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The Sunday Edition for May 31, 2020

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

A COVID-19 confinement chronicle: week 11 — Michael's essay

“Governments of every stripe have ignored conditions [in long-term care homes] for decades. Why do we as a society not care? How is it that Europeans are much better at taking care of their elderly than we are? Premier [Doug] Ford said he was accountable for the horror. He was wrong. We all are.”

Amazon's unrivalled power threatens jobs, communities and democracy: monopoly critic Stacy Mitchell

The economic shutdown may have spelled ruin for countless bricks-and-mortar stores, but it's only increased the power of Amazon. It was already a dominant retail force, but with the pandemic, Amazon became one of the only options for many households in a fast-emerging "touchless" economy. Stacy Mitchell has a big problem with that. She's an antitrust reform activist, a co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and one of Amazon's fiercest critics.
Personal Essay

The year of the balcony: how a pandemic and music brought neighbours together

Pre-pandemic, journalist, singer and author Hadani Ditmars was traveling for book research in Iraq and teaching at King's College in London. Since the lockdown, she has been at home in Vancouver, spending much of her time inside, writing about the human costs of sectarian strife, and about cultural resistance in war zones. The air on her balcony has provided needed escape and relief. And, as it turns out, much more.

War brought Zimbabwean de-miners to the Falkland Islands, peace made them want to stay

The Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory, was invaded by Argentine forces on April 2, 1982. When they retreated 10 weeks later, they left behind an estimated 25,000 landmines. Removing them is the last battle of that war, and the men fighting it are from Zimbabwe. They’ve been de-mining the area since 2009. Their job will be done by the end of 2020. Every mine will be removed, but not every de-miner will go home.

Chef Joshna Maharaj believes institutional food could be tasty and nourishing

Toronto chef and food activist Joshna Maharaj believes that institutions such as hospitals, prisons and long term care facilities too often rely on “Weekend at Bernie's”-style cooking: propping up dead meals with cornstarch. She is on a mission to change all that.

Wedding bell blues in the age of COVID-19

Kristina Allen of Elysian Weddings and Events in P.E.I. says she and her team of consultants have been spending a lot of time consoling their clients and helping them make difficult decisions about their best-laid plans during this pandemic.

Larry Kramer made his most lasting mark as an AIDS activist who spoke fiercely with moral authority

Larry Kramer's rhetoric was inflammatory and could be divisive, but when he was on a tear, people noticed and change happened. Kramer died on May 27, 2020 at the age of 84. Michael Enright spoke with Kramer in 2007 — an intense conversation with someone who changed both public attitudes and public policy.

Steamed, iced and thrashed: David Gutnick goes to a Russian banya

This is a story about the silver lining in the cloud, about hunches and good health, about being open to a new experience and finding it in the strangest places. It is a tale from the road about a documentary producer who is forced to confront a problem; a problem that takes him to a Russian banya in Brooklyn.

Michael Enright leaving The Sunday Edition to host new CBC Radio program

Award-winning broadcaster Michael Enright is leaving The Sunday Edition after 20 seasons of hosting the current affairs radio show to host a new program on CBC Radio.

The Sunday Edition for May 24, 2020

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

A COVID-19 confinement chronicle: week 10 — Michael's essay

"Nostalgia for the locked down and homebound is a bit like Novocaine; a little bit eases the pain of isolation, too much taken too often freezes every sensation and leaves us stuck in the distant past. We all fall victim to it. Occasionally. Especially when in voluntary isolation."

Anne Enright's latest novel 'Actress' is imbued with mother-daughter dynamics

Set in a post-war America and Dublin in the 1970s, Anne Enright's novel is the story of Irish theatre legend, Katherine O'Dell, as written by her daughter Norah.
Personal Essay

Stream, announce, assign, post, comment: Sam Heffer learns to teach from a distance

Sam Heffer is a prep teacher in a kindergarten to grade five school with about 300 kids and 27 staff. Three times a week, she also teaches a gym class. When she worked in a bricks-and-mortar school, she never spent much time sitting in front of a computer. Now she logs in to visit four Google Classrooms where there are no students visible to her. Here’s her essay, The New School.

