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April 13, 2009

Pt 1: Rwanda - Fifteen years ago this month, the first reports of a horrifying wave of violence in Rwanda began spreading out across the world. Among those reports was a scene captured by British cameraman Nick Hughes. It was in the Gikondo district of Kigali, Rwanda's capital. A man knelt amidst a pile of twisted bodies ... his arms outstretched and his palms turned upwards, praying. His daughter knelt beside him, also praying.

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Pt 2: Fujimori Convicted - We started this segment with some tape with a scene outside a courtroom in Lima, Peru last week ... right after former President Alberto Fujimori was found guilty of "crimes against humanity" by a Special Tribunal of the country's Supreme Court. That makes him the first democratically elected leader in Latin America to be found guilty of human rights abuses.

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Pt 3: Foreign Workers - In times of economic crisis, a job is a precious commodity ... even one that a lot of people would have happily passed over not too long ago. In recent years, Canada has filled those less desirable jobs by bringing in people from other countries through the federal government's temporary foreign worker program.

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It's Monday, April 13th.

It's "Corner Gas Day" in Saskatchewan, thanks to a provincial proclamation honouring the broadcast of the program's final episode this evening.

Currently, Christians are still invited to remember the sacrifice of their lord and saviour ... but only during commercials.

This is The Current.

Rwanda

Fifteen years ago this month, the first reports of a horrifying wave of violence in Rwanda began spreading out across the world. Among those reports was a scene captured by British cameraman Nick Hughes. It was in the Gikondo district of Kigali, Rwanda's capital. A man knelt amidst a pile of twisted bodies ... his arms outstretched and his palms turned upwards, praying. His daughter knelt beside him, also praying.

The images Nick Hughes recorded were flashed around the world and then largely forgotten. But Allan Thompson hung on to those images in his head. He's a former reporter with the Toronto Star. And years later, he traveled to Rwanda and tracked down the surviving family members of the father and daughter murdered in that footage.

Allan Thompson now teaches journalism at Carleton University. He's also the Director of the Rwanda Initiative, a project that is helping rebuild Rwanda's media sector. Allan Thompson was in Toronto this morning.

 

Fujimori Convicted - Gustavo Gorriti

We started this segment with some tape with a scene outside a courtroom in Lima, Peru last week ... right after former President Alberto Fujimori was found guilty of "crimes against humanity" by a Special Tribunal of the country's Supreme Court. That makes him the first democratically elected leader in Latin America to be found guilty of human rights abuses.

The tribunal sentenced Fujimori to 25 years in prison for authorizing a government death squad that murdered 25 people and carried out two kidnappings. But the historic conviction isn't the end of the story. Fujimori says he'll appeal. And his daughter Keiko Fujimori is widely expected to run for the Presidency in 2011. She hasn't officially declared her candidacy. But she says she'll pardon her father and carry on his legacy if she wins.

Gustavo Gorriti was one of the kidnapping victims named in the case against Alberto Fujimori. He is a well-known Peruvian investigative journalist and a staunch critic of President Fujimori's government. And Gustavo Gorriti was in Lima.

Fujimori Convicted - Conaghan

As we just heard, Keiko Fujimori -- the former President's daughter -- may run for the Presidency in 2011. And to find out a bit more about her, we turned to Catherine Conaghan. She is a Professor of Political Studies at Queen's University and the author of Fujimori's Peru: Deception in the Public Sphere.

Peru Song

The crimes that Alberto Fujimori was convicted of stem from his counter-terrorism campaign against the Shining Path and MRTA guerilla groups in the 1990s. In 2003, Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission found that the conflict resulted in the deaths of nearly 70,000 people.

Nearly half of those deaths were attributed to government security forces. And according to the commission, the highland region of Ayacucho suffered more than most parts of Peru. We wanted to play some music from that region. A song called Trilce by Margot Palomino. Like many other songs from Ayacucho during that time, it reflects on the pain and the hope of the people who live there.

 

Foreign Workers - Minister

In times of economic crisis, a job is a precious commodity ... even one that a lot of people would have happily passed over not too long ago. In recent years, Canada has filled those less desirable jobs by bringing in people from other countries through the federal government's temporary foreign worker program.

Last year alone, an estimated 170,000 workers came to Canada under the program, attracted by companies that offered them work. But with the economic downturn, more and more of those temporary foreign workers are finding that those jobs are drying up.

The CBC's Gillian Rutherford visited a worker in Edmonton who had just been laid off. Nestor Quiambo came to Canada from the Phillipines to work as a pipefitter for Flint Energy in Sherwood Park, just outside of Edmonton. We aired his story.

Once they lose their job, temporary foreign workers don't have a whole lot of options. And last month, Hector Goudreau suggested that the best thing for them to do is "go home." Hector Goudreau is Alberta's Minister of Employment and Immigration and he was in Edmonton.

Migrants - McGowan

The Alberta government signed onto the federal government's Temporary Foreign Worker program to help employers such as Jonathon Avis. He is the CEO of Saxby Foods in Edmonton.

The company makes cakes for grocery stores across Canada. And it employs 120 people, about 80 of whom are temporary foreign workers from places like Bosnia, Hong Kong and the Philippines. We spoke to Jonathon Avis at his plant, where assembly line workers were putting the finishing touches on a shipment of Boston cream cakes.

But not everyone sees the Temporary Foreign Workers program as a "win-win." Gil McGowan is the President of the Alberta Federation of Labour. Later this month, the AFL plans to release a report that calls for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to be ended immediately. Gil McGowan was in Edmonton.

The Current requested an interview with Diane Findley, the Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. She wasn't available. But her department did provide us with this statement. It reads, quote:

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is employer demand-driven and is an option of last resort for employers to address immediate skills and labour needs on a temporary basis.

When assessing an employer's application to hire foreign workers, HRSD/Service Canada carefully reviews employer efforts to hire Canadians, as well as the wages and working conditions they offer.

Migarants - Hennebry

During economic downturns, countries have been known to halt their foreign worker programs altogether. And according to Jenna Hennebry, that can have devastating consequences for the workers, their families and even their home countries.
Jenna Hennebry is the Acting Director of the International Migration Research Centre at Wilfred Laurier University and she was in Waterloo, Ontario.

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