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February 2012 Archives

Pierre's Poutine

A telephone number linked to a Pierre Poutine in Joliette, Quebec has been implicated in the robo call affair.

Now the scandal has touched one business in particular: Pierre's Poutine restaurant in Guelph.

Since yesterday, the phones have been ringing of the hook at the eatery.

We reached the owner of Pierre's Poutine in Guelph. Here is Bernie's conversation with Pierre Lachapelle.

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The Radio Noon Farm Panel's 20th anniversary

farm panel.JPGIt's a special edition of the Radio Noon Farm Panel. Bernie welcomes our three farmers (from left to right: Bob Laberge, Jeannie Neveu and Hugh Maynard) in studio. We've been checking in with them every Tuesday for the last 20 years.



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Parliament Hill heats up

Opposition parties are expected to call for an emergency debate in the House of Commons over claims of election fraud.

Bernie spoke with CBC's reporter on Parliament Hill, Kady O'Malley.

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Our blog about life behind the microphone...

MOST TEXTS-AND-CALLS TOPIC OF THE WEEK: Driver demerits for biking violations
 Generally, a bicycling discussion in the middle of February isn't a strong contender for topic of the week. Snow tends to make it seem such a far-off possibility.
 But that generalization doesn't take in this winter. Now I know it snowed on Friday - but until then, February in Montreal boasted about 2 full centimetres of new snow and our biking show fell on Thursday.

Throughout February the bike paths have been in use. People have been thinking cycling -- and during our show they were worked up about it.

 We got lots of calls and texts.
 Our first caller phoned in as soon as we mentioned the topic in the headlines.
Karen who lives near the McGill University bike path is in favour of anything that reminds cyclists they have to follow the rules of the road.
 Here's part of her call:

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 Then we heard from the likes of Mark in NDG. He doesn't carry i.d. he says just in case he gets caught running a red light.
 Here's some of what Mark had to say:

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 The texts were just as exercised (no pun intended -- well, maybe a little bit).
 "Maybe people pushing strollers should also have to obey rules intended for drivers." 

 "This actually did happen to me, 2 points off my future driver's license - for speeding! Nevertheless, I agree with this enforcement." 

 "Pure nonsense Bernie to have bike infractions impact your drivers licence points."

 "Montreal is the worst city in Canada for driving (whether cars, bikes and pedestrians). Authorities are too lenient!" 


 QUIZ DAY - Tah Dah...
 Love ending a week with the news quiz. We had really strong contestants this week in Nancy Wood, Shawn Apel, Sue Smith and Peter Akman. They got nearly every question right. Couldn't stump 'em.
  Another thing: You never know what you are going to learn about on the quiz. Facts you wouldn't otherwise know. Peter probably gave us too much information about the McGill occupation ... while Nancy admitted she only learned about the Super Bowl and the contending teams by viewing the game. We particulary liked how she chose which team to back. Here she is:  


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And that's this week.

Sally Caudwell, CBC producer - Montreal

We love getting feedback on Radio Noon.

514 597 6161 is our talkback line.
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Our phone-in number is 514 597 4500, 1 877 597 4500 between noon and 13:00 Monday to Friday when we are on air.

The Radio Noon team this week included Bernard St-Laurent, Martin Lavoie and Patrick Gingras, Elvis Anber and Sally Caudwell. 

Radio Noon's monthly news quiz

Join our Quiz Master Bernard St-Laurent for our monthly news quiz.

CBC personalities Sue Smith, Peter Akman, Shawn Apel and Nancy Wood take on our challenging questions for the month of February.

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Quebec road repair priorities for summer

110914_y21th_travaux-turcot-route_sn635.jpgQuebec's Transport Minister Pierre Moreau outlines coming roadwork projects.

CBC reporter Jay Turnbull fills in Radio Noon listeners.


(photo: courtesy Radio-Canada)  

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Caisse report card

Michael Sabia, CEO of Quebec's pension fund manager, says despite difficult market conditions the Caisse continued to get about a 4 per cent return on investments.

