Transcript: Reconciling a Tragedy and Other Top Stories | Jun 04, 2021

Nam sits inside a room with blue walls and a bookcase in the background. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length straight brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a blue blazer over a blue shirt.

Nam says THE AGENDA THIS WEEK LOOKED AT THE CASE FOR WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION AND, A YEAR OUT FROM AN ELECTION, HOW BIG EVENTS CAN SHAPE POLITICAL FORTUNES. THE AGENDA'S WEEK IN REVIEW BEGINS REFLECTING ON THE LEGACY OF INDIGENOUS RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS IN THIS COUNTRY.

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

In a clip, Steve sits inside his attic and speaks. He's in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short curly brown hair.

A caption on screen reads "Facing Canada's residential school legacy."
The caption changes to "For more information: Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419."

Steve says JUST BEFORE WE START, WE THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE USEFUL FOR RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SURVIVORS AND OTHERS AFFECTED, IF YOU NEED SUPPORT, THERE IS A NATION-WIDE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL CRISIS LINE THAT YOU CAN CONTACT, AND HERE COMES THE PHONE NUMBER. IT'S 1-866-925-4419. THAT'S 1-866-925-4419. THAT NUMBER WILL APPEAR ON THE SCREEN AS OUR DISCUSSION PROCEEDS, AND IF YOU NEED HELP, PLEASE CALL THAT NUMBER. I WANT TO START WITH A QUOTE FROM NATIONAL CHIEF PERRY BELLEGARDE OF THE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS, WHO SAID THE OTHER DAY...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "A shock, but not a surprise?" The quote reads "Survivors have been saying that there were a lot of deaths, a lot of burials and a lot of unmarked graves, not only in Kamloops, but in all the residential schools. The sad part is, nobody believed them. Now here's your concrete, tragic, horrific evidence of 215 bodies that have been found."
Quoted from Chief Perry Bellegarde. May 31, 2021.

Steve says THAT'S PERRY BELLEGARDE. AND LET'S FOLLOW THAT UP WITH A QUOTE FROM SOL MAMAKWA.

Another quote reads "It is a great open secret that our children lie on the properties of the former schools -an open secret that Canadians can no longer look away from."
Quoted from Sol Mamakwa. May 30, 2021.

Steve says LET'S SEE HERE. CYNTHIA, I'M NOT SURE THERE'S A BETTER PLACE TO START OTHER THAN JUST SAYING, WHAT'S BEEN GOING THROUGH YOUR HEAD OVER THE PAST WEEK?

The caption changes to "Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux. Lakehead University."

Cynthia is in her fifties, with long wavy gray hair. She's wearing a black blazer.

She says JUST EXACTLY THAT, THAT THIS IS SOMETHING THAT NOBODY CAN NOW LOOK AWAY FROM. IT REMINDS ME OF THE BLACKWATER BROTHERS WHEN THEY FIRST TOOK THEIR CASE TO THE COURTS AND THE COURTS CALLED THEM LIARS. THEY SAID THERE WAS NO WAY THE THINGS THAT WERE SAID ABOUT HAPPENING AT RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS ACTUALLY HAPPENED. WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THESE CHILDREN EVER SINCE, OR ALL THE WAY BACK FROM RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS, AND NOW THERE'S SOMEBODY THAT BELIEVES. THERE'S A LOT OF CEREMONY HAPPENING THIS WEEK. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF SADNESS. I HAVE A GRANDDAUGHTER. MY DAUGHTER IS VERY UPSET. "THIS COULD HAVE BEEN US." THERE'S A LOT OF EMOTION ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND A LOT OF FEELINGS.

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

Steve says RY, HOW ABOUT YOU?

The caption changes to "Ry Moran. University of Victoria."

Ry is in his forties, balding, with a trimmed beard. He's wearing a black suit and a white shirt.

