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May 28, 2008

Pt 1: Arctic Treaty - On May 28, 2008, representatives from Canada, Denmark, Norway, the United States and Russia sat down to begin a three-day conference in Greenland. The talks will focus on how to map out the High Arctic waters, a part of the world that is changing rapidly and gaining newfound strategic significance thanks to global warming. More specifically, they planned to talk about how to reconcile each other's competing claims to the territory. Canada, for example, is preparing to lay a claim to a piece of the Arctic Ocean seabed that's roughly the size of the Canadian prairies.

Read more here

Pt 2: Bill C-51, Regulating Natural Health Products - Many Canadians swear by a whole range of natural health products: herbs, supplements and tinctures that are said to help fight a cold, aid weight loss or boost your immune system. But for all their popularity, natural health products have been largely unregulated in Canada.

Read more here

Pt 3: The West's Fascination With China - China's response to the May 2008 earthquake was just the latest lens for the west to use as we try to understand the enigma that is the world's most populous country. In 2007, it was the lead content in children's toys. Through the spring of 2008, it was the Olympic torch and the crackdown on Tibet. And then there's China's ever-expanding economy.

Read more here

Satire

It's Wednesday, May 28th.

An unidentified government source says the document Maxime Bernier left at his then-girlfriend's house was part of his "prep material" for last month's NATO summit in Romania.

Currently, at least, that's what they think, based on the bugs that weren't left in the house.

This is The Current.


Arctic Treaty

Treaty Proponent


On May 28, 2008, representatives from Canada, Denmark, Norway, the United States and Russia sat down to begin a three-day conference in Greenland. The talks will focus on how to map out the High Arctic waters, a part of the world that is changing rapidly and gaining newfound strategic significance thanks to global warming. More specifically, they planned to talk about how to reconcile each other's competing claims to the territory. Canada, for example, is preparing to lay a claim to a piece of the Arctic Ocean seabed that's roughly the size of the Canadian prairies.

But before everyone gets caught up staking out their turf, there are those who think we need some kind of agreement, or even a treaty, that would preserve the region's unique character; something that goes beyond the existing United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Ron Macnab, a member of the Canadian Polar Commission, is an oceanographer who used to be with the Geological Survey of Canada. We reached him in Halifax.


Treaty Opponent

Not everyone thinks a new treaty for the Arctic is such a great idea. Michael Byers, Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia, joined us from Vancouver.


Listen to Part One:

 

Bill C-51, Regulating Natural Health Products


Doctor

Many Canadians swear by a whole range of natural health products: herbs, supplements and tinctures that are said to help fight a cold, aid weight loss or boost your immune system. But for all their popularity, natural health products have been largely unregulated in Canada.

The federal government aimed to change thatwith Bill C-51, which calls for natural health products to be tested, regulated and controlled much like pharmaceuticals.

The government says the changes are necessary to ensure these products are what they claim to be and do what they say they do. But critics, including many of the companies that make natural health products, say it goes too far and could end up outlawing many of the products now sold in Canada.

On May 27, 2008, The Current paid a visit to a health food store in Toronto to see what people there thought about the debate. We spoke to Elizabeth Butt, the manager of Peaches and Green, a health food store in Toronto, as well as Hedvika Chase, a customer there.

Lloyd Oppel, a physician at the University of British Columbia Hospital, pushed for more regulation of natural health products for many years. He joined us from Vancouver.


Naturopath

Many people who make, market or use natural health products expressed concerns about the potential impact of Bill C-51. Paul Saunders is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and a professor at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. He spoke to us from Lynden, Ontario.


Government View

Tony Clement, Canada's minister of Health, spearheaded Bill C-51 through the House of Commons. We tracked him down in the halls of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.


Industry View

Not everyone was convinced that the proposed changes are quite so innocuous. Ian Stewart, Director of Regulatory Affairs with Truehope, a Canadian company that makes natural medicines to treat depression and mood disorders, joined us from Calgary.


Listen to Part Two:

 

The West's Fascination With China


Simon Winchester

China's response to the May 2008 earthquake was just the latest lens for the west to use as we try to understand the enigma that is the world's most populous country. In 2007, it was the lead content in children's toys. Through the spring of 2008, it was the Olympic torch and the crackdown on Tibet. And then there's China's ever-expanding economy.

Our collective fascination with China has grown, keeping pace with its rise as an economic and political powerhouse. But that fascination is nothing compared with the appetite of Joseph Needham, a British biochemist whose curiosity about China began back in the 1940s. According to Simon Winchester, Needham's relationship with China can teach us a lot. Simon Winchester is the author of the best-selling books, Krakatoa and A Crack in The Edge of The World. He joined us in Toronto to discuss his latest book, The Man Who Loved China.


Last Word - Panties For peace

In May 2008, the news coming out of Burma, also known as Myanmar, continued to be grim. But two activist groups -- the Quebec Women's Federation and the Rights and Democracy Student Network -- came up with an unusual way for women around the world to register their displeasure with Burma's military regime. They call the campaign "Panties for Peace." It's based on the fact that touching women's undergarments is considered a cultural no-no in Burma. Mika Levesque, the Asia Regional Officer with Rights and Democracy, explained the campaign.


Listen to Part Three:

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