Listen to the full episode
They're not really going to build a relationship with a cop and a student because you already don't like it.
PIYA CHATTOPADHYAY: In cities across Canada armed police officers are patrolling schoolyards and hallways. They're called school resource officers and they're supposed to improve relations between students and cops. But critics say it's doing the opposite that schools are no place for police. So do they belong? We'll debate that issue in just a few moments. Then getting the blues in queues.
VOICE 1: They push, they shov, they are rude.
VOICE 2: They have [unintelligible]
Voice 1: It’s not the French revolution, is it?
PC: They can cause stress, anxiety, rage and in some extreme cases even murder. If it feels like you've spent a lifetime in lines you're not alone. Whether it is brunch, rollercoasters, airport security or just waiting for your morning coffee queuing up can be annoying. Filmmaker Josh Freed feels your pain. He traveled the world to break the rules and test people's patience in lines for his new documentary. We go inside The Taming of The Queue, in half an hour. Also today they're the people you can't work with the ones you wish would just go away. You know, those people.
The Stephen data. Back from vacation. The guy with the tag. [unintelligible]
PC: Adam Kahane has negotiated peace deals in 50 conflicts around the world. Now he's sharing a few tricks for dealing with the people in the workplace. We'll talk about his new book: Collaborating With The Enemy. That's in an hour. Hi I'm Piya Chattopadhyay. And you're listening to the Friday edition of The Current.Back To Top »
Do police belong in schools?
Guest: Andrea Vasquez Jimenez, Andrea Kennedy
[Crowds shouting] Let us in. Let us in . Let us in. Let us in. Let us in.
PC: Well that is what it sounded like yesterday outside of Toronto Police Services Board meeting. Inside, members were considering whether to suspend a controversial program that puts police officers in schools. The protesters interrupted the meeting calling for an end to the SRO program or School Resource Officer Program. The end result was to study the issue more and it deferred a decision on whether to suspend the program until December of this year. This is a heated issue in Toronto in 2007 15 year old Jordan Manor's was shot dead inside C.W. Jeffrys high school next year. Toronto Police assigned officers in 75 schools across the city. And Toronto's not alone. Vancouver Edmonton and Winnipeg have similar programs. But the idea of cops in schools is upsetting to a lot of people. This is Kabir Joshi-Vijayan speaking to the community broadcasting group Jane-Finch.com back in 2009.
We already know that the schools, even without police, are not really conducive to racialized and marginalized youth. There are already spaces that people are being pushed out of. And being pushed directly from school into the prison industrial complex without police there. Now that the police there. Is not only speeding that up but you know students are afraid to go to school.
PC: Vijayan was a grade 10 student at the time and an activist fighting to get police out of his school. Many students, parents and educators agree with his take but defenders of the program say it makes schools safer and leads to better relations between kids and police in general. Today we're asking whether police should have a presence in Canadian schools. Andrea Vasquez Jimenez, Co-Chair, Latinx and Afro-Latin-America Abya Yala Education Network. It is one of the groups leading the fight against police in schools in Toronto. She's here with me in our Toronto studio. Hello.
ANDREA VASQUEZ JIMENEZ: Hi good morning. Thank you for having me.
PC: It is nice to have you here. You were at the meeting yesterday at the police services board what was the atmosphere like?
ANDREA VASQUEZ JIMENEZ: It was definitely intense. It had seemed as if only the people who are there are pro the SRO program were being stacked up first to dispute in books. And also we had seen a lot of Toronto Catholic District School Board administration staffed their teachers, principals and a lot of students that were essentially tokenized. And we did not see the same focus of theToronto Catholic District School Board to have the other say, the students who are very much stigmatized and are against the SRO program.
PC: So yesterday's meeting was a show of this issue that which has been controversial for some time now. Why do you want the Toronto police to suspend this program? What's wrong with having cops in our schools?
ANDREA VASQUEZ JIMENEZ: And so essentially we definitely do take a firm stance that the bottom line is SROs are not educators, SROs are police officers whether they be within those spaces armed are armed. They are police officers and they have no justification, there's no rationalization or no need for police officers to be within the confines of our children’s, youth’s and students’ classrooms in schools.
PC: Why not?
ANDREA VASQUEZ JIMENEZ: The whole notion, it's called the school to prison pipeline. So essentially having police presence there not only marginalizes those who are very much afraid of police. However things that were dealt with in alternative forms such as principals or teachers dealing, whether it be with disputes or conflict and methods of a de-escalation or through mediation or other methods, instead having police present there definitely, and there's been a research that's backed that up back this up, it has increased not only the charging, arrest and incarceration of youth, but it definitely puts them into the information gathering the database of police which is very much dangerous for our children and youth. Our children are not people that are to be criminalized and police presence within schools does that.
PC: So when you say they've been brought in to de-escalate conflicts, I mean what the stories? What have you heard from students? Give me some examples.
ANDREA VASQUEZ JIMENEZ: There's been many. Even as a co-chair of line we've been contacted to essentially remove one of our students. A community member contact us very much concerned because an administration of a Toronto school had ousted their status in front of an SRO. And so what's very much worse in there is the well documented information of the partnership of Toronto Police Services with the Canada Border Services Agency. Within one year they've had made contact over 5000 times. And essentially what we had to do is do a safety plan immediately have that student be removed from that school or transfer them to another school. But not only does it affect the student, the youth at school it affects their family. We had to essentially get in contact with the family tell them leave the household right now. We're not sure if the police is going to go there and essentially they would be incarcerated and deported. So we had to actually have them find a new location for new house and find the youth a new school. There's other instances, so aside from also the experiences of those who are undocumented and that fear of being ousted by police is very much real. As well we have 6 year olds that are being handcuffed. Why are 6 year olds being handcuffed by police, adult people? They are handcuffing 6 year olds. We also have children who are getting knees to the back. And this is not an issue that is new. It is not an issue that's today. Historically in 2009 in Northern secondary school there was an arrest and approximately a 100 youth at Northern secondary school protested against SRO program.
PC: These police officers these SROs are not in every Toronto school what kinds of schools are they in?
ANDREA VASQUEZ JIMENEZ: And so essentially in regards to Toronto they are very much put in targeted schools.
PC: What does that mean?
ANDREA VASQUEZ JIMENEZ: So essentially where there is most marginalized, particularly black, indigenous, people of color and racialized students they are not in all schools, and it is very much a debate that not even the debate it's a reality that the policing of our children and youth is very much connected to anti-black racism. It's very much connected to racism and it's the targeting and surveillance of our most marginalized populations in these neighborhoods.
PC:I want to play a bit of tape for you. This is to a teacher at C.W. Jeffrys high school that's where Jordan Manners was shot talking about the SRO program and then we'll hear from a student at that school.
ANDREA VASQUEZ JIMENEZ: Okay. Thank you.