To rebuild the economy after COVID-19, we'll need more government, not less: Jim Stanford

One of the biggest dilemmas we face in the post-pandemic world is the state of the economy: What will it mean to return to work? Who will still have a job and who won't? Are there sectors of the economy that will never recover from COVID-19? And will we be living with government deficits for decades to come? Jim Stanford, one of Canada's most progressive economists, sheds light on these questions and more.

Tom Shachtman on the influence of Eric Hoffer and his book 'The True Believer'

Author and documentary filmmaker Tom Shachtman talks about the influence of the late Eric Hoffer and his book The True Believer, which has become a classic. It is almost seven decades old, but it describes the brand of political extremism we see in politics today.

Beauty, death, nature and the soul: Emily Dickinson for the 21st century

Emily Dickinson’s path from unknown hermit to full-blown icon is unique in American poetry. The first word of the first poem that she ever wrote was "awake." Almost two centuries later, Emily Dickinson is still jolting us into consciousness. We reprise our one-hour special, which was produced by Karen Levine.

The Sunday Edition for May 17, 2020

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

A COVID-19 confinement chronicle: week nine — Michael's essay

"Many of us are experiencing the Third Quarter Phenomenon. This refers to a decline in performance and an increase in frustration, anger and sometimes aggressive behaviour as a period of confinement winds down. It has especially been experienced by astronauts, people in Arctic bunkers and submariners."

After COVID-19, we will have 'the mother of all battles' over the future of the planet, says Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor speaks with Michael Enright about some of the big questions the pandemic has raised about the future and the way we live now — and how he finds reasons for hope in the social solidarity Canadians have shown, and the potential for shaking off our old dogmas and routines.
Personal Essay

Pondering invisible prisons while living under lockdown

Day after day in lockdown can feel suffocating — or make a person feel like climbing the walls. But our COVID-19 incarceration inspired Vancouverite Tara McGuire to think about the abundant freedoms she’s taken for granted that others have never enjoyed. Here's her essay, On Living in Captivity.

Worlds apart, yet neighbours, Montreal musicians use song to connect

In mid-March, there was a big Orthodox Jewish wedding in a Montreal hotel. Within days it had led to an outbreak of COVID-19, and the community had become a coronavirus hotspot. This had the potential to further divide them from their neighbours. But then the traditionally insular Hasids began reaching out and some of their neighbours — including singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright — began reaching back. David Gutnick’s documentary is called At The Root of Everyone.

The pandemic has laid bare structural inequalities in our food systems, advocate says

A lot of things are hard to take for granted after two months of pandemic — and one of them is food: what we eat, where it comes from, and how we get it. It's also laid bare how intricate, interwoven and vulnerable to disruption and sudden change our food systems are. Gisèle Yasmeen, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada — a national alliance of organizations and individuals working to improve food security — discusses how the pandemic has revealed the weaknesses of our food systems, on both global and national levels.

A Winnipeg mom on life without the joys of baseball

A Winnipeg mom on life without the joys of baseball: Tracy Turner has always been passionate about softball. She played the game right through to her early 30s and now coaches her teenage daughter’s team, while her teenage son is an ump for younger children. With physical distancing, baseball rules are likely to change she says, but she thinks softball players will be out on dusty ball diamonds once again this year.

1-across and 2-down: The history and mysteries of the crossword puzzle

What do Bill Clinton, Jon Stewart, the Indigo Girls and Sir John Gielgud have in common? They are all cruciverbalists, people who love wordplay and crossword puzzles. Adrienne Raphel is the author of Thinking Inside the Box: Adventures with Crosswords and the Puzzling People Who Can't Live Without Them. It's a passion The Sunday Edition's Michael Enright shares.