Defence Procurement: “A Recurring Nightmare”

May 31st, 2012


Robert Roy, the producer of the two-part ichannel investigative special Bang For The Buck and Disorder In the House has posted an article about the defence spending crisis over at Here’s an excerpt:

The F-35 fighter jet, the potential replacement for the current CF-18, has joined the often lamented Avro Arrow, the Bonaventure refit and the Ross Rifle (WW1), as a lighting rod for controversy. It is the kind of problem that governments of all stripes seem to get into when dealing with defence.

Prime Minister MacKenzie King once wished that the “military would stay out of the Cabinet, out of the Treasury and out of trouble.” But large dollar figures, potential jobs and industrial benefits and not least, national security, are all at stake. These are big issues that can’t be ducked by wishful thinking that the military only needs some minor political attention. But not too much.

Conservatives have often tried to capitalize on military “rust-out” and cut-backs when in opposition by promising big spending on the Canadian Forces in both manpower and investment in fighting ships, planes and tanks. When they arrive in power they are confronted by the “national facts of life” that drove MacKenzie King’s thinking.

Prime Minister Harper inherited Afghanistan, which contributed to the Conservatives’ agenda of a more muscular Canada but clearly he did not enjoy the fallout and sought to remove the issue as quickly as possible from political debate. The early announcement that Canada would be out of Afghanistan by 2011 brilliantly smothered the rising public anxiety over the mission, but it was the opposite of taking the lead on the issue and suddenly we are back to MacKenzie King.

Read the whole thing HERE.

ichannel presents Bang For The Buck and Disorder In The House tomorrow night, Friday June 1, at 8 pm and 9 pm ET/PT.

Robert Roy is the producer of Bang for the Buck and Disorder in the House, documentaries on defence spending and parliamentary accountability. He is a documentary film maker who has covered international conflict, organized crime, intelligence, defence and security subjects over the course of a thirty year career. He is currently producing the documentary Bridging The Gap on civil-military relations in the United States. As part of the team that started Stornoway Productions he works with its foundation partner the Breakout Educational Network.


CLIMAX @ The Church At Berkeley

May 29th, 2012


Posted by Christina Dun

On May 27, Berkeley Church in downtown Toronto was full of great music, delicious food and drinks, and the colour purple everywhere — all for an amazing event called CLIMAX (Canadian Live Intimate Music and Art Xperience) presented by Proud FM and the BMO Financial Group. Celebrity performers, entertainment personalities, community leaders and other enthusiastic supporters came together for this rally to end homophobia. The featured performers included Kreesha Turner and the Young Empires.

I got there with the iNews team during the event set-up, so we got to see it all before it got packed with people. Kalen did some fun interview with the various people involved in the even, including Mike Chalut, who handled the hosting duties, as well as representatives from PFLAG Canada, Absolut Vodka, and even some of the dancers.

There were also a lot of generous sponsors, who provided food and drinks, from pulled pork and cake pops to wine and vodka. Psychic consultant Kathy Starkman was  doing card readings, so of course I had to give it a try. The results? She told me that I fight for what I want — and I usually win. (She’s not wrong.)

Overall, I loved the atmosphere of the venue — it was so full of positive energy, and everyone seemed to be having such a good time. It’s important to raise awareness and stand up against bullying and homophobia, so it was great to see such a successful turnout.

All Photos by CHISTINA DUN. Check out Christina’s blog HERE




SlutWalk Toronto 2012

May 28th, 2012


On Friday, photographer Pia Ferrari joined the iNEWS team as they covered SlutWalk Toronto 2012. Launched in 2011, SlutWalk is about putting an end to blaming the victims of sexual violence. The event, sparked by a Toronto’s police officers callous suggestions that women “dressing like sluts” were inviting sexual assault, has inspired many similar gatherings in cities around the world.

Check out a full gallery of Pia’s photos HERE.

Check out the iNEWS clips on our YouTube channel HERE and HERE.


iNEWS @ Artisans At The Distillery

May 25th, 2012


Happy Friday, everyone! Our iNEWS team was in Toronto’s historic Distillery District last weekend, to check out the Artisans at the Distillery show. In recent years, there’s been an amazing surge of innovation and creativity in the arts and crafts industry, so Kalen and the crew decided to check out this extensive local showcase of jewellery, pottery, toys, furniture, glass, gourmet foods, paintings and photography, designer clothing, handbags and other creations from leading Canadian artists and artisans. We’ve posted the videos here and on the ichannel YouTube channel, so check them out — and have a safe weekend!


ichannel Special Asks: How Do We Spend Our Defence Dollars?

May 23rd, 2012


ichannel presents the two-part documentary special BANG FOR THE BUCK and DISORDER IN THE HOUSE, hosted by Mercedes Stephenson. Airdates: Tuesday May 29, 8 pm & 9 pm ET/PT | Friday June 1, 8 pm & 9 pm ET/PT

The controversy over the RCAF’s plans to purchase the F-35 fighter jet provides a timely context for ichannel’s special rebroadcast of this two-part documentary series on the problems of Canada’s military spending and the failure of Parliament to provide proper accountability of the government’s defence dollars. The series focuses on the issue of defence procurement — a long and costly process that has so often been mired in debate that inevitably questions of how we are governed must be asked.

Part One, BANG FOR THE BUCK, takes an investigative look at the defence spending  problem, tracing the Defence Department’s attempts to replace and invest in new weapons systems such as helicopters, submarines, trucks and transport aircraft. The program reminds us that the defence procurement system in Canada was broken a long time before the problems with the F-35 were raised. Among those familiar with the issue: Alan Williams, an Ottawa insider (and author of REINVENTING Canadian Defence Procurement: A View From Inside), who oversaw the Department of Defence’s spending programs as Assistant Deputy Minister.

