@issue

Show Summary

ichannel’s flagship current affairs series delivers hard-hitting discussion of today’s most controversial topics, from climate change to crime and punishment.

Hosts
Kevin O’Keefe / Candice Batista / Karyn Pugliese

Past Episodes

“Lubicon Cree”
Original Airdate: Monday May 23, 2011

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The Lubicon Cree of northern Alberta live on some of the richest land in Canada. They have never signed a treaty or given up rights to that land. But in the 1970s, the Alberta government opened it for oil and gas development against the wishes of the Lubicon. The results have been devastating. Once a self-sufficient community of hunters, trappers and craftspeople, the Lubicon today live in poverty, without running water and other basic services – even as the province reaps more than $14 billion a year in revenues from the oil fields. And it’s not just a people’s way of life that has suffered; many Lubicon also believe that damage to their environment has been responsible for a host of health problems. In this edition, @issue’s Karyn Pugliese finds out why Amnesty International has singled out Canada for condemnation over its treatment of the Lubicon Cree.

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“Foster Care”
Original Airdate: Monday May 9, 2011

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There are more than 70,000 Canadian children in foster care today – a number that has increased by 65 percent over the last two decades. Yet the number of foster homes available for kids in need has not kept pace. In this edition, host Karyn Pugliese looks at the challenges facing foster kids and parents, and finds out why the system is in such desperate need. Plus: helping Aboriginal youngsters in foster care stay in touch with their cultural roots.

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Grandparents Raising Grandkids
Original Airdate: Tuesday April 26

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More than 60,000 Canadian children are being raised by family members other than their parents. Most commonly, it’s grandparents who step into this demanding role. In this installment of @issue, host Karyn Pugliese investigates the growing prevalence of grandparents raising grandchildren, and learns about a support group called Cangrands that helps grandparents cope with the challenge of being substitute parents.

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Whatever Happened To …?
Original Airdate: Monday April 25

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Just like milk and eggs, the news has a best-before date. But for the ordinary women and men caught up in the big stories of the day, life goes on after the reporters and cameras have left the scene. In this special edition of @issue, host Karyn Pugliese follows up on the people who once found themselves at the center of sensational Canadian and international news stories, from the 2004 tsunami that ravaged Southeast Asia to the cloning of Dolly the sheep in 1997 to Canada’s GST battle of 1991.

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“Women in Politics: Lisa Raitt”
Original Airdate: Tuesday April 19

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Women hold barely 20 percent of the seats in Parliament – a figure that puts Canada behind Afghanistan, Iraq and Rwanda when it comes to electing women to federal office. In this latest installment of @issue’s series on women in Canadian politics, host Karyn Pugliese meets one of the few female power players in the House of Commons: the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour. With a fight looming to hold her seat in the upcoming federal election, she reflects on her journey from working class Cape Breton to a seat in Cabinet, the challenge of living life in the public eye, and the need for more women in the electoral arena. (Image Copyright Couvrette/Ottawa)

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“Animal Rights”
Original Airdate: Monday April 18

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The average Canadian eats half a pound of meat every day – twice the daily requirement. And nearly all of it comes from factory farms or feedlots, where animals spend most of their lives confined in spaces so small they can barely move. What does it say about us that we seem to care so little for the suffering of the animals with whom we share the planet? In this edition of @issue, host Karyn Pugliese meets activists and others who are working to change the way we think about animal rights and welfare, including the leader of a fledgling political party – the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada — that is taking the animal rights battle to the ballot box.

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“Food Security”
Original Airdate: Tuesday April 12, 2011

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Enjoy your dinner — while you can still afford it. World food prices are hitting record highs, as a result of population growth, water shortages, climate change and rising oil prices. Unless we start producing more food, some experts warn, we will see food riots and dramatically increased political instability within the next two decades. More than 200 years have passed since Thomas Robert Malthus predicted that population growth would one day outstrip food production, leaving the world hungry and impoverished. Is his famous prophecy finally coming to pass? In this edition of @issue, host Karyn Pugliese asks what Canadians — from farmers to city dwellers — can do to help make the world food system more secure.

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“Fashion Victims”
Original Airdate: Monday April 11, 2011

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What’s the real cost of looking good? In Canada, we import nearly two-thirds of all our clothing from poorer nations. Our fashion choices affect thousands of workers in sweat shops throughout the developing world. Are we inadvertently supporting child labour and other human rights abuses? In this edition of @issue, host Karyn Pugliese investigates the sweat shop dilemma and explores fair trade alternatives that can help Canadians to dress both stylishly and ethically.

