Pt 2: Fordlandia - There are few things as quintessentially American as a Model T Ford . And few things that have had such a profound effect on American industry. By the 1920s, Henry Ford had perfected the assembly lines used to build the car. And by 1927 -- when the last Model T was made -- he controlled ever aspect of the materials used to make it ... all except the rubber for the tires.
Pt 3: Letters - Thursday is mail day on The Current and our Friday host Evan Solomon joined Anna Maria in studio to help get through our mail.
It's Thursday, June 11th.
Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt made a tearful apology yesterday for saying the isotope crisis was sexy.
Currently, the Opposition says watching a member of cabinet tear up is pornographic.
This is The Current.
Youth & Politics
It's no wonder political staffers get the blues. It's a profession that thrives on youth or at least the boundless energy and all-consuming professional devotion that tends to come with youth.
But it also demands the kind of sage judgment that really only comes with having been around the block. That dilemma has been laid bare over the last two weeks ... thanks to Jasmine MacDonnell, the 26-year-old former communications director for Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt.
Across the country, most legislative buildings are chock-a-block with young, ambitious people carrying perilously thin resumes and extraordinary responsibilities.
This morning, we're asking if that's good for politics. And we were joined by Senator Jim Munson. He was Prime Minister Jean Chretien's director of communications and he was in Ottawa. Niki Ashton is the NDP MP for Churchill, Manitoba. She's also the youngest woman in the House of Commons and she was also in Ottawa. And Perrin Beatty is the President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. He was elected as a Progressive Conservative MP at 22. At 29, he became the youngest person ever appointed to cabinet. And he was in Montreal.
There are few things as quintessentially American as a Model T Ford . And few things that have had such a profound effect on American industry. By the 1920s, Henry Ford had perfected the assembly lines used to build the car. And by 1927 -- when the last Model T was made -- he controlled ever aspect of the materials used to make it ... all except the rubber for the tires.
So Henry Ford turned to the Amazon as a potential source. And what came next was an ambitious social experiment like no other. Henry Ford set out to create "Fordlandia," a jungle city where tens of thousands of Americans and indigenous rubber tappers would live along the Amazon river.
The idea was to build a little slice of middle America, in the middle of Brazi, right down to the ice cream parlours, schools and paved sidewalks. But Ford's utopian dream quickly faded as indigenous workers rebelled. Greg Grandin tells the story in his new book, called Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City. And Greg Grandin was in New York City.
Thursday is mail day on The Current and our Friday host Evan Solomon joined Anna Maria in studio to help get through our mail.
Armenian Genocide: It was April, 1915 when a group of 250 Armenian leaders and intellectuals were arrested in Constantinople. It is the event that for many, marks the beginning of the Armenian genocide. In this group was Grigoris Balakian, a priest who kept an account of what happened.
A couple weeks ago, we spoke with his great-great-nephew, Peter Balakian who has translated the account into English for the first time into a book called Amenian Golgotha. He's also the author of The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response. After this item, we received a lot of mail from Canadians of Armenian descent. We shared some of those letters.
Officially, Canada's Parliament recognized the events of that time as a genocide, when it passed a motion on April 21, 2004. The motion says:
"That this House acknowledge the Armenian genocide of 1915 and condemn this act as a crime against humanity."
MacDonnell Tape: We've all said things in private that we would shudder to be made public .. but are the standards different for a minister of the crown, discussing government business?
Tuesday on The Current, we examined tapes of a private conversation between Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt and her former Communications Director, Jasmine MacDonnell. The recording was inadvertently made by Ms MacDonnell but when she left the recorder in the bathroom, it ended up in the hands of Stephen Maher -- Ottawa Bureau Chief for the Halifax Chronicle Herald.
On Tuesday, we heard from Kory Teneycke from the Prime Minister's Office and from reporter, Stephen Maher. This story prompted a lot of mail.
Well, should this scandal be a career killer? So far, Ms. Raitt has refused to resign. Although her communications director, Jasmine MacDonnell has resigned and Ms. raitt has since apologized for her reference to the isotope shortage as a sexy issue.
For his thoughts on this, we invited Daniel Pink. He's a former speechwriter for Al Gore, and the author of The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need. He was in Washington.
Upper Canada Village: Summer is coming and with all the amusement parks and activities geared towards kids ... it's a competitive market for such businesses. Last Friday on The Current, we heard about the challenges facing Upper Canada Village. It's a 60 acre re-creation of a 19th century Canadian settlement in Eastern Ontario. Attendance has been steadily declining and park organizers have taken heat for turning to events like last year's Medieval Festival to boost attendance.
Pat Macdonald is the CEO and General Manager of the St Lawrence Parks Commission, which runs Upper Canada Village. Our mailbag had something to say about heritage.
Joe Schlesinger: He is an icon in Canadian journalism -- a voice that has connected Canadians to tragedy and triumph around the world for decades. Joe Scheslinger was a foreign correspondent, host and producer for the CBC for 28 years.
But even 15 years after retirement, he can't help but continue to hunt for what he calls the "heartbeat" of the stories in the news. Tuesday on the program, Joe Schlesinger recounted his remarkable personal and professional life. And it was clearly evident in the mail that Joe Schlesinger has made powerful connections with viewers and listeners over the years. We shared some of those thoughts.
Story Update: We wanted to bring you an update to a story The Current first covered in January 2008... long before we launched into our Watershed series! An American treasure hunting company -- Odyssey Marine Exploration -- had uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars worth of treasure from an ancient sunken ship near the coast of Spain. We spoke to Mark Gordon, the president of Odyssey Exploration, and he described the find to us.
Odyssey Exploration argued the wreck is in international waters, and they believed the find is theirs to claim. But the Spanish government didn't agree. It argued the wreck is a Spanish ship sunk by the British Navy in 1804. So it took Odyssey to a Florida court to make its case.
Last week, a judge ruled in Spain's favour which means some 500-million dollars worth of Spanish gold coins must be returned to that country. Odyssey is appealing. When we first looked into this story, we spoke with Gustavo D' Aristegui. He is a member of the Spanish Parliament's opposition People's Party.
We reached him again this morning, in Madrid.