He says I ECHO EVERYTHING CYNTHIA HAS SAID. I THINK FOR ME PERSONALLY, IT'S... IT'S ACTUALLY AFFECTED ME QUITE PROFOUNDLY, I WOULD SAY. AND I'VE HAD SO MANY DIFFERENT LAYERS OF EMOTION THAT I'VE BEEN WORKING THROUGH. AND ONE OF THEM IS THIS DEEP SADNESS. ANOTHER IS THIS DEEP, DEEP FRUSTRATION AND REALLY ALMOST ANGER BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, WHEN I WAS WITH THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION, I WAS ON THE STATEMENT-GATHERING TEAMS, I WAS ON THE DOCUMENT COLLECTION TEAMS. A HUGE PART OF THE WORK THAT I'VE BEEN DOING OVER THE LAST DECADE WAS SPECIFICALLY TO CREATE THE EVIDENTIARY REGARD TO GIVE US THIS OPPORTUNITY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON HERE RIGHT NOW. AND I THINK OF ALL THE SURVIVORS THAT TALKED TO US ABOUT THIS VERY STORY, ABOUT THEIR LOVED ONES DISAPPEARING, ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO BABIES THAT WERE BORN IN THE SCHOOLS AS A PRODUCT OF SEXUAL ABUSE. I MEAN, THESE WERE ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIC STORIES THAT WE HEARD OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN, AND IT FELT LIKE WE WERE SHOUTING INTO THE DARK FOR SO LONG. I'M PLEASED, IN A WAY, THAT CANADA HAS FINALLY HAD ITS EYES OPENED AND CANNOT LOOK AWAY. BUT I HAVE TO ADMIT, IT'S FRUSTRATING THAT IT'S TAKEN AS LONG AS IT HAS BECAUSE SURVIVORS HAVE BEEN CONSISTENTLY AND RELIABLY TELLING THE TRUTH THE ENTIRE WAY ALONG, AND WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CONTINUE TO LISTEN TO THEM AND BELIEVE THEM.

Steve says CONNIE?

The caption changes to "Connie Walker. Host, 'Stolen: The search for Jermain' podcast."

Connie is in her twenties, with long straight black hair. She's wearing a black shirt.

She says YEAH, I THINK, YOU KNOW, IT'S BEEN A REALLY DIFFICULT WEEK FOR A LOT OF REASONS. YOU KNOW, MY FATHER WAS A RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SURVIVOR. BOTH MY GRANDPARENTS WERE AT RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS. AND I THINK, YOU KNOW, WHAT DEFINITELY STARTED DURING THE WORK OF THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION BUT WHAT HAS CERTAINLY CONTINUED HAS BEEN A TRANSFORMATION IN THIS COUNTRY IN TERMS OF THE UNDERSTANDING OF THOSE TRUTHS OF RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SURVIVORS. AND I THINK THIS WEEK, AS DIFFICULT AS IT WAS, FELT DIFFERENT TO ME IN THAT, YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF MY FAMILY AND MY NATIVE CIRCLES ARE PAYING ATTENTION TO THIS AND CARING ABOUT THIS IN A WAY THAT I HAVEN'T SEEN BEFORE. BUT I THINK THERE'S ALSO BEEN A LOT OF SHARING FROM INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY ABOUT THOSE TRAUMAS AND ABOUT THE TRAUMAS THAT RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS SET INTO MOTION AND THE INTERGENERATIONAL TRAUMA THAT CONTINUES TO HARM AND HURT SO MANY FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES. AND IT'S BEEN DIFFICULT TO BEAR WITNESS TO THAT, TO BE COMPLETELY HONEST, OVER THE LAST WEEK. IT'S BEEN QUITE HARD.

Steve says CYNTHIA, IS THIS FINALLY, FINALLY THE MOMENT OF NATIONAL RECKONING THAT SO MANY INDIGENOUS PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR?

Cynthia says I THINK IT'S THE BEGINNING OF THE NATIONAL RECKONING BECAUSE NOW PEOPLE HAVE EVIDENCE, AND SO THAT'S A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THIS CONVERSATION. BUT ALSO IT'S NOT DONE. SO THERE IS STILL ALMOST 400 OTHER SCHOOLS THAT HAVE TO BE BROUGHT INTO THIS CONVERSATION. THERE'S COMPENSATION THAT NEEDS TO BE LOOKED AT. THERE'S SURVIVORS THAT ARE REALLY STRUGGLING WITH THIS THAT NEED SOME CARE. THIS HAS JUST OPENED UP LARGER AND BROADER THE CONVERSATION THAT WE'VE BEEN HAVING OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS, REALLY. I THINK IT KIND OF STARTED WITH PHIL FONTAINE'S OPENING. BUT WE'RE NOW DEEPLY INTO IT. AND I THINK IT'S GOING TO GO DEEPER. AND I THINK CANADA HAD BETTER BE READY BECAUSE NOW THE TRUTH, CAPITAL "T," IS COMING FORWARD.

