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April 13, 2010

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Unravelling be-gavellings. Quebec Premier Jean Charest is hammered by allegations that the Liberal Party influenced judge selection in his province.

He dreamed of Genie. The director of Polytechnique on winning nine of Canada's top cinema awards -- and about as many audience members for his film.

Sino things to come. When a state-owned Chinese company buys a big chunk of Alberta oil sands action, it may be just the start of a dubious friendship.

Could be bad news for catlover78. Two Halifax firefighters say they've been defamed online -- and they want their anonymous critics revealed.

The apples of their "Nays" become the apples of their "Ayes". After a ninety-year feud, Australia changes its core values a certain tree-fruit from New Zealand.

And...hare trigger. Months after a roof collapses at a Swedish rabbit show, a whole bunch of surprise pregnancies show the beleaguered bunnies got off easy.

As It Happens, the Tuesday edition. Radio that is fruitful, and multiplies.


QUEBEC INFLUENCE ALLEGATIONS Duration: 00:07:10

Political scandals can be the death of governments. So Quebec's premier is acting quickly to try to defuse the bomb dropped on his government yesterday.

Jean Charest has called a public inquiry to investigate allegations that political donations influenced the selection of judges. The claim was made by his former Justice Minister Marc Bellemare. In a phone interview with Alain Gravel, the host of the Radio-Canada programme "Enquète", Mr. Bellemare said that he had appointed three judges due to pressure from Liberal party fundraisers. And he says that Premier Charest knew.

We reached Alain Gravel in Montreal.


FTR: CHAREST INQUIRY Duration: 00:02:51

As you've already heard, Quebec's premier has wasted no time reacting to the allegations. During today's press conference in which he announced the inquiry, Jean Charest categorically denied the claim. He also threatened to sue Mr. Bellemare if he did not retract the allegations.

However, his protestations did not prevent some members of the assembled media from questioning the premier's political future -- particularly in light of the fact that these allegations follow others involving the government's involvement with the province's construction industry. Here is a part of one exchange the premier had with Globe and Mail journalist Rheal Seguin, and CTV reporter John Grant, for the record.


TRAIN STATION LULLABY Duration: 00:00:29

Album:UPHILL CITY/I AM ROBOT AND PROUD

Label:DARLA, DRL215-2

Persons/Roles:
SHAW-HAN LIEM - COMPOSER
I AM ROBOT AND PROUD - POP GROUP

CHINA OILSANDS Duration: 00:08:13

Alberta's black gold turned a shade more red this week.

A Chinese, state-owned company called "Sinopec" offered to buy a nine per cent share in Syncrude Canada Limited -- a producer in the province's oilsands region. China is willing to pay just over four-and-a-half billion dollars U.S. If accepted, the offer could become China's biggest investment in a Canadian resource, ever.

Yuen Pau Woo says this deal is tip of the iceberg. He's the president and chief executive officer of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. We reached him today in Vancouver.


ROAD HOCKEY Duration: 00:00:28

Album:THREE HENS ESCAPE OBLIVION/FAFARD, JOEL

Label:CUSTOM, JFI-3

Persons/Roles:
JOEL FAFARD - COMPOSER
JOEL FAFARD - GUITAR
JOEL FAFARD - PRODUCER

FTR: ANDRE ARTHUR Duration: 00:02:41

When Helena Guergis returns to the House of Commons, she may need someone to give her some directions to her new seat. That's because, after years of sitting just behind the Prime Minister, Ms. Guergis will now be relegated to the back benches -- the really, really back benches. If the House were a sports arena, she'd be in what's called "the nosebleed section".

She is no longer a member of the Conservatives, and will be sitting as an independent Member of Parliament. Her new seat is Number 153 -- right beside another independent MP, the outspoken André Arthur from Quebec.

Yesterday, Mr. Arthur spoke with the CBC's Mark Appolonio, on the Quebec City afternoon show "Breakaway". Here is part of that conversation, for the record:


SANTO DOMINGO Duration: 00:00:27

Album:11:11/RODRIGO Y GABRIELA

Label:ATO, ATO0080

Persons/Roles:
GABRIELA QUINTERO - COMPOSER
RODRIGO SANCHEZ - COMPOSER
RODRIGO Y GABRIELA - GUITAR DUO
RODRIGO SANCHEZ - PRODUCER

SCR: THIEF'S ANKLE BRACLET Duration: 00:01:54

When it comes to criminals, most of us do more tut-tutting than empathizing. But sometimes their dumb exploits and our dumb exploits dovetail, and we can kind of appreciate what it's like to be in their shoes.

