July 22, 2010

Pt 1: Sitting on a Gold Mine - Ken Massé is literally sitting on a gold mine.  And he refuses to budge. Massé is the last thing in the way of Osisko Mining Corporation's plan to develop Canada's largest open-pit gold mine in tiny Malarctic, Quebec. All of Massé's neighbours have sold out to the mining company, or have been relocated.  But Massé won't give up his childhood home without a fight. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Plan Colombia for Mexico - Tackling Mexico's drug wars ... some experts say the answers lie just a few countries down the road - in Colombia. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

It's Thursday July 22nd.

Israel has developed a new stealth paint that will allow airplanes to disappear from radar.

Currently, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has ordered twenty buckets to paint Tony Clement's office.

This is The Current.

Gold Mine - Ken Massé

The small city of Malartic, Quebec is sitting on a huge pile of gold. And to get at it, Osisko Mining Corporation plans to build the largest open pit gold mine in the country ... about 2 kilometres long, 800 metres wide, and 400 metres deep.

But part of the town sits on the excavation site. So, over the last three years, Osisko has either purchased or physically relocated 204 homes. And there's just one small hitch in the mining company's plan. His name is Ken Massé.

Massé's family home is literally the last thing standing between Osisko and its gold mine. But the house that Ken lives in isn't for sale. Nor is it going anywhere, if he has his way - even though there isn't much left of the old neighbourhood.

We reached Ken Massé at his home in Malartic, Quebec.

Gold Mine - Shawn Roosen

More than 200 of Ken Massé's neighbours have sold their houses or had them physically moved to another part of town. Gaetan Langlois was the first person to have his house relocated, two years ago. We heard from him.

Like Langlois, most of the town seems generally pleased with the mining project moving in. And Osisko Mining Corp. is moving ahead with construction, as planned. The CEO of the company is Shawn Roosen and he was in our CBC studio in Val d'Or, Quebec.

It would seem Ken Masse is facing an uphill battle. So what exactly are his odds of winning it? We asked University of Montreal law professor Matthew Harrington.


Plan Colombia for Mexico - Robert Bonner

This past Friday afternoon, in the Mexican city of Juarez, just south of the US border, a man lay on the sidewalk - shot. Paramedics were attending to him. Police had gathered nearby. Then a car bomb exploded, killing three people - including a federal police officer. Authorities now believe the injured man was a decoy to lure police to the scene.

Tens of thousands of Mexicans have been killed in the country's drug wars since Mexican President Felipe Calderon announced a crackdown on drug cartels in 2006. But some observers say Friday's car bombing marked a new low - a sign we're now witnessing the 'Colombianization' of Mexico. They warn that Mexico's drug wars are escalating to the levels seen in Colombia during the late 80s and early 90s, when Pablo Escobar was fighting it out for control of the cocaine industry.

But others see a different sort of comparison with Colombia - a more hopeful one. They say Colombia's experience could actually provide the Mexican government the blueprint to win its own war against the drug cartels.

Robert Bonner was Administrator of the US Drug Enforcement Administration from 1990 to 1993 and was the Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection from 2001 to 2005. We reached him in Los Angeles.

Plan Colombia for Mexico - Adam Isacson

Not everyone agrees that the United States and Mexico should be looking to Colombia as a model in the fight against Mexico's cartels.

Adam Isacson is the Senior Associate for Regional Security Policy at the Washington Office on Latin America - a liberal think-tank in Washington, DC. He joined us from our studio there.

Plan Colombia for Mexico - George Grayson

And for a third perspective on this debate, we were joined by George Grayson. He is the author of Mexico's Struggle with Drugs and Thugs and he was in Williamsburg, Virginia.

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