Reporter Steve Rukavina talks with host Bernard St-Laurent. 

(photo: Radio-Canada) 

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Driving demerits for cycling violations

20090304Velo_hiver_n.jpgCyclists confronted by demerit points on their driving licences are challenging the penalty system in court.

Our listeners react.
(photo: Radio-Canada archives)

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A group of young hockey players in Kahnawake is alleged to have attacked a referee after he ejected one of their teammates. Their team's hockey season is now over.

We talk about the role of referees and the challenges they face with a West Island referee with a lot of experience.

Here's Bernie's discussion with Mark Lidbetter of the Lakeshore Minor Hockey League Association:


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The Rihanna - Chris Brown collaboration raises questions

The R&B singer has collaborated with the ex-boyfriend who assaulted her. We talk with a representative from SOS Conjugal Violence.
Here's that discussion:
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Medical kickback allegations

The Quebec College of Physicians and Surgeons says it has wrapped up a 14 month investigation into alleged kickbacks in exchange for preferential medical care.

Two cardiologists are facing disciplinary charges stemming from the allegations.

We talk to an orthopedic surgeon and a lawyer who frequently represents patients for their views on present day practices.

We also talk to an economist from Germany who describes the public/private healthcare system there.

And our listeners add in their own experiences. 

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Farm Panel Tuesday February 21

Dairy farmer Jeannie Neveu, beef and sheep producer Bob Laberge, and agricultural communications specialist Hugh Maynard gather for our weekly round table on farm issues.


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We bid a happy retirement to DAVE BRONSTETTER this past week. Both Bernie and I were at the 'All in a Weekend' post-show gathering to raise a glass to our dear friend.

During the broadcast, Bernie and Dave relived a moment on air that landed them both in hot water ...when the pair of them thought the microphone was off.


Encouraged by the round table gang on the Saturday morning show, Bernie referred to that 'infamous incident' from 25 years ago. Here's Bernie:


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 Bernie went on to remind the audience about Dave's knowledge and understanding of Quebec.

 There's no doubt we're going to miss Dave. He's incredibly quick on his feet, full of personality and fun, courageously honest about his insomnia and burnout, and always true to his love for broadcasting.

 I told him that any time 'Dave from Montreal West' gives us a call,  he'll be on air, pronto!

 And we've asked him if we can call him every now and then just to get his take on sports -- and you'll be glad to hear, he said okay. So, on Radio Noon, we're not saying goodbye, for us it's more like 'bye for now, talk to you soon.'


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Specialists upset with health minister's private care contention


Dr. Gaétan Barrette, president of the Quebec Federation of Medical Specialists

Health minister Yves Bolduc is accusing some specialists of encouraging patients to use private clinics. The doctors want the minister to back up those allegations. We also hear from callers and patients.

(photo: Canadian Press archives)


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February Holiday: A good idea , or not?

It's Family Day in Ontario and Alberta -- two of several provinces having a holiday today.


(photo: courtesy iStockphoto ex Radio-Canada)

We ask our listeners for their opinions.

Chief Economist for the business leaders' organization, Le Conseil du Patronat, Norma Kozhaya says Quebec can't afford it.

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Remembering Gary Carter

PC_120120_vh8o9_garycarter_sn635.jpgExpos commentator Rodger Brulotte and Johnny Elias who ran a baseball school with "the kid" talk about their times with the all-star catcher. Our listeners also add in their comments... 

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Cracking down on bogus refugee claimants

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says Bill C-31 will speed up the process for legitimate claimants. 

Refugee coordinator Rick Goldman says "it's the most anti-refugee piece of legislation Canada has ever contemplated." He calls the proposed changes "jaw-dropping."

Our listeners add their viewpoints.


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Taking on the long-gun registry and cyber surveillance


(photo: CP)  Minister Vic Teows listening at a news conference. 

Radio Noon tackles Bill C-19, which will end the long-gun registry and is poised to get third and final reading in the House of Commons.

