CBCradio

February 24, 2009

Pt 1: Taser & Calgary Cops - It's been sixteen months since Robert Dziekanski died, shortly after being shocked with a Taser stun gun at Vancouver International Airport. And yesterday, at the public inquiry into his death, one of the RCMP officers who confronted Dziekanski testified for the first time. We aired some tape of R.C.M.P. Constable Gerry Rundel being questioned by commission counsel, Patrick McGowan yesterday at the public inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski.

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Pt 2: Recession Proofing - For years, money, jobs and people have been heading west in Canada ... specifically to the suburbs surrounding major cities in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. In the United States the pattern has been similar. Millions have migrated to the Sun Belt ... in particular the mushrooming cities of Phoenix, Arizona and Los Vegas, Nevada.

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Pt 3: Animal Law - When Sue Ferguson and her husband Ross Hagens decided to go to Hawaii a few years ago, they left their beloved dog Harley in the care of a reputable boarding kennel. The last time they saw Harley alive was the day they dropped him off. After Harley's death, they sued for compensation.

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Today's guest host was Gillian Findlay

It's Tuesday, February 24th.

The British Columbia branch of the Canadian Bar Association has created a new section called Animal Law.

Currently, critics say animal rights law is an opportunistic money grab. In other words, these lawyers are barking up the wrong fee.

This is The Current.


Taser & Calgary Cops

It's been sixteen months since Robert Dziekanski died, shortly after being shocked with a Taser stun gun at Vancouver International Airport. And yesterday, at the public inquiry into his death, one of the RCMP officers who confronted Dziekanski testified for the first time. We aired some tape of R.C.M.P. Constable Gerry Rundel being questioned by commission counsel, Patrick McGowan yesterday at the public inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski.

In the course of the inquiry, many questions have been raised about the safety of stun guns as well as the rules that govern their use. And those questions are provoking changes. Last week, the RCMP announced that it will begin restricting the use of stun guns to situations in which an officer or a member of the public is in physical danger. And today, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Police Association are expected to recommend that officers get better training in the use of stun guns and create new rules to govern their use.

But in Calgary, the city's Police Commission wants to expand the use of stun guns. The commission is recommending that all of the city's police officers be equipped with them ... even though two men died late last year, shortly after being hit with stun guns fired by Calgary police officers.

Diane Colley-Urquhart is a Calgary alderman and a member of the Calgary Police Commission. And she was in our Calgary studio.

Taser & Calgary Cops - Critic

Not everyone in Calgary supports the Police Commission's proposal. Stephen Jenuth is a lawyer and the President of the Alberta Civil Liberties Association. He was in Calgary.

 

Recession Proofing

For years, money, jobs and people have been heading west in Canada ... specifically to the suburbs surrounding major cities in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. In the United States the pattern has been similar. Millions have migrated to the Sun Belt ... in particular the mushrooming cities of Phoenix, Arizona and Los Vegas, Nevada.

That was all before the global economic crisis took hold. Since then the unemployment rate in Toronto has climbed to almost 8 per cent. And 17,000 jobs have vanished from New York City's financial sector. So on the face of it, you'd think the recession would simply accelerate the exodus that had already begun.

But in the cover story of the current issue of the Atlantic Monthly magazine, Richard Florida argues the opposite that the reversals of fortune that led to the recession will also lead to a reversal of the prevailing geographic trends and that North America's bigger, more established cities will not only survive but thrive.

Richard Florida is best-known as the author of books such as The Rise of the Creative Class and Who's Your City. He's also the Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and a Professor of Business and Creativity at The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. And he was in Toronto.

 

Animal Law

When Sue Ferguson and her husband Ross Hagens decided to go to Hawaii a few years ago, they left their beloved dog Harley in the care of a reputable boarding kennel. The last time they saw Harley alive was the day they dropped him off. After Harley's death, they sued for compensation.

Now under Canadian law, animals -- no matter how near and dear they might be to us -- are considered property, pretty much indistinguishable from any other possession ... the same as a couch or a stereo. But that may be about to change. In fact, some experts in the field believe that animal law is on the cusp of the kinds of revolutionary shifts seen in environmental law or gay rights legislation over the last twenty five years. And in that context, Sue Ferguson's successful pursuit of compensation for Harley's death turned out to be a pretty important case.

The kennel appealed the small claims court decision. But in 2006 the Ontario Superior court ruled in Sue Ferguson and her husband's favour and awarded them nearly 15-hundred dollars in general damages for pain and suffering. The couple lives in Toronto.

Animal Law - Advocate

In the United States animal law is the fastest growing field of pro bono work. Here in Canada, more than a dozen Canadian law schools have added animal law courses to their curricula over the last two years. And the British Columbia branch of the Canadian Bar Association has just set up the first animal law subsection in Canada.

Daphne Gilbert is one of the people pushing for changes to animal law in Canada. She's a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. She teaches a course called "Animals and The Law" and she was in Ottawa.

Animal Law - Critic

But not every animal lover is crazy about expanding the field of animal law in these ways. Victor Schwartz is a liability expert and a dog-owner for the record. He's also a lobbyist who has worked for groups such as the Animal Health Institute. And he thinks the efforts to expand animal law could backfire on pet-owners. Victor Schwartz is a lawyer with Shook, Harley and Bacon and he was in Washington D.C.

Lasts Word - Toronto Song

Earlier in the program, we heard from urban affairs thinker Richard Florida. He made the case that big cities like Toronto will come out on top once the recession has run its course. And so we ended the program with an ode to the city, with their song The Toronto Song, written by the Edmonton-based comedy group Three Dead Trolls.

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