July 25, 2010: The Future of Braille - Twentieth Anniversary of the BQ - Michael Enright's interview with Oscar Brand

This week our Summer guest host was Ian Hanomansing.

Hour One: The Future of Braille- We found out why some blind people are worried that Braille is being swallowed up in a stream of internet audio and talking books -- and they say we should all be concerned.

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Hour Two: Twentieth Anniversary of the BQ - We took a look back to the lead story on the news twenty years ago today - a sudden, surprising shift in Canadian politics that still affects the way we are all governed.

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Elsewhere on the Show: We brought you an encore presentation of Michael Enright's interview with Oscar Brand, as well as an essay about a mother's love for her "good boy".

Hour 1

Song: Things ain't what they used to be
Artist: Oliver Jones
Album: Ellington '87

The Future of Braille

"I am too darn lazy to learn Braille." That's what Glenn Beck recently told a large crowd in Utah. The Conservative commentator was explaining that what he would miss most was not being able to read. His doctor had just diagnosed macular dystrophy and said he would soon go blind.

Glenn Beck is hardly alone. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. and Canada and, as baby boomers age, doctors expect a significant increase in the number of people who lose their vision. The prognosis for Braille also has been bleak.

Earlier this year, there was a real possibility that Canada's Braille library system would have to shut down, unless the government stepped up with additional funding. That crisis was averted in the short term; but for the long term, the fate of Braille services in this country is dicey.

Does Braille even matter ten years into the 21st century? If Canada is about to face a marked increase in the number of blind citizens, maybe there are other ways to cope.

With Ian in Toronto this week: John Rafferty, President and CEO of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind; and Dr. Myra Rodriguez, a retired teacher, author and former member of the CNIB's Board of Directors. In our Calgary studio, Sarah Empy, an advocate for disable people.

Feature Album - The Beat Stuff

This week we featured Hannah Georgas, a singer-songwriter born in Newmarket, Ontario, now living in Vancouver.

Song: The Beat Stuff
Artist: Hannah Georgas
Album: The Beat Stuff

The Good Boy - Personal Essay

If there was ever a group of people that could be forgiven for losing faith - occasionally or regularly - it's parents. When kids go off the rails, patience, affection, just hanging in -- they're all pretty hard to come by.

John St. Godard's story about his mother might give some of the beleaguered parental masses a little hope. This is a tale of endurance, steadfastness and love.

Feature Album - Laws of Illusion

This week, Sarah McLachlan brought her Lilith Tour to Toronto and last month, Ian got a chance to watch her rehearse for that tour. She rented a studio in CBC Vancouver and among the songs she was working on her newest single a change of pace for a singer known for introspective ballads.

We played you a track from her new CD, .

Song: Loving You Is Easy
Artist: Sarah Mclachlan
Album: Laws of Illusion

Hour 2

Song: Danse Villageoise
Artist: Claude Champagne/ Quebec Symphony Orchestra
Album: Danse Villageoise

Twentieth Anniversary of the BQ

The Bloc Quebecois had a short-term goal of promoting and protecting the interests of Quebecers; for the long term, it was sovereignty for Quebec. Over the past two decades, the BQ has not only emerged as a force, it has changed the face of Canadian politics.

To talk about that, we spoke to Brooke Jeffrey in our Ottawa studio. She is a political scientist at Concordia University, a former senior public servant in the federal government.

Something to Sing About: Oscar Brand at 90

We started off this piece by playing you an archival clip of folk music legend Oscar Brand, introducing an episode of Folksong Festival on WNYC radio in New York, in September 1946.

Oscar Brand has hosted the program for more than 65 years, a run that has put him in the Guinness Book of World Records. It has also made him one of the most beloved figures in folk music, on both sides of the border.

As host of Folksong Festival and the 1960s Canadian TV show Let's Sing Out, Oscar Brand has introduced, championed and performed alongside everyone who is anyone or anyone who ever aspired to be anyone, in folk music. He also wrote a song in tribute to his native land --This Land of Ours , also known as Something to Sing About -- which became an unofficial Canadian anthem in the 1960's. Brand was born in Winnipeg.

He has written more than 300 songs and recorded 90 albums. He has composed for Broadway and film. He is a musicologist, playwright, best-selling author, teacher. And on February 7th, it was Oscar Brand's 90th birthday. On that occasion, The Sunday Edition welcomed him to the CBC studio in New York, to speak with Michael Enright. This week we played that conversation for you again.

Song: Something to sing about
Artist: Oscar Brand
Album: Live on campus

Song: Don't swim float
Artist: Harry Manx and Kevin Briet
Album: Don't swim float

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