For example, a lot of us have learned the hard way that just because you chuck something out of the driver or passenger-side window of your car doesn't mean that something will end up on the side of the road. Anyone who has tossed a well-masticated wad of chewing gum out of a window at high speed only to spend hours extracting it from the upholstery of the back seat knows what I mean.

So it's easy to imagine how two young men from Winnipeg are feeling right about now.

The young men in question are two of the city's worst car thieves -- worst in the sense that they've got a long history of this sort of crime, and also in the sense that they're not very good at it. Both boys are required to wear ankle bracelets -- you know, the kind that lets the cops track your position The kind that set off alarms if you try to remove them. Which is exactly what the two boys did last week -- right after taking off in a stolen Ford Focus.

My guess is that they probably felt pretty good about themselves when they first managed to cut through those ankle bracelets. And no doubt their mood lightened further still when they tossed that unwanted jewellery out the passenger window. They were probably giddy with freedom, and blaring "Life Is A Highway" on the stereo.

Well, if life is a highway, theirs suddenly developed a huge sinkhole. Because one of those ankle bracelets went out the front window, and right into the back. Which is how the police tracked them down.

Whenever the thieves are released, they won't likely use their car windows as receptacles ever again. And they'll spend the rest of their lives flinching every time someone talks about a "window of opportunity".


CLOSING

And now the news is about to politely nudge us aside. But we'll equally politely elbow our way back in in just a few minutes, with more As It Happens. When we return:

An embarrassment of Richard. Former diplomat Richard Colvin takes the stand again in Ottawa -- and provides more damning testimony.

Very nearly the crack of doom. Arctic researchers have to choose sides, when a fissure opens up in the ice right under their tent.

Tuning out. When Islamic militants outlaw music on Somali radio, one station opts to play a bunch of noise.

Stay tuned. I'm CO.

And I'm DJ.


RETURN BILLS Duration: 00:00:50

Hello again, I'm CO.

And I'm DJ. This is As It Happens, Part Two.

Coming up:

The director of the Genie-award-winning Polytechnique on last night's triumph -- and the failures of the movie's distribution.

And after being the targets of negative comments online, two Halifax firefighters seek a positive I.D. on their tormentors.

Those stories are still to come on As It Happens.


FTR COLVIN MPCC Duration: 00:03:51

Ottawa is not renowned as the sort of town that values understatement. Grandstanding and posturing are the stock in trade of the political arts. This is why Richard Colvin presents such a stark contrast from the usual cast of characters that make it into political headlines.

Mr Colvin was a senior Canadian diplomat posted in Afghanistan from April 2006 to October 2007. Last fall, he calmly and carefully testified before a special committee of the House of Commons. The committee is looking into allegations that detainees handed over by Canadian forces to the Afghans were abused. What Mr. Colvin said about that abuse ignited a firestorm of controversy that's been burning ever since.

Since his testimony, more has come to light about Canada's relationship with its Afghan ally. The latest revelations involve the connection between the Canadian Forces and the former Governor of Kandahar, Asadullah Khalid. Last night, we heard from the Globe and Mail's Graeme Smith. He described the activities of Governor Khalid's personal militia, Brigade 888. He also pointed to the close working relationship Canadian forces maintained with the governor.

And today, CBC News revealed that in 2007, the then-U.N. Deputy Representative to Afghanistan, Canadian Christopher Alexander, alleged that Asadullah Khalid had ordered the deaths of five United Nations workers in a bombing.

With these revelations as a backdrop, Richard Colvin returned today to the nation's capital. This time, it was to testify before the Military Police Complaints Commission. He repeated many of his previous allegations about the mistreatment of detainees. And in his subdued style, he confirmed many of the worst allegations against Asadullah Khalid. For the record, here is Richard Colvin being questioned by Commission lawyer Ron Lunau earlier today in Ottawa.


CASSANDRA'S WALTZ Duration: 00:00:22

Album:EDGAR MEYER & CHRIS THILE/EDGAR MEYER & CHRIS THILE

Label:NONESUCH

Persons/Roles:
EDGAR MEYER - COMPOSER
CHRIS THILE - COMPOSER
EDGAR MEYER - DOUBLE BASS
CHRIS THILE - MANDOLIN

POLYTECHNIQUE DIRECTOR Duration: 00:06:32

Put up your hand if you've seen the film that swept the Genie Awards last night. Hmm. I don't see many hands in the air.

