September 24, 2020 Episode Transcript
The AIH Transcript for September 24, 2020
[host]Hosts: Carol Off and Chris Howden[/host]
CAROL OFF: Hello, I'm Carol Off.
CHRIS HOWDEN: Good evening, I'm Chris Howden. This is As It Happens.
CO: Limited additions. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he'll do what it takes to get Justin Trudeau to deliver on his Throne Speech — we'll find out whether that means risking a pandemic election.
CH: Mysterious and heartbreaking. After the strange deaths of hundreds of whales in Tasmania this week, we reach a rescuer who's focusing on the few he's still able to save.
CO: Don't mask, don't tell. Prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has been arrested for, among other things, violating an anti-mask law during a protest. His ally says it's another warning shot from China.
CH: Turn on, tune in, drop out. By which I mean: when a couple in Wales turned on their secondhand TV every morning, to tune in to the news, it made everyone's broadband in the entire town drop out.
CO: Ben there, done that. Uncle Ben's Rice has announced changes to its racist branding — but rapper and entrepreneur Master P has already cooked up a better idea.
CH: And... a hard case. A New York State man pleads not guilty after being arrested for erecting a two-metre tall wooden penis in his yard — and tells us he's not going down without a fight.
CH: "As It Happens", the Thursday edition. Radio that gives you the willies.
Part one: Jagmeet Singh, Joshua Wong arrested, new Ben's rice
Guest: Jagmeet Singh
CH: Justin Trudeau was back in the House of Commons today, and he was fending off Conservative attacks. The Opposition accused the Prime Minister of trying to bury the WE investigation with a bogus prorogation, and an empty speech from the throne. Mr. Trudeau begged to differ.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU: If we hadn't stepped up as a federal government right across the country, in every province and territory to put money directly in people's pockets from the beginning of this pandemic, what would Canadians do? Every step of the way, we had Canadians back. Now, we are committing now as we approach the second wave to continue to have people's backs. And the Conservatives would rather vote for an election right now rather than support people.
CH: Prime Minister Trudeau debating the Conservatives over his government's speech from the throne. But while the Conservatives have made it clear they'll oppose the government's plan, the NDP has said it's willing to negotiate. Jagmeet Singh is the leader of the NDP. We reached him in Ottawa.
CO: Mr. Singh, are you willing to force a pandemic election if Justin Trudeau doesn't give you everything you want?
JAGMEET SINGH: Well, I said from the beginning that my goal has never been, throughout this pandemic, throughout this minority government to find a way to tear down government. My goal has always been to find a way to fight for people, to deliver the help they need. And right now, that remains my goal. I am using the platform that I have, the leverage I have to fight for Canadians, to fight for workers so they have paid sick leave, to fight for people who can't go back to work to make sure they get the same amount of support. That it's not cut — like the Liberals had initially proposed to do. And we're proud that so far, we've been able to win time and time again for Canadians.
CO: Right. So you've got that. You were able to get them to agree to return it to five hundred dollars instead of four hundred dollars, which was the income replacement money. But what else are you asking for? I mean, what at this point would make you support the liberals?
JS: Well, two things. One, we put out that they shouldn't cut the amount. And you're right. So we've forced them to return it to the full two thousand dollars a month instead of sixteen hundred. The next piece is the paid sick leave. And we're very close. We're optimistic that we can work this out. But I want to make sure that any Canadian worker who falls sick during this pandemic and onwards can have the confidence that they can stay at home and know that they will still be able to pay their bills. So the paid sick leave piece is what we're working on right now, we're in negotiation. And I'm very optimistic that we can come to a resolution where there will be a paid sick leave in place for creating workers.
CO: What does it say that you were able to get to these two things accomplished within just I mean, less than a day of the throne speech? Does it seem as though, I don't know, it was a bit scripted that they waited for you, knowing what you would ask, and then you give it they give it to you so quickly and then it all seems to be close to being resolved?
JS: Not at all. We had been fighting for this for weeks now, for months now. The paid sick leave is actually something that we had obtained as a commitment from the Liberal government. We fought for it months ago in exchange for a vote on a crucial vote that the Liberals needed our support on. So for a crucial vote, we negotiated a paid sick leave. So this was months in the working and we needed this to be in place. So we've been fighting and saying it's not enough that you committed to it. We need it in place. And then the Liberals, up until the last hour, they were committed to cutting the help from two thousand to sixteen hundred dollars. And we said that is wrong. In a second wave, when people might be losing their jobs again, there might be lockdowns. And for the Canadians, that cannot go back to work, those in tourism and service sectors in hospitality who simply don't have a job to return to, we cannot cut the support they receive. So those are two vital things, emergency things. And we're really proud of the work that we put into making sure that the government did not go down the wrong path of cutting the help. We forced them to keep the help and to commit to what they promised to do months ago.
JS: So these are two things the Liberal government knew that we wanted for months. I don't know why it took them so long, but we stayed strong and fought till the end to make sure these two really important components of a response were in place.
CO: Right. They wanted to give you something and maybe they held back until we got to this point. I'm just wondering if you couldn't have asked for more? Given the fact the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois are playing hardball, they said that they're not going to support this. Maybe they're doing that because they know that you're going to?
JS: Well, I don't know why the Bloc and the Conservatives are failing every step of the way to actually win and fight for Canadians to get something done for people. I don't know why they are not taking the opportunity to do that. But I can tell you for us, throughout the pandemic, every step of the way, when people were excluded, we fought for them. Students were completely ignored. We fought to bring in CESB, which was not on the tables at all. The Liberals had not considered it. We fought to bring in CERB in the first place. Initially, the Liberals were talking about changing E.I. We said, no, we need direct financial support to all Canadians. They initially started a thousand. We fought to make it two thousand, the wage subsidy. They had put out openly at 10 per cent. We said it has to be at least 75 per cent, so that workers can still be connected to their jobs. Every step of the way, we've been fighting to make sure people get help and there's still much more to do.
CO: And this is the point, though, isn't it? Because, I mean, the Liberals need you in order to pass this and to avoid an election, which seems nobody really wants right now. You have a lot of leverage, or it seems you have a lot of leverage. Are you really using it? I mean, isn't there more you could push for your agenda, given the strength of your position right now?
