Conversations That Matter
John MacLachlan Gray: White Angel

John MacLachlan Gray: White Angel

August 5, 2019

Ep 253

Guest: John MacLachlan Gray

Headline: White Angel - Vancouver’s Oldest Cold Case

 

Vancouver in 2019 is regularly ranked as one of the top cities to live in globally. But it wasn’t always that way. Go back 95 years to when author John MacLachlan Gray says, “Vancouver was a dirty, smelly, corrupt hell hole” – a place that played host to what is the oldest cold case in the city’s history.

 

In White Angel, MacLachlan Gray takes us inside the seamy underbelly of the city: not just the skids, but the entire city. He introduces us to a police department that was less than professional, high society that was scandalous, adulterous and outright corrupt. The city across all socioeconomic levels was blatantly racist – racist to everyone and to the Chinese in particular.

 

White Angel is the story of the murder of a Scottish nanny in a Shaughnessy mansion, it is a story of lies, orgies, alcohol, drug abuse and police corruption. It is centred around the murder by gunshot of Janet Stewart and subsequent ham-handed police investigation and cover-up. As Gray points out, “The city is buzzing with rumors” and the story spins out of control as the powerful United Council of Scottish Societies demands an inquiry. The murder victim’s fellow nannies have accused the Chinese houseboy of the murder and the newly established Ku Klux Klan, which took up residency in Shaughnessy, picks up the cause by abducting the poor young man and attempts to beat a confession out of him.

 

The poor houseboy escapes the custody of the KKK only to be arrested by the police who promptly charge him with murder. It is a case that is beautifully told by one of Vancouver’s most colourful playwrights and authors.

 

Throw in an undertaker who alerts a failed poet turned journalist about Janet Stewart’s death and subsequent cover-up and the story becomes so real your senses come alive.  As Gray points out, “The killing created a situation analogous to lifting a large flat rock to expose the creatures hiding underneath” and those creatures represented a holy inglorious and unglamourous city.

 

As you turn the pages you can’t help but ask yourself: what happened to Vancouver? How did we go from a lawless city with a thriving criminal class to the city of today? It’s a dramatic transformation.

 

We invited John MacLachlan Gray to join us for a Conversation That Matters about how the cold case of the Scottish nanny epitomizes Vancouver in its 1924 opium-hazed, smoke-choked and rain soaked uglier days.

 

Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Center for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. The production of this program is made possible thanks to the support of the following and viewers like you.

 

Please become a Patreon subscriber and support the production of this program, with a $1 pledge https://goo.gl/ypXyDs 

BC Mitchell: Obliteration - When Cultures Collide

BC Mitchell: Obliteration - When Cultures Collide

July 25, 2019

Ep 252

Guest: BC Mitchell

Headline: Obliteration - When Cultures Collide

 

The harsh reality of life in most of the 600 plus First Nations communities is Canada is not what we see in tourist brochures or in the colourful costumes that performers wear at ceremonial events. What we frequently see at big city events like conventions and political press conferences is a white-washed image of what we want aboriginal culture to look like.

 

Elders, dancers, drummers and singers show up all dressed up playing their part blessing this event or that one. The organizers come on stage and dutifully acknowledge they are on indigenous land. Many use the phrase “on the unceded territory,” unaware that means the owners of the land never agreed to hand over control to the invading colonialists.

 

BC Mitchell, a former reporter who went on to become the communications manager for the BC Treaty Commision for 15 years, witnessed the reality of life for the women, children and men who live in the forgotten corners of their traditional territories. 

 

That is not to say, all hope is lost. In fact, BC Mitchell is optimistic the relationship between indigenous people and Canada is improving. While he’s hopeful, he’s not blind. In “Obliteration,” he takes the reader into a small Northern Ontario community and showcases ignorance, racism and violence through the eyes of a dysfunctional teen living in a dysfunctional town.

 

The picture is bleak. The protagonist in Obliteration is a young Caucasian Canadian living on one side of the highway in a fictional town that keeps the Indians over there and the rest of its residents on the other side of hell. Life is not good for anyone.

 

From the outside, life in remote rural mixed cultural communities simply looks horrible – the kind of town you race past in your car. BC Mitchell takes us inside that world, showcases it for what it is and introduces the reader to people who have names, souls and the scars acquired from a lifetime of tragedy.

