Transcript: Effectively Communicating COVID-19 Guidelines | Oct 30, 2020

Nam stands in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses, a black blazer over a spotted blouse, and a black ribbon.

A wall screen behind her reads "The week in review."

Nam says THE AGENDA THIS WEEK LEARNED WHY CANADIAN EXPATS ARE AN UNTAPPED RESOURCE FOR THIS COUNTRY; DEBATED WHETHER IT'S TIME TO DITCH THE MONARCHY; AND SPOKE TO JANN ARDEN ABOUT THE JOYS OF AGING. THE AGENDA'S WEEK IN REVIEW BEGINS ASSESSING THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT'S STRUGGLE TO COMMUNICATE ITS COVID-19 MESSAGE TO THE PROVINCE.

Music plays as an animated slate reads "The week in review."

In a clip, Steve sits in the studio.

A caption on screen reads "Pandemic communication: In need of a reset? A time of mass confusion."

Steve is slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit and shirt, and a lavender tie.

He says I GET LOTS OF EMAILS AND PHONE CALLS FROM PEOPLE ASKING ME QUESTIONS AND TELLING ME THEIR EXPERIENCES AND I'LL JUST REPEAT ONE THAT I HAVE HEARD PROBABLY MORE THAN ANY OTHER ONE RECENTLY AND THEN GET YOU TO WEIGH IN ON THIS. ONCE UPON A TIME WHEN THE PROVINCE REOPENED GYMNASIUMS, HOCKEY RINKS, FITNESS FACILITIES, THEY DID NOT REQUIRE MASK USE AND THEN WE HAD OUTBREAKS AND THEY SHUT EVERYTHING DOWN, IN THE FOUR JURISDICTIONS WHERE WE'VE GONE TO MODIFIED STAGE TWO. BUT THEN THEY REOPENED DANCE STUDIOS AND OF COURSE SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH 30 KIDS IN A CLASS WHERE THERE ARE 30 DESKS AND, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE NOT 2 METRES APART. BUT MOVIE THEATRES ARE SHUT DOWN WHERE EVEN IF 10 PEOPLE ARE IN A CINEMA, OF 250 SEATS, THAT'S UNACCEPTABLE. CAN YOU PLEASE MAKE SENSE OF ALL OF THAT FOR US?

The caption changes to "Colin Furness. University of Toronto."

Colin is in his forties, with short brown hair and a goatee. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, white shirt and patterned red tie.

He says NOBODY CAN MAKE SENSE OF THAT. THERE'S TOO MUCH INTERNAL INCONSISTENCY. THERE OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN ONE SIMPLE RULE APPLIED STARTING FROM LABOUR DAY IF NOT EARLY, WHICH IS UNLESS YOU LIVE IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD, YOU DO NOT BE INDOORS WITH ANYONE WITHOUT A MASK, FULL STOP. FOR SITUATIONS WHERE YOU MIGHT BE IN A LARGER PLACE WITH PEOPLE FOR SOME PERIOD OF TIME, THEN WE NEED TO WORK OUT GUIDELINES FOR THAT, FOR EXAMPLE MOVIE THEATRES. THE WAY THE RULES HAVE BEEN ENACTED, NOT BASED ON EVIDENCE AT ALL, NOT BASED ON EMERGING EVIDENCE AND NOT EXPLAINED TO PEOPLE. I'M AFRAID I CANNOT SEE SENSE IN THOSE.

Steve says HEIDI, DO YOU SEE CONSISTENCY IN THOSE DECISIONS FROM THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO?

The caption changes to "Heidi Tworek. University of British Columbia."

Heidi is in her forties, with chestnut hair in a bun. She's wearing a spotted blouse.

She says NOT REALLY, TO BE HONEST. IT'S A MASSIVE PROBLEM THAT PEOPLE CAN'T UNDERSTAND THE GUIDING PHILOSOPHY BEHIND WHY SOME THINGS ARE OPEN AND SHUT.

Steve says MATT, HOW ABOUT YOU?

The caption changes to "Matt Gurney. National Post. @mattgurney."

Matt is in his forties, balding, with a boxed beard. He's wearing a gray sweater.