JS: Well, we're the fourth party. And I've just listed a pretty massive amount of support that we were able to win over the past couple of months. I would challenge anyone to come up with another minority government where in recent history this many victories were won for people. So we're going to continue to do that. I've been saying from the beginning that I'm worried about people and what they're going through. And I know that there's a lot of uncertainty and insecurity. And so every step of the way, we're trying to find what is it? What is something that will help people right now immediately dealing with this crisis? And so far, we fought for recently these two components, the amount of money to remain the same, and the paid sick leave. And there will be more help. Next things that we think about are testing and seniors in long-term care. I think that profit should be removed. There should never be profit as a question when it comes to the care of seniors. We know that a lot of families can't go back to work, particularly women. So child care is really a fundamental priority piece for us to fight for. And we know that moving forward, the recovery cannot be something that everyday people, working-class people have to pay for. But those who profited off the pandemic should be the ones to pay for the recovery. So those are some of the priorities that we have moving forward. But there are certain emerging --
CO: OK, can I just ask you about that? Because the last thing you said, you mentioned this last night as well, you're talking with a wealth tax. I mean, what are the chances that the Liberals would ever accept a wealth tax?
JS: Well, I mean, they're unable to even say the words. In the throne speech, they say taxing extreme wealth inequality. I don't know how one taxes inequality, but I certainly know how we can tax wealth, extreme wealth. And we propose that those who have fortunes of over 20 million should be paying their fair share. We should close the loopholes that allow companies to make profits in Canada, but not pay any taxes in Canada. And we also need to end the scenario where you've got companies like Amazon and Netflix, who've made massive profits doing this pandemic that also virtually pay no taxes here, despite making profits here. There's a lot that we can do to raise revenue. It should not fall on everyday families to pay for this pandemic.
CO: Right. But again, just briefly I mean, you are in a position to actually push for a lot of this, including things that were now promised. Again, I guess the National Child Care Program, pharmacare. You're in a position that you could you could get a fair bit of the NDP agenda on the books, couldn't you?
JS: Well, we're trying our best to fight for Canadians. And for me, the priority is right now, we know two days from now, people are going to be faced with their CERB ending. So that was an emergency and that's a priority. And there's lots of people that are still working while they're sick in a pandemic. So those are two really emergency immediate needs. And we're going to continue to fight for the immediate needs of Canadians, as well as a longer-term planning in terms of recovery.
CO: We will leave it there. Minister Singh, thank you.
JS: Thank you very much.
CH: Jagmeet Singh is the leader of the NDP. We reached him in Ottawa.
Joshua Wong arrested
Guest: Nathan Law
CH: Right now, we're being told over and over again about the importance of wearing masks. But for Joshua Wong, wearing a mask could mean prison time. Today, the Hong Kong pro-democracy activist was arrested and charged with taking part in an "unauthorized assembly" last October, just after a law banning masks during protests came into effect. He was also charged with violating the mask law. After he was released on bail, Mr. Wong spoke with the Hong Kong Free Press.
JOSHUA WONG: Even facing the maximum penalties of five years in jail related to unauthorized assembly. And one years in jail of wearing a mask during the anti-mask law. I have no regret at all because the press can't defeat us, make us even stronger determination. And even I'm a bit tired under the cross examination and also the video taping inside the police station, being questioned by those police sergeants and officers. I still realize that that's my responsibility, duty and mission. Let the voice of Hong Kong is being heard. And that's the reason for me continue to fight. And I realize there's no reason for us to give up.
CH: Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong speaking today, after he was released on bail. Nathan Law is a fellow pro-democracy activist, who led the Umbrella Movement alongside Mr. Wong. But after the new national security law was enacted in July, Mr. Law fled to London. That's where we reached him today.
CO: Nathan, first of all, what do you make of these charges against Joshua Wong, whom we just heard there, saying that he has no regrets? He was arrested for wearing a mask.
NATHAN LAW: Yeah, Joshua is definitely a brave person. And he is the most tenacious person I've ever met. And regarding to the case, it was so absurd that they charged him for unauthorized assembly and also wearing a mask regarding the events last year. And it's an obvious warning signal from the government saying that while we can arrest you and charge you whenever we want with the most absurd charge.
CO: He was also charged with knowingly taking part in an unauthorized assembly. Is that right?
NL: Yes. Yes. This is a charge that the government always use to prosecute political dissidents.
CO: And he wasn't alone. There's another, Koo Sze-yiu, who is also charged with that. Can you tell us about him?
NL: Yeah, he's a Democratic veteran and has been involved in social movement for decades. And he is recently diagnosed with cancer. So he is actually fighting for his life in the hospital, and he's now suddenly being arrested again, because he took part in a demonstration last year.
CO: You're pointing out, though, that both men were arrested for things that happened some time ago. Why do you think they are now pursuing Joshua and Koo Sze-yiu for things that happened last year?
NL: So I think specifically for Joshua, under the national secturity law, Joshua is in grave danger. So he has always been the target of their government. And by arresting him and charging him once more, it sends a strong signal to Joshua that basically telling Joshua not to do anything else. Otherwise, we will arrest you under the national security law, which is much more draconian. And the maximum penalty will be life-long sentencing. I think that kind of intimidation is clear.
CO: You're speaking the national security law, this is this is draconian legislation that many are very concerned about in Hong Kong. But he wasn't charged under that national security law, was he?
NL: Yeah, he was not. But I think it's not yet. The government is definitely having some plans on it. It's just a matter of time when the governemnt think it's political sutible to do it.
CO: Do we know of how many people who is being charged under that law? What are the consequences so far of that legislation?
NL: Yeah, more than 30 people arrested under the law. And because the legal procedure has not finished yet. So we still haven't seen any result of that. But there are people being arrested just because they post a post on social media, or they chant a slogan, or they have some stickers or flags that have to movement slogan song. So it's clearly targeting freedom of expression and peaceful assemblies, rather than what the government has been saying — the violent protest.
CO: There are three, I guess, the most recognized of the pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. Are, well, you. And also Joshua Wong, who has been arrested. The other one is Agnes Chow. And she has been charged under the new law, hasn't she?
NL: Yes. She was arrested alongside with Jimmy Lai a couple weeks ago. And we were all shocked by the arrest because that was so obvious a political move. And it was definitely tageting Agnes. And Agnes has not been really commenting on sensitive political issues since the law was in place. So it was definitely a trauma cases to her.
CO: She possibly faces a life-time imprisonment, doesn't she?
NL: Yes. And it really makes us so worried. But she's a brave activist, and I believe that she could calmly deal with all the pressure.
CO: Do you think the storm will pass? It seems that what China is doing, what the Communist Party is doing is working from its point of view. Because it has people in jail. It has people afraid. It has you not even living in the country anymore, fearing that you might be subjected to these same laws. So, is China actually winning in this regard?
NL: Well, China actually risked a lot to implement the national security law, as we have seen the massive backlash of these actions and the statements supporting Hong Kong from all the other countries. So I think that it's actually a desperate move from the government. And even though it could silence people in short term, that kind of high pressure is not sustainable.
