Bullying, tainted beef, household debt — Politics on TV: Oct. 15

Dale Smith on who said what on Monday evening talkshows

Message of the day

“I don’t want to say that he’s lying, but I will say that he’s ill-informed.”

Questions not answered

  • Will the Conservatives support the private member’s bill on an anti-bullying national strategy?


Power & Politics kicked off with an MP panel on bullying featuring Dany Morin, Candice Bergen and Hedy Fry. Morin said the government can show leadership by co-ordinating with other levels of government, and that cyber-bullying falls under federal laws. He added that he wants the focus on prevention. Bergen said that while they are unified in their commitment to stop bullying, there are already two other committees studying the issue. Fry, who has her own bill on cyber-bullying before the justice committee, said existing laws around harassment and libel need to be extended to electronic media, and that these bullies need to know there are consequences.

Don Martin spoke to Queens University professor Wendy Craig, who said research shows bullying isn’t actually increasing. She said bullying needs to be treated as a public health issue, with a focus on education, prevention, and intervention.

Tainted beef:

Evan Solomon spoke to UFCW president Doug O’Halloran about the layoffs and re-hires at XL Foods. O’Halloran called it an ill-conceived business decision that looked like a backfiring attempt to pressure CFIA. O’Halloran disputed Gerry Ritz’s claims that the union said there were enough inspectors, saying he hasn’t spoken to Ritz. He predicted XL Foods will return to their old practices soon enough and food safety will likely be compromised again. Ritz was not available to come on the show.

Soldier’s suicide:

Martin spoke with Sheila Fynes, about the investigation into the suicide of her son, Cpl. Stuart Langridge, and the news that Peter MacKay won’t intervene to let her see the interim report. Fynes said she is disappointed but not surprised by the development, and that all of the roadblocks make her think that they are trying to hide any responsibility for what happened. Fynes said it’s an unlevel playing field that everyone else can get an official contribution to the final report except the parents.

Household debt:

Power Play spoke to RCB Chief Economist Craig Wright about the new figures on household debt. Wright said the debt-to-income ratio higher than thought, but not to the same extent as it was in the U.S. before their meltdown. Currently, 162 per cent of annual income is debt, but with the housing market cooling, the hope is that the debt ratio will stabilize.

Harper’s trip to the Congo:

Martin spoke with War Child Canada executive director Samantha Nutt about Harper’s trip to Africa. Nutt noted the modest announcements made around aid in the Sahel and trade in Nigeria. Nutt said Harper spoke a lot about corporate social responsibility when in Senegal, and the need for transparent and fair trade.

Northern Gateway pipeline:

Solomon spoke to Nobel Women’s Initiative chair Jody Williams and singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer about their upcoming presentation to the Northern Gateway pipeline hearings. Williams said women’s voices are not being heard in the debate. Harmer spoke about meeting with First Nations women, who have a close connection to the earth and an inherent knowledge in that community.

James Coyne:

Solomon spoke to columnist Andrew Coyne about the death of his father, former Bank of Canada governor James Coyne. With the “Coyne Affair” – the dispute that James Coyne had with the Diefenbaker government – was a key moment in carving out the independence of the central bank. Andrew Coyne said that in policy terms, his father’s legacy of keeping inflation low and stable, letting interest rates be set by the market, and the idea that the central bank must be at arm’s length of the government of the day, all resonate today.