The Sunday Edition for October 20, 2019

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

Bulletproof vests on the campaign trail - Michael's essay

"Has it really come to this? Has our politics moved from booing and the occasional rotten egg to a need for body armour? Earlier this week, a group of seniors, some of them lawyers, was sitting around a breakfast table. Each was asked if he could remember a nastier political campaign. Each said, categorically, not in his lifetime. One used the word ‘vile.’"

What will the federal election mean for Canada's housing crisis?

Canada’s major political parties have responded to a severe lack of affordable housing by promising to make it easier for people to buy a house. But for people who find it difficult to cover the cost of renting, there’s not much immediate relief on offer. Michael Enright asks why it seems impossible to get adequate affordable housing built in this country with Leilani Farha, the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing; John van Nostrand, an architect and planner; and Cathy Crowe, a street nurse and advocate for the homeless.
Point of View

'That's not my cat'

If good fences make good neighbours, what does a fickle black feline make? Oliver Gunther tells of a somewhat frosty relationship between people who live side by side, who share only one thing. His essay is called, "That's Not My Cat.”

Kurds take stock of being abandoned by Western allies, again

The past century has been an often painful and bitter one for Kurds. They’ve been denied a homeland that was promised them. They’ve been massacred by Saddam Hussein. And now they’ve been abandoned by Western allies once and fallen under military attack yet again.

Brian Bilston may be the Banksy of poetry

A few years, a man calling himself Brian Bilston scribbled a short poem and posted it on Twitter. He hadn’t thought of himself as a poet, but three books and almost 70,000 followers later, he’s become known as the unofficial poet laureate of Twitter and the Banksy of poetry. His poems are whimsical, serious, poignant, funny and, sometimes, visual, and he’s been called "the greatest English anti-hero of our time, with a black belt in procrastination."

Remembering Harold Bloom, the Yale scholar who searched for literary genius

It's been said that he read everything. And he seemed to remember everything he read. And he wrote about more of it than just about anyone. Harold Bloom — the most important and best-known literary critic of his time — died on Monday at the age of 89. We revisit Michael Enright’s 2005 interview with Professor Bloom — about literary greatness, mortality and the search for wisdom.

Canadian voters in Hong Kong on democracy, Canada-China relations and the federal election

For the first time, Canadians who have been living abroad for more than five years are able to vote in the federal election for the first time. Our largest ex-pat community is in Hong Kong, home to more than 300,000 Canadians. Three Canadian citizens active in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement discuss their thoughts about the election and the role Canada could play in safeguarding democracy and the rights of Canadians abroad.

The Sunday Edition for October 13, 2019

Listen to this week's episode of The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright.

A papal injunction against adjectives and adverbs - Michael's essay

To crime novelist Elmore Leonard, their use is ‘a mortal sin.’ Graham Greene said they were ‘beastly.’ They have been called ‘the lazy tool of a weak mind.’ Drugs? Pornography? Vodka shots? None of the above. These and other illustrious writers were talking about adverbs and adjectives. Horror-meister Stephen King warned, ‘the adverb is not your friend. I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs.’ The critics have been joined by no less than Pope Francis.

Religion and Canadian elections

The church and state officially are quarantined from each other in this country. But God, and what He or She would think of the issues, keeps creeping into our elections in debates about abortion, immigration and religious symbols among other things. Michael Enright discusses whether we can — and whether we should — keep religion out of our politics, with Trinity Western University professor Janet Epp Buckingham and author Michael Coren.
Point of View

'I'm convinced now that waiting is full of untapped potential. It's a source of unclaimed time'

Cooling one’s heels, holding one’s horses or biding one’s time is something of a lost art in the 21st century. In a world of instant information and gratification, we're just not accustomed to lining up and waiting for much of anything anymore. Renée Bondy thinks we may be saving time, but we’re losing something more important in our hurry. Her essay is called “On Waiting.”

