What kind of society do we long for?
You’re tired of angry talk radio. We get it. So are we. But maybe you also fear the media still miss perspectives and conversations on the big issues that matter to you. That’s what our podcast The Long Way offers: Short episodes with long perspectives on building the common good. Politics – society – faith – media – we don’t shy away from any topic. But we promise to be thoughtful about it, not reactionary. Host Daniel Proussalidis taps into his 16-plus years as a journalist to welcome a new guest to each episode of The Long Way, discussing questions of living together well and building a flourishing society. And long-time journalist and Convivium Editor Peter Stockland provides field reports of on-the-ground perspectives.
S3E1: Media Bias and False Balance
Media bias, false balance in journalism, free speech, and social media – all these issues touch upon how we communicate, learn about each other, and build social trust. The picture becomes even more complicated when the Edelman Trust Barometer finds that trust in Canadian media is down to its lowest level in a decade. How do we communicate when we so profoundly disagree with each other on so many issues? Or when we don’t trust what we get from the media? That’s what our special guest Andrew Coyne, Globe & Mail columnist and CBC At Issue panel member, addresses with host Daniel Proussalidis on this episode of The Long Way.
Following Daniel’s conversation with Andrew Coyne, The Long Way examines one of the proposed solutions to toxic talk – especially in social media: government regulation. How reasonable a solution is that? Field reporter Peter Stockland addresses that question with Peter Menzies, a former vice-chair of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission.
S3E2: What do we learn from board games during a pandemic?
Feature guest: Jonathan Kay, a Toronto-based editor and podcaster for Quillette, a National Post columnist, and a book author. In 2019, he published “Your Move: What Board Games Teach Us about Life,” co-authored with Joan Moriarity.
Board games are seeing a surge in popularity as the disruptions of COVID-19 drag on far longer than any of us would like. Not a board game fan? Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it says The Long Way’s feature guest, Jonathan Kay. Also in this podcast episode, you’ll hear from our field reporter Peter Stockland who has a word-play and game-play filled conversation with Ray Pennings, executive vice-president of think tank Cardus, about his experience in the world of games.
Looking for the list of games we referred to in this episode? Check it out here.
S3E3: Free Speech in a Toxic Culture
Feature guest: Danielle Smith, a journalist and commentator based in High River, Alberta.
Free speech in a toxic culture – communicating across political divides – these are among the biggest challenges of our times.
It’s not just a problem in the United States. It’s a problem in Canada too.
“In my first five years on radio, if I made an error, I could correct it in the next segment,” journalist and commentator Danielle Smith tells The Long Way host Daniel Proussalidis. “I always felt some sense of comfort about that forum because I had people holding me to account and I would never stray too far away from the truth. Seeking the truth is most important to me.” In this episode, Smith explains why she gave up a successful radio show on AM770 in Calgary and said goodbye to thousands of Twitter followers earlier in 2021. If you want to know more about what Smith does next in her media career, she’s sure to post it on www.daniellesmith.ca.
Also in this episode, field reporter Peter Stockland brings us the story of a very accomplished journalist, Brian Kappler, who hasn’t given up on social media but has put it on a strict diet. Plus, you won’t want to miss Kappler’s thoughts on what he calls “junk journalism” in Canada. And somehow, Peter managed to shoehorn in a reference to Tom Brady in their conversation.
S3E4: Limits of Religious Freedom
Feature guests: Carissima Mathen, law professor at the University of Ottawa, and Fr. Dn. Andrew Bennett, director of the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute
You’ve seen the stories and you’re read the news about COVID public health orders that haven’t gone down very well with some faith communities. There have been charges, fines, and at least one arrest as a result. Alberta pastor James Coates is probably one of the better-known cases that’s caused a fair bit of controversy. So, it’s time to sit down and talk about it – and explore the limits of religious freedom in Canada and the contours around this important concept. That’s what we do on this episode of The Long Way with our special guests, Prof. Carissima Mathen and Fr. Dn. Andrew Bennett. We start things off with field reporter Peter Stockland sharing the story of Pastor Rob Schouten from Aldergrove Canadian Reformed Church in B.C.’s Fraser Valley.
Here’s the Vancouver Sun article we referred to in this episode.
