CBCradio

September 14, 2009

Pt 1: Will This Session Matter? - For some of you, the thought of heading back to the polls again this fall probably feels a lot like watching a sitcom in repeats. After all, we just had an election last October. That's four elections in five-and-a-half years.

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Pt 2: Language of Finance- A year ago today, the final touches were being put on the bankruptcy papers that would seal the fate of Lehman Brothers ... the shock waves that followed wiped out millions of jobs and plunged the world into a deep recession. And, suddenly, understanding how the global economy works seemed a whole lot more important.

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Pt 3: Beatrice Mtetwa - Beatrice Mtetwa is one formidable woman. She has been arrested, jailed, beaten ... all in the pursuit of human rights and freedom of the press. Beatrice Mtetwa is a Human Rights lawyer in Zimbabwe, a profession that essentially guarantees personal suffering and loss. Her colleagues call her fearless.

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It's Monday September 14th.

According to opinion polls, the ruling Conservatives have moved ahead of the Liberals after Michael Ignatieff vowed to force a fall election.

Currently, the Prime Minister's Office says if Michael Ignatieff really wanted a senate seat, all he had to do was ask.

This is The Current.

Will This Session Matter?

For some of you, the thought of heading back to the polls again this fall probably feels a lot like watching a sitcom in repeats. After all, we just had an election last October. That's four elections in five-and-a-half years.

Some of you may laugh out of joy. For others, it will be more hysterical, nervous laughter. Since our last election, the House of Commons has sat for a total of just 92 days. The last time the House sat for such a short time was back in 1979 when Joe Clark was at the helm of the shortest Parliament in Canadian History. That Parliament sat for just 49 days.

And while no one would dispute the importance of choosing our leaders ... some fear that when they happen this frequently, elections can actually get in the way of the business of governing. For example, an election now could stop dead the legislation planned on a number of important issues from crime to endangered species.

Mark Holland knows this all too well. He's the Liberal MP for the Ontario riding of Ajax-Pickering. He's been trying since 2006 to make some headway on animal cruelty legislation. But elections just keep getting in the way.

Will This Session Matter? Panel

The animal cruelty bill isn't the only one that could be in trouble if an election is called. And this morning, we're going to meet three people -- Canadian citizens and taxpayers -- who have a vested interest in what happens during this upcoming session of Parliament.

Charles Lee is a retired pharmacist and a community activist in Vancouver. Rebecca Black is an environmental consultant with BlackCurrant Marketing. And Margo Charchuk is a Kidney transplant recipient and an advocate for a National Organ Donor Registry.

Liberal Satire

Like it or not, there are a lot of pundits predicting we are heading for an election and soon. So get ready for an onslaught of election advertisements. The Liberals have released new ads in the last week, the most recent this weekend along with a new slogan, "We can do better."

But the Current came across one ad that ... well ... wasn't part of that original batch.


Language of Finance - Literarcy Campaigns

A year ago today, the final touches were being put on the bankruptcy papers that would seal the fate of Lehman Brothers ... the shock waves that followed wiped out millions of jobs and plunged the world into a deep recession. And, suddenly, understanding how the global economy works seemed a whole lot more important.

In June, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the creation of a Taskforce on Financial Literacy. It's a campaign that is championed by some. But others say it's still not enough.

For their thoughts on the campaign and what financial literacy really means, we were joined by two people. Barbara Gosse is the Director of Saving and Asset-Building Initiatives with Social and Enterprise Development Innovations. That's a non-profit group that helps people who are struggling economically. And Jim Stanford is an economist with the Canadian Auto Workers Union and the author of Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism.

Language of Finance - Okrent

For a lot of people, one of the biggest barriers to understanding the economy is the language that's used to describe it ... a language that often seems obtuse by design. We aired a few random passages from Friday's editions of the Financial Post and the Globe and Mail's Report on Business.

Gillian Tett is an Assistant Editor at the Financial Times. And she has a few thoughts on why that kind of language persists in business coverage. Gillian Tett's new book is called Fool's Gold: How The Bold Dream of a Small Tribe at J.P. Morgan was Corrupted by Wall Street Greed and Unleashed a Catastrophe.

Of course economists and business leaders are hardly the only people who stand accused of crimes against language. Arika Okrent has documented many more. She is the author of In The Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build a Perfect Language. Arika Okrent's latest research is on the Plain Language Movement and she was in Philadelphia.


Beatrice Mtetwa

Beatrice Mtetwa is one formidable woman. She has been arrested, jailed, beaten ... all in the pursuit of human rights and freedom of the press. Beatrice Mtetwa is a Human Rights lawyer in Zimbabwe, a profession that essentially guarantees personal suffering and loss. Her colleagues call her fearless.

She has taken on a deeply corrupt system, and won acquittals for both Zimbabwean and foreign journalists who faced charges under the country's restrictive media laws. As a result, she has been recognized around the world, from a prestigious award that she will receive in France next month to a South African award to Eurpoean and North American awards from journalistic organizations.

Beatrice Mtetwa was also in Ottawa last week to deliver a keynote address at Carleton University. As part of our on-going series Work In Progress , we wanted to know more about why she chooses work that makes her so vulnerable.

Beatrice Mtetwa is a Human Rights lawyer and the outgoing President of Zimbabwe's Law Society. She was in our Ottawa studio.

Last Word - Mtukuduzi Song

And in the spirit of Beatrice Mtetwa's passion for change, we wanted to send the program today with a song from famed Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtukuduzi. It's from his album called Tsimba Itsoka, which means "No foot, no footprint." The song is called Kumirira Nekumirira ... which in English means "Waiting and waiting." The message that if our feet aren't moving, there are no footprints for others to follow.

Music

Artist: Oliver Mtukuduzi
Cd: Tsimba Itsoka, (No foot, no footprint)
Cut: 12, Kumirira Nekumirira (Waiting and waiting)
Label: Telarc

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