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February 2, 2010

Pt 1: HIV in Prisons- We started this segment with a clip of Sandra Chu. She's a Senior Policy Analyst at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. And she's the author of a new report called Under The Skin: A People's Case for Prison Needle and Syringe Programs.

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Pt 2: Parallel Justice Systems- When we talk about our Canadian justice system, it's almost always as a singular, unified thing. Police make arrests, courts determine guilt and the penal system metes out punishment. But in truth there several parallel systems of justice in Canada which we're going to examine to determine whether the cause of justice is well-served through them.

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Pt 3: Iran -Last June, as Iranians took to the streets to protest the results of the Presidential election, Nazila Fathi was in the thick of it. She's an Iranian-Canadian journalist, and she was reporting from her native Tehran for the New York Times.

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It's Tuesday, February 2nd.

The U.S. Justice Department has approved a merger between Ticketmaster - the world's largest ticket-seller - and Live Nation, the world's largest concert promoter.

Currently, just telling you that is going to cost me $14.95 in convenience fees.

This is The Current.

HIV in Prisons - Prisoner

We started this segment with a clip of Sandra Chu. She's a Senior Policy Analyst at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. And she's the author of a new report called Under The Skin: A People's Case for Prison Needle and Syringe Programs.

Harold Griffin knows all too well how rampant drug use with dirty needles can be in prisons. He is a prisoner at La Macaza Institution, a medium-security federal penitentiary in La Macaza, Quebec about 150 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

According to Corrections Canada Information, he has been declared a dangerous offender and is serving an indeterminate sentence for offenses related to sexual assault.

HIV in Prisons - Sampson

We did request an interview with Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. His office did not get back to us. Nor did Corrections Canada officials.

Certainly others question whether needle exchange programs are the best thing for prisons and prisoners. Rob Sampson served as Chair of an independent panel that reviewed Correctional Services Canada in 2007. He was also Ontario's Minister of Correctional Services under Conservative Premier Mike Harris. He was in Toronto.


Listen to Part One:



Parallel Justice Systems

When we talk about our Canadian justice system, it's almost always as a singular, unified thing. Police make arrests, courts determine guilt and the penal system metes out punishment. But in truth there several parallel systems of justice in Canada which we're going to examine to determine whether the cause of justice is well-served through them.

Take the case of Team Canada captain Patrice Cormier. Last month, he was suspended for the rest of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey Season after he blind-sided an opposing player with a vicious elbow to the head. Debate is still raging about whether the punishment fits the crime.

And there is also the question of military justice. Last Monday, a controversial court marshall opened in Gatineau, Quebec. Captain Robert Semrau is being tried on charges including second-degree murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed and badly wounded Taliban fighter in Afghanistan in October of 2008. Captain Semrau's lawyer has argued that his client's right to a fair trial is being violated by some of the conventions of military law.

For his thoughts on the military justice system and how well it serves the cause of justice, we were joined by Michel Drapeau. He's a retired Colonel with the Canadian Military. He now has a private law practice and he teaches about military law at the University of Ottawa. Ken Dryden won six Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadians He's now a lawyer and the Liberal MP for York Centre. We reached him in Boston.

And for a broader look at the consequences of parallel systems of justice, we were joined by Lorne Sossin. He's a professor of Law at the Academic Director of the Centre for the Legal Profession at the University of Toronto. Michel Drapeau joined us again. He's a retired Canadian Colonel who's now a lawyer in Ottawa.


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Iran - Nazila Fathi

Last June, as Iranians took to the streets to protest the results of the Presidential election, Nazila Fathi was in the thick of it. She's an Iranian-Canadian journalist, and she was reporting from her native Tehran for the New York Times.

As you may remember, for the first few days the protests were peaceful. Then the government cracked down. Protesters were arrested, injured or even killed. And Nazila Fathi found that she was being watched. Now, eight months later, what was supposed to be a short vacation in Toronto has turned into an exile.

But she has continued to report on what's happening in Iran. And she says that ironically, being outside the country has allowed her to get closer to the truth.
Nazila Fathi was in Toronto.

Last Word - Haiti Promo

We ended the program today with a little preview of tomorrow's program. We'll be broadcasting in part from Haiti. David Gutnick -- our producer there -- will be co-hosting from there with Anna Maria Tremonti. We'll delve into what voodoo means to the people of Haiti. We'll look at Haiti's elite, a small but powerful group that is going to have a substantial voice in deciding the country's future. And we'll examine the lives of disabled Haitians. It was hard before the earthquake. And it has become even more difficult now. David Gutnick visited a relief group called Helping Hands of Haiti. Its clinic was destroyed in the earthquake. But it's trying to carry on. We aired part of that story.


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