Filmmaker Michael Moore says Toronto's trash part of Flint's environmental woes

TORONTO -- It couldn't be a busier time for firebrand filmmaker Michael Moore.

Between his new documentary "Where to Invade Next," the U.S.

See Full Article

presidential race and a crisis in his hometown of Flint, Mich., the outspoken activist has no shortage of causes to champion or scandals to denounce.

But on one recent afternoon, he's reached by phone at his home in New York, resting.

A recent bout with pneumonia landed him in intensive care, forcing him to cancel a slew of promotional stints on the TV talk show circuit, the Berlin Film Festival and "this fantasy of hopping the train and going across Canada" in advance of Friday's release of "Where to Invade Next." Moore plays the role of "invader" as he visits several countries to steal ideas for improving the U.S. education, labour and justice systems.

During an interview with The Canadian Press, the Oscar-winning director sounded off on a range of topics including the U.S. primaries ("We're inside of a big clown car right now"); his disdain for mobile streaming ("Whatever you're watching on an iPhone is not a movie") and thoughts on his own mortality ("You could not be here a few minutes from now").

And Canada's supposed culpability in Flint's water disaster. It didn't take long for Moore to implicate Toronto in Michigan's environmental woes. He warned that the contaminated water crisis in his hometown of Flint -- where lead from corroded pipes leaked into the city's drinking water -- is everybody's problem.

The Canadian Press: These stories out of Flint are stunning and heartbreaking.

Michael Moore: No one's immune from it and everyone's responsible. Think about this. All the trash and crap that people in Toronto throw away every day, that ends up in Flint, Mich., you know. There's truck after truck after truck, every hour of every day coming across the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ont., to dump the garbage of Toronto in landfills in and around Flint. That's not even in the discussion of what's going on. Just like so many other things aren't being discussed in how Nestle is pumping out all the free, fresh water they can out of the ground (in Michigan) to bottle into what they call Ice Mountain water.

I mean, in a way, a lot of people here don't even know they're culpable.... If you're throwing out the trash tonight in Toronto, you're contributing to the poisoning of Flint, Michigan. And I'd like to have a discussion about that.

CP: How should the trash be treated?

Moore: The trash has to be dealt with in Canada. If it's produced by Canadians, if it's produced by people in a town, the people in the town have got to figure that out. Look, it's not just a problem for Toronto or Canada, it's everybody's problem. It's a worldwide problem.

You really have to be responsible for your own (crap). I mean isn't that one of the basic (things)? It's like the golden rule.

CP: "Where To Invade Next" includes stops in Italy, France, Finland and Slovenia. Why didn't you stop in Canada?

Moore: I always somehow find a way to bring Canada into my movies so I thought I would take a break. (Laughs) I knew I was going to do this movie at some point because I'd been thinking about how other countries do things for a very long time.... But in your last general election -- not the one where (Justin) Trudeau (won), but the one before that -- I wanted to film as one of my examples how you do your elections compared to ours.

So the election season goes five to eight weeks, a member of Parliament is limited to a very small amount of money to spend, the CBC provides equal time for the five parties that qualify.... But most importantly what I liked was the fact that in many places ... you guys have always voted with a No. 2 pencil on a white piece of paper. It's so basic and so simple and so not corruptible....

It was just a time thing. Maybe I'll use it with another election thing some other time. I don't know. I always have lots of Canadian ideas going on in my head.

CP: What do you think of the diversity debate surrounding the Oscars?

Moore: I support Spike Lee and Jada Smith and others, who have decided to boycott it.... Something's really wrong. It's not so much wrong with the Oscars, it's really about the industry itself. I belong to the directors' guild, I belong to the writers' guild, and I forgot what the statistic was but I think like 74 per cent of the directors' guild are white men and I think it's higher in the writers' guild.

So it's an issue with race and it's an issue with women. And it has to get fixed. The audience is the loser in this case because if you don't allow large chunks of the population the access, the ability to tell their stories, then we're missing out on some great stories, you know. I plan to be more active in trying to fix that.

CP: Are you boycotting the Oscars?