 

This is a book I could not put down. I have been to many First Nations communities and seen first hand the horrid living conditions. I also marvel at our ability as Canadians to dismiss what Martin Luther King described as “islands of poverty in a vast ocean of prosperity.” How is that we rush to the aid of people halfway around the world, yet ignore the need in our own country?  

 

We sat down with author BC Mitchell for a Conversation That Matters about his book “Obliteration” and the long slow process of healing the relationship between indigenous people and those who came and took their land.

 

I also encourage you to view the Conversation I had with Senator Murray Sinclair on Reconciliation, where to from here. https://vimeo.com/336860259

 

Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Center for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. The production of this program is made possible thanks to the support of the following and viewers like you.

 

Please become a Patreon subscriber and support the production of this program, with a $1 pledge https://goo.gl/ypXyDs 

Charles Gauthier - Downtown by the Numbers

Charles Gauthier - Downtown by the Numbers

July 18, 2019

Ep 251

Guest: Charles Gauthier

Headline: Downtown Vancouver by the Numbers

 

If you were under the impression that downtown Vancouver was thriving, you were right. In fact, it’s booming. Tech giants are descending on the city, tourism numbers continue to climb, office and retail construction goes on unabated and more and more people are calling it home.

 

The downtown is just shy of four square kilometers and comprises a 90 block area.  It accounts for just 10% of the city’s population, but it’s home to more than 35 percent of the jobs that exist within the more than 8,000 registered companies it houses.

 

Over the last decade, the downtown population has grown three times faster than the rest of the city and the backgrounds of residents are diverse. The majority of whom, about 90%,  are either of European or Asian ancestries and the rest represent the world. The average age of residents is 37 years and the average household income is $66,000. 

 

Finance, science, tech, hospitality, insurance and retail make up much of the top industry sectors which collectively employ 135,000 people. And when it comes to starting a new company, especially a clean tech enterprise, well, Vancouver is an exceptional incubator for start-ups – it’s ranked number two in Canada.

 

So what makes for a great downtown? Transit, services, open spaces, entertainment and safety all play important roles, each of which Vancouver ranks at or near the top of the list. Transit is a big issue. When it comes to getting around downtown, buses and SkyTrain are good at getting people in and out of the core – once in the heart of the city, walking and cycling become attractive and efficient options.

 

A couple of other interesting transportation facts about Vancouver are related to ride hailing and ride sharing. First, we are the largest North American city without Uber or Lyft. That fact may have influenced the fact that we are the number one car-sharing centre in North America.  And we’re right up there when it comes to bicycle sharing where, last year, close to half a million shared bike trips were taken.

 

And also on the list is homelessness. Vancouver is no different than other major cities where people who can not afford a place to live end up on the street. The City of Vancouver continues to develop services and housing options to address the needs of people who call the street home and more needs to be done. 

 

We invited Charles Gauthier of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association to join us for a Conversation That Matters on the state of downtown and what it says about the model the city is setting for liveability in an urbanized world. 

 

I also encourage you to view the Conversation I had with Charles Gauthier three years ago about re-envisioning the city. You can find that conversation here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYdY6meNUnA&t=222s

 

Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Center for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. The production of this program is made possible thanks to the support of the following and viewers like you.

 

Please become a Patreon subscriber and support the production of this program, with a $1 pledge https://goo.gl/ypXyDs 

Duncan Wilson - Port of Vancouver says it’s all quiet on the waterfront

Duncan Wilson - Port of Vancouver says it’s all quiet on the waterfront

July 10, 2019

Ep 250

Guest: Duncan Wilson

Headline: Trouble on the Waterfront - Rebuttal

 

The Port of Vancouver says the plan to expand container traffic at Delta Port is unfolding in a manner that ensures the authority meets its mandates. The port authority is charged with the safe, environmentally and financially sound management of one of the largest ports on the West Coast of North America.

 

And that brings us to this week’s Conversation. As outlined in a previous episode, one of the Port’s terminal operators says it is being shut out of the container site expansion and believes the Port of Vancouver is in a conflict of interest.

 

We invited Duncan Wilson of the Port of Vancouver to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the arduous process that has been underway for many years to determine how to meet the demand for container services in the future.

 

I also encourage you to view the Conversation I had with Doron Grosman of Global Container Terminals on this same issue. https://vimeo.com/342314601

 

Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Center for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. The production of this program is made possible thanks to the support of the following and viewers like you.

