June 25, 2010

A Special G-20 Edition of The Current

Pt 1: G8/G-20 Protests - As the G8 and the G-20 summits begin, we start the program today at the fence, the one encircling the G-20 summit site erected in anticipation of aggressive protests. CBC's Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with the Climate Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians who will be demonstrating this weekend. And we also hear from the man credited for the Seattle protests of 1999 to discuss the evolution of protests. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Jeffrey Sachs - Economist and philanthropist Jeffrey Sachs will be by to cast a critical eye on the G-8's record of delivering on what it promises. (Read More)

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Pt 3: China Labour - Workers across China are striking for higher wages. We talk to one of China's leading labour activists and we look at whether this is the beginning of the end of cheap Chinese labour. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

It's Friday, June 25th.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says Canada's economy will grow by 3.5 per cent this year.

Currently, It would have been 4 per cent if Canada hadn't hosted the G-20.

This is The Current.


The streets of downtown Toronto have gone through a sweeping transformation over the last few weeks. And this evening, at 8 p.m. Eastern, a zone around the CN Tower, the CBC Broadcast Centre and of course, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, is scheduled to be sealed off. Thousands of police officers will stand guard, protecting the foreign dignitaries who are arriving here for the G-20 summit. And outside the wire fences and concrete barriers, thousands of protesters will gather to raise their voices in dissent. There have already been demonstrations this week.

But with the closing of the security perimeter, tensions between protesters and police are expected to increase. The CBC's Piya Chattopadhyay is just on the edge of the security zone this morning. She spoke with Andrea Harden-Donahue, the Climate Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians.

Piya Chattopadhyay will be hosting The Current for two weeks, beginning on Monday.

Evolution of Protest - David Solnit

David Solnit has spent much of his life organizing protests at events such as the G-20. He's a life-long activist. He was a key organizer at the protests that shut down the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle 11 years ago. And he has organized around all kinds of issues including climate change, war resistance, anti-nuclear movements, and workers' rights. David Solnit was in Detroit this morning.


Jeffrey Sachs

Leaders of the G-7, G-8 and G-20 countries have made a lot of very impressive promises over the years. But according to Jeffrey Sachs, they've got a less-than-inspiring record when it comes to delivering on them to the point that they are now at risk of losing their credibility.

Jeffrey Sachs is an economist and a philanthropist. He's the Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and a Special Advisor to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. He's also the author of the best-selling books, The End of Poverty and Common Wealth. Jeffrey Sachs was in New York City.


China Labour - Han Dongfang

World leaders have gathered in Canada for the G-8 and G-20 Summits. And you can bet that a lot of their discussions about the state of the world economy will eventually come around to China. Many foreign leaders look at China's economic power with a combination of awe, envy and fear. But at home China is dealing with an increasingly impatient workforce that the outside world is only just starting to get a glimpse of.

We aired a clip of some striking workers at a Honda plant in Guandong province. It's just one of several strikes that have hit China's manufacturing sector over the last few months. And many of the strikers are demanding a bigger piece of China's economic success.

We aired a clip from a woman who says that she and the other strikers don't want to be on strike but that she came from her home town to earn money and she needs to do that.

Some strikes have resulted in a series of wage increases ... in some cases increases of 20 per cent or more. And that has some observers suggesting the days of cheap Chinese labour -- one of the things that has helped China become an economic powerhouse -- are over.

Han Dongfang is a workers' rights activist and the Executive Director of the China Labour Bulletin in Hong Kong. He was in Vancouver.

China Labour - Brian Jackson

Brian Jackson is a Senior Analyst for RBC in Hong Kong. He is watching the impact these strikes and the resulting wage increases are having on the chinese economy and all those cheap Chinese exports. Brian Jackson was in Hong Kong.

Last Word - G-8 Meetings

We ended the program this week with a different perspective on what it's like to have a bunch of high-powered world leaders descend on your home. The G-8 leaders are meeting at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. Huntsville is smack-dab in the middle of one of the nicest and most in-demand cottage areas in Ontario.

So The Current's Kennedy Jawoko canvassed some local cottagers to find out what they thought about all the fuss.

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