He says I'VE WRITTEN A COLUMN ABOUT THIS FOR TVO.org WHERE I TALKED ABOUT THE EMAILS I GET FROM ALL THE VARIOUS EXTRACURRICULAR OR ATHLETIC ACTIVITIES MY KIDS ARE INVOLVED IN. NOT ONLY CAN I MAKE SENSE OF IT, THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE TO MAKE SENSE OF IT CAN'T MAKE SENSE OF IT. ONE EXAMPLE I NOTED WAS MY 8-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER WENT TO GYMNASTICS PROGRAM THAT WAS INDOORS AND THEY WERE SHUT DOWN WHEN WE WENT TO MODIFIED STAGE TWO. IT TOOK ABOUT A WEEK FOR THE OWNERS OF THE GYMNASTICS STUDIO TO FIGURE OUT IF THEY, UNDER THE LAW, WERE A GYM, WHICH IS ADAPTED FROM GYMNASTICS, OR IF THEY WERE AN INDOOR RECREATIONAL FACILITY. AND DEPENDING ON WHICH ONE THEY WERE LEGALLY, DIFFERENT CONDITIONS WOULD HAVE APPLIED AND IT TOOK THEM ABOUT A WEEK TO FIGURE IT OUT. I WAS GETTING CONSTANT, ALMOST DAILY EMAILS FROM THEM SAYING WE DON'T KNOW IF WE'RE OPEN. THEY EVENTUALLY DECIDED THEY WERE NOT OPEN. THEY CLOSED DOWN. BUT IF YOU HAVE GOOD FAITH EFFORTS BY BUSINESS OWNERS AND FACILITY OPERATORS TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE RULES ARE AND IT NEEDS SEVEN TO TEN DAYS AND MEETINGS WITH CITY OFFICIALS AND THEIR LOCAL MPPs TO DO IT, THAT'S A SIGN OF A SYSTEM THAT IS SIMPLY NOT WORKING.

The caption changes to "The Week in Review. @theagenda. Tvo.org."

Steve says THE TOP DOC IN THIS PROVINCE IS DAVID WILLIAMS. HE'S THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH FOR THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO. LET'S LISTEN TO A LITTLE BIT OF SOMETHING HE RECENTLY HAD TO SAY ABOUT THESE ISSUES. SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD?

A clip plays on screen with the caption "October 8, 2020."
In the clip, David Williams gives an official statement. He's in his sixties, with short gray hair and a thin mustache.

He says IN THE FIRST WAVE WHEN THEY HAD CONTACT MANAGEMENT THEY HAD 10 TO 12 PEOPLE THAT WERE THE CONTACTS OF THE CASE. NOW THEY SAY IT'S COMMON TO HAVE 50 TO 70 TO 100. THAT'S FIVE TO SEVEN DAYS YOU'RE IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH. MY THINKING IS, I DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT. WHY DO YOU HAVE THAT KIND OF THING? WHAT DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND ABOUT OUR MESSAGING? IF YOU GET A SENSE OF FRUSTRATION, TO ME THE MESSAGING HAS BEEN SAID AND SAID AGAIN, IT'S SO CLEAR, IT'S OBVIOUS.

The clip ends.

Steve says AMANDA, THE MESSAGING IS SO CLEAR, IT'S OBVIOUS. AS A COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY, WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THAT TO A CLIENT?

The caption changes to "Amanda Galbraith. Navigator Ltd."

Amanda is in her thirties, with long brown hair. She's wearing an animal print blazer over a black blouse.

She says AH, NO. AND I'M SURE... I KNOW DR. DAVID WILLIAMS IS WORKING PRETTY HARD BEHIND THE SCENES, AS ALL OF THE PEOPLE THERE ARE, BUT I THINK, YOU KNOW, ANYONE WHO HAS WATCHED HIS PRESS CONFERENCES AND I'VE WATCHED MORE THAN A FEW WOULD ADMIT THAT COMMUNICATIONS IS NOT HIS STRONG SUIT, AND I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE BIG PROBLEMS HERE, IS WE GET CLIPS LIKE THIS WHICH ARE... I MEAN, THERE'S A GIF OF JULIA ROBERTS LOOKING AT THE CEILING TRYING TO FIGURE OUT MATH EQUATIONS GOING AROUND. I CANNOT MAKE HEADS NOR TAILS OF WHAT HE'S SAYING. THAT SHIFTS THE BURDEN ONTO THE POLITICIANS WHO ARE DRIVEN BY THE WHIMS OF DIFFERENT REGIONS AND DIFFERENT ELECTORAL DISTRICTS, AND OF COURSE I THINK POLITICIANS HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY IN MAKING THESE CALLS, BUT NOT TO HAVE A STRONG PERSON TO BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU FROM A MEDICAL PERSPECTIVE I THINK IS REALLY HURTING US AS A PROVINCE, AND IT'S FORCING A LOT OF THIS ON POLITICAL ACTORS WHO FRANKLY AREN'T EQUIPPED TO MAKE THESE KIND OF POLICY DECISIONS.

Steve says COLIN, WHAT'S YOUR VIEW OF DR. DAVID WILLIAMS' COMMUNICATIONS ABILITIES?

Colin says I THINK IT'S A SYMPTOM OF THE PROBLEM. I DON'T THINK HE UNDERSTANDS PUBLIC HEALTH THE WAY WE NEED HIM TO. HE DOESN'T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND TESTING STRATEGY. HE DEFINITELY DOESN'T UNDERSTAND SOCIAL NETWORK THEORY AND BUBBLING. HIS RECOMMENDATIONS RUN COUNTER TO PRINCIPLES AND COMMON SENSE SO OFTEN THAT IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANYONE I THINK TO EXPLAIN THAT REALLY CLEARLY. SINCE JULY I HAVE BEEN ASKING HIM TO VACATE HIS OFFICE. HE IS NOT UP TO THE JOB BASED ON THE EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE HE DOES NOT HAVE.

