December 3, 2008

Pt 1: Constitutional Crisis: Broadbent - Governor General Michaëlle Jean will arrive back in Canada today and not a moment too soon. The newly minted opposition coalition plans to defeat the government on Monday and wants her to give it a chance to form a new one. The Conservatives say that would be undemocratic.

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Pt 2: Constitutional Crisis - Public Opinion - First Major Paragraph

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Pt 3: Crime Panel - Two weeks ago, Halifax was shaken by a brazen shooting. The city had seen gun violence before. But in the past, it happened mainly in more troubled neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the city - not downtown - and certainly not in front of a children's hospital.

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It's Wednesday, December 3rd.

The Conservative Party is rolling out radio ads that suggest a Liberal-NDP coalition would be un-Canadian.

Currently, Gilles Duceppe couldn't agree more.

This is The Current.


Constitutional Crisis: Broadbent

Governor General Michaëlle Jean will arrive back in Canada today and not a moment too soon. The newly minted opposition coalition plans to defeat the government on Monday and wants her to give it a chance to form a new one. The Conservatives say that would be undemocratic.

And they're considering a drastic move of their own in order to avoid that scenario. One of the options Stephen Harper has left is to ask the Governor General to prorogue Parliament before the non-confidence motion can be introduced. Proroguing Parliament would suspend all business in the House of Commons, an unusual move so soon after the current session began.

For his thoughts on all of this, we were joined now by Ed Broadbent. He helped steer the idea of the opposition coalition on behalf of the NDP. He's also the former leader of the federal NDP and he was in our Toronto studio.

Constitutional Crisis Panel

So let's say you're Governor General Michaëlle Jean. The opposition wants you to hand it the reigns of power without an election. But the Government stands to be toppled. And the Government might just ask you to suspend Parliament in order to avoid a non-confidence motion. But the opposition says that's undemocratic. And yet somehow, the Canadian Constitution allows for both of these scenarios. And so as Governor General, you're being asked some very difficult questions.

People who study the Canadian Constitution for a living have very different views on what the Constitution says about proroguing Parliament under these circumstances. So we invited two people to join us this morning. We began with Stephen Scott. He's a Professor Emeritus at McGill University's Faculty of Law and he was in Montreal. And Peter Woolstencroft is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo. He was in Waterloo, Ontario.

 

Listen to Part One:

 

Constitutional Crisis - Public Opinion

With heated exchanges, Question Period has become Must See TV.
Less than two months ago, we had a federal election with the lowest voter turnout in Canadian history. But throw a little Constitutional crisis into the mix and suddenly all anyone can talk about is Ottawa, Ottawa, Ottawa.

So now that we understand a bit better what the Constitution says about the situation we're in, there's another issue that needs addressing. What kind of behaviour are Canadians willing to put up with in the name of grabbing or clinging to power?

The Current spent some time canvassing the country on this issue yesterday. And we've asked John Wright to help us sort through some of what we heard. He's a Senior Vice President with the polling firm Ipsos Reid and he was in Toronto.

Listen to Part Two:

 

Crime Panel

Two weeks ago, Halifax was shaken by a brazen shooting. The city had seen gun violence before. But in the past, it happened mainly in more troubled neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the city - not downtown - and certainly not in front of a children's hospital.

We're going to delve into what happened that day, as a way of understanding how violent crime is changing in Canada - moving out of the country's big cities and into smaller communities that haven't had to deal with it on this scale until now.
And we begin in Halifax, with a bubbling feud between two rival families.

Phonse Jessome is a CBC Reporter in Halifax. He's been covering crime there for the last 15 years, including the shooting in front of the children's hospital two weeks ago. Kim Bolan is an investigative reporter with the Vancouver Sun. And Mike McIntyre is the justice reporter with the Winnipeg Free Press.

Last Word

Later today on CBC Radio One, it's The Point ... and host Aamer Haleem will dive into the debate over whether to label female sexual dysfunction a disease. That's The Point at 2 o'clock -- 2:30 in Newfoundland and Labrador. And tonight on CBC Television's The Fifth Estate ... more on the Airbus scandal. The Fifth Estate reveals that sworn testimony last year before a Parliamentary committee contained manipulation and lies. That's on The Fifth Estate, tonight at 9 o'clock on CBC Television -- 9:30 in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Our last word today goes to something we've hinted at throughout the program.
Depending on your point of view, Question Period is either being elevated to new eights of frank and impassioned debate or turned into a train-wreck of crass and meaningless point-scoring. But it's not boring. So ended The Current today with a bit more of yesterday's fireworks.

 

Listen to Part Three:

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