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“Minority Governments”
Original Airdate: Tuesday April 5, 2011

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Canadians head to the polls on May 2, in the country’s fifth federal election since 2000. In the last two elections, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have fallen short of securing a majority win, settling instead for minority government status. Will the third time be the charm? And what’s wrong with minority governments, anyway? In this edition, host Karyn Pugliese talks to some of the country’s keenest political observers about the state of the electoral landscape. Why did the historic federal election of 1993 redraw the Canadian political map so dramatically — and will things ever be the same again? How have Harper’s Tories performed in power since the election of 2008, and are Canadians actually better served by minority governments? Will the Liberals and the NDP gain ground in this cycle, or is it time to unite the left?

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“Women in Politics: Sheila Copps”
Original Airdate: Monday April 4, 2011

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In 1977, a young newspaper reporter from Hamilton, Ontario took a phone call from the local Liberal riding association: would she consider running for the provincial party? She was given 24 hours to decide. Sheila Copps said yes – and though she lost that first election, her political career was off and running. She would go on to become Canada’s first female Deputy Prime Minister, establishling a reputation along the way as one of the most ferociously outspoken figures in Canadian politics. In a new installment of @issue‘s continuing series on women in politics, host Karyn Pugliese talks to Sheila Copps about the high points – and low points – of her colourful 20-year career in public office.

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“Mandatory Minimum Sentencing”
Original Airdate: Tuesday March 29, 2011

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According to Statistics Canada, crime rates have dropped over the last 20 years. But a federal review in 2007 concluded that offenders arriving at penitentiary doors today are more dangerous than ever. This has fueled the Stephen Harper government’s “tough on crime” agenda. The most controversial aspect of Ottawa’s strategy: an attempt to increase the number of crimes that would be subject to mandatory minimum sentences. Critics say this policy has proven disastrous south of the border, and should not be introduced here. In this edition of @issue, host Karyn Pugliese talks to criminal lawyers, activists and others about the case for and against mandatory minimums.

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“Politically Incorrect”
Original Airdate: Monday March 28, 2011

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Everybody loves a good joke. But is everything fair game for humour, or should some topics stay out of bounds? Is it OK to laugh at ethnic or gender stereotypes? What about disability? In this episode, host Karyn Pugliese asks professional comedians: where does funny end, and offensive begin?

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“Sweat Equity”
Original Airdate: Tuesday March 22, 2011

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Want to help improve the lives of people in the developing world? For some of us, sending a cheque isn’t enough. In this edition, host Karyn Pugliese finds out why humanitarian organizations like the Rotary Club are increasingly committed to “sweat equity” projects: sending volunteers to places in need overseas to do hands-on work, from building classrooms to planting gardens.

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“Personal Finance”
Original Airdate: Monday March 21, 2011

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Believe it or not, Canada is a nation of spendthrifts. According to one estimate, we spend $7 for every $4 we earn — and the average Canadian is carrying more than $20,000 in consumer debt. Whatever happened to saving for a rainy day? In this edition, host Karyn Pugliese gets some advice from the experts on smarter money management.

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“Healing the Generations”
Original Airdate: Tuesday March 15, 2011

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For more than a century, the Canadian government forcibly removed thousands of Aboriginal children from their families, to be raised in church-run boarding schools, where many endured years of abuse. The residential school system has now been dismantled, and its survivors compensated. But there are 80,000 former students alive today — and the trauma they suffered is now having a profound impact on their own children. In this episode, host Karyn Pugliese looks at how the legacy of the residential schools is affecting a new generation.

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“Bad Habits”
Original Airdate: Monday March 14, 2011

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Founded in San Francisco in the late 1970s, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are a group of mostly gay men who dress up as Roman Catholic nuns to do charity work. Part protest movement, part street theatre, the Sisters are dedicated to promoting safe sex, drawing awareness to HIV/AIDS and challenging intolerance. But many Catholics are less than amused by the group’s appropriation of sacred imagery. In this episode, host Karyn Pugliese goes behind the scenes of Bad Habits, a new documentary by @issue‘s Kevin O’Keefe, that explores the life and times of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

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“Senior Years”
Original Airdate: Tuesday March 8, 2011

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We never think we’re going to get old. But senior citizens represent Canada’s fastest growing population group – and their numbers are expected to double to eight million in the next 10 years. So why don’t we plan better for this time in our lives? In this episode, host Karyn Pugliese presents a senior’s survival guide, seeking out expert advice on retirement planning, health care, assisted living and bereavement, along with insight into what the children of aging parents need to plan for.