 

Please become a Patreon subscriber and support the production of this program, with a $1 pledge https://goo.gl/ypXyDs 

Simon Donner - Digging into the Science of Climate

Simon Donner - Digging into the Science of Climate

July 5, 2019

Ep 249

Guest: Simon Donner

Headline: Digging into the Science of Climate

 

You would think with all the chatter going on about climate that we’d all have a good understanding on the elements of our atmosphere, the role of carbon and other greenhouse gases and the correlation between human activity and climate change.

 

If you consider yourself to be informed: without looking it up, what is the number one greenhouse gas? If you answered water vapour, you’d be right. It accounts for 80 per cent of total greenhouse gas mass and 90 percent of volume. What about CO2? What percentage is it in the total mix of greenhouses gases? And if you know that, what about anthropogenically generated CO2? What percentage does it account for?

 

Then what is the dynamic interplay between CO2 within the troposphere (where we live)? And what about CO2 in the stratosphere? Why does CO2 heat the earth in one atmospheric layer and cool it in another? Then there’s the sun, which is hot – as much as 17 million degrees at the core and 5,800 degrees Celsius at the photosphere or surface. Add in solar magnetic energy and coronal mass eruptions, and the climate starts to become challenging to understand.

 

The Canadian government is now declaring we’re in an emergency state when it comes to climate. We sat down with climate professor Simon Donner for a Conversation That Matters about the science of climate, how it works, what we can do and the reality of our climate and the future.

 

I also encourage you to view the Conversation I had with Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Studies on CO2 why the increase in concentration is turning the earth greener. https://urlzs.com/hGeUz

 

Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Center for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. The production of this program is made possible thanks to the support of the following and viewers like you.

 

Please become a Patreon subscriber and support the production of this program, with a $1 pledge https://goo.gl/ypXyDs 

Site C Revisited - Ken Boon and Bob Fedderly

Site C Revisited - Ken Boon and Bob Fedderly

June 20, 2019

Ep 248

Guest: Ken Boon and Bob Fedderly

Headline: Site C revisited

 

If you thought the fight over Site C was over, well, you’d be wrong. The people who have been opposed to the building of the dam? They say isn’t needed and are watching closely as the mega-project continues to claws its way into the banks of the Peace Canyon.

 

The Peace Valley Landowner Association, along with the Blueberry River and Moberly First Nations, continue to argue the project is not needed, is environmentally unsound and will ultimately be a colossal waste of money. As proof, they point to the C.D. Howe report of January 2019, which says that cancelling the project and replacing it with alternative energy sources will be less expensive than completing the project, even when factoring in sunk costs.

 

The Boons, whose farm has been expropriated because it will be underwater once the dam is completed, invited us to take a look at the project from his perspective, which he maintains is not needed.

 

We sat down with Ken Boon and Bob Fedderly in the Boon family kitchen for a Conversation That Matters about the project Premier Horgan campaigned against only to approve once in office.

 

I also encourage you to view the Conversation I had with past BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald on why the Site C dam was required: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_JnO8yIO_Q&t=1s

 

Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Center for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. The production of this program is made possible thanks to the support of the following and viewers like you.

 

Please become a Patreon subscriber and support the production of this program, with a $1 pledge https://goo.gl/ypXyDs

Doron Grosman - Trouble on the Waterfront

Doron Grosman - Trouble on the Waterfront

June 14, 2019

Ep 247

Guest: Doron Grosman

Headline: Trouble on the Waterfront

 

Welcome to Conversations That Matter. This episode is brought to you by Odlum Brown, a client-focused investment firm that starts client relationships with straightforward conversations focused on you, your aspirations, and your investment priorities.

 

Odlum Brown has been a supporter of Conversations That Matter from the day we started the show. Their only condition was that we provide a non-biased conversation with people from all sides of all sorts of issues.

 

Of course, we couldn't produce this show without the support of Oh Boy Productions. If you're looking to produce a cast, be it video or a podcast, I suggest you reach out to Oh Boy. They can help you produce it, and they can help you build your audience.

 

And we also need your support.

 

Please pledge your dollar per show at patreon.com/conversationsthatmatter because those dollars add up and play an important role in helping us produce the show.

Now to this week's episode.

