13 children dead in Russia after storm causes boats to overturn

MOSCOW – At least 13 children and their adult instructor have died in a storm while boating on a lake in Russia’s northwestern region of Karelia, officials said Sunday.

Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the nation’s main state investigative agency, said several boats with children overturned Saturday in a storm in Syamozero, 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of the border with Finland.

Of 47 children and four adult instructors in the boats, 13 children and one adult have died, Markin said.

ChangSha Night Net

READ MORE: Putin wants improved relations with Canada, but says ‘specific steps’ needed

Markin said three people have been detained on suspicions of violating safety rules: two instructors and a deputy director of a hotel where they were staying which reportedly organized the boating.

The children who went out boating came from Moscow and the capital’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, offered condolences to the victims’ families.

Repeated warnings of an advancing Atlantic cyclone had been issued days ahead of the storm, advising everyone against boating on the lake, one of the favourite holiday destinations in the area, regional Karelia lawmaker Alexei Gavrilov said on Rossiya 24 television.

“They didn’t have the right to go out boating,” he said.

Vladimir Kucherenko, the director of a local tourist company, said that most children had apparently died from long exposure to cold water, as water temperatures in the lake were 8-10 degrees Celsius (46-50 Fahrenheit). He said strong winds might have driven boats across the lake, making it hard for the children to get to the shore.

“I would like to look the person who allowed them to go boating in the eye,” Kucherenko said in televised remarks. “It was suicidal.”

Local experts said that the shallow lake could be extremely dangerous to navigate in strong winds, and even experienced local fishermen stayed away from the lake over the weekend.

Nova Scotia Green Party not dead yet

The official agent for Nova Scotia’s Green Party says the party is still registered with Elections Nova Scotia and will field candidates in the next provincial election.

Written in a blog post on the party’s website, official agent Ian Charles said reports of the party’s demise “have been greatly exaggerated.”

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On Tuesday the party’s outgoing interim leader wrote a blog post saying the party was folding because of low member engagement and a lack of leadership candidates. “With no one having stayed the course, or stepped forward for the leadership of the party, we are no longer able to function,” Brynn Nheiley, outgoing interim leader, wrote.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia Green Party folds citing low engagement

Charles is refuting those claims saying the party’s executive was divided and not everyone agreed with Nheiley’s comments, writing that the Green Party in Nova Scotia “is very much in existence.” However, he did say the party will need more involvement from Green Party members in the future.

“The outpouring of supportive comments on social media has certainly illustrated that there is still tremendous support for the Green Party NS across this great province,” Charles wrote. “We can engage these supporters with a solid group effort from all Nova Scotians that have labelled themselves as politically Green.”

The blog post goes on to say that the party will appoint an interim leader by July 9.

In a nod to the speculation that Premier Stephen McNeil will call an early election, Charles said when there is an election, candidates will be running under the green banner.

“There is a good chance that there will be an election this fall. There is a 100% chance that the Green Party NS will run candidates for the next Provincial Election,” he wrote.

Council to debate renaming street in Sidney Crosby’s honour

Halifax regional council will debate renaming a street in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia after Sidney Crosby.

Councillor Lorelei Nicoll added the motion to council’s Tuesday agenda. She is asking councillors to call for a staff report that will look at changing the name of Forest Hills Parkway to Sidney Crosby Parkway. The move would require councillors to side-step the current rules which, in part, say that a person has to be retired to have an application considered.

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“The policy says that a person should be either have passed on or at the end of their life legacy and that would require an exemption from council,” Lorelei Nicoll, Councillor for Cole Harbour Westphal said.

READ MORE: Pittsburgh Penguins beat San Jose Sharks to win Stanley Cup

Hockey Nova Scotia is the latest group to add their voice to the growing campaign to put Crosby’s name on a street sign. The group wants council to act now rather when Crosby retires because it says now is when his name has the most impact on kids.

