April 05, 2010

Pt 1: Supreme Court Bilingualism - NDP MP Yvon Godin says Supreme Court Justices should be required to be bilingual becuase they may miss the nuance of a legal argument made in French if they have to rely on translation. But former Supreme Court Judge John Major says this is a terrible idea because competency, not language, should be all that matters for appointments and he feels this law will narrow the pool of potential candidates. (Read More)

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Pt 2: UK Class Politics - Britain's Conservative party is trying to break the class barrier because it will help get them votes in the election in May and possibly break their losing streak since 1997. (Read More)

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Pt 3: Street Hockey - There are plenty of Canadian municipalities that have by-laws prohibiting street hockey. They're rarely enforced. But now one father is fighting a case in court that hinges on his argument that street hockey should be above the law because it is a Canadian cultural imperative. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

Today's guest host was Tom Harrington .

It's Monday, April 5th.

Scientists operating The Large Hadron Collider have broken new ground in the quest to replicate the conditions that existed 14 Billion years ago, in the first moments after the universe was created.

Currently, which is pretty impressive, because I don't think many people knew that 14 billion years ago a bunch of old men were running around in tunnels beneath the swiss countryside when suddenly, voila: The Universe.

This is The Current.

Supreme Court Bilingualism

Private members bills don't usually get a lot of attention. That's largely because they're often voted down before they make it out of the House of Commons. But last Wednesday evening, Bill C-232 beat the odds and passed. It is now on its way to The Senate. And if it becomes law, all future Supreme Court Justices will be required to be bilingual something critics fear would exclude otherwise well-qualified candidates.

Yvon Godin is the author of the bill. He's the NDP MP for Acadie-Bathurst in New Brunswick. And he was in Bathurst for the show.

We also heard from The Honorable John Major served as a judge on the Supreme Court of Canada from 1992 to early 2005. He's now associated with the law firm Bennett Jones in Calgary.


PART TWO

UK Class Politics

Music

Cut: Well Respected Man
Artist: The Kinks
Label: Rhino

Panel

Some patrons at a pub in London, England pouring forth on the question of class in Britain today.

Thirteen years ago, Britain's Prime Minister was John Major a Conservative who was also the son of a bus driver. Some saw him as a symbol of a new, possibly "classless" society. But today, class politics still hasn't gone away. One month from now, on May 6th, British voters are widely expected to be heading to the polls. The opposition Conservatives -- led by the young and well-polished David Cameron -- are expected to defeat the Labour Party for the first time in 13 years.

That has renewed the age-old rift between the country's haves and have-nots. And so one of the Conservative Party's biggest challenges will be overcoming the impression that they don't represent the old British elite. And Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Winterton didn't help his party's cause last month when -- in an interview on BBC Radio 5 -- he suggested that legislators should be allowed to travel first class.

For their thoughts on the persistence of class as a political issue in British elections, we're joined by two people.

Iain Dale is a conservative political blogger and a leading political commentator in Britain. He was in Tunbridge Wells, England.

Polly Toynbee is a columnist for The Guardian and a well-known social democratic thinker. She was in London.

The Great Class Divide

The great class divide has been a central theme in British society for a very long time. And for decades, it has been summed up by one famous photograph. It was taken in 1937. In it, five boys are standing outside Lord's cricket grounds in London.

Ian Jack is a columnist for The Guardian who has written about that iconic photo and he was in London, England.

 

PART THREE

Street Hockey

It's officially spring now. And that means that scenes like this one will be cropping up a lot more often. A rag-tag gang of kids ... some hockey sticks ... maybe a net or two. Across the country, the traffic patterns in many neighbourhoods will be decided by kids like Danny and Tyler. They're both nine. They're buddies. And The Current's Dominic Girard caught up with them for a game of street hockey ... a game that is technically against the law in a lot of municipalities.

Video

Here are Danny and Tyler in action:





Road hockey By-laws

Road hockey is played pretty much everywhere in Canada. But many municipalities have by-laws in place that officially ban it. Those by-laws are rarely enforced. But last month, in the Montreal suburb of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, David Sasson scored himself a fine after he refused to call off a street hockey game with his sons and some neighbourhood kids.

He is fighting his ticket in court. And he wants the municipality to revoke the by-law that bans playing in the street because, as he says, it's who we are. And you've got to think Walter Gretzky shares at least some of that sentiment. Every year, he hosts an annual street-hockey fund-raising tournament. Hundreds of players show up to participate including American film director Kevin Smith. He's the goalie with his team, Puck U.

Kevin Smith will once again don the pads in June. And, if it all goes according to plan, he'll help break a Guinness World Record. Kevin Smith was in Los Angeles.

Web Exclusive

Kevin Smith is a filmmaker and a pretty good street hockey goalie. Tom spent quite a bit more time talking to him -- more time than we have here this morning. (And in case you were wondering, the Guinness Record he mentioned is held by Ladysmith, British Columbia).

Kevin Smith Interview :

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Panel

Tom's next three guests were also street hockey fans. But they're not all so sure that street hockey defines us a country or that it should be above the law.

Jack Jedwab is the Executive Director of the Association of Canadian Studies. He was in Montreal.

Roy MacGregor is a columnist with the Globe and Mail and the author of several books on hockey. He was near Algonquin Park, Ontario.

Brenda Andress is the Executive Director of the Canadian Women's Hockey League. She was in Toronto.


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