12 avril 2012

Tous les autres en parlent - TLMEP for April 8

Here is our summary. This week was a collaborative effort between myself and friend Dominic Major (@heydomajor). Mille fois merci, Do!

Survey Results from Last Week: Blog post coming tomorrow.

Normand Brathwaite and Isabelle Massé

The former, signer, entertainer, actor radio and television host; the latter, journalist at La Presse and writer of M. Brathwaite's biography

M. Brathwaite talks about being treated with prejudice and at times blind racism elsewhere in North America, where he travels anonymously. He always wears a suit when crossing the border or walking with his wife in the US or English Canada. The worst is when he lands in a helicopter he rents in the United States, dressed in his suit, and gets the gold star treatment because people assume he is a relation of Barack Obama.

When asked about an issue that arose with a colleague Jean-René Dufort, which led to his leaving radio station CKOI in 2006, M. Brathwaite gives a rote answer that all parties feel the subject is closed and he cannot discuss it. This means also that the matter, and the depression he had coming out of it, are not mentioned in the biography.

Cocaine was a part of his time on the show Beau et chaud. A drug he characterizes as one that renders you impotent and paranoid —la fille est dans la lit et tu la regardes par la fentêtre (the girl is in bed and you're looking at her through the window)—which is no fun. He didn’t take it at the time while he worked, but now he’s big on wine.

M. Brathwaite’s father was of Jamaican/Barbadian origin. His biography describes him as a good man. The day he passed away, M. Brathwaite went on stage anyway, and didn’t go to the funeral. He organized and helped, but couldn’t deal with it himself. He admits with shame that he never even went into his brother’s hospital room on his death bead, dying of diabetes. For him, his brother died when he couldn’t see or play the guitar.

The biography touches little on M. Brathwaite’s two younger children. It was among the people he wanted to protect in his biography.

A reporter recently blasted him for doing too much on auto-pilot. He condemns people who criticize others gratuitously.

Why this matters:
  • M. Brathwaite is a star in Québec. Even if you don't watch French television or listen to CKOI radio, you've doubtless seen this man's face on billboards and signs in the metro. He hosted the morning show Ye trop de bonne heure (It's Too Early) on CKOI for 15 years. He has done commercials for 25 years, including currently ads for Réno-Dépôt (the ones voiced by Ted Bird, the Anglo former morning man on CHOM, in English).
  • Not a lot has been said about the dispute that had him abruptly end his tenure at CKOI. We know that M. Brathwaite could not tolerate M. Dufort's attitude toward another co-host, Roxanne Saint-Gelais. CKOI is one of the most-listened to stations in Montréal and is rebroadcast across the province, so the spat caught public attention. We now know that we are not likely to learn much more about what happened.

Jacques Martin

Former head coach to the Montreal Canadiens

M. Martin was fired from the head coaching job of the Canadiens just before Christmas but is still employed with the Habs; he has a special mandate to follow previously drafted players in their current clubs; Juniors, European teams and other pro affiliates.

When asked whether it is hard to work for the organisation that fired you, M. Martin says he doesn't find it hard—although he did think that coming to Montreal would see him end his career there... many years down the line. The hardest part for Jacques is to be unable to finish what he started as a coach and mentor.

The team shows the clip of M. Gauthier's (then the Habs' General Manager) press conference following M. Martin's dismissal. Gauthier is quoted as saying M. Martin did an excellent job and continues to do so.

Which, for Guy A., begs the question: Despite doing an excellent job, why is the coach always the one to get sacrificed first?

M. Martin has no absolute clear answer on this, although Dany and Normand pipe up with: "It's symbolic". After confirming M. Gauthier and he are still friends, Guy A. asks if they've gotten together since M. Gauthier's firing? They haven't had a party yet, but maybe in the summer M. Martin will put together a BBQ!

After showing a clip and listening to last week's thoughts from M. Leclerc on this very program, the crowd once again appreciative of those thoughts about M. Martin's performance as coach of the Habs.

Asked if he's happy the team is not doing well, he quickly answers no: "You always want the team to win".

Mme Massé points out that according to Forbes, the Canadiens will still be profitable next year. To which Dany provides more insight: (paraphrasing here) "...the luxury boxes are sold out and the hot dogs are $15, of course they're making money."

M. Brathwaite is excited to see the new players but does not believe it's right to see the Canadiens in the bottom of the barrel.

Jacques offers some interesting insight in the current team: there's a solid core group of players and Montreal's youth movement is impressive with Subban, Pacioretty, Desharnais, Emelin and Diaz all making great headway this year. Listening to this, wouldn't the vacant GM job be interesting? M. Martin is open to suggestions but he is under the employ of the team already.