“We’d like to recognize him now while he’s there and kids recognize (the street name) and can look at it as a role model,” Darren Cossar, executive director of Hockey Nova Scotia said.

Hockey Nova Scotia’s petition to change the street name has almost 400 signatures online.

READ MORE: ‘Temporary’ Crosby exhibit in Halifax too popular to close

Crosby has two Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals under his belt along with countless other national and international awards and trophies.

The push to rename Forest Hills Parkways in Crosby’s honour was started by one of Crosby’s former coaches in Nova Scotia.

Nicoll says she hopes if the renaming goes ahead that the history of Forest Hills Parkway can also be maintained.

‘Finding Dory’ blows animation record out of the water

LOS ANGELES – The forgetful blue fish of “Finding Dory” is box office gold. The Pixar sequel far-surpassed its already Ocean-sized expectations to take in $136.2 million in North American theatres, making it the highest-grossing animated debut of all time, according to comScore estimates Sunday. The 2007 film “Shrek the Third” was the previous record-holder with a $121.6 million debut.

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“Finding Dory,” which comes 13 years after “Finding Nemo” hit theatres, is also now the second-largest June opening of all time behind “Jurassic World.” The well-reviewed film features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks and played particularly well with audiences, who gave the film an A CinemaScore — Pixar’s 17th film in a row to receive the impressive grade.

Going into the weekend, analysts expected “Finding Dory” to do big, $100 million plus business, but never this much.

READ MORE: ‘Finding Dory’ review: Cute fish franchise keeps on swimming

“The thought was ‘could this be the movie to eclipse “Toy Story 3’s” opening,’ not, ‘could it become the biggest animated opening of all time,’” said Paul Dergarabedian, comScore’s senior media analyst. “That’s the power of the Pixar brand.”

“Toy Story 3” was the biggest Pixar opening ever until now with $110.3 million.

Disney’s Executive Vice-President of Distribution Dave Hollis was particularly heartened that the film did such robust late night business on both Friday and Saturday.

“That’s really a testament to this being a picture for everyone — not just for families,” Hollis said.

“Finding Dory” has the animated seas to itself until “The Secret Life of Pets” opens July 8.

The Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson buddy comedy “Central Intelligence” also had a relatively muscular weekend, with a better-than-expected $34.5 million, putting it in second place.

WATCH: The Rock And Kevin Hart Give ET Canada A Gun Show

“It’s a real home run,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ executive vice-president of domestic distribution. “These two comedians are just stars. They connect with their audience and each other in such a strong way. You just laugh when you watch them.”

“Central Intelligence” cost a reported $50 million to make and scored especially well with younger audiences, who the studio hopes will propel the word of mouth in weeks to come. The next major comedy releases don’t come until mid-July with “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” and “Ghostbusters.”

In third place, the James Wan horror pic “The Conjuring 2” fell 62 per cent in its second weekend in theatres, earning $15.6 million and bringing its domestic total to $71.7 million.

Rounding out the top five were “Now You See Me 2,” with $9.7 million and “Warcraft,” with $6.5 million, both of which opened last weekend.

Overall, the weekend is down nearly 5 per cent from last year, when “Inside Out” launched with $90.4 million and “Jurassic World” earned $106.6 million in its second weekend in theatres.

Still, Dergarabedian notes that the comparatively big audiences this weekend are good for the business in the long run since they’ll be exposed to trailers for upcoming summer films. The success of “Finding Dory” and “Central Intelligence” also comes at a critical moment after a few weekends of underwhelming sequels and all out flops.

“A movie like ‘Dory’ can reinvigorate a marketplace that has been in the doldrums for the last few weeks,” he said. “It helps everyone.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to comScore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1.”Finding Dory,” $136.2 million.

2.”Central Intelligence,” $34.5 million.

3.”The Conjuring 2,” $15.6 million.

4.”Now You See Me 2,” $9.7 million.

5.”Warcraft,” $6.5 million.

6.”X-Men: Apocalypse,” $5.2 million.