VOICE 1: We chose kids that you know probably aren't doing things they're supposed to be doing at lunch and after school. And the SROs and me and these kids all go on bike rides together and… When we first started that the kids were a little hesitant. It is a complete paradigm shift. You know 10, eight weeks later, they're like we're having our final sort of pizza lunch where the kids and the cops and like, these guys are pretty cool. There were went from don't want to have anything to do with them to knowing that they're just normal people and they're having a relationship with them and trusting them.
VOICE 2: They make a good outcome at C.W. Jeffrys they make us feel safe more safe in C. W. Jeffrys, you know. They do after school activities with us, they play with us and all of that. So I feel safe. Like, I just feel safe.
PC: Andrea, some of these SROs sound like they are building a relationship with students like the example we just heard. Is it beneficial for students to build more positive relationships with police? Especially in neighborhoods where there is more acrimonious relationship?
ANDREA VASQUEZ JIMENEZ: And we definitely understand that even yesterday there are a lot of youth stating their personal relationship with an SRO. But what we're talking about here is, the bottom line is it's a systemic issue. It's not about a couple of good apples here and there even from Toronto Catholic District School Board students that we had spoken to yesterday. A colleague of mine from Education Not Incarceration which we definitely are a part of and support, found out from a student that they were advised to only speak to their relationship to the SRO in their school and they were very much not aware as to how the SRO program actually works, how there are information gathering teams. And essentially what we speak to is a systemic issue and that, why is it that all of a sudden we have no alternatives that police are replacing educators. Police are replacing and essentially doing the jobs that our social workers, our guidance counselors, our child and youth workers, our teachers should be doing. These are very much systemic issues and once again because police are not educators they should not be within the confines of our school.
PC: Police were put in some Toronto schools after the shooting of Jordan Manor's a year after that. That was a reaction they said that was one of the things that they did. Why do you think that Toronto police put cops centers in our school boards in schools in the first place what was the motive as you see it?
ANDREA VASQUEZ JIMENEZ: So in regards to the motive the thing is that did not connect with community.
PC: They didn't consult with communities?
ANDREA VASQUEZ JIMENEZ: From what we've been able to be aware of that supposing they had done once but they haven't done any real thorough consultations to even have them within schools. And so the whole notion that they're speaking to community engagement but are bringing SRO programs, police into our schools and classrooms of our youth and students and children. How is it that they're able and capable to do that without our consultation? And for what Purposes?
PC: Andree good to talk to you. Thank you.
ANDREA VASQUEZ JIMENEZ: Thank you.
PC: Andrew Vasquez Jimenez is the co-chair of Latinx and Afro-Latin-America Abya Yala Education Network. It is one of the groups leading the fight against cops in schools in Toronto. She was here with me in our studio. Well our next guest says that school resource officers are key members of the school family who serve as “positive role models, mentors, coaches, counselors and in many cases much needed adult authority figures in the daily lives of many students”. That's how she described them in a letter sent to the Toronto Police Services Board on behalf of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Angela Kennedy is the chair of that board the TCDSB and she is in Toronto. Hello.
ANGELA KENNEDY: Hello. What do you make of the concerns you just heard from Andrea Vasquez Jimenez about the presence of police officers in Toronto schools?
ANGELA KENNEDY: Well we've had an inquiry following the tragic shooting of two of our students at Don Bosco in 2015. And a result of that inquiry we heard from many students and many parents are on board and we heard that that it was very positive to have the police officers in the schools. We heard that they were very key, they were key to the student's safety and to maintaining an environment, a caring safe environment overall.
PC: You did a survey and in that survey 50 percent just upwards of the students said they feel safe. There's another 50 percent then who don't feel the same way, what about them?
ANGELA KENNEDY: Well, we are attempting we do... Part of that inquiry we had 33 recommendations. So we are consistently partnering with organizations in order to keep our students safe. And one of the organizations is the Police Services Board.
PC: But the question was about the other students who say that having police in their schools doesn't make them feel safe.
ANGELA KENNEDY: The fact that we have from teachers and from students is that it is really important to have that authority figure, that liaison person there to be able to talk to teachers and we're consistently attempting you know, to develop you know strong relationships with our school communities I think that it's an ongoing issue and we're you know committed to ensuring the safety of our student.
PC: Angela Kennedy I'd like you to listen to Knia Singh a lawyer an activist who spoke at the Toronto Police Services Board meeting yesterday about the impact of having officers in schools.
We have good aspects of it but we have other negative aspects. Personally I know of a case where a young person had an argument with an officer subsequently charged and given a criminal record suspended from school. And that's not the type of actions that we need in schools. We need school officers to be supported. And I know that's one story out of many but there's other stories where students have come to me and they've explained that they feel intimidated they've been spoken to in a disrespectful manner. However when I asked if they would like to complain they said no we don't want to complain because we're scared for our safety.
PC: Angela Kennedy what do you make of that concern that some students may not even feel safe reporting negative interactions with police in their schools?
ANGELA KENNEDY: Yeah we had heard that. And I did talk to some, actually I talked to some parents who had children in the Filipino community and what their comment was is that the students felt less intimidated when there was a police officer who was not in uniform. And what I understand is that the police officers are in plain clothes in our schools.
PC: Are they armed?
ANGELA KENNEDY: I think when they're in plain clothes they are not. They're not.
PC: What are their jobs in our schools? What are they doing?
ANGELA KENNEDY: So they're acting as mentors, as role models. My son teaches in a school at 401 and Nielson road. And he told me that there was a police officer who actually coached beside him and the students you know became very trusting of that police officer. And also teachers were able to you know able to develop a relationship with the police officer and perhaps you know if they needed some advice or even if students needed some advice they were they could easily go to the to the police officer.
PC: What about what Andrea had said earlier about this the work that some of the police officers are doing is the work of educators and school guidance counselors, that we shouldn't have police in schools. Are police officers doing the work that others should be doing in our public schools?
ANGELA KENNEDY: No we have our teachers, we have our social workers, we have our guidance counselors. And of course you know with the education dollar, you know the education dollar is not going very far these days, we could use more. But that's not the job of the of the police officer, it's not to replace the teacher not to replace social worker. He or she is there to act as a community partner.
PC: As I said earlier this is not only taking place in Toronto it's happening in other cities in Canada and I want you to take a listen to another comment. This is Alana Abramson. She's an instructor in criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey B.C. and she has worked with the RCMP on the development of their school Resource Officer Program.
There is a lack of clarity about what their role is and should be. And so this dialogue is very important not only amongst police and these individual schools but also amongst parents and community members. What do we see as the most important and the most helpful role of police in schools? One of the negative consequences is, in having the police presence grow in our schools is that behavior that previously was dealt with within the school with parents and with school administration is now being criminalized. And so we start to see young people that, in the past that issue might have been resolved at the school level now entering in the justice system.
PC: Angela Kennedy how clear would you say the roles of police officers are at your schools? I know you said that they're not doing the work of teachers but do you think the lines are very clear?
ANGELA KENNEDY: Yes. You know we have safe action teams in each of our high schools and parents, teachers, students are part of the safe action teams. And the police officers in the school role is discussed at this time and you know in order to decide whether a school will have the police officer there. The school has a part of the safe action team and the school council plays a part in the decision. So all schools do not have to have them if the community would like to have them then that is a community decision.
