Pt 1: Peter Pocklington - He was once one of the most famous men in Canada. Over the past two years, he has been involved in a high stakes confrontation with California's legal system. In May he plead guilty to perjury in a bankruptcy fraud case and is due to be sentenced next Monday. We talk with Peter Pocklington about his story and book. (Read More)
Pt 2: Persecution - A Pastor in Florida calls for "Burn A Koran Day." A man in New York City stabs a cab driver after learning he's a Muslim. We ask if current anti-Islamic sentiment fits a chilling, historical pattern of persecution. (Read More)
Pt 3: Demographer's Dilemma - We kick off this season's major project, Shift. It will examine the seismic demographic changes that are altering our work, our health, our families and our politics. We begin with The Demographer's Dilemma, a documentary that examines the challenges of tracking the trajectory of that ever-elusive subject, humankind. (Read More)
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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow
It's Tuesday, September 7th.
A church in Florida plans to mark the anniversary of the September 11th attacks by burning the Koran.
Currently, I don't know what all the fuss is about. I mean when did burning books ever lead to anything really bad?
This is The Current.
This morning, the man who once wanted to be the Prime Minister of Canada is waiting to be sentenced for perjury. In May, Peter Pocklington pleaded guilty to the charge in a bankruptcy fraud case in California. He's still waiting to hear his sentence. His 2009 book I'd Trade Him Again: On Gretzky, Politics, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Deal is being updated and re-released in October. Peter Pocklington was in Palm Desert, California.
We started this segment with sound from a protest against the plan to build a Muslim community centre which includes a Mosque two Manhattan blocks from the site of the September 11th attacks in New York City. Local Muslims have been praying at that location in the last year but that fact has been lost in the uproar.
And it isn't the only sign of hostility towards Muslims in the United States. We aired a clip with news reports. People tracking such incidents see an increase in anti-Islamic sentiment in the United States. And the numbers appear to bear that out.
According to a poll taken last year, Americans had a less favourable view of Islam than they did in the days immediately after 9/11. Some have compared the current climate to the McCarthyism of 1950s. Others have gone further.
We aired a clip of MSNBC news anchor Keith Olbermann reading the words of German pastor Martin Niemoller who wrote those lines after being liberated from a Nazi death camp in 1945. Olbermann quoted them last month as part of a political commentary.
Persecution - Hedy Epstein & Donna Marsh
Keith Olbermann isn't the only one who thinks U.S. attitudes towards Muslims are heading into dangerous territory. Hedy Epstein is worried by what she sees. She's a Holocaust survivor who now lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Donna Marsh O'Connor lost her daughter in the attacks on September 11th. She was in New York City.
Persecution - Panel
For some perspective on how this anti-islamic sentiment in the U.S. compares - historically - to the persecution of so-called "others", we were joined by Michael Marrus. He teaches law and history at the University of Toronto. He has an expertise in the Holocaust and he was in Toronto. And Jasmin Zine is a sociologist in the Muslim Studies department at Wilfrid Laurier University. She was in Waterloo, Ontario.
Noted economist and demographer David Foot says demographics explain two thirds of everything. The study of populations is a powerful forecasting tool that should help governments and individuals plan for the future. But is anyone really listening to what the demographers are saying?
The Current kicks off this season's major project, SHIFT with The Demographer's Dilemma by The Currrent's Documentary Editor, Dick Miller. It's a documentary that explores the challenge of tracking the trajectory of that ever-elusive subject, humankind.
Last Word - Vera
Before we go ... One of the most startling population shifts happening in Canada is the rise in the number of people over 100 years of age. Tomorrow you'll meet two of them.
Jaring Timmerman lives in Winnipeg and still swims competitively. Vera Tyler lives in Toronto. And when Anna Maria met her the other day, she was amazed to see a woman who looked not a day over 80 in a bright red sweater. After our interview, she got up, gripped her walker and beetled down the hallway faster than some 40 year olds.
So, in anticipation of our conversation tomorrow ... we ended the program with a glimpse of Vera at the euchre table.
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