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Transcript: Season 4, Episode 2

Click to play video: 'The West Block: Sep 21' The West Block: Sep 21
The West Block: Sep 21 – Sep 21, 2014

THE WEST BLOCK

Episode 2, Season 4

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Host: Tom Clark

Guest Interviews: Justin Trudeau, Dr. Tim Jagatic, Rona Ambrose, Stuart Murray

Location: Ottawa

***please check against delivery

 

A political interview where the politician can’t walk out – Justin Trudeau takes to The West Block skies for a little plane talk.

The United Nations Security Council calls it an immediate threat to international peace and security.  Ebola and what we are doing to fight it.

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Plus, it was fourteen years in the making, Canada’s newest and most controversial museum opened this weekend.  The CEO of the Museum of Human Rights will join us.

It is Sunday, September 21st, and from the nation’s capital, I’m Tom Clark.  And you are in The West Block.

Well this season we’re starting something new, something very different that I guarantee, you’ve never seen before, anywhere.

It starts with this.  Yeah, that’s my bush plane and it’s where I go to get perspective on this country.  It’s small and cramped inside, not much room for political bluster.  A perfect place at 5,000 feet to have a real conversation.  A perfect place to really get to know a politician, up close and personal.

Justin Trudeau took up the invitation.  Leaving behind his handlers, just him and me, and a set of questions.  He talked openly about his late brother Michel who he calls “Michie”, and he seemed to enjoy flying the plane himself, briefly

Justin Trudeau:

Up a bit and then down just for the feeling.

Tom Clark:

Now you don’t want to go down too, too far like that.

Justin Trudeau:

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And we don’t want the last word on this tape to be, what happens if I do this?

Tom Clark:

What’s this button for?

 

Here’s Justin Trudeau in plane talk.

 

Pretty nice country here, isn’t it?

Justin Trudeau:

It’s beautiful.

Tom Clark:

Under what circumstances would you lie?

Justin Trudeau:

Ha-ha, ha-ha, if my kids asked me if I was always well behaved as a kid.

Tom Clark:

You’d have to lie about that?

Justin Trudeau:

Ah you know what I think we’d all have to lie about that.

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Tom Clark:

What’s your greatest extravagance?

Justin Trudeau:

Travel, once a year, I make sure to take Sophie and the kids away to some amazing place. A few years ago we spent a few weeks on the beach in Tofino.  At another point we went out to the east coast with some friends and stayed in Hubbards.  Just this past summer we took a trip to Hawaii; it was my first time in Hawaii.

Tom Clark:

What’s your greatest vice?

Justin Trudeau:

My biggest guilty pleasure and which, I don’t know if it’s a vice, but it’s, I  still with all the stacks of briefing notes and studies that I have to read and speeches to write, and things to prepare, I still make time for you know escapist novels every now and then; the Jack Reacher series, things like that, that I just completely unplug with and disconnect from, that I probably should be reading something more serious but there’s only so much of that you can take.

Tom Clark:

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What was the last book you read?

Justin Trudeau:

Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King.

Tom Clark:

What’s your greatest regret?

Justin Trudeau:

When I was in my 20’s, I lived out west for a few years and for two of those years, I was just a few hours’ drive away from Michie and you know when you’re in your 20’s you think you’re going to live forever and we both certainly did.  And we figured there would be lots of time to catch up, and I just didn’t see him enough when I was living close to him in a beautiful part of the world.

Tom Clark:

What’s the biggest threat to Canada?

Justin Trudeau:

Listen we live in a very scary world.  There’s terrorism and global insecurity all around us, but when I look specifically at Canada and our greatest threat here, and we’re lucky to be sheltered from so much of the violence around the world, I see it a threat to the idea of Canada.  Canada was built around a very simple premise.  A promise that you can work hard and succeed, and build a future for yourselves and your kids, and that future for your kids would be better than the one you had.  You’re going to pass on a better quality of life and a better opportunity to your kids, and I think that’s eroding.  I mean people are worried for the first time that we might not be giving a better future to our children and that’s something that is undercutting the very idea of this place that pulls together and creates success for everyone, regardless of origins or language.

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Tom Clark:

But is that a greater threat to this country than ISIS?

Justin Trudeau:

Obviously not, I mean the threat of ISIS is a massive threat to global stability and security.  And a bomb goes off somewhere in this country and that’s a massive threat, but you know we have 35 million people who live here believing that we have a future together.  And it’s easy to point out things that scare us but the breakdown of our society by a lack of hope and the lack of a real and a fair chance for everyone is a real threat to Canada.

Tom Clark:

Why do you want to be prime minister?

