100 episodes

Conversations That Matter is a weekly news series hosted by veteran Canadian journalist Stuart McNish. He sits down with thought leaders from around the globe to dig into the issues that matter to Canadians.

Conversations That Matter Stuart McNish, Veteran Canadian Newsman

    • News Commentary
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Conversations That Matter is a weekly news series hosted by veteran Canadian journalist Stuart McNish. He sits down with thought leaders from around the globe to dig into the issues that matter to Canadians.

    Dawn Buschert: Greenhouse Farming

    Dawn Buschert: Greenhouse Farming

    May 29, 2020
    Ep 297 - Greenhouse Farming
    Guest: Dawn Buschert
     
    Fresh beautiful veggies from a well managed greenhouse are a delicious and nutritious addition to your table. Producing these vegetables is hard and detailed work. As a result, farmers need to charge more for their produce. Therein lies a significant challenge: will wholesalers support those prices? Will consumers?
     
    In Canada, there are a number of producers who sell their products into the well established food supply system. When they sell into the system, they are competing with vegetables from California and Mexico, where they are grown in significant quantities. The price the farmer is paid fluctuates based on the market supply.
     
    For some farmers, that price won’t support the cost of their operations, which leaves them with few options. Either they stop farming or they opt out of the system and sell directly to consumers. For some consumers, these products are highly sought after because the product is delivered from farm to table and isn’t touched by so many hands.
     
    Farmers markets play host to a number of producers who have decided to grow, package and sell their products. It’s also a lot more work. In addition to nurturing the plants to maturity, the farmer needs to design and source packaging. They also need to complete the packing process and transport them to the market. Once there, they need to set up their site and sell. As Dawn Buschert of Shirley’s Greenhouses says, “It’s a lot of work but for us, because we are small, it is the only way we can survive financially. We can’t produce at a rate that competes with imported prices.”
     
    We invited Ms. Buschert to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the work of operating a greenhouse in Canada and why it is important that she and others take on the arduous task of complementing the food supply system.
     
    Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Morris J Wosk Centre 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 

    • 22 min
    Mark Milke: Western Alienation

    Mark Milke: Western Alienation

    Ep 296 - Western Alienation
    Guest: Mark Milke
     
    Alberta and the prairie provinces have been hammered like everyone else by the shutdown of their economy by the coronavirus. It is another blow to an already beleaguered region. Oil and gas revenues tanked over the past few years when the price of a barrel of oil plunged.
     
    Add in a chorus of voices, both domestically and internationally, calling for the demise of the Canadian energy sector and the current federal government’s mixed messages about the development of resources in Alberta in particular.
     
    The combination of hits fueled feelings of alienation and growing support for separation. Premier Jason Kenny, in reading the mood of Albertans, commissioned the “Fair Deal Panel” in an attempt to get feedback on ideas that would provide Alberta with greater control of its destiny.
     
    Then in the midst of the pandemic that is affecting the entire country, Green Party outgoing leader Elizabeth May warned the Prime Minister to not put money into supporting the oil and gas sector because, as she put it, the industry is dead.
     
    All indications are that Ms. May is wrong. The Energy Information Administration says the demand for oil will remain strong for decades to come. Her comments and those of the Bloc Quebecois leader are one of the many elements fueling a growing interest among Albertans to leave Canada.
     
    We invited Mark Milke to join us for a Conversation That Matters about Alberta and the western provinces’ contributions to Canada and how to find a path back to a calmer relationship. This is the first in a series of interviews focusing on alienation and a push toward separation by Alberta that will be published on the Conversations That Matter YouTube channel.
     
    Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Morris J Wosk Centre 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 
     

    • 22 min
    Murray Leith: Investment Uncertainty

    Murray Leith: Investment Uncertainty

    Ep 295 - Investment Uncertainty
    Guest: Murray Leith
     
    The stock market plunged and now it’s rebounding. Is that an indication that the economy will do the same? Or are the markets acting in a hopeful manner? Or are they a reflection of opportunists trying to capitalize? Or not! Those who are fortunate enough to have money in investments are watching the swings and asking themselves, “What do I do?”
     
    If you have money in the market, you may very well be asking, “Do I hang on, or do I sell this stock and buy another one? Do I get out of the market now and take a wait and see attitude?’  The questions are many and the answers are varied.
     
    Murray Leith is the Executive Vice President and Director of Investment research at Odlum Brown’s he says, “Quality companies are essential to a well rounded portfolio, they provide stability.” However, wild fluctuations create opportunities and capitalizing on those opportunities requires an in-depth understanding of how markets function. Leith says, “There’s a real tough trade-off in markets where out-of-favour stocks sometimes get so cheap  and so hated that they can do well as stocks, even while the business struggles. They can go from hated to just disliked and in doing so jump 50% in value.”
     
    Leith goes on to say in the past, that strategy has proven to be successful. But he says, “The underlying fundamentals of the market were different then than they are now.” He says you need to have a long term strategy that takes into account the economic backdrop and what types of companies you want to invest in.
     