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“Women in Politics: Cheri DiNovo”
Original Airdate: Monday March 7, 2011

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Women make up more than half of the Canadian population, yet account for barely one-fifth of all elected officials in this country. Why does Canada lag behind Europe, and even some African countries, when it comes to the number of women in politics? In this episode, host Karyn Pugliese talks to Cheri DiNovo, a onetime Toronto street kid who went on to become a successful CEO, a United Church minister – and, as of 2006, a member of the Ontario legislature. Always outspoken, DiNovo reflects on the highs and lows of her own political career, and offers her views on the need for more women in elected office.

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“Women in Politics: Carolyn Bennett”
Original Airdate: Tuesday March 1, 2011

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In 1921, a 31-year-old schoolteacher named Agnes Macphail became the first woman ever elected to Canada’s House of Commons. 90 years later, women are still under-represented in federal politics, accounting for just one-fifth of all federal MPs. Does Parliament have a glass ceiling? Host Karyn Pugliese talks to Carolyn Bennett, a family physician and Liberal Member of Parliament since 1997 — who won her sixth straight campaign for the Toronto riding of St. Paul’s in the May federal election — about the challenges still facing women in the world of Canadian politics.

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“Ban the Bomb”
Original Airdate: Monday Feb 21, 2011

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Land mines and cluster bombs are weapons of war that continue to kill and maim long after the shooting stops. Host Karyn Pugliese looks at the campaign to stop their use, and talks to Canadian filmmaker Richard Fitoussi about his documentary A Perfect Soldier, the story of a former Khmer Rouge soldier who now works to clear Cambodia of land mines.

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“Charities”
Original Airdate: Tuesday Feb 15, 2011

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Every year, Canadians give an estimated $10 billion-plus to charity. But how do you know that your donation is making a difference? There are more than 160,000 registered charities and non-profits across the country. The vast majority operate honestly — but some do break the rules. In the last year, nearly 600 Canadian charities have been shut down for failing to keep their books up to date. Another 40 have had their status revoked because they weren’t doing the work they were supposed to do. In this edition of @issue, host Karyn Pugliese investigates the challenge of giving wisely. Among her guests: Newfoundland filmmaker Christopher Richardson, whose documentary Where’s My Goat? offers a lighthearted but incisive look at the subject. Having adopted the practice of “ethical” gift-giving — he buys goats for Third World families as a thank-you gift to clients — Richardson began to question whether his donations were actually helping people on the ground. The film follows him as he travels to Zambia in search of one of the goats he bought online.

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“The Roma”
Original Airdate: Monday Feb 14, 2011

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Most of us suppose that refugees come predominantly from violent, war-torn nations in Africa, the Middle East or Asia. Few would guess that Hungary, a relatively prosperous country in central Europe, produces the third-largest number of refugees to Canada. As host Kevin O’Keefe discovers in this edition of @issue, the Roma people of Hungary — often tagged with the inaccurate and offensive term “Gypsies” — are subject to systemic discrimination in education, housing and employment. According to a report by Amnesty International, they have also become a target for racially motivated violence. Yet of those who come to Canada seeking a better life, barely one percent are accepted.

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“Smoking”
Original Airdate: Tuesday February 8, 2011

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Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death — yet the percentage of Canadians who smoke has remained virtually unchanged for the past decade, at around 20 percent. In this edition of @issue, host Karyn Pugliese looks into the challenges of quitting, and meets smoker’s rights advocates who want government to butt out of their business and lift smoking bans.

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“Missing & Murdered Women”
Original Airdate: Monday February 7, 2011

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Nearly 600 Aboriginal Canadian women have gone missing or been murdered since the 1960s — and half of those cases remain unsolved. Are Aboriginal women more vulnerable to violence? Human rights groups say yes, and are urging government, law enforcement and the media to confront the problem. Join @issue host Karyn Pugliese for this hard-hitting investigation. Guests include renowned investigative journalist Stevie Cameron, whose recently published book On The Farm is the definitive account of how serial killer Robert Pickton preyed upon vulnerable women — many of them Aboriginal Canadians — from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

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“Environmental Ethics”
Original Airdate: Monday January 31, 2011

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What moral relationship do we have with the planet? Why should we care what happens to the ecosystem, and to the other species that inhabit this world? In this episode, host Candice Batista enters into the growing debate about environmental ethics.