 

The Port of Vancouver is a busy mix of traffic on the water – cruise ships, grain ships, automobile transport ships and container ships to name but a few of the 12,ooo ships that call in to port every year.

 

Vancouver is one of the most complex ports in the world. The reasons are many: the port is federally controlled, it’s within the province of British Columbia and there are 16 different cities or municipalities and several Coast Salish First Nations lands that are home to shipping facilities.

 

There are so many elements within the Greater Vancouver region that intersect with the cities that play host to the Port; it’s hard to know where city boundaries end and the Port’s jurisdiction begins. There is a vast array of roads and rail lines that are all on Port land and while you may have some access to certain stretches of the shoreline, it’s up to the Port to decide if you can get close to the water.

 

The Port owns the land, it controls its use and it is responsible for many of the transportation decisions throughout the region. The expansion of the Port Mann Bridge and highway, as you will recall, was to enhance the “Gateway” image.

 

It has worked. Port Metro Vancouver is a success. It is Canada’s largest port and it handles an enormous amount of cargo. In fact it is the most diversified port in North America. In 2018, more than 146 million tonnes of product worth more that $200 billion passed through the port.

 

In total, there are 27 major marine cargo terminals that are served by three Class 1 railroads and related services. And let’s not forget the Canada Place cruise terminal, which is homeport to the Vancouver–Alaska cruise industry.

 

The economic impact of the Port is substantial. More than 115,000 people are directly or indirectly reliant on the Port for their paycheck which totals more than $7 billion annually in wages.

 

The port authority manages over 16,000 hectares of water, more than 1,000 hectares of land and close to 350 kilometres of shoreline.

 

Not wanting to sound like an advertisement for Port Metro, but I encourage you to watch the interview I had with Peter Xotta from Port Metro Vancouver https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2op-v_tEKg&t=50s and to also visit the port’s website where it lists its responsibilities, which include but are not limited to safety and security, permitting, environmental reviews planning, transportation operations, infrastructure development, customer service, communication, collaboration and real estate management.

 

The latter of which brings me to our Conversation today.

 

The Port of Vancouver is so big and it works with enormous companies and it’s all just over there beyond your view – until today, when our guest, the President and CEO of Global Container Terminals, said you as a taxpayer deserve to know how the administrators of the Port do business.

 

He claims they are about to make a land use and terminal decision that is a conflict of interest. Doron Grossman says the port wants to bump his company off the bidding list to expand Deltaport to double its current capacity by 2030.

 

We invited Doron Grosman to join us for a Conversation That Matters about where to draw the line when an authority with too much power determines it can do as it pleases.

Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Center for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. The production of this program is made possible thanks to the support of the following and viewers like you.

 

Please become a Patreon subscriber and support the production of this program, with a $1 pledge https://goo.gl/ypXyDs

Kevin Desmond - Addressing Transportation Needs to 2050

Kevin Desmond - Addressing Transportation Needs to 2050

June 7, 2019

Ep 246

Guest: Kevin Desmond

Headline: Addressing our Transportation Needs

 

If you can’t move, you are a prisoner. No one likes to sit in traffic. But, how do you move more people on transportation corridors that are already full at peak times? That is the question Translink is asking all of us in the Greater Vancouver area to help them address.

 

The transit authority just released Transport 2050 with the aim of asking users to contribute ideas based on their experiences here and from other places they know or have experienced. The idea is to consolidate those suggestions, package them up and then present them to all of us for additional input. Translink plans on going to the public for input three times before presenting its plan to the Mayor’s council.

 

Desmond points out that because Translink is more than just Skytrain, buses and seabuses they are seeking input from drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. We invited Translink CEO Kevin Desmond to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the transportation authorities long range plan to meet the needs of the region over the next three decades.

 

Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Center for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. The production of this program is made possible thanks to the support of the following and viewers like you.

 

Please become a Patreon subscriber and support the production of this program, with a $1 pledge https://goo.gl/ypXyDs

Dr. Ali Tehrani - Defeating Cancer

Dr. Ali Tehrani - Defeating Cancer

May 31, 2019

Ep 245

Guest: Dr. Ali Tehrani PhD

Headline: Defeating Cancer

 

Welcome to Conversations That Matter. This episode is brought to you by Odlum Brown, a client-focused investment firm that starts client relationships with straightforward conversations focused on you, your aspirations, and your investment priorities.

