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October 16, 2008

Pt 1: Voter Turnout - For 37 days, many pundits joked that Canadians were enduring an election campaign that no one really wanted. Now the numbers are in and no one is laughing. According to Elections Canada, only 59 per cent of eligible voters bothered to go to the polls on Tuesday. That's the lowest voter turnout for any federal election since Confederation.

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Pt 2: Omar Khadr - After a series of delays, Omar Khadr is set to stand trial for war crimes next month at the United States military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Khadr was 15 years old when he was captured in Afghanistan back in 2002. He's accused of throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier while fighting alongside the Taliban. But according to Terence McKenna, there are big problems with the case against Omar Khadr.

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Pt 3: The Miracles of Rose Prince - Every summer, nearly a thousand people gather on a beautiful, lonely hillside in northern British Columbia. First Nations, pilgrims, priests, and bishops are drawn to Lejac. They pray to an aboriginal "Saint" that the Vatican has not recognized a dead woman whose body never decayed. They worship on holy ground that was once home to an Indian residential school. They look for miracles.

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It's Thursday, October 16th.

Dick Cheney was taken to hospital yesterday with a heart problem.

Currently, doctors say Cheney has a heart that's two sizes too small ... and he should recover fully by Christmas.

This is the Current.


Voter Turnout

For 37 days, many pundits joked that Canadians were enduring an election campaign that no one really wanted. Now the numbers are in and no one is laughing. According to Elections Canada, only 59 per cent of eligible voters bothered to go to the polls on Tuesday. That's the lowest voter turnout for any federal election since Confederation.

So to find out why people aren't voting, The Current's Howard Goldenthal took to the streets of Toronto and went straight to the source.

And Pete Beaulieu is very deliberate about not voting. For him it was a decision, not an accident. He's a 23-year-old community activist and he joined us from Ottawa.


What the Experts Have to Say


Voter participation has been declining for years now. But with such an especially dismal turnout this time, it's no surprise the issue is on Stephen Harper's mind.

David Mitchell has a few ideas about how to deal with low voter turnout. He's a political historian and a Vice Principal at Queen's University and he was in our Vancouver studio for the show.


 

Omar Khadr

After a series of delays, Omar Khadr is set to stand trial for war crimes next month at the United States military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Khadr was 15 years old when he was captured in Afghanistan back in 2002. He's accused of throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier while fighting alongside the Taliban. But according to Terence McKenna, there are big problems with the case against Omar Khadr.

His new documentary, The United States versus Omar Khadr will kick off the new season of CBC Television's Doc Zone tonight. And Terrence McKenna joins me now in Toronto.

Letters

It's Thursday and that's mail day on The Current. Our Friday host this week is Indira Naidoo Harris. She is a freelance journalist in Toronto and Indira joined Anna Maria in studio to help with a look at the mail ...

Canadian Voters

Throughout the federal election campaign, concern about voter apathy continued to surface. And that concern was not without substance as voter turnout in this election set a record low. Only 59 percent of Canadians cast their ballots. That concern about electoral indifference surfaced in our mail and we took a look at the commetns from a few of our listeners.

Well, as we mentioned voter turnout was at a record low, but it seems the number of women candidates elected was at an all time high this election. Equal Voice is a multi-partisan, non-profit organization that has been tracking the numbers of women nominated and elected to Canadian parliament since 2004. For an assessment on whether women managed to break any glass ceilings this election we've reached Vicky Smallman. She is a Researcher with Equal Voice. And she joine dus from Ottawa.

In Praise of Fat

Moving on through the mail... The labels on our food tell the story -- everything is lite, low-fat, skinny or skinless. Fat is disappearing from our diets. And that's wrong, according to Jennifer McLagan. She is the author of Fat - An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, and Monday on The Current, she told us why we should eat fat.

But some of our listeners had a different perspective and we heard from them as well.

The Super Committed

Also in the mail, we reconnected with David Page, an independent candidate in this last election, who we featured in our series called "The Super Committed" for his post-election thoughts.


 

The Miracles of Rose Prince

Every summer, nearly a thousand people gather on a beautiful, lonely hillside in northern British Columbia. First Nations, pilgrims, priests, and bishops are drawn to Lejac. They pray to an aboriginal "Saint" that the Vatican has not recognized a dead woman whose body never decayed. They worship on holy ground that was once home to an Indian residential school. They look for miracles.

The CBC's Betsy Trumpener attended this year's pilgrimage. She's prepared a documentary called The Miracles of Rose Prince and she's in Prince George.

Last Word

And we'll leave you this morning with one more thought about getting out the vote.
Back in 2004, a group of American activists came up with a well stimulating way of getting people excited about the polls. The idea was to convince the loved ones of people who were on the fence about voting to give their partners a little extra incentive to get out and vote.

The result was Votergasm.org, a campaign that gave itself the joint mission of getting 100,000 first-time voters to the polls and catalyzing 250,000 orgasms in the process. I'll let you figure out the math on that. And I'll leave it to Peter Keckley, one of the campaign's organizers to explain how it all works.


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