CBCradio

March 5, 2010

Pt 1: Immigration Guide - We started this segment with a clip of Olympic Gold Medal swimmer Mark Tewksbury. He's reacting to a news report from earlier this week that said that Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney blocked references to gay rights from the updated version of the government's citizenship study guide.

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Pt 2: Anthem - Earlier this week, the Federal Government floated the idea of changing the words to O' Canada ... especially that part about "in all thy sons command." The idea is to ensure that the anthem's language is gender neutral. The proposal caught a lot of people by surprise. But the Right Honourable Kim Campbell has been here before. She's a former Prime Minister. And she waded into this debate when she was Justice Minister in the early 1990s. She was at her home just out side Paris, France.

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Pt 3: Latin Women in Politics - Laura Chinchilla was elected President of Costa Rica last month ... the first woman to hold the post in the country's history. When she is sworn into office, President-elect Chinchilla will join outgoing Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina, to become the third woman to head a government in Latin America.

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Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

It's Friday, March 5th.

NASA scientists say there's at least 600 million metric tonnes of water ice in the moon's north pole region.

Currently, they're now working on how to fit it all into little plastic bottles.

This is the Current.

Immigration Guide - Reporter

We started this segment with a clip of Olympic Gold Medal swimmer Mark Tewksbury. He's reacting to a news report from earlier this week that said that Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney blocked references to gay rights from the updated version of the government's citizenship study guide.

Minister Kenney has since denied that he had anything to do with the decision. But he has also defended the guide and made a point of noting that it contains a picture of Mark Tewksbury with a caption describing him as a "prominent activist for gay and lesbian Canadians." But that didn't sit well with Tewksbury.

Dean Beeby is The Canadian Press reporter who broke the story about the blocked references. He was in Ottawa.

We did request an interview with Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. He was not available to speak with us this morning.

Immigration Guide - EGALE/Canada Christian College

Helen Kennedy has been pushing to have gay rights included in the new version of the study guide ever since it came out in November. She's the Executive Director of the human rights organization EGALE Canada. And Helen Kennedy was in New York City this morning.

Charles McVety has a different view of the issue. He's the President of Canada Christian College in Toronto. And he thinks that dropping sexual orientation from the Citizenship Study Guide was the right thing to do.

Immigration Guide - Morton

When Citizenship and Immigration decided to update the citizenship study guide last year, it invited 26 prominent Canadians to offer their thoughts on what should be included in the new version.

Desmond Morton was one of them. He's a Historian and the former Director of the Institute for the Study of Canada at McGill University. And he says the end result is not something to be proud of. Desmond Morton was in Montreal.

Anthem - Kim Campbell

We started this segment with a clip of Alanis Morrisette, Deborah Cox and Sarah McLachlan, all singing a suddenly very contentious line from our national anthem.

Earlier this week, the Federal Government floated the idea of changing the words to O' Canada ... especially that part about "in all thy sons command." The idea is to ensure that the anthem's language is gender neutral. The proposal caught a lot of people by surprise. But the Right Honourable Kim Campbell has been here before. She's a former Prime Minister. And she waded into this debate when she was Justice Minister in the early 1990s. She was at her home just out side Paris, France.

Anthem - Real Women

Not everyone agrees that this should be a priority for the government. In fact some say it is a waste of time and money. Gwen Landolt is among them. She is the National Vice President of REAL Women of Canada. And she was in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

Anthem - American

We started this part with a clip of Michael Conniff. He's an American who lives in Aspen, Colorado. He blogs for the Huffington Post and hosts a radio talk show called "Con Games" on KNFO FM. He was glued to the Vancouver Olympics. So he heard our national anthem a lot. And he liked it.

Anthem - Anthemologist

Now, when it comes to comparing and contrasting national anthems, there's really no substitute for an anthematologist. Okay yes, David Kendall made that word up. But it suits him pretty well. He was in Winnipeg, standing on guard, for thee.

Now... The Current's chorus of followers on Twitter had a few thoughts on this issue. hollyfreebs says "I think it's high time for an upgraded version that is representative of all of Canada." CanadianStorm says "Proroguing Parliament so he can think of a couple of words to replace in our anthem, just silly." Eekfarms say "if you start changing the wording to please this one and that one, it won't be OUR anthem at all!" And chrishlady proposes a new lyric: "True patriot love / we watch our girth expand".

Anthem Skit

And we gave the last word on the national anthem to our friends at CBC's Comedy Team ... who see no reason to change the lyrics when we could just add some simple disclaimers.



Latin Women in Politics

We started this segment with a clip of Laura Chinchilla. She was elected President of Costa Rica last month ... the first woman to hold the post in the country's history. When she is sworn into office, President-elect Chinchilla will join outgoing Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina, to become the third woman to head a government in Latin America.

And women are enjoying other victories in the region as well. Half the cabinet ministers in Bolivia are women. And a few weeks ago, Brazil came a step closer to electing its first female leader, when the governing Workers' Party nominated Dilma Rousseff as its presidential candidate for October's election.

To put that in context: in Canada's 2008 election, 69 women were elected to parliament. A record number but even after that vote, women make up only 21 percent of Canada's parliamentarians. The gains in Latin American elections are being attributed, largely, to quotas ... affirmative action laws that ensure a certain number of leadership positions are reserved for women.

But there is a lot of debate about whether those laws represent real progress for gender equality. So for a closer look at the laws and the effects they are producing, we were joined by Susan Franceschet. She teaches Political Science at the University of Calgary. Lisa Baldez is a Professor of Government and Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Last Word - Terrible Anthem

In our exhaustive search for versions of the Canadian national anthem, we came across something, well, pretty special. On September 19th, 1985, Mary O'Dowd was asked to sing the anthem before the Toronto Blue Jays took on the New York Yankees at Yankee stadium. The New York Times later quoted her saying she felt overwhelmed and that she blanked when her time came to shine. We ended the program with that rendition. Oh, and rest assured, she did say she called then Toronto mayor, Art Eggleton, to apologize.

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