CBCradio

September 28, 2009

Pt 1: Afghanistan - Last week, Ben Rowswell stood up in front of a group of international diplomats in Kandahar and told them he would make it his mission to leave the military base at the Kandahar Air Field as often as possible. That's a goal that is at once simple, ambitious and dangerous.

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Pt 2: Canada's Access to Medicines Regime - Earlier this month, a plane loaded with life-prolonging and life-saving HIV-AIDS medicine touched down in Kigali. It was a bittersweet moment for the people of Rwanda and Apotex, the Canadian generic drug-maker behind the shipment.

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Pt 3: Obsessive Work - We started this segment with the song of the white-crowned sparrow ... a sound Glen Chilton knows very well. He is a well-respected ornithologist specializing in the white-crowned sparrow. He keeps himself busy with the kinds of things you'd expect from a respectable university scientist ... teaching, field research, writing and presenting research papers.

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It's Monday, September 28th.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper described the achievements of this weekend's G20 Summit as "historic".

Currently... not a "Tour of a Tim Hortons" historic... but ...historic nonetheless.

This is The Current.

Afghanistan - Ben Rowswell

Last week, Ben Rowswell stood up in front of a group of international diplomats in Kandahar and told them he would make it his mission to leave the military base at the Kandahar Air Field as often as possible. That's a goal that is at once simple, ambitious and dangerous.

Ben Rowswell is a veteran Canadian diplomat who is no stranger to tough and challenging places. He's worked in Iraq, Somalia and in Kabul. Last week, he was sworn-in as The Representative of Canada in Kandahar. And he that's where we reached him today.

Afghanistan - Rangina Hamidi

The prospect of working more closely with foreign diplomats can create its own problem for Afghan civilians. Rangina Hamidi has been listening in and she has some thoughts on that. She is an activist and entrepreneur in Kandahar City and she's the founder and CEO of Kandahar Treasure, a business that makes traditional Kandahar embroidery and focusses on empowering Afghan women. Rangina Hamidi was in Kandahar.

Canada's Access to Medicines Regime - Clark

Earlier this month, a plane loaded with life-prolonging and life-saving HIV-AIDS medicine touched down in Kigali. It was a bittersweet moment for the people of Rwanda and Apotex, the Canadian generic drug-maker behind the shipment.

The seven-and-a-half million tablets -- a unique three-in-one combination of drugs usually administered separately -- will do a world of good for the people who receive them. That was the vision behind the Canada's Access to Medicines Regime... a law that was supposed to make it easier for developing countries to buy lower-cost drugs.

But officials at Apotex say the experience has been anything but easy. And, unless changes are made to the law, that shipment to Rwanda will be its last. Bruce Clark is Apotex's Vice President of Regulatory and Medical Affairs and he was in Toronto.

Canada's Access to Medicines Regime - Williams

Despite Apotex's complaints, Canada's brand-name pharmaceutical industry insists that the Access to Medicines Regime works just fine the way it is. Russell Williams is the President of RX & D, Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies, it's a brand name pharmaceutical industry association. Mr. Williams was in Ottawa.

Stephen Lewis has been watching this controversy. He is a professor of global health at Hamilton's McMaster University and Chair of the board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. We aired a clip with what he had to say about Canada's Access to Medicines Regime.

Obsessive Work

We started this segment with the song of the white-crowned sparrow ... a sound Glen Chilton knows very well. He is a well-respected ornithologist specializing in the white-crowned sparrow. He keeps himself busy with the kinds of things you'd expect from a respectable university scientist ... teaching, field research, writing and presenting research papers.

But that's just his day job. For the better part of a decade, it seems that Dr. Chilton's real vocation has been to feed his obsession ... to find and examine every single one of the 55 stuffed specimens of the Labrador Duck, a species that went extinct well over a century ago. In the process, he has found virtue in his obsessiveness ... something he has chronicled in his book, The Curse of The Labrador Duck. We see opportunity in Glen Chilton's obsession and he joined and us in Calgary as part of our on-going series, Work In Progress.

Last Word - Radio 2 Contest

CBC Radio Two is launching a new contest today. It's going to commission 13 new songs about places in Canada ... one for every province and territory. And you get to pick the places. Go to cbc.ca/radio2 to place your nomination.

We ended the program today with a song about Glen Chilton's province of Alberta, Four Strong Winds by Ian Tyson.

Music

Artist: Ian Tyson
Cd: I Outgrew the Wagon
Cut: 9, Four Strong Winds
Label: Stony Plain
Spine: SPCD 1131

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