PC: As you know this is a broader issue about the relationship between police and you know marginalized communities; black communities; Indigenous communities; people of color. And when you heard Andrea Vasquez Jimenez say six year olds being handcuffed. People's immigration status being outed in the schools. How do you reconcile that with having cops in the schools? What do you say to that? Because I don't think most people think a 6 year old being handcuffed is an okay thing.
ANGELA KENNEDY: First of all they are not in our elementary schools. The SRO program is in our high schools. And as far as I know this is not happening in our schools. The role of the police officer is…
PC: So you've never heard any negative feedback?
ANGELA KENNEDY: No I have not.
PC: No one has ever said you know it's not working for me and my kid or this happened at my school and you've never heard that is the chair of the Catholic school board?
ANGELA KENNEDY: No I have not. And you know the Safe School inquiry that we had in 2015 it was overall the comments were very very positive and that's how we came to write that letter. We came to write the letter because that was a recommendation number 28 from the safe school inquiry to say that this was a very important way to keep our community safe was with that SRO program.
PC: Angela Kennedy thank you for your time we'll have to leave it there. Appreciate it.
ANGELA KENNEDY: Okay, thank you.
PC: Angela Kennedy is the chair of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. She was in Toronto. We do want to hear from you on this. Are police and schools breaking down barriers or criminalizing kids? You can tweet us @thecurrentCBC. Find us on Facebook or e-mail us from our website cbc.ca/thecurrent and click on the Contact link. All right the CBC News is next. Then do you feel like you're waiting your life away?
People don't stay in the line. Waiting hours for a restaurant. This is impossible there.
PC: Well no one likes lines. Full stop. Especially if you're waiting to use the washroom. But queuing culture is different all over the world. Director Josh Freed's new documentary looks at the history and tensions around the lines. It is called The Taming of the Queue. And we're lining that for you. It is coming up next. I'm Piya Chattopadhyay . You're listening to the Friday edition of The Current. We're back in just a bit.
[Music: Theme]Back To Top »
Cue the rage over queues: Documentary explores social science of lining up
Guest: Josh Freed, Richard Larson
PC: Hi I am Piya Chattopadhyay and you're listening to the Friday edition of The Current.
PC: Still to come a beginner's guide to conflict resolution.
Those people are wrong. We can't work with those people. We're just going to make it the way we want it to be.
PC: That's too forceful. Let's put an X on that. Coming up I'll talk to a negotiator Adam Kahane who shares 30 years of experience in his new book Collaborating With The Enemy How To Work With People You Don't Agree With Or Like Or Trust. Listen and learn. But first my next guest wants to cut the line.
VOICE 1: I'm [unintelligible] in a little bit of a hurry. I just go inside and sit alone at the counter.
VOICE 2: Eh, Yeah. Actually I do.
VOICE 1: Why? I'm just I'm just on my own it won't take long.
VOICE 2: No. What makes you so special over everybody else is waiting in line, even if you are just one person. Everybody's got to wait. So, I'm waiting. She's waiting there waiting. End of the line for me. End of the line.
PC: And you. That's Montreal filmmaker and columnist Josh Freed trying to break one of the cardinal rules of standing in line. Yes. The dreaded cutting in and he's trying it at none other than Schwartz's Deli in Montreal, which is renowned for its very long lineups. No wonder it didn't go so well. Well if you are listening to us from your car or at the bank or the grocery store chances are you can relate. You're waiting and waiting and waiting. Just so you can shuffle ahead that extra little bit. Lining up or queuing as the British call it is the subject of Josh Freed's new aptly titled documentary The Taming of the Queue. The film gets its debut this Sunday on CBC's documentary channel. Josh fried is in our Montreal studio. Hello.
JOSH FREED: Hi, Piya.
PC: You're not at Schwarz's?
JOSH FREED: I am not a Schwarz's but I can promise you the line is 40 minutes long now as it was when I passed by an hour ago.
PC: [Laughs] I got to say I haven't spent much of my time in life thinking about lineups and I say that because, well at first blush it sounds like; line ups, they're pretty mundane. We all have to do it all the time is just the way we go about in society. Why do you want to make a doc about it?
JOSH FREED: You know it's partly because like you I just spent a lot of my life just not thinking about it. Supermarkets, airports, more airports. So I was standing in a long Quebec driver's license bureau line about six years ago when I just was bored out of my mind, and I started wondering why do we actually line up like this? Where did this idea start? Like do all countries line up the same way or do they push. And I just started to do some research on it and it turned out we actually lose billions quite possibly trillions of hours a year in lineups. In people lineups, in car lineups, in those telephone lineups, that drives you crazy when you're on hold. And I realized bizarrely that we seemed to lose one to two years of our life in line, according to a lot of experts. And it's actually a big little subject. It is a tiny subject but it actually matters. So I thought nobody's ever done a film. Why not?
PC: The thing I always say about smartphones is that they have solved the boredom of a lineup for so many of us. Right we've got some to do now, but we still get annoyed even though we might have something to do. And you know we'll talk about the origins of the lineup at the queue in just a sec because you found the origins. But why? You know on top of just waiting and wasting time, lineups annoy us, like really annoy us so many of us, so much. Why do you think that is?
JOSH FREED: I think because it's really dead time in a busy fast society we're used to doing things. And it's really lost time. And you're right the cell phone is actually one of the bigger sort of leaps in progress in standing in a line because at least you can read a newspaper and what it reveals is this big thing. There's the time you're in line, and you're actually in line for a certain amount of time. But the psychology of being in line is important and there's a line rule that goes occupied time in line is shorter than an occupied time. That is if you're doing nothing it feels like forever. If you're in your phone it feels faster. And so for example supermarket's let you bag of groceries because you're doing something, right? And that they may even make the conveyer belt a bit longer, so you'll try to bag it and the more you're doing the more occupied you are the more you think time is shorter although you're doing the work but you don't mind that much, because you're doing something they fool you. And one other example a lot of airports had so many complaints about people walking to their luggage carousels they solved it a crazy way. They move the carousels further away so people would have to walk to their luggage. And they stop complaining because they thought they were busy. It actually takes longer to walk to your luggage but they fool you into thinking you're busy so people stop complaining.
PC: Wow that is a good secret revealed my friend. Let us talk about the lineup. It's like you know humanity started and there was a line or something like that. Where did you find the history you've traced the queue to the French Revolution right?
JOSH FREED: Yeah it turns out, that was pretty much other than Noah's Ark two by two. That was pretty much, the life of a lineup that was pretty much just mobs. You know what I call it worst come first serve. You know if you were big you got to the front of the line first. And then the French Revolution, uou know the whole idea was Liberty Equality Fraternity. Egualite. So there were bread lines in this part of this democratization process. They created a first come first serve line where everybody was equal. You can be sure the noblemen were not in that line. But whoever got there first got served first and that was the beginning of the lineup. And the British who were on the other side of the queue a lot of writers at that time in the late 1700s are writing, look what the weird French are doing on the other side. They're all standing in straight lines. What's that about? So the British investigated by the 1800s they were lining up. And eventually the British became the world's masters at lining up. And that's why I actually go to England in the film to visit Britain, because they are the king of the lineups.
