The most popular tune across Canada next to the national anthem — and maybe even more popular than that — might be silenced.
The Hockey Night in Canada theme, known as the "second national anthem," has opened and closed all Canadian Broadcasting Corp. hockey telecasts since it was composed by Dolores Claman in 1968.
There's concern across the land as the CBC is about to tune out the catchy instrumental jingle to "go in another direction" because of unsuccessful royalty negotiations with Claman, 80, who now lives in England.
She receives a fee of about $500 each time the theme is played but has launched legal action claiming it has been used beyond the scope of the agreement.
The legal action is "basically a gun to our head," so the tune might be dropped, said CBC sports executive director Scott Moore.
If negotiations fail, CBC will launch a song-writing contest to find a new theme, he said.
Military deserters look for resident status
U.S. military deserters see some hope in a decision by Canada's Parliament calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government to let them stay in the country.
The opposition parties outvoted the minority Conservative government to pass a motion granting permanent residence status to deserters and their families.
The measure, however, isn't binding and it's expected the government will ignore it.
"We are very happy that we won," said Phil McDowell, a former U.S. Army sergeant from Warwick, R.I. "We're hopeful that the government will respect the democratic process."
There are about 200 military deserters in Canada avoiding service in Iraq. About 50,000 draft dodgers and resisters arrived over the course of the Vietnam War.
News in brief
• General Motors has rejected the Canadian Auto Workers' bid to reverse plans to close a truck plant in Oshawa, Ontario. "We still feel betrayed," CAW president Buzz Hargrove said. The union's agreement signed last month said that the plant, with 2,600 workers, would build a new generation of light-duty trucks in exchange for cost concessions, he said.
• Capt. Richard Leary, 32, of Brantford, Ontario, has been killed in Afghanistan in a firefight with Taliban militants. There have been 84 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat killed in the war.
• Lt. Gen. Walter Natynczyk will take over as chief of the defense staff, replacing Gen. Rick Hillier, who retires on July 1. Originally from Winnipeg, Natynczyk is now vice chief.
• Dr. Sheela Basrur, a public health leader and voice of calm during the 2003 SARS crisis in Toronto, has died of a rare form of cancer. She was 51. Basrur was Toronto's chief medical officer during outbreak that killed 44 people. She later became Ontario's chief medical officer.
Facts and figures
An interest rate cut of 0.25 percent is expected in the coming week as Canada's economy stalled in May with a loss of 32,200 full-time jobs. Increased part-time jobs kept the unemployment rate steady at 6.1 percent.
The Bank of Canada interest rate is 3 percent, and the prime lending rate is 4.75 percent.
Canada's dollar drifted lower to 98.16 cents U.S. on Friday, while the U.S. greenback gained to $1.0188 Canadian, before bank exchanges fees.
Rising oil prices pushed the Toronto Stock Exchange benchmark index to an all-time high of 15,154 points on Friday. The TSX Venture Exchange rose to 2,682 points.
Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 5, 21, 25, 32, 33, 41; bonus 45. (May 31) 2, 9, 11, 22, 34, 35; bonus 26. (Super 7: (May 30) 16, 24, 30, 32, 34, 37, 40; bonus 5.
• A mentally distraught Calgary architect has killed his wife, two children and a woman tenant. Police said Joshua Lall, 34, killed himself after stabbing his wife, Alison, 35, and their daughters, Kristen, 5, and Rochelle, 3. Amber Bowerman, a 30-year-old journalist renting a basement apartment, was also slain. Only 1-year-old Anna Lall was unharmed.
• Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley said the province will offer enhanced photo identification cards to nondrivers as an alternative to passports for travel to the United States. This would be aimed at the 4-million residents without driver's licenses.
• In what is called the final bailout for livestock producers after the mad cow disease crisis, the Alberta government announced a $356-million incentive plan. Ranchers, meat packers and other cattle owners will receive about $100 a head based on a feed-cost allocation and additional payments next year.
Jim Fox can be reached at