Episode 130: Ford's Crack Allegations, Angelina Jolie and Gene Patents, Should You Read Dan Brown's Inferno? and more

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Drug Allegations and Rob Ford | Jolie, Gene Patents and Ethics | Should I Read It: Dan Brown's Inferno | Canadians Who Self-Represent | Victoria Day 2.0

ford22222_pub.jpgThe Mayor of Canada's largest city has been a polarizing figure since his first day in office. He nearly lost his job on a conflict of interest charge, but prevailed on appeal.

And despite a number of erratic actions and small scandals, Ford has retained the support of his base.

Now, halfway through his term he faces allegations of drug use, and unquestionably it's the most serious challenge to his incumbency yet.

A video of the mayor- not validated by the CBC- allegedly shows him lighting a glass crack pipe, inhaling, and making inappropriate remarks. The mayor denies the allegations.

Robyn Doolittle is one of the journalists at the Toronto Star who viewed the video and broke the story in Canada. She claims her paper was offered the video for a fee. We'll ask her why they decided not to purchase it and what's next in the unfolding saga of Rob Ford.

jolie22222_pub.jpgGenes and Ethics

The gene that indicated Angelina Jolie would likely develop breast cancer is patented. That means there are restrictions on testing and research on the BRCA-1 gene especially in the United States.

But what are the implications of  patenting a gene that everyone has in their body?

In the case of the patent on BRCA-1 some argue the restrictions imperil women's health. The patent holders say they've made an investment in the research and deserve to also take a profit. 

The United States Supreme Court is about to make a decision on that question, and there's a lot of money riding on the outcome. How does gene patenting play out in Canada? We look at that, the case in the U.S. and the ethics of gene patenting.

inferno222_pub.jpgShould I Read Dan Brown's Inferno?

Reams of people have read Dan Brown. The author of The Da Vinci Code has 200 million books in print, that's a lot of pages of conspiracy and clunky prose circulating in the book-sphere.

Brown's latest book Inferno was highly anticipated and heavily embargoed but now it's out there and just in time for the holiday weekend.

Normally our book person Becky Toyne looks into more highbrow stuff for us, but Inferno is without doubt a publishing event. So she snagged a copy and she's here to answer the question at hand: Should I read it?

legal aid_pub.jpgLawyering Down

Try not to get sued. Because if you do end up in civil court, you will likely be among the 70% of Canadians who are forced to represent themselves

Most people, even those with higher incomes, can't afford to retain council and when they can, they have no idea of the duration or overall cost of their case.

So they learn complicated law and procedure just to have their day in court. Inside the courts, un-represented litigants are putting enormous strain on a system that's not designed to be used by lay people.

University of Windsor law professor Julie MacFarlane thinks the effect of un-represented litigants is fundamentally changing our legal system and she's studied those effects. We meet her and talk to a person whose life was turned upside-down when she represented herself in court.

vic_edit_pub.jpgQueen Victoria

She was born May 24, 1819 and she was indeed the ruler of the British Empire when Canada came into existence just after her 48th birthday.

Now Canadians love Victoria Day because:

1. It's a holiday
2. It marks the beginning of summer.

Good reasons. But Kathleen Phillips wonders if maybe it's time to replace Victoria with a more recent kind of royalty.

Have a great long weekend. We're back in seven we'll see you then.

Brent Bambury, @CBCDay6

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