Lots of hockey talk happens here with thoughts on:
  • Patrick Roy as GM/Coach or both: No comment. Being both is just not a good idea.
  • Satisfied with performance past 2.5 years: No. I was expecting a cup.
  • Regrets with leaving Florida: None at all.
  • Cunneyworth: Have not spoken with Randy at all, only the other assistants.
  • The Cunneyworth Anglo-gate: too bad for Randy. he's a great guy, knows his hockey. He didn't deserve the flack.
Looking back on his career highlights—his 1999 Jack Adams awared, and being one of only nine coaches with 600 wins in the NHL—what is he most proud of? His answer, the 2002 Salt Lake Games Olympic gold. The ring he wears, that Dany points to, is the championship ring from the 2004 World Championship; he couples that victory with Olympic gold as the two greatest accomplishments.

Press conference interview segment is here. Guy A. will ask questions as if they are at the post-game press conference. The first questions gets a laugh:
  • Why do you always start your answers with «Oui, c'est sûr que...»? ("Yes, it's true that..."). Reply: I'm from Ontario.
  • Jacques, how do you manage to answer all the same damned boring questions night after night after night without getting the hell outta Dodge yelling: "That's it. I've. Fuckin' Had it. With. Your. Goddamned. Stupid. Questions." Answer: Well, journalists could be more creative with their questions and we'd have more creative answers.
  • After brief talk about PK and Halak, we skip the last question about Gomez.

La Carte: Voici le titre de ta nouvelle biographie: Jacques Martin: Hockey, Puck et Belles Oreilles. (A dig at his ears, and a play-on-words of the 80s sketch comedy show that launched Guy A. Lepage's career, Rock et Belles-Oreilles)

Why this matters:
  • The. Habs.
  • Really? You need more than that?
    • The Canadiens, most storied franchise in professional hockey, if not professional sport all-round, has had a dismal season.
    • They now stand second-to-last in the standings.
    • Quebec society has a kindered relationship with the Canadiens. They were founded specifically  as a team of French Canadians to play in an otherwise Anglo league.
    • If you need any more than that, may I recommend donning a Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. You'll be schooled pretty quickly.

Rachelle Blais

Runway model.

Mme Blais is 26 years old and she is a working model. She's here to talk about her participation in the  film, Girl Model. The documentary is about the dark side of child-modelling. She's one of the models that denounces the industry's habit of seducing 14-16 year-olds away from their lives and families.

We quickly learn that it is commonplace for girls aged as young as 12 to be "lured" away to Japan or other softly-controlled countries to work in the modelling business for what amounts to a pittance—sometimes no money at all, or simply for shelter and clothes.

So what are the responsibilities of the parents in this practice? They are responsible, but coming from desperate circumstances, they are easily convinced to let go. The modeling industry operates almost

completely without ethics. There are visa requirements to pass into and work in those countries, but they aren’t well enforced.

Blais feels one big solution to the problem would be to limit the age at 18 for models to obtain work visas. Not only can they essentially work in slave labour, when they try sporting adult clothes they lose all protection they would have modeling under-age clothing.

The girls are travelling around the world, and many are not well monitored. The industry will say they will travel with chaperons or parents, but they aren't always there, and that doesn’t address the root question of why the industry wants children anyway.Retail outlets claim this is what *their* clients require. Blais considers the practice of using under-age models is tantamount to pedophilia.

Mme Blais herself started at 16 in Montreal, but she was fortunate to have an angelic look and was never overly sexualized.

The expectations are unhealthy. She was told at age 18 that she should get liposuction in order to lose 1cm of waist length. She refused. At this point, she herself says she's too big to be a runway model. (Dominic says: I think she needs a medium Schwartz' and a Coke, but what do I know?)

Many models are not well paid for their work; many are paid only with clothes, accessories/jewellery or shoes. Mme Blais relates that others (although the film doesn’t touch the topic of prostitution head on) wind up as escorts for club promoters or agents and that this is common practice.

At the end Mme Blais is asked if she still loves her job and she does. She's found new challenges that keep her occupied and she's prepared/preparing for a future outside the fashion biz. Good on her!

Why this matters:

  • The horrified look in M. Brathwaite, a father's, face tells you why this matters.
  • I did a few quick searches online, but I couldn't find interesting numbers from the modelling industry. So all I can speak to is the reaction from the audience and from the other guests - they were all universally appalled at the stories related by Mme Blais. And that is good enough.
More info: www.girlmodelthemovie.com

Thomas Mulcair

Newly-elected leader of the New Democratic Party and as such, Leader of the Loyal Opposition in Parliament

After a long and arduous leadership race, Mr. Mulcair was elected party leader at the convention on March 24. Now he must rebuild his party, face internal conflict to his election... do you want to resign already? No way!

