Sept 23/10 - Pt 3: Letters

It's mail day. We get your thoughts on immigration in Canada, sexism in politics and staying out of debt. Plus, we find out why women tend to outlive men.



It's time now for our weekly look at our mailbag. And our Friday host, Ian Hanomansing joined us from Vancouver to help with the mail.

Immigration: According to a new Angus Reid poll, 46 per cent of Canadians believe immigration has a negative effect on Canada. That's up 5 percentage points from August of 2009. Yesterday on The Current, we asked whether those numbers reflect a shifting tide of opinion in Canada. Then we heard from you.

Question Period: As a new session of Parliament convened on Tuesday ... the lack of decorum during Question Period was front and centre. A motion by Conservative MP Michael Chong is set to be voted on in the next two weeks. It aims to bring some civility back to the House, And Mr. Chong says that could be particularly good for women. We put the issue to two women who should know, former Conservative MP Deb Grey and current Liberal MP, Carolyn Bennett. And our listeners had something to say about this.

Centenarians: Well there is at least one area of life that is not dominated by men ... old age. As part of our project Shift we've been collecting the stories of centenarians. That prompted an Alberta listener to point out that a lot more women live to be 100 than men ... and asked if we could try to sort out why. Well, let it not be said that The Current doesn't serve its listeners. Doctor Michael Gordon teaches Geriatrics at the University of Toronto. He's also the Medical Programme Director for Palliative Care at the Baycrest Geriatric Centre in Toronto.

Still on the Century Club, we played Zaac Pick's award-winning song My Century. It's from his latest EP, Fierce Wind.

Debt: New studies show Canadians are carrying more debt than ever before. And nearly sixty per cent of Canadians say they would be in financial trouble if they missed just one paycheque. Monday on The Current, we examined the demographics of living on the financial edge. And then our listeners shared their thoughts on the issue.

IVF in Quebec: Last month, the Quebec government began covering the cost of some fertility treatments, including invitro fertilization. It's part of an effort to boost the province's birth rate. Last Thursday on the program, we asked whether public funds should be used to cover this kind of treatment. We heard from Abby Lippman. She is with Le Federation du Quebec pour le Planning des Naissances -- a organization that works on reproductive health and rights. We

Bieber Politics: Last Thursday on The Current, we asked whether young superstars like him could be useful political tools to engage a disenfranchised youth. Sara Haile-Mariam thinks so. She's with Campus Progress. And she's the brains behind a video called Do It for Bieber. And that interview prompted mail in our inbox.

And youthful politicos aren't the only ones pondering the depths of the Bieber oeuvre. Last week we introduced you to our own musico-politicologist, Dr Duncan Fern. And he's back today with some final thoughts on the Beib'.

Last Word - Sudan Promo

We ended the program today with a little preview of a story we have for you tomorrow. It's story out of Sudan that has been a long time in the making. Heba Aly -- one of The Current's producers -- was working in Sudan a few years ago.

After she got back, she was following up on some stories there and she met a freelancer named Zack Baddorf. He has been following the stories of former child soldiers as they try to reintegrate into their former lives. During the country's civil war, both sides -- the government in Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army -- recruited a lot of child soldiers.

And since the civil war ended, the United Nations has been pushing them to demobilize those child soldiers ... to let them go back to their lives. The SPLA has agreed to get all children out of its ranks by December. But the thing is, a lot of those children are finding that life outside the army isn't as good as they imagined. It's hard to find a place to go to school. Shelter and food can be scarce. And that has left some of them looking back fondly on their time as child soldiers.

And that's how we get back to Zack Baddorf, the freelancer in Sudan. He has been documenting the lives of several former child soldiers including a 16-year-old boy that we're calling Daniel.

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