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The House: Budget flap, new divorce laws, and brainwashing

The Story


Liberal Finance Minister Marc Lalonde has just announced the date for the 1984 federal budget, and Progressive Conservative opposition leader Brian Mulroney is furious. It's the "chicanery and trickery of the Liberal Party," Mulroney charges: budget day is scheduled smack in the middle of Mulroney's European trip. But Lalonde begs to differ. This episode of The House also features segments on a massive overhaul of divorce laws and the government's belated efforts to get restitution for Canadians caught up in a CIA brainwashing experiment.

Medium: Radio
Program: The House
Broadcast Date: Jan. 28, 1984
Guests: Doris Anderson, Shirley Carr, Charles Cole, Tom D'Aquino, Holly Harris, Fran Keightley, Marc Lalonde, Allan Lawrence, Allan MacEachen, Mark MacGuigan, Charles MacMillian, Brian Mulroney, David Orlikow, John Reid, Svend Robinson, Evita Roche, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, William Turner, Bob White, Valerie Whitlam
Host: Denise Rudnicki
Reporter: Brian Kelleher
Duration: 48:47

Did You know?


• Also featured in this week's episode of The House, Finance Minister Marc Lalonde picks a different fight with Brian Mulroney over comments made while Mulroney was in private business. On the floor of the House Lalonde questioned Mulroney's sincerity, saying that the leader of the opposition had previously lobbied his office for policies favouring the rich at the expense of the unemployed. That spat simmered for a number of days, with members on both sides weighing in during question period. The House captures the conclusion to the story as Lalonde formally apologizes to Mulroney.

• In 1984, Pierre Trudeau's peace initiative took the prime minister to Davos, Switerland for the European Management Forum on International Security and Economic Recovery. Today, that annual event held in Davos is known as the World Economic Forum. Initiated in 1971, Davos came to worldwide notice only in the late 1990s and early 2000s when protesters tried to gain access to the high-powered meetings of leading political and business figures.

• The divorce legislation discussed in this clip was given royal assent in 1985. The act changed the grounds for divorce to create a broad category referred to as simply marriage breakdown, with no-fault grounds available to the parties. Another significant change included the provision that couples could file for divorce jointly. This made it possible for uncontested divorces to proceed more efficiently through the system and avoid any appearance in court. Previously, all divorce decrees required a trial held before a judge.

• The availability of fault and no-fault grounds for divorce, established by the divorce law passed in 1968, were maintained in this new law. 

• The final report in this edition of The House is on  the creation of the Canadian Labour Market and Productivity Centre (later called the Canadian Labour and Business Centre).  Heard on this are Shirley Carr, Tom d'Aquino, Marc Lalonde, Charles McMillan, Robert White, 

• The brainwashing experiments discussed in this clip were conducted by American doctor Ewan Cameron at McGill University's renowned Allen Memorial Institute in the 1950s and 1960s. It was part of a larger project by the U.S. CIA's Cold War mind-control research program called MK-ULTRA. In 1988, nine Canadians received nearly $67,000 US compensation from the CIA. The Canadian government, which provided some funding for the project, also compensated some victims in 2007.


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