Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Categories: Episodes
Pt 1: Women Research Chairs - Earlier this week, the Federal Government announced the 19 successful candidates for the Canada Excellence Research Chairs program. The program was designed to woo high-powered scientists from all over the world. While the results are being hailed as an intellectual coup for Canada, some wonder why no women were selected for the jobs. (Read More)
Pt 2: Quebec Language Bill - An impending Supreme Court deadline is re-igniting the debate over Quebec's language laws. But according to a new poll, Quebecers views on the subject are shifting. (Read More)
Pt 3: Letters - It's mail day. We hear your thoughts on a major deal to protect Canada's Boreal forest, on the language around the charge of sexual assault and living wage laws. Plus, we talked to a theology professor who says the Montreal Canadians make a pretty great religion. (Read More)
Whole Show Blow-by-Blow
It's Thursday, May 20th.
Stock markets fell sharply yesterday after Germany announced a ban on "naked short selling," a form of financial speculation that contributed to the global economic crisis.
Currently, Remarkably, Goldman Sachs was actually shorting "naked shorting." Nice.
This is the Current.
Women Research Chairs - Suzanne Fortier
Earlier this week, the Federal Government announced the 19 successful candidates for the Canada Excellence Research Chairs program. The program was launched two years ago. It was designed to woo high-powered scientists from all over the world. And the results are being hailed as an intellectual coup for Canada.
The successful candidates have a few things in common. They're all considered top in their field. They were all lured to Canada in part by 190-million-dollars in federal funding. And they're all men. That last commonality has raised some questions about how the selection process works, and why it didn't turn up a single woman.
Suzanne Fortier is a member of the steering committee that oversees the Canada Excellence Research Chairs program. She's also the President the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council. She was in Quebec City.
Women Research Chairs - Wendy Robbins
Wendy Robbins isn't convinced the selection process couldn't have turned up at least a few women. She's an English professor and the Co-Ordinator of Women's Studies at the University of New Brunswick.
In 2003, she was part of a group of academics that launched a successful human rights complaint against the selection process behind the Canada Research Chairs Program, the sister program to the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program. She was in Fredericton.
Women Research Chairs - Valerie Davidson
As we established, there still aren't a lot of women working at senior levels in the fields of science, engineering and technology. For a sense of why that is and how it might be addressed, we talked to Valerie Davidson. She is a professor of Engineering at the University of Guelph. She's also the Chair for Women in Science and Engineering in Ontario, a position that is dedicated to increasing the number of women in those fields. She was in Guelph, Ontario.
Quebec Language Bill - Christian Bourque
We started this segment by airing a television ad from a cultural organization in Quebec promoting French as the common language of Quebec, particularly among new arrivals. For the last few years, the province's language debate has been on the back-burner. But it's back now, thanks to a rapidly approaching Supreme Court deadline.
The Court has given the Quebec Government until October to fix a law that it ruled unconstitutional. Just yesterday, Premier Jean Charest said he'd address that by the end of June in time for a new school year. The law in question -- Bill 104 -- closed a loophole in the province's language law that allowed children who are supposed to be educated in French, to go to English schools. Their parents were sending them to English private schools for at least a year in a bid to get them into English public schools later.
This latest issue over language policy has re-surfaced at a time when public opinion appears to be shifting. We heard from Christian Bourque, the Vice President of Léger Marketing, about a poll his company conducted earlier this month for the Montreal Gazette.
Quebec Language Bill - Bernard Landry
Bernard Landry was the Premier of Quebec from 2001 to 2003. He helped form the Parti Québécois in 1968 and served as a cabinet minister under Premiers René Lévesque, Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard. We spoke with Bernard Landry from Montreal this morning.
Quebec Language Bill - Victor Bloom
Alain Chung sees this debate differently. He emigrated to Quebec. And he's married to Quebecer whose first language is French. His 12 year-old son goes to a private English school. He fears his son will have to change schools in the fall. We aired a clip from Alain Chung.
Now, for as long as Bernard Landry has been fighting for french language rights Victor Goldbloom has been fighting to ensure english rights there - aren't lost. He served as Canada's Commissioner of Official Languages from 1991 to 1999. Before that he was a Liberal member of Quebec's National Assembly going back to 1966. Victor Goldbloom was in Montreal this morning.