In Quebec City, politicians from all parties want, at a minimum, the data from the registry saved.

In protest against the Harper government's stance on the registry, PQ leader Pauline Marois read out the names of the 14 women who were killed by a gunman at the Polytechnique more than 20 years ago.

Along with abolishing the long-gun registry, Ottawa is also grappling with cyber surveillance.

The Harper government is proposing wide-sweeping measures to fight child pornography and organized crime.

Critics such as Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia say the Conservatives are going too far. 

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Justin Trudeau interview and reaction

120214_xr48g_justin-trudeau-souverainiste_sn635.jpgHost Bernard St-Laurent interviews Trudeau about his controversial comments about separation on a Radio-Canada program on the weekend.

The Liberal MP says "a whole bunch of people are not recognizing the country they love under the Harper government."

Our listeners weigh in with their comments:  

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National Assembly back to business

We hear from CAQ president Dominique Anglade, Amir Khadir of Quebec Solidaire, Liberal cabinet minister Geoff Kelley and listeners as the winter session gets underway 

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FYI: Since our program, the Speaker ruled that Coalition Avenir Québec would not get party status in the National Assembly.

Farm Panel Tuesday February 14

Listen in as dairy farmer Jeanie Neveu, beef and sheep producer Bob Laberge and agricultural communications specialist Hugh Maynard join host Bernard St. Laurent for our weekly round table on farm affairs.


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CSL anti-smoking bylaw aims at playgrounds

The city of hi-smoking-ban-852.gifCôte-Saint-Luc will vote tonight on a bylaw that will ban smoking within 20 metres of a playground or a sports field. Councillor Steven Erdelyi who's behind the proposal says he has had very positive fieldback and recognizes that "the biggest question is logistics." He's trusting that most people are law-abiding and even smokers will follow the new bylaw once it has passed.

(photo: CBC)

We got two immediate texts: "I'm moving to CSL!" and "as someone who has never smoked, I think they are going way too far."

Steven Erdelyi stayed on the line to answer caller questions. Take a listen to Monday's Radio Noon:

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Our blog about life behind the microphone..


120208_iq1gg_sana-hassainia-bebe_sn635.jpgMOST TEXTS-AND-CALLS TOPIC IN A YEAR !!! Baby removed from the Commons

We take on many issues on Radio Noon, including several All-Party debates during the federal election last spring.

We've weighed the consequences of the Guy Turcotte verdict where he was found not criminally responsible for the stabbing deaths of his two children.

The Arab Spring, climate change and common-law relationships -- all discussed on Radio Noon.

But hands down -- Tuesday's removal of three-month-old Skander-Jack from the Commons before his mother, NDP MP Sana Hassainia, could vote got the most response from our listeners. 

Reaction to the story went right across the board: texts, calls, emails. Some topics seem to capture one age group, or one gender, or one community more than another. Not this one.

We heard from young mothers, grandparents, stay-at-home parents, students, careerists. Really, all of the above. And not in the way you'd expect. Nursing moms saying children in the Commons would be a distraction. Elderly callers saying it's about time to accept babies in the room.

A fascinating and surprising cross-section of callers.

Later in the week, the Speaker of the House made it clear he would treat infants in the Chamber on a case by case basis while reviewing the subject more deeply.

On our Friday show, Bernie and I played some calls to our talkback line and read out some texts. Even that recap got our listeners reacting.

Here's a sampling:

We start with a talkback call from a former student who felt empowered bringing her baby with her.

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We also heard from Zachary, who believes babies do not belong in Parliament: 

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And then this text reaction:

"Time check for Zack, this is 2012"

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CPE daycare workers walk out

li-daycare.jpg(photo: CBC Elias Abboud)

20,000 parents across Quebec were either staying home, taking their kids to work or relying on a friend or family member to get through Friday.

360 publicly-funded daycares shut down in protest over slow negotiations. The workers have been without a contract for 2 years.