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“Offshore Drilling in Canada”
Original Airdate: Wednesday January 26, 2011

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First Nations groups in Western Canada are increasingly concerned about the potential impact of a proposed new oil pipeline. In this episode, host Candice Batista examines the environmental issues that surround offshore drilling. What lessons — if any — have we learned from last year’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?

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“Fashion Faux Pas”
Original Airdate: Tuesday January 25, 2011

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How green is your wardrobe? You may love that cotton t-shirt of yours, but did you know it’s responsible for some 45 kilograms of waste? In this episode, host Candice Batista finds out what ethical fashion really means.

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“Reliving the Holocaust”
Original Airdate: Monday November 29, 2010

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What is it like to live out your adult life as a survivor of genocide? Do the memories ever become tolerable? That’s the question @issue examines in this edition. Host Karyn Pugliese learns the story of Sonia Reich, a Polish-born Holocaust surivivor whose experiences form the basis of a new documentary, Prisoner of Her Past, by her sonHoward Reich, a Chicago journalist. One night in February 2001, Sonia fled her home in Skokie, Illinois, insisting that someone was trying to kill her. As Howard eventually learned, Sonia suffers from a little-known but extremely debilitating illness called late-onset Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which has pushed her into the realm of delusion. The documentary follows him as he searches out experts on late-onset PTSD and travels to Sonia’s birthplace to learn more about the horrors that now haunt his mother.

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“The Breakfast Club”
Original Airdate: Monday November 22, 2010

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One in every nine Canadian children live below the poverty line – nearly a million kids in total. What happens when youngsters turn up at school hungry? As host Kevin O’Keefe discovers, more than 5,000 Canadian schools are now taking on the responsibility of making sure that kids get healthy meals as well as an education. And the schools rely heavily on funding from non-profit organizations such as Breakfast for Learning that are dedicated to supporting these all-important child nutrition programs.

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“Ending Child Porn”
Original Airdate: Tuesday November 23, 2010

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In this edition: meet Paul Gillespie: former head of the Toronto Police Service Child Exploitation Section, now President & CEO of the Kids Internet Safey Alliance (KINSA), a charitable organization dedicated to finding and rescuing the nearly 50,000 children worldwide who are victims of online sexual abuse and exploitation.

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“The Human Effects of the Gulf Spill”
Original Airdate: Wednesday November 17, 2010

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It may be years before we can fully assess the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which released nearly five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In this episode, host Candice Batista looks at the human cost of the BP oil disaster. How has the worst oil spill in U.S. history affected the health and well-being of people in the region? How can parents help their children understand and cope with an environmental disaster of such unprecedented scope?

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“Aging Activists”
Original Airdate: Tuesday November 16, 2010

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There are four million-plus senior citizens in Canada – and more than a few were part of the social justice, environmental and anti-war movements of the Sixties. Host Karyn Pugliese spotlights this generation of aging activists: men and women who have no intention of letting old age stop them from fighting the good fight.

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“Oiled Wildlife”
Original Airdate: Wednesday November 10, 2010

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Scientists are still struggling to gauge the long-term impact that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will have on the many species of wildlife in the region. In this episode, host Candice Batista talks to experts about recovery efforts in the Gulf, and investigates the spill’s potential effects on Canadian migratory birds.

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“Milk War II”
Original Airdate: Tuesday November 9, 2010

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Ontario dairy farmer Michael Schmidt fought the Ontario government for the right to distribute unpasteurized milk — and won. But the raw milk war rages on across North America. In this special edition of @issue, host Kevin O’Keefe asks why Schmidt’s battle for food freedom — as chronicled in the original ichannel documentary Milk War — has struck such a powerful chord. TO ORDER A COPY OF MILK WAR, EMAIL: ordermilkwar@ichannel.ca

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“Toxic Nation”
Original Airdate: Wednesday November 3, 2010

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Environmentalists, consumers groups and others are increasingly raising the alarm about toxins in common household products, from cleansers to cookware. In this episode, host Candice Batista asks what kind of toxic dangers may be lurking in your cupboards.

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