So I was driving home this afternoon, after today’s aeronautical adventures (check-out in a new-to-me airplane), listening as one does to CBC Radio out of Vancouver. There was something weirdly familiar about the voices on the radio, and I couldn’t quite place them; I knew they were voices I hadn’t heard in a really long time, and the format was unlike anything I’d heard on any radio station in about as long, so I started paying closer attention, and then I realized what was going on: four people were talking about the inappropriateness of Lucien Bouchard advocating for Quebec as a member of the Prime Minister’s cabinet, and what this might mean for Meech Lake.
Around the point where I felt like I needed to make sure the year on my iPhone was in fact correct, Michael Enright showed up to point out that this was “Rewind,” CBC’s way of digging into its archives and pulling out interesting bits from the vault. Today’s show was a look back at the Morningside political panel featuring Eric Kierans, Dalton Camp, and Stephen Lewis, and that was the point where it all snapped into focus for me, why I knew the voices, and why the fourth voice was so familiar and yet managed to evoke some kind of weird longing in my brain — it was, of course, Peter Gzowski’s.
(As an aside, I really miss listening to Gzowski.)
I played the entire show through when I got home, and I was struck by how the conversation between Camp, Kierans and Lewis was so civilized — I mean, they started quoting Edmond Burke at one point! But it also felt like a relic from a bygone era; we can’t have this kind of thing anymore, because the world that spawned it doesn’t exist anymore. And maybe that’s a good thing; I’m not totally sure. People like me would complain that they represented the establishment view of Canadian politics, and that they were themselves too fungible, running the gamut from Red Toryism to Blue New Democrat (if you’re not from here, this is roughly like the distance between, say, the various candidates for the Republican Party nomination — it’s not a really meaningful difference, it’s more one of degree, except with less crazy). I probably would have also complained that the panel was too Triangle-centric, but I complain about that all the time. There’s not a lot of range there, and with a Parliament as divided as the one we have today, I’m not sure you could get away with such a narrow range of opinions. CBC’s still got political panels, but they are primarily journalists or political strategists now, and everyone’s got a partisan agenda they’re pushing, when they’re not looking at the inside-baseball stuff.
Regardless of whether this kind of thing would work today, it was a nice trip down memory lane. And did you know that CBC’s put a whole lot of archival stuff on-line for free? They did, and it’s fantastic. Got childhood memories of listening to stuff on the radio? Here it is. Go explore.