 

Odlum Brown has been a supporter of Conversations That Matter from the day we started the show. Their only condition was that we provide a non-biased conversation with people from all sides of all sorts of issues.

 

Of course, we couldn't produce this show without the support of Oh Boy Productions. If you're looking to produce a cast, be it video or a podcast, I suggest you reach out to Oh Boy. They can help you produce it, and they can help you build your audience.

 

And we also need your support.

 

Please pledge your dollar per show at patreon.com/conversationsthatmatter because those dollars add up and play an important role in helping us produce the show.

Now to this week's episode.

 

It’s a great big audacious goal – defeating cancer, that is. But that’s exactly what the team at Vancouver-based Zymeworks plans to do. The biotech company has developed protein therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. They’re also developing a new delivery system and research process.

 

The process and the next-generation therapeutics they’ve created allow for the targeting of differentiated biological pathways that lead to internal, partnered therapies. Those targeting platforms have names like Azymetric platform and Zymelink Conjugation Platform and Cytotoxins.

 

The Azymetric platform, for example, spontaneously assembles antibodies into a single molecule that can easily adapt to rapidly screen, target and sequence combinations of bispecific activities which significantly reduce drug development timelines.

 

The company’s lead product ZW25 is currently being elevated to Phase 2 clinical trials targeting two distinct domains of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2 – a protein that promotes the growth of cancer cells.

 

The company was founded in 2003 and is working in partnership with global pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson and others.

 

In addition to taking on cancer, Zymeworks is playing a fundamental role is ensuring Vancouver becomes a global centre of excellence in biotech. The company is led by Dr Ali Therani, who holds degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts and has a Doctoral degree in Microbiology and Immunology from UBC.

 

Not only is he a brilliant scientist but he also has an impressive track record in leadership, having been awarded the UBC Faculty of Science Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership in 2002. Dr Tehrani says, “We’ve done a really good job of educating brilliant scientists and then watched them leave Canada. I want to give them a reason to come home.”

 

We invited Dr Ali Tehrani to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the biotechnical innovations that are being developed at Zymeworks and his company’s role in turning Vancouver into a centre of excellence and influence in scientific research.

 

Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Center for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. The production of this program is made possible thanks to the support of the following and viewers like you.

 

Please become a Patreon subscriber and support the production of this program, with a $1 pledge https://goo.gl/ypXyDs

Simon Jackson: Falling in Love with Mother Nature

Simon Jackson: Falling in Love with Mother Nature

May 29, 2019

Ep 244

Guest: Simon Jackson

Headline: Falling in Love with Mother Nature

 

Welcome to Conversations That Matter. This episode is brought to you by Odlum Brown, a client-focused investment firm that starts client relationships with straightforward conversations focused on you, your aspirations, and your investment priorities.

 

Odlum Brown has been a supporter of Conversations That Matter from the day we started the show. Their only condition was that we provide a non-biased conversation with people from all sides of all sorts of issues.

 

Of course, we couldn't produce this show without the support of Oh Boy Productions. If you're looking to produce a cast, be it video or a podcast, I suggest you reach out to Oh Boy. They can help you produce it, and they can help you build your audience.

 

And we also need your support.

 

Please pledge your dollar per show at patreon.com/conversationsthatmatter because those dollars add up and play an important role in helping us produce the show.

Now to this week's episode.

 

Falling in love with the majesty of Mother Nature early in life is a proven way of instilling a passion for protecting the environment. The best way to do that is to provide an immersive experience, as in taking the class out into the forest. The challenges to doing so are too many to overcome.

 

The next best solution is to provide teachers with online resources that literally pop, or are exciting and intriguing. Curriculum-based materials that instill a foundation of nature literacy designed to enhance critical thinking skills that promote thoughtful decision making are crucial.

 

Why is this important? The answer comes in every decision we all make everyday: decisions that consider the impact on the environment when we purchase a product, manage our trash, determine our mode of transportation and how we use energy. Every decision matters and when we understand our role in the complex weave of combined actions, then we can collectively work towards a better future.

We invited Simon Jackson of Nature Labs to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the project that he and Jill Cooper designed to change students’ relationship with nature.

Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Center for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. The production of this program is made possible thanks to the support of the following and viewers like you.

Please become a Patreon subscriber and support the production of this program, with a $1 pledge https://goo.gl/ypXyDs