CBCradio

March 22, 2010

Pt 1: Taming PM Power - It was a struggle that could have real implications for how this country is governed. For months now, the opposition has been demanding to see all of the federal government's documents relating to the transfer of Afghan detainees. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has avoided handing them over. He invoked national security. He's prorogued Parliament. And now, he has passed the issue to former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci.

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Pt 2: The Devil - We started this segment with a reading from page one of Joe Hill's novel Horns. In it, the protagonist "Ig," is still grieving the girlfriend everyone thinks he has murdered. He wakes up one morning to find that he is turning into the devil ... literally turning into the devil.

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Pt 3: The Dead Hand - Stanley Kubrick's classic comedy, Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb came out 46 years ago. At the time, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a no-holds-barred ideological battle that was being played out in the shadows around the world.

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It's Monday, March 22nd.

The White House has sent a case of Molson Canadian and a case of American beer to Stephen Harper after losing a bet over the Gold medal men's hockey game.

Currently, the Hall of Fame claims the beer never made it. And they blame Russia and Finland.

This is the Current.

Taming PM Power

It was a struggle that could have real implications for how this country is governed. For months now, the opposition has been demanding to see all of the federal government's documents relating to the transfer of Afghan detainees. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has avoided handing them over. He invoked national security. He's prorogued Parliament. And now, he has passed the issue to former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci.

In return, opposition MPs are trying to limit the Prime Minister's powers on a range of issues. They passed a motion that limits the Prime Minister's ability to prorogue Parliament. They asked the Speaker of the House to find the Prime Minister and three cabinet ministers in contempt of Parliament if they refuse to hand over the documents. It's a show-down with high stakes for everyone involved ... a power struggle with constitutional implications. David Schneiderman has some thoughts on the importance of this. He teaches constitutional law at the University of Toronto. And Patrick Monahan is a constitutional law expert and the Vice-President of Academic and Provost of York University. They were both in our Toronto studio.



The Devil - Joe Hill

We started this segment with a reading from page one of Joe Hill's novel Horns. In it, the protagonist "Ig," is still grieving the girlfriend everyone thinks he has murdered. He wakes up one morning to find that he is turning into the devil ... literally turning into the devil.

Joe Hill has chosen to use the idea of the supernatural to try to scare people. Of all the things that might keep us awake at night -- war, terrorism, pandemics, melting ice caps -- he is betting that, in the right hands, the devil can top them all ... even if he still deserves some sympathy. And even if the devil is in the mirror. Joe Hill was in our Toronto studio.


The Dead Hand

We started this segment with a clip of Peter Sellers as the notorious cold warrior, Doctor Strangelove. In this scene, he's explaining the philosophy of nuclear deterrence and his reaction to the news that the Soviet Union had built a doomsday machine.

Stanley Kubrick's classic comedy, Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb came out 46 years ago. At the time, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a no-holds-barred ideological battle that was being played out in the shadows around the world.

Much has been written about what happened then. But according to David Hoffman, there are still plenty of scary stories from that time that have remained in the shadows over the years. David Hoffman has collected some of them in his new book. It's called The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and It's Dangerous Legacy.

And next Monday and Tuesday the Current will be coming to you from Moscow, where we will be looking at life and politics in today's Russia.

Last Word - Murray Hill for Congress

Before we ended the program ... we wanted you to meet an unusual candidate for the U.S. Congress. You may recall that in January, a U.S. Supreme Court decision removed the limits on the amount of money that corporations may spend on political campaigns. The court ruled that campaign finance limits violate the constitutionally protected free-speech rights of corporations. That was a significant defeat for President Barack Obama and for supporters of campaign finance limits. But the people who run the P.R. firm Murray Hill Incorporated say -- tongue planted firmly in cheek -- that this opens up all kinds of new doors for corporations.

So Murray Hill Incorporated is running for Congress. We gave the last word to William Klein, the campaign manager, and one of the advertisements the company has produced.


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