Justin Trudeau:

I have been incredibly lucky all my life.  I’ve had a family that has loved me and given me incredible opportunities.  I’ve gone to great schools.  I’ve travelled across the country. When my father died, I had millions of people supporting me in a very, very difficult time.  I have received so much from this country. I realize that we’re defined in life not by what we get from this world but by what we have to offer it and I know that I have a lot to offer this country, and I’m serious about devoting my life to it.

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Tom Clark:

The one that the entire country wants to know, what shampoo do you use?

Justin Trudeau:

Ha-ha, ha-ha, what a disappointing answer this is going to be: whatever happens to be hanging around at the time.  If I’m in a hotel, it’s whatever they give me.  If it’s whatever my wife tends to be using right now, I do great for I dont’ know, whatever it is, colour-treated hair or something or other. I just grab whatever is there.

Tom Clark:

We’re going to turn around on that one.  You’ve said in the past that your political hero is Sir Wilfred Laurier. 

Justin Trudeau:

He’s my second favourite prime minister you know.

Tom Clark:

First favourite is?  John A Macdonald.

Justin Trudeau:

Ha-ha, ha-ha, isn’t everybody’s?  Isn’t that a law the Conservative government passed early on?

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Tom Clark:

What’s your favourite part of this country?

Justin Trudeau:

You can’t ask that question of a politician?

Tom Clark:

I just did.

Justin Trudeau:

The most beautiful wonderful, fabulous part of this country is the magnificent riding of Papineau.  I have the honour of representing it in the House of Commons and there is no place more beautiful in this country.  Actually, specifically, at the heart of my riding is Jarry Park and I used to go there as a kid, all the time with my dad.  You know he was a huge lover of outdoor baseball and that was a tradition we had, but also I saw the Pope there and I love to bring my kids there.  Jarry Park in my riding is a beautiful place.

Tom Clark:
Politics is never forever, what are you going to do if this political thing doesn’t work out for you?

Justin Trudeau:

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I am a teacher.  It’s how I define myself.  A good teacher isn’t someone who gives the answers out to their kids but is understanding of needs and challenges and gives tools to help other people succeed.  That’s the way I see myself so whatever it is that I will do eventually after politics, it’ll have to do a lot with teaching.

Tom Clark:

So would you go back to being a teacher?

Justin Trudeau:

In some way, shape or form, probably, yeah.

 

Tom Clark:

Well we’re happy to say that NDP Leader Tom Mulcair will be boarding the plane in the next few weeks and we’re expecting bookings from at least two cabinet ministers.  Seats are still available by the way.

Well coming up, the threat of Ebola and what Canada is doing to help fight it.

 

Break

 

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO):

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“WHO has successfully managed many big outbreaks in recent years, but this Ebola event is different, very different.  This is likely the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced.  None of…”

 

Tom Clark:

Welcome back.  Well that was the Director-General of the WHO at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.  Now the Security Council passed a resolution calling Ebola a threat to global peace and security and calling on nations to do a lot more to help out.

 

Joining us now is a Canadian doctor who has firsthand experience battling this disease on the ground.  Tim Jagatic joins us now from Toronto.  Tim thanks very much for being here.  You’ve just heard the Director-General of the World Health Organization talk about this being the greatest challenge the UN faces right now.  In your view, and really from sort of that view on the ground, why is this, such a threat to all of us in the world?

 

Dr. Tim Jagatic:

Well the biggest threat comes from the fact that this is a disease which is based in fear.  There is a lot of fear revolving this.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear that’s associated with the sensationalism that’s been associated with the disease so far, and that’s been creating a destabilizing which has created behaviour, which is allowing the disease to exacerbate, which means people aren’t bringing the sick to treatment centres.  They’re keeping them in their homes, which is leading to infections which are going further and further out into the community, causing much more chaos and making it much more difficult for us to contain this.

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Tom Clark:

Let’s talk about that fear for a minute because you know over the past couple of days we’ve heard stories about health workers being murdered when they’ve been going door-to-door trying to figure out whether there are infected people in certain communities.  There have been raids on medical institutions by people who are very afraid of what they may be doing.  Even Malta refused a ship to dock because they heard that there may be an Ebola patient on the ground.  If fear is driving this, you know that’s something that a doctor can’t cure, but how do we deal with that fear and how do we let it subside?

