Portfolio in a storm. One vote in the House of Commons has people calling for the resignation of Rona Ambrose -- Minister of State for the Status of Women.
Changing the subjects. New details about an American Cold War-era experiment -- that turned the residents of a black neighbourhood in St. Louis into guinea pigs.
Locked out by the locked-out. Riley Armstrong was all set to play hockey in Switzerland -- when the work stoppage suddenly made a lot of NHL players available.
Patients and impatience. The office of the Immigration Minister sends us a statement about cuts to refugee health -- and a Toronto doctor responds.
It takes money to make money. In nineteenth-century Prince Edward Island, they wanted their own currency -- so they took another country's coins and punched holes in them.
And...the iceman quitteth. The guy responsible for keeping the most famous corpse in Nederland, Colorado frozen says he's fed up with being stiffed -- and his departure leaves the "Frozen Dead Guy" festival in limbo.
As It Happens, the Thursday edition. Radio with a story that will melt someone's heart.
Tonight, Rona Ambrose is facing calls for her resignation.
Ms. Ambrose is the Minister of State for the Status of Women. Last night, she voted in favour of a motion to have a parliamentary committee reconsider the section of the Criminal Code that currently defines life as beginning at birth.
Opposition MPs had warned that passing the motion could have been a first step towards reopening Canada's abortion laws.
In the end, the Prime Minister made sure that the motion was defeated. But that didn't stop opposition MPs from accusing Ms. Ambrose of jeopardizing women's right to choose. And, in Question Period this afternoon, the Bloc Quebecois called for her resignation.
Here's what the Minister had to say to that, for the record.
The Bloc isn't alone. This afternoon, the Quebec Federation of Women also called on Minister Ambrose to resign.
We reached the federation's president, Alexa Conradi, in Montreal
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|CASEY LAFORET|| - ||COMPOSER|
|STEVE PITKIN|| - ||COMPOSER|
|MARK SASSO|| - ||COMPOSER|
|JOHN CRITCHLEY|| - ||PRODUCER|
|ELLIOTT BROOD || - ||POP GROUP|
|ELLIOTT BROOD || - ||PRODUCER|
Riley Armstrong thought he had a great job lined up in Switzerland.
The details were being hammered out, and he was ready to go. Then the NHL lockout happened -- bad news for a professional player in the tiers just below the big league, like him.
We reached Riley Armstrong earlier today in Saskatoon.
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For nearly two decades, neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow has kept Bo Shaffer from his appointed rounds. And ice has actually kept him on those rounds.
Mr. Shaffer isn't a postal worker. He's an iceman. Or at least, he was an iceman. For the past nineteen years, he's made a monthly delivery of hundreds of pounds of dry ice to Nederland, Colorado. That dry ice is used to keep Bredo Morstoel -- also known as Nederland's Frozen Dead Guy -- frozen.
You have a lot of questions right now. That's understandable. But you might recall that, back in January, we spoke with Amanda MacDonald, who coordinates Nederland's annual Frozen Dead Guy Days -- a festival that revolves, weirdly, around the frozen corpse of Mr. Morstoel.
Well, now that festival is facing the loss of their dead guy. That's because Mr. Shaffer just recently quit the job.
We reached him in Longmont, Colorado.
|CHILD'S CELEBRATION OF FOLK MUSIC|
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|JOHNNY BURKE|| - ||LYRICIST|
|JIMMY VAN HEUSEN|| - ||COMPOSER|
|MARIA MULDAUR|| - ||VOCALS|
|LEIB OSTROW|| - ||COMPILER|
Dateline: Anchorage, Alaska.If you sit on the Anchorage Assembly, the only thing more controversial than sitting on the sidewalk is sitting on the fence. So when it comes to the former, no one is doing the latter.
Assembly members are bitterly divided on the legality of having a seat on a public walkway.
See, last year, a guy staged a protest outside City Hall, during which he stood, sat, or lay right down on the sidewalk. He was criticising the mayor's policies on homelessness. And the mayor didn't like that. So he and other city officials drew up a law that made it illegal to sit or lie on the sidewalk. Unless it's a medical emergency, or you're waiting to buy tickets for something, or you're buying or eating food from a street vendor. And in November, that law passed.
But on Tuesday, the Anchorage Assembly voted seven to four to repeal it. And one of the assembly members who voted to repeal expressed his dislike of the law in patriotic and melodramatic terms. His name was Dick Traini, and he said, "Sitting on the sidewalk is an American tradition."