Steve says OKAY. SHELDON, CAN I ASK YOU FOR A FOUR-SHOT HERE? CAN WE SEE ALL THE GUESTS AT ONCE? COLIN HAS GONE ON THE RECORD HERE AS HE HAS FOR MANY MONTHS. CAN I SEE A SHOW OF HANDS? HOW MANY PEOPLE THINK THE MEDICAL OFFICER FOR THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO OUGHT TO BE REPLACED IMMEDIATELY? HANDS UP, PLEASE? OKAY. COLIN HAS GOT A HAND UP. I SEE HIDE AT THIS IS ON THE FENCE. THE OTHER TWO ARE NOT. MATT, HOW COME YOU'RE NOT CALLING FOR HIS RESIGNATION?

The caption changes to "For more on this story visit: tvo.org/theagenda."

Matt says I'M NOT CONVINCED THERE'S ANYONE BETTER TO REPLACE HIM WITH AT THIS TIME. IF YOU LOOK COAST TO COAST ACROSS THIS COUNTRY, WE'VE HAD TWO STANDOUT PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICERS IN B.C. AND ALBERTA, AND IN THE SECOND WAVE BOTH THOSE PROVINCES ARE STRUGGLING. THEY DID FAIRLY WELL IN THE FIRST WAVE. THEY'RE TAKING IT ON THE CHIN THIS WAVE. IF I WAS CONFIDENT THERE WAS SOMEONE BETTER WAITING IN THE WINGS THAT WE COULD YANK DR. WILLIAMS, SEND HIM OFF TO A WELL-EARNED RETIREMENT AND PUT IN SOMEONE NEW, I WOULD DO IT. YOU KNOW ME, STEVE. I DON'T MIND FIRING A HOCKEY COACH IF THE SEASON IS NOT GOING THE WAY IT NEEDS TO. I DON'T MIND DOING THAT AT ALL. BUT I WOULD NEED TO BE CONVINCED THAT WOULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE AND I WOULD THINK RIGHT NOW THERE IS ABSOLUTELY A VERY REAL CHANCE THAT IT WOULD TAKE A BAD SITUATION AND MAKE IT WORSE. I DON'T ASSUME THE PROBLEMS IN ONTARIO RIGHT NOW ARE THE RESULT OF DR. WILLIAMS, AND I DO NOT ASSUME THAT REMOVING HIM WOULD IMMEDIATELY MAKE ANY IMPROVEMENT. WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A SECOND WAVE RIGHT NOW AND SOMETIMES YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE SOLDIERS YOU HAVE, NOT THE ONES YOU WANT. FOR BETTER OR WORSE, HERE WE ARE.

Now music plays as an animated slate reads "The week in review."

In another edition, Nam and a guest appear on split screens.

A caption on screen reads "Talking to Canadians abroad. Planet Canada."

Then, it changes to "Nadia Theodore. Former Canadian Diplomat."

Nadia is in her forties, with short curly black hair. She's wearing glasses, a gray pinstripe suit over a white blouse and two golden pendant necklaces.

She says I THINK THAT THE IDEA OF USING CANADIANS AT ALL LEVELS WHILE THEY ARE ABROAD TO BETTER OUR HOME COUNTRY IS SOMETHING THAT JOHN AND THE BOOK AND THIS IDEA OF PLANET CANADA IS GOING TO PAY OFF FOR US EXPONENTIALLY OVER THE NEXT FIVE, TEN, FIFTEEN YEARS. AND IN PARTICULAR, YOU KNOW, WHAT KIND OF DROVE IT HOME FOR ME WAS THE IDEA OF US NOT FRETTING SO MUCH ABOUT WHETHER WE ARE EXPERIENCING BRAIN DRAIN OR BRAIN GAIN, SOMETHING THAT WE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT EX-PATS AND CANADIANS GOING AND LIVING ABROAD. YOU KNOW, OFTENTIMES THERE'S A FRETTING ABOUT CANADIANS LEAVING OUR COUNTRY AND THEN LEAVING THE TALENT AND EXPERTISE THAT THEY HAVE WITH THEM. AND I THINK JOHN'S IDEA AND THE WHOLE THESIS THAT, NO, IN FACT CANADIANS THAT GO ABROAD, IT IS BRAIN GAIN FOR CANADA, AND IF WE ARE INTENTIONAL ABOUT REACHING OUT AND CONNECTING, NOT JUST TO THE CEOs AND HEADS OF COMPANIES AND HEADS OF INSTITUTIONS THAT LIVE ABROAD BUT CANADIANS OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE, ALL EXPERTISE, AT ALL LEVELS OF THEIR CAREERS THAT ARE ABROAD, AND DRAWING THEM INTO THE FUTURE OF CANADA AND THE CANADIAN STORY THAT WE ARE TRYING TO CREATE IN OUR OWN TOWNS, THEN IN FACT WHAT WE ARE DOING IS BUILDING THIS 13TH PROVINCE AND TERRITORY, I'D LIKE TO SAY, THAT TO REALLY BENEFIT RICHLY TO OUR DOMESTIC EXPERIENCE, CANADIAN EXPERIENCE, BUT ALSO THIS IDEA OF OUR GLOBAL CANADIAN EXPERIENCE AND THE GLOBAL FOOTPRINT THAT WE WANT TO LEAVE AS CANADA.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."
Then, it changes again to "The Week in Review. @theagenda. Tvo.org."