We hear from Families Minister Yolande James, Nadine Joseph who's a union representative and daycare worker, and of course, our callers. 

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Romeo Saganash withdraws

li-saganash-02102159-620.jpg(photo: courtesy Canadian Press)

NDP MP Romeo Saganash has pulled out of the leadership race. He cites a lack of money and support as well as family and health reasons for bowing out.

We play revealing highlights of the former Cree leader's recent interview with Bernard St-Laurent on C'est La Vie. He talks candidly about his life, residential schools and his elderly mother who lives near Waswanipi in northern Quebec.

Two other candidates with Quebec links remain: Brian Topp who was born in Quebec and Thomas Mulcair, the NDP member for Outremont. Saganash did not give his support to another leadership hopeful. 

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Organic farming and trade

A Townships dairy farmer, Alex Brand, describes his organic operation while Matthew Holmes, executive director of the Canada Organic Trade Association, tells us about the growth in the organic market.

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'Startling finding' in the early detection of ovarian cancer

McGill's Dr. Lucy Gilbert says discovering that certain cancers start in the fallopian tubes will mean a much higher "rate of being cured" for women.

The researchers' findings were published Thursday in the medical journal, The Lancet.

80 per cent of women already have advanced ovarian cancer when they learn they are sick, according to Gilbert. With early detection, that will change. 

As another preventitive, the MUHC will set up 12 new ovarian cancer clinics.
For more information women can call 1 866 716 3267. 

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Are babies wanted in Parliament?

mi-mpbaby-300.jpgThe Speaker's office disagrees that NDP MP Sana Hassainia was asked to remove her baby from the Commons for a vote on Tuesday. Hassainia says the message being sent to women is 'choose between work and family.'

An official in the Speaker's office told CBC reporter Steve Rukavina babies are not barred from the Commons, but they mustn't be a distraction either.   

We asked our callers to comment. They're split:"Children should not be allowed in. Period." "Families should be welcome in the House of Commons."

Take listen:

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Should it be a crime not to disclose that you have HIV?

A woman from Quebec is at the centre of a case that will be argued before the Supreme Court tomorrow. She had sex with her partner without disclosing that she had HIV. She was convicted of aggravated assault and is now appealing.

Should it be a crime not to disclose that you have HIV to a sexual partner?

We hear from a man with HIV protesting the criminalization of HIV, a human rights lawyer, a professor, a doctor specialising in sexually transmitted disease and of course, Radio Noon listeners.

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Farm Panel: Tuesday, February 7


Jeannie Neveu, a dairy farmer in Rawdon in Lanaudière, beef and sheep producer Bob Laberge in Danville in the Townships, and Hugh Maynard who's a specialist in agricultural communications and development and lives in Ormstown - join Steve Rukavina for Radio Noon's weekly farm discussion.

(Photo: Bobby Hidy)



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Rats in Montreal

old rat.jpgSome pest control companies are reporting an increase in the number of requests for rat extermination. Steve Bilodeau is the Operations Manager at ABC Pest Management.

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Will Schwartz's be sold?

The future of Montreal's venerable smoked meat shrine Schwartz's is up in the air today. The restaurant is about to be sold, but details are murky as all the major players have signed a confidentiality agreement.

hi-sandwich-852-8col[1].jpgThe rumoured buyers are a consortium that includes, among others, René Angélil and businessman Paul Nakis, who is involved with the Baton Rouge chain and Sir Winston Churchill's pub.

The question is -- will Schwartz's be franchised?

Hear what Radio Noon's listeners think:

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Our blog about life behind the microphone...


Monday: CBC reporter JUSTIN HAYWARD who covered the case for many weeks joins host Bernard St-Laurent in studio as our callers react to the first-degree murder convictions handed down to Mohammad Shafia, his second wife Tooba Yahya and his son Hamed.


si-300-shafia.jpg With a phone-in you never really know what aspect of a story is going to generate the most talk, the most debate.

