CBCradio

November 06, 2008

Pt 1: Post America - When the man who is about to become the most powerful person on earth picks up a book about the future of international relations, people tend to take note. The book Barack Obama has been spotted with lately is The Post American World. In it, Fareed Zakaria argues that the United States' once dominant position is waning ... not because the U.S. is getting weaker, but because the rest of the world is getting stronger.

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Pt 2: Dow vs. Quebec - Two years ago, the government of Quebec partially banned a herbicide called 2-4-D. It's used extensively in agriculture, but the Quebec government banned so-called cosmetic applications such as using it to keep lawns free of weeds. At the time, it didn't seem like such a big deal. Several cities in Canada had already banned 2-4-D. The Quebec ban had a long list of supporters, including the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Medical Association. And Ontario wants to introduce a ban of its own, too.

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Pt 3: Letters - It's time now for a look at the mail. And Anna Maria was joined in studio by our Friday host, Indira Naidoo Harris to help read today's mail.

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It's Thursday, November 6th.

Even in defeat, there is rampant speculation that Sarah Palin will run for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012.

Currently, The Coen Brothers are working on a manuscript.

This is The Current.


Post America - Fareed Zakaria

When the man who is about to become the most powerful person on earth picks up a book about the future of international relations, people tend to take note. The book Barack Obama has been spotted with lately is The Post American World. In it, Fareed Zakaria argues that the United States' once dominant position is waning ... not because the U.S. is getting weaker, but because the rest of the world is getting stronger.

Of course, as the Daily Show's Jon Stewart is fond of pointing out, the United States has seen better days. We aired a clip of him in conversation with Barack Obama.

So Barack Obama is someone who prefers to see the glass half-full. And Fareed Zakaria has a few ideas about how the 44th President of the United States might cope with a world order that's not entirely of his own making. Fareed Zakaria is the Editor of Newsweek Magazine's international editions and the author of The Post American World. He was in New York City.


American Century

Not everyone is quite so optimistic about the brave new world the United States is facing. David Mason teaches Political Science at Butler University. He's also the author of The End of The American Century and he was in Indianapolis.

 



Dow vs. Quebec

Two years ago, the government of Quebec partially banned a herbicide called 2-4-D. It's used extensively in agriculture, but the Quebec government banned so-called cosmetic applications such as using it to keep lawns free of weeds. At the time, it didn't seem like such a big deal. Several cities in Canada had already banned 2-4-D. The Quebec ban had a long list of supporters, including the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Medical Association. And Ontario wants to introduce a ban of its own, too.

But now, Dow Agrosciences -- the company that makes 2-4-D -- is fighting back. It's filing a two-million-dollar notice of action against the Canadian government, arguing that the ban breaches Canada's obligations under Chapter 11 of NAFTA because it is not based on sound science.

Dow Agrosciences declined to talk to us about the challenge because, it says quote: "negotiations with the Canadian government are ongoing and it would not be appropriate to make further comment at this time."

But Gideon Forman is more than happy to talk about 2-4-D, the efforts to ban it and the NAFTA challenge. He's the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, a group that supports the ban. He was in our Toronto studio.


Chapter 11

NAFTA's Chapter 11 has been one of the most contentious parts of any trade agreement Canada has signed. There is widespread disagreement about what it means and how it could be applied. Critics say it robs governments of the ability to impose tougher environmental standards or to maintain their sovereignty over natural resources.

Others say, those fears are overblown. We aired a little sampling of the opinions out there. The last person you heard was Debra Steger, a law professor at the University of Ottawa. She is a former trade negotiator with extensive experience defending governments in Chapter 11 challenges. Before that you heard Maude Barlow, the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians and Theresa McClenaghan, the Executive Director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association.

To help us better understand what Chapter 11 says and really means, we were joined by Stephen Clarkson. He teaches Political Economy at the University of Toronto. His latest book is called Does North America Exist: Governing the Continent After NAFTA and 9/11. He joined us our Toronto studio.

 


 

Letters

It's time now for a look at the mail. And Anna Maria was joined in studio by our Friday host, Indira Naidoo Harris to help read today's mail.

We also spoke to some guests to explore some of the questions we had in our mail bag this week.

To discuss the relationship between the United States and the United Nations now that Barack Obama is the president-elect, we were joined by Louise Frechette. She is the Former Deputy Secretary-General of the UN and a distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. She was in Waterloo, Ontario this morning.

Yesterday, the province of B.C. hinted that it might consider revising regulations over how close gas wells and pipelines can be from homes and other places where people gather. Richard Neufeld is BC's Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.

We also wanted to get some clarification on the smell of sour gas so we asked Olev Trass, a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto to explain.

Last Word

Later today on CBC Radio One, it's The Point and host Aamer Haleem is asking if doctors should have to be re-tested from time to time, to prove they're still competent. That's The Point at 2 o'clock -- 2:30 in Newfoundland and Labrador. And tonight on The National on CBC Television, the CBC's Joe Schlesinger will recount the story of how one man saved him and hundreds of other children from the Nazis. That's tonight at 10 o'clock on The National on CBC Television.


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