Nam says JUST TO PICK UP ON WHAT NADIA WAS SAYS, KIRSTINE, WE THINK WHEN CANADIANS LEAVE THE COUNTRY WE THINK OF IT MAYBE AS A LOSS. SHOULD WE CHANGE HOW WE LOOKED AT THAT AND LOOK AT IT MORE AS A GAIN, AS NADIA WAS SUGGESTING?

The caption changes to "Kirstine Stewart. World Economic Forum."

Kirstine is in her forties, with long feathered auburn hair. She's wearing a black blazer.

She says ABSOLUTELY. I THINK THIS IDEA OF A CYCLE, I THINK JOHN POINTED THAT OUT IN THE BOOK, THE FACT THAT THIS WAS NOT A BRAIN LOSS OR BRAIN DRAIN, IT'S A BRAIN CYCLE. GOING OUT IN THE WORLD AND COMING BACK TO CANADA, I KNOW MYSELF I'VE DONE THAT THREE OR FOUR TIMES. I'VE LEFT THE COUNTRY, GONE TO FIND SOME GREAT JOBS TO DO INTERNATIONALLY. I TEND TO ALWAYS COME BACK. AND I THINK, YOU KNOW, I HOPEFULLY BRING BENEFIT BACK TO THE COUNTRY WHEN PEOPLE LIKE MYSELFS DECIDE WE'VE HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS OR IN OTHER COUNTRY AND HAVE LEARNED A LOT AND CAN BRING SOME OF THAT BACK TO THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING THOSE NETWORKS THAT WE BUILT INTERNATIONALLY. LIKE, I THINK THERE IS THAT SENSE OF A BRAIN CYCLE WHICH IS SO POWERFUL.

Nam says YOU SAID THAT YOU ALWAYS COME BACK. IS THAT BECAUSE OF FAMILY OR IS IT BECAUSE CANADA IS HOME?

The caption changes to "Kirstine Stewart, @kirstinestewart."

Kirstine says CANADA IS HOME. AND, YEAH, I DO HAVE FAMILY HERE BUT I ALSO HAVE FAMILY GLOBALLY. I THINK FOR SO MANY OF US, I THINK THE WONDERFUL THING ABOUT CANADA IS WE ARE A NATION OF LARGELY IMMIGRANTS. AND SO WHETHER IT'S OURSELVES OR OUR PARENTS WHO HAVE COME TO CANADA, THERE IS THIS SENSE OF A CONSTANT LOOKING GLOBALLY. LIKE, I THINK WE ARE... I THINK WE ARE GLOBAL CITIZENS, AND THERE IS THIS KIND OF HOME... YOU KNOW, THERE'S A HOMEBODINESS ABOUT WHAT WE EXPERIENCE AS WELL, AND SOMETIMES WE MISS HOME WHEN WE'RE AWARE OF IT AND AS MUCH AS WE CAN BE PROUD OF BEING IN THIS WORLD AND BEING GLOBAL, THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT COMING HOME TOO, AND I'VE ALWAYS DONE IT. I'LL BE CURIOUS TO SEE IF I DO IT AGAIN THIS TIME.

Nam says ANDREA, I SAW YOU NODDING YOUR HEAD.

The caption changes to "Andrea Bibbs. Warnermedia News and Sports. @DreaDay."

Andrea is in her thirties, with short dark hair in a bun. She's wearing glasses, a red blouse and pendant earrings.

She says YEAH, I MEAN, DEFINITELY. BECAUSE, I MEAN, SO MANY OF US ARE CHILDREN OF DIFFERENT CULTURES, AS JOHN SAID IN HIS BOOK AS WELL. YOU KNOW, MY PARENTS ARE... THEY MOVED TO CANADA FROM THE U.K. AND BOTH HAVE GUYANESE ROOTS AND I'M FIRST GENERATION CANADIAN, SO I GREW UP WITH A LOT OF OTHER FIRST GENERATION CANADIANS, AND I THINK GROWING UP I PROBABLY FELT A LITTLE BIT MORE GUYANESE THAN CANADIAN, AND WHEN I MOVED TO THE STATES, I THINK IT WAS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT FOR ME TO KNOW... TO REALLY SHOUT THAT I'M CANADIAN, AND ESPECIALLY HAVING SMALL CHILDREN, MAKING SURE THAT THEY KNOW THAT THEY'RE AS CANADIAN AS THEY ARE AMERICAN AS WELL. SO, YOU KNOW, I THINK BEING FIRST GENERATION CANADIAN ALSO GIVES US THE OPPORTUNITY... OR GIVES US THIS DIFFERENT, I'D SAY, MAYBE A LITTLE BIT MORE EMPATHETIC TO DIFFERENT CULTURES AS WELL AND I THINK THAT HELPS US WHEN WE'RE IN THE U.S. AND IN OTHER PLACES OVERSEAS.