PC: And of course the English word ‘queue’, QUEUE is French word.
JOSH FREED: Yeah. From the from the word ‘tail’ like know the long tail behind your hair for instance a braid of your hair.
PC: I want to go back to the tape that we played off at the top because I would say Josh Freed You were very brave man kind of trying to cut in line at Schwartz's deli. How angry was that guy when you tried to jump ahead?
JOSH FREED: He was really mad. At first place, it's not easy to cutline it. You really have to .. you're brought up to be polite you know. And doing it… I did it a number of times in each country for various reasons and that guy when he got mad I felt terrible. And we tried this in all kinds of places and in the States I actually don't have any film, because twice people threatened to break my camera when I broke in the line they got so angry that I realized I know people get killed in queues there's a lot of statistics on that, and I didn't want to die on this film shoot so we don't have footage in the States. And I also pushed in in England which was interesting. English is complicated because British respect the queue amazingly and they are they believe that to queue up is to be democratic and to demonstrate how much more organized and civil they are in the world. But as experts there told me they were too polite to throw you out so I cut in to about seven or eight different British lines. And again it wasn't easy and you can see on camera, Piya, people glare at me. People stare at me. You can see people talking to each other and pointing at me. But nobody ever asked me to leave the line in England. They never asked me to leave. Too polite.
PC: This is so interesting because when you use example Schwarz's and then what about Britain. I mean lineups have a lot to do with class and culture and context don't they?
JOSH FREED: Absolutely. And one of the ironies in England where we… We go to Wimbledon, which is that Wimbledon tennis tournament. 10000 people a day lineup at Wimbledon; it takes four to five hours to get standing room tickets. You think this would be hellish. They have the technology to put these tickets online, but it turns out the British who line up there love standing in line. Because it's a very reserved society, it's very class conscious society and people don't talk to strangers. And the only place they seem to talk to strangers is in standing, getting stuck in a queue. They start saying: “Isn't the line terrible. Isn't it miserable”. And then they start discussing their lives. That could never happen here in Canada, or in the states right? Only in England where they have this kind of cast's consciousness. And so you know they're queue crazy.
PC: And you talked about, you know, your experience of being in line and saying you can even film a couple of things in The United States. And it speaks to the violence that can sometimes emerge in lineups. We've all seen people get irate and yell and maybe there's a shove or a push. There is something called queue rage though, isn't there?
JOSH FREED: Yes there are newspaper stories around the world are filled with people having terrible fights the police arresting them and there are lots of murders in queues. People actually kill each other in queue. They get so angry and car queues are not similar. You know when you're stuck in a car and somebody pushes in front of you, you get car rage that's a form of queue rage too. You are not polite in the right place, you can get hurt.
PC: Huh. Just hold on Josh want to bring someone else into our conversation. Dick Larson is the MITSUI Rofessor of Data Systems And Society at MIT. That is of course the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Larson is known as Dr. Queue. He's with us from Cambridge Massachusetts. Dr. Queue Hello.
RICHARD LARSON: Hi, Piya. nice to be here today.
PC: Good do you like that moniker Dr. Queue?
RICHARD LARSON: I love it [laughs].
PC: Okay, so you're the expert in all of this. In a lifetime in one's lifetime. How much time do most people spend in lineups or in queues?
RICHARD LARSON: We'll just call it a figure of one to two waking years of one’s life, and I think that's correct if you're for 50 or 60 years old, your working time is spent commuting in rush hour traffic let's say from the suburbs to the core city and then back. So I've worked out the numbers and that's easily one to two years working years of your life. Most people , thank goodness, don't have that lifestyle and will be much less than that.
PC: I asked Josh this question I want to ask you the same question. What is your queue origins story? In other words what was your personal experience that made you want to study queuing?
RICHARD LARSON: My oldest son Eric when he was 6 years old I thought it was time to get him his first bike didn't have to be that great. I went into a big box store that's an international chain, bought it very quickly and about two minutes. And then they directed me to the back of the store and into that kind of warehouse area, and I gave my receipt to them to what looked like a pari-mutuel window and I noticed a woman in the corner there who was hysterical and crying. And I went over there and use myself to calm her down and she said well she's been there for half an hour and in a half an hour she didn't get what she bought, but maybe 15 or 20 people came after her and very quickly got the item that they had purchased. But then my bicycle I had the same experience. So I was sitting there waiting for over half an hour maybe 40 minutes and meanwhile loads of people came after me and got their stuff before me. Three weeks later I was still angry about this. I said to myself, you're an MIT professor you're not supposed to be angry at inconsequential things. So I began to talk to people and other people have had experiences like that in queue to and made lifetime pledges never ever to go back.
RICHARD LARSON: So I wrote a research proposal to the National Science Foundation in Washington and guess what. They funded me. And since that time I've spent equal time on the psychology of queues and the mathematics of queues.
PC: So then help me out because as I am listening to you, and our listeners, help me out Dr. Queue, I need some strategies so if I'm lining up at the grocery store for example, what is the most efficient queuing strategy? I mean Josh has proven does like butting in line does not get you anywhere in our society anyway. So what do I do with a problem with a grocery store is that you typically have three different options. If you have 12 items or less you can go to express lane. Express lane it isn't always the fastest lane. Depends on how many people are there. Then there's self-checkout. And I don't know as an American male. I'm terrified because if I get some things that aren't bar code scannable like fresh produce I know that I'll do it wrong. I know that I'll be audited. So I've never done it. I'm scared of it. And then there's you know the usual up things where the checkout person may be a bagger as well. And there's all kinds of cute physics to analyze everyone to each of the lines figure out whether they're going to use coupons credit cards cash. And you make this new physics game. But to me if you if your mind is focused on a queue physics game, it's a game you're going to lose more than you can win. It's going to put you in a bad mood. So what I would do is just select one of the lines and then relax you could take out your cell phone if you want or I prefer the British system introduce yourself to a queue dweller in front of you, and then talk about, in Boston here be the Boston Red Socks, the Patriots if it was this season for those sports and enjoy the day that way.
PC: I want to ask you about Disney because I went a couple years ago. I mean Disneyland world whatever it's called is like the nightmare lineup scenario. I remember as a kid we stood in line in the boiling heat of Californian Florida waiting in line to get on to some ride and then usually the ride wasn't worth it. But Disney has changed in my anecdotal experience because we didn't wait in line so. And you know what Disney’s doing. They do this very well. What have they done?
RICHARD LARSON: Basically I think they're the Machiavellian experts of the psychology of queueing. Example one of the one of the theorems, the axioms of service industry is manage your customers’ expectations and then deliver beyond the expectation to have a positive surprise at the end. So in one of those Disney queues typically you'll see a sign of about a family of four you know husband wife and two small children might say will join this line here, expected hour in line until you get on to your four minute ride, or something like this. Well the hour really is more like 45 minutes.