I'll ask our American listeners: is it? I mean, at sunset, do you grab a hot dog and a slice of apple pie and gather with your neighbours to just sit on the sidewalk and hum "The Star-Spangled Banner" together?
I've never heard of that. And the mayor of Anchorage is equally dubious. He won't stand for any sitting -- and he says he'll veto the repeal.
So much for the path of least resistance.
Now, from Prince Edward Island, here's Two Hours Traffic, with "Heroes of the Sidewalk".
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|DEREK ELLIS|| - ||COMPOSER|
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The low-income, predominantly black neighbourhood of Pruitt-Igoe on the south side of St. Louis, Missouri is like many depressed areas in big American cities: most residents are under-educated, under-employed, and receIve close to no attention from government agencies.
But in the 'fifties and 'sixties, the U.S. government paid a lot of attention to Pruitt-Igoe. The wrong kind of attention.
Lisa-Martino Taylor has uncovered details surrounding a military testing project aimed at better understanding weaponized radiation. A project that turned the residents of Pruitt-Igoe into lab rats.
Lisa Martino-Taylor is a sociology professor at St. Louis Community College in St. Louis, Missouri. That's where we reached her.
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Government cuts have provoked yet another outcry from medical workers across Canada. And now we've also heard from you.
On last night's show, we interviewed Dr. Paul Caulford about the impact of cuts to the federally-funded refugee health care program in Canada. Dr. Caulford told us that, since the cuts went into effect over two months ago, his volunteer clinic in Toronto has been overwhelmed with people who have filed refugee claims -- and who have suddenly found themselves without health insurance, and unable to pay for the care they need.
From Angus, Ontario, Anne Learn Sharpe wrote to say:
"I could hear the fatigue in Dr. Caulford's voice as he described the surge in patient numbers at the Scarborough Community Volunteer Clinic. What have we become as Canadians that we allowed this to happen? This is not one of the complicated social issues such as homelessness that requires ongoing multiple solutions. This situation is the direct result of one recently changed policy that denies health care to people who have been legally admitted to Canada."
From Montreal, Joy Moore sent us this email:
"I am outraged and angry at the Harper government's policies that deny basic health services to vulnerable refugees in need, and legislate policy without parliamentary discussion -- policies that tell concerned health professionals that they and their patients will have to 'live with it'."
And Ira Zinman from Red Deer wrote to tell us that he was concerned about a lack of balance in our coverage. He points out:
"There have been serious abuses of 'refugee' health coverage in Canada, and cuts to this program (benefits which are NOT available to low-income, uninsured Canadian citizens) have widespread support Please ensure that your program provides counterpoints, from other speakers."
Our thanks to everyone who wrote or called.
And we should point out that we did request an interview today with Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, but he was not available to speak with us. Phone calls to the Health Branch of Citizenship and Immigration Canada were also not returned.
We did however receive a statement from Minister Kenney's office. Instead of reading that statement to you, we decided to run it by Dr. Philip Berger, who is the Chief of Family and Community Medicine at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.
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And now, "As It Happens" Mystery Theatre.'Twas in the dark of night at the end of August in the Clent Hills in England when the British police constable first noticed it. His heart skipped a beat -- and immediately, he radioed his superior officer to report what he called a "suspicious bright light" -- an unearthly glow emanating from beyond the Hills themselves.
His mind was racing. What, or who, could be responsible for this eerie illumination? And what should he do?
After all, he was just a solitary constable in the misty Worcestershire night.
His brain told him, "Stay put -- wait for back-up. There's treachery afoot." But his gut told him that he would have to go in on his own. So he told the sergeant he might call for support -- and started the long, nerve-wracking hike up the hill.
As he walked, he pondered. Would he come upon a gang of criminals, who for some sinister, counter-intuitive reason had gathered in front of a powerful light? Would he confront a couple in flagrante delicto? Whatever was happening, he was going in alone -- and he was going to blow the case wide open.
And indeed, he did blow it. Twenty minutes later, he again reached the anxious sergeant. No, he wouldn't need back-up. Yes, he had discovered the source of the mysterious light. No, it was nothing to worry about. No, he would rather not say what it was. No. No. No.
Okay, fine: it was the moon.
Yes, he said "moon".
Over and out.