Nam says AND, JEREMY, WAS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT JOHN SAID THAT YOU STRONGLY RELATED TO?

The caption changes to "Jeremy Howick. University of Oxford."

Jeremy is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt and red tie.

The caption changes to "For more on this story visit: tvo.org/theagenda."

Jeremy says YEAH, WELL, I THINK HE HAD A GREAT IDEA TO MENTION THE C-100, THESE TECH GENIUSES IN THE SILICON VALLEY, WHO HAVE BANDED TOGETHER, THEY'RE ALL CANADIAN, AND THEY HELP CANADIANS IN THE SILICON VALLEY AND THEY GO BACK TO CANADA AND HELP. THERE COULD BE, YOU KNOW, THERE'S ALL THIS GOODWILL. PEOPLE GO AWAY, THEY FEEL MORE CANADIAN, THEY WANT TO HELP. WE COULD HAVE A KIND OF M-100 FOR PEOPLE IN MEDIA AND SPORTS, LIKE KIRSTINE AND ANDREA AND F-100 FOR PEOPLE IN FOOD AND H-100 FOR PEOPLE IN HEALTH. SIR JOHN BELL AT OXFORD IS LEADING THE CHARGE TO GET A VACCINE FOR THE CORONAVIRUS AND HE'S WAY HIGHER UP THAN I AM. BUT I'M ALSO NOT BAD AT WHAT I DO. SO THERE'S ALL THIS OPPORTUNITY AND THIS GOODWILL, SO BEING INTENTIONAL ABOUT IT, AS NADIA SAID, SHOULD BE A PRETTY EASY TASK THAT COULD PAY HUGE DIVIDENDS.

Now music plays as an animated slate reads "The week in review."

Steve appears on split screens with five guests.

A caption reads "Time for Canada to scrap the monarchy? Valued and appreciated?"

Steve says WHAT DOES THE MONARCHY, IN YOUR VIEW, PROVIDE CANADIANS?

The caption changes to "Christina Blizzard. Former Toronto Sun Columnist."

Christina is in her fifties, with short blond hair. She's wearing a blue sweater.

She says WELL, I THINK A CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY WITH A PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY IS A VERY STABLE FORM OF GOVERNMENT. THE CROWN, AS REPRESENTING THE STATE AS EMBODIED BY THE QUEEN, IS A VERY, I BELIEVE, HAS PROVIDED THIS COUNTRY WITH A VERY STABLE, AS I SAID, OVERARCHING SENSE OF GOVERNMENT THAT HAS PROVIDED CONTINUITY. THE CROWN HAS A HISTORY OF PROTECTING MINORITIES IN THIS COUNTRY. AND I THINK THAT AS THE QUEEN EMBODIES THE STATE, IF YOU LOOK AT A REPUBLIC, FOR EXAMPLE, THE PRESIDENT IS THE PERSONIFICATION OF THE STATE, OF THE GOVERNMENT, IN A REPUBLIC. AND IF THE PRESIDENT IS DYSFUNCTIONAL, THEN THE GOVERNMENT IS DYSFUNCTIONAL, BECAUSE IT IS SUCH A PERSONAL THING. YOU KNOW, WE ONLY HAVE TO LOOK TO THAT GREAT REPUBLIC TO OUR SOUTH TO SEE THAT, YOU KNOW, WHEN THE PRESIDENT IS DYSFUNCTIONAL, YOU DO HAVE PROBLEMS ARISING WHERE YOU CAN'T EVEN GUARANTEE THE PEACEFUL TRANSFERENCE OF POWER, AS WE'RE NOW SEEING DURING THIS ELECTION.

Steve says OKAY. PETER DONOLO, LET ME ASK YOU THE SAME QUESTION: WHAT, IN YOUR VIEW, DOES THE MONARCHY PROVIDE TO CANADA?

The caption changes to "Peter Donolo. Former Director of Communications for Prime Minister Chretien."

Peter is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short white hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt and spotted red tie.

He says LISTEN, I THINK THE MONARCHY IS AN ANACHRONISM. THERE WAS A CASE FOR IT 150 YEARS AGO BUT MY BASIC PROBLEMS WITH THE MONARCHY ARE TWOFOLD: ONE IS THAT I DON'T BELIEVE HIGH PUBLIC OFFICE, ANY PUBLIC OFFICE BUT PARTICULARLY THE HEAD OF STATE, HIGH PUBLIC OFFICE, SHOULD BE HEREDITARY. I THINK THAT'S FUNDAMENTALLY UNDEMOCRATIC AND AT ODDS WITH A MODERN DEMOCRACY. AND SECONDLY TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY, THIS IS A BRITISH MONARCHY. IT'S A FOREIGN INSTITUTION. THEY'RE FOREIGNERS WHO ARE OUR HEADS OF STATE. I THINK QUEEN ELIZABETH IS A FIGURE OF TREMENDOUS... SHE IS A VERY IMPRESSIVE PERSON. SHE HAS KEPT THIS INSTITUTION GOING MUCH LONGER THAN IT SHOULD HAVE. I THINK WE SHOULD ADOPT A PRACTICE FROM THE NHL AND THE OTHER MAJOR LEAGUES AND WHEN SHE GOES, WE SHOULD RETIRE HER JERSEY.

