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Wednesday March 20th, 2019 with Ash Abraham and Olivia Robinson
Winter 2019 - Episode 6

A show producer’s most important role is worrying — will we have enough material? will we have too much? will our top story come in on time? will we lose the phone link to our reporter on a key “hit” from the field? Live broadcasting can be a wee bit stressful… Well, this show was three days after St. Patrick’s Day, we had a show producer named Patrick, and the luck of the Irish was on our side — even though we went on air with at least six stories still unfinished, including the one we’d intended to be the opener of this Wednesday’s edition of Midweek. A few quick — zoop zoop — changes in lineup as the intro theme played, and we were off and running with reporter Lisa Johnson, who’d been in the federal government’s budget lockup and had a roundup for us of what Justin Trudeau’s Liberals had announced as their spending plans heading into the coming election. We then had a look at how Ottawa Public Health hopes to help newcomers to Canada with mental health struggles, and a survey by Ontario’s ministry of training, colleges and universities on perceptions of what constitutes consent and violence in sexual situations. While our show was on air, post-secondary students across Ontario were walking out of class to protest against steps by Rob Ford’s provincial government that students say will make their lives harder and their institutions weaker. We had a backgrounder on the issue, and then reporter Astara van der Jagt called in with a live report from the ongoing student rally in the heart of Carleton University’s campus. Other stories brought insights into the plight of Venezuelans from an Ottawa woman with close family there, how Muslim students this year once again used Islam Awareness Week to counter hurtful stereotypes, and the tentative hope among some refugees in Ottawa now that Eritrea and Ethiopia have signed a peace treaty. High school students in the National Capital area rallied a few days before our show on Parliament Hill, and reporter Joshua Weinberger was on the scene. Likewise, reporter Ryan Curley went out in the cold to join Carleton business students taking part in the annual sleep-out in solidarity with the homeless. Olivia Robinson reported on the prospect for free transit in Ottawa, and Ash Abraham (who co-hosted this Midweek edition with Olivia) had the heartbreaking, neck-breaking story of the staggering number of birds hitting building windows in our city — and what can be done to lower the toll. Few may know that March 20 every year is International Day of Happiness (we have a story), but who could miss that the Sunday before our show was St. Paddy’s Day? We marked it with a musical documentary from reporter Dylan Parobec, who joined in a Ceilidh (KAY-lee) to learn what the annual celebration means to Ottawa’s Irish community, beyond the usual tropes of green beer and cheesy T-shirts. And as our show neared its close, we met two memorable characters: Andreas Souvaliotis, the author of an inspirational memoir entitled Misfit: autistic, gay, immigrant change-maker, who Midweek’s Levi Garber encountered at the Ottawa International Writers Festival… …and Archie, another sort of misfit who finally found a home. Katherine Lissitsa has that story, and it’s the last in the show. That’s all we’re going to say, except to add that it’s a great tail. Er, tale.
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