April 08, 2010

Pt 1: Nazia Quazi Nazia Quazi is a 24-year-old dual Indian and Canadian citizen. For the last two years, she has been stuck in Saudi Arabia because her father made himself her male guardian without her knowledge. Under Saudi law, that means she can't leave the country without his permission. He won't grant her permission. And with her Indian passport set to expire this month, she's worried that she may end up stuck in Saudi permanently. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Helping Nazia Quazi - 
 An interview with Deepak Obhrai, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs about what Ottawa is doing to help Nazia Quazi. (Read More)
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Pt 3: Letters -
It's mail day. We hear your thoughts on street hockey and the Catholic Church. Plus, we look back at the last time there was a scandal over the National Parole Board's decision to pardon a sex offender. (Read More)
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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

It's Thursday, April 8th.

For the first time, The Masters Tournament is being broadcast in 3-D.

Currently, And I think I speak for all of us when I say ... Tiger, please keep your mind on the game.

This is The Current.

Canadian Stuck in Saudi Arabia - Nazia Quazi

Nazia Quazi is a dual Indian and Canadian citizen. But for the last two years, she has been stuck in Saudi Arabia. She says her father is holding her in the country against her will. And now she's worried she won't ever be able to leave. She says it all began when she fell in love with the wrong man. Nazia Quazi was in Riyadh.

The CBC did get in touch with Nazia Quazi's father. He refused to speak with us on air and said that this is a purely personal problem.


Canadian Stuck in Saudi Arabi - Deepak Obhrai

We started this segment with a clip of Nazia Quazi. She's a 24-year-old woman with dual Indian and Canadian citizenship. And in our first half-hour, she told us how she has been trapped in Saudi Arabia for the last two years. Under Saudi law, a woman needs her male guardian's permission to leave the country. In Nazia Quazi's case, her male guardian is her father. And he won't give his permission.

Nazia Quazi alleges her father has abused her. She has approached the Canadian government for help. To find out what role Ottawa is playing in her case, we reached Deepak Obhrai. He's the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs responsible for consular services. He was in Calgary .

Canadian Stuck in Saudi Arabia - Gar Pardy

For some perspective on Nazia Quazi's case, we were joined by Gar Pardy. A long-time diplomat, he worked for the Canadian Foreign Service for nearly four decades. He led the Canadian Consular Service for 11 years. And he was closely involved in the case of William Sampson, the Canadian who was facing execution in Saudi Arabia until he was released seven years ago. Gar Pardy retired from the foreign service in 2003. He was in our Ottawa studio.

Canadian Stuck in Saudi Arabia - Activist

Leaving the country is hardly the only thing that women in Saudi Arabia cannot do without a man's permission. Among other things, women can't drive or vote or get married. And when Wajeha Al-Huwaider tried to change that by taking to the streets with a sign saying "Give Women Their Rights" ... she was arrested. That hasn't stopped her from speaking out. She's the co-founder of the Society for Defending Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia. She was in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

We also requested an interview with the Saudi Ambassador to Canada. He was unavailable this morning.



Thursday is mail day and our Friday host, Linden MacIntyre joined Anna Maria in our studio to help read your mail.

Street Hockey: As the warm weather arrives, street hockey is back on the road. Monday on The Current, we cracked open the age-old debate over whether playing in the street is a Canadian kid's right. Kevin Smith argued that it is. He is a film-maker and a comedian who is passionate about street hockey. Our listeners had their own views on Street Hockey to add to the mix.

And one our listeners, Paul Danyluk peaked our curiosity with his letter:

So, let me get this straight. Without street hockey, there would be no Canada? And to be Canadian is to be one who has played street hockey? It seems I've been wasting my time staying politically informed, volunteering and voting ... when really all I need to do is grab a stick and run around in traffic.

So we decided to give him a call. He lives in Guelph, Ontario.

Public Servant Wages: Public service employees in Ontario have been having a tough few weeks. In an effort to curb the deficit, the Ontario government imposed a wage freeze on all non-unionized employees. And when the so-called Sunshine List came out -- the list of public sector employees earning more than one hundred thousand dollars -- it didn't ease the bad news. Yesterday on the program, we opened up a debate about the value of the public service. And then we heard from you.

Canadian Catholics: Yesterday we talked about the state of the Catholic Church with three Catholics including Marie Pittaway. She walked out of her church service this past Sunday. She is a lifelong Catholic who lives in Moncton, New Brunswick. This segment prompted listeners to reflect on their own religious beliefs.

Pardons: Tuesday we heard from Sheldon Kennedy. He's a former NHL hockey player who was sexually abused by Graham James. Graham Jones is a former junior hockey coach and a convicted sex-offender. He got a pardon in early 2007. But that was only revealed publicly last Sunday. The government's response to the news of Graham James' pardon was swift. And our Ottawa producer Neil Morrison joined Anna Maria and Linden to walk us through it.

But we still had questions about how hard it would have been for the federal government to change the way pardons were granted back in 2006 ... if the government had wanted to. To help answer that, we were joined by Michael Carabash. He's a lawyer who is working on a book about criminal records in Canada. He was in Toronto.

Moscow Subway Music: Last week at a listener's request, we replayed some of the music we recorded in the Moscow subway, before the subway bombings occurred. Many listeners wrote in wanting to know what the last song we aired wascalled.

And Sean Gacich of Toronto wrote in with this:

The "haunting" music -- as one listener put it -- that you played was actually an interpretation of an Argentinean song by Astor Piazolla. It's called "Libertango". It can be found on the soundtrack to the film by Sally Potter, "The Tango Lesson." The Russian musicians give it a definite local flavour. But the version on this CD is equally haunting and the corresponding dance sequence in the film is simply stunning!

Thank you Sean Gacich for helping us identify this song. And with a review like that, how could we not take a listen! We ended this segment with Astor Piazolla's Libertango accompanied by Yo Yo Ma.

Last Word - Security System Satire

You may have heard the news that the RCMP will equip its officers on Parliament Hill with semi-automatic machine guns. The police force has actually owned the weapons for years. They were phased out and have been in storage since 1996. But now, they will be brought back to replace shotguns as the officers' secondary weapons.

And that's not all that could be changing on the Hill. The Dept. of Public Works and Government Services has put out a call for bids for an integrated security system that would add thousands of video cameras, alarm sensors, motion detectors and panic buttons. So we asked our friends at the CBC's Content Factory to imagine what a truly locked-down Centre Block would be like.

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