You’ll want to listen right to the end to hear some of our listener feedback from our last episode, including an interesting reference to bare-bottomed baboons. Keep the email coming to firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to like, subscribe, share, and review The Long Way!
S3E5: Social Trust, Pluralism, and Democracy
Trust and social solidarity seem to be commodities in short supply these days. New polling suggests not just declining institutional trust among Canadians, but an undercurrent of anger that threatens our democratic life. That’s according to data published by The Hub, a new Canadian media outlet, which focuses on the work of think tanks and public policy. Sean Speer, Editor-at-Large of The Hub, says it’s shocking that 77 percent of Canadians say they’re angry about what’s going on in their country.
“I think that finding ought to cause a degree of introspection amongst our political leaders, amongst our business leaders, amongst our cultural leaders, our religious leaders,” Speer says. “What has happened to the sense of civic spirit of the sort of aspiration that really has been at the heart of the Canadian project? How have we gotten to a place where Canadians are increasingly marked by anger and not by aspiration and a good feeling about the trajectory our country is on?”
And while Speer makes a plea for true, deep, respectful pluralism across all divides in Canada, we also hear a plea for academic freedom in this episode. Pat Kambhampati, Associate Professor in McGill University’s Department of Chemistry, speaks with field reporter Peter Stockland about growing concerns about academic freedom among those involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Where do you find The Hub? That’s easy: www.thehub.ca.
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Have some thoughts on what you heard? Write to us at email@example.com.
S3E6: Federal Budget 2021
There are many memorable lines from the movie The Princess Bride. But one especially notable line is the following: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. The word in question? Feminist. The federal government has introduced its first budget in two years, calling Budget 2021 a “feminist” budget especially because of its promised national daycare system. But that “feminist” label doesn’t make sense to one of our feature guests, Andrea Mrozek, a senior fellow in family research at think tank Cardus.
“I find it insulting that we focus on mothers of young children as being the key new contributors to the economy when they have so much work on their plates already,” Mrozek tells The Long Way podcast.
Together with Brian Dijkema, vice-president of external affairs at Cardus, we analyze key parts of Budget 2021 – like child care and new measures related to the charitable sector – while also examining some of the cultural questions the budget raises.
If you’re looking for more information on the issues we discussed in this podcast, here’s where you can find out more:
What does a good child care policy look like for Canada?
Is Canadian child care really in crisis right across the country?
Is Quebec a model of high-quality, affordable child care?
What should the federal government have done in Budget 2021 to help charities?
S3E7: Free Speech and Broadcast Regulations
When the federal government introduced Bill C-10 to update broadcast regulations, here is the kind of headlines they likely don’t want:
CBC: Your free speech is at risk with Ottawa’s push to regulate online content, experts warn
National Post: Full-blown assault on free expression
Toronto Sun: Canada’s disturbing censorship conversation
Toronto Star: Uploads to social media could be regulated under proposed changes to Canada’s broadcasting law
You can add to all that one of the earliest outlets to cover Bill C-10 – the Ottawa-based, regulation, law, and lobbyist-watching hawk-eyes at Blacklock’s Rporter, which writes about the “enforcement of a YouTube censorship bill.”
The controversy around Bill C-10 stems from its broad reach to bring internet streaming services under the regulatory control of Canada’s broadcast regulator, the CRTC. That was controversial enough, but the recent move to take away the exemption for social media and content uploaded by individuals really got people talking.
So, The Long Way has gone right to one of the experts in the field to get the low-down on what wrong with Bill C-10 and why it should matter to all of us: Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa professor and the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law.
“Having the broadcast regulator treat all of this other speech, legitimate speech that is protected under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I think it has a chilling effect,” Geist tells The Long Way. “In a democracy like ours, we don’t speak with permission of the state.”
Geist goes on to explain just how badly Bill C-10 in its current form could erode fundamental freedoms in Canada.
Also, if you’ve been listening to The Long Way regularly, you’ll know that field reporter Peter Stockland looked into some aspects of the C-10 controversy in Episode 1 of this season. And before that – as early as February 2021 – he was reporting on it in Convivium, a digital magazine published by Cardus.
