Sunday, April 17, 2011 | Categories: Episodes
Ethnic Strategists - In any election campaign there are two groups highly vulnerable to politicians' sudden affections---babies and people of ethnic background. Since infants can't vote, the campaigning politician focuses on the so-called ethnic voter.
Which is why our politicians suddenly develop huge appetites for perogis, souvlaki, akee and salt fish, samosas and biryani and Chinese noodles.
How much of it is pandering and tokenism and how much is a genuine attempt to reach out to immigrant and multicultural communities?
For decades the ethnic vote has been locked up by the Liberals.
But the Conservatives have made and are making serious inroads into ethnic communities.
How do the parties try to engineer the ethnic vote? Does the outreach end when the votes are counted.? How crucial is the ethnic vote?
This week, we continue our coverage of ethnic voters in the current campaign wiith three experienced political operatives who can talk about how to reach out to multicultural communities and win their undying loyalty.
That's in our First Hour.
Read more about hour one here
Gurjinder Basran - Gurjinder Basran knows all about ethnic life.
She grew up in a traditional Sikh community in British Columbia, one of six daughters of a widowed mother.
She knows precisely what is was like to be courted by some, shunned by many and torn between loyalty to family and a desire for a different life.
Her first novel, Everything Was Goodbye is a compelling, highly readable account of a young girl, Meena, trying to be a dutiful daughter and at the same time, wanting to be an independent young woman.
Gurjinder Basran talks about her life and her award-winning novel in our Middle Hour.
Read more about hour two here
Wisconsin Documentary - Our documentary this week examines the volatile issues that are tearing at social fabric of the state of Wisconsin.
Its Republican governor is determined to strip away hard-won rights of public service workers. His attack on unions has found favor among Republican governors in other states.
Ira Basen who went to school in Madison, knows the state and its politics well. His documentary is called Battleground Wisconsin, in Hour Three.
Read more about hour three here
Elsewhere in the program: a look at the campaign's law and order debates, some thoughts on spring and a truckload of your mail on corporate tax cuts and yodeling. Corporate tax cuts and yodeling?????
Michael's EssayIn this week's essay, Michael's thoughts about spring.
The Conservative riding association of Etobicoke Centre thought it had come up with a good idea this week. It asked some multicultural groups "to have up to twenty people in national folklore costumes which represent their ethnic backgrounds" for a photo op with the prime minister.
Indeed, every political party is after "the ethnic vote" in this election.
For decades it was locked up by the Liberal Party.
In the past few years, the Conservatives have made strenuous efforts to capture that vote.
There of several key multicultural ridings across the countru that could make the difference between a minority and majority gov ernment. And the ethnic vote is far less predictable than it ever was.
Two weeks ago, we talked to members of the ethnic media who are on the receiving end of the parties' campaign efforts. This week - three political strategists who are courting that vote.
Geoff Norquay is a principal with the Earnscliffe Strategy Groups and a longtime Conservative Party insider. In the 1980s he served as director of research for the party and has acted as senior adviser to Tory prime ministers. He was in Ottawa.
David Choi is from Vancouver. He is the former policy chair for the Liberals in Vancouver-Kingsway, one of the most multicultural ridings in the country. He is also Executive Chair of the National Congress of Chinese Canadians. He was also in Ottawa.
And with me in Toronto was Tony Ruprecht. He has had 33 years experience as a politician, first municipally then provincially. He is the Liberal Member of the Provincial Parliament for the Toronto riding of Davenport was the first Minister of Multiculturalism in Ontario. He is also the author of a guidebook to the dozens of diverse cultures in his city, called Toronto's Many Faces.
Mail - Corporate Taxes
Last week on the show, Michael spoke with Henry Mintzberg, a Professor of Management Studies at McGill University. They talked about the effect of corporate tax cuts - which are a staple of the Conservative Party's election platform.
Professor Mintzberg felt that those kind of cuts don't help the Canadian economy at all. Not all of you agreed.
At first glance, the central character in the novel, Everything Was Goodbye, is like any other callow teenage girl - rebellious, self-absorbed, and preoccupied with fitting in while standing out.