PC: So I feel like it is a win when I get in in 45 minutes.
RICHARD LARSON: Yeah. So basically imagine this. They are going to get on the ride, let's say to Space Mountain or whatever it is 45 minutes later. Husband says to wife look honey we're 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
RICHARD LARSON: How many queues are there that you could think of, that you'd wait with your whole family? Kids are tired and hungry for 45 minutes and you're happy at the end, you say 15 minutes ahead of schedule. That's because they manage expectations so that they can deliver beyond them. The queue channels are also designed to be part of the entertainment. So particularly for children, while they're waiting in line are always distracted. This is the modern equivalent of the metaphor back in the 1950s, when there were mirrors next to elevators in New York City, and when they put the mirrors next to elevators they noticed that the complaints about elevator delays during rush hour dropped to zero.
PC: Meaning we are all narcissists looking at ourselves in the mirror.
RICHARD LARSON: Yeah even flirting with the mirror by the reflection [laughs].
RICHARD LARSON: Yes, all those things.
PC: Dick Larson it's been good to talk to you. Thank you.
RICHARD LARSON: Good talking to you. Bye bye.
PC: Dick Larson is the MITSUI Professor of Data, Systems and Society at MIT the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He's known as Dr. Queue and he's in Cambridge, Massachusetts. If you're just joining us by the way this is The Current time. I am Piya Chattopadhyay and I'm speaking with the director and columnist Josh Freed about his new documentary The Taming of the Queue, QUEUE other word for lineup. Josh Freed, Let us talk about lineups around the world. You went to a number of countries to see the different approaches to lineups. You talked about the British one. But you went to India and I've spent a lot of time in India and I always tell people when they're going to go there just be prepared for a new reality of lining up which is not lining up and just pushing your way everywhere that you go. What did you find? Because you tried to board a train in Mumbai in India, what happened?
JOSH FREED: Well there are 25 million people in Mumbai, Piya, and that's two thirds of Canada's population in one city and they're all trying to get on the same train, you know. And it's just as a North American I couldn't board the train during rush hour we've filmed me a few times trying to get on board and it's just it's this extraordinary wall of elbows and bums and heads banging and people are in teams of seven. They've come in groups and they have strategies and I got flung. I felt like I was a leaf in a hurricane. I just got flung backwards each time I tried like I was an infant. It's actually; you have to have train training to get on the train and in India. As a North American you don't have it. They felt bad for me they told me to try the woman's car. But man the women are so tough. I couldn't get in that car either. You know it's just I'm not tough enough for it. It's like it makes my Montreal Metro look like I'm flying first class.
PC: I'm curious about what you thought in that moment though Josh. Because a lot of westerns when they go somewhere like India or China, is you know a little less pushy so to speak in terms of getting on and on transit. But they think oh how rude these people are just rude. And I wonder if that crossed your mind or what did you think? What were your impressions?
JOSH FREED: It's the opposite. I'll give you another example. There are lines for various things government offices and things and I try to get in a lot of those, and I try to be polite and leave a North American space between me and the person in front of me. Well the second you do that four or five people jump in front of you. And the reason they do that when you talk to them is they say this is a terribly desperate hungry overwhelmed society. If you can leave a space like that you don't really value that space. You don't need it. Let somebody who needs it take it. If you can't fight your way onto the train you don't want it as badly as somebody else. That's the general attitude there and all Indians accept it. Life is hard. Your day could be 18 hours between travel, getting to work, getting home. You want to cook for the kids. If some western guy is not willing to squeeze his body next to the person in front of him, if he's not willing to fight his way into the train he doesn't need it.
PC: So you can’t get on, you tried the women's. Did you ever get on that train?
JOSH FREED: Yeah I could get on a train but you know what? At two o'clock in the afternoon I could get on the train, when other people didn't want to get on. It is the wimp hour you know.
JOSH FREED: But anywhere from about you know seven to 11 and it's three to seven North Americans just stay away, you know.
PC:I know we talked about this but I want to play some tape from your film so I'm going to get you to do it again. If we compare India to its former colonial master Britain. There is quite a different approach when it comes to lineups. And I want to play some of the tape that you recorded in the queue at Wimbledon.
VOCE 1: We wouldn't do any queue if you didn't enjoy it.
VOICE 2: It's magical.
VOICE 3: It is a group of busy people [unintelligible] husbands and families and children some place to go. Here we could make beautiful people like this all the time.
VOICE 4: This couple met in the queues several years ago and they've been together ever since.
VOICE 5: We queued for eight hours. And so, in that eight hours we got chatting and yes. The rest is history [laughs]. So, even if we don't get tennis tickets the lineup is still worth the wait. It's nice to spend some time together here in the queue.
VOICE 6: It's a very orderly, very well-behaved queue. I think is probably the nicest thing [unintelligible] certainly in Great Britain and probably the world actually.
VOICE 4: There's another reason the British are crazy for queues.
VOICE 7: We are, as a nation of people very reserved. I said when we're in the queue it does give you the chance to just speak to a complete stranger, because we wouldn't ordinarily normally be that open with anybody else in the street. But in the queue, I will talk to you. I'll talk to you about my day. I'll talk to you about my whole life. It's amazing how open people come be and it's a beautiful thing. I find it bizarre that other countries don't embrace it the same way.
PC: [Laughs] Josh free. That sounds like a party not a line up.
JOSH FREED: Yes it's a five hour party. But you know to me to anybody in North America you would not find that a party would say let me get on line and get the tickets. But they don't want to be online. It's built into their system. There's a wonderful photograph in the film during the 2011 British riots. People broke into an electronics store and you see this long queue of people all lined up in front of a broken window waiting to take their turn to steal the television.
JOSH FREED: They queue up to loot [laughs].
PC: I mean what does it tell you about how seriously Brits take their queuing?
JOSH FREED: Really what it tells you is what they say. They feel that their queuing is part of their national identity. It shows how organized and how egalitarian a society they are. And it's proof secretly of how much more superior they are to the Spanish the Italians and the French, who the British say can't queue properly. It's like Canadians are proud of their politeness. The British were proud that they stand in line.
PC: Where do we stand in terms of lining up? How do we measure up?
JOSH FREED: We have a bit of the British in this I would say, and that we're polite. But we have a bit of the Americans and this, when you try to break in the line they're going to kick you out of line. The British will let you in, begrudgingly. The Canadians will not let you in line but they won't punch you like Americans will.
PC: I want to talk to you about a man that you meet, a guy in that New York City. He's made this business of saving people from lineups.
JOSH FREED: Yes. Robert Samuel was a professional New York liner upper or a sitter downer or as the case may be. He has a team of 10 or 15 people that help him out and anything you want. We met him on his Saturday Night Live lineup where he was camped out overnight to get people into Saturday Night Live where he was making I think about $400 for the night. I learned how to line up from him because I know sometimes I bring a chair and an umbrella on a hot day for a lineup.