And then, having solved the Mystery of the Clent Hills in the most embarrassing way possible, the unnamed constable slunk back to work the next morning -- where it's reported that his colleagues had plastered his locker with pictures of werewolves.
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|LES EMMERSON|| - ||COMPOSER|
|PETER BURNSIDE|| - ||COMPILER|
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"Enough is enough."
Those are the words of Carol Chafe. She's the Child and Youth Advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador, and she's added her voice to the renewed and growing concern about the gas-sniffing children of Natuashish.
As we heard on the show last week, it's estimated that at least forty children in the troubled community are now sniffing. It's a recurring problem in the small Labrador Innu community -- one that's followed them from their previous home in Davis Inlet. In a desperate attempt to help their children, some parents have resorted to sending their kids to foster care.
Today, Carol Chafe says the provincial and federal governments need to do more. We reached Carol Chafe in St. John's, Newfoundland.
|I FOUND YOUR FACES OF MONTREAL/YOU ARE MY SYMPHONIC|
|VISHAL KASSIE|| - ||COMPOSER|
|VISHAL KASSIE|| - ||PRODUCER|
|YOU ARE MY SYMPHONIC || - ||POP GROUP|
After Monday's debacle, a quick resolution the the N-F-L referee lockout was inevitable.
In case you didn't hear about it from your football-crazed relatives, a game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers turned into a shambles, when the referees couldn't agree on whether a game-ending pass was caught. It took them some fifteen minutes to decide, by which time many players had gone to the dressing rooms and begun getting changed.
So they had to come back out on the field, many wearing partial uniforms, for the field goal point conversion.
Also the referees' joint conclusion was wrong.
That topped a season that has so far been riddled with officiating mistakes, caused by the replacement referees brought in by the NFL. How bad were the refs? Well one replacement official was said to have been fired by the Lingerie Football League -- yes, you heard that right -- for his poor calls. Another was a public supporter on Facebook of a team he then had to referee.
So the word that a deal has been reached, and that the regular N-F-L referees are going back to work tonight, is welcome news for everyone.
Well, almost. Perhaps not for the folks at the NOC, an online channel dedicated to spoofing sports and professional athletes.
They will doubtless miss opportunites to poke fun at the officials, like this one: a parody of the song "Whistle," by Flo Rida - our sound of the day.
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For Cynthia Phanuef, it's time to step off the ice and try something new.
Ms. Phaneuf won the Canadian Women's Figure Skating Championship in 2004 and 2011, and she skated for Canada at the Vancouver Olympic Games.
But yesterday, at age twenty-four, Cynthia Phaneuf announced that she's retiring from figure skating. The past year has been a difficult one, and this summer she was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her back.
But Cynthia Phaneuf says this isn't about her back injury. It's about moving on to the next phase of her life. And that includes teaching figure skating in Philadelphia with Isabelle Brosseur.
In January of 2011, Ms. Phaneuf spoke with Carol, right after she won her second Canadian championship. Here's part of their conversation, from our archives.
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WHITE NOSE BATSDESEPT. 27/12
JDIf you build it, they will come.
In the movies, that applies to baseball diamonds and the ghosts of the Chicago Black Sox. In real life, it applies to caves...and bats.
At least, that's what conservationists in Tennessee are hoping. They're building a cave, and hoping bats will come -- and that the project will save the bats from white nose syndrome.
As we've told you in the past on "As It Happens", the fungus affects hibernating bats, often killing them -- and leaves white fuzz on their snouts.
Cory Holliday is a cave expert with the Tennessee Nature Conservancy. He's just wrapping up the final touches to the man-made bat cave. We reached him at home, not too far from Cookeville, Tennessee.
|QUANTIC: THE BEST OF QUANTIC|
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|WILL "QUANTIC" HOLLAND|| - ||COMPOSER|
|WILL "QUANTIC" HOLLAND|| - ||DEEJAY|
When times get hard, governments will do whatever they can to save money. Even if it means making money out of someone else's money.
In 1813, the government of Prince Edward Island decided it wanted its own coins. But actually minting them was out of the question. So instead, the government just took Spanish American dollars and punched holes through them -- creating what's known as a Holey Dollar.
This weekend a new book on the exotic PEI coin will be released at the Toronto Coin Expo. It's written by Chris Faulkner, a professor at Carleton University. We reached him in Toronto.