Pt 2: Text Message Charges - Last year, Canadians sent 21 Billion text messages. That's an average of 700 for every single person in the country. And we're on pace to send nearly twice as many this year. The vast majority of people who send text messages pay a flat rate every month and send as many as they like without any additional charges.
Pt 3: Letters - It's Thursday, which means it's mail day on The Current and our Friday host, Evan Solomon joined Anna Maria to get through the mail.
It's Thursday, June 18th.
People who send text messages pay as much as 15 cents per message, even though each message only costs the telecom companies, about a-third-of-a-cent.
Currently ... WTF? IMHO, tlcos can KMA.
This is TC.
It's been more than a year-and-a-half since Zofia Cisowski sat waiting in the arrivals area of the Vancouver International Airport. After nearly 8 years of living apart, she was about to be reunited with her only son, Robert Dziekanski. Of course that reunion never happened. Instead, Zofia Cisowski has spent the last 20 months grieving for her son's death and waiting to find out if anyone will be held responsible for his death.
Earlier this week, British Columbia's Supreme Court ruled that the inquiry may make findings of misconduct against the RCMP officers involved. Final arguments in the inquiry begin tomorrow. Zofia Cisowski was in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Text Message Charges - Professor
Last year, Canadians sent 21 Billion text messages. That's an average of 700 for every single person in the country. And we're on pace to send nearly twice as many this year. The vast majority of people who send text messages pay a flat rate every month and send as many as they like without any additional charges.
But people who don't have a plan pay for each message. And they often pay through the nose. According to Srinivasan Keshav, the markup on some text messaging charges is nearly 5,000 per cent.
Srinivasan Keshav is the Canada Research Chair in Tetherless Computing at the University of Waterloo. He made that assertion earlier this week in his testimony to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Anti-Trust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. And he was in Waterloo, Ontario.
Text Message Charges - Telus
When Professor Keshav testified in Washington this week, representatives from the major wireless carriers were also on hand to defend their pricing and to make the argument that there is plenty of competition in the industry.
Text Message Charges - Author
A lot of parents fear that all this texting - or "Textese" as it's now being called - might be bad for their children's literacy, spelling and social skills. But David Crystal says there's no reason to be alarmed. He's an honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Bangor. And in his book, Txting: The Gr8 Db8, he argues that texting actually makes young people better communicators. David Crystal was in Holyhead, Wales.
It's Thursday, which means it's mail day on The Current and our Friday host, Evan Solomon joined Anna Maria to get through the mail.
Childcare: The province of Ontario is planning to launch a full-day, fully funded child-care and kindergarten program in the fall of 2010. Advocates of early childhood education say the program is long overdue and promises huge payoffs that children who attend all day kindergarten will be more likely to get a post-secondary education and have higher earning potential, in addition to being less likely to fall into crime.
But Gabor Mate added a cautionary note to the discussion on yesterday's edition of the Current. Dr. Mate is a physician and the co-author of Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers. We received a lot of mail on the subject, and opinions were mixed.
Everyday Toxins: We like to think of home as a safe haven from pollution and harmful environmental toxins but last Friday on The Current, we heard that our homes may be anything but. According to a new book called Slow Death by Rubber Duck, the everyday consumer goods that fill our homes are loaded with chemicals - some of them toxic. But the degree to which we absorb these substances into our bodies has always been disputed.
So the authors of the book set out to measure this by turning themselves into human lab rats. Rick Smith is the Executive Director of Environmental Defence and co-author of the book and he explained their data collecting process. After hearing this interview, listeners had something to say.
Some people commented that the book amounted to environmental alarmism or that the study wasn't scientific. Well, we decided to get a scientist who studies household contaminants to weigh in on the subject. Miriam Diamond runs the Diamond Environmental Research Group at the University of Toronto, and she was named Canadian Environmental Scientist of the Year by Canadian Geographic magazine in 2007. We reached her at her hotel in Washington, D.C.
Abdelrazik: Now, regular listeners of The Current will have heard a lot about the plight of Abousfian Abdelrazik, the Sudanese-Canadian who's been stranded at the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, Sudan for over a year now. He has been cleared of suspicion of involvement in terror-related activities by both the RCMP and CSIS, but the Canadian government has so far refused to issue him travel documents to return to Canada on the grounds that he remains on the United Nations Security Council no-fly list.
Well, last week, we aired an interview with his stepdaugher, Wafa Sahnine, who has not seen Mr. Abdelrazik since he travelled to Sudan in March, 2003, to visit his mother.
On June 4th, Federal Court Judge Russell Zinn ruled that the government must return Mr. Abdelrazik within 30 days. Furthermore, Judge Zinn said the government must have travel arrangements for Mr. Abdelrazik in place within 15 days - and tomorrow is the 15th day. So for more on how this case is progressing, we were joined by Amir Attaran. He is a University of Ottawa law professor who has assisted Mr. Abdelrazik's legal team. He was in Ottawa.
Whistleblower: Monday on the program, we told you about a new book called It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower. The book is about John Githongo, Kenya's former anti-corruption commissioner. The book is not widely sold in Kenya ... so a local radio station there, KISS FM, is giving away a copy of the book every hour.
On Monday, we offered to do our part here at The Current and we asked you to tell us the name of the first president of Kenya. Well thanks to all who sent in their answers! The right answer is Jomo Kenyatta. And a copy of the book is in the mail for Vanda Soewando in Halifax.