7.”Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” $5.2 million.

8.”Me Before You,” $4.2 million.

9.”Alice Through the Looking Glass,” $3.6 million.

10.”Captain America: Civil War,” $2.3 million.


Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

The West Block transcript: Season 5 Episode 39


Episode 39, Season 5

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Host: Tom Clark

Guests: Chris Grayling, Rob Oliphant, Gerard Deltell

‘Plane Talk’: Dominic LeBlanc

Location: Ottawa


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Tom Clark: On this Sunday, will they stay or will they go? Britons go to the polls this week to decide whether to leave the European Union. What’s at stake? We’re joined by British Cabinet Minister Chris Grayling.

Then, why are MPs willing to give some Canadians the right to a dignified death while denying that right to others? A West Block debate on assisted death.

And, on this Father’s Day, Liberal House Leader Dominic LeBlanc joins us for some ‘Plane Talk’ on following in his dad’s footsteps.

It is Sunday, June the 19th. And from the nation’s capital, I’m Tom Clark. And you are in The West Block.


Tom Clark: Britons have a big choice to make this week. On Thursday, they go to the polls and cast a vote to stay in or to leave the European Union. A leave vote has been dubbed “Brexit”. So, just what is driving Brexit? Here is your West Block primer:

(Voiceover) The United Kingdom and Europe first hooked up back in the 70s. They were drawn together by convenience, the promise of prosperity, and a certain cosmopolitan allure. But over the years, they began to drift. Many Britons feel the EU has become too controlling, too high maintenance, and it has very expensive habits. And then there’s the EU’s extended family, they all want to move in now. The pair has talked about taking a break before but now it’s getting pretty serious. They’re going to have “the talk” one way or another on June 23rd.

Jo Cox: “This as we know, that Assad…”

Tom Clark: Now last Thursday, while campaigning to remain in the European Union, Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and killed by a man allegedly shouting “Britain First.” This horrendous event paused the debate on both sides, but with only four days left before the referendum, the final arguments are being put to the voters.

Joining me now from London is a former justice minister and currently the government House leader and a spokesman for the leave campaign, Chris Grayling. Minister Grayling thanks very much for being here today.

Chris Grayling: Good morning.

Tom Clark: You know during this campaign, you’ve said among other things that the green and pleasant land of the English countryside is going to be cemented over to house all the migrants and refugees pouring into Great Britain. How much is the migrant crisis factoring in to the leave campaign?

Chris Grayling: Well of course, you’ve got to understand this is a different migrant crisis to the ones that you have seen in the news of late. The flood of refugees coming in from the Middle East into central Europe is a different question to the one that we face in the United Kingdom. The issue in the United Kingdom is this. We have seen a big increase in our population over the course of the past 15 years. We are currently seeing the equivalent of a pretty large city arrive in the United Kingdom every year and we’re a relatively small country, smaller than France, smaller than Germany. We have limits to the number of people we can absorb into this country without, in my view, leading to significant additional developments and a loss of open spaces, pressure on public services, more congested transport systems. And I think if that is to happen, and sometimes it’s perfectly reasonable to argue that in some cases, economic migration can bring economic benefits. But I think the people of the United Kingdom should have a choice about this future. They should be able to set limits on the number of people who come and live and work in the United Kingdom. And the problem is whilst we are members of the European Union, we simply cannot do that. There are 550 million people in the European Union, all of whom have the right to settle in the United Kingdom. And each year, more and more are coming.

Tom Clark: But, if you’re talking about security here, wouldn’t a Brexit, Britain leaving the European Union, create its own security issue, destabilizing Europe and playing right into Vladimir Putin’s hands?

Chris Grayling: Well I don’t accept that at all. The security of the United Kingdom has been guaranteed for 75 years by the NATO Alliance in which Canada is part and indeed, Canada is currently working as part of a NATO operation in the Mediterranean to try and stem the flow of migrants coming of Syria, coming out of the Middle East in small boats, many of them drowning on the way. So NATO remains an essential part of the security of Europe, an essential part of the security of the United Kingdom. And of course that will continue. This is not a debate about defence partnerships. Our treaty alliances across Europe remain in place whether we’re inside or outside the European Union.