CO: And is there really much though that you can do, given that you're there, I guess, one of the last few people of the leadership that is not facing these kinds of charges. They want to charge you, but you're in in exile. Is there much that you can do actually to try and keep this momentum going in Hong Kong?
NL: Being charged is not the only way to contribute to the movement. We all understand that is important international front of the movement, which we need to garner more support from the democracies. So for me, my duty is to be the voice of Hong Kong, because under national security law, there are many things that you cannot speak on the ground. Because the government could drum up cases on you in regards to what you have spoken. But for me, I am free from the threats of national security law, and I could speak all the things freely. And to build that consensus in the Western democracies of going after the human rights violation in mainland China. So I think my role is there's still certain things I can do, even though I'm not in Hong Kong.
CO: Nathan, we will leave it there. And we'll keep in touch. And appreciate you speaking with us today. Thank you.
NL: Thank you so much.
CH: Nathan Law is a pro-democracy activist who fled Hong Kong in July. We reached him in London.
New ben's rice
Guest: Master P
CH: You couldn't say he died, since he never existed. But Uncle Ben — of Uncle Ben's Rice — is no longer with us. The company that makes the brand said it will drop the name and logo, because of its racist connotations. Now, the rice will be sold simply as "Ben's Original". And now it has a new competitor: "Uncle P's Rice". The new brand was created by Percy Miller — a New Orleans entrepreneur better known as the rapper and music producer Master P. We reached him in Los Angeles.
CO: Master P, first of all, what do you make of the departure of Uncle Ben?
MASTER P: Well, it was shocking. And I think that it was a long time coming. When we think of Uncle Ben now, we think of the mockery for African-American families, which we all spent a lot of money into that brand and that product thinking that it was African-American-owned, thinking that, you know, it was us.It was our culture. My grandparents made me buy that product because when they seen Black faces own that, it connected to us as a culture.
CO: And what did that image, this picture, Uncle Ben, a Black man with white hair wearing the bow tie, what does he represent?
MP: Well, what we understand now, he's a model. And he signed a lifetime contract for 50 dollars. And what it represents now to us is when you look at the whole Black Lives Matter movement, is injustice, is nothing that's doing nothing to help our culture, our community, our people. But I take my hat off to Quaker Oats for taking it off the shelf. But, you know, I'm kind of puzzled what's going on with it now.
CO: The image itself, it evoke the idea of servitude, doesn't it?
CO: That this is a man who is this is serving others with his wearing the bow tie. And he's not the only model of that nature, or the images. The other one is Aunt Jemima, who is also now, as I understand, is to come off the packaging. And that's the stereotype of, I guess, the mammy — a Black woman who would serve her white masters. How do you think, why do you think that's been around for so long?
MP: Well, like I said, I mean, as African-Americans, you walk in the store, it's just exciting to see that it's someone that look like you on a package. And so, 'magin if it had real products that can connect to people that we can give back to the culture. We could educate and feed our families off of this product and this brand. And that's the thing that's missing — the diversity. Putting packaged food goods on the shelf. Being able to connect to people that look like us economically. |For us to change the injustice, then we have to be able to put money back in the community off of these products.
CO: And you're not just talking through your hat on that one. You've actually gone the distance and created alternative products to Uncle Ben's and Aunt Jemima's. And that's products that would actually represent, you think, the Black community.
MP: Yeah, well, it represents the African-American community and all communities 'cause I'm just saying diversity. We just need some diversity in these grocery stores to say that we can empower our culture and our community. And that's what I've done. I've created a brand, Uncle P brand, where we have the rice, the pancakes, the syrup. We have oatmeal. We have grits. We have noodles. We have cereal. We are creating a brand that's giving our people opportunities, giving our people jobs, we able to put money back into the community. The more we make, the more we give. You know, it's a real person that comes from the struggle and the pain that understands economic empowerment, that want to help the next generation. And I just think that this is so important for us as a culture. They made billions of dollars off of us. 'Magin you got real people, real people that care about the community and the culture and that's invested back into the community and the culture.
CO: Just tell us a bit more about how you how your business will benefit the Black community?
MP: Yes. Well, giving back to the elderly because people forget about the elders, making sure that they have shelter, making sure they have food, clothing. The youth, educating the youth. The more we make, the more we give. Scholarship programs, putting money back in the community, building safe havens for these kids in the community. And that's what Uncle P products about. P.G. Foods building productions, building warehouses, building factories with people that look like us, giving jobs, being a voice for the community saying that, look what we're doing. We're not just talking about it. We're actually doing it.
CO: Now, your Instagram says, when we own the product, we control our future. Do you think that others will pick up on this, that you'll see other products like yours that will be on the shelves?
MP: Yeah. So for me, we just a spark plug. We want thousands of African-Americans, Latinos, minorities to own a product and say we created this. Let's control this. And that's how we control our future. This how we able to send our kids to college and not send them to prison. This how we save our community. We buy blocks back. We're not burning 0them down. This is a start. It all start with ownership. It all start with ownership, which if you look at even the top Fortune 500 company, there's only two African-American CEOs. So we have to change that narrative. And this is how we start. Because if we don't own the companies, how can we control the narrative to make a change in our community, even to police brutality, equality. It's all economic. I don't want this to stop at us. I want to create thousands of brands, so now you see the diversity in these stores. And I tell anybody that's coming up with products, No idea is a wack Idea. Believe in it. Master your product. And make sure you have good taste in product. And you can change the game. And we will change the game together. This is a movement, when talk about the African-American culture, that we've taken over these shelving spaces and replacing them with real African-American-owned product.
CO: Master P. It's really good to talk to you. Thank you.
MP: Thank you.
CH: Master P — also known as Percy Miller — is a rapper and entrepreneur. He was in Los Angeles. You can find that interview on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.
Part two: Pilot whales stranded, Giant penis protest
Pilot whales stranded
Guest: Tom Mountney
CH: On the West Coast of Tasmania this week, rescue teams have been trying, tirelessly, to save almost 500 pilot whales stranded in two local harbours. The mass stranding is considered the worst in Australian history. And we know that close to 400 of those whales have already died. Tom Mountney is a salmon fisherman who works for Petuna Aquaculture. He's been helping rescuers lug healthy whales back out to sea all week. He is in Devonport, Australia.
CO: Tom, I know you're about to head out on the water again today. What do you expect to see out there?
TOM MOUNTNEY: I think when we get out there this morning, we're going to find probably we're hoping for about 20 more whales to save. I think the total was 88 up until last night that we've managed to get back.
CO: You've been doing this for days now. So what does it feel like in terms of what you've accomplished?