Steve says I DON'T WANT TO ASSUME THAT EVERYBODY HAS A REALLY GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF THE HISTORY OF RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS IN THIS COUNTRY, SO WE ARE JUST GOING TO TAKE A MOMENT HERE TO BRING UP SOME INFORMATION THAT PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW. TONY BURKE, IF YOU WOULD, YOU'RE DIRECTING TODAY. IF YOU COULD BRING UP THIS INFORMATION.

A view of Earth appears on screen focusing on Canada. Dozens of red dots mark the locations of residential schools across the country. The view then homes in on Ontario.

Steve reads data from the slate and says
FROM THE 1870s TO 1996, AS MANY AS 150,000 FIRST NATION, METIS, AND INUIT CHILDREN WERE SENT TO SO-CALLED RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS FUNDED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND OFTEN RUN BY VARIOUS CHURCHES. A TOTAL OF 139 SCHOOLS WERE IDENTIFIED IN THE INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT. THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE THOSE RUN BY PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS AND RELIGIOUS ORDERS. MOST WERE OUT WEST, BUT AS THE MAP INDICATES, 16 OF THESE SCHOOLS WERE IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO. NEXT BIT OF INFORMATION. THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION, WHICH RELEASED ITS FINAL REPORT SIX YEARS AGO, IDENTIFIED MORE THAN 4,000, MAYBE AS MANY AS 6,000 CHILDREN AT RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS WHO DIED, BUT MURRAY SINCLAIR, THE FORMER HEAD OF THE COMMISSION, NOW SAYS THE NUMBER COULD BE AS HIGH AS 25,000. AND THE CAUSE OF DEATH IN MOST CASES WAS DISEASE, MAINLY TUBERCULOSIS, BUT ABUSE WAS A FACTOR, ACCIDENTS WERE A FACTOR... FOR EXAMPLE, FIRES BREAKING OUT IN UNSAFE BUILDINGS. THE DEADLIEST YEARS AT RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS WERE FROM THE 1870s TO THE 1920s, BUT EVEN AS LATE AS THE 1940s, THE DEATH RATES IN THE SCHOOLS WERE UP TO FIVE TIMES HIGHER THAN AMONG THE GENERAL CANADIAN POPULATION OF KIDS AS A WHOLE. AND ONE-THIRD OF THE CHILDREN WHO DIED... ONE-THIRD... DID NOT EVEN HAVE THEIR NAMES RECORDED BY SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS. NOW, RY, YOU LED THE CREATION OF A NATIONAL ARCHIVE THAT DOCUMENTED WHAT RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SURVIVORS EXPERIENCED. WHAT CONDITIONS IN THESE SCHOOLS WOULD HAVE ALLOWED FOR THESE KINDS OF THINGS TO HAPPEN?

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

Ry says YES, STEVE, THAT'S A REALLY IMPORTANT POINT THAT YOU'VE RAISED. BECAUSE WHEN WE EVEN THINK ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE TUBERCULOSIS, WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE A WHOLE BUNCH OF FACTORS PLAYING OUT IN THESE SCHOOLS THAT ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THE SPREAD, DISSEMINATION OF DISEASE. SO THIS IS ALL WELL-DOCUMENTED IN SURVIVOR STATEMENTS AND SURVIVOR ACCOUNTS. FIRST OF ALL, WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE SCHOOLS AS BEING FILLED FULL OF ABUSE AND TRAUMA. SO YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE WELL WHEN YOU ARE BEING SUBJECTED TO SEVERE PHYSICAL AND SEXUAL ABUSE ON A REGULAR AND DAILY BASIS.

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 "Rising inequality and the global economy."

Steve says EVER SINCE THOMAS PIKETTY'S BOOK "CAPITAL IN THE 21ST CENTURY" WAS RELEASED ABOUT FOUR YEARS AGO, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT INCOME INEQUALITY IN A MUCH MORE SIGNIFICANT WAY AND HOW THE TOP 1 percent OF INCOME EARNERS HAVE A MUCH DISPROPORTIONATELY HIGHER SHARE OF THE WORLD'S TOTAL WEALTH THAN THE OTHER 99 percent. SO, LET'S SAY A DECADE LATER, HAVE WE MADE ANY PROGRESS ON THAT PROBLEM?

