Friday, April 4, 2008 | Categories: Episodes
It's Friday, April 4th.
A 16-year-old video tape emerged yesterday that shows Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski making racist and homophobic comments. Mr. Lukiwski has apologized and says the remarks don't reflect his true views.
Currently, David Ahenakew is deeply disappointed.
This is The Current.
Saskatchewan Videotape Scandal - Excerpt
It's a videotape that Brad Wall and Tom Lukiwski must wish had never come out of the closet. On April 3, 2008, the Saskatchewan NDP released a 16-year-old recording from a Saskatchewan Conservative Party gathering in November of 1991.
On it are Brad Wall -- then a ministerial aide in his mid-twenties and now the Premier of Saskatchewan -- and Tom Lukiwski, then a Tory organizer and now a Conservative Member of Parliament, making comments they now say they regret.
But it's Tom Lukiwski's homophobic comments that have raised the strongest condemnation. We played an excerpt. [NOTE: CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT MAY BE OFFENSIVE]
Saskatchewan Videotape Scandal - Fallout
There's been a lot of reaction to this tape from across the country, but some think the outrage over old events might be a bit overblown. Harvie Andre, a Conservative MP from 1972 to 1993, was among them.
For his perspective on these developments, and what they can mean for politics in this country, we were joined by Gerry Jones, author of Saskscandal, The Death of Political Ideology in Saskatchewan. For many years he covered politics for the CBC in Saskatchewan, but he joined us from retirement in our Ottawa studio.
Listen to Part One [WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT]:
Animal Cruelty Bill
It's been nearly 120 years since Canada's current animal cruelty laws were enacted. Back in 1892, Alberta and Saskatchewan hadn't yet entered confederation and women still weren't permitted to vote.
On April 4, 2008, Parliment took up a bill to update the animal cruelty laws, something most people think is long overdue. But Bill S-203 has run into a lot of criticism from people who say it still doesn't go far enough. And if you look at the amount of anger and anxiety the bill has provoked, you begin to get a sense of why it might have taken 116 years to get to this point.
John Bryden is the Liberal Senator who introduced Bill S-203 and he joined us from Ottawa.
Animal Cruelty Bill - Status of Animals
If this bill does pass, it will be the first time that Canada's animal cruelty laws have been updated in more than a century. Globally, many animal rights activists are pushing for stronger laws that elevate the status of animals, recognizing them as intelligent beings, not property.
For her thoughts on that idea, we were joined in Toronto by Lesli Bisgould, a lawyer who frequently practices animal rights law.
Listen to Part Two:
Our Bodies, Ourselves
It all started in the 1960s, when a small group of women in Boston, wanting to get information out to women about their bodies, their health and their sexuality, typed up what they knew and stapled the sheets together for distribution. Eventually they formed the Boston Women's Health Book Collective and in 1970 published the now iconic Our Bodies Ourselves.
When it first came out, the book was considered radical because it spoke openly and bluntly about issues that had previously been ignored or only whispered about : things like sexual pleasure for women, lesbian sex and abortions. The book was banned in some schools and denounced as obscene by others.
But despite the opposition, the book and the collective thrived. Our Bodies Ourselves has been updated several times. There are now 29 translations or adaptations. And the book is making inroads into communities around the world where women are often illiterate or not allowed access to accurate medical information.
Judy Norsigian has been involved in the collective almost since day one. She's the Executive Director of the Our Body Ourselves collective and she joined us from Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Last Word - Nixon Caught on Tape
Modern technology has a way of unearthing political scandals that public figures thought they'd buried long ago, even if they knew the cameras were rolling.
Saskatchewan MP Tom Lukiwski is just the latest to find that out, just as Republican Senator George Allen did in 2006 when he repeatedly called a man 'macaca' at a political rally.
But when it comes to recording self-incriminating material, the real political trailblazer was, of course, Richard Nixon.
We closed this episode of the show with a brief excerpt from the Richard Nixon tapes -- conversations the US President knowingly recorded. In this one, the President orders the deputy attorney general of the United States to not file a sensitive legal brief.
Listen to Part Three: