September 9, 2010

Pt 1: Michael Ignatieff - We talk to Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff about his plans for the coming session of Parliament and whether he'll try to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Letters - It's mail day. We get your thoughts on populism, assisted suicide and allegations of Islamaphobia. Plus, the Gzowski family will weigh in on a new and controversial biography of the late Peter Gzowski. (Read More)

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Pt 3: Munir Sheikh - Munir Sheikh spent almost 40 years as a civil servant in Ottawa. It's hardly the kind of work that makes you a household name ... unless you end your career by resigning from Statistics Canada at the height of the controversy over the mandatory long-form census. We talk to Munir Sheikh about the importance of good data and why he felt he had to resign his post. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

It's Thursday, September 9th.

In a new report, BP says the Gulf oil spill was the product of - quote - "a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces."

Currently, it doesn't help that BP also replaced all their engineers with lawyers.

This is The Current.

Michael Ignatieff

Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff spent his summer on a cross-country tour on aboard what he dubbed the Liberal Express. "Connecting" with Canadians hasn't exactly been Michael Ignatieff's strong suit. He's been portrayed -- fairly or not -- as an aloof intellectual. And so this tip was seen as his chance to prove that he's in touch with the people and committed to representing them.

Unfortunately for him, that commitment came into question early in the tour, with a report suggesting Mr. Ignatieff could be planning a return to academia. It was a suggestion he quickly swatted away.

The longer Michael Ignatieff's tour continued, the more it started seem like a dress rehearsal for an election campaign. A lot of political watchers say they've seen a different Michael Ignatieff emerge this summer ... a stronger leader who is more connected to the people. And Mr. Ignatieff has said that the experience touring the country "changed" him.

We had a chance to talk to Michael Ignatieff yesterday when he was in Yellowknife just before he got on a plane.

Articles: Harper, Ignatieff lay out election themes / Snap election would give Ignatieff tenuous grip on power, pollster says / Harper's big gamble: Is Canada ready for a Tory majority? / You've come a long way, Iggy. Is it far enough? / MP Hoeppner pitches gun-registry bill in Yukon



A new season on The Current means a new Friday host. And we're pleased to welcome a familiar face and voice to The Current. Ian Hanomansing is an award-winning news anchor and reporter with The National on CBC Television. He'll be The Current's Friday host for the next four weeks. And he joined Anna Maria from our Vancouver studio for a look at the mail.

Assisted Suicide: Assisted suicide is a divisive and emotional issue. But that isn't stopping the Quebec Legislature. It's holding public hearings to grapple with the issue of dying with dignity. Yesterday on the program, we heard from two people with very personal stakes in the debate. Then we heard from you.

Populism: From the race for the U.S. Senate to the fight to be Toronto's next mayor, populist politicians are doing very well. Monday on The Current, we looked at whether that's a good thing. And the themes discussed were also echoed in the mail on this topic.

And if you're looking for signs of populism in Canada, look no further than Quebec City and the Réseau Liberté Québec, or Quebec Freedom Network. We aired a clip from Eric Duhaime, one of the group's organizers.

Islamaphobia: Pressure is building on the pastor of a small Florida church who plans to burn a copy of the Quran on September 11th. Reverend Terry Jones says he will go ahead, despite explicit criticism from the White House and the US State Department.

Tuesday on The Current, we examined religious intolerance and measured its significance in Canada. And after hearing this conversation, our listeners had some more thoughts to share on this issue.

Moustafa Bayoumi has found himself thrust into this debate. He's a Canadian working in the U.S. as a professor at Brooklyn College. Every year the school makes one book required reading for all incoming students. This year the honour went to Professor Bayoumi and his book How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America. And that prompted a backlash. Moustafa Bayoumi was at his home in Brooklyn, New York.

Gzowski Biography: For fifteen years, his was the voice many Canadians waited to hear on the CBC airwaves in the mornings. But now, a new biography is drawing a darker picture of the late Peter Gzowski. Monday on The Current, we spoke to author Rae Fleming. And we got an earful in the mail.

We also heard from Peter Gzowski's family. We read an excerpt of a letter that was signed by John, Alison, Mick and Peter C. Gzowski, as well as Maria Gzowski-Zufelt.

Centenarians: And finally ... yesterday, as part of Shift our focus on the demographic changes that are altering the country, we heard from two centenarians ... that's people over the age of 100. And this morning, we decided to bring both ends of the population together for a chat. On one end, The Current's youngest correspondent, Laila Lynk Graham who is 5. And the other ... our oldest correspondent is Marjorie Richards, age 102 and a half. They met each other for the first time in Halifax this week.

As part of Shift, we're profiling centenarians across the country. If you know someone who's 100 years or older, let us know about them.


Stats Can - Munir Sheikh

We started this segment with a clip from Munir Sheikh, the former Chief Statistician at Statistics Canada. The man asking him about the state of his home is Conservative MP, David Anderson. Their exchange is from a House of Commons Industry Committee hearing in July ... right after Munir Sheikh had resigned ... and at the height of the controversy over the government's decision to cancel the mandatory long-form census.

Munir Sheikh's career as a public servant spanned four decades and eight Prime Ministers. It ended in July, with his resignation from Statistics Canada. In the process, he became one of the biggest newsmakers in the country.

This morning, Munir Sheikh still believes canceling the mandatory long-form census will mean the data on which so many rely to make decisions will not be as good. He joined us as part of our project Shift ... our look at the demographic changes altering the country. Munir Sheikh was in Ottawa.

Last Word - AIDS Diaries

We ended the program today with a preview of a story Ian Hanomansing has tomorrow. We let The Current's Cathy Simon explain. She gets the last word this morning.

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