Oct 14/10 - Pt 3: Letters

Liberal MP Ujal Dosanjh tells us about his plan to fix the Citizenship Act. And meet Khanom Zrein Harris, a 100-year-old who was born in Lebanon and has spent the last 74 years in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.



It's time now for our weekly look at the mail. And our Friday host, Gillian Findlay joined our guest host Tom Harrington in studio to get through the mailbag today.

Stateless: Ian Goldring is a Canadian. But he can't pass along his citizenship to his daughter. Last Thursday on The Current, we heard about the predicament of Chloe. She is 15 months old and officially stateless. She was born in Belgium. But she can't have Belgian citizenship until she has lived there for a decade. And because of new changes to Canada's citizenship act, she can't inherit her father's citizenship either. After hearing this segment, we heard from our listeners with their thoughts.

Ujjal Dosanjh is the Liberal MP for Vancouver South. He has been working on a Private Members bill to address what he believes are problems with the changes made to the Citizenship Act. He was in Vancouver.

Eden Restored: On Tuesday, we took you to an area in southern Iraq ... a delicate marshland about twice the size of the Florida everglades. The ecosystem was reduced to something of a desert during the regime of Saddam Hussein ... as a way of punishing the Marsh Arabs who had backed an uprising against him. But the area has undergone some changes under the leadership of Dr Azzam Alwash. He is the head of Iraq's first environmental NGO called Nature Iraq. And he told us how change in the marshland area began. His passion for this project prompted our listeners to add their comments to this story.

Puppy Mills: We've long heard about the horrors of puppy mills. But now a suburb of Vancouver may become the first community in Canada to take some action. The City Council of Richmond, BC is expected to pass a bylaw that bans the sale of dogs in pet stores.  Monday on The Current we heard from Kristin Bryson. She is a prosecutor in Vancouver and a member of the SPCA's volunteer board. And our listeners had more to say on this topic in our inbox.

Minnie McCurdy: We called it "the perfect martini" that balanced mix of ingredients that complement and enhance each other. But the martini here is a friendship. And the ingredients are two special people ... 103 year old Minnie McCurdy and her friend for almost thirty years, Steven Bickerstaffe who is in his fifties. The decades that separate their birthdates didn't divide them but Tuesday on The Current, we heard that some things had to be worked out. After the documentary aired, we heard more about Minnie in the mail.

100at100: Well Minnie McCurdy was the tenth centenarian we have heard from so far this season. And we're keeping track because our goal is to talk to 100. And in the spirit of that, we wanted to introduce you to Khanom Zrein Harris. For 74 years, she has lived in a modest apartment above her family's store in rural Nova Scotia. She was born 100 years ago in Lebanon.

At the age of 26 -- an old maid in the eyes of her family -- a marriage was arranged. So the educated city woman left Lebanon to join her new husband in Canada. He had a dry goods store in Westville, a small coal mining town in Pictou County. The mines have since closed, and so has the Harris' store. But Khanom still lives above where it used to be. She is a fiercely independent woman in amazing health. She doesn't need a walker. She uses glasses only for reading. She watches arabic shows on satellite TV. And she says her daily prayers towards Mecca.

The CBC's Mary Lynk stopped by for a visit, along with her Aunt Laila Houssian. They are relatives of Khanom. And Khanom had prepared a complicated arabic lunch, including homemade yogurt, grape leaves, kibbeh, and Lebanese sweets. Over lunch, Laila asked Khanom about her arrival in Canada.

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Music Bridge

Artist: Steve Dawson
Cd: We Belong to The Gold Coast
Cut: #8, Photograph
Label: Black Hen
Spine: BHCD 0030

Last Word - DNA Dozen Promo

We ended the program today with something The Current's Kathleen Goldhar is working on for tomorrow's program. She got the last word today.


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