The caption changes to "Allison Christians. McGill University. @profchristians."

Allison is in her forties, with long straight chestnut hair. She's wearing a black blazer.

She says NO. WE'RE GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION, I THINK, AND THE CORONAVIRUS HAS JUST AMPLIFIED THAT INEQUALITY PROBLEM ON A GLOBAL SCALE. AND I THINK THAT'S WORRISOME. NOT ONLY BECAUSE, AS THE OTHER SPEAKERS HAVE NOTED, IT HAS LEFT SOME CANADIANS BEHIND AND MAYBE CONFUSED US ABOUT WHAT WE THINK THE... WHERE THE PROBLEMS OF OUR SOCIETY COME FROM AND HOW MUCH CONTROL WE THINK WE HAVE OVER THEM. SO I THINK THAT PIKETTY, YOU KNOW, HE TALKS ABOUT THE HISTORICAL TRENDS OF WEALTH AND GIVES US A WARNING AS TO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GET TOO MUCH WEALTH CONCENTRATION AND MATTHEW KLEIN AND MAKE PIKETTY'S BOOK AMPLIFIES THAT AND SHOWS US WE AREN'T THINKING CORRECTLY ABOUT WHETHER WE CAN SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS AND HOW. WE THINK THIS IS A TRADE ISSUE AND THIS IS ABOUT A BALANCE OF PAYMENTS OR TERMS OF TRADE, BUT ACTUALLY IT'S A LOT MORE ABOUT OUR CENTRAL CORE DECISION TO BE AN OPEN MARKET, A FREE MARKET IN AN OPEN ECONOMY IN A GLOBALIZED ECONOMY THAT WE CAN'T CONTROL. AND SO WHEN CHINA ALLOWS CONSUMERS' SURPLUS TO BE SWEPT UP INTO PRODUCTION AND NOT INTO CONSUMER SPENDING, CHINESE WORKERS ARE HURT BY THAT, BUT SO ARE CANADIAN WORKERS. AND WE DON'T CONTROL CHINA'S POLICIES ANY MORE THAN WE CONTROL THE U.S., BUT WE'RE AFFECTED IN DIFFERENT WAYS BY BOTH OF THOSE COUNTRIES.

Steve says MICHAEL, I WONDER IF YOU'D WEIGH IN ON THAT AS WELL? THERE SEEMS TO BE A CONSENSUS THAT WE HAVE, DESPITE 10 YEARS OF CONSIDERABLE DISCUSSION, MAYBE GOING BACK AS FAR AS OCCUPY WALL STREET AND SO ON, AFTER A DECADE OF VERY FOCUSED CONVERSATION ON WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE 1 percent, THAT WE HAVEN'T SEEMED TO HAVE MADE ANY PROGRESS AT ALL. IN FACT, THINGS MAY HAVE GOTTEN WORSE. WHY IS THAT?

The caption changes to "Michael Veall. McMaster University."

Michael is in his fifties, with short brown hair and a mustache. He's wearing glasses, a striped white shirt and a striped black tie.

He says HARD PROBLEM TO SOLVE. I THINK THAT WE HAVE TRIED TO REDISTRIBUTE, BUT AT A CERTAIN POINT IT BECOMES HARDER AND HARDER TO DO THAT BECAUSE THE MECHANISMS AGAINST REDISTRIBUTION, ESSENTIALLY BEHAVIOUR OF THE PEOPLE WHO GET TAXED MORE, CAN CHANGE MORE AND MORE. IT'S JUST A DIFFICULT PROBLEM FOR US TO SOLVE. I DON'T THINK WE SHOULD THINK OF OURSELVES AS BEING A SOCIETY THAT DOESN'T DO A LOT IN THAT DIRECTION, BUT TO DO MORE AND MORE GETS HARDER AND HARDER.

Steve says ROBIN, DO YOU THINK IT IS THE ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITY OF GOVERNMENTS AROUND THE WORLD TO REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH?

The caption changes to "Robin Shaban. Vivic Research. @RobinShaban."

Robin is in her thirties, with short blond hair and side-swept bangs. She's wearing glasses and a white blazer.