    We invited Murray Leith to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the state of the investment world, its relationship to the economy and how to proceed if you are in a position to invest.
     
    Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Morris J Wosk Centre 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 

    • 22 min
    Dr Mark Mullins: The Era of the Safety State

    Dr Mark Mullins: The Era of the Safety State

    May 8, 2020
    Ep 294 - The Era of the Safety State
    Guest: Dr Mark Mullins
     
    In a matter of weeks, our lives have been turned upside down. Amid one of the strongest financial rallies ever, suddenly everything changed when it became clear the coronavirus was spreading around the world, killing hundreds of thousands of people. As of May 5, 2020, “Worldometer” reports that more than three million cases have been reported and 253,000 people have died.
     
    The spread of the virus also spread fear. That fear may, in the short term and likely into the long term, be even more significant than the virus itself, according to Dr. Mark Mullins of  Veras Inc., an expert on global markets, macro investing and public policy. “In the same way that 9/11 was a one-day event that triggered an endless global war on terrorism and the rise of the security state,” Mullins says, “the social and political response to the pandemic is ushering in the era of the safety state - a fundamental change and a response to today’s complete breakdown of social trust and stability.”
     
    Mullins goes on to say, “The crisis moment will dissipate with time but the safety state will continue, bolstered by permanent policy actions and the barnacle-like development of new institutions, technologies, and social habits.”
     
    We invited Dr. Mark Mullins to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the shape of our world during and after this once-in-a-century public health crisis and how the aftershocks will last much longer than the virus.
     
    Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Morris J Wosk Centre 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

    • 22 min
    Julaine Treur: In Udder News

    Julaine Treur: In Udder News

    Ep 293 - In Udder News
    Guest: Julaine Treur
     
    Over the past 70 years, there has been a silent exodus from farming in North America. In the United States, the number of farmers fell from 30 million to less than 3 million between 1950 and 1980. The reasons are many: the allure of the city, the bone numbing and exhausting work in an ever and challenging landscape, crop failures, weather conditions, poor market prices, lack of access to farm workers.
     
    Today, we may be witnessing a small and slow reversal of that trend - a trend that, in part, is motivated by dedicated farmers like the Truer family. “We love it,” says Julaine Treur. “Farming was in my blood, it was in my husband’s blood but our families had moved away from the farm. We decided to return to dairy farming and we couldn’t be happier.”
     
    A visit to Creekside Dairy makes farming appear idyllic; it is only so because the Truer’s make farming look easy. That in itself is difficult to do. Central to their success is their passion for their work, their animals and for their place in Canada’s food supply system.
     
    A system that is under intense scrutiny - according to the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, “As of last year, only one in three Canadians believe our food system is headed in the right direction.”
     
    The top issues of concern are a rise in the cost of food (especially healthy food), coupled with rising health care costs, rising energy costs and the safety of food imported from elsewhere. Then add in climate change, the treatment of animals and concerns about an ample supply of food.
     
    We invited Julaine Truer of Creekside Dairy to join us for a Conversation That Matters about her and her family’s approach to farming and why she believes that Canada has an exceptional food security and supply system.
     
    Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Morris J Wosk Centre 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 
     

    • 29 min
    Dr Scott Lear: Chronic Health and Covid - 19

    Dr Scott Lear: Chronic Health and Covid - 19

    Ep 292 - Chronic Health and COVID-19
    Guest: Dr Scott Lear
     
    The coronavirus pandemic is exposing how poorly we manage patients with chronic diseases. According to Dr Scott Lear, a Professor of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University, “This is because the system relies on the unnecessary requirement of having patients attend hospital clinics for treatment, instead of using ubiquitous communications technology.”
     
    Lear says, “Approximately 12.8 million Canadians have a chronic disease and more than half of them have two or more. On any given day, hundreds of these patients go to hospitals for clinics, simple physician consultations and rehabilitation sessions.” But he stresses, “Hospitals are the last place they should be. And this is now being recognized as hospitals across Canada have stopped all clinic visits due to the coronavirus crisis.”
     
    Why, you ask, does the system function this way – especially in a digitally connected world?  Lear says, “Our healthcare system is a late adopter. It was designed more than fifty years ago when people were either cured or died in hospital.” He goes on to say the entire system has hung onto outdated models including billing. 
     
    “The coronavirus pandemic is a call to action for the Canadian healthcare system. Adversity brings with it challenge but also innovation,” says Lear. He goes on to say, “Coming out of this crisis, this crisis is showing us there are better ways to care for patients with chronic diseases. And once over, we must resist the urge to go back to business as usual.”
     
    We invited Dr. Scott Lear of the Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the potential benefit to our healthcare system now that COVID-19 has forced the system to adapt to one where chronic care patients may never have to step into a hospital again.
     
    Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Morris J Wosk Centre 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 

    • 22 min

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