Q&A

Sask.'s new Morning Edition host Stefani Langenegger talks politics, pets and Pokemon

The Morning Edition host Stefani Langenegger starts your day with breaking news, issues and water cooler talk weekdays from 6 to 8:30 a.m.

Langenegger dishes on a mix of serious and lighthearted topics before starting new gig Friday

Stefani Langenegger starts your day with breaking news, issues and water cooler talk weekdays from 6 to 8:30 a.m. (CBC)

Not even the new host of the Morning Edition can escape being grilled with hard-hitting questions.

Before taking over her new job this Friday at CBC Saskatchewan, Stefani Langenegger sat down with the CBC's Peter Mills for a mix of serious and lighthearted questions:

Mills: We're on the patio at the CBC building. I asked you to do the interview here for a reason. If we pulled out our phones, what would we find here?

Langenegger: Pokemon? [Laughs]

That's right! The CBC Pokestop, which I think was one of the ways we've bonded over the past year or so. We both play Pokemon Go quite a bit.

Absolutely. I had to take a break during my leave because I was borrowing a phone from my nephew and it didn't support Pokemon Go. Now I'm back.

A Pokemon Go player is trying to catch a Squirtle pokemon. (Pixabay)

Who is your favourite Pokemon?

I like all the little cute ones. Right now there is a cute little elephant kind of looking one [Phanpy].

I was also thinking are Pokemon a 'who' or a 'what'?

I'm going to say they are a who because I anthropomorphize everything and unlike you I'm too old to even know Pokemon outside of augmented reality. [Pokemon Go] was just my first experience seeing augmented reality on my phone and I was hooked.

Something Morning Edition listeners didn't see was how much effort you put into applying for this job. I saw how much it meant to you. Why was this something you wanted to do?

Sheila [Coles] used to say it's the most fun job in the station and it really is because you have the opportunity to cover any possible story from what's happening at the White House to what's happening around the world and especially what's happening here in Saskatchewan. You get the opportunity to hold people's feet to the fire if that's what they require, but also to hear amazing inspirational stories.

I wanted the job so bad and I knew there would be a ton of competition for it. That's why I worked so hard to get it. It was my dream to do it when Sheila left.

You spent years covering politics. What was the first political story that you either heard or read that really inspired your passion for it?

When I was first asked to cover politics, I thought it would be incredibly dull and I did it reluctantly even though I have a degree in political science. Then I started covering it and I realized if you can't cover politics in an interesting way then you're boring.

One of the first stories that really resonated with me was some women who were fighting for workers' compensation benefits that they lost when they re-married. So if they were young mothers and their husband was killed on the job and they got some workers' compensation benefits from his death, they automatically lost those if they married someone else.

When we got a Charter of Rights in this country that [situation] quickly became a gender bias. These women fought for it. They were still fighting for it well after the charter came in, up through when I started covering politics in Saskatchewan. The trust that they put in me — just a young, green reporter who didn't know that much — to tell their story ... and they got what they wanted. It was just an experience of true democracy.

Sticking with the Legislative building, is there a dress code there?

There is and it's super sexist, speaking of sexist. So for you, you'd have to wear a tie and a suit jacket. You could not go in [wearing] anything more casual than that.

For women, it's only denim [that's not allowed] and the male politicians tried to change that at one point. They put some women on a bipartisan committee — Saskatchewan Party and NDP women — to meet and decide should women have to wear close-toed shoes? Should women have to wear stockings and not bare legs? Should women have to cover their arms? As you might imagine, women quickly decided there were more important things the Saskatchewan legislature should probably deal with than that.

It's not really an equitable dress code but that's what you get when there is only a men's bathroom attached to the chamber, right? It started out as a place for men only and the dress code kind of still reflects that they don't really know what to do with women.

Despite that dress code, somebody has appeared in the assembly pantless. Do you know who it was?

Gainer! [Laughs] That guy never wears any pants but he's the cutest guy to go pantsless and of course politicians will never, ever divide themselves from the Rider mascot so they let him come in despite that indiscretion.

Speaking of the Riders, who is your favourite player of all-time?

My latest is [Jordan] Williams-Lambert now just because of his mom and the story that you did with him. They change all the time but my favourite maybe of all-time, it's a bit predictable, George Reed. I just love his story and I love that he's still part of our community.

Another big interest is that you're an animal lover. What sparked that?

That's how I grew up. I grew up on a ranch. My dad has always had animals. My dad is not as sentimental as I am obviously or he'd quickly be out of business. But our whole lives we had animals around. My dad had a gosling imprint on him when we were little and he raised it until it could fly and we got to experience that. 

I just grew up playing with calves and playing with animals. I fell in love with them. I wanted to stop eating meat when I was a kid and my dad told me, 'Not as long as you live under this roof you won't'. So I had to wait until I turned 18.

So I'm a soft-hearted vegetarian but I totally understand the farming lifestyle and I totally admire what my dad does. His cows live a beautiful life.

In our urban environment, dogs and cats are easier to play with in my backyard than calves so I have both.

Really my most recent passion in the last three years has been fostering dogs because there is such a need. I was really inspired by a rescue that works with dogs from First Nations because we know the alternative is to cull them and nobody likes that.

It's a little thing you can do without a lot of money because the rescue provides the food and everything, but your time invested in a dog that might be wild and weird, you can make it socialized and so much more adoptable. Just a little bit of love and attention can make such a difference in their future that it's almost selfish. It's not really selfless.

Who is Lucas?

Lucas is my main man. He's my dog that I've had for 10 years now and such a joy. I was ogling dogs like some people ogle prams. I desperately wanted a dog and when I got my dog Lucas it changed my life.

Best cartoon dog: Snoopy, Scooby-Doo, Goofy, or Clifford the Big Red Dog?

Snoopy.

Why?

Snoopy is just my childhood dog, I guess. Laying on his back on the dog house. He's kind of sardonic, you know? He's no pushover. He's not silly...

He's a troublemaker.

[Laughs] He is a bit of a troublemaker, isn't he? And plus I can draw him.

Do you have any idea how many tweets you've sent out?

No idea. I'll guess 11,000.

42,000.

[Laughs] Shut up, woman.

Well no, we don't want you to shut up on social media at all. Do you have any idea what photo you've tweeted the most? I went through all of them and counted.

I don't know.

It's this one:

Oh my gosh! This is my favourite photo ... and I know I've tweeted it at many, many people...

It is one of my favourite photos of all-time.

Before I let you go, the finance minister gets a new pair of shoes on budget day. What are you going to get yourself for your first day hosting the Morning Edition?

What a good question. Shoes aren't my thing. Maybe I'll get myself a new Thermos. I switched from coffee to tea on my time away and I need a new vessel in which to bring my morning brew.

About the Author

Peter Mills

Peter Mills is an Associate Producer with the Morning Edition on CBC Radio One in Saskatchewan. Follow him on Twitter @TweeterMillsCBC. Do you have a story idea? Email peter.mills@cbc.ca.