Steve laughs and says THAT'S A NICE ANALOGY. LET ME ASK THE FOLLOW-UP QUESTION WHICH IS THAT YOUR FORMER BOSS, JEAN CHRETIEN, HAD A LOVELY FRIENDSHIP, RELATIONSHIP, WITH THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND. HOW DOES HE FEEL ABOUT YOUR TAKING THIS POSITION?

The caption changes to "The Week in Review. @theagenda. Tvo.org."

Peter says HE STILL DOES. HE'S ONLY THE SIXTH MEMBER... THE SIXTH CANADIAN EVER TO BE ON THE ORDER OF MERIT, WHICH IS THE ONLY ORDER THAT THE QUEEN PERSONALLY CHOOSES. HE'S ONLY THE THIRD CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER TO BE THERE. HE'S KNOWN HER FOR 60 YEARS, CERTAINLY 50 YEARS. HE'S A MONARCHIST. HE AND I DISAGREE. HE WOULD ALSO FEEL THAT THIS IS NOT A TOP OF MIND ISSUE FOR MOST CANADIANS AND IN THAT HE'S RIGHT. BUT LISTEN, THAT'S ALWAYS THE CASE WITH ISSUES LIKE THIS. WE'RE KIND OF LIKE... WE DON'T WANT TO DEAL WITH IT BECAUSE IT'S TOO MUCH TROUBLE. WE'RE LIKE THE MILLENNIAL KID LIVING IN THE PARENTS' BASEMENT BECAUSE IT'S EASIER THAN MOVING OUT. WE WERE VERY SLOW IN ADOPTING A LOT OF THE USUAL VESTIGES OF INDEPENDENCE. LISTEN, IT TOOK US ALMOST 100 YEARS AS A COUNTRY BEFORE WE ADOPTED OUR OWN FLAG. BUT SLOWLY BUT SURELY WE'VE DONE THESE THINGS. THE MONARCHY IS THE LAST ITEM OF UNFINISHED BUSINESS IN THIS REGARD AND WE SHOULD CHECK IT OFF THE LIST.

Steve says DELIA, WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON WHAT THE MONARCHY PROVIDES TO CANADA?

The caption changes to "Delia Opekokew. Indigenous Law Lawyer."
Then, it changes again to "Indigenous perspectives."

Delia is in her fifties, with chin-length gray hair and bangs. She's wearing glasses, a blue blazer, white shirt and chain necklace.

She says MY VIEW ON WHAT THE MONARCHY PROVIDES TO CANADA IS WITH RESPECT TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN THAT THE ORIGINAL TREATIES WERE SIGNED WITH THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CROWN EARLY YEARS IN THE RIGHT OF GREAT BRITAIN AND LATER ON IN THE RIGHT OF CANADA AND RIGHT OF ONTARIO. AND FOR THAT REASON SYMBOLICALLY IT'S VERY IMPORTANT FOR MANY INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY THE ELDERS, TO MAINTAIN THAT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CROWN. HOWEVER, MY PERSPECTIVE IS THAT THE DUTIES THAT ENSUED FROM THE TREATIES HAVE BEEN TAKEN OVER BY THE CROWN IN RIGHT OF CANADA AND THE CROWN IN RIGHT OF THE DIFFERENT PROVINCES, AND SO IF THERE WAS A REPUBLIC, THE DUTIES OR TO ENSURE THAT THIS CONTINUE BETWEEN THE ORIGINAL GREAT BRITAIN PRE-CONFEDERATION WOULD CONTINUE IN ANY CASE BECAUSE THE COURTS HAVE RULED MANY TIMES THAT THE DUTIES ARE EMBEDDED IN THE CROWN IN RIGHT OF CANADA AND IN THE CROWN IN RIGHT OF THE PROVINCES. AND SO THAT WOULD REMAIN.

Now music plays as an animated slate reads "The week in review."

Steve and a guest appear on split screens.

A caption on screen reads "Wisdom found through life and music. It's not always easy."
Then, it changes to "Jann Arden. Singer/Songwriter."

Jann is in her fifties, with shoulder-length straight blond hair. She's wearing a black sweater.