Given that some people in his party were strongly against them, will they now support him? Mr. Mulcair says yes, and gives the example of Libby Davies. She came out in support of his main rival and party insider, Brian Topp. Mrs. Davies will stay on in her role as co-chair in the party leadership.

As far as Mr. Mulcair is concerned, his adversary is ahead of him, across the aisle in the House of Commons: Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The NDP needs to enlarge voting base. Guy A. asks they the party will now move to centre of the political spectrum? Mr. Mulcair says wants to move the centre to him. (The immediate reaction is: isn't that saying the same thing? Kinda like sucking in your gut?) The notion is to not change the party’s ideas, and remain social democratic but bring people around to their way of thinking. The party leader says many people have always said NDP always had great ideas, but couldn’t be trusted with leading a G7 country. Now is the time for him to convince the public that they can be trusted.

Merge with Liberals? Not on the agenda. Coordinating strategically with them or the Greens over ridings would play to their disadvantage, as they would lose funding as a national party.

So where can they grow? 65% of youth 18-24 did not vote in May 2011; that’s what Mr. Mulcair wants to tackle.

From here the tribune turns more into an electoral stump speech:
  • The Conservatives have just released their latest budget, in which about the 19,000 government positions abolished. The CBC/Radio-Canada is feeling it already. The Conservatives promised jobs, and are now firing!
  • Regarding cutting Old Age Security and transfer payments. Layton asked Harper if any of these would change during the election debates, and he said no. We are now learning otherwise.
  • Aveos: Conservatives—who are supposed to be the party of law and order (Loi et l’ordre)—are not applying the law.
  • Gun registry: first time he sees government remove public protection.
    • Guy A asks, did Layton not challenge this enough?
    • Mulcair admits there were divisions among MPs from differnet ridings. The more rural ones were opposed to the registry. Mulcair says Layton wanted to bridges.
    • And Mulcair’s way? He would bring back the registry, and he would have his MPs toe the line.
  • CF-35 fighter jets??? The Auditor General identifies known overruns while the government makes deep cuts to services. Where are the priorities? To Mulcair, the last thing a government should cut is public services. Cutting health inspectors before military?
  • Many of the above topics are closely felt in Quebec, but he touches one that impacts Western Canada specifically, the government's decision to close the Wheat Board's monopoly. This will hurt grain farmers' ability to negotiate prices on the world market.
Why this matters:
  • Jack Layton was born in Montreal but built his political career in Toronto. Thomas Mulcair is the party's first elected leader from Quebec, and from Quebec's unique political culture.
  • Mulcair was a member of the National Assembly (as a Quebec Liberal) and Charest's environment minister from 2003 to 2006, when he quit during a cabinet re-shuffle. He was strongly opposed to his government's plans to develop part of Mont-Orford natonal park privately.
  • After an unprecedented victory for the NDP in Quebec in the May 2011 election, public favour turned away when Layton died. In January, the NDP dipped back below the Bloc Québécois in standing in Quebec. With Mulcair (still in the honeymoon phase!) the NDP is up surveys, in Quebec and nationally.
  • Aveos is a company responsible for aerocraft maintenance, with Air Canada as its primary client. It was relatively unknown until mid-March, when it announced bankruptcy and fired all of its employees. Air Canada used to be a Crown corporation; when it was privatized in 1989, the Government imposed a series of regulations on the company, among which many are important to Quebec: its headquarters is to remain in Montreal, its operations are to remain bilingual, and its maintenance is to be kept in Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal. This bankruptcy puts Air Canada in an illegal situation.
  • Quebecers are by a vast majority against the abolition of the long gun registry. Quebec has had a particular history of mass killings using guns—notably the École polytechnique massacre in 1989, the shooting at Concordia University in 1992, and most recently the shootings in Dawson College in 2006. All these events have had considerable clout in the media; a movie entitled Polytechnique, starring Karine Vanasse, was released in many theatres in 2009.

Jean Ziegler

Former member of the Swiss parliament, diplomat, and author of the new book, Destruction massive : Géopolitique de la faim (Mass Destruction: The Geopolitics of Hunger)

Herr Ziegler is here to talk to us about world hunger.

Who is responsible for world hunger? These days, hedge funds that make speculative transaction on wheat, rice and maize, making astronomical profits, but creating terrible inflationary pressures on the price of these life-sustaining necessities. And the first world is letting it happen.

Be careful, reminds our host. Herr Ziegler is sitting next to the Leader of the Loyal Opposition. Ziegler turns and asks: but you are not an International Socialist? "Ah, Comrade!" the former professor exclaims. (The NDP is indeed an affiliate of Socialist International, but being received as camarade probably won't help Mulcair's street-cred as he tries to woo the political centre.)

