Pt 1: Rape or Sexual Assault? - Twenty-seven years ago, the word 'rape' was removed from Canada's criminal code. Since then, the crime has been covered by the charge of sexual assault. At the time, the move was supported by many feminist groups and women's organizations but now the Minister in charge of Public Safety has floated the idea of changing the wording back. (Read More)
Pt 2: Fatima Bhutto - An interview with Fatima Bhutto about the complicated web of lethal politics that has engulfed her family and her country. Fatima Bhutto is the niece of Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani opposition leader who was assassinated in 2007. But in her new book, Songs of Blood and Sword, she traces the story of her father, Mir Murtaza Bhutto. (Read More)
Pt 3: Letters - It's mail day. We hear your thoughts on re-opening the abortion debate, the role of religion in politics and what to do about Canadians stranded in Saudi Arabia. Plus, we heard a different take on Marci McDonald's view of Christian nationalism in Canada. (Read More)
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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow
It's Thursday, May 13th.
Chevron Canada has begun work on the deepest oil will ever drilled in Canadian waters.
Currently, It's called "Hubris."
This is The Current.
Rape of Sexual Assault?
We started this segment with a clip from Public Safety Minister Vic Toews talking about revisiting a decision the federal government made in 1983. That's when the charge of rape was removed from Canada's criminal code leaving all sexual activity without voluntary consent to be classified as sexual assault
Those who wanted the change said it would make it clear that sexual assault is a crime of violence against women, not just a sexual act and that removing the word 'rape' would reduce the stigma that many victims felt. But others argue that removing the word just obscures what is truly a heinous crime.
We were joined this morning by three people with a stake in this debate.
Don Stuart teaches criminal law at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Lee Lakeman has been working in rape crisis support for 37 years. She's also a spokeswoman for the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres. She was in Ottawa. And Carissima Mathen is a law professor at The University of New Brunswick and a board member of the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund. She was in Toronto this morning.
Songs of Blood & Sword - Fatima Bhutto
Fatima Bhutto was born into a political dynasty like no other. She is the granddaughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the founder of the Pakistan People's Party and the country's fourth President. And she is the niece of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's twice serving Prime Minister who was assassinated in 2007.
But in her new book, Songs of Blood and Sword, Fatima Bhutto traces the story of her father's life. Mir Murtaza Bhutto was Benazir's younger brother. And he became one of her harshest critics. He was assassinated in 1996. The people responsible for his murder have never been brought to justice 14 years later. Fatima Bhutto is clear her aunt Benazir and Benazir's husband Asif Zardari -- Pakistan's current President -- bear a lot of the responsibility.
Fatima Bhutto is a Pakistani poet and writer. She is the granddaughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the niece of Benazir Bhutto. Her new book is Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter's Memoir. She was in Toronto.
It's time for our weekly look at the mail. And our Friday host, Erica Johnson joined us from Vancouver.
Abortion: Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to exclude abortion from Canada's international maternal health plan has left the abortion debate haunting the government. It's a debate that many are wary of rekindling ... so of course on Monday on The Current we cracked things open by asking whether it's time to wade back into the abortion debate. After this segment, listeners shared their thoughts on our panel discussion.
Christian Nationalism: The exclusion of abortion in the maternal health position also played into another conversation we aired this week. According to Marci McDonald, it's just part of the government's socially conservative platform, heavily influenced by the Christian right. And Tuesday on The Current, Ms McDonald aired her views on Stephen Harper's government and political religious activism. Hearing this interview, prompted many of our listeners to write in with their comments.
Well that interview with Marci McDonald obviously touched a lot of nerves within the Christian evangelical community in Canada. To get more on their perspective, we were joined by Lorna Dueck. She's the host and executive producer of Listen Up TV, a Christian current affairs program, and she also writes about faith for the Globe and Mail and CBC.ca. Lorna Dueck wa in Burlington.
Nathalie Morin: Canadian Nathalie Morin turned 26 this week but she didn't have a lot to celebrate. She has spent the last five years in Saudi Arabia, largely restricted to her apartment because she requires the permission of her children's father to do otherwise. Tuesday on The Current, Nathalie Morin's mother, Johanne Durocher described her living conditions.
For the government's position, we then spoke with Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs. We heard from a listener who wanted some constructive suggestions for resolving this mess. And Stéphane Beaulac suggests that, in fact, there is quite a bit Canada not only can do.... but must do. Stéphane Beaulac is an Associate Professor of International Law at the Université de Montreal in Montreal and has been informally giving legal advice to Nathalie Morin's family. He says Canada is legally bound to help its citizens overseas when they're rights are being violated.
Ursula Franklin: It was a rare opportunity last week to hear from Ursula Franklin. Physicist, feminist, author and Holocaust survivor, Ursula Franklin has seen decades of change in her lifetime. But she's concerned it isn't the kind of change that is moving us toward a more civil, just and peaceful society.
Last Thursday, we spoke at length to Dr Franklin. And in her very charming but deliberate manner, she also broadened our lexicon with a word called "scrulping". And the idea of "scrupling" was eagerly picked up in the Ursula Franklin fan mail.
Dr. Abuelaish: Another interview that connected with many was the conversation between Anna Maria and Izzeldin Abuelaish. In January 2009, he lost three of his daughters and a niece when his home was hit by Israeli tank shells. He now lives in Toronto and was joined by two of his surviving daughters, he came into studio to speak about his refusal to be consumed by hatred.
And that interview prompted a letter from Elizabeth Fortes, of Vancouver:
I am urging you to provide trauma debriefing for guests who report on their history and losses in your program, immediately after your interview. Every time survivors expose themselves to such an interview, they relive a great deal of their trauma ... it is a detriment to their health and overall stability. I'm urging you to have an ethical panel on this issues, on air. I'm a counselor with a focus on trauma and I [worry about] the ramifications of these interviews over the long [term].
Well we decided to take Elizabeth Fortes up on her offer to discuss the ethical implications of interviewing victims of trauma. Elizabeth Fortes is a clinical counsellor who has two decades of experience working in suicide prevention, counselling and education. She currently works with mentally ill people in Vancouver's downtown East Side and joined us on the line from Vancouver.
We also asked the Dr. Abuelaish about this point and heard briefly from him.
Last Word - Finding an Awesome Job
And we ended this this morning with an invitation to contribute to something we're working on for next week. Canada's unemployment rate is on the rise. So slowly it seems people are finding work. And we want to know what kinds of jobs they are finding. We're going to get some advice on how to find a truly awesome job. But in the mean time, we want to hear your stories about the worst jobs you've ever had.
Call us toll-free at 1-877-287-7366 to tell us your story. E-mail us through our website. Our Twitter feed is at thecurrentcbc. And we promise to air our favourites and to get you some help on how to find an awesome job.