She says YEAH. I THINK REDISTRIBUTION IMPORTANT FACTOR IN ALL OF THIS. BUT I THINK REDISTRIBUTION CAN HAPPEN ON MULTIPLE LEVELS. THERE'S THE TAX AND TRANSFER REDISTRIBUTION THAT I THINK WE'RE VERY COMFORTABLE WITH. BUT THERE'S ALSO THE DISTRIBUTION OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND ECONOMIC ACCESS. AND FOR ME, A LOT OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE REALLY BOILS DOWN TO CONCENTRATIONS IN CORPORATE POWER AND TRENDS THAT WE'RE SEEING TOWARDS MORE CONCENTRATED INDUSTRIES AND ECONOMIES, AND THIS IS CRITICAL AS A TREND BECAUSE IT CAN BE A MAJOR DRIVER OF THE INEQUALITY THAT WE'RE SEEING TODAY. AND THIS IS BECAUSE, AS OUR ECONOMIES BECOME MORE CONCENTRATED, THEY BECOME INCREASINGLY DOMINATED BY A SMALLER NUMBER OF BIGGER FIRMS. AND WHEN THESE FIRMS ARE IN A DOMINANT POSITION, THEY'RE BETTER ABLE TO EXTRACT WEALTH AND INCOME FROM PEOPLE LOWER DOWN ON THE INCOME DISTRIBUTION, AND REDISTRIBUTE THAT WEALTH AND INCOME UP TO THE WEALTHIEST. AND IN THIS WAY, YOU KNOW, WE'RE SEEING REAL MECHANISM OF INEQUALITY AT PLAY, AND WHAT IS SO INTERESTING ABOUT THIS PROBLEM IS THAT THERE ARE SOLUTIONS. ONE OF THE SOLUTIONS THAT WE SHOULD BE EXPLORING IS MAKING TOUGHER COMPETITION LAWS, THAT NOT ONLY CONTROL AND REIN IN DOMINANCE OF FIRMS BUT ALSO, IN THAT PROCESS, PROVIDING MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ECONOMY AS ENTREPRENEURS, AS WORKERS RECEIVING FAIR WAGES, AND IN THAT WAY WE CAN HELP AMELIORATE THE RISE OF INEQUALITY THAT WE'RE SEEING.

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

Steve says WELL, ALLISON, I KNOW HOW MUCH YOU LOVE TAX LAW. YOU LOVE IT SO MUCH THAT I THINK YOU HAVE A MUG SOMEWHERE ON YOUR DESK THAT PROVINCE HOW MUCH YOU LOVE IT, AS SHE REACHES FOR IT NOW AND SHOWS US.

Allison smiles and briefly holds up a mug that reads "I heart tax law."

Steve continues THERE WE GO. OKAY. SO WE KNOW HOW MUCH YOU LOVE TAX LAW. I CAN IMAGINE PEOPLE WATCHING THIS OR LISTENING TO THIS RIGHT NOW SAYING TO THEMSELVES, LOOK, THIS SHOULD BE AN EASY PROBLEM TO SOLVE. ALL THE WESTERN GOVERNMENTS SIMPLY NEED TO GET TOGETHER AND SAY WE'RE GOING TO RAISE CORPORATE TAXES BY THIS MUCH, WE'RE GOING TO RAISE TAXES ON THE SUPER-RICH THAT MUCH. IF WE ALL DO IT TOGETHER, NOBODY HAS AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE. BOOM. LET'S JUST DO IT. WHY NOT?

The caption changes to "Allison Christians, @profchristians."
Then, it changes again to "For more on this story visit: tvo.org/theagenda."

