Episode 132: Morgentaler's Ongoing Court Battle, How British Muslims Quelled Hate, Rob Ford and the Politics of Recall and more

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The Case Morgentaler Died Fighting | English Mosque Kills Hate With Kindness | Rob Ford and Recalls | Question Period Make Over | Douglas Rushkoff and What Our Yearning for the Apocalypse Really Means

morgen22222_pub.jpgHenry Morgentaler was as defined by his legal battles as he was by his medical practice. In 1988, he won an historic victory at the Supreme Court of Canada, which struck down the federal abortion law.

Chief Justice Dickson wrote in the decision, "Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction to carry a foetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman's body."

With no federal law drafted to replace it, abortion became a medical procedure governed by provincial laws and regulations. This led to unequal access, with some provinces reluctant to allow private clinics, or refusing to fund procedures outside hospitals.

When he died on Tuesday, Morgentaler was still working on a court case aimed at legislation that limits access in New Brunswick. The director of  Morgentaler's Fredericton clinic, Simone Leibovitch, thinks the province was running out the clock on the case, waiting for him to die. We talk to her from Fredericton.  

rigby_pub.jpgDial it Down

The murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in broad daylight in southeast London shocked the world and shook the British people. Displaying the blood on his hands, the alleged killer said he was avenging deaths the British military had caused in Afghanistan.

There was immediate Islamaphobic backlash against peaceful Muslim communities in the U.K.

When a mosque in York learned the English Defence League planned a protest on their grounds they decided to take a radical course of action. They invited them in for tea and biscuits.

A senior member of the York mosque, Professor Mohammed El-Gomati tells us why.

total recall_pub.jpgTrap Door Recall

Imagine for a moment that a public official has gone rogue. Let's say a mayor who refuses to answer questions, who can't build consensus or enact an agenda, who is suspected of serious criminal activity or may have an issue with substance abuse.

What if he refuses to vacate office?

In Canada, if a mayor goes off the rails but holds onto his job, the city is out of luck. There is no way to fire a mayor, not even if he or she's been convicted of a serious offense.

In British Columbia and parts of the U.S. there are laws that can be used to recall politicians that cross certain lines. Should recall laws be made more universal, could they make both voters and elected officials more attentive to the democratic process?

Or would they lock all of us into a grim, partisan, permanent campaign?

We have both sides of the recall debate. 

mulcair_pub.jpgQuestion Period

The Prime Minister returned to the House of Commons this week for the first time since the Duffy expenses scandal broke.

Stephen Harper hadn't faced hard questions about the role his Chief of Staff played in cutting a massive cheque for Senator Mike Duffy.

When the Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair  started posing his questions to the Prime Minister, no one- not the press, the Government members, nor the P.M. himself- seemed prepared for the precision and focus of the brief inquiries.

It was a change in style for the raucous, grandstanding, blustery exchange that usually marks Question Period. Freelance parliamentary reporter Dale Smith says Question Period should always  be like this.

zombie_oub.jpgNot-So-Great Escape

Some go to the movies for fantasy. But the dominant theme in Hollywood- and on TV shows like The Walking Dead- has not been about escape from real life.

It's all about getting away from ravenous, disgusting, flesh-eating zombies driven to eviscerate and gobble the remaining humans trying to survive.

Survival fantasies are big box office and writer Douglas Rushkoff thinks they're symptomatic of the complications of modern life. The monolith of technology and our overall powerlessness make us yearn for a simpler world with some elemental conflicts like zombies or plagues.

It sounds crazy, but Rushkoff is convincing and entertaining. He drops in to talk about his book Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now.

And that's our first show for June. Have a great weekend and watch out for the undead. See you in seven.

Brent Bambury, @CBCDay6

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