Episode 3 – Ayla

“It is very difficult for us to feel as citizens that we have a space to fight for something… I don’t feel like I can convince someone that this is worth fighting for and that is a horrible thing to have and I think that is really the root of the problem.”

Today, I’ve got my friend Ayla on the Stories Podcast. This was recorded two weeks ago, when the writs were issued and the election officially started, and all before the Trudeau brownface/blackface incident. Unfortunately, I got busy with work so I didn’t get the chance to edit the recording. We might have missed it, but I think our discussion is still important. We talked about racism in Canada, racism in our political culture, and the flaws of our party politics.

Ayla and I are friends from UofT, mostly through Demo Music Magazine, where we wrote articles, reviews, and essays about music. We knew each other and likely took the same classes in the political science/history sphere. Most of all, we bonded over our favourite band, Broken Social Scene.

This was a fun discussion because we just got to talk about music and politics. We started off right away talking about the Toronto music scene, concert venues in the city, and the challenges that the Toronto music culture is facing. Ayla argues that when we were at UofT – around 5 years ago – it was peak Toronto for music.

Ayla talked about growing up in the arts and slowly becoming more interested and involved in politics. She remembers watching Obama in the Iowa caucuses and his rise to the Presidency. She’s a veteran campaigner, having helped in Hillary Clinton’s, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s, and Michael Chong’s campaigns.

Most importantly for this particular moment, we talked about racism and party politics. Racism has and continues to be pervasive in Canada, and that includes our political culture. We talked about the difficulty in being involved with democracy because our political parties make it difficult. We need diversity in our politics and more representation from People of Colour, women, and Indigenous people.

But we definitely had to take some time to talk about music. We talked about how to feel about listening to Kanye and cancelling controversial artists, seeing the National live, Bon Iver’s musical evolution, as well as newly released albums.

And of course, we had to talk about our all-time favourite band, Broken Social Scene. We shared our favourite songs and discussed what their music means to us: that their music represents Toronto as home.

I was glad to do this episode and I am happy and thankful to Ayla for taking the time to come onto the podcast.