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March 18, 2010

Pt 1: Tsunami Relief -As you may have heard on CBC News - the Canadian Red Cross has come under fire for its post 2004 tsunami reconstruction efforts in Indonesia. The man at the centre of the storm is former Red Cross employee Virgil Grandfield. He spent time in Indonesia right after the tsunami and then returned in 2007 and 2008.

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Pt 2: Haitian Diaspora - The call is out. In the wake of January's devastating earthquake in Haiti...all those people who have left the beleaguered nation over the years are now being asked to help rebuild their former homeland.

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Pt 3: Letters -Time now for our weekly look at the mail and The Current producer Dominic Girard joined Anna Maria in studio to lend his voice.

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"It's Thursday, March 18th.

YouTube has posted an exclusive interview with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Currently, Stephane Dion is asking how they made the video look so good.

This is The Current.

Tsunami Relief - Red Cross Employee

As you may have heard on CBC News - the Canadian Red Cross has come under fire for its post 2004 tsunami reconstruction efforts in Indonesia. The man at the centre of the storm is former Red Cross employee Virgil Grandfield. He spent time in Indonesia right after the tsunami and then returned in 2007 and 2008.

An investigative documentary about this controversy will air tonight on
Radio-Canada's Investigative Television Program, Enquete. But we picked up Virgil Grandfield's story this morning on The Current. He was in Calgary.

Tsunami Relief - Canadian Red Cross

To respond to what Virgil Grandfield had to say, and to this controversy, we were joined by Pam Aung-Thin. She is the National Director of Public Affairs and Government relations for the Canadian Red Cross and she was in our Ottawa studio.



Haitian Diaspora - Panel

The call is out. In the wake of January's devastating earthquake in Haiti...all those people who have left the beleaguered nation over the years are now being asked to help rebuild their former homeland.

Since the quake there have been several meetings of the diaspora in Canada. And on Sunday a three-day international Haitian diaspora forum begins in Washington.
Edwin Paraison is the Haitian Minister Responsible for Haitians living abroad. We aired what he had to say at a recent meeting of the diaspora in Montreal

This morning we were joined by three Canadian members of the Haitian diaspora. Jean Marie Bourjolly is a mathematician, academic and novelist at the University of Quebec in Montreal. Chalmers LaRose is a former diplomat in Haiti and also an academic in Montreal. And Katleen FĂ©lix is a project director and the Haitian Diaspora Liaison for the micro-finance organization, Fonkoze. She's originally from Montreal, but now lives in Miami, which is where we reached her.



Letters

Time now for our weekly look at the mail and The Current producer Dominic Girard joined Anna Maria in studio to lend his voice.

Senior Drivers: As the Canadian demographic ages, there are naturally more senior drivers on the roads. Physicians have generally been the ones put in charge of assessing senior's ability to drive but an editorial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal this week argued that it shouldn't be left to doctors to make this tough decision.

And Tuesday on the program, we asked Dr. Paul Hebert, author of that editorial and the editor-in-chief of the CMAJ. what will happen if we don't see more restrictions for older drivers. Then we heard from our listeners.

Darcy McLenaghen also wrote in after hearing this story, and explained how his family had to lie to their mother in order to get her to stop driving. She suffers from Alzheimer's, and it wasn't long before it began to affect her ability to drive. So we invited him into the studio this morning to talk to us about having to make that choice. Thank you Darcy McLenaghen for sharing your family's story with us.

On Tuesday Dominic Girard took his microphone to Oshawa to get John Greenwood's opinion on this issue. He's a past president of the Vintage Automobile Racing Association of Canada. He is 73 year-old race car driver.

And if you want to get a better look at his car, have a look below:

The Flu Season That Wasn't: It was the pandemic that never was. Last year, early estimates warned that up to fifty-eight thousand people in Canada could die of the H1N1 flu. But the flu season has been a non-event this year. The final number of deaths attributed to H1N1 is 418 ... far less than the number who die annually from the seasonal flu.

So what do we take from this? Monday on The Current, we spoke with Dr John Spika, Director General for the Centre for Immunization and Respiratory Infectious Diseases at the Public Health Agency of Canada. After hearing our part on the flu season that wasn't, listeners sent in their perspectives.

Niqabs in Quebec: Naema Atef Amed emigrated to Montreal from Egypt. In an attempt to learn french, twice she has enrolled in government-funded french language classes. Twice she has been expelled ... for wearing a niqab -- a veil that covers the entire face except for her eyes. Last Thursday on The Current, we discussed to what degree accommodations should be made for religious and cultural minorities. And we heard from our listeners with their thoughts on this issues.

We also read a letter from Teri Hague of Sidney, British Columbia. Part of her letter reads: As a Canadian woman, I would be uncomfortable interacting with someone who refused to allow me to see their face. But I do respect religious differences. So let's accommodate both. Teri's perspective was something we wanted to explore a little more deeply. You might recall, when this story first surfaced, some educators argued that it was hard to teach a language to someone when you can't see their lips. As a society, well, as a species, we are fascinated with the human face. So, we had a thought... there's a different kind of expert worth hearing from.

Rob Faust tours internationally and also speaks with business leaders teaching them the importance of non-verbal communication, and he uses masks to do it. So we asked him: If you take all the reasonable accommodation concerns, the religious and cultural meanings of the niqab, and put them aside ... what can our faces tell us, that words alone can't?

Here is a short video of Rob Faust and some of his mask work:

Rob Faust is the Artistic Director of Faust Mask Theatre in Toronto.


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