The Sunday Edition for April 5, 2020

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

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

"Thinking about garbage got me thinking about the people who collect it ... They are however, crucial to the workings of a city, like bus drivers, firefighters, cops and grocery store workers."

How pandemics have remade politics, societies and culture

According to Yale University historian Frank Snowden, "infectious diseases are as important to understanding societal development as economic crises, wars, revolutions, and demographic change."

Two pandemics, 102 years apart: echoes of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic

When the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic hit Canada, hotels were converted to hospitals and doctors came out of retirement to work on the front lines, much like what's happening today with COVID-19. Heather MacDougall, a history professor at the University of Waterloo, discusses the parallels between two pandemics.

Why the 'invisible workers' cleaning up COVID-19 need better labour protection

Janitorial work is vital for the public's protection, and it's full of risk these days. And yet, janitorial workers have for years been among the lowest-paid in Canada. Deena Ladd is the executive director of the Workers' Action Centre, an organization in Toronto that works with people in low-wage and unstable employment.

The unlikely literary success story of Biblioasis — and the fallout of COVID-19

Fifteen years ago, Windsor, Ontario’s Dan Wells took a flyer and started a bookstore and publishing house called Biblioasis. It became one of North America’s most successful small presses, in terms of sales, awards and critical success. Michael interviewed Wells in early March. But it was quite a different story this week when they had a followup conversation. Biblioasis has been completely sideswiped by the pandemic.

Robert Harris on 20 pieces that changed the world: 'Brother Can You Spare a Dime?'

Our music guru, Robert Harris takes us on a cultural journey through music. In conversation with Michael Enright, Robert explains why this song (idiosyncratically chosen by Robert himself) made such an impact on the hearts and minds of listeners.

The Sunday Edition for March 29, 2020

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

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

“Time can weigh heavily. In a prior life, time governed everything. Now with staying at home without times or deadlines, time can be a fearsome stranger or a kindly friend. Time is the common currency of confinement.”

The world can't afford to be the same again after COVID-19, says peace and security expert

The Sunday Edition’s go-to sage on geopolitics, U.K. security expert and peace studies professor Paul Rogers, returns to the program to talk about COVID-19’s impact on the world’s geopolitical hotspots and how well Europe’s leadership has dealt with the pandemic crisis.
Personal Essay

'These constant prods to do something … are becoming a real irritant': Bill Richardson

In 1606, when the Bubonic Plague led to a lockdown, William Shakespeare wrote King Lear. As we face a similar crisis 414 years later, many are finding things to do to cope with the isolation. But not Bill Richardson — he plans to deepen his connection with nothing.

Conflict-zone doctor predicts 'terrifying times,' due to lack of resources to fight COVID-19

The demands and conditions that Canada's hospitals and health care providers are going to face in the weeks and months ahead will be entirely new territory, according to Halifax physician Dr. Sundeep Chohan. Dr. Chohan has many years of experience in the field of catastrophe medicine, having worked in conflict zones and natural disasters. He argues that the medical response to COVID-19 will call for the skills and approach required in a war zone or humanitarian crisis rather than in conventional modern medicine.

What COVID-19 means for urban Indigenous communities

More than 60 per cent of Indigenous people in Canada live off-reserve. Many urban Indigenous organizations worry the people they serve are particularly vulnerable to COVID-1, and could fall through the cracks. Leslie Varley, the executive director of the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, discusses her concerns about the impact COVID-19 will have on Indigenous people in Canadian cities.

Amidst a global pandemic, Hugh Segal's call for a guaranteed annual income is even more timely

Hugh Segal has been advocating for a guaranteed annual income for decades, in part because of his own experience growing up poor in Canada. In his latest book, Boot Straps Need Boots: One Tory’s Lonely Fight to End Poverty in Canada, he puts his campaign into historical perspective.

What Esi Edugyan and Anakana Schofield are reading during this time of isolation

We bring you dispatches from two of Canada’s top novelists — two-time-Giller-winner Esi Edugyan and Giller-nominated Anakana Schofield — about what they’re reading during this time of isolation.

There's poetry for any occasion, even a pandemic — just ask Twitter's unofficial poet laureate

A few years ago, 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. In these trying times, Bilston shows us that it is possible to find poetry for any occasion, including a pandemic.

The Sunday Edition for March 22, 2020

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

Widespread contagion has become our great unifier — Michael's essay

“We are living through extraordinary times. Most of us are experiencing something we have never seen before. Everything is upended. We can no longer take for granted all those activities we never thought twice about … What was ordinary has become a challenge.”

CMA President says COVID-19 means we need to think not just about healthcare, but pandemic palliative care

Dr. Sandy Buchman is keeping a watchful eye on how well Canada's healthcare policy is protecting both patients and the healthcare workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

'I'll take them': 23-year-old student steps in to care for her seven young brothers

Right now, there are three times as many Indigenous children in care as there were at the height of the residential school system. Justine Kennedy is determined that her brothers won't add to those numbers. 

Books for solace, perspective and connection during self-isolation

We asked some lovers of literature — Toronto poet laureate A. F. Moritz, literature professor Rohan Maitzen, graduate student Ariel Leutheusser, novelist Sharon Bala and non-fiction writer Robert Macfarlane — what they're reading during our springtime of isolation and unease.

'In disasters, most people are altruistic, brave, communitarian, generous…' says Rebecca Solnit

Author Rebecca Solnit has an enduring fascination with what happens to communities in times of crisis, and what disasters reveal about human nature. With the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic, and its radical impact on our lives here in Canada, Solnit’s research on disasters becomes even more resonant.

Art in the time of coronavirus: Bill Richardson's weekly schedule of balcony performances

“We must do what we can with what we have, respecting, of course, the requirement for self-isolation. I don’t have much, but I do have this balcony, and I am going to stand upon it, to lift up those who are proximate to the highly scenic parking lot over which I look.”

The Sunday Edition for March 15, 2020

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

The silent Spring of COVID-19 — Michael's essay

“Closure is a commanding word. Schools in this country are closing. The cities, towns and churches of Italy are closed. In fact the entire country is closed. Arenas, baseball parks, community centres — all closed. Broadway is dark. We are facing a silent spring. One that none of us has seen before.”