PC: And you sit your planter, or you sit down?
JOSH FREED: Yew, but he's not really the future. I mean the future of lineups is technology. I think you can see lineups are gradually diminishing quickly and that's because technology is getting better. That's the example would be Apple. If you walk into Apple you don't see a lineup, because the guy who's serving you, the guy who's you know helping you find the product he's got a little cash register in his phone right. So as soon as you're finished, you processed and you're gone. No lineup. You can be sure that every store in the world is going to have that system in 10 or 15 years. You simply aren't going to have cashier line lineups anymore. They're going to be gone. Same thing with online a lot of people will go online instead of in line, right?
PC: Well I was thinking when I was watching your documentary the longest line that I ever stood in it was overnight to get tickets to a rock concert in Essex and I was a pre-teen and you know my first crush was developed in line with a guy who was behind me, I thought well that would never happen anymore. There's no crush developing by standing in line online on ticket master whatever that experience doesn't happen anymore.
JOSH FREED: And those British women that you have the clips of, they are really angry at the fact that Wimbledon is thinking of going online with tickets. They say that would be a terrible step backwards because there will be a loss of humanity. So there is something very human about a line and when you actually are forced into it long enough and if you do chat with people, it's kind of an interesting human experience to meet people you'd never meet. So I do like that element of it. But other lineups when you're just sitting there you know when you're standing waiting at a government office and everybody's looking at their watches or their phones, it would be nice to get rid of that line and the line we all hate the most. Nobody wants to be in the line on the telephone when you're in that invisible line and they're telling you know we value your business and that's why we're going to ignore you for the next 20 minutes. That's the killer line, and that line is being solved now because very often the message you hear now is you are number 96 in line we will call you back in an hour and a half. That's a huge advance for civilization, Piya. That is perhaps the greatest advance for civilization I know of in the last decade. It's going to get rid of that telephone line.
PC: [laughs] Josh Freed thank you very much. Really enjoyed our conversation, appreciate it.
JOSH FREED: It was fun. Thank you.
PC: Josh Freed is the director, writer, and host of the new documentary The Taming of the Queue. The film debuts this Sunday on CBC's documentary channel at 9:00 p.m. Eastern 10:00 p.m. Pacific and 10:30 in Newfoundland. We will be back in just a minute with Adam Kahane the author of Collaborating With The Enemy conflict mediator and peace negotiator. He'll be telling us how to resolve some of the conflicts in our everyday lives. I'm Piya Chattopadhyay. You're listening to the Friday edition of The CurrentBack To Top »
How to work with people you don't like: Tips from this Canadian negotiator
Guest: Adam Kahane
PC: I am Piya Chattopadhyay this is the Friday edition of The Current. Coming up you'll meet Adam Kahane veteran, peace negotiator and author of Collaborating with the Enemy. And we'll hear his strategies for bringing people together in global conflicts and in personal life as well. But first our Atlantic producer Mary Katharine McIntosh has a preview of the story she'll be bringing you next week from Prince Edward Island.
VOICE 1: So if he was you know violent and throwing things out in this area and it escalated quickly I would just pick up my 3 year old and we would run to this bathroom.
VOICE 2: That's a mother. On Prince Edward Island going over the family safety plan for when her 8 year old son who's been in and out of hospital with mental health problems has a breakdown.
VOICE 3: If I couldn't get through my emergency plan is to call 911.
VOICE 2: Have you ever had to do that.
VOICE 3: Yes. Yes. Unfortunately we had.
VOICE 2: That mother is one of many parents across the province of Prince Edward Island who are part of a campaign to shame the government into improving mental health care there.
VOICE 4: We are looking for leadership. We are you know asking the question of The Premier. How many Islanders have to be failed by the system? How many people do we have to lose to suicide before we really give this issue the attention and the resources that it deserves?
VOICE 2: But with a severe shortage of psychiatrists and a growing number of patients in crisis some parents say their children are stuck in the E.R. for days.
VOICE 5: The system is missing.
VOICE 2: She was taken to Halifax.
VOICE 6: Instead of going to Charlottetown because they knew she'd be just medicated and sent home so she was taken to Halifax and kept there for five days. So they determined what was wrong with her and what worked.
VOICE 7: The first 12 days he was in emergency, because they had nowhere to put him. That's our system unfortunately.
VOICE 8: There is a shortness of psychiatrists, there's a shortage of everything, so it has been years and years and the few times that we tried to get help at first they said well maybe he's just misbehaving. Maybe he should go into a group home.
VOICE 2: Even the head of psychiatry has called for help. We'll find out what's going on and what promises are being made to fix the problem.
VOICE 9: It's been it's been so hard because there's not the proper help and the running around to try and get the help and then you need to be there for your child but nobody will be there for your child so you have to work on top of that and it's just it's a vicious circle.
PC: That story is headed your way next week here on The Current.
PC: I am Piya Chattopadhyay and you're listening to the Friday edition of The Current.
I now have the pleasure to call upon President Juan Manuel Santos to step forward. To deliver the Nobel Peace Prize lecture for 2016.
PC: when the president of Columbia was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work ending 50 years of civil war in his country among those he credited was Montrealer Adam Kahane. Even Kahane was surprised by that. Adam Kahane is a conflict mediator, a peace negotiator. Nelson Mandela credited him with helping the South African government in the post apartheid era as well. Adam Kahane has worked in Thailand and in Guatemala he's helped resolve some 50 conflicts around the world. And he's written four books about his experiences. His latest book explores everything he's learned in his 30 plus years of negotiating the trickiest of situations. His book is called Collaborating with the Enemy How to Work with People You Don’t Agree with or like or Trust. Adam Kahane joins us from Montreal. Hello.
ADAM KAHANE: Hi there.
PC: Collaborating with the enemy. What do you mean by that?
ADAM KAHANE: Well I mean what does it take to work with people that you wish you didn't have to work with. What does it mean to try to get things done with people you think you have to work with but that you really don't see eye to eye with at all. It's not simply that they have an interesting different point of view but that you just wish they weren't there. You wish they would go away but they won't. So what do you do in those situations?
PC: OK we'll get into what do you do in those situations. But I want to talk with you first about your role in Colombia. So when Juan Manuel Santos the president of Colombia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to end the war in Colombia with FARC, he credits you. He credited you the work you did in Colombia 20 years ago for starting that process. Tell me about that meeting.
ADAM KAHANE: Yes 20 years ago I went to Colombia and talked about the work we had done in South Africa and ended up being part of a process that lasted some months including nine full days of meetings with the leaders of all the factions in Colombia, cabinet ministers, left wing guerrillas, right wing paramilitaries, business people, activists. And that's the dialogue that that Santos was referring to 20 years later. The interesting thing for me is that the workshops I was involved in were in a way a very modest affair. They were simply talking about what could happen in Colombia. Senarios for what was possible. I was really surprised that 20 years later President Santos remembered it let alone gave it such prominence in his recollection of this process in which much bigger things happened.