How a Canadian woman's imaginary feasts helped starving WW II prisoners

At the height of the Second World War, trapped inside a Singapore prison, Ethel Rogers Mulvany gathered fellow starving women to dream up imaginary feasts. The CBC's Alisa Siegel speaks with Ottawa historian Suzanne Evans about how the women's make-believe dishes became their tool for survival.

Political rhetoric about border control part of a 'moral panic', says law prof

It’s not the biggest issue in this election, but the rhetoric around asylum-seekers and immigrants has often been heated and divisive. University of Toronto law professor Audrey Macklin, one of Canada’s foremost experts on migration law, will dissect the myths and misperceptions of immigration in Canada.

Syrian-Canadians and border town residents on immigration and the federal election

In the 2015 election, the Syrian refugee crisis was the focal point of debates about immigration. In 2019, irregular border crossings have become the focus. The Sunday Edition spoke to two Syrian-Canadians who will be voting in 2019 for the first time, and to two border town residents about what's happening in their communities.

Revisiting the Black Sox Scandal of 1919

A hundred years ago this past week, the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds met in an infamous World Series. Eight White Sox players conspired with gamblers to fix the Series and were later banished from the game for life. Jacob Pomrenke of the Society for American Baseball Research’s Black Sox Committee details how the villains, victims and tragic heroes (think Shoeless Joe Jackson) may not be who we think.

Everything you could possibly want to know about Cornish pasties

Michael found himself in a spot of bother seven years ago when he betrayed his ignorance of Cornish pasties — what they are, what’s inside them and how to pronounce them (they rhyme with “nasty,” not “tasty”). Indignant letters from expatriate Brits swiftly ensued. Dr. Andrew Pocock — then the British High Commissioner to Ottawa — set Michael straight in this rollicking interview from January 2012.

The Sunday Edition for October 6, 2019

Listen to this week's episode of The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright.

The press isn't entirely free in Canada - Michael's essay

In light of the sentencing of James Sears, editor and publisher of a hateful publication, Michael Enright reflects upon freedom of the press in Canada and the roles of journalists globally.

Speaker John Bercow reflects on 10 years of keeping British parliamentarians in line

John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons during one of the most volatile periods in British parliamentary history, is stepping down this month.
Point of View

Mike Finnerty: 'I feel like a hero in my cheesemonger apron'

CBC Radio host Mike Finnerty has taken a much-needed sabbatical from radio to work as a cheesemonger in London, U.K.

What are we really talking about when we talk about reconciliation?

Politicians say they're committed to it, indigenous leaders and activists demand it, and Canadians hope for it. But what exactly do we all mean by reconciliation? And how will we know when — and if — we've achieved it? Michael’s guests are: Cindy Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society; Cheryl Ward, Executive Director of Indigenous Cultural Safety and Strategy with BC' Provincial Health Authority; and Cowboy Smithx, a filmmaker and founder of the Elk Shadows Performing Arts Clan and the Noirfoot School For Cinematic Art.

What Watergate can teach us about the Trump impeachment inquiry

What can history tell us about a president who is utterly unprecedented? As Donald Trump flails and blusters his way toward possible impeachment, Beverly Gage — a professor of 20th Century American politics at Yale University — compares the ignoble end of Richard Nixon's presidency to Trump’s conduct and discusses whether history can help predict the fate of the Trump presidency.

Confessions of a dishwasher and gambling addict who became a bestselling novelist

Stéphane Larue had the least glamourous job at a restaurant: a dishwasher. But it gave him an inside look at the hard-living characters working in frenetic, stress-filled kitchens. He turned those experiences into a novel, The Dishwasher, that takes the reader into the demi-monde of restaurant kitchens. It became a sensation and a big award-winner in Quebec and has just been translated into English.

Fake news is less of a threat to democracy than we imagine

We've been put on notice that bad actors seeking to rig our election are targeting Canadian voters with reams of fake news to disrupt or distort the vote. Ira Basen has questions about all the attention being paid to the threat of fake news, and what we might be missing out on as a result. His documentary is called “Fake Sale.”