CBCradio

June 2, 2008

Pt 1: Banyan Tree - A Canadian organization would give loans to people who would use the money to contribute to charities and then claim a sizable tax break. In theory, everyone would win. But just a few years after the Toronto-based Banyan Tree Foundation launched the program, the federal government asked donors to return more than $63 million in tax credits, leaving 20 charities across Canada fearing they have lost decades of promised, stable funding.

Read more here

Pt 2: Safer Communities Legislation - We played some tape of 18-year-old Ian MacDonald speaking outside a courtroom in Sydney, Nova Scotia in mid-May 2008. He inherited a house on Grandview Street in Sydney -- a house that was closed down by provincial officials under the Safer Communities And Neighbourhoods legislation or SCAN. The legislation gives officials the power to evict tenants and temporarily restrict access to a property if they can show that activity going on there is disrupting or endangering the neighbourhood around it.

Read more here

Pt 3: Burma Sanctions - Since 1990, the United States Government has maintained broad economic sanctions on Burma -- also known as Myanmar -- in the hopes that they would help pressure the country's military regime into changing its ways. Since the mid 90s, many western countries, including Canada, have followed suit. And in late 2007, Canada, the European Union and Japan all tightened their sanctions against Burma.

Read more here

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Banyan Tree


Reporter

It sounded like a good idea at the time.

A Canadian organization would give loans to people who would use the money to contribute to charities and then claim a sizable tax break. In theory, everyone would win. But just a few years after the Toronto-based Banyan Tree Foundation launched the program, the federal government asked donors to return more than $63 million in tax credits, leaving 20 charities across Canada fearing they have lost decades of promised, stable funding.

CBC Reporter Alison Crawford joined us from Ottawa to bring us the story.


Listen to Part One:

 

Safer Communities Legislation


Nova Scotia

We played some tape of 18-year-old Ian MacDonald speaking outside a courtroom in Sydney, Nova Scotia in mid-May 2008. He inherited a house on Grandview Street in Sydney -- a house that was closed down by provincial officials under the Safer Communities And Neighbourhoods legislation or SCAN. The legislation gives officials the power to evict tenants and temporarily restrict access to a property if they can show that activity going on there is disrupting or endangering the neighbourhood around it.

There is similar legislation on the books in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Yukon, with Alberta, plus Newfoundland and Labrador, preparing for their own SCAN laws to take effect. And a private members' bill containing many of the same features is expected to be introduced in Ontario in the fall of 2008.

CBC reporter Joan Weeks followed Ian MacDonald's story and the impact the SCAN legislation had in Nova Scotia. She joined us from Sydney.


Northwest Territories

Ian MacDonald told us where the debate over Nova Scotia's SCAN legislation left him. And he's not the only one whose life was upended by laws designed to make neighbourhoods safer. The Yukon has its own Safer Communities And Neighbourhoods or SCAN legislation, and Patricia Bacon, Executive Director of the Blood Ties Four Directions Centre, an organization in Whitehorse that helps people affected by HIV-AIDS and Hepatitis C, said it had some unfortunate results in Whitehorse.

A spokesperson for the Yukon's Justice Department sayid the department won't comment on specific cases, but as we went to air that no one had challenged an eviction made under the Yukon's SCAN legislation.

Next door, The Northwest Territories considered bringing in its own SCAN legislation, but ultimately decided against it. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association was one of the groups that encouraged the government to make that decision. Murray Mollard, the association's Executive Director, joined us from Vancouver.


Ontario

Despite the Northwest Territories' decision to reject SCAN legislation, there are other provinces that are considering it. Yasir Naqvi is a Liberal member of the Ontario Legislature who drafted a private member's bill similar to other provinces' SCAN laws. He explained why he thought it was necessary.

The organization Crime Prevention Ottawa backed his bid for SCAN legislation in Ontario. Nancy Worsfold, the organization's Executive Director, joined us from Ottawa.


Listen to Part Two:

 

Burma Sanctions


Aid Worker

Since 1990, the United States Government has maintained broad economic sanctions on Burma -- also known as Myanmar -- in the hopes that they would help pressure the country's military regime into changing its ways. Since the mid 90s, many western countries, including Canada, have followed suit. And in late 2007, Canada, the European Union and Japan all tightened their sanctions against Burma.

There's long been a healthy debate about the effectiveness of those sanctions, and whether they hurt the regime or help solidify its power. That debate was rekindled at the end of May 2008 when, in light of last month's devastating cyclone, the U.S. Treasury Department loosened the sanctions slightly. The department removed the limit on the amount of money individual Americans may send to individuals in Burma and lifted some of the restrictions on giving money to not-for-profit humanitarian campaigns there.

Aid agencies say the cyclone left about 1.5 million Burmese in need of aid. For a sense of the progress of that relief effort, we were joined from Yangon by Andrew Kirkwood, Save the Children Canada's Country Director for Burma.


Opponent

In the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, some people questioned the wisdom of maintaining the decades-old sanctions regime against Burma.

David Steinberg is one of them. He's a Distinguished Professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University who has written extensively about Burma and worked in the country as a member of the Senior Foreign Service. He joined us from Washington, D.C.


Supporter

There are those who think sanctions against Burma are worth preserving. Larry Bagnell is a Liberal MP who represents the Yukon who is also the Chair of Parliamentary Friends of Burma. He joined us from Ottawa.


Last Word - Campaign for Burma Public Service Announcement

We closed this episode with some more thoughts on Burma, from a series of public service announcements produced by a U.S. effort called Campaign for Burma. We played one of those announcements, with Damian Marley -- one of the children of the legendary reggae artist Bob Marley.


Listen to Part Three:

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