ADAM KAHANE: And as I understand it you got the chance to ask that exact question of him last month when you met President Santos face to face and you talked to him about why it made a difference. What did he tell you?
ADAM KAHANE: Yeah it was great. I got a chance to interview him at a conference a public interview. He gave me an interesting answer. He said that's the time that I realized that contrary to all my political upbringing it is possible to work with people that you don't agree with and that you're never going to agree with, and that that was the learning he took away from those dialogues and that he kept in his mind over the many years after that.
PC: Did that surprise you? Because when you tell me that it's like well that seems obvious we're going to have to work with the enemy we're going to have to collaborate with the enemy, and in our personal lives in our professional lives on the world stage for people who run that.
ADAM KAHANE: No it didn't surprise me because I think many people think that: “Oh I could never work with those people, if they're not going to agree with me if they're not going to start with the same premises, if we're not going to have the same objective then It's just not going to work”. So I thought if there was only one thing he took away from that work 20 years ago this is a really important thing. I got to ask him another question in that same interview which I found equally interesting. I asked him what for him had been personally the most difficult part of the peace process. And he gave me an answer that I think is very significant he said being called a traitor. So this idea that the risk of working with people that you don't agree with or like or trust, is that you will have to or will be seen to have betrayed the thing that's most important to you.
PC: So we'll talk more about the collaboration part of this but I want to talk about this word that that's in your book. You've created a word ‘enemyfying’ enemy and fying, to describe what is happening in so many parts of our world but particularly I want to ask you, you know in the U.S. and Europe I think is where we see it the most as you say those people is often the larger context of the accusations that fly around what is ‘enemyfying’?
ADAM KAHANE: Well it's the it's exactly this phenomenon you mentioned at the beginning. These other people are not simply people I disagree with or people who have interesting ideas. They are the other. They are people who I can't work with. And what I really want more than anything is for them to just go away. For them to be excluded or eliminated and whether that's immigrants or political opponents there seems to be no room to work with them. They're enemies and they must be destroyed. And that's the phenomenon that I noticed more and more in political life, in social life, in the newspapers and in daily interaction.
PC: And give me a couple examples of where you think it's perhaps the most dangerous to have that view.
ADAM KAHANE: Well the obvious first example is in politics the visible example is the U.S. But I think we have more subtle examples in Canada that those are people we can't work with. We must find a way to remove them. The opposite of collaborating is eliminating. So that's the example that I think we see day after day, not just the stuck ness and frustration but the violence that arises from that point of view. The other place that shows up all over the world is those other people, those foreigners, those immigrants, those people of a different religion. We can't get along with them. They must stay away or go away or disappear. And I find this enormously dangerous. And what really struck me this occurs not just in the public sphere but it occurs in everyday life it's the same phenomena. I could never work with those people.
PC: And your book talks about well, you're going to have to work with quote unquote those people on a micro level to a macro level. And so I want to talk to you about that collaboration because this is really where your ideas take a turn away from what we consider a traditional path if I can if I can put it that way you say that collaborating with diverse others cannot and must not require agreeing on a single truth or answer because as you say we can dismiss people as those people because we say we're just too far apart we don't agree on anything. We can't work together. So explain what you are saying when you say collaborating with diverse others cannot and must not require agreeing on a single truth or answer.
ADAM KAHANE: I'm not saying that we always have to work with those people. I think that the starting point is to recognize that it's always a choice. We cannot work with them. We can just go along on our own adapting as best we can or we can try to force things to be the way we want them to be, or we can just quit move away or quit our job or get divorced. We always have those three other choices adapting, forcing or exiting. But when we when those choices aren't good enough when we can't get where we want to go with adapting or forcing or exiting then we have to collaborate. And then the question you ask arises which is how to do that. And what I'm arguing in the sentence you quote is that in a way collaborating with the other seems impossible because we have a completely unrealistic and unnecessary definition of what a or requirement for collaboration. It doesn't require agreeing. And this is the point that Santos remembered 20 years later. What it requires is not that we agree on what the solution is, not even that we agree on what the problem is but that there is something we can do together next period. And that's a lower bar that makes it easier.
ADAM KAHANE: You mentioned the poor but I want I want to get into them a little bit more. So you've you have listed four ways to approach collaboration. One is to collaborate. The others are force, adapt exit. And I want to touch on each one of them and maybe you can give me example of each that you see in the real world right now. So let's start with collaborate.
ADAM KAHANE: Well collaborate says I need to work with you. Maybe I don't want to but I'm going to try to find a way forward. Your producer asked me what advice would you have for Prime Minister Trudeau as he interacts with President Trump? And my answer was actually I don't have any advice. I think the way they're going about it is exactly right. We can't force the Americans to do what we want them to do. We can't simply adapt to the world as they make it. We can't exit the relationship. So we have to find a way forward where we can, one step at a time and that's exactly what the Canadian government is doing. So it really is a great example of what does it mean to work together when the other three options don't work.
PC: Ok then let's talk about the other three different contexts. So, force. Where do you see that?
ADAM KAHANE: Well Force is when I say things aren't always the way I want them to be. I'm going to make them as I want them to be. I'm going to use whatever power I have whether it's my votes or my money or my ideas or my guns to make it the way I want it to be. To hell with what the other people want. And this is the kind of scorched earth conversation that is so alarming, for example in the current US political domain. Those people are wrong. We can't work with those people. We're just going to make it the way we want it to be. And that can be in politics that can be in a marriage that can be in a company.
PC: OK let's move on. And I wanted to ask you about adapting because to me, just the word, it seems like it may be, you know in marriage with collaboration. But you see it differently.
ADAM KAHANE: Adapting means I can't make it the way I want it to be. So I'm just going to try to get along as best I can, live with the situation as it is. And that may require great intelligence or courage. It's not necessarily easy but I've decided I can't change the way things are. So I'm going to I'm going to find a way to fit in and survive. In a certain way, that's most of what we have to deal with. I can't influence the weather in Montreal today. I have to adapt to it. There's nothing I can do about it. I can't influence what U.S. border officials are going to do when I cross into the U.S. I have to just deal with it. Most of what we have to do fits into that category of things we can't make them the way we want them to be. And so we have to, we have to adapt ourselves.
PC: And then there's the exit.
ADAM KAHANE: And exiting is the option where we say I can't make it the way I want it to be. I can't live with it as it is so I'm out of here. And whether that means I'm quitting my job or immigrating to another country or getting a divorce. I am out of here.
PC: Or leaving the Paris climate agreement.
ADAM KAHANE: Or leaving the Paris climate.
PC: That's an exit on the U.S.'s part.
ADAM KAHANE: Exactly.
PC: So then where did the other three fit in if we use climate as example or the other one I can think of is like NAFTA. How did these strategies come into play in negotiations say on climate or NAFTA?
ADAM KAHANE: Well climate is a hugely important example. Nobody has the capacity alone to force things to be the way they want them to be. They can adapt try to deal with a change in climate. We all have to do that to some extent. We can't accept the climate we don't have another climate to be part of. So in that example everybody's having to do some combination of adapting, living with a situation they can't control and collaborating finding a way to work together. The challenge involves how can we collaborate on such a big and complex and difficult area.