By outlawing speculative buying of basic foods they could make graet strides to fight world hunger.

Another real problem is this idea of bio-ethanol Human cost of bio-ethanol. In Sweden, where half of all vehicules have been converted to bio-ethanol, they've figured to fill a 50-litre car tank with bio-ethanol you have to dispose the equivalent of 352 kilograms of rice. That amount could sustain a child for a year!

Can we hope for the end of hunger (la fin de la faim)? It's possible. The world community did it last in 1946, in a large global effort following WWII. Miltinationals have since taken over in pursuit of profit, which is normal; what is not normal is the passivity of states in letting the multinationals get away with it without hurdles.

Ziegler also questions the richness of his native Switzerland. It is based on its banks, dating back to Protestants fleeing Louis XIV. If Switzerland is today's second richest country per capita, it's because of these banks, still. And what's making the banks work today? Autocrats—tout dictateur qui se respecte a ses comptes en Suisse (any self-respecting dictator has his accounts in Switzerland)—,money laundering, and tax evasion. The privacy of Swiss accounts is the primary reason why the nation still refuses to join the European Union.

Herr Ziegler is donning the red square in solidarity of the student movement against tuition increases. In his stay in Canada so far, he has been invited to Université Laval and UQÀM, and has been impressed by the public's mobilization.

(We should mention that both Dominic and I cringed as we prepare ourselves for the first-class, first-world guilt trip. But Herr Ziegler is jovial and forthright, with a charisma and diplomacy that is very soothing. There's a lot I'm missing here, but it's all very moving.)

Why this matters: You have a heart, don't you? And if you don't, then I'm afraid there's not much I can do in way of context to help you.

Marie-Hélène Poitras

Host on Radio-Canada's speciality channel Bande à part, and author of the "urban Western" novel, entitled Griffintown

Mlle Poitras is here to talk about her upcoming novel (to be released in French, April 11.) This novel touches on how and where Montreal’s horses were stabled. She found inspiration for the subject while driving horse-drawn carriages (calèches) in Old Montreal for two years, and the stables are in Griffintown, no less.

Poitras started writing in Grade 3. Wanting to write about child abduction, she decided she'd test the Block Parents (parents-secours) system. She went to a neighbour's house who had the sign and reported a strange van. It worked; police came by her house to follow up.

Griffintown is not her only novel – her first work, (Soudain le minotaure, Suddenly the Minotaur, DC Books, 2007) won the Anne Hébert prize in 2003.

The question of ultimate peril (La question qui tue) : When was the Marché Bonsecours officially opened? Relying on her training giving tours on calèche, the answer she gave is the correct one! 1847.

Mlle Poitras keeps herself busy in all her professional pursuits; Litterary critic, music journalist for Le Voir and web editor. Because of the music punditry Guy A. brings her into entrevue coups de coeurs for music.

There's a lot of talk about music, and especially the indie type music you would hear on Bande à part. We hear and discuss:

  • "Into Giants", Patrick Watson
  • "Galope" feat. Georgette Leblanc, Radio Radio
  • "Petite leçon de tenèbres", Philippe B
  • "The Rose with the Broken Neck", Danger Mouse and Daniel Luppi
  • "Intuition #1", Avec pas d'casque

 (Dominic says give ‘em a listen, see what you like)

Why this matter:

Alain Dumas

Humorist, radio host, and author of Le temps qui presse, on his twenty-one years at "Opération Enfant Soleil"

Played a clip from last year’s telethon, where an ill girl sang a song dedicated to Alain. Gasto-parésie severe. Girl is still alive and has built a rapport; initially to get her out of her shell for the interview, then as a friend.

The girl wanted to make a CD; she has now sold two and is working on a third; all going for Opération enfant-soleil.

A telethon is no easy thing, especially when you work the night shift like M. Dumas. Trying to get attention for the later hours of the event, he's gone to some extreme lengths, including concocting a story about having a pet pig—and going so far as posing with a stranger pig—to get some coverage in the newspaper.

Dumas is known for his impressions... his most famous being Jean-Guy Hood, the mechanic. They play a clip of a show with him and Brathwaite, where Dumas speaks and Brathwaite is cleary confused.

His contrat on Rock Détente was not renewed last year; his slot was taken by Brathwaite. Radio c’est ingrats and he’s had to swallow it. Another point in common with Brathwaite; and Jacques Martin.

(There's a series of impressions and impersonations that follows that, quite honestly, I can't make heads or tails of. So I'm not even going to try. Sorry, folks.)

Why this matters:

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