Rafe Mair is a Vancouver radio talk-show host, having the 8:30am to 11:00am spot on CKNW 980AM. He was born in Vancouver, went to law school and practiced law in Vancouver and Kamloops, BC, before being elected to the British Columbia Legislature. While in the Bill Bennett Social Credit cabinet, he served as the Minister of Consumer Services, Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Environment, Minister responsible for the Constitution and, lastly, Health.
He joined CKNW in 1984, hosting programs all over the day. In 1988, he took on the weekday morning show and has hosted it ever since. The most frequent topic of conversation is politics, be it politics in BC, Canada (federally speaking), or international. He has guests from all walks of political life. Michael Smyth and Vaughn Palmer, BC newspaper political columnists, are weekly guests. He often has members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) visit him in studio or call in from Victoria, in response to current issues. He invites federal politicians to talk on his show, which some have done, especially in times of an election.
His shows follow a pretty standard format. He will begin with a ten or fifteen minute editorial, in which he will express his opinion on the topic of the day and his reasons for his opinions. Recent topics have been the fish farms on the BC Coast, to which he is vehemently opposed, the 2001 BC provincial election and the refusal of the Speaker of the House to allow the BC NDP to form the Official Opposition**, and BC union woes. After his editorial, he will invite calls from the listening public on any topic, most of which end up being on the topic of the editorial. He will then speak with his guest(s), more often than not on a political issue, although recently he has been having environmentalists on the show to discuss BC fish farms and whaling. The audience can call in to talk to the guests, and so it goes.
A topic which Rafe continually pushes is that of depression. He went through some serious depression a few years ago and, after medical diagnosis, was put on medications to help. Since then, he has had guests on his show about clinical depression and tries to take some of the social stigma away from the illness.
One thing that always strikes me about Rafe Mair when listening to his show is that he does try to be fair and allow all sides of an argument. True, sometimes he does get a bit carried away, but his show is mostly editorial and therefore opinion. I like it.
His show is carried on www.cknw.com, in the audio archive between 8:36am and 11:00am PST. It's a great way to keep up to date on BC politics and local goings-on.
**The BC NDP hold 2 of the 79 seats in the legislature. The BC Liberals hold the remaining 77. House rules state that to be an official party, a party needs 4 seats. The Speaker has said that this means they cannot be the official opposition. Rafe says that British Parliamentary tradition, which Canadian legislatures follow, gives the status of the official opposition to the party with the second largest number of seats, and accuses the Speaker of the House of playing politics, while he is supposed to be non-partisan. But this is a topic for another node.