PC: Even when one of the key players has chosen the exit option.
ADAM KAHANE: That's right. Well they've exit from the agreement I think they may not realize they can't exit from the climate.
PC:I know you talked a little bit about this, but one of the things you've learned is that we don't need to agree on what the problem is or what the solution is, when it comes to collaboration. That's interesting because you know when we collaborate in our everyday world I think we tell ourselves, you know, we all have the same goal in mind, or we all we're doing it for the greater good. There seems to be this end point where you can kind of adjust yourself. But you say that we don't need to agree on what the problem is or what the solution is. So what is needed for collaboration to work?
ADAM KAHANE: Collaborate means work together or we can agree what to do next. I can figure out what I'm going to do. You can figure out what you're going to do. Even if we may have different reasons for doing it, even though we may have different understandings of the situation that's all collaborating means. When you are recounting the Santos story you said why was this so surprising to him. This is a surprising observation that it's possible to work with people even though we don't agree. Fifty years later the Colombian government and the FARC gorillas do not have the same understanding of the situation they're in. But for different reasons they can agree. Let's do this and let's do that and let's do this and then we'll see.
PC: There's a term that you talk about, stretch collaboration.
ADAM KAHANE: Yes. What I'm arguing is that the reason we get stuck is we have this conventional understanding of collaboration that, in complex and conflictual situations that doesn't work and that can't work. And so what's the alternative. And I call the alternative stretch collaboration.
PC: You know Adam Kahane you have done work that has helped end the civil war in Colombia. You've helped South Africa navigate through post-apartheid life. These are you know seen as intractable conflicts by many and yet there you were collaboration on a global scale. I'm wondering, though what has, I mean what's the take away from those big things where most of us don't have a seat at the table so to speak. What does your experience tell you about negotiating in our personal lives?
ADAM KAHANE: Now, this for me was the really interesting observation and that's what motivated me to write the book, that the dynamic is exactly the same in a way the benefit or the take away from these dramatic experiences is to be able to see these dynamics in bright colors. But exactly the same thing exactly the same dynamic shows up in everyday life it's just harder to see. And what's the dynamic? The dynamic is focusing on those people and what they ought to do. And in the process of writing this book I noticed man I can spend hours thinking about what other people ought to be doing, what Mr. Trump ought to be doing, what the mayor of Montreal ought to be doing, what my colleagues ought to be doing, what my kids ought to be doing. And this really is completely useless.
ADAM KAHANE: And the problem is it's so it's so much simpler it's so much easier. And above all it makes us feel so much more righteous to focus our attention on those people and what they ought to be doing and they ought to change. This basic dynamic of enemyfying that it's them and what they ought to do. That's the trap, and so stretch collaboration is the opposite of that. It's how to why at the most basic level decide what I'm going to do next, not what they ought to be doing next.
PC: So not making it they are the problem, I am part of the problem and that's the controlling power that I have to change my behavior.
ADAM KAHANE: That's the only thing we can do. And that's what I call stepping into the game, being willing to change myself. Most of the time when people say the situation needs to change what they really mean is those people need to change. And this is in the end completely unproductive.
PC: You know the president of Colombia, a country that has reached a historic peace deal with the FARC rebels. You played a role in that. You've played a role and really as I said intractable conflicts. For you what had been the biggest challenges of being a peace negotiator and also your proudest moment?
ADAM KAHANE: I wouldn't say the proudest moment. But for me the satisfying part has been to realize that there's something I'm pretty good at that is useful. That's one of the biggest satisfactions of life and to find that there's this way of working with people, this way of listening the way of a way of facilitating that seems to help people even in the most stuck contexts. The challenge is to avoid falling into exactly the same traps myself of thinking it's them and they must do something different. So the always the greatest challenge is I'm in this situation. It may or may not be the way I want it to be. I may or may not want to be working with these people but this is where I am and what can I do next.
PC: What are you doing now? What are you doing next? Where is your work taking you?
ADAM KAHANE: My colleagues and I continue this work globally and in South Africa and in Europe, in Venezuela, in the United States. And my attention is drawn in part to how do these things play out where I live which is where I'm from which is in Canada. And it's easy for us to imagine oh it's just those foolish people in other countries. But what about our own stuck situations. What about our own responsibilities, whether they have to do with the rights of Aboriginal people or our energy policy or how we're going to get along with each other in Canada or where I am in Montreal. So I see these challenges as the same everywhere. They have different complexions they have different volumes but it's the same basic question. And the way I'm framing it these days, and here I was very influenced by an interview of Khalil Sharif from the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada. How can we make pluralism more… Pluralism means we're not the same. We're not going to be the same. We may not agree. That's the fact. How can we make that work? And I think that's the challenge in Canada and the possible contribution of Canada globally.
PC: Adam Kahane good to talk to you. Thank you.
ADAM KAHANE: My pleasure.
PC: Take care. Bye bye.
ADAM KAHANE: Thank you, Bye bye.
PC: Adam cane is the author of collaborating with the enemy how to work with people you don't agree with or like or trust. He was in our Montreal studio. Well that is our program for today. Stay tuned to Radio 1 for Q. Allana Harkin met Samantha Bee when they were part of the Atomic Fireball comedy troupe here in Toronto. Fast forward a few years and she's now a correspondent and producer on Bee’s hugely successful talk show. Allana Harkin story is coming up next on Q. And if you missed part of our show today or any day you can catch up with the CBC Radio app. You can also listen live to your local CBC station right from your smartphone or tablet. It is free to download from the App Store or Google Play. Now we talked about waiting in line a little earlier today. And if you need any more evidence of how long lineups can get yesterday at Saskatoon is opening its first Taco Bell restaurant. The lineup snake down the street and the wait in the drive thru line was three hours. By the way they also ran out of Mountain Dew, my people. Today, our last word goes to the queuers whether it's sneakers or concert tickets or an iPhone. You waited. We watched and wondered what could possibly be worth it? And we hope it all worked out. We've also got some music by the British duo Zero7 in there for you as well. I am Piya Chattopadhyay. Thank you for lending us your ear here on the Friday edition of The Current.
VOICE 1: We just got here a couple of hours ago we had her sister wait overnight in line she's been here. They got here at noon yesterday.
VOICE 2: I got here about 4:15 a.m.
VOICE 3: People today in my country they lined up for election, I am lined up in U.S. for iphone [laughs].
VOICE 4: I flew in. I went home ate dinner and came right here to meet my trusty buddy here on line for hours and we stayed here for a good 20 something hour is I guess.
VOICE 5: It's fine. It's not rainy. It's fine.
VOICE 6: Well, not for me with my gloves, my scarf, my hat.
VOICE 7: I am pretty sure a lot of people have stood in these lines because they came prepared with like sleeping bags and laptops so they knew what to expect. I just came with the jacket and Gatorade and that's it, yes.
[Music: Song by Zero7]
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