Checking-In: Listener Response

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It's that time again. From SARS to unapologetic public servants and robot reporters, we're following up on the stories of the week. We also hear from Evan Wiens, who was told he could have a Gay-Straight Alliance in his Manitoba high school but it couldn't be mentioned on morning announcements or posters.



Checking-In: Listener Response

Guest host Rick MacInnes-Rae joined Anna Maria in studio today for today's checking-in. He'll be co-hosting tomorrow's show with Graeme Smith, who'll be in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Kevin Page: Friday is Kevin Page's last day on the job as Canada's first Parliamentary Budget Officer. This week on the program, he talked about transparency in government spending and what he's looking for in today's federal budget.

Many listeners found the interview inspiring. Rosy Pellarin of London, Ontario wrote:

Kevin Page needs to be held in great esteem for his integrity and his principled work. He is so very right -- our democracy is wobbling and he's done his best to bring that to the attention of all Canadians.

George Dyson of Hall's Harbour, Nova Scotia had this to say:

My first question is: 'Why does Parliament need a Budget Officer'? If the government is honest and gives correct financial information to Parliament, then this office is surely redundant.

Scott Vaughan: Kevin Page was just one of the high profile public servants to join us this week. We also spoke with Scott Vaughan, the outgoing commissioner of the environment and sustainable development. Part of our conversation focused on the federal government's progress in reducing  greenhouse gas emissions.

We received several responses to the interview. One of which came from Elizabeth May, leader of Canada's Green Party and the MP for B.C.'s Saanich-Gulf Islands. We invited her on the show to share her feedback.

SARS: It was ten years ago that SARS -- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome -- was added to our lexicon. And for most people, the impact of SARS has long faded, on Monday we heard from two front-line workers whose lives remain forever changed by SARS in Lara O'Brien's documentary, "Complications."

We asked for your memories and stories from that time and you responded. Here are a few of those anecdotes:

Ten years ago, Glenn Rigby was 21 years old and he writes from Ottawa:

I spent 8 days in North York General during the SARS outbreak with a serious gastrointestinal problem. I was very ill and frightened ... and were it not for the dedication of the nursing staff, I feel certain I would have succumbed to my illness.

Sometimes the nurse grabbed some sleep on a gurney in the hall -- but otherwise was on duty for 2 days straight. It is isn't easy to convey compassion when you are wearing what amounts to a  Haz Mat suit -- but the nurses who helped me did just that.


We heard lots more from listeners about their experiences with SARS and much of it has been compiled on our website, along with a timeline, archival material and photos.

Syrian opposition: Earlier this week, we looked at the debate around arming the Syrian opposition. The two-year old conflict in Syria has left more than seventy thousand dead and one million people displaced. On Monday's program we heard opposing responses to the call for arms.

Bessma Momani is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. She argued that arming the Syrian opposition is essential.

To that, H. Mahfoud of London, Ontario sent us this:

Bessma Momani came out as completely removed from the Syrian political reality. The way to end the crisis in Syria is not through more arms as Ms Momani advocates -- but through diplomacy and negotiations that embrace all (non-terrorist) Syrian political parties.

Evan Wiens: There are two high schools in Steinbach, Manitoba ... but only one student who is actively trying to start a gay-straight alliance club. Evan Wiens is 16 years old and a grade 11 student at Steinbach Regional Secondary School. We spoke to him about his effort.

This segment was produced by The Current's Carole Ito and Jessica deMello.

Last Word: JoAnn from Bensonhurst

While economists debate whether banks are still safe for depositors cash, Joann from Bensonhurst has made up her mind. She's a New York mom who's weekly podcasts often go viral on the strength of her forceful personality.  She's no economist,  but she knows the value of a buck.




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