Part Two, DISORDER IN THE HOUSE, examines the fallout from the publication of Alan Williams’ explosive book on defence spending. Can one man make his way to Parliament Hill to change the way the Government spends our tax dollars on Canada’s military? Williams believes his new plan would save years of time, save billions of dollars, and potentially save lives in conflicts like Afghanistan. Does he have a hope? What in our political system is he up against? And what does his story say to rest of us who aspire to influence government through Canada’s parliamentary system?

To find out, tune in to BANG FOR THE BUCK AND DISORDER IN THE HOUSE: Tuesday May 29, 8 pm & 9 pm ET/PT | Friday June 1, 8 pm & 9 pm ET/PT. Only on ichannel.

BANG FOR THE BUCK and DISORDER IN THE HOUSE were produced for Stornoway Productions by Breakout Educational Network. For more information, CLICK HERE.


Zero Gravity Circus

May 21st, 2012


Posted by Christina Dun

Check out the full photo gallery HERE. And don’t forget to follow Christina’s blog HERE.

The timeless art form of acrobatics at unimaginable heights and performers in crazy costumes was on display in all its glory, as the Toronto International Circus Festival brought the big top to the Harbourfront Centre. As a circus fan myself, I was looking forward to being surrounded by an atmosphere of playful excitement, awe, and even a sense of enchantment — is that too cheesy? What can I say? I’m a sucker for death-defying stunts.

The Zero Gravity Circus was one of the main attractions, showcasing a wide variety of amazing acts on the outdoor Westjet Stage, with a perfect view of Lake Ontario. iNEWS was there to capture the spectacle, and Kalen even sported a red clown nose during the interviews – he wasn’t keen on the idea at first, but I think it went perfectly with the whole circus festival experience!

Just moments before the show, I glanced around at the audience, and could see that they looked pretty excited about what was in store for them. And with clowns, hula hoops, dancers, and mimes galore, the crowd wasn’t disappointed. The whole experience left me secretly wishing that my parents had signed me up for circus school.



Artisans At The Distillery

May 21st, 2012


Posted by Christina Dun

We’re thrilled to have photoblogger Christina Dun joining our iNEWS team as a contributor. Christina was on hand this past Saturday as the crew checked out the Artisans at the Distillery Show in Toronto’s historic Distillery District. You can see the full photo gallery HERE. And don’t forget to follow Christina’s blog HERE.

In the heart of the historic Distillery District, artisans of all stripes gathered to share their crafts and skills with Toronto. From organic clothing to intricate jewellery, homemade soaps to colourful paintings, the Artisans at the Distillery event was bustling with great vendors and visitors, all on a beautiful sunshine-filled weekend.

I got to join the iNEWS team for the day, documenting my experience from behind the lens of my Nikon. As the newcomer, it was great to work with such a friendly group. With Michael behind the camera and Kalen in front, as well as Jonelle, Kate, and Peter making sure everything went according to plan, the day got off to a great start.

The fair’s organizer, Lory MacDonald, gave iNEWS a tour of some of the booths and the team spoke with a few of the passionate artisans. My favourites were the wood-detailed Mistura watches and the sculpture paintings by Christian Aldo. I also stepped inside CubeWorks, a great gallery in the Distillery that features artwork created with Rubik’s cubes and other types of puzzles.

So what is an artisan? As individuals work in skilled trades, particularly those that involve making things by hand, artisans are the creative minds that keep such one-of-a-kind arts going in today’s society. It was interesting to see so many different examples brought together in one place

This event is perfect for anyone looking for unique specialty items that will make fantastic gifts for your loved ones — or for yourself — and turning out is a great way to support your businesses.

See the full photo gallery HERE.


Celebrating Mother’s Day

May 11th, 2012


Join ichannel on MOTHER’S DAY, Sunday May 13, for a series of specials that explore the nature of motherhood in all its fascinating complexity.

The Story of Mothers & Daughters – 1 pm & 7 pm ET: In this unflinchingly honest portrait of the bond between mothers and daughters, ordinary women from all walks of life share their insight into this profound relationship.

Wo Ai Ni Mommy – 4 pm ET: Since 1992, North American families have adopted tens of thousands of children from China — most of them girls. This documentary follows eight-year-old Fang Sui Yong and her adoptive American mother on a wrenching emotional journey. Can Sui Yong adapt to a radically different new home and culture? And can her new family cope with this test of their emotional resources?

Orgasmic Birth – 5:30 pm ET: Is the process of childbirth something that must simply be endured — or can it actually be enjoyed? This provocative documentary follows ordinary women as they explore new approaches to labour and delivery that can turn the birthing journey into one of physical, emotional and spiritual peaks.

CLICK HERE for more on ichannel’s documentary programming.


More Free Preview News

May 1st, 2012


A new month, and new free previews. If you’re a Shaw Direct or MTS customer, you can enjoy ichannel for free until May 31. We’ve lined up an outstanding selection of documentaries (Mondays through Saturdays at 9 pm ET/PT) and feature films (Sundays at 8 pm ET/PT), along with great episodes of St. Elsewhere, Fifth Dimension, Sport Science and all of our other favourite series.

On Shaw Direct, you’ll find us on channel 593/222 (Classic/Advanced). Go to or call 1.888.554.7827 to subscribe.

On MTS, we’re channel 282 — part of the Information theme pack. During the free preview, you can find us on channel 30. Go to or phone 204-CALLMTS (1-800-883-2054 toll-free outside Manitoba) to subscribe.

Visit or our Facebook page for programming updates, and check back here in June for more free preview news.