 

Dr. Tim Jagatic:

Well what we’re doing, a major part of our holistic approach to attacking this disease so far has been having education campaigns and outreach campaigns because really, the more that we’ve been learning about this disease on the ground and the things that we’ve been doing in this intervention, everything that we’ve been learning about it has actually been extremely hopeful.  We have been seeing mortality rates decrease.  There is a 90 per cent mortality rate associated with this disease.  That’s when nothing is being done whatsoever.  And right now, we’re doing the bare minimum, which means fluids, Tylenol and feeding.  And we’ve been able to bring the mortality rate down to 50 per cent.  And we’re really trying to get that message out that this really is manageable.  We can contain this and we can really beat this.  But we really need more help on the ground.

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Tom Clark:

Okay, help on the ground.  Exactly what do the doctors on the ground need from the world community right now?

 

Dr. Tim Jagatic:

I like to call it more of the same.  We need more treatment facilities.  We need more people going out into the villages with outreach campaigns, with education, with simple kits with soap, reading material, drawings about explaining how this virus is being transmitted because these are the things that will help us put an end to this outbreak.  It’s very important that we just get more people doing the same things that we’re already doing because right now we’re really overwhelmed.  We have treatment facilities, but all these facilities are full.  We have to be turning away people.  Ebola positive patients are being turned away because we don’t have any room for them.  Right now we’re holding on to people in our treatment facilities for palliative care but we know that we can do more than palliative care with this disease.  But that’s what we’re stuck with because we’re trying to maintain and contain this outbreak as much as possible by keeping those who are on the point of death away from their families, away from the communities because at that point is when we have the greatest likelihood for further contamination.  After the death, when we have funerals, that’s when we’re seeing the majority of the people getting infected, through these ritualistic practices.  So really, if we’re getting more people on the ground, and we can get more people to get into these isolation units, then we can really, really make a big difference.

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Tom Clark:

Okay, Tim Jagatic who has had firsthand experience on the ground.  Thanks very much for joining us today, I appreciate your time.

 

Dr. Tim Jagatic:

Thank you very much.

 

Tom Clark:

Well let’s take a quick look at what Canada is doing.  As you can see on this chart we’re providing money, a mobile lab and we’re offering up some equipment and an experimental vaccine.

 

Joining us now from Edmonton is Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose.  Minister thanks very much for being here.  You know, at the beginning of this coming week, the General Assembly is going to be meeting in New York to talk about this.  What else is Canada going to offer?

 

Rona Ambrose:

Well as you said, we’ve offered a number of things to date.  Canadians should be very proud of the contribution that Canada has made.  It’s been very substantive and very progressive.  And we have been working with the World Health Organization for a number of months now.  So we have been involved with this response right from the beginning.  And Canada has a great capacity when it comes to research and technical expertise.  So we have provided that to the WHO.  Money is one thing and we have provided funding both to the World Health Organization, also to the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, as well to Médecins Sans Frontières, to the Doctors Without Borders Organization.

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Tom Clark:

We’ve just heard from a doctor who’s been on the ground in West Africa and he says what they need more than anything else right now is medical boots on the ground.  They need people.  Can we as a country provide people to go and contain this disease?

 

Rona Ambrose:

Well we are providing support to Doctors Without Borders but we do need to find a way to allow those who want to go over to be able to go over.  There are a number of NGOs in Canada that are sending people over.  We’re actually behind the scenes right now at the Public Health Agency talking to the provinces and territories, talking to Médecins Sans Frontières with Doctors Without Borders to see what else we can do to coordinate more doctors to go over to the Ebola infected area.  Without a doubt, this is a very grave situation and we are actively involved with the World Health Organization, whether it’s with our mobile lab on the ground with the expertise to diagnose on a daily basis up to 30 cases of Ebola.  So we’re providing that necessary technical expertise that is just not available in the health care systems of these countries is key.  But you’re right, boots on the ground matters and I know there are doctors that are interested in going and we’re trying to help coordinate that with the provinces and territories and other organizations.

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We’ve also sent over millions of pieces of protective gear.  We’ve also behind the scenes put a call in to the provinces to see if they have any surplus protective gear that we can send over.  A lot of, you’ve probably heard from doctors, a lot of it’s practical stuff.  I mean they need protective equipment. They need nurses.  They need doctors.  So there is a lot of work going on, on the international scene and we’ll continue to look for ways to contribute.  We’re also working closely of course with the United States to see what kind of a contribution they’re making because of course we have quiet an integrated system, so there might be opportunities for us to work together as well on the ground in that capacity.

 

Tom Clark:

Okay, Rona Ambrose, Canada’s Health Minister with I think, I heard promise of more to come from this country.  Thanks very much for being here minister, appreciate your time.

 

Rona Ambrose:

Thank you.

 

Tom Clark:

Well coming up next, Canada’s newest and most controversial museum opens.  We’ll talk to the CEO.