Indigenous Reconciliation in Canada (S03 E08)
If you look for news on Indigenous reconciliation in Canada, you’ll find a lot of interesting stuff:
- A lot of talk about the legacy of colonialism and residential schools
- Environmental activist David Suzuki calling for a new approach to parks and governance
- Calls for Ryerson University to change its name in order to erase any connection to Eggerton Ryerson because of his involvement with residential schools
- Coverage of Bill C-15 in Parliament to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Reconciliation is a bigger topic that one episode of The Long Way can cover, but this episode starts down that road. We do so starting from the premise that reconciliation – the restoration of a relationship – is necessary. For one thing, it’s a simple recognition of the human dignity we all bear, Indigenous or not. For another, it’s a step toward healing from past injustices and moving toward a better Canada.
Our feature guest in this episode is Melissa Mbarki, an Indigenous woman from Treaty 4 in Saskatchewan who grew on a reserve. She has spent her career working as an oil, gas, and mining operations analyst. Melissa is also a policy analyst in the Indigenous Policy Program at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI).
Listen for Melissa Mbarki’s insights on what Indigenous reconciliation looks like on the ground from her point of you. You won’t hear much high-sounding rhetoric or calls for grand gestures. However, you will hear a very practical description of what needs to change and what role natural resources development plays in this issue. One issue that really comes through in our conversation involves the benefits of work beyond earning a paycheque. That’s something think tank Cardus has studied extensively. To learn more, check out Fuelling Canada’s Middle Class and Work is About More Than Money.
If you’re interesting in learning more about Melissa’s work and the involvement on MLI in Indigenous issues, visit the MLI website.
And if you’re interested in reading about some under-reported aspects of reconciliation, here are three articles in Convivium that you may enjoy reading:
Images of Indigenous Resilience by Alan Hustak
Renewing On Middle Ground by Cecil Chabot
Reconcile This by Peter Stockland
If you enjoyed this episode of The Long Way, don’t be shy about rating it, liking it, leaving a comment, or subscribing to this podcast.
Better Political Journalism in Canada (S03 E09)
Feature Guest: Prof. Lydia Miljan
For the final Season 3 episode of The Long Way, we return to the theme of news media bias in Canada and getting better journalism. We can accept from the outset that there aren’t any easy answers. But we can at least make progress toward understanding what is going on in the world of journalism today while hoping to see a better end product. Among the various aspects of journalism we examine is the way political news media handle the sharing of opinions – something our feature guest, Prof. Lydia Miljan from the University of Windsor, picks up in her comments on the podcast.
“So, it’s journalists explicitly giving their take on the day’s news,” Prof. Miljan tells The Long Way. “And why would we say that their opinions are worth more than someone else’s? Well, perhaps because they have some insider knowledge and they talk to people, but if you watch those shows on a regular basis, no, you’re just getting their point of view based on the fact of their education [and] where they live. You know when I talk to friends across the country, especially those in Western Canada, they’re increasingly frustrated with the national news media in this country.”
We’ll also hear from Holly Doan, publisher of the online news platform Blacklock’s Reporter. In Peter Stockland’s field report for this episode of The Long Way, Doan shares her view that bias isn’t necessarily the central problem in news media.
During this episode, you’ll hear references to journalist Andrew Coyne as well as to Bill C-10 on federal government regulation of the internet and social media (with all the related free speech concerns). If you’d like to dig a little deeper, check out these episodes of The Long Way:
S03 E01: Media Bias and False Balance featuring Globe & Mail columnist Andrew Coyne.
S03 E07: Free Speech and Broadcast Regulations for more on Bill C-10 with feature guest Michael Geist.
If you enjoyed this episode of The Long Way, don’t be shy about rating it, liking it, leaving a comment, or subscribing to this podcast.
S2E1: The Hidden Economy
Amid pandemic-related job loss and economic worries, new research suggests there is a sector of Canadian society that plays an important, but often unrecognized, economic role: religion.
The Hidden Economy: How Faith Helps Fuel Canada’s GDP, a new report from think tank Cardus, finds that religion’s annual contribution to Canadian society is worthy an estimated $67.5 billion. In this episode of The Long Way, we’ll hear from Dr. Brian Grim, a co-author of the study as well as president and founding for the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation.