TM: It's been a funny experiene. I think pretty rewarding, I mean, yeah, it's been a fairly natural event. We've just done what we can to save as many of these whales as we can. There's a really big team on the ground. I think the morale is actually quite high, given how sad the whole event is, just seeing quite a lot of whales actually swimming away. It's been good.
CO: Can you just describe what the strategy has been? How do you go about rescuing the whales?
TM: Majority of the whales we've tried to save have been sort of up on a sandbank, about three odd miles from from the ocean, up inside the harbour. And we're able to use the jet boats we have from the fish farms to sort of straddle the whales up from the side which are prepared by the ground crews. Sort of gently guide them out to see and release them.
CO: And as you're doing that, how much contact do you have with the animals?
TM: Yeah, quite a bit. Especially it's taking probably about 12 or more people per whale to prepare them in a sling. And then the guys on the boat, we're spending quite a bit of time to gently, I guess, secure them to the side. And we're trying to take two at a time on the side of the boat. So, yes, quite a bit of contact. And it takes about half an hour each trip. We take a bit of time with the whales trying to keep them calm. ANd they've been pretty remarkably calm and it's been pretty good.
CO: And just for people who have never seen one, these are pilot whales. Can you just tell us how large they are?
TM: Pilot whales, the bigger ones, are up over six metres. And over about three tonnes. The calves are quite small, so probably imagine like a fairly small dolphin. So those calves we're actually able to lift onto the boat and then take the mother out at the same time and release them together, which has been a pretty good strategy, I think.
CO: You've been able to identify the calves of the mothers? You've been able to find them together, and because you can't separate them, right? That would be counterproductive. They'd try to get back. So how are you managing that when it's a mother and her baby?
TM: Usually, the baby is just basically swimming laps around the mother. So the mother is stranded on the sandbank, but there's still enough water for the calf to swim. So the mother still being alive, but unable to really move, you can hear them communicating. Yeah. And obviously, the calf is quite distressed. At the same time, you can sort of get the mother in the swing, get them into the boat and the calf will just hang around. And then with the 12 more people we can try and grab that calf, get it up from the boat and then release them simultaneously. Yeah.
CO: You mentioned that they are remarkably calm. And other people who have been involved in this kind of whale rescue have remarked that it seems that the whales know what you're trying to do. Do you have that impression?
TM: I think so. Like, being such a big and very strong animal, you see that when they are struggling, their tails are extremely strong and they can move extremely quick. But when you've got them, you know, around people and trying to move them, they're really quite calm. I mean, they're moving a little bit, but they're not really causing much danger to people. They're just, yeah, remarkably calm, which is making it a lot easier than it would be if they were struggling.
CO: So you having people who are experts, who are helping you with this, but for the most part, are those who are involved in this whale rescue, are they volunteers?
TM: I think the majority are volunteers. The experts are certainly coordinating it. And then there's three fish farm operators in the harbour. And they've all put in, including myself, from Petuna, we've got the jet boats. And we're all obviously quite proficient at the rigging and dealing with the same ship stuff. So that's worked quite well with actually transporting the whales. After moving a few, we really got a system in place and got pretty proficient at it.
CO: And when you get the whales on the sides of the boat and you're taking them back out, especially with the babies, getting them out to sea, what's it like when you release them?
TM: Yeah, they sorta hang around the boat for 30 or more seconds and then there's other boats involved in sort of hearding them and trying to keep them together and not let them come back in. Obviously, with so much distress in the harbour and so much noise, they're probably still calling out to those whales. So they're tempted to come straight back out. We didn't say any get back. We've got them tagged so we know. But to my knowledge, they've all gone back, and it's been a great success.
CO: Because there is always that issue, isn't there? That they try to go back in because the ones that have been left behind, the ones who are possibly dead, they have contact with. They return to them, right? That's one of the problems with trying to save whales in this way?
TM: Yeah, that's right. I think geographically where the whales are, and where we're taking them to, is quite a distance. So they go out through it's called Hells Gate, it's a narrow passage. So we're returning them back out through there, where there's actually quite a bit of strong outflow currents as well. And at around a fairly rocky outcrop, which, you know, I'm not too sure might be enough to sort of break that communication. And maybe that's what's helping us as well.
CO: It's been recorded or being reported as possibly the largest whale stranding that anyone's ever seen. Have you ever seen anything like this yourself?
TM: No, definitely not. I mean, I think about 10 years ago, in the same place, there was a minor one, which might have been 50 or so animals. I heard of one in New Zealand a few years ago, which was 200 or more. But yeah, this scale sort of blows those away.
CO: And when do you have to return to that gruesome and sad task of dealing with those who are dead?
TM: The plan's sort of been put together as we speak. And I think it's one of those things where they need to start sooner rather than later. I think while the whales are relatively fresh, it will make life a lot easier.
CO: Well, I know that it's early in the morning there in Australia and you're heading out to sea to do that work. And Tom, I'm glad you had time to talk to us this morning. Thank you.
TM: No worries at all. Thanks for having me.
CH: Tom Mountney is a salmon fisherman with Petuna Aquaculture. He's been helping with the pilot-whale rescue operation on the west coast of Tasmania this week. He was in Devonport, Australia.
[Music: Fittingly oceanic ambient music]
John Turner tribute
CH: Parliament resumed today for the first full day since the death of John Turner. MPs took the opportunity to offer a few words in celebration of the former Liberal Prime Minister. And the Conservatives weren't just paying respect to a former political opponent. Deputy Leader Candice Bergen explained that the old Progressive Conservatives owed Mr. Turner a debt. It seems that he saved the life of one of their leaders.
CANDICE BERGEN: We have a tendency in moments like this to turn men into monuments. And with a prime minister with the past as an Olympian athlete and a Rhodes scholar, that would be very easy to do. But to Canadians who shared their stories this week of a man who remembered their names years after first meeting them, of a politician who inspired them to get off the couch, of an adversary without a shred of malice in his heart. The John Turner who comes through is one who always had more interest in being a person than he ever had in being a portrait. As the story goes, and this is a very interesting one, and one when I first heard, Mr. Speaker, I almost… well, I did question is this actually true? And when I tell you this story, for those of you who haven't heard it, I think you're going to share my awe in this story. So as the story goes, the young Liberal MP John Turner and his wife were vacationing in Barbados. While on the beach one morning, Mr. Turner's wife noticed a man out for a swim who appeared to be in trouble. The surf was rough that day. There was a strong undertow and the elderly man was not a strong swimmer. Mr. Turner's wife anxiously alerted her husband to the situation. The young MP, who was a competitive swimmer in his university days, without hesitation, plunged into the surf. Grasping the man in a lifesaving hold, he struggled against the undertow and finally made it back to shore. Once on the beach, Mr. Turner set out to give the man mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. When the resuscitated gentleman came to his senses, who was the person that Mr. Turner had saved? None other than Progressive Conservative leader and former prime minister and the then leader of the opposition, John Diefenbaker. Isn't that unbelievable? [laughing in the background] It's one thing running into a colleague on a holiday. It's one thing running into an opposition colleague on a holiday. It's another thing saving that individual's life. But what an amazing story and what a wonderful story.