Tom Clark: I just want to turn to the economy for a second because a lot of your opponents are saying that if Britain leaves the EU, it will cause enormous disruption to the British economy. Among those who are saying it are people like Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England. What do you say to Mark Carney?

Chris Grayling: Well of course it’s only two months since Mark Carney said the biggest risk to the UK economy was the situation in China. Now we’re been hearing a lot of independent analysis about the position the United Kingdom faces if we leave the European Union. Almost invariably, that analysis is based on the assumption that we cease to trade in whole or in part with the rest of the European Union as it is today. That is simply not credible. We have a massive trade deficit with the European Union. We buy far more from them than they buy from us. We are their biggest export market. And what I’ve been saying here is in what world does any country, does any government, start a trade war with its biggest export market? There are five million EU jobs that depend on British consumers. It makes no sense for them to not want to carry on trading as normal. They suffer financially if they don’t carry on trading as normal.

Tom Clark: Okay. If the leave campaign is successful on Thursday and Britain does begin to exit the European Union, what happens, in your view, to the Canada-EU free trade agreement?

Chris Grayling: Well I would expect that Canada and the EU would carry on negotiating that Britain would simply not be a part of that. And I hope that Canada and the United Kingdom would quickly negotiate our own free trade agreement. Indeed, I hope all of us across the Commonwealth would look to improving trading ties, to reduce trade barriers. One of the daft things at the moment is that as members of the European Union, and yet also as lead country in the Commonwealth, we are not even able to negotiate free trade agreements with our own Commonwealth partners. We have to wait for a committee of 28 nations to do it for us. And with countries like Canada with which we have far longer historic ties than the European Union, surely we should be able to negotiate that kind of deal quickly.

Tom Clark: Mr. Grayling, let’s take a broader view of this. Does this whole campaign suggest perhaps that the European Union’s time is done? In other words, would you suggest to other European countries that they too seek an exit?

Chris Grayling: Well I don’t think they have that option available. And indeed, the way they have to go is one of the reasons I’m campaigning to leave. When 17 years ago they set up the Euro as a single currency for parts of the European Union, they I think moved beyond a point of no return. I don’t believe you can have a single currency without a single government structure. They’re all now saying that, Angela Merkel was saying it, Francois Hollande, the president of France said he wants a cabinet for the Eurozone. The Italian government has asked for a treasury for the Eurozone. The five presidents of the big EU institutions have said we must have a political union by 2025. They have no option but to follow that path. If they don’t, then the current Eurozone crisis will continue until the end and it all falls apart. So they have to move down that route to political union. But that leaves the United Kingdom which isn’t part of that process stuck on the fringes in the EU as a whole, unable to fight for our national cause, unable to look after our national interests. I think we’re best wishing them well on their path but taking a different one ourselves.

Tom Clark: Well finally, let me ask you this, what’s your bet for Thursday? Are you going to win? You going to lose?

Chris Grayling: It’s going to be very close. It’s one where anybody who’s calling it for certain now I think is perhaps misguided or misjudged. What I do know is that we can win this, that this is a country that wants to leave the European Union. It’s whether it has the courage of its convictions, it’s bold enough to say Britain is a proud independent nation, always has been. We do not need to give up our sovereignty to an international body. We don’t need to give up control over so many parts of our country and in a way countries like Canada would never consider doing. North America free trade area is about trade. The European Union has become de facto a single government for Europe and that’s not right for us.

Tom Clark: Chris Grayling in London thank you very much for your time, I appreciate it.

Chris Grayling: You’re welcome.

Tom Clark: And coming up, how some Canadians will soon have more rights than other Canadians on physician-assisted death.


