Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | Categories: Episodes
Pt 1: Previously on Parliament - Okay, the next few days on Parliament Hill might not have quite the adrenaline rush of 24. But a lot of the ingredients are there -- government secrets, alleged torture, high stakes conflict, a looming showdown.
It's Wednesday March 3rd.
The Governor General is set to deliver a throne speech. And The government is hinting that it will be a long one. Clocking in at over an hour and 15 minutes.
Currently, it will apparently be delivered in a language that has over 1000 words for No.
This is the Current.
Previously on Parliament - Derek Lee
Okay, the next few days on Parliament Hill might not have quite the adrenaline rush of 24. But a lot of the ingredients are there -- government secrets, alleged torture, high stakes conflict, a looming showdown.
One of the first things Parliament will have to address as it reopens for business is a Parliamentary order passed last December ... one that remains in effect despite the prorogation. It calls for the release of all documents relating to the transfer of detainees by Canadian soldiers to Afghan officials.
In theory, a parliamentary order like this carries a lot of weight. But so far, the government has largely ignored it. And now the opposition has to decide how far it wants to go to force the government's hand.
Derek Lee will be one of the people making that calculation. He's a Liberal MP who is something of an expert in matters of parliamentary privilege. In fact, he's written a book that's going to come in handy over the next few days. It's called Power of Parliamentary Houses to Send for Persons, Papers and Records: A Sourcebook on the Law and Precedent of Parliamentary Subpoena Powers for Canadian and Other Houses. Derek Lee was in Ottawa.
Previously on Parliament - Panel
So if they wanted to, opposition MPs could choose to push the government hard when it comes to getting the Afghan detainee documents released. But it's not clear that they have the appetite to do that.
Ujjal Dosanjh and Paul Dewar have both been closely involved in the opposition's efforts to get access to the redacted documents. Ujjal Dosanjh is a Liberal MP. Paul Dewar is an NDP MP. They are both members of the Special Committee on Afghanistan. And they were both in Ottawa.
The Current requested an interview with Attorney General Rob Nicholson. He was not available for an interview. His office did, however, reiterate the government's position that officials have and will continue to provide all legally available information.
Previously on Parliament - Narrative Panel
We started this segment with a clip of Governor General Michaelle Jean reading from last year's Speech from The Throne. She's seated -- elevated above the rest of the room on a throne. She is holding a giant, hard-bound, book-shaped folio on her lap. And she's surrounded by hundreds of hushed, attentive ears, all curious to hear where the story is going.
There's a real art to political story-telling. And most people who have operated in that world will tell you creating a compelling and sympathetic narrative is a crucial element of successful politics.
So as we anticipate this afternoon's Speech From The Throne as well as tomorrow's Federal Budget, we wanted to look at what kinds of narratives our political leaders are working on for the next session of Parliament and how they connect with what happened in the last session.
For their thoughts on those plotlines, as well as the kinds of stories our political leaders will be trying to tell us, we were joined by three people. Leslie Noble is a political consultant in Toronto. She is best known for her work as former Ontario premier Mike Harris's campaign manager and one of the architects of his "Common Sense Revolution". Paul Wells is a Senior Columnist with Maclean's Magazine. He was in Ottawa. And Ken Alexander is a writer and the former Editor and Publisher of The Walrus Magazine. He was also in Toronto.
Hepatitis C Desperation - Levesque
As you've been hearing on the news, some patients with Hepatitis C in B.C. are having a hard time getting government funded treatment. So they are taking their health into their own hands, to try to make their conditions worse.
Hepatitis C attacks the liver and causes it to release an enzyme called ALT. Hep C patients have their ALT levels monitored regularly. The higher the level, the more serious the condition. In British Columbia and Ontario, Hep C patients are only eligible for government-funded medication if their ALT levels reach a certain threshold. Richard Levesque has Hepatitis C and he was in Vancouver.
Hep C Desperation - Reporter
CBC reporter, Kathy Tomlinson has been investigating this story and she was in Vancouver. You can see her full report on Go Public tonight on The National on CBC Television. We invited Kevin Falcon -- B.C.'s Health Minister -- to speak to us this morning. He declined. We also contacted the Ontario government but it could not provide a response.
Hep C Desperation- Farley
John Farley has spent a lot of time treating Hepatitis C patients and studying the disease. He's a specialist in internal medicine and a recognized expert on Hep C. He was in Vancouver.
Last Word - Reunited
We wanted to give the last word this morning to novelist William Deverell. He wrote a political thriller based in Ottawa called Snow Job. In light of our earlier conversation about political narratives -- we asked him how he'd approach writing another novel based on what's happening in Ottawa now.