Well, regardless of the audience it reached, Polytechnique -- a dramatization of the Montreal Massacre -- took nine Genies, including one for best picture. And Denis Villeneuve took home the prize for best direction. We reached him in Montreal.


IF I ONLY Duration: 00:00:13

Album:DO MAKE SAY THINK/DO MAKE SAY THINK

Label:CUSTOM

Persons/Roles:
OHAD BENCHETRIT - COMPOSER
JASON MACKENZIE - COMPOSER
DAVE MITCHELL - COMPOSER
JAMES PAYMENT - COMPOSER
JUSTIN SMALL - COMPOSER
CHARLES SPEARIN - COMPOSER
DO MAKE SAY THINK - POP GROUP

ARCTIC ICE CRACK Duration: 00:06:00

In Leonard Cohen's song "Anthem", he sings that "there's a crack in everything -- that's how the light gets in." Typically wise words from the Canadian poet. But they don't apply to everyone. Take members of the Catlin Arctic Survey for example. They recently discovered that there were indeed cracks in everything. But those cracks nearly let more than just the light in.

Ann Daniels is the leader of the Catlin Arctic Survey expedition. We reached Ms. Daniels -- or "Arctic Annie" as she's sometimes known -- by satellite phone from the Arctic.


L'ÉTOILE (FEAT. MAX THE SAX) Duration: 00:00:13

Album:COCO, PT 1/PAROV STELAR

Label:HIGH NOTE

Persons/Roles:
PAROV STELAR - COMPOSER
PAROV STELAR - PERFORMER

SC/MUSIC: SWEDISH RABBIT SHOW Duration: 00:02:26

There is a myth that birth rates go up after blackouts. This myth seems to have been created by none other than the New York Times, which published several articles, about nine months after the 1965 blackout, claiming that an unusual number of babies were arriving. It wasn't true -- the slight increase in births was just a normal fluctuation. But the myth took root. Probably because we like to believe that, in extremis, people band together in a celebration of the indomitability of the human spirit. And that they do it naked.

Time and again, it has been proven that that's not the case. And what's especially shaming about it is that there's another species that does bravely and erotically rage against the dying of the light. It's rabbits.

In February, the city of Nyköping, Sweden, held the country's premier rabbit show. One-thousand, six-hundred-and-forty-eight fancy rabbits were on display, and competing for various prizes of leporine excellence. Well, the rabbits weren't actively competing. They were just sitting there. Which did not stand them in good stead when the roof of the Rosvalla tennis hall collapsed under the weight of snow.

Since the collapse happened at 1:30 in the morning, no humans were injured. And it's not clear how many rabbits were lost. But it is clear that the rabbits who survived refused to succumb to sorrow. It's clear now, at least -- because dozens of breeders who were at the show are finding themselves with a whole lot of rabbit babies on their hands. Babies that are the progeny of various exotic purebreds, conceived in defiance of danger.

According to one breeder, "They made new friends and they became a bit aroused by the incident."

Now, rabbits have a reputation for this kind of thing. But we can draw two surprising conclusions from this story. First, that rabbits would really enjoy the movie "Crash". The car-accident one, not the racism one. And second, that humans could learn a thing or two about rising to the occasion from rabbits. Because when a real emergency hit, they didn't just give up. Instead, they jumped to a different conclusion.

And now, The Sadies, with "Lil Cottontail".


LIL COTTONTAIL Duration: 00:01:24

Album:PRECIOUS MOMENTS/SADIES

Label:BLOODSHOT, BS 034

Persons/Roles:
MIKE BELITSKY - COMPOSER
SEAN DEAN - COMPOSER
DALLAS GOOD - COMPOSER
TRAVIS GOOD - COMPOSER
SADIES - POP GROUP

INVERSION Duration: 00:00:20

Album:VERSION/RONSON, MARK

Label:SONY BMG, 88697080032

Persons/Roles:
MARK RONSON - COMPOSER
MARK RONSON - INSTRUMENTALS
MARK RONSON - PRODUCER

INT INTERNET ANON POSTINGS Duration: 00:05:49

People say all kinds of things on the Internet that they'd never say to a person's face, or in any other public place. There's something positively luxurious about mouthing off under a veil of anonymity.

Tomorrow, a lawyer plans to ask the Nova Scotia Supreme Court to strip away that veil. Her clients -- the Chief and Deputy Chief of the Halifax Fire Department -- believe they've been defamed on a newspaper website. And their lawyer says she can't file a defamation suit until she has the names of the people who said nasty things about her clients.

We reached Michelle Awad in Halifax.


HOLM Duration: 00:00:15

Album:TRILOGI/FREDRIK

Label:THE KORA RECORDS

Persons/Roles:
FREDRICK - COMPOSER
FREDRICK - POP GROUP

OBIT: MICHEL CHARTRAND Duration: 00:04:07

A lion in Quebec's labour movement has died. Michel Chartrand has passed away, at the age of ninety-three.

Michel Chartrand made a name for himself as a separatist, and as a fighter for a range of social and political causes. A natural leader and talented orator, with a history of volatile outbursts, Mr. Chartrand spent much of the last century trying to make Quebec a more just society. For his efforts, he was beloved by the public, and feared by politicians.

He was born in Montreal in December of 1916, the thirteenth of fourteen children. In 1998, at the age of eighty-one, he ran as an independent candidate for the Quebec legislature against Premier Lucien Bouchard.

At that time, he was featured in a documentary produced by Luanna Boulanger, which aired in November of that year. Here is an excerpt of that documentary.


AT HOME Duration: 00:00:15

Album:FILMOTHEQUE/LEMONGRASS

Label:LEMONGRASS MUSIC

Persons/Roles:
ROLAND VOSS - COMPOSER
LEMONGRASS - PERFORMER

INT AUS/NZ APPLES Duration: 00:06:36

There is strong competition between Australia and New Zealand. For decades, Aussies and Kiwis have fought fiercely over bragging rights in cricket and rugby? and don't get them started on the origins of the ANZAC biscuit. But what is perhaps less well-known is the effect that the common apple has had on the two countries' relations.

Since 1921, Australia has banned the import of New Zealand's apples. But that may all be about to change.

Ian Palmer owns an apple orchard in New Zealand, and is also the chair of the country's "pipfruit" industry board of directors. We reached Mr. Palmer in Motueka, New Zealand.


GET YOUR GOOD DRESS ALICE Duration: 00:00:16

Album:SOUNDTRACK/CREAKING TREE STRING QUARTET

Label:CUSTOM, ABJ 0303

Persons/Roles:
ANDREW COLLINS - COMPOSER
BRIAN KOBAYAKAWA - COMPOSER
CREAKING TREE STRING QUARTET - INSTRUMENTAL ENSEMBLE
BILL VORNDICK - PRODUCER

BANANA MUSEUM UPDATE Duration: 00:06:14

You might think that a massive collection of banana-themed novelties would have limited a-peel -- that its only purpose might be to serve as the butt of a lot of banana puns. And it was beginning to seem that way to Ken Bannister, the founder of the International Banana Musuem.

Mr. Bannister told As It Happens a few weeks ago about how he'd been kicked out of his museum space in Hesperia, California. So he decided it was finally time for he and his bananas to split up. And he was having difficulty finding a buyer. Until now.

We reached the new owner of the International Banana Museum, Fred Garbutt, in La Quinta, California.


SOD: SOMALIA RADIO Duration: 00:02:06

You're listening to a Somali love song .... And until recently, that song was regularly played on Somali radio stations. But you won't hear it today. Because the sound of music has been silenced on Somali airwaves.

The Islamist insurgents of Hizbul-Islam control huge parts of Somalia, and are in an on-going battle for power with the Somali governments. They've taken a page out the Afghani Taliban songbook, and deemed music "un-Islamic".

It's just the latest of the irritating rules the militants have put into place in Somalia -- including banning movies and soccer, and forcing men to grow beards.

The order to ban music from radio stations was issued ten days ago, and all but two of Mogadishu's fifteen radio stations have submitted to the demand -- because choosing not to do so could put their employees lives at risk. A government-controlled station, and a U.N. station based in Kenya are the two non-compliers.

But one station has decided that if they can't play music, then it will play other sounds instead. The station is called "Tusmo", and DJs there have taken to playing birds chirping, street sounds, and traffic, as well as gunfire, to link between programs and news.

And since we're not going to do that any time in the near future, this is your only chance to hear it: from Somali radio station "Tusmo", here's our Sound of the Day:

Ah, the sweet melodious sound of guns being fired in Somalia - our Sound of the Day.

You know what? Music's better. So here's Somali singer Maryam Mursal performing the song "Somalia, Don't Shame Yourself."


SOMALIA, DON'T SHAME YOURSELF Duration: 00:01:40

Album:AFRICA FETE '98

Label:ISLAND, 314-524 517-2

Persons/Roles:
YUSUF ADEN - WRITER
ABDI KADER HASSAN - COMPOSER
SOREN KJAER JENSEN - COMPOSER
MARYAM MURSAL - SINGING





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