Paul Martin - A Cruel Coincidence - The Interns

Hour One

If something gets under Paul Martin's skin, his voice drops, takes on a note of urgency bordering on anger.

It happens especially if you get the former Prime Minister talking about the  state of education for a large group of Canadians we don't think about much----Aboriginal children.

We've all heard  about the drop-out and failure rates, the poorly built or non-existent schools, the scarcity of teachers.

But for Mr. Martin the real injustice is the inequality that favours non-aboriginals over Indian children.

He wanted to correct things with the Kelowna Accord  of 2005. But when his government was defeated, the incoming Conservatives cancelled it.

Forcibly retired from politics, Mr. Martin has taken up the cause of Aboriginal education as a private citizen.

He has raised money, twisted the arms of philanthropists, bullied bureaucracies and scolded politicians for not moving  fast enough to correct things.

The public passion of Paul Martin in Hour One.

Hour Two

In our Middle Hour, meet the Levys, father Gordon, daughter Robyn.

They not only look alike but share the same world view.

They also have something else in common---they both have Parkinson's Disease. How the diagnosis has changed them and their relationship is the subject of our Hour Two  documentary A Cruel Coincidence.

Hour Three

In Hour Three, a look at student internships. Are they a career boost or modern slavery?

Elsewhere in the show - the life and music of Amy Winehouse and Barrie Zwicker on why Michael shouldn't call him a crank. Plus  the non-crankiest music anywhere on your radio dial.

Hour One

Paul Martin:

A new school year has begun and unless something radically changes, the situation at Aboriginal schools across this country will continue to be very dismal.

Consider that the Aboriginal  High school drop-out rate is 60% of Aboriginal students on-reserve and 43% of Aboriginal students off-reserve. That's compared to 9.5% of non-Aboriginal Canadians. And if that isn't bad enought consider that 7% of First Nations, 9% of Metis and 4% of Inuit People have a university degree compared to 23% of non-Aboriginal Canadians.

The state of education of Aboriginal children  in this country is something approaching a crime. There are not enough books, unsafe schools and untrained teachers and compounding the situation, a constitutional argument between the provinces and the federal government about just who is responsible for aboriginal education.

None of this is new to Paul Martin. And the former Prime Minister, the former Finance

Minister and one of the co-authors of the Kelowna Accord has decided that if he couldn't get it right in Government then he can help to get it right as a private citizen.

The key piece of his efforts is something called the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative.

Paul Martin was in our Toronto studio.

Mail - 9/11:

We received many letters about our coverage of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 last week. Here are some of them.

Hour Two

9/11 Mail and Barrie Zwicker:

Last week, Michael spoke with Jonathan Kay, a columnist and executive editor at the National Post about his latest book Among The Truthers: A Journey in the Growing Conspiracist Underground of 9/11 Truthers, Birthers, Armagedonnites, Vaccine Hysterics, Hollywood Know-Nothings and Internet Addicts. It generated a lot of response from listeners. Here's a taste of it.

Lots of you also wrote asking us to put Barrie Zwicker on the program and we're going to follow up on your suggestions.

As I mentioned last week during my interview with Mr. Kay, I have known of Barrie Zwicker for years, having worked with him at the Globe and Mail in the 60s.

He's worked at the Toronto Star, was the media critic at Vision TV, and taught journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto. But he is best-known today as a leading voice in the so-called 9/11 Truth movement. Mr. Zwicker is author of Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-up of 9/11, and host of a documentary called The Great Conspiracy: The 9/11 News Special You Never Saw.

Barrie Zwicker joined Michael in our studio in Toronto.

A Cruel Coincidence:

Vancouver artist Robyn Levy was always told she was the spit and image of her Dad

Not only do they look alike, they see the world in much the same way. They both have a decidedly dark sense of humour.

Gordon Levy, Robyn's father, is 73 now - a balding  businessman from Toronto who ran his own insurance company during the week and drove his daughter to art lessons on the weekend.

Robyn grew up to become an artist and moved to Vancouver. She's 47  with a teenage daughter.

Father and daughter have always been in each other's corner.

Lately their sense of humor has been tested and they have  needed each other like never  before.
They have both been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease.

Here are Gordon and Robyn Levy with A Cruel Coincidence, produced by Robyn Levy and Yvonne Gall. 

Click here for Robyn Levy's Blog

Hour Three

The Interns:

"Date before you marry." It's an old saying that is finding new meaning in an unexpected place: the job market.

The internship is not a new thing, of course. In many fields, it has long been a rite of opportunity to try on a job and a company before settling into a career. What is new is the number of internships that today's students and new graduates are doing - some as many as five or six. And they're not all paid. In the UK and the US in particular, faltering economies have led to a proliferation of unpaid internships and with those, growing controversy.

Unions are launching lawsuits. Intern advocacy groups are calling for stricter labour regulations. Some university programs are requiring students do internships for credit... and critics of those schools say students are paying for the privilege of getting a foot in the door. Every week, it seems, a new op-ed appears, decrying or applauding some aspect of the new intern culture.

Here in Canada, youth unemployment is growing. As opportunities for meaningful work evaporate, our country's young people are seeking more and more education, whether through school or internships or both. The conversation about the rise of the serial intern and the true value of internships is heating up. The issues are many.

To help us sort out what's happening, Michael brought toegther four experts.

Meghan Lawson is an intern with the year-long Parliamentary Internship Program in Ottawa. It is her second internship. Last year, Ms Lawson spent four months in Washington as an unpaid intern with the Canadian Embassy. She was in our studio in Ottawa.

Daniel Hallen is freelance journalist who completed five internships while a graduate student at UBC's School of Journalism. Three of those internships were with the CBC. He was in our studio in Montreal.

Heather Huhman is the founder of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR firm that specializes in careers and recruiting. Ms Huhman is also something of an old internship hand. Not only does she hire and work with interns, she has been an intern herself - five times. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies and Internships. Ms Huhman was in our studio in Washington.

And with Michael in our Toronto studio was Lauren Friese. Ms. Friese is the founder of, a job site for students and recent graduates looking for meaningful internships, summer jobs, and entry-level positions here in Canada.

Amy Winehouse:

This week, Tony Bennett's new Duets album was released, feautring a track he recorded with Amy Winehouse - Johnny Green's Body and Soul.

Tony Bennett is 85.

The album was released on Wednesday, the day that, had she lived, Amy Winehouse would have turned twenty eight.

She didn't live, of course.

Instead, she joined the long list of young celebrities whose careers have been cut short by a life lived way too fast. Killed, at least in part, by the  overwhelming pressures of international fame and adulation.

But the tragedy of her death is not just a personal one. Our own Robert Harris is one of the many who believe that she was blessed with a truly remarkable talent...that Amy Winehouse was, or at least could have become, one of the greats of the past century or so.

Robert Harris joined Michael in the studio.

Comments are closed.