She says AND MY MOM SAID NO AND I THINK IT'S BECAUSE SHE LOOKED AT HER OWN LIFE AND SAID, I HOPE YOU WANT MORE THAN THIS. AND IT WAS HEARTBREAKING AND PIVOTAL FOR ME AT THE SAME TIME. BUT SHE ALSO SAID TO ME IN MY 20s WHEN I WAS STARTING TO DO MUSIC: WHY NOT YOU? WHY NOT YOU? AND BECAUSE I HAD SOMEONE... BECAUSE I HAD A MOM THAT CHAMPIONED ME AND ACCEPTED ME AND CHEERED ME ON DESPITE MASSIVE... A MASSIVE THING IN THE WORLD TELLING ME THAT I COULDN'T DO IT, THAT I SHOULDN'T BE ABLE TO, IT WAS BECAUSE I HAD HER VOICE IN MY HEAD WHEN I DIDN'T HAVE MY OWN. SO THAT WAS A BIG PART OF MY STORY AND CONTINUES TO BE. MY MOM INFORMS MY LIFE AND MY DECISIONS EVERY SINGLE DAY AND SHE'S BEEN GONE A COUPLE OF YEARS NOW.

Steve says I THINK THAT'S HER PICTURE OVER YOUR LEFT SHOULDER, IS IT NOT?

Jann turns around and looks at a book featuring a picture of herself sitting in an armchair.

She says THAT'S ME IN THE BACK OF A BOOK. BUT I THINK MY MOM IS HERE. HERE'S MY MOM.

She picks up and shows a portrait of an older blond woman with glasses.

Steve says THERE WE GO. WELL, THOSE TWO QUOTES YOU GAVE OF YOUR MOTHER'S ARE GREAT. BUT THERE WAS A THIRD ONE THAT I WROTE DOWN BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT WAS VERY COMPELLING AS WELL, AND THAT ONE WAS: IF YOU CAN'T BE BRAVE, BE RECKLESS. NOW, ARE THOSE... THOSE ARE NOT THE WORDS I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT WOULD COME OUT OF THE MOUTH OF A MOM IN RURAL ALBERTA IN THE 1960s OR '70s. WHAT DID YOU INFER FROM THOSE?

Jann says WELL, I THINK MY MOM HAD STOLEN THAT FROM MY AUNT ERN, MY GREAT AUNT ERN, SO IT WAS MY MOTHER'S AUNT. AND SHE WAS ABOUT FOUR FOOT NOTHING. AND MY AUNT ERN WAS A PERSON THAT WOULD JUMP OFF A BRIDGE OR DRIVE A CAR THROUGH A FIRE, AND I THINK SHE HAD A LOT OF INFLUENCE ON MY MOM. AND TO ME, THAT ALWAYS JUST MEANT, JUST DO IT. JUST WORRY ABOUT THE... IT'S EASIER TO BEG FORGIVENESS THAN ASK PERMISSION. I THINK THAT'S KIND OF WHAT I GLEANED FROM THAT. AND SOMETIMES, YOU KNOW, RECKLESSNESS IS THE ABSENCE OF BRAVERY. I FEEL LIKE THEY WORK IN TANDEM, I REALLY DO, STEVE. RECKLESS CONJURES UP SOMEONE NOT CARING AND NOT BEING AWARE OF THE LIVES THEY'RE AFFECTING AROUND THEM. BUT I THINK YOU CAN BE INSULATED AND STILL BE RECKLESS AND NOT, YOU KNOW, HURT OTHER PEOPLE. BUT THAT WAS MY MOM. I DIDN'T ALWAYS UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING SHE SAID TO ME, THAT'S FOR SURE.

Steve says I WANT TO PUT ONE OF YOUR DAD'S QUOTES TO YOU AS WELL BECAUSE HE HAD SOMETHING THAT I JOTTED DOWN HERE AS WELL. HE SAID: THE WORST MARRIAGES DON'T END IN DIVORCE, THEY DON'T END.

Jann says THEY DON'T END.

[LAUGHTER]

The caption changes to "Telling the whole truth."

Steve says WHICH IS A PRETTY, WELL, IT'S A PRETTY OUT-THERE THING FOR SOMEBODY WHO WAS MARRIED FOR 60 YEARS TO BE SAYING, RIGHT? SO WHAT DID YOU INFER FROM THAT?

The caption changes to "Jann Arden. Author, 'If I knew then.'"
Then, it changes again to "The Week in Review. @theagenda. Tvo.org."

Jann says I THINK THE FACT THAT PEOPLE FEEL MARTYRED, I THINK SOMETIMES IN MARRIAGES, MAYBE MY PARENTS WERE CUT FROM A CLOTH WHERE YOU STAY TOGETHER NO MATTER WHAT, AND MY MOM SAID, WELL, WE JUST FELT LIKE WE HAD MORE TOGETHER THAN WE DID APART AND NEITHER OF US WANTED TO START OVER AGAIN. BUT SHE DID KICK HIM OUT AT ONE POINT. I THINK 15, 20 YEARS INTO THEIR MARRIAGE, SHE BOOTED HIM OUT OF THE HOUSE BECAUSE OF HIS DRINKING, OBVIOUSLY. BUT MY DAD, AS MUCH AS HE JOKED A LOT OF THE TIME, THERE WAS A LOT OF TRUTH IN HIS VERY BIZARRE SENSE OF HUMOUR. YOU KNOW, HE USED TO ALWAYS TELL ME, FIRST THE MAN HE TAKES THE DRINK, THEN THE DRINK HE TAKES THE MAN. AND THAT ALWAYS STUCK WITH ME TOO IN A HAUNTING KIND OF A WAY. IT STOLE SO MUCH OF HIS LIFE. EVEN WHEN HE QUIT DRINKING, HE RESENTED IT SO MUCH THAT HE WAS KIND OF A MISERABLE GUY. MY FRIEND STEPHANIE CALLED HIM THE GODDAMMIT GUY.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says BUT YOUR MOTHER WOULD ONLY CALL HIM THE GD GUY, RIGHT, BECAUSE SHE NEVER SWORE, RIGHT?