Tom Clark: Welcome back. Well last week, the House of Commons passed the Liberal government’s medically-assisted death bill. It is now one step closer to being law but is it a good law. Well two of the MPs who have been vocal in this debate join me now from Toronto, Liberal MP Rob Oliphant, and here with me in Ottawa, Conservative MP Gerard Deltell. Welcome to you both.

Listen, I want to start with this, in this law as it stands right now, we have on the one hand a family who has a family member who’s dying of cancer. They will have the right to medically-assisted death. On this side, we have a family who’s got a family member dying of dementia or Alzheimer’s. They will not have the right to assisted death. Are you both happy that you voted for a law that split the rights in that way? And Gerard let me start with you.

Gerard Deltell: Well on that specific case, I do agree with the law because for us, it was quite important to put aside the fact that those people suffer from mental illness will not be allowed to have that kind of bill because it’s very touchy, very fragile, very difficult to determine exactly what is a mental illness and what is not. And so this is why, as we said before, based on the Quebec experience and you know that in Quebec we passed six years of studious work on that. That it’s only for those who suffer from a physical illness instead of mental illness. We all know we all recognize that it’s touchy but this is the point where we are.

Tom Clark: Okay, before we come back to that because I do want to explore that in greater depth. But Rob, do you want to get in on this because you were opposed to it and yet you voted for it anyway.

Rob Oliphant: Well and just to clarify, I actually never voted for Bill C-14. At third reading when the House of Commons voted on the bill, I actually voted against it. Yesterday or earlier in the week when we had a message from the Senate, I did support the NDP amendment on eligibility and in the end I said let’s send a message back to the Senate. I still don’t think I actually voted for the bill. I think it’s a flawed bill. I think that it has constitutional problems. I think it has compassion problems and I think in my own constituency, people don’t like the bill. So for those three reasons, I don’t support it.

Tom Clark: But Mr. Oliphant, they don’t like the bill because it doesn’t go far enough?

Rob Oliphant: That’s right. I would say that the vast majority, well over 75, 80 per cent of the people in my riding that I’ve spoken to feel that we need a system that will respect the rights of everyone. And there are two problems with the bill. One is that it takes away rights from a certain class of people who have illnesses that are grievous and irremediable with intolerable suffering, but this bill as it stands now, they have to be terminal and that’s a problem I think constitutionally. The second problem with the bill is that people are not able to give advance directives. They’re not able to actually while they have capacity to say that if certain things happen, if certain occurrences come about, they would like to have the ability to have assistance in their dying. And I think that we haven’t got done that yet.

Tom Clark: Well let me pick up on that with Mr. Deltell. He brings up an interesting point. Why should your morality trump everybody else’s morality on that question? And I say yours, I know it’s not your bill but you voted for it and you believe in the restrictive nature of that bill. So why is your morality superior to anybody else’s?

Gerard Deltell: Well because it’s part of the job of every MP to evaluate and where we stand to vote for where we stand. I can tell you that I vote for the bill even if I think that it’s not the best bill at all to say the least. I disagree with many important issues but as far as we are concerned, it’s better to have not the very good law instead of no law at all because if you have no law, well every provinces will on their own and then it will be very difficult to see from coast to coast how to deal with that. At least now we have a framework and for sure, it will be challenged in the court. Whatever the bill we have adopted, it will be challenged in the court. So we’ll see in a year or two what will happen and at the end of the day, the Supreme Court will be back with the bill saying well this is right, this is wrong, and then we’ll have to act again.

Tom Clark: Quickly, what right does the State have telling me or my family that my family cannot carry out my wishes because politicians said well it was too difficult. What right does the State have to intervene in that case and give rights though to somebody else?

Gerard Deltell: Well first of all, the Supreme Court asked us to do that.

Tom Clark: Well they didn’t ask you to be restrictive.

