Friday, May 23, 2008 | Categories: Episodes
It's Friday, May 23rd.
A commission on reasonable accommodation says Quebec must get over its collective identity crisis and adapt to the realities of a secular, pluralistic society.
Currently, to which Quebec responded: En francais, s'il vous plait.
This is The Current.
Foreign Aid by Canada
Question: How well do you think Canada does in the international aid game?
It might surprise you to learn that of the 21 richest countries in the world, Canada is 14th in terms of the percentage of GDP spent on foreign aid. And not only are we in the bottom third on the donation list, we're actually cutting back on what we give.
According to author Jeffrey Sachs, that's not acceptable at a time when a triple threat of climate change, food markets and existing poverty are putting the planet on a crisis course.
Jeffrey Sachs wrote a book called