Moore: I chose not to go and I won't be watching.

In part, I've got other things that I'm going to be doing. I'm helping, at least from a distance ... Ava DuVernay and Ryan Coogler and other African Americans who are coming to Flint on Sunday to do a benefit and a thing for the people in Flint. They're going to live stream it so you could watch it anywhere and that's how they've chosen to spend Oscar night, is in Flint, Michigan....

I wouldn't say so much that there are some of us boycotting the Oscars, I believe that the Oscars have boycotted our fellow African Americans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and condensed



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Tom Cruise was 'rabid' because he felt 'persecuted' over Scientology beliefs: Studio exec 

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Tom Cruise was infuriated with a Paramount Pictures executive he believed was attacking his Scientologist faith during the studio boss’ 2003 divorce. From 1992 to 2006 Cruise, 54, and Paramount had a lucrative partnership agreement, with their relationship resulting in major hits including the Mission: Impossible franchise and Steven Spielberg’s version of War of the Worlds. Source
  • 'Personal Shopper' review: Kristen Stewart otherworldly

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Director Olivier Assayas’s bizarre but transfixing Personal Shopper is not something that lends itself to a simple description. Loosely, it’s about a young artist, Maureen (Kristen Stewart), who is coping (poorly) with the recent death of her twin brother Lewis while working as a personal shopper for a demanding Somebody in Paris. Source
  • Ex-Boston drummer Sib Hashian, 67, dies on 'Legends of Rock Cruise'

    Entertainment CTV News
    NASHVILLE -- John "Sib" Hashian, former drummer for the arena rock band Boston, died on board a cruise ship Wednesday. He was 67. His son, Adam Hashian, said Thursday a cause of death had not yet been determined. Source
  • Boston drummer Sib Hashian dies on cruise ship

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Former Boston drummer Sib Hashian has died after collapsing on stage. Doctors were unable to revive the 67-year-old rocker, real name John Thomas Hashian, after he collapsed on Wednesday, while performing on a ship taking tourists on a Caribbean cruise. Source
  • Female-led 'Spider-Man' spinoff to feature Black Cat, Silver Sable

    Entertainment CTV News
    A new film is in the works that will center on two female characters in the Spider-Man universe: Silver Sable and Black Cat. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the spin-off will be penned by screenwriter Chris Yost, whose credits include the upcoming Marvel film "Thor: Ragnarok" and the animated series for "Wolverine" and "X-Men. Source
  • 'Iron Fist' an epic fail with viewers, critics

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — If your web connection seems sluggish while you’re watching “Iron Fist,” don’t blame your internet provider. The problem is the listless pace of this new Netflix series. But such languor isn’t the only failing of this latest offering from the Marvel factory, judging from critical pans and fan unrest since the 13-episode season was unveiled last week. Source
  • 'Power Rangers' review: New movie like The Breakfast Club with superpowers [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    How do you approach a big-screen reboot of a superhero franchise like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, whose original ‘90s audience was barely in grade school at the time? Simple. You grow up with that audience and give it the CW treatment. Source
  • Drake gets Sade's portrait tattooed on his ribs

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Rapper Drake has cemented his love for soul star Sade by having her portrait tattooed onto his body. The Hotline Bling hitmaker surprised fans on Monday by sharing a photo of himself hanging out with the reclusive British singer backstage at his final London tour stop. Source
  • Emma Thompson declined Trump Tower invite prior to Trump's presidency

    Entertainment CTV News
    HELSINKI -- British actress Emma Thompson says she once turned down an offer by Donald Trump to stay at the Trump Tower, years before he became the U.S. president. Speaking on a Scandinavian TV show, Thompson said that while filming the 1998 film "Primary Colors," the phone in her trailer rang and the voice on the other end said, "Hi, it's Donald Trump here. Source
  • Kristi Yamaguchi tweets 'break a leg' to Nancy Kerrigan

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A good luck tweet from Kristi Yamaguchi to former Olympic figure skating teammate Nancy Kerrigan is drawing online attention. Kerrigan is competing on the current season of "Dancing with the Stars. Source