CBCradio

December 10, 2009

Pt 1: Alberta Climate Change - Renner - Rob Renner may be the bravest man in Copenhagen next week. After all, he's Alberta's environment minister. And he's on his way to a climate change conference where Canada in general, Alberta specifically and the province's oil sands in particular are being painted as public enemy number one.

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Pt 2: Korea English Teachers - Dann Gaymer has been living and teaching in South Korea for three years. And like other English teachers there, he's watching his back. That's because of what some view as a growing anti-foreigner sentiment in the country... a mood that foreign teachers say is being fueled by a group known as The Anti-English Spectrum.

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Pt 3: Letters - It's time for our weekly dip into the mail and our Friday host, Linden McIntyre joined Anna Maria in studio to share your thoughts on the program.

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It's Thursday, December 10th.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is calling for a radical reworking of Canada's Pension Plan.

Currently, One of his most controversial ideas is that future deposed opposition leaders get their pensions paid in American cash.

This is the Current.


Alberta Climate Change - Renner

Rob Renner may be the bravest man in Copenhagen next week. After all, he's Alberta's environment minister. And he's on his way to a climate change conference where Canada in general, Alberta specifically and the province's oil sands in particular are being painted as public enemy number one.

Canada's greenhouse gas emissions were supposed to have dropped by 6 per cent since 1990. Instead, they have gone up by 30 per cent. Alberta accounts for half of that increase. And the oil sands are both the biggest, and the fastest growing, source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. So it appears that Mr. Renner will have his work cut out for him in Copenhagen. Rob Renner joined us from Edmonton.



 

Korea English Teachers

Dann Gaymer has been living and teaching in South Korea for three years. And like other English teachers there, he's watching his back. That's because of what some view as a growing anti-foreigner sentiment in the country... a mood that foreign teachers say is being fueled by a group known as The Anti-English Spectrum.

On its website, in flyers, and through other activities... the teachers say The Anti-English Spectrum is spreading negative, hateful information about them and they believe the group's message is gaining traction.

Now local police are investigating an anonymous death threat sent to the Association of Teachers of English in South Korea. Dann Gaymer speaks on behalf of the group and he was in Daegu, a city in Southeastern part of the country.

Korea English Teachers

We requested an interview with the Anti-English Spectrum through the group's website... we did not hear back. We heard from Younggoog Park is Minister-Counsellor of Public Affairs at the Korea Embassy in Ottawa shared his thoughts about the group.

For Andrea Vandom, the activities of the Anti-English Spectrum and the changes in her visa requirements were unacceptable. So much so - that she left her teaching job in South Korea. She has also launched a constitutional challenge against the government's visa requirements on the grounds they are discriminatory. The HIV and drug tests that are mandatory for all foreign teachers, are not required by law for Korean teachers working in private schools. Andrea Vandom was in Irvine, California.

Korea English Teachers

Of the 20,000 foreigners teaching English in South Korea, an estimated 5 thousand are Canadian. Steve Snowball was one of them. He's a Canadian who used to teach English in South Korea. His extra-curricular activities in the country landed him in jail for six weeks. We heard from him.

Ben Wagner says stories of carousing is what gives many foreign English teachers in South Korea a bad image. But he also believes that anti-foreigner sentiment runs deeper than that. Ben Wagner has lived in South Korea for 15 years... he is a law professor at the Kyung Hee University Law School. He has raised his concerns over discrimination against foreigners with the country's National Human Rights Commission. He was in Seoul, South Korea.



 

Letters

It's time for our weekly dip into the mail and our Friday host, Linden McIntyre, joined Anna Maria in studio to share your thoughts on the program.

Management Myth: Matthew Stewart was an unlikely candidate for the world of management consulting. He didn't have a business degree and he wasn't even interested in business. But that didn't stop him from becoming a founding partner in a consulting firm that gave out a lot of expensive advice. Matthew Stewart has since left the field and Monday on The Current, he described the art of scientific management. And then we heard from you.

Roblero Murder: It was almost three weeks ago that Mariano Abarco Roblero was shot and killed outside his home in Chiapas, Mexico. And many believe he was killed because he was protesting the mining activities of a Canadian-based company called Blackfire. Tuesday on The Current, we spoke to Claudia Campero, an environmental activist with the Coalition of Mexican Organizations for the Right to Water.

Earlier this week, Mexican police confirmed three people connected with Blackfire have been arrested in connection with the murder. For its part, Blackfire has condemned the killings and the mine has been temporarily shut down for allegedly breaching permits. And we here at The Current are still trying to get an interview with someone from the company about what's going on.

But this isn't the only example of a conflict between a Canadian mining company and a local community in another country. Murray Klippenstein is a Toronto lawyer. He represents three villagers from the valley of Intag in Ecuador who are suing Copper Mesa Mining Corporation and the Toronto Stock Exchange. He was in Toronto.

Faith-based Prison: Prison Fellowship USA is a Christian organization that promotes Christianity to prisoners in an effort to transform their lives. Now, Prison Fellowship Canada is proposing a similar effort to the government of Manitoba. The organization is offering to establish a faith-based unit in Manitoba's new women's prison.

Last Friday on The Current, we spoke with Eleanor Clitheroe. She is the Executive Director of Prison Fellowship Canada and she explained what these units can offer that a regular prison cannot.

Sir Harold Evans: Tuesday on The Current we heard from Sir Harold Evans about the state of journalism. This segment prompted Paul Park of Ottawa to write about our interview, noting:

Sir Harold concluded journalists should be true to their audience. Anna Maria thanked him and threw to local news headlines. My local announcer read a series of news briefs, including the report that a woman had been taken to hospital from Tiger Woods' home.

Well, true to our audience -- or not -- that e-mail did get us thinking that we haven't really looked at the Tiger Woods story here at The Current. So for a little insight into why this athlete billionaire behaved the way he did we were joined by Steven Ortiz. He is an associate professor of Sociology with Oregan State University who studies the turbulent intersection of professional athletes, monogamy and marriage. He was in Corvalis, Oregon.

Request Count: This week we wanted to speak with Peter Kent, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Americas about Blackfire Mining in Chiapas. As well we wanted to speak with Defence Minister Peter Mckay about Chief of Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk's reversal of testimony to the committee yesterday. He now says the Canadian military did detain and hand over a suspected militant who was beaten by Afghan Police.

So two more No's ... makes for 24 for the season out of 28 requests. Four interviews out of 28 requests. And just a quick note, we will be wrapping up the on-air portion of Request Count at the end of the year but you can continue to keep tabs of our ministerial requests online at cbc.ca/thecurrent.


Alberta Climate Change - McCarthy

In our first half hour this morning we heard from Alberta's Environment Minister, Rob Renner about Alberta's climate change plans. He will be at the Copenhagen Climate Change conference next week and he acknowledged it won't be the friendliest of places. So for some perspective on what Mr. Renner had to say, we were joined by Shawn McCarthy. He's the energy reporter for The Globe & Mail and he was in Ottawa.



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