Pt 1: Provincial Prisons - The federal government is pushing through substantial changes to Canada's justice system ... changes that critics say will lead to even more over-crowding in provincial prisons and make an existing crisis even worse. (Read More)
Pt 2: Ursula Franklin - An interview with Ursula Franklin. She's a celebrated Canadian physicist, writer and activist. But despite all she has accomplished, she's still focused on the work left to be done. (Read More)
Pt 3: Letters - It's mail day. We're following up on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and asking about an even deeper well about to be drilled off the coast of Newfoundland. And in the wake of Senator Ruth's advice to maternal health advocates, we're back on the issue of Canada's G8 Child and Maternal Health Plan. (Read More)
Whole Show Blow-by-Blow
It's Thursday, May 6th.
Heritage Minister James Moore has declared the Vancouver Canucks to be "Canada's team" in the playoffs.
Currently, If only there was some kind of name for a hockey team that could reflect that sort of 'Canadien'-ness. A team name that says: I am Canadien! ... Nope, not coming to me.
This is The Current.
Provincial Prisons - Panel
Last November, Jeff Munro was found dead on the fourth floor of the notorious Don Jail in Toronto. Police haven't said much about his death ... just that he had been beaten -- his face smashed beyond recognition -- and that he died on the scene.
Three other inmates have been charged with his murder. Jeff Munro was mentally ill and addicted to drugs. He had been picked up by police many times. Usually, they sent him to a local mental health facility. But that last time, he was taken to the Don Jail.
On Monday, some of Jeff Munro's relatives launched a civil lawsuit against the Toronto Police and the Province of Ontario. We heard from Jeff's mother, Christine Munro.
In the weeks before and after Jeff Munro's death, two other men were brutally killed in the Don Jail and another barely survived a severe beating. The Don Jail has been slated for closure a number of times because of dirty, unsafe conditions and, especially, overcrowding. And according to Justin Piche, the over-crowding of provincial prisons is about to get worse, thanks to changes being pushed by the Federal Government.
Justin Piche is a PhD candidate in sociology at Carlton University. He has been studying the state of prisons in Canada and he was in Ottawa.
Monte Vieselmeyer is a correctional officer at the Toronto West Detention Centre. He's also the President of Local 517 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. He was in Toronto.
Nova Scotia is building new jails to accommodate an increase in the number of prisoners there. But it's not clear if that will be enough. Ross Landry is Nova Scotia's Attorney General and Justice Minister. He was in Halifax.
The Current put requests in to speak with federal Public Safety minister, Vic Toews and we also put in requests to speak with justice ministers from Ontario, manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. These requests were either denied or went unanswered.
Ursula Franklin is a Canadian giant ... a world-renowned physicist, feminist, Quaker, author, pacifist, professor, Holocaust survivor, public intellectual, mother and mentor. When she was 22 and studying in Berlin, she was forced out of school and sent to a Nazi labour camp because her mother was Jewish.
Ursula Franklin survived the war, emigrated to Canada and has been making waves ever since. She is a Companion of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Canadian United Nations Association's Pearson Peace Medal. And these days, she has turned her formidable attention to the issue of our Canadian democracy. She says Canadians have work to do. Ursula Franklin was in our Toronto studio.
Thursday is mail day here at The Current. And Erica Johnson, the co-host of CBC Television's Marketplace joined Anna Maria from Vancouver to help with the mail. She'll be The Current's Friday host this month.
Hate: We devoted an hour of the program yesterday to the issue of hate. We began with an interview with Izzeldin Abuelaish. He's a Palestinian doctor. Three of his daughters and one of his nieces were killed when Israeli tank shells hit their house in Gaza in January, 2009. But he has resolved NOT to be consumed by hate. And he has just written a book called I Shall Not Hate. A Gaza Doctor's Journey. After airing our interview with Izzeldin Abuelaish many of our listeners were moved to write us.
*** You can watch this interview on our video edition of The Current tomorrow ***
ROWE: Depending on where you work, the monotony of the daily grind may be due for a big change. That's because of an idea called the Results Only Work Environment ... or ROWE, where employees show up when they want, leave whenever they please -- no questions asked -- as long as the work gets done.
Monday on The Current, we spoke with Jody Thompson. She's one of the founders of ROWE. And she talked about her experience implementing the strategy at the big box chain Best Buy. After this segment aired, we heard from you with your work experiences and suggestions.
Oil Spill: Tuesday, on the program, we heard how the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico might affect the livelihood of communities along the coastline. And we heard more in the mail.
For its part, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has its own concerns about the fallout from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We heard from David Pryce, the association's Vice President of Operations.
Most of Canada's offshore oil industry is off the east coast. And The Canada Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board is the body that oversees activities there. Sean Kelly is a spokesman for the board and he was in St. John's.
Restaurant Toy Ban: A little toy that comes with a meal might seem like an innocuous thing. But it has set off a battle in Santa Clara County, California. The county has passed a motion which bans restaurants from including a toy with any meal that is too high in calories, sugar and salt.
Last week on the program, we heard several perspectives on the issue ... including hearing from Radley Balko. He's a senior editor of Reason magazine. And he questioned the effectiveness of the ban. And the battle grounds on this issue aren't limited to Santa Clara County. The lure of the McDonald's Happy Meal is a powerful one for families nationwide. We heard from lots of parents on this issue.
Abortion & Ethiopia: When Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced maternal and child health would be the focus of this year's G8 summit, it seemed like a cause around which everyone could rally. But since then, controversy has swirled when it became clear the government funding would not extend to initiatives that would include abortion.
Last Thursday on The Current, we looked at the situation in Ethiopia -- a country that liberalized abortions laws four years ago. Grethe Petersen is with Marie Stopes International ... a not-for-profit organization that provides various forms of reproductive health care -- including abortions -- around the world. We shared some of our letters on this issue.
And the maternal health story took another turn earlier this week when Senator Nancy Ruth told a meeting of organizations involved in women's health that if they wanted funding for their work, they should refrain from talking about abortion. Except that Senator Ruth was a little more blunt. And yes, we're about to play a clip of Senator Ruth... and we should warn you there is profanity in the clip.
Katherine MacDonald was at that meeting. She's the Executive Director of Action Canada for Population Development. She was in Ottawa.