Rob Oliphant: They actually did not ask us to—

Gerard Deltell: They asked us to adopt a bill, right or wrong, to say where we shall go. You know the Supreme Court gave us some guidelines. Some people in the government, the Liberal government, let me say that. This is the Liberal government who hold the pencil, who wrote this law, and they decided that in their home that they think it’s respectful of the Charter of Rights. It’s a Liberal government who wrote that.

Tom Clark: Yeah, but you voted for it. I want to get Mr. Oliphant in this. Go ahead.

Rob Oliphant: Well just to clarify, the Supreme Court did not demand that the Parliament come up with a bill. They suggested that they could come up with a bill. That’s very clear in the Carter decision. And so we have come up with a bill, our government. I don’t support the bill. I think it does not reflect the values of Canadians and I also am very clear that while I believe that the eligibility factor should be the way the Supreme Court said it in Carter that it should be irremediable disease, it should be intolerable suffering. I think that it’s very clear that there should be safeguards as well. I believe this is primarily a medical decision between a patient and his or her doctor, or actually two doctors. There are safeguards in place but there’s eligibility first and that should be very clear and consistent with the Supreme Court decision and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That will be challenged. But I’m not arguing that there shouldn’t be safeguards. Absolutely, vulnerable people need to be protected. I don’t think you protect them in the eligibility criteria. You make sure that there are witnesses. You make sure that there is a cooling off period. You make sure that there are two physicians. You make sure that the person has capacity. We accept that. What we’re arguing is that people should have the capacity to make their own decisions. And to paraphrase a late prime minister, we don’t believe that the State has a place in the deathbeds of the nation. We believe that’s primarily a human being’s right to work with their physician in making sure that they have the opportunity to have the best medical care, including care that takes them to a dignified gracious death.

Tom Clark: Last 30 seconds to you.

Gerard Deltell: Yeah, it’s interesting to see that this bill that has been tabled by Liberal government is contested of the Liberal MP. And me as a Conservative, well I voted for it but I strongly recognized that this bill is absolutely not perfect, not at all. I would prefer to have a bad bill instead of no bill at all. This is why I support it at the end of the day, even if I consider that it’s wrong on many issues. And then, whatever the bill, it would have been contested and would have been challenged [crosstalk].

Tom Clark: Gentlemen, I’m sorry we’re out of time on this but this discussion will go on for some time to come. But I appreciate you both taking the time to scratch the surface on this. Rob Oliphant in Toronto, Gerard Deltell here in Ottawa thanks so much.

Well coming up next, Dominic LeBlanc talks about the family business, politics on ‘Plane Talk.’ That’s next.


Tom Clark: Welcome back. Well on this Father’s Day, we wanted to reflect on a political father-son connection. No, not that one, we’re not talking about Justin and Pierre. I’m talking about Government House Leader Dominic LeBlanc and his father Romeo who served as a press secretary and a cabinet minister for Pierre Trudeau. He then went on of course to become governor general. So LeBlanc the younger, joined me recently for some ‘Plane Talk’ about what he learned from his dad and what it’s like to be the next generation working with a Trudeau. Take a listen.


Tom Clark: Dominic LeBlanc, good to have you on ‘Plane Talk’.

Dominic LeBlanc: Thanks for inviting me.

Tom Clark: This has been a remarkable six, seven months for you. Going into government, you for the first time, how has that worked out for you?

Dominic LeBlanc: You know what Tom, It’s been a phenomenal experience. I mean when I sort of think back to election night, it started on October 19th when I was at home with some friends and my wife, Jolene, we were in Grand Dig at our place in New Brunswick and we win 32 out of 32 seats in Atlantic Canada. So that’s how my evening started that night. I think even in our most optimistic moments, we weren’t sure we could win every single seat in four provinces. And then you’re right, in the transition, we were sworn in on that day in early November which I think will be marked in the imaginations of anybody who was lucky enough to be at Rideau Hall that day. And it’s been a fantastic experience.

Tom Clark: You are now also the fisheries minister, which interestingly was something that your dad was also once. How does that feel to hold the same portfolio that your dad did?