S2E2: Truth or Dare
Journalism is about telling the truth, right? Or is it about correcting injustices? Jen Gerson, a Canadian journalist who left regular, paid work in the media to strike out as an independent and outspoken writer and podcaster, has a definite perspective on such questions. She shares her thoughts with The Long Way as we consider the issue of how to do journalism in the unstable and constantly shifting media industry.
If you’d like to read a portion of The Long Way’s conversation with Gerson, check out this article in Convivium.
S2E3: Are We Fine with the 9-5?
Work lives have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working from home has become the norm for many of us. And some are musing again about four-day work weeks. In this episode of The Long Way, we explore the changing nature of work with Dr. Erica Carleton, Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the University of Saskatchewan, and Brian Dijkema, Vice President of External Affairs at Cardus.
S2E4: Systemic Racism
COVID-19 isn’t the only thing that will go down in history as a marked feature of 2020. Racism and the fight against this evil has also made its mark on the year in Canada and the United States. How do we respond to news about systemic racism and what can we do that contributes to the common good and seeks justice? That’s what we ask our special guest, Ian Rowe, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
S2E5: Restorative Justice
Have you ever considered the concept of restorative justice? Have you heard stories of reconciliation or restoration of peace between someone who has committed a crime and a victim of crime? The Long Way will bring you some of those stories in this episode along with some information about who to get involved in helping those who are incarcerated in Canada maintain relationships with their families outside of prison. Our special guest in this episode is Stacey Campbell, President and CEO of Prison Fellowship Canada.
For more information on the Angel Tree Christmas program, check out the Prison Fellowship website.
If you’re looking for Canadian restorative justice programs, visit the Justice Canada website.
S1E1: Fortitude and Fragility
“A combination of worry and gratitude” – That’s how Shachi Kurl, the executive director of the Angus Reid Institute, describes Canadian attitudes during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
Shachi provides the data to paint the big picture of the current Canadian mood, while Ray Pennings, executive vice-president of Cardus, examines what possible long-term changes in attitudes the pandemic could bring.
Field reporter Peter Stockland gives an uplifting story about the revival of service clubs amidst the pandemic.
S1E2: Oh Happy Day!
Happy during a pandemic lock-down? It’s possible.
Arthur Brooks, Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and former president of the American Enterprise Institute explains how. Actually, he’s a podcaster himself through The Art of Happiness. But if that’s not enough to put a smile on your face, then listen to how he expresses hope that post-pandemic we’ll see less tribalism and political polarization. That ought to do it.
S1E3: Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust
Trust is not in short supply in Canada – at least not when it comes to trust in government.
Trust levels have skyrocketed during the pandemic according to the Edelman Trust Barometer. But is it a case of easy come, easy go? And will that trust lead to government displacing other social institutions in the future? That’s what David Ryan, Edelman Canada’s executive vice-president of corporate and financial communications, and Michael Van Pelt, president and CEO of Cardus discuss. Then listen in as field reporter Peter Stockland looks at a political controversy that could put trust in government to the test.
S1E4: Do the Right Thing
Life is full of ethical dilemmas – something that’s only made worse by a pandemic.
Conscience, ethics, and morals all come into play when hospital resources become strained. But it’s not just the doctors and nurses making hard calls. Everyone is making ethical judgements about lockdown life: whether self or the common good gets prime consideration.
What does our “moral community” look like? Do we need to rebuild our understanding of ethics? Listen in as Dr. Margaret Somerville, a bioethics professor at the School of Medicine of the University of Notre Dame Australia, joins conversation on The Long Way.
S1E5: Shaken Foundations
Who is falling through the cracks as pandemic lockdowns drag on? Whom have we forgotten?
Jamil Jivani reminds us of those who face extra challenges in life, especially when isolated by a lockdown. With his background as the author of Why Young Men, Ontario’s Advocate for Community Opportunities, and managing director of Road Home Research & Analysis, Jamil explains the inequality we’ll need to tackle in rebuilding post-pandemic Canada. And field reporter Peter Stockland highlights another aspect of inequality – in education – with Cardus Education Director David Hunt.
S1E6: From Surviving to Thriving
When the economy falls apart, other aspects of society are sure to follow. So, how do you rebuild an economy shattered by a long shutdown?
Ashley Challinor, vice-president of policy at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, sheds some light on that question. And then she delves into a related issue: The charitable sector. The business community and charity are tied together, after all, so in helping one, can we help the other too?