May 21, 2010

Pt 1: Anti-Gay Law in Malawi - A gay couple in Malawi were sentenced to 14 years of hard labour yesterday. They are the first gay couple convicted under Malawi's harsh anti-homosexual law, which dates back to British colonial rule and makes it a crime to engage in gay sex. Malawi is coming under heavy criticism for the law. But the government is standing behind it. (Read More)

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Pt 2: The Farmer and Fisherman - California's Central Valley has endured three years of severe drought. And now the lack of water is pitting farmers against fishermen. (Read More) 

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Pt 3: Site C Dam - The 30-year-old battle over a proposed mega-dam in British Columbia is rearing its head again. Some say Site C will secure the province's energy future. Others say it's unnecessary and potentially devastating. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

Today's guest host was Erica Johnson.

It's Friday, May 21st.

CBC's ombudsman accused Conservative Party campaign manager Doug Finley of using paranoid-tinged language to tarnish the CBC's image and to raise money for the Conservative Party.

Currently, And yes, Doug Finley... you're welcome.

This is The Current

Anti-Gay Law in Malawi - Peter Tatchell

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza begin serving fourteen years of hard labour today. They are the first gay couple to be convicted under Malawi's harsh anti-homosexual law.

Specifically, they were convicted of "gross indecency" and "unnatural acts."
The charges stem from a commitment ceremony the two held last December. And their case has sparked international condemnation.

But the government of Malawi is standing by the law, the conviction and the sentence imposed on them. Peter Tatchell has been supporting Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza. He's a long-time human rights campaigner and a member of the gay rights group OutRage. He was in London, England.

Anti-Gay Law in Malawi - Leckford Mwanza Thotho

Despite the criticism from abroad, the government of Malawi is standing by the ruling. Leckford Mwanza Thotho is Malawi's Information Minister. He was in the capital, Lilongwe.

Anti-Gay Law in Malawi - Barry Adam

Malawi isn't the only country in Africa with harsh anti-homosexuality laws. Last year, Uganda put forward a bill that would allow for the death penalty for people convicted of homosexual acts.

So for a sense of where gay rights are in jeopardy and where progress is being made, we're joined by Barry Adam. He's a Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology at the University of Windsor and he specializes in Gay and Lesbians studies. He was in Toronto.


The Farmer and Fisherman

Let's say that asparagus you bought for dinner tonight came from California. And let's say you decide to make a sauce for it with slivered California almonds and butter. Well, that would put you smack in the middle of a dispute between farmers and fisherman.

The dispute is over water... specifically who gets it and how much. The battleground is California's Central Valley, an area twice the size of Nova Scotia that is in the throes of a three-year drought ... a drought that is claiming victims on both sides.

Radio Canada's Caroline Arbour is just back from the Central Valley. She prepared a documentary called The Farmer and Fisherman. She was in Vancouver.


Site C Dam - Opponents

We started this segment with a clip from British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell. Last month, he announced that his government will be pushing ahead with the province's last "mega-dam" hydro-electric project. It's called Site C.

The government says it will provide much-needed clean energy, as well as jobs and export revenue. The province will now begin a two-year regulatory review process. And that has jump-started the opposition to the project.

Gordon Campbell isn't the first Premier to try to get Site C built. The project has been on-and-off again for 30 years. And people have been fighting it every step of the way. We aired a clip from 1976 on CBC Radio's Morningside.

34 years later, Gwen Johannson and Larry Peterson are still at the forefront of the opposition to Site C. And both of their lives have been shaped by the fight to stop the dam. They were in Fort Saint John.

Site C Dam - Ralph Spinney

When Premier Campbell announced the plan to go-ahead with Site C, Ralph Spinney was standing next to him and applauding. Ralph Spinney retired from BC Hydro in 1989.

But before that, he helped build several of the province's major hydro electric projects, including the W.A.C. Bennet Dam, which is on the same river system as the proposed Site C Dam. Ralph Spinney was in Kelowna.

Last Word - Dam Song

We ended the program today with an ode to a dam. There's a pretty decent body of pop songs that use rivers for their inspiration. Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Al Green and Johnny Mercer all come to mind pretty fast.

But an ode to a dam ... Well, that's a lot tougher to pull off. Unless, of course, you're Woody Guthrie and you're writing about the Grand Coulee Dam.


Artist: Woody Guthrie
Cd: Very Best of Woody Guthrie
Cut: #11, Grand Coulee Dam
Label: Music Club
Spine: MCCD 067

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