Jann says SHE DIDN'T SWEAR UNTIL SHE GOT ALZHEIMER'S AND THEN SHE SAID THINGS THAT I NEVER, EVER THOUGHT I'D HEAR COMING OUT OF HER MOUTH. BUT MY GOD, DID WE LAUGH.

Steve says LET ME GET BACK ON THE DRUGS AND ALCOHOL ISSUE BECAUSE... AND I CAN'T REMEMBER WHO SAID THIS. IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN YOUR DAD. YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD IT FROM SOMEONE ELSE. PEOPLE WHO ABUSE DRUGS AND ALCOHOL ARE PRACTISING HOW TO DIE. THAT MUST HAVE HIT YOU HARD, EH?

Jann says IT DID. I NEVER WANTED TO BE LIKE MY DAD. I FIGURED IF I DIDN'T DRINK RUM, THAT I WOULD NEVER BE LIKE HIM. THAT'S WHAT HE DRANK ALL THE TIME AND HE ALWAYS SMELLED OF RUM. IF RUM WAS THE LAST THING IN A MINI BAR, I WOULDN'T DRINK IT, EVEN IF I WAS DESPERATE, IF THAT TELLS YOU ANYTHING. I THINK ANY KID THAT WITNESSES AN ALCOHOLIC PARENT AND THE UNILATERAL DAMAGE THAT THAT DRINKING DOES IN A FAMILY, I JUST FEEL FOR THEM SO MUCH. I REGRET SO MANY OF THE THINGS THAT I DID IN MY LIFE. I JUST ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT I HAD CONTROL OF ALCOHOL AND IT WASN'T A PROBLEM. AND IT WAS BECAUSE I DIDN'T DRINK LIKE MY DAD THAT I THOUGHT I WAS OKAY. I WAS KIND OF A BINGER. I WASN'T ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO WOKE UP AND STARTED DRINKING IN THE MORNING AND I THOUGHT I CAN'T BE AN ALCOHOLIC BECAUSE I'M NOT LIKE THAT. MY DAD DRANK ALL DAY EVERY DAY. WHEN I DID DRINK, WHICH WAS MAYBE A WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY NIGHT, I SORT OF WASTED MYSELF. BUT THEN I WOULDN'T DRINK FOR FOUR DAYS. AND I THOUGHT, SEE? I DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM. I'M FINE. AND THAT'S JUST NOT HOW ALCOHOL WORKS. I ALWAYS SAY TO PEOPLE THAT ASK ME ABOUT STOPPING DRINKING, AND I GET ASKED ALL THE TIME: HOW DID YOU STOP? THAT'S ALWAYS A TELLING QUESTION TO ME IF THEY'RE COMING TO ME AND ASKING ME THAT.

The caption changes to "For more on this story visit: tvo.org/theagenda."

Jann continues MY ANSWER TO THEM IS ALWAYS: IF YOU HAVE LOOKED IN THE MIRROR AT ANY TIME IN YOUR LIFE, RECENTLY, NOT SO RECENTLY, AND YOU'VE SAID TO YOURSELF IN THAT MOMENT, YOU KNOW, WITH YOU, YOUR TOOTHBRUSH AND THE MIRROR, AND YOU SAID, YOU'RE DRINKING TOO MUCH, YOU'RE DRINKING TOO MUCH, JANN, I SAID THAT TO MYSELF SO MANY TIMES OVER THE YEARS, DON'T GIVE UP TRYING, LIKE DON'T GIVE UP TRYING TO STOP BECAUSE THAT VOICE GETS QUIETER AND QUIETER AND QUIETER AS YOU PROGRESS IN A DISEASE LIKE ALCOHOLISM, ANY KIND OF ADDICTION, THAT VOICE GETS QUIETER. BUT I GOT LUCKY. I JUST... I JUST HAD THE SENSE TO STOP DOING IT AND I'M VERY GRATEFUL.

The clips end and Nam stands in the studio alone.

She says THAT'S JUST SOME OF WHAT WE COVERED THIS WEEK ON THE AGENDA. FOR MORE, INCLUDING THE FULL CONVERSATIONS, YOU CAN VISIT OUR WEBSITE, tvo.org, OUR YouTube CHANNEL AT youtube.com/theagenda OR OUR TWITTER FEED: twitter.com/TheAgenda.

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