It's time now for our weekly look at the mail. Our Friday host, Erica Johnson joined us from Vancouver.
Healing Trees: A walk through the forest can be a soul satisfying experience. And according to Diana Beresford-Kroeger, it's not just your soul that is reaping the benefits. She says trees have particular healing properties that we have lost touch with over thousands of years some of which you gain just from hanging around them. Tuesday on the program, she gave us examples of how trees can heal. After this segment, listeners shared their thoughts.
Forest Deal: On the same day Diana Beresford-Kroeger talked to us about about the importance of trees, a major deal was announced to protect Canada's Boreal forest. Environmental groups agreed to suspend campaigns urging the boycott of timber products in exchange for a pledge from 21 forestry companies to cease new logging on 29 million hectares of forest. Avrim Lazar is the President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada. It represents some of the biggest firms in the industry. He spoke to us from Vancouver.
Article of Interest: Forest Shakedown
Stalking: At first it seemed like a series of inconsequential coincidences. Every time Myriam deBlois stopped in at her local coffee shop, the same man would be there. But then she noticed he was everywhere. She saw him outside her office, near her home, at different coffee shops she went to.
That's when Myriam deBlois realized she was being stalked. Myriam deBlois is a youth court lawyer in Montreal. And knowing her rights and the legal system, she thought she could handle the situation. But it still took months to end the stalking. And last Wednesday on the program, she described the debilitating effect it had on her life. After this segment aired, we heard from listeners with similar experiences.
Sexual Assault Language: Criminal behaviour was also part of another story we looked at last week, as the language around the charge of sexual assault was under assessment.
The government has decided to revisit a decision in 1983, which removed the charge of "rape" from the criminal code and replaced it with the more general classification of sexual assault. The reasoning was to emphasize the violence of sexual assault over the sexual act.
But as there were then, there are serious concerns now about how the language reflects the crime. We brought together a panel, with Carissima Mathen, a professor of law at the University of New Brunswick, Lee Lakeman, spokesperson for the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres and Don Stuart, who teaches criminal law at Queen's University. Listeners also shared their stories on this subject.
A Living Wage: Making those last few dollars stretch until your next paycheque is an experience many people have. But if you're making eight dollars an hour, it's often not a realistic expectation. Eight dollars is the minimum hourly wage in British Columbia but there's one community that is set to buck that standard.
The city of New Westminster, just east of Vancouver, has passed a by-law to set a living wage -- a wage based on the cost of living and working in New Westminster. And that was calculated to be sixteen dollars and seventy-four cents per hour. Last Friday on The Current, we wrestled with the pros and cons of the idea and then we heard from listeners.
Hockey Religion: It's NHL playoff season and while fans are glued to their tv sets in the evenings, the passion for the game doesn't end there. Now the office is full of budding hockey analysts, re-hashing last night's game.
Last Wednesday, as hockey fever gripped Montreal Canadiens' fans, you would have thought productivity might be at an all-time low in that city. But not according to Dianne Hunnam-Jones, the President of Office Team's Toronto Region, which is an administrative staffing agency. We aired a clip.
Well, the Habs won Game 7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins last week. But their performance ever since has been less than inspiring. They have lost to the Philadelphia Flyers twice now: 6-nothing on Sunday and 3-nothing on Tuesday. The Habs will seek redemption tonight when they play Game 3 in Montreal. But will the hockey gods be on Montreal's side?
Olivier Bauer has thought a lot about the parallels between hockey and religion. He's a professor of theology at the University of Montreal, where he teaches a graduate course called The Religion of the Montreal Canadiens. We spoke to him in Montreal.
Last Word - Hockey Song
We left you with a song that was meant to inspire the Montreal Canadiens and ended up causing a bit of controversy over at Hockey Night in Canada. Loco Locass is a Quebec hip-hop group. They have a song out called Le But that celebrates the team as a metaphor for Quebec's history. They're also staunch separatists.
And the song contains a passage that references former Quebec Premier Rene Levesques' words after the defeat of the referendum in 1980 "until next time." That passage disappeared briefly from Hockey Night In Canada's website something the staff there says was a technical issue, not a political one. In the meantime, we played Loco Locass and Le But.