Dominic LeBlanc: You know what? When I think about it, it’s obviously it’s quite emotional for me. My dad was Canada’s longest serving fisheries minister and he was the first minster of fisheries and oceans because he’d convinced the then-Trudeau cabinet to take the oceans portfolio from what had been Environment Canada and create the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Tom Clark: You know the connection between your family and the Trudeau family is really quite remarkable. Not only did your dad serve Pierre Trudeau as fisheries minister as you serve as fisheries minister to Pierre’s son, you also babysat Justin Trudeau way back in the day. What was the worst thing that Justin Trudeau as a kid ever did when you were babysitting him?

Dominic LeBlanc: Well I can’t imagine, Tom, anything bad because I would have been such a good influence on Justin and Sasha and Michel that I couldn’t imagine that the four of us would have got into a jam. But my father was a journalist, such a noble profession Tom, you would recognize it well. He was a journalist and had become press secretary to Mr. Pearson. And then when Prime Minister Pearson retired, he did that job for Pierre Trudeau. When I was born, he was acting as a press secretary. And then, you’re right, he went down and became an MP in New Brunswick. The interesting thing is Margaret Trudeau and my mother were also great friends in the 70s and still are today.

Tom Clark: You’ve had a remarkable relationship with the Trudeau family but you also had a remarkable relationship with your father. But what was the most important thing about politics that Romeo taught you?

Dominic LeBlanc: My dad saw politics as a chance to really try and look out for people who often don’t have somebody standing up for them. If you’re lucky enough to have a job like I have now, if I can speak for some of these people and some of these communities in the House of Commons and in the cabinet, and hopefully encourage the government to make decisions that improve the lives of these people, then I’ve done something positive.

Tom Clark: Under what circumstances do you lie?

Dominic LeBlanc: Probably the best answer to that is when my wife says to me, ‘oh you went for supper at Mama Theresa’s. Were you careful with your diet? Did you avoid the French fries?’

Tom Clark: And the answer always is.

Dominic LeBlanc: Oh yes. No, no of course. No, I had steamed vegetables and chicken.

Tom Clark: You know your wife is watching this right now.

Dominic LeBlanc: Well and you know what? I’ve said to her that in our wonderful marriage and our wonderful relationship, the one question where the answer might not entirely be accurate is, ‘oh were you careful with what you ate? You didn’t have pizza at 10:30 with John McCallum surely? Why did you go to a Chinese buffet?’ Like all those—no, no I didn’t go to a Chinese buffet what are you talking about? I had sushi, right? So where would I lie Tom? It’s usually around bad eating habits.

Tom Clark: How long do you want to stay in politics for?

Dominic LeBlanc: You know what, for the first time ever, after the election, I started to ask myself that question. I had hoped to have a chance to be in government and to play a positive role in government. The prime minister’s given me that chance. You don’t want to overstay your welcome but you also want to be there long enough that you can make a difference. So in my mind, if we’re lucky enough to get re-elected, you know after you’ve been in government for a couple of terms, I think anybody who wouldn’t start to think of what else you want to do. I mean in two terms from now Tom, I’ll be sort of mid-50s, so 20, 30 years younger than you are. So that might be the time to get a pilot’s license.

Tom Clark: Made it.

Dominic LeBlanc: Pretty good. Is this the airport we took off from?

Tom Clark: This is the one in the same.

Dominic LeBlanc: Okay.

Tom Clark: Yeah.

Dominic LeBlanc: It’s bad that you get your plane out of the air museum though. That’s a bit alarming.

Tom Clark: [Laughs] Dominic LeBlanc, a pleasure having you on ‘Plane Talk’.

Dominic LeBlanc: You know what Tom? Thanks, I’ve been looking forward to this. We’ve been trying to find a time. It’s a great, great, great chance. Thank you.


Tom Clark: And on this Father’s Day, for all the fathers and those with fathers, that’s our show. Thanks for watching. I’m Tom Clark. Have a great week. We’ll see you here next Sunday.