Thursday, March 25, 2010 | Categories: Episodes
Pt 1: Free Speech - We started this segment with a clip of Ann Coulter speaking on a tour in Canada this week. And in case you missed it, that last exchange was with a Muslim student at the University of Western Ontario. In response to the student's question, Ann Coulter re-iterated her view that Muslims should be banned from airplanes ... and suggested the student "take a camel" if she doesn't have access to a flying carpet. That was on Monday. And the controversy hasn't gone away.
Today's guest host was Jim Brown.
It' s Thursday March 25th.
Right-wing American pundit Ann Coulter, who is preparing a hate crime complaint against the University of Ottawa, says Muslims appear to be the only protected group in Canada.
Currently, and with that, Coulter has been hailed as the Rosa Parks of the much-persecuted white, affluent, conservative, globe-trotting, best-selling, publicity seeking minority.
This is the Current.
Free Speech - Sanjeev Anand
We started this segment with a clip of Ann Coulter speaking on a tour in Canada this week. And in case you missed it, that last exchange was with a Muslim student at the University of Western Ontario. In response to the student's question, Ann Coulter re-iterated her view that Muslims should be banned from airplanes ... and suggested the student "take a camel" if she doesn't have access to a flying carpet. That was on Monday. And the controversy hasn't gone away.
On Tuesday, Ann Coulter's speech at the University of Ottawa was cancelled because of security concerns after thousands of people protested outside the venue. And yesterday, she lashed out at Canada's hate speech laws.
Before coming to Canada, Ann Coulter got a letter from the University of Ottawa's Provost. In it, he urged her not to overstep the legal bounds of acceptable speech in Canada. And now Ann Coulter says that makes her the victim of a hate crime. We aired a clip of Ann Coulter speaking to CTV's Tom Clark.
Ann Coulter is scheduled to speak at the University of Calgary tonight. And with accusations of hate speech coming from so many directions, we thought it would be a good time to re-familiarize ourselves with what Canada's hate speech laws actually say. Sanjeev Anand is here to help with that. He's a law professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
Free Speech - Panel
Now so far, Ann Coulter hasn't been charged with hate speech or anything else. But her presence here has generated a heated debate about whether she should have been permitted to speak publicly in Canada at all.
For their thoughts on that debate, we were joined by Susan G. Cole. She's a columnist at Now Magazine. She has been writing about censorship issues for more than 30 years. She was in Toronto. And Tim Powers is a conservative strategist. He's also a lecturer in the Faculty of Communications at the University of Ottawa. He was in Ottawa.
It's a frightening statistic for anyone who travels by air in Canada. Over the last decade, the Transportation Safety Board has investigated pilot fatigue as a possible factor in a dozen crashes. And in those crashes, 28 people died. There are regulations in place that govern the number of hours a pilot can work. But many say they are out-of-date and are not stringent enough to ensure that when pilots enter the cockpit they will be well-rested and alert.
This week on CBC Television's The National, as well as Radio Canada's Enquete and here on The Current, we're presenting the results of an investigation into pilot fatigue in the United States and Canada. The investigation was carried out by the CBC's Gino Harel, Frederic Zalac and Alex Shprintsen. And our documentary this morning was by our French radio colleague Gino Harel. It's called Dead Tired.
There will be more on pilot fatigue tomorrow night on The National on CBC Television.
It's time for our weekly foray into the mail. The Current's John Chipman has been sifting through all your letters and he joined Jim to share some of our listeners thoughts on the program.
Red Cross: Our program last Thursday on the Red Cross generated a lot of mail. The story involved some explosive allegations about the Canadian Red Cross and its relief efforts in Indonesia after the tsunami ... specifically that thousands of workers on Canadian Red Cross reconstruction projects were falsely recruited, received little or no pay, and were working involuntarily. We heard from Virgil Grandfield. He worked for the Canadian Red Cross on tsunami relief in 2004 and then again in 2007 and 2008. And we also heard from Pam Aung-Thin, the national director of public affairs for the Canadian Red Cross. And then our listeners had their comments to add.
Update on Leroux Story: We have an update on a story we first brought you last year. Do you remember the name Irvin Leroux? Irvin is a business owner ... or he was a business owner ... in Valemount, BC near Prince George. Mr. Leroux owned an RV park and campground. And he was also developing a residential subdivision with 11 lots. And then his problems began with Revenue Canada. The agency made a huge mistake on his audit. Mr. Leroux's story was uncovered by the CBC's Kathy Tomlinson. It goes back to 1996 when Mr. Leroux was told he was being audited. Revenue Canada officers came in to look at his books. And that's when things started to unravel. We aired a clip from his conversation with Anna Maria on the program last April.
Revenue Canada told him he owed them hundreds of thousands of dollars. The exact figure was never fully clear. Although at its peak, they said he owed them more than a million dollars in income tax and GST. And the onus was always on him to prove he didn't owe the money. And then, in 2005 ... after nine years of fighting, a tax court ruled that Revenue Canada actually owed him money. They owed him $24,000 in income taxes. On the GST side, he agreed to pay the agency $20k, so in the end, he came out just slightly in the black. But by this time he'd already been forced to sell his property ... at a huge loss, of course. He sued Revenue Canada. The Revenue Minster at the time, Carol Skelton, suggested to him through his MP that they could reach an out-of-court settlement quickly. That was four years ago. He's still waiting ...
Mr. Leroux is back in court this week in Prince George, B.C. He joined us by phone in Vancouver. Karen Selick is the litigation director with the Canadian Constitution Foundation, which has taken on his case. We asked the Canada Revenue Agency for a comment. A spokesperson said the agency's position will be presented in court, and it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time.
History Text Books: It looks like yesterday's segment on the Texas Board of Education struck a chord with listeners. As you'll remember, the board is planning some big changes to the way history is taught in the state. Earlier this month, it voted in favour of roughly one hundred changes to its textbooks.
And that could affect education far beyond Texas. Because Texas is such a large state, textbook producers often align their books with the state's curriculum, even the ones sold in other states. Yesterday we heard the yays and the nays against the amendments. And our listeners added their thoughts to the discussion.
Native Education: Well sticking with education here, last week on The Current we looked at post-secondary education among aboriginals. Wile 18 percent of Canadians have a university degree, the number is only three percent for registered status Indians. And some critics say that number would improve if the government just put the money it's already spending on aboriginal post-secondary education to better use. Calvin Helin is the co-author of a new report that proposes giving money directly to the students. After hearing from Calvin Helin, we received suggestions and feedback from our listeners.
Request Count: Request count is back! It has been almost three months since we moved our ongoing tally online. But our requests for federal cabinet ministers have continued. And we actually had some success this week. Industry Minister Tony Clement was on the program yesterday. Listeners, you can always keep an eye on the tally on our website and we'll bring you occasional updates in our letters segment.
Niqabs: One topic Anna Maria hashed out in last Thursday's mail was the niqab, the Muslim face-covering. We made a link between the niqab and theatre by speaking with a maker of theatrical masks. Well, after discussing what is lost or gained in communication when the face is obscured, we heard from Villia Jefremovas of Hull, Quebec ... who voiced what was so obvious, we missed it.
Am I the only one to notice the irony of listening to an interview, that is discussing the problems created by only hearing a voice and not seeing a face, on RADIO?! I usually have CBC radio on ... and I have no problem understanding the language, emotions and ideas of the guests. Radio depends on our capacity to understand ... and to make a connection even without seeing your faces! My radio is your niqab.
Cd: Live It Out
Cut: 4, Too Little, Too Late
Label: Last Gang
Spine: Q2 00908