CH: That was Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen paying tribute to the late Liberal Prime Minister John Turner today in the House of Commons.
Giant penis protest
Guest: Jamie Gagne
CH: A New York man wanted to give the middle finger to his local town authorities. But he did so by erecting another kind of rude appendage in his front yard for all to see. Now, his penile protest has landed him in court. We reached Jamie Gagne in Wilton, New York.
CO: Jamie, first of all, what inspired you to erect this symbol of protest?
JAMIE GAGNE: It's actually my wife's idea. I had gotten some Freedom of Information Act requests back in the town, which had detailed what was going on with my building permit because they were refusing to talk to me.
CO: You're trying to get a shed built, and you found out that you couldn't. They were saying that you didn't have the right permits, right?
JG: Yeah, I was getting a little frustrated and wanted to draw their attention and kind of brute force the conversation.
CO: So your way of communicating with them was to, well, install a giant penis on your front lawn. Is that right?
JG [soft chuckling] That is correct. It was about seven feet tall. I carved it with a chainsaw.
CO: [chuckling] OK. So I'm seeing images. It's hard to get images because the news media are sort of blocking it out. But from what I've seen, it has a lot of detail in it. You did this with a chainsaw?
JG: Yeah, with chainsaw is my first chainsaw carving, actually. And I've always been an artist at heart. So it just kind of came out with this. [both chuckling]
CO: Okay, so this is radio. So maybe you could describe your wooden penis for us?
JG: [dry chuckle] It's seven feet tall. It's got a little bit of veins. The tip is very well-shaped. I don't know, it's very anatomically correct.
CO: In which direction is it pointing? I mean, it has a particular trajectory, doesn't it?
JG: So not only was I having problem with the town itself, but the neighbour that had recently moved in across the street was making a lot of complaints. Basically, reporting every activity that I was doing to the town. And he's got a camera set up, pointed at my house. And it was getting really irritating. So I pointed it directly at his front door to kind of send a message to stop being a jerk. [dry [chuckle]
CO: How did the neighbourhood respond?
JG: Most of the neighbours actually thought it was hilarious. I've never had traffic slow down to such a crawl in front of my house before. Everybody was just stopping and turning around, taking pictures. A lot of people just thought it was hilarious. It just took one person to file a complaint with the police before they took action against me.
CO: Okay. What happened when the police showed up?
JG: The first day, it was a state trooper stopped by. And he just kind of stopped by to check it out. I asked him if there was any problem? And he said, well, not not at the moment. Maybe if somebody files a complaint, there could be. But he also did mention that if it was not errect, it would have been art. But an errect penis is not art.
CO: What!!! Why not?!
JG: But that didn't make any sense to me. [chuckle] So I did think it was interesting that he mentioned it, and he knew so much about penis art. [both chuckle] But it was about nine days later after I erected the statue that two state troopers came to my house at 8:00 in the morning. And they told me that two things were going to have to happen. One, the statue had to come down. And two, I had to go to the station with them to get processed and arrested. I actually got booked and handcuffed and brought out of the station in bare feet.
CO: So you got cuffed. What were you charged with?
JG: A penal code violation of displaying of pornographic material.
CO: Penal as in p-e-n-a-l?
JG: Yes, yes. [laughing] p-e-n-a-l, as in the law. Yep.
CO: Okay, so what kind of charge is that? What could be the consequences of that?
JG: It's a misdemeanor criminal charge. And I could be facing one year in jail or a thousand dollar fine.
CO: Have you had a day in court yet?
JG: So I just finally had my first court appearance Tuesday. And it's looking like everything is going... It's too early to tell, but it's looking like it's going to get dismissed. My lawyer is pretty confident that the law doesn't even apply. That this is very clearly a First Amendment case. First Amendment protected kind of freedom speech and free expression. So it should get thrown out. That's what it's looking like.
CO: So creating a giant penis and putting it in your front yard, whether it's erect or not, is still considered to be a matter of free expression in the United States?
JG: That's correct. Yes.
CO: You said, okay, the two things happened that you got arrested and that you were supposed to take the penis down. Where is the penis now?
JG: I have set it back up in the backyard. I had a lot of fans stopping by and asking about it and wanting to see it. So I put it back up in my backyard. It's not currently visible from the road.
CO: And if you win, will you put it back out front?
CO: And pointed at the same neighbour?
JG: I mean, I can't point it at that neighbour anymore. Really, I just want to finish building my workshop. This is my primary goal. So that's sort of what I'm shooting for. But if I win in court, I will set it back up. And once my workshop is complete, I will either auction it off or perhaps rent it to other disgruntled residents who have shown interest in borrowing it.
CO: Right. People who want to make a point?
JG: Yep. It works pretty well.
CO: [laughing] Jamie, it's good to talk to you. Thanks.
JG: Thank you.
CH: We reached Jamie Gagne in Wilton, New York.
[Music: Classic rock]
CH: Now, here's a tip that could vastly improve your life. It is fundamentally important that if you have an old TV set, [a static noise takes over CH's voice] you stop using it. Guys, this sounds awful, could you stop — okay, sorry about that. Now, what I was saying was if you have an old TV set [a static noise takes over CH's voice] NO, it's happening again, guys we have talked about this!! Please — okay. Sorry. [chuckling] The thing is, our director and technician, John and Reynold, can't get enough of "Just For Laughs Gags". They just love its confusing, utterly nightmarish pranks. But when they turn on the old portable Radio Shack TV in the studio, it messes everything up. It's more common than you might think. Exhibit B: the town of Aberhosan, Wales. For 18 months, at 7:00 a.m., every single day, everyone's broadband would drop out. After months of fruitless investigation, the broadband company called in "a crack squad of engineers" to do one final test: the SHINE test. SHINE stands for Single High-level Impulse Noise. It means that, sometimes, one lone device can create enough electrical interference to mess up a whole town's attempts to stream "Just For Laughs Gags". And using a Spectrum Analyser — obviously — they tracked down the culprit. One old secondhand TV, turned on every day at 7:00 a.m., by a couple who had no idea the havoc they were wreaking. And who immediately, and with great embarrassment, swore to never turn it on again. Must have been awkward. But at least it inspired this absolutely brilliant pun: sometimes [a static noise takes over CH's voice] — an exciting discovery leads to a major turn-off — guys, come on! Oh, forget it!
[Music: Indie rock]
Part three: Black licorice death, mini moon
Black licorice death
Guest: Neel Butala
CH: Dr. Neel Butala sees a lot of heart attacks. But the cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital had never seen one like this. A 54-year-old construction worker collapsed and later died. And the patient case now serves as a cautionary tale of eating too much of a certain bittersweet treat. The case was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. We reached Dr. Neel Butala in Summerville, Massachusetts.
CO: Dr. Butala, what condition was this man in when he came to your hospital?
NEEL BUTALA: He was in pretty dire straits. He had arrested outside of the hospital and came in actually in cardiac arrest. So he was at resuscitated at the Mass General Hospital Emergency Department.
CO: And you see a lot of cardiac arrests. Did this one seem different to you?
NB: Yeah. And so, you know, in the initial moments of a cardiac arrest and the initial management of it, it's actually pretty algorithmic. I think the emergency department team doing an amazing job, you know, resuscitating him. And you sort of rule out the most common causes and address them if we find something. And so initially, you know, in the emergency department, I think everything seemed OK. It's only sort of later on as the labs started coming back, that we noticed something that was atypical about this particular patient. And the key thing we noticed that was really odd in a setting like this was that his potassium was incredibly low. And typically in a patient with a cardiac arrest, their potassium is either normal or even high. And here it was incredibly low, despite us giving him potassium supplementation. And so we were thinking through what what could be causing this low potassium in the setting of the heart arrest. And that's why we sort of thought through a list of things and eventually, with the list of things in mind, talked to his family.
CO: What did they tell you about his habits?
NB: Yeah, so it's interesting. So the things were looking for, did he have abnormal dietary habits? Was he having a lot of vomiting or diarrhea or not eating? Those are things we think about typically that could affect the potassium. But we're also thinking about something like, you know, some other chemical that could potentially affect the potassium. And in terms of what he was eating. And so we asked him, you know, in particular, had he been eating a lot of candy? And actually said yes, to our surprise. And in particular, they mentioned that he'd switched the type of candy he was eating from one type to another. Before, he's eating a large amount of sort of red strawberry-flavoured soft candy. And he'd switched a few weeks back to eating sort of large amounts of a black licorice-flavored soft candy. And that, I think, sort of tipped us off.
CO: What did that tip you off about? What is it about black licorice that raised your alarm bells?
NB: Right. So, I mean, in thinking through the cause of the low potassium. You know, there's only a handful of things that can make a potassium that low. And one of the things you always learn about in medical school is licorice. Like, licorice toxicity in this type of setting could with chronic consumption, lead to depletion in your body's potassium stores in the urine.
CO: What is it in licorice that has that effect?
NB: So licorice root has glycerizic acid. It's sort of a chemical that occurs naturally that when consumed, turns into something that actually affects your kidneys. And that sort of leads to retention of fluid and sort of loss at the potasium from the kidneys.
NB: That's sort of the active ingredient, yeah.
CO: Did you find out how much black licorice this man was eating?
NB: Yes. In fact, in the family, it seems like it was, you know, one to two large packets of soft candy a day. There's a fair amount.
CO: But would it take a lot of eating black licorice to have this effect, or how much black licorice or licorice products is safe to eat then?
NB: That's an amazing question. So, you know, the short answer is we don't really know. So, you know, this is an extremely rare case of someone dying from results of low potassium from a fair amount of licorice consumption. This is not the average amount of licorice consumption that happens to the population. So this is a pretty rare case. That being said, you know, even a small amount can lead to some effects in terms of lowering your potassium a small amount or increasing your blood pressure a little bit. And this, you know, exactly how much how many pieces of candy or what a minimum threshold for that is, it's a little difficult to tell because they labeling right now, at least, in the U.S., it's structured as that you actually don't have to disclose how much of the active ingredient, glycerizic acid, is in a particular food. And we looked. You know, we called the FDA, we call the company. And no one would really tell us exactly how much of this particular substance was consumed. I mean, just given the volume that his family's reported eating, it's very plausible that it's a fair amount, enough to cause this type of presentation. But, you know, it's unclear for, you know, the average person eating licorice, whether a small amount every single day for a long period of time, you know, whether that can have real effects. And, you know, it's unclear.
CO: We know that it's not just in Candy, is it? I mean, even probably larger amounts of licorice might be in various herbal products. I'm thinking about tea and lozenges. I mean, there's lots of of licorice. If people think I'm not eating candy, so I'm safe. But people do consume a fair bit of licorice, don't they?
NB: Exactly, it's in a fair amount of products. And it's particular licorice root itself, things containing that certainly can be hazardous when consumed in large amounts or for a long period of time. You know, some things that are licorice-flavoured don't actually have licorice in them. So it's important to note if you're eating a candy, it may say licorice, but it may be flavoured with something like anise, which actually is totally not going to have these effects. But a fair amount of things other than candy, such as teas, as you mentioned, supplements in particular can have licorice extract or stuff from the actual licorice root, which can be bioactive and lead to this affect.
CO: Do you think there should be warnings about this on packaging?
NB: You know, I'm not a regulator, so I can't say for certain. But I think we should certainly at least reevaluate the classification of licorice. And I know in the US, it's GRAS — or generally reguarded as safe — which means that you have to put the amount of the particular chemical on the package. Whether it should be labeled it is a question. I think it's something. If it were me making the thought, I'd probably say yes. You know, if I have high blood pressure or heart failure, maybe they shouldn't be consuming a certain amount of this candy or this particular thing. And I would know exactly how much that would be based on what the package would say.
CO: I know there are listeners wondering, am I consuming too much black licorice? What would you recommend?
NB: Yeah, and I would say that, you know, if you have high blood pressure or heart rhythm problems, you know, you really should be careful how much of it you eat. In particular, eating chronically. So in every every single day, for weeks at a time, that can certinally lead to health issues such as heart rhythm problems or higher blood pressure or even cardiac arrest if extreme ammounts are consumed.
CO: All right. Well, thank you for the advice, Doctor.
NB: Yeah. Thank you for it for listening.
CH: Dr. Neel Butala is a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the co-author of a case published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. We reached him in Summerville, Massachusetts.