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Break

 

Tom Clark:

Welcome back.  Well fourteen years ago, Manitoba businessman and sometime politician Izzy Asper had a vision.  He wanted to build a museum of human rights that would both promote and explain that concept in human rights from around the world.  But almost from day one, it was mired in controversy.  Whose human rights?  And who was the greatest victim of the lack of human rights?  All that has fallen into the lap of the CEO of Canada’s newest museum, Stuart Murray.  And Mr. Murray thanks very much for being here.

 

Stuart Murray:

Thanks very much for having me Tom.

 

Tom Clark:

Let’s start with this concept right at the beginning, what is a human right?

 

Stuart Murray:

Well you know it’s a great question and one of the things that we’re going to be telling and showing people that come into the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is what are human rights?  I mean everybody or some may be aware of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which of course was authored by a Canadian.  But the whole point of this museum is to really take people on a human rights journey.  Let me just pause for a second and put that into perspective.  One of the things that Nelson Mandela said is that the most powerful tool to change the world is education.  And we’re going to use that education but it’s going to be in a human rights way.  So we’re bringing a balanced approach.  It’s not a matter of who’s right or who’s wrong, but it’s from a multiple perspective that people can look at different rights and understand from a multiple perspective how we can make this a better civil society.

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Tom Clark:

But don’t you have a problem in the sense that it could be seen as a museum of atrocities from those who were denied human rights and then you get into that whole business of who was the greatest victim of human rights?  I mean this is already started.  How on earth do you curate and decide who have been the greatest victims of a lack of human rights?

 

Stuart Murray:

Well in fact, one of the challenges we’ve had before opening was to say what we were not as a museum.  And we’re not a museum of genocide.  We’re not a museum of memorialization.  In fact, what we are is a museum of education around human rights.  So when you ask the questions about how are people going to be looking at some of these issues, there is balance in these issues.  And I think it was summed very, very well when we were going cross-Canada doing a public engagement and there was a priest in Africville in Nova Scotia who after hearing about what we’re doing in the museum said, oh I understand now, you’re not building a museum of human wrongs.  You’re building a museum of human rights.  So that balance is going to be very evident in the museum.  Clearly we will shine a light in dark corners.  I mean Canada has a past in human rights that needs to be explained to all of our visitors, but there are a lot of amazing everyday heroes that never woke up and said I’m going to make everybody’s life better.  They’ve just worked hard at it and they’ve made a better civil society.  So those everyday human beings, people will come face-to-face with them and learn from their experiences.

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Tom Clark:

I can imagine as any CEO of any museum in this country would say, that having controversy on your opening day, or your opening weekend, is actually not a bad thing because a lot of people start paying attention.

 

Stuart Murray:

Well we had it during the opening ceremonies as a matter of fact.  There were people out there that were making noise as we were having the opening ceremony.  I think people understand that’s exactly what this museum is about.  If we don’t become a place where there can be a great debate on ideas, big ideas, about dialogue and controversy then I think this museum will not fulfill the dream of what Izzy Asper and frankly, the same vision that Stephen Harper had when he decided to make this the first national museum outside of the nation’s capital.

 

Tom Clark:

Stuart Murray, CEO of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.  Thanks very much for joining us this weekend, I appreciate it.

 

Stuart Murray:

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Thanks for the opportunity.  Thanks Tom. Thanks very much.

 

Tom Clark:

Well just before we go a word about last week’s Scottish referendum.  We know how it ended but here’s how it started; your weeklyWest Block Primer:

 

From the beginning, there wasn’t much love between Scotland and England.  Scottish nationalism was usually defined by fighting the English.  But all that changed some 400 years ago with the virgin queen, Queen Elizabeth the first; a “SINK” – single income, no kids.  So when she died, a not too distant relative James the sixth of Scotland became James the 1st of England.  Eventually all tied up with a bow called the Active Union.  But the Scottish blood never really cooled.  That old cry still resonating.

 

Mel Gibson cries, “FREEDOM!”

 

But freedom from what?

 

Well that’s still a little cloudy but this has been an affair of the heart, not of the head.

 

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Separatist’s hearts may be broken across Scotland today but as Canadians can tell them, things will never be the same.

 

Now there is much to admire in Scotland.  The turnout was massive.  The question was clear.  The result was clear.  And the defeated separatists immediately declared that this debate was over perhaps for a lifetime.  If only that could have happened here.

 

Well for some great analysis of what lies ahead for the UK, head to our website to hear my conversation with Scottish columnist, Peter Jones.

 

Well that’s our show for today.  Thanks for being here.  Have a great week ahead.

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