July 9, 2010

Pt 1: The Next Governor General - You remember when the Governor General was a symbolic post? Lots of handshaking, ribbon-cutting events, formal lunches. But not much call to exercise any real political power. Well those days are gone. After six years of minority government, prorogued Parliaments and a couple of near constitutional crises, a lot of observers say that what we need now isn't a figurehead but a top notch constitutional lawyer. And that's where David Johnston comes in. He is Canada's next Governor General and as fate would have it, he is also one of Canada's leading legal scholars. We're asking if he is the right man for the job. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Oka Anniversary - This weekend will mark the 20th anniversary of the ill-fated police raid on a Mohawk barricade in Kanesatake. That sparked the Oka Crisis, a summer-long stand-off that set a high-water mark in the sometimes violent dispute over land claims and native rights. Francine Lemay's brother was one of the officers who took part in that raid. He died in the shootout that followed and Francine Lemay has embarked on a remarkable -- and unexpected -- journey since then. Today, she is one of the most prominent non-native advocates for the Mohawk people.
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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

Today's guest host was Piya Chattopadhyay.

It's Friday July 9th.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy is under fire for allegedly taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in plain brown envelopes from a French billionaire.

Currently, Brian Mulroney is suing Sarkozy for plagiarism.

This is The Current.

The Next Governor General

We started Part One of the show with the theme from the movie Love Story and that -- oddly enough -- brings us to Canada's next Governor General. It turns out that David Johnston was college buddies with the author of the original book and the inspiration for one of the characters. Of course, the fact that he's also one of Canada's leading constitutional experts doesn't hurt matters either, especially if he's going to be called upon to settle debates over Parliamentary confidence and prorogation requests.

Robert Prichard has some insight into how David Johnston might go about making those kinds of decisions. He's known Canada's next Governor General for more than 35 years. Robert Prichard is the former President of the University of Toronto and he now heads Metrolinx, the Toronto area's transportation authority. He was with Piya in Toronto.


Plenty of prominent Canadians had been rumoured for the Governor General's gig. Aboriginal leader, Mary Simon; former Chief of Defence Staff John de Chastelain; disability advocate, Rick Hansen and let's not forget Facebook write-in candidate, William Shatner. So for their thoughts on the pros and cons of selecting David Johnston, we were joined by three people. Adam Dodek is a professor of Law at the University of Ottawa. Jim Travers is the National Affairs Columnist for the Toronto Star. They were both in Ottawa. Helen Forsey is a writer and the author of an upcoming book about her father, Eugene Forsey, a former Senator and renowned Constitutional expert. She was in St. John's.


Oka Anniversary

We started Part Two with sounds from the scene on July 11th, 1990 as the Quebec police raided a Mohawk barricade in Kanesatake, near the town of Oka. A few hours later, Francine Lemay got a phone call informing her that her brother, Surete du Quebec Corporal Marcel Lemay, had been shot and killed in the raid. At the time, Francine Lemay knew almost nothing about Oka, Kanesatake or the Mohawks but twenty years after the events that sparked the Oka Crisis, she is emerging as one of the most prominent non-native advocates for the Mohawk people. Most remarkably, she has just completed the first French translation of At The Woods' Edge, a history of the Mohawks of Kanesatake that was published by the Mohawks in 1995. Her translation will be published this Sunday, on the 20th anniversary of her brother's death.

Francine Lemay was in Rigaud, Quebec.

Last Word: Gutnick at the World Cup

We closed the show with a visit to one South African community touched by this year's World Cup. Alexander -- or Alex -- is a township that borders Johannesburg. It's one of the oldest and poorest. Nelson Mandela lived there as a young man. Just a short walk away, at the top of a hill, are the five-star hotels that house the teams competing in the World Cup. This week, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma and FIFA's President Sepp Blatter came down the hill for a soccer festival in Alex. FIFA footed the bill and kids in borrowed uniforms and shoes chased a borrowed ball across fake grass. FIFA says it plans to build a permanent soccer field there in the future. The CBC's David Gutnick was at the festival.

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