Allison says YEAH, EASY. SURE. YEAH, THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. WHY NOT? MOST PEOPLE DON'T LOVE TAX LAW, IN FACT MOST PEOPLE HATE TAX LAW. FOR LOTS OF GOOD REASONS, I SUPPOSE. BUT ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS PEOPLE THINK THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA IS THEY WORRY WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE DISTRIBUTING IN THE RIGHT WAY OR WE'RE GOING TO WASTE OUR MONEY OR SOMETHING LIKE THIS, YOU KNOW, ALL KINDS OF IDEOLOGIES ABOUT WHY WE SHOULDN'T HAVE TAXES ON THE RICH OR WE SHOULDN'T RAISE TAXES HERE OR THERE OR FROM CORPORATIONS. I MEAN, THE SHORT ANSWER IS THAT THERE IS A GLOBAL DISCUSSION TAKING PLACE ABOUT THE LEVEL OF CORPORATE TAX AND THE DISTRIBUTION OF CORPORATE TAX, WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT CHANGE, YOU KNOW, WHAT'S GOING ON HERE IN CANADA. BUT THE BOOK THAT WE READ FOR TODAY THAT TELLS US THAT TRADE WARS ARE CLASS WARS, I THINK COULD HAVE AN EXTRA LINE, WHICH ARE TAX WARS. CLASS WARS ARE TAX WARS. THEY ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. IT'S ALWAYS A BATTLE OF VESTED INTERESTS, AS THE BOOK TALKS ABOUT THEM. YOU KNOW, PEOPLE LIKE THE WAY THINGS ARE WHEN IT WORKS OUT FOR THEM AND THEY DON'T WANT IT TO CHANGE, AND FOR THOSE FOR WHOM THE SYSTEM IS NOT WORKING, AGITATING FOR CHANGE IS WORKING AGAINST SOME PRETTY STRONGLY HELD BELIEFS AND SOME VERY STRONG VESTED INTERESTS. SO IT'S NOT THAT EASY TO CHANGE, EVEN THOUGH, YES, 100 PERCENT, THAT IS WHAT WE SHOULD DO. WE SHOULD BE LOWERING TAXES ON CONSUMERS, YOU KNOW, GETTING MORE SPENDING ABILITY IN REGULAR HOUSEHOLDS, LOWERING INCOME TAXES FOR WORKERS, AND RAISING THEM FOR THOSE WITH HIGHER INCOMES AND IN CAPITAL.

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 "Worst blunders in Ontario political history."

Steve says WE HAVE SEEN AGAIN WHERE A COUPLE OF PREMIERS IN THE PAST THAT WE'VE NAMED, BOB RAE, KATHLEEN WYNNE, FOR EXAMPLE, THEIR POPULARITY WENT WAY DOWN AND THEY WERE UNABLE, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEY TRIED TO BRING IT BACK UP. WE HAVE SEEN OTHER PREMIERS WHOSE POPULARITY REALLY TAKES A DIVE, AND I THINK OF BILL DAVIS IN 1975, I THINK OF DALTON McGUINTY IN 2007. THEY'RE GOING INTO THEIR SECOND TERMS. THEY LOOK LIKE THEY'RE DEAD DUCKS. AND SOMEHOW THEY FIGURE OUT A WAY TO BRING IT BACK AND THEY WIN AGAIN. WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS THAT ALLOWED THEM TO DO THAT?

The caption changes to "Janet Ecker. Former Ontario Finance Minister."

Janet is in her sixties, with short wavy blond hair. She's wearing glasses, a printed blouse and a matching silk scarf.

She says WELL, I THINK WHAT PREMIER DAVIS DID AFTER THE... BECAUSE IN '71, BIG MAJORITY, AND THEN ALMOST LOST IT ALL IN '75 WHEN THERE WAS A SERIES OF THINGS THAT PEOPLE THOUGHT WERE SCANDALS AND WHATEVER AND HE WAS PICTURED IN A PINSTRIPED SUIT WITH A CIGAR. AND WHAT THEY DID AFTER '75, I MEAN, HE HIRED A COUPLE OF REALLY SMART PEOPLE, HUGH SEGAL, WHO WE'VE SEEN ON THIS SHOW MANY TIMES, SALLY BARNES, A NUMBER OF OTHER... ED STEWART. AND WHAT THEY DID WAS REMAKE HIM IN A WAY THAT THE AUTHENTIC BILL DAVIS CAME OUT. HE WAS DESCRIBED OFTEN AS BRAMPTON BILLY IN AN AFFECTIONATE WAY. AND HE KIND OF TURNED INTO YOUR SORT OF FAMOUS... OR FAVOURITE UNCLE, IF I CAN PUT IT THAT WAY. SO JUST A COMPLETE STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT OF WHAT WAS WRONG, WHERE ARE WE, YOU KNOW, WHAT MISTAKES HAVE WE MADE, WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THEM? WHAT CAN WE PUT OUT THERE THAT WILL, YOU KNOW, CHANGE THE STORY, CHANGE THE NARRATIVE. AND THEY DID A SUPERB JOB. AND OF COURSE I THINK ONE OF THE REASONS IT WORKED WAS BECAUSE IT WAS BILL DAVIS. YOU CAN'T BUILD A PERSONA WITH A POLITICIAN THAT ISN'T REAL BECAUSE SOONER OR LATER THE VOTERS SEE THROUGH THAT. SO IT WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS VERY, I THINK, LEGITIMATE, FIT THE TIMES, FIT HIS PERSONA, AND ALSO TO FIT HIS STYLE OF GOVERNING BECAUSE IT WAS MINORITY IN '75 AND AGAIN IN '77. AND THEY ACTUALLY... YOU KNOW, HE WAS ABLE... HE WAS ONE OF THOSE POLITICIANS THAT WAS ABLE TO WORK ACROSS THE AISLE. YOU KNOW, I THINK VOTERS, EVEN THOUGH WHEN YOU LOOK AT SOME VOTING RESULTS IN THE STATES, YOU KIND OF WONDER ABOUT THIS. BUT FREQUENTLY VOTERS LIKE A POLITICIAN WHO IS NOT A HARD PARTISAN, WHO CAN ACTUALLY SEEM TO BE REASONABLE AND REACH ACROSS THE AISLE. AND I THINK BILL DAVIS COULD BE, EVEN THOUGH HE WAS PARTISAN, COULD BE A VERY GOOD AND VERY ADEPT AT THAT.

