July 23, 2010

Pt 1: Information Politics - The Harper government's decision to replace the mandatory long-form census with a voluntary survey has stirred a lot of controversy. Critics say the move will result in data that is skewed and unreliable - and highlights the need for politicians to stay out of Stats Canada's business.  We look at the growing tensions between elected officials and the civil servants working under them. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Duch Verdict - Thirty years after the killing fields, it's Judgement Day for the Khmer Rouge. A verdict is expected Monday in the trial of Pol Pot's chief executioner. We get into the historic ruling and what it means for Cambodia. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

It's Friday, July 23rd.

The latest data compiled by Statistics Canada shows the national crime rate has been falling steadily for a decade and is now 17 percent lower than in 1999.

Currently, the Conservatives say that just proves how dangerously out of touch StatsCan is with public perception.

This is The Current.

Information Politics - Tim Powers

It's the news story that just won't go away. Weeks later, the Harper government's decision to replace the mandatory long-form census with a voluntary survey continues to create waves. Experts say the move will skew the data - and ultimately, give us an unreliable picture of our country. And they refuse to give up the fight.

This week, the chief statistician at Statistics Canada resigned in protest. And the list of others opposed to the government's decision seems to grow by the day - from premiers and mayors to medical associations, welfare groups, economists even the Governor of the Bank of Canada.

But all that opposition has done nothing to sway the government. Industry Minister Tony Clement, who oversees StatsCan, says he's sticking to his guns. The Current requested an interview with Minister Clement, but he was not available.

So here to help us better understand the government's stance is Tim Powers. He is a conservative strategist and Vice President of Summa Communications. He was in Ottawa this morning.

Articles: Long or short, Tories must retreat on the census / The traditional census is dying, and a good thing too / Survey says: Census plans crash and burn in Quebec

Information Politics - Donald Savoie

The struggle between Statistics Canada and its overseer - the office of Industry Minister Tony Clement - raises questions about the appropriate balance of power between elected officials and the civil service.

That's one of the topics of Donald Savoie's new book Power: Where is It? Donald Savoie is a professor of public administration at the Universite' de Moncton. And he was in Moncton, New Brunswick this morning.


Duch Verdict - Jared Ferrie

Between 1975 and 1979, close to two million Cambodians died under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime - many of them in the notorious killing fields. And until now, those crimes have gone unpunished.

But on Monday, that could all change. More than three decades after the Cambodian genocide, a Khmer Rouge official will - for the first time - face judgment for the atrocities committed by the regime.

A UN-backed international war crimes tribunal is set to release its very first verdict. The historic ruling will determine the fate of a man known as Duch. He's also known as Pol Pot's chief executioner. Duch ran the prison called S-21, where approximately 15,000 people were tortured and killed.

We aired a clip with Duch, speaking to the court through a translator on March 31, 2009. It was the first time he addressed his victims directly. And over the past few months, the tribunal has heard emotional testimony - and taken some dramatic turns.

Jared Ferrie is a Canadian journalist based in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. He's covered the entire trial. He joined us from Vancouver.

Duch Verdict - Youk Chhang

Youk Chhang has also been closely watching the tribunal. A survivor of Pol Pot's regime, he's now one of Cambodia's strongest advocates for pursuing suspected Khmer Rouge leaders.

Some Cambodians - even members of his own family - don't think the tribunal will deliver true justice. But Youk believes the process will bring him some peace - and is essential for his country to move forward.

Youk Chhang is the Director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, which is archiving materials related to the genocide. He was in Phnom Penh.

The verdict in the Duch trial is expected Monday.

Music Bridge

Artist: Ray Montford
Cd: Early Sessions
Cut: 7, Haunted
Label: Softail
Spine: ES04

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