Pt 2: Twice Lost - Documentary - We have a documentary about a brother and sister named Ron and Kerry. Growing up, they were close. They loved and supported each other. But then things went off the rails. And their relationship fractured for reasons neither of them really understood until years later.
Today's summer guest host was David Michael Lamb.
It's Wednesday, August 26th.
Canada's Foreign Affairs department has banned the use of the phrase "child soldiers."
Currently ... They will now be simply known as "teen terrorists."
This is The Current.
Child Soldier Language - Mendes
Some powerful words are disappearing from the hallways of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Among them are "international humanitarian law," and "child soldier" ... phrases that are especially relevant in the case of Omar Khadr -- the Canadian being held in Guantanamo Bay. And the words are disappearing at a time when the Federal Government is appealing a court ruling ordering it to press for Khadr's release.
The phrases have been barred from use by Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon. Minister Cannon wasn't available to speak to us this morning. But in an interview with Embassy Magazine, Minister Cannon said that the language changes -- quote -- don't change anything. When asked why the changes were going ahead, he said -- quote -- "in some circumstances, it's semantics. In other circumstances we're going to be changing policies so that they reflect what Canada's values are and what Canadians said when they supported us during the last election. -- End quote.
That kind of talk has Errol Mendes worried. He teaches Constitutional and International Law at the University of Ottawa. And he was in Ottawa.
Semantics - History
Now this isn't the first time that politicians have tried to change the language of politics. So for some historical perspective, we were joined by Desmond Morton. He's a historian, retired professor and the former Director of McGill University's Institute for the Study of Canada and he was in Georgeville, Quebec.
And all of this talk of changing language got us thinking of George Orwell's classic novel, 1984. In it, the protagonist Winston befriends a man whose job it is to re-write language ... to pluck hundreds of words from the dictionary and destroy them.
Twice Lost - Documentary
We have a documentary about a brother and sister named Ron and Kerry. Growing up, they were close. They loved and supported each other. But then things went off the rails. And their relationship fractured for reasons neither of them really understood until years later.
The CBC's Alison Myers brings us their story in a documentary called Twice Lost. It first aired on The Current in March.
Huntington's Disease is a neurological disorder. It's genetic. And the gene is dominant. That means every child born to a parent with Huntington's has a 50 per cent chance of getting it. All it takes to find out if you have it is a simple blood test. But Kerry has chosen not to find out since there's nothing that can be done to stop it. Ron's daughter has also chosen not to find out ... at least for now. Ron now has a private room in the long-term care unit. According to Kerry, the disease is getting worse and Ron is getting more forgetful. In Kerry's words, Each day will always be his best day.
Cd: The Milk of Human Kindness
Cut: 10, Pelican Narrows
Spine: DNO 050
Last Word - Senator Ted Kennedy Obit
Stay with us on CBC Radio One. Coming up next, it's Watershed ... the best of The Current's programming about the ways water affects the world around us. This afternoon at 1 o'clock, it's White Coat, Black Art. And tonight at 10 o'clock on CBC Television, it's The National.
We ended the program this morning with some sad news: U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy died last night after a year-long struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.
A towering figure in U.S. politics, Kennedy was the last surviving brother of the most glamourous political dynasty in U.S. history and one of the country's most influential senators.
He built an impressive list of legislative achievements on health care and civil rights, but his political accomplishments were tempered by failings in his personal life ... none more so than the scandal that became known as Chappaquidick.
On July 18, 1969, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge and into a pond on Chappaquidick Island, on Martha's Vineyard. Mary Jo Kopechne, a 28-year old worker on Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign, was found dead in the car 10 hours later. Ted Kennedy would later say his failure to report the accident immediately was indefensible.
While the scandal would have ruined lesser politicians, Kennedy went on to serve alongside 10 Presidents. The last word goes to Ted Kennedy with part of his rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention last August.