Steve says TIM, WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT CONDITIONS THAT YOU SEE THAT ALLOW SOME LEADERS WHO APPEAR TO BE TOAST TO COME BACK?

The caption changes to "Tim Murphy. McMillan Vantage Policy Group. @TJHisLaw. Former Ontario MPP."

Tim is in his fifties, clean-shaven and bald. He's wearing glasses, a blue pinstripe suit and a white shirt.

He says SO I'LL GO BACK TO MY SORT OF THREE KINDS OF BLUNDERS, CHARACTER, STRATEGY, AND POLICY. AND I THINK GENERALLY, YOU KNOW, IF YOU... I THINK TO JANET'S POINT, WHAT BILL DAVIS MANAGED TO DO WAS RESET ALL THREE. HE DID THAT POST-ELECTION IN '75, BECAUSE I THINK HE CARRIED THE IMAGE OF, FRANKLY, SLIGHTLY OUT OF TOUCH, ARROGANT, YOU KNOW, THE CIGAR SMOKING AND THEY COMPLETELY RESET HIS CHARACTER, BUT THEY ALSO DID SOME MAJOR POLICY SHIFTS AROUND THINGS LIKE RENT CONTROL AND THE SPADINA EXPRESSWAY AND A SET OF THINGS THAT MOVED HIM IN ESSENCE MORE TO THE CENTRE FROM A POLICY POINT OF VIEW AND FROM A STRATEGY POINT OF VIEW TRIED TO KIND OF MAKE HIM IN A PERSONAL SENSE MORE A PERSON OF THE MIDDLE IN ONTARIO, WHICH HE CLEARLY KIND OF OCCUPIED SIGNIFICANTLY UNTIL, YOU KNOW, EFFECTIVELY DAVID PETERSON BEAT FRANK MILLER TEN YEARS LATER. I THINK BOB RAE IN 1995 HAD A DIFFERENT PROBLEM. HE DIDN'T ACTUALLY HAVE A CHARACTER PROBLEM, IN MY VIEW. I THINK HE... HE SET OUT ON A POLICY PATH IN THE FACE OF AN ENORMOUS RECESSION THAT I THINK ALIENATED SOME OF HIS CORE AND WAS JUST, YOU KNOW, FRANKLY KIND OF WON IN AN ACCIDENTAL SENSE AND WASN'T ABLE TO GET OUT OF THE FRAME THAT TRAPPED HIM. YOU GET TO KATHLEEN WYNNE WHO CARRIED SOME CONSIDERABLE UNPOPULARITY INTO THAT ELECTION BUT, YOU KNOW, WAS 14-PLUS, 15 YEARS INTO A GOVERNMENT AND, YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES JUST THE WEIGHT OF DECISIONS AND EVENTS AND THE CHALLENGES YOU CREATE, YOU JUST CAN'T GET OVER, AND I THINK THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS UNFIXABLE AND HER CHARACTER I THINK WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS FIXED IN THE PUBLIC MIND AND ALSO NOT FIXABLE.