FOA: Sir Harold Evans obit
CH: Sir Harold Evans has been called one of the greatest newspaper editors of all time. And that feels like an accurate headline. Over his 70 year career, Sir Harold became a pioneer of investigative journalism, uncovering human rights abuses and political scandals. Perhaps his most famous investigation exposed the devastating birth defects the drug thalidomide caused in British children. And he campaigned for the victims to be fairly compensated. After moving to the United States, the Manchester-born journalist went on to become the founder of Condé Nast Traveler magazine, and later, the head of publishing giant Random House. In his 80s, he was named Reuters editor-at-large — a position he held until yesterday. Sir Harold Evans died on Wednesday in New York. He was 92. When he was at the helm of The Sunday Times in London, one of his foreign correspondents, David Holden, was shot and killed in Cairo. Sir Harold assigned three of his best journalists to conduct a six-month investigation into his death. It was never solved. But just days after Mr. Holden's murder, in December 1977, "As It Happens" guest host Dick Beddoes spoke to Sir Harold about why one of his journalists was targetted. Here is part of that conversation, From Our Archives.
DICK BEDDOES: Mr Evans, is there any evidence to suggest that David Holden was killed for any motive other than just plain robbery?
HAROLD EVANS: Plain robbery is the most obvious motive. But in fact, the police in Cairo infured that they thought it was a political killing. It's not common for Europeans to be murdered in Cairo, and it's certainly not common, I'm told, for them to be murdered, or anybody, to be murdered with a pistol shot. David Holden was murdered very expertly with a single pistol shot.
DB: And he wasn't carrying a great deal of money, according to the dispatches we have. What other motive might there have been for his slaying?
HE: This is what puzzles us. Because those of us who know him, and journalists around the world, know that he was a detatched and brilliant reporter of complicated events. But complicated events are often the source of hatreds and hostilities. And sometimes it's hard for outsiders to realize that the reporter is trying to be detached and doing his job. And they fastened on him some of their own hatred. So it's possible. I say no more than that. It's possible that David Holden became the victim of some of them reasoning hatred that he tried to report.
DB: Do any notions at all who might have been responsible?
HE: No, and I wish that I did. We all wish we did. It's greatly bewildering. If you think of extremists in the Middle East, I suppose they are the only people who could have been affronted by David Holden's attempt to report the truth. And we have to remember that David Holden was in Cairo at the time of tremendous excitement and tension in the Middle East because the rejectionist, for instance, for those hostile to what's going on in Cairo. And it's possible that there are some extremists who might object to newspapermen coming to report a conference they thought was deplorable. That's one possibility. I mean, many journalists are ariving. But it's also possible that David Holden's long history of reporting in the Middle East has provoked and incidental and lunatic animosity. If there has been a political killing here, it can only be the work of a lunatic, an extremist group of people.
CH: From Our Archives, Sir Harold Evans speaking with Dick Beddoes on "As It Happens" in December 1977. Sir Harold died on Wednesday. He was 92.
Guest: Paul Chodas
CH: Asteroids are constantly passing by Earth. And most won't get close enough, and are big enough, to warrant much of our attention — let alone an "Armageddon"/"Deep Impact" panic scenario. But last Friday, NASA scientists found an object that's going to pass quite close in several weeks. In fact, it's probably going to get caught in orbit around the Earth. And if it's an asteroid, it may become a mini moon. But there's a chance that the object may not actually be an asteroid at all. Paul Chodas is the director of NASA's Center for Near Earth Objects Studies. He's analyzing the space object. We reached him in Pasadena, California.
CO: Paul, what do you think this object might be?
PAUL CHODAS: Well, I suspect this is an old rocket stage from one of the moon missions back in the 1960s.
CO: And why do you think that?
PC: Well, it's in orbit around the sun, so it kind of looks to be just like an asteroid. But the orbit around the sun is very peculiar in the sense that it looks a lot like the Earth's orbit. So it's kind of nearly circular, and it's about the same distance. It's in the same plane as the Earth's orbit. So the orbit made me suspicious that this is not a regular asteroid, but but rather a rocket stage.
CO: OK. There's a lot of space junk out there. So do you have any idea what part of the space junk it might be? [chuckling]
PC: I'm pretty sure this is the upper stage from the Surveyor 2 launch to the moon, which was a mission test to land on the moon — an unmanned mission — launched in 1966. So we know what that rocket was. We know how big the stage, the upper stage, that boosted it towards the moon would be. Now, the spacecraft went and actually had a problem, so it crashed on the moon. But the rocket stage missed the moon and went into orbit around the sun. And it has been orbiting, you know, for, what, f54 years now. And we think that this thing coming approaching the earth slowly, is that rocket stage coming back.
CO: Have you actually seen it? I mean, how can you identify it so definitely?
PC: It's been discovered by the asteroid search program. NASA is funding a search program that finds a dozen or so asteroids every night. And it's discovered because it's a moving spot on the sky. And you can see it move from, you know, hour to hour. And it looks like an asteroid. Frankly, it just a just a pinpoint of light that's moving. But we do the orbit calculations here at JPL — Jet Propulsion Laboratory — in California, and we calculate what that orbit is, what is, you know, exactly what is the dimensions of the orbit around the sun. And. And it was a pretty peculiar result. We got this all happened just on Friday. The asteroid was just discovered last Friday.
CO: And how big is this thing?
PC: It's only a point of light on the sky. So if it were an asteroid, we would think that it would be, I don't know, maybe 10 metres across or something like that. Now, if it's a rocket stage, it would be a little brighter. And so we would say it's something like eight metres across something like that.
CO: How fast is it moving?
PC: Well, it's kind of the same speed as the earth going around the sun, which is tens of kilometres per second. But relative to us, it's approaching pretty slowly. So it's going to take several weeks, actually two months, before it really gets close to the earth.
CO: OK, so where has it been for the past 54 years?
PC: [laughing] So, yeah, it has been like in orbit around the sun, in kind of the same orbit as the Earth, but a little bit different. And the separation has been changing over time. So it kind of circulates around the Earth's orbit. And it's passed by as a couple other times. You know, decades ago. It made three loops around the sun relative to our planet. But, now, when it approaches Earth in late November, it's coming by so slowly that the Earth's gravity pulls it in. And the Earth's gravity will actually capture this object. And it'll stop orbiting the sun. It'll start orbiting the earth for a couple of loops. So that's what we call a mini moon. That's a nickname that we use. Call it a mini moon because it's all in a loose orbit around the Earth. It will come closest to the Earth on December 1st. And we'll get a good look at it then. We should know before then for sure whether it's a rocket body or a natural object. We can tell the difference between the two. We'll see, you know, whether it's a dense object or whether it is a relatively light object. And that makes a difference in how it moves.
CO: But we'll be able to see this, like in late November, early December?
PC: It's not going to be visible to the naked eye. I think that, you know, amateur astronomers should be able to see this — if they know where to look. It will be bright enough for to be seen in even, you know, an amateur telescope.
