation be a moment of particular concern about all of this?
JONATHAN PAGE: Well you're right. There's a huge amount of cannabis being grown across the country. It's supplying the black market as well as that we have the large number of licensed producers and legal cannabis system as well. The illicit market is primarily growing indoors probably under lights and in a sort of bunker style systems. And you know as we transition their infrastructure into a new system it is an opportunity to get it right to sort of encourage some of the better practices that would reduce the carbon footprint, Reduce say water runoff that might contaminate other systems. When you're creating a new legal industry I think this is a sort of a point where the government through its regulations can encourage more sustainable system.
CC: As you mentioned earlier you're making the case for outdoor growing. But talk to me a bit about the consequences of that both on the that the product, I suppose the crop itself, and the environmental or environmental consequences that come along with that as well in terms of water usage as I understand it.
JONATHAN PAGE: So in terms of the crop itself it's definitely the case that outdoor grown cannabis is generally of not as high quality as indoor grown. And by indoor I mean both the sort of concrete bunker style and greenhouse. So outdoors it's open to the elements, crops can fail, you can have bad weather, so one summer and then plants don't look very good. So you know I think consumers who are now accessing the black market are accessing high quality products from the licence producers will want to keep that at least for dried by the canabis flowers to keep this sort of access to their sort of preferred high quality for. So that's I think that's the biggest issue in terms of using outdoor ads as a means to supply the market is that the quality generally isn't as good because of this outdoor situation doesn't allow that the grower to fine tune the environment as well.
CC: Is it realistic then to imagine that businesses are going to want to grow a lower quality product?
JONATHAN PAGE: Well I think it's realistic in the sense that there's a range of forms of cannabis that are consumed. So where there's obviously the bud the, dried herbal cannabis, it's smoked or vaporized and that that's where there's real emphasis on high quality premium stuff. But if there's extraction towards other derivative products for example Cannabinoids THC and other things that go into edibles or concentrates that are vaporised, extracting material grown outside really doesn't alter the sort of quality of that end product. So the government could also encourage sustainability by fast tracking some of these alternative non [unintelligible] forms of cannabis to the market. And I think they can be quite readily supplied by that sort of more cheaply grown but more sustainable outdoor product.
CC: And yet when we look at the political reality of all of this. It's the opposite that's happening, right. The government has put off the decision about edibles. Those aren't expected to be part of the market until I believe it's a year after legalisation kicks in.
JONATHAN PAGE: That's right. You know one of the things that the health committee amended in Bill C 45 was to actually sort of put a timeline for edibles and other types of products but it will be a year supposedly after the legalisation date.
CC: Jonathan page, we are almost out of time but before I let you go I want to know you know, this is a massive sea change in many ways, right, ending the prohibition of a substance. And there are so many things to think about security issues, any number of things, with regulations. How optimistic are you that environmental concerns are really going to be part of the discussion when so many other things are going on?
JONATHAN PAGE: Well think they will be, there's a sort of strong arm of government regulation to push things. And I guess the message seems to be that government doesn't want to sort of create a whole other sort of environmental system around cannabis. But I think the industry itself is going to realise that lower cost production is beneficial for them obviously and that will lead to sustainability gains as well. So I think we'll see increases in - or better growing methods applied because people want to save money on their production costs as well. So I'm optimistic I think that over time both industry and the regulator will sort of work together to get us to a better place than we are now.
CC: Okay, thank you very much for your time today.
JONATHAN PAGE: Thanks Catherine.
CC: Jonathan Page is a botany professor at the University of British Columbia and the founder and CEO of Anandia Labs, a cannabis biotech company. We reached him in Vancouver. While Canopy Growth is the largest licensed grower of marijuana in the country and is poised to become the biggest recreational marijuana supplier after legalisation, to hear an industry perspective on this issue I'm joined by Canopy Growth founder CEO and chairman Bruce Linton, he's in our Toronto studio. Hello Bruce Linton.
BRUCE LINTON: Good morning.