 In the Shafia case, all three were handed first-degree murder convictions, meaning automatic life sentences of 25 years with no chance of parole. Not a problem for our listeners.

(photo: courtesy Canadian Press)

 It took the jurors 15 hours to reach their verdicts. The speed of the verdicts? Again, not an issue for our callers.

 The only real debate: were these honour killings?
 LaPresse reporter MICHÈLE OUIMET joins the discussion  - describing her trip to Afghanistan to interview Tooba Yahya's sister, Soraya and her family. In their remote locale, they had no idea the three Shafia girls had been murdered, or that Tooba and others are on trial. Nor had they seen the dating and sexy photos of the girls.

Michèle tells us they were shocked and talk openly about honour killings "if you don't respect the honour of the family.". Soraya's husband even speaks of  "eliminating" his own girls in such circumstances.

Here's our interview with Michèle Ouimet:


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 After the program in our daily debrief, we sit in the control room as we always do, but we're all quieter than usual, thinking about what we've just heard and talking about the range of calls and how heartfelt they sounded.  
 It also seemed many people were working through their own thought processes and reactions right then and there on air.


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Quebecers don't want Boisvenu to resign: Leger poll

Leger Marketing VP Christian Bourque says 48% of Quebecers disagree with the 'rope in cells' comment made earlier in the week by Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.

In a scrum with reporters Boisvenu said he was opposed to the death penalty but suggested that ropes could be left for serial killers in their prison cells so that they could decide whether to take their lives. The senator has since apologized.

Bourque says a fair number of Quebecers, 41%, supported the original statements and 64% did not want the senator to resign. The telephone poll of 601 Quebecers has a margin of error of 4%.

During our Radio Noon phone-in, a caller expressed her conflicted feelings at hearing that the murderer of her father had committed suicide. And, we heard from another caller who works with 'lifers'.

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A Muslim man from Laval is suing the SQ

Provincial police accused Saad Allami of being a terrorist after he sent a text urging his co-workers to blow away the competition at a trade show. Allami is seeking damages of $100k plus interest.

Ivan Slobod explains the ins and outs of the civil case to host Bernard St-Laurent. 

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Limiting sugar

Radio Noon debates sugar and whether it needs to be regulated, along the lines of alcohol.

si-pop-drink-220-cp-is.jpgAmerican obesity expert Dr. Robert Lustig calls sugar "toxic" and "addictive". He says public health departments and communities need to think about ways to limit over-consumption of sugar. He suggests taxing added sugar or restricting convenience store hours near schools to prevent the long term damage done by our sugar eating habits.

(photo: Istock, 

Here's our interview with Dr. Robert Lustig:

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McGill's Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta calls sugar "a worthwhile factor" in the rise in obesity and heart disease rates. But adds there are other factors, including our sedentary lives. She does agree with launching a debate over sugar. 

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Here's the sugar segment from Radio Noon, including comments from our callers:

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The research by Dr. Robert Lustig and colleagues first appeared in the research journal Nature on Thursday.
The American Beverage Association responded to the article by saying there's a drink and portion size for every occasion and lifestyle.
"We believe providing more options -- not taking them away -- is a better solution to help parents and individuals choose beverages that are right for them and their families," the association said on its website.

'Rope' comments land Conservative senator in hot water

NDP justice critic Jack Harris says the prime minister needs to condemn the views of Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu. Senator Boisvenu suggested leaving ropes in certain prisoners' cells and saying "they can decide on their own life". Boisvenu has now backtracked from his morning comments.


(Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu photo: Radio-Canada)

On Radio Noon we hear the senator's original scrum with reporters, NDP justice critic Jack Harris, and from the CBC's Rosemary Barton on the reaction of Parliament Hill.

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UPDATE: Prime Minister Harper told the Commons during Question Period on Wednesday afternoon that his government is on the side of victims. He says people are aware of the suffering the senator's family has experienced and that the senator has withdrawn his statements. Boisvenu's daughter was murdered in 2002.