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

Steve says I DO WANT ROBERT TO PICK UP ON THAT. BEFORE YOU DO IT POPPED INTO MY HEAD THAT TOMORROW... TOMORROW... IS THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF BILL DAVIS' SPEECH TO STOP THE SPADINA EXPRESSWAY AND THAT SPEECH, ALMOST AS MUCH AS ANYTHING, HELPED HIM WIN THE 1971 MAJORITY GOVERNMENT THAT HE'D GO ON TO WIN IN OCTOBER. ANYWAYS, THAT LITTLE ASIDE ASIDE. OKAY, ROBERT. PICK UP THE STORY FROM THIS VANTAGE POINT AND IT REALLY COMES FROM THE END OF WHAT TIM WAS SAYING. HOW MUCH OF A FACTOR IN WHETHER YOU'VE GOT A SHOT TO BE ELECTED OR REELECTED IS CARRYING THE WATER OF YOUR PREDECESSORS?

The caption changes to "Robert Benzie. Toronto Star."

Robert is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He's wearing a light gray suit, pink gingham shirt and striped black and pink tie.

He says OH, CERTAINLY IT'S A HUGE FACTOR, STEVE. I MEAN, I THINK, TO TIM'S POINT, KATHLEEN WYNNE WON A SURPRISE MAJORITY. I THINK A LOT WERE SURPRISED IN 2014 WHEN SHE SEIZED VICTORY FROM THE JAWS OF DEFEAT. REMEMBER, IN 2013 WHEN DALTON McGUINTY FINALLY LEFT, THAT WAS A GOVERNMENT THAT WAS EMBROILED IN THE GAS PLANT DEBACLE AND HAD A LOT OF MILEAGE ON IT. YOU KNOW, MR. McGUINTY HAD BEEN AROUND FOR ALMOST A DECADE. AND I THINK PEOPLE WERE READY FOR A CHANGE. AND PREMIER WYNNE REALLY RESUSCITATED HER PARTY WITH THE HELP OF FOLKS LIKE TIM, FRANKLY, AND IT WAS... 2014 WAS A REALLY BIG VICTORY FOR THE LIBERALS AND A SURPRISING ONE. HOWEVER, THE HANGOVER OF THE McGUINTY YEARS I THINK CAUGHT UP WITH MS. WYNNE IN 2018 AND I THINK SHE... IT WAS WEIRD. PEOPLE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE GAS PLANT AFFAIR IN THE 2018 ELECTION AND THOSE OF US IN THE COGNOSCENTI THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY KIND OF RESOLVED AFTER 2013 AND IT JUST WASN'T.

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

Robert continues AND I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT... I MEAN, NOT TO PICK ON TIM, BUT TIM HAD TO DEAL WITH THIS WITH PAUL MARTIN AS WELL. PAUL MARTIN HAD TO CARRY A LOT OF WATER FOR JEAN CHRETIEN'S PROBLEMS. JOHN TURNER HAD TO CARRY PIERRE TRUDEAU'S WATER. IT'S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT SOMETIMES HAPPENS. JANET KNOWS THIS. SHE WAS ERNIE EVES' FINANCE MINISTER. THERE WERE ISSUES THAT THAT GOVERNMENT HAD TO DEAL WITH, THAT PREMIER EVES HAD TO DEAL WITH THAT WEREN'T HIS FAULT THAT WERE TO DO WITH MIKE HARRIS, HIS PREDECESSOR. IT'S ONE OF THESE THINGS THAT WHEN YOU GET INTO DYNASTIES, AND BILL DAVIS REALLY IS THE SURVIVOR, THE REMARKABLE ONE, THAT HE WAS ABLE TO GO TAKE ALL OF THE THINGS THAT HAD HAPPENED UNDER JOHN ROBARTS AND HIS PREDECESSORS, LESLIE FROST AND OTHERS, AND NOT WEAR THEM. IN FACT, I STILL BELIEVE THAT IF MR. DAVIS HADN'T RETIRED IN 1984, THE TORIES WOULD HAVE WON A MAJORITY IN 1985.

The clips end and Nam reappears on screen.

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.

Watch: Reconciling a Tragedy and Other Top Stories