But Meninder - or Meena as her friends call her - is hardly living an ordinary life. She's growing up in lower mainland British Columbia, one of six daughters whose mother is suddenly widowed and left to raise her girls alone. Meena is a first-generation Indo-Canadian kid, who straddles two cultures, never quite in sync with either.
The novel's storyline bears a remarkable resemblance to the early life of the author, Gurjinder Basran.
Ms. Basran grew up in Delta, BC. Her own father died when she was a small child, and her mother - who speaks and reads no English -raised her six daughters solo.
The book actually began as non-fiction - a joint effort between sisters to sort through the pain of a difficult childhood. Eventually that writing evolved into a first novel for Gurjinder Basran.
Everything Was Goodbye was published by a small west coast press, Mother Tongue Publishing and won the Search for the Great BC Novel Contest in 2010 and has since been short listed for the BC Book Prize- the Ethel Wilson Fiction Award, which will be awarded this month.
Gurjinder Basran was in our Vancouver studio.
Music - Make a Better World
That was Doug Cox and Salil Bhatt, with John Boutte on the vocal - "Make a Better World."
Crime and Politics
This week, during the English language leaders debate, one of the discussion areas focused on the government's tough-on-crime crime agenda.
Crime and the country's approach to crime are not things we seem to discuss easily. We argue about statistics, we argue about the optimum number of cops, the right type of sentencing, how many prisons are enough. We argue about being soft, about being tough on offenders.
Irvin Waller knows the arguments well. Professor Waller is a criminologist at the University of Ottawa and he's written exensively about what works and what doesn't work in dealing with crime. One of his books, Less Law, More Order makes the argument that we might be further ahead if we spent more effort preventing crime than trying to make sure we get punishment exactly right.
But Professor Waller's not your classic bleeding heart small l liberal academic. He's been a leading proponent and scholar in the field of victims rights and has worked with numerous countries, trying to insure that in the struggle to punish criminals or protect the rights of the accused, we don't lose sight of real victims. In fact, in his spare time, he is President of the International Organization for Victim Assistance. His latest book Rights for Victims of Crime: Rebalancing Justice was the subject of a symposium this week at the University of Ottawa.
Irvin Waller was in our Ottawa studio.
Music - Wheatland
We close the hour with music from a new CD by bassist Dave Young and his Quintet. It's called Aspects of Oscar, a tribute to the late Oscar Peterson. This is Dave Young with Robbie Botos on piano, Kevin Turcotte on trumpet, Reg Schwaeger on guitar and Terry Clarke on the drums - Oscar Peterson's "Wheatland."
Until a couple of months ago, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was - at least outside his home state - mostly an unknown quantity.
But when he came to Washington on Thursday to testify about cutting and spending at the House Oversight Committee in Washington, he was a star witness. Fellow Republicans hailed him as a courageous visionary, a steady hand making tough choices in the face of fiscal calamity.
The demonstrators who stalked his every move called him other things.
Two months ago, Governor Walker achieved poster boy status - as either demon or saviour - when he introduced a budget repair bill that would strip public sector workers of almost all their union rights. The governor knew he would have a fight on his hands. He was ready for it. And he was right about the fight.
The uproar was immediate, headline-making and massive. And nowhere more so than in Madison, which happens to be the place where producer Ira Basen studied American history a few decades ago.
In Wisconsin, history matters.
And in 2011, this fight in Wisconsin matters.
There is a lot at stake.
Ira Basen went back to his old stomping grounds to find out what and why. Here's his documentary, Battleground Wisconsin.
Music - All the Good Times
That was Yukon singer Kim Beggs with "All the Good Times are Passed and Gone."
Mail - Yodelling
Many listeners wrote in response to Frank Faulk's documentary last week, "The Call of the Yodel".
A number of you pointed out, good-naturedly, yodeling and yodellers that were left out of the mix.
Music - Put Your Hand in the Hand
Next week on the program, from yodelling to gospel....Frank Faulk will bring us the story of a Canadian music classic.
Forty years ago, the group Ocean recorded a song first written for and recorded by Anne Murray. It was Gene McLellan's "Put Your Hand in the Hand."
Well, this version by Ocean took off and became one of the most popular pop songs of the seventies, covered by the likes of Elvis, Joan Baez and Frankie Laine. But the song turned out to be something of a mixed blessing for the group that made it a hit.