CO: Just, I mean, the actual mission that this is a leftover from, Surveyor 2, [chuckling] it's not like one of those ones you comes to mind when you think of of space travel. So that was like 54 years ago in September, almost exactly to the date. What was the purpose of that mission?
PC: This was the height of the space race to the moon, and we didn't know what the surface of the moon looked like. So we were sending unmanned robots to land on the moon and take pictures, to study the moon and different parts of the moon, to learn the geology. We didn't even know how storng the surface of the moon was, let alone how far you would sink in when you landed.
CO: We didn't know was made of blue cheese or not, right?
PC: [laughing] cream cheese or what. All of this was in preparation for the Apollo landings, of course, which happened a few years later.
CO: Do you remember much of that when you were a kid?
PC: Oh, sure do. Yes. I grew up in that era, and followed all all the launches to the moon and to the planets, frankly, and still got clippings from the newspaper for all the Surveyors, including Surveyor 2. So when this new object was found last week, I put two and two together. And I said, well, wait a second. It looks like by my calculations, it was near the moon, you know, in the fall of 1966. And. Oh, yeah. There would have been, yeah, this mission and the rocket body would've passed by the moon.
CO: So what's it like to now be a scientist and to identify something that was part of your childhood in that way?
PC: It's pretty cool. As a kid, you often get passionate about studying this or that are curious and you want to know about space missions. And I wanted to know about orbits and how you how you calculate where something is going. So it's really it's very satisfying to have had kind of a dream early on as a kid. And then through good luck and a lot of hard work and in studying, being able to turn it into a career.
CO: Wow! That's cool. Thanks, Paul.
PC: Thanks. Nice to talk to you.
CO: Take care.
CH: Paul Chodas is a scientist at NASA's Center for Near Earth Objects Studies. We reached him in Pasadena, California.
Drag Deliveries YQR
CH: These days, it's a lot more difficult to experience dinner and a show. But an organization in Regina has found a way to make a version of that work. Drag Deliveries YQR is a food delivery service that also serves entertainment. Drag performers deliver your food, and then put on a performance right in your yard — if you live in Regina, that is. And they're raising money, too. Jason Hubbs is one of the organizers of Drag Deliveries YQR. He spoke with CBC Regina's "The Morning Edition" today.
JASON HUBBS: With the current situation going on, a lot of the drag queens and kings weren't able to raise any funds out there. So we were looking for some unique ways of raising funds for worthwhile causes. And this came up.
STEFANI LANGENEGGER: And where did you want the money to go?
JH: We want to go to Lulu's Lodge . One of the locks in the community was a home for LGBTQ2+ individual. And that's what Lulus Lodge is. Basically, a five-bedroom supportive transitional home for LGBTQ2S+ plus youth aged from 16 to 21, facing homelessness in Regina.
SL: And so tell me more about these performances at Drag Deliveries YQR? Like, what happens if one came to my front yard?
JH: What we're doing is we're bringing food straight to your guys' front door and delivering it by either by drag queen or a drag king. All of their food is provided by Dawna's Homestyle Cooking and Catering. It's a great meal. And each one of those deliveries, ten dollars goes to Lulu's Lodge. We show up. The drag king or queen delivers your food, puts it down, Social distancing maintaining all of our practices. We pull up with full stereo system and they back up and do a one-song performance for those individuals. And then we just share a little bit information, some pictures about the drag community, about Lula's Lodge. And we go onto our next delivery and raise a little bit more funds for a worthwhile cause.
SL: What's the response been like?
JH: The response has been unbelievable. There's been so much support by just the general public of sharing stories, their stories. And sharing stories about our performers. Sharing stories about Lulu's Lodge and everything else in the community. We've been running for the first two weeks. with this certain week, we're almost going to be up to a thousand dollars raised. But basically, creating new allies out in the community of inclusion. It's been amazing just to hear the stories of inclusion that people have and support that they have for the youth in general of our community, and especially the LGBTQ2S+ community.
CH: Jason Hubbs is one of the organizers of Drag Deliveries YQR. He spoke to Stefani Langenegger today on "The Morning Edition".
CH: Chris Luedecke had big plans this summer. The Nova Scotia musician — better known by his stage name, Old Man Luedecke — had a tour booked to promote his new record called "Easy Money." But then the pandemic hit. The tour was cancelled, and money quickly became anything but easy. That's when his neighbour stepped in to help. This morning, Mr. Luedecke spoke with "Halifax Information Morning" about spending the summer working on his neighbour's scallop boat.
CHRIS LUEDECKE: I had gone to get some scallops from a neighbour who lives across the road and has a couple of kids that are just a little bit older than ours. And I crossed my front field to go get them. And when I picked them up, he said, well, would you like a job? [laughing] And I thought, well, sure, that's pretty good. I think looking ahead, I thought that's the right thing to do. It seemed pretty exciting.
PORTIA CLARK Yeah. Right at the right time. Because how had your spring and summer been to that point, as far as making money from your music, Chris?
CL: Well, totally wiped out. I mean, wiped out and ongoingly so. Yes. [laughing] So this was sort of a kind of an amazing opportunity that just sort of came up out of the blue, literally.
PC: Yeah, it sounds like it. And this isn't scallop dragging, I understand, Chris.
PC: This is a diffrent method.
CL: Yeah, it's aquaculture. He's got a farm the he grows the scallops on in various different forms in pearl nets, oyster nets, and ear-hanging, they hang by the ear, these scallops down into the sea. And so I've just been learning an incredible amount and, you know, doing kind of, yeah, doing a whole bunch of brand new things that I never would have thought possible in the most romantic environment.
PC: Yeah. [both laughing] Well, the summer was pretty benign for weather.
PC: So you were out on the boat a lot or what was your duty?
CL: Yeah, that's right. I was just a deckhand. A lot of the work that is sort of biggest threat to the scallops is the growth of tunicates — these animals that grow. You could never imagine how disgusting these things are. They grow on the nets. And so they eat either shaken off or lately we've been doing some pressure washing at the sort of ends of the nets where they are. So it's it's pretty full-on. You're sort of standing around in a bucket of guts, really. There's kind of literally crap flying everywhere, you know, off these big nets with the pressure washer. [both laughing] So it's it's very different from standing on stage. It's great, great stuff!
PC: That's not really what I was picturing. So not maybe a career change for you, Chris?
CL: Well, you know, who knows? I'm ahead of the game, you know, if music doesn't come back. I don't know what to what's going on there. I mean gigs that I had this year won't be for at least another year. So it's not looking like the new year is going to be very good. So if I can keep working here, you know that's pretty great.
CH: Chris Luedecke is a Juno Award-winning musician who spent the summer working on a scallop boat. He spoke with Portia Clark this morning on "Halifax Information Morning."