CC: Now you heard what Jonathan page was saying there particularly about growing outdoors. What do you make of that?
BRUCE LINTON: Well I was trying to filter my reaction but I'm pretty weak at that skill set. So I like a picture is a group of 17 year olds with drones advocating that fields of cannabis be available for them to find ways to steal. So like let's really think about what we're doing. We're trying to migrate from the black market where it's produced using no consideration of environment. Really what they do is they'll spend as much as they need in a short term cost, meaning bad for environment, lots of power, lots of chemical sprays in order to sell a product that they don't have to invest any capital and so they have sustainable platforms that harvest rainwater or use heat exchangers. And so the idea of growing outside without a roof strikes me as a terrific idea if I was 17 and had a drone in a horrible one if I actually want a sustainable transition from the black market. But growing in greenhouses which is about 80 percent ish of the platform for Tweed and Canopy everybody harvest rainwater, everybody uses sun. Everybody tries to recycle every drop of nutrient because it is good business and good environment. And it's one of those occasions where when you exit the black market and enter a regulated market you can actually use capital to make reliable systems that are better for cost and performance and better for the environment. But you can also use all the skills of engineers in large scale because you're no longer having to hide your production. And so I think you know we'll get to the right place but I don't think it involves fields of cannabis in some kind of open growth thing.
CC: It's worth noting that in California for instance there are places where marijuana is grown outdoors and that the regulations that the Federal Government is proposing would still require obviously a security perimeter a significant security perimeter around an outdoor growth facility.
BRUCE LINTON: While it is worth noting that in California it's still federally illegal and a really big production facility in California is probably five to seven percent of the moderate sized one here. And so they're kind of more like canned tendered locations. I still can't get the image out of my mind of a drone, like it's a field. I don't know how many drones we have in my house because I have a couple of teenagers.
CC: You just think it's going to get ripped off.
BRUCE LINTON: It is for sure going to get ripped off. The question is and if it's when. So that you should at least have a security containment. And from a canopy perspective if we could grow it out there at all it does is decreased our cost of production which of course I'd be in flavor of, unless I thought it had an actual negative impact on the ability for the sector to evolve into something that's properly regulated.
CC: Is there is it enough to say we're going to do a much better job on environmental issues in the black market ever would or would you be in favour of the Federal Government putting in place some sort of measures I guess to push cannabis growers to be more environmentally sensitive?
BRUCE LINTON: Well I think the current bulk of cannabis growers are the illegal ones and I described how they run it. We're not starting at zero. So for example I'm very upset that the weather today is in the Ottawa area above 2 degrees centigrade.
CC: I'm not upset it is wonderful [laughs]
BRUCE LINTON: It's a polar bear, and the reason is about four years ago when you look at the operating costs of growing the say 20 percent of what we do inside, I don't want to pay to cool air and dehumidifier air using electricity when it's cold. So we put together a system - now almost four years ago and have expanded substantially that as soon as it's 2 degrees centigrade or colder I use less than half the power I would use in the summertime. And that's because of technology and heat exchangers and spending about 70 million dollars inside the former Hershey factory. So what we have is the most sustainable which is also the most cost effective way to operate a business when you look at how much does it cost to produce a gram not how much capital that I put in play to produce a gram. And so I think there's a whole bunch of activities that just naturally fall out of having a regulated price competitive market which is what we run in and have for the last four or five years.
CC: When people make the comparison to other crops, I think often the comparison is made to grapes for instance, that a marijuana plant requires so much more water than the grapes needed to make wine. Do you think that's a fair comparison?
BRUCE LINTON: So we haven't seen in Canada any venues which were producing grapes for wine. Switch over I think that you're seeing primarily things like tomato pepper and in many cases, so it's our first greenhouse was empty for four years or five years before we bought it the Hershey plant was empty. So you're comparing a plant that used to grow eggplants that was empty to growing cannabis.
CC: Well I guess what I'm asking is do you accept that this is a particularly thirsty or energy hungry crop?
BRUCE LINTON: I think it is a moderately thirsty and it can be energy consumptive if you're doing it in a black market way where you're not actually building big infrastructure. It might cost base. I still spend way more on labour than I do power and when I look at a cost per gram, if you grow it in a greenhouse your production costs really are labour and nutrients. You do as you evolve up and use equipment to harvest you use electricity but you know it does use quite a lot of electricity. It uses less when it's done under a regulated environment because we have ways to actually use capital to decrease electricity consumption. And so it is a thing. We're not introducing Canopus we're just trying to take seven or eight or 10 billion dollars of black market production and turn it into regulated. And from an environment perspective our regulated platform it must grow the product not using all the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides so you know when you hear the news story of the Grow Up which was a legal turning house into a mill mold filled mess. The crop that grows in there grows great because they cover it with chemicals. Our sector doesn't do that. So there's a variety of environmental considerations that go from power to what is the product and how is it actually produced and what chemicals are being used and wasted.
CC: Is there anything you think that the federal government ought to do on the environmental front as it's considering legalisation?
BRUCE LINTON: I think the market based drivers are working pretty well but what they have to do is I think keep looking at the point of the exercise which is to transition a supply chain for an existing thing from a black market, which is highly negative in terms of production on environment to a controlled one. And so as long as they don't get too fancy on the idea of let's prioritise something above the black market transition I think they can tune it overtime. And it seems that capital markets are pretty good at pushing us to find ways to save power and anything else we can to make it less costly.
CC: Okay. We're going to leave it there. Thank you very much for your time today, Bruce Linton.
BRUCE LINTON: Thank you.
CC: Bruce Linton is Canopy Growth CEO founder and chairman. He was in our Toronto studio. Recreational marijuana is already legal in a number of states south of the border. We are talking with California already it's a burgeoning multi-billion dollar industry and it's having an environmental impact. According to our next guest, there may be lessons to learn as Canada proceeds with legalisation. Jake Brenner is a professor of geography in the Department of Environmental Studies and Science at Ithaca College. He is in Ithaca New York. Hello Jake Brenner.
JAKE BRENNER: Hello. Good morning Catherine.
CC: Good morning to you. I want to know what you think of what we just heard from the CEO and founder of Canopy Growth here in Canada.
JAKE BRENNER: It's been really interesting for me to hear from both of our guests because these are some dimensions of the issue that I haven't grappled with as much. And from the U.S. perspective we perhaps haven't considered in such depth. Outdoor growing is primarily what has been done in California where I do my research. And although we're seeing increasing numbers of greenhouses, both light assisted and natural greenhouses coming onto the scene, the majority of the growth that we have that we've discovered has been in indoor facilities. But I would agree with what was said earlier the scale of the operation is much much smaller.
CC: Obviously we haven't mentioned this and we probably should but the weather is a lot different in most of Canada than it is in California which would also be a bit of a barrier for people pushing for outdoor growth.
JAKE BRENNER: Sure. Absolutely. California's Mediterranean climate provides a much friendlier atmosphere literally for cannabis growth. And so I think U.S. production with Northern California being the site where the bulk of US production is occurring right now doesn't face some of those climatic challenges that I think much of many regions in Canada would face.
CC: When we look at the environmental impacts of marijuana production, writ large what are your biggest concerns?
JAKE BRENNER: Well my biggest concerns and the biggest concerns that are thus far documented out there in the scientific literature are water. Water use certainly has been a huge issue and agrichemicals have been an issue. Paper came out yesterday demonstrating that rodenticides that are routinely applied to growths in northern California are being found deep in the national forests in owls and previously we knew that they were showing up and threatened Pacific fishery populations. So agrichemical use especially uncontained agrichemical use in outdoor growth is a major issue. But land cover change is a pretty significant issue there as well because when you put a grow into typically a remote area because - as you recall in the US cannabis is still and I would say increasingly given the current administration federally illegal - you see a lot of clandestine behaviour - these groves which have a 50 year history of evading capture are not likely to move just because cannabis has become recreationally legal in California at the state level. So what we see is that these growths are placed and clustered significantly in spatial terms far from roads, close to streams and in remote areas on steep slopes. So we see a lot of erosion, a lot of sedimentation of streams. We see the outright de-watering of streams because the harvest takes place during the driest part of the year. And we see forest fragmentation. So we've seen that on a per unit area basis cannabis farms are actually more impactful to the forest as far as land cover change goes than timber.
CC: Really? That's interesting. I wonder, you are pointing to so many things. What do you think the key lessons are for Canadians or particularly for the Canadian government if you had to give them some advice about legalisation? How can they minimise the impact?
JAKE BRENNER: Well what I see and what I've heard this morning, what I've been able to follow in the news is that Canada is going through a lot of the processes that the US sooner or later will go through should the day come when cannabis becomes federally legal. So it's I think a lot of the a lot of the steps that are being taken are in the right direction. I would like to see very careful regulation of where and how cannabis is growing. And I guess the research that we've done points most directly to where there are places on the landscape where growing whether it's indoor or outdoor just is not appropriate given the physical features, given slope given proximity to threatened and endangered habitat for those species and things like that. So I think that any type of regulatory regime whether it's coming from at the federal level or at the municipal level that can get a handle on and direct the location of these operations is as good and important.
CC: What about having both indoor and outdoor options as the Federal Government is currently considering. Do you think that's wise?
JAKE BRENNER: Well that's kind of a question for the market. I'm reluctant to say that one or the other production mode is more or less environmentally harmful. Indoor and outdoor growing have different issues associated with them. Water use is certainly different given that you have controlled evapotranspiration in the indoor setting. The containment of the chemicals would be different in the indoor setting. The land use land cover impacts would be different because you're growing at different densities and some of the concerns that have been raised earlier about the quality of the product which is sort of the other end of the production chain would come to bear as well. There always going to be environmental impacts to whatever agricultural enterprise we embark on. It's just a matter of what are the associated benefits and higher value product produced at a higher density perhaps means that the environmental impacts associated with that are relatively more worth it.
CC: We're almost out of time Jake Brenner but I want to know if you could pick one thing that you're going to be watching most closely as Canada embarks on recreational legalisation what is it?
JAKE BRENNER: OI think are going to be watching the degree to which cannabis is treated like a regular agricultural crop. I think in a quasi-legal situation that we face in the United States I think that's the key issue. We've treated cannabis as a drug, then we treated it like a medicine and we failed to acknowledge that it is a regular legit albeit extremely valuable agricultural commodity and I'm curious to see if cannabis has its own special regime or if cannabis is folded into the existing systems.
CC: Okay thank you very much for your time today.
JAKE BRENNER: Thank you very much.
CC: Jake Brenner is a professor of geography in the Department of Environmental Studies and Science at Ithaca College. He was in Ithaca New York. Well that is our program for today. Stay tuned to Radio 1 for Q. Tom Power welcomes jazz singer Gregory Porter. His new album is dedicated to the late great Nat King Cole. And remember you can always take The Current with you to go on the CBC Radio app it lets you browse through past episodes of our show and start listening in just a few seconds. It can search for stories you missed or want to hear again or listen live to your local CBC station right from your smartphone or tablet. I use it. It's great. Download it. You can hear today's top stories, even make your own playlist of your favourite stuff to listen to later. It is free from the App Store or Google Play. Finally today we've just been looking at the environmental impacts of growing marijuana ahead of legalisation. Health Canada is preparing for that day by arming Canadian parents with need to know information about marijuana so they can talk to their teens about it and know all the latest lingo. The federal agency that prepared an online primer on marijuana including some of the many names it's known by we asked a few of our producers to read Health Canada's list. See how many names you recognise or how many you think were left out. I am Catherine Cullen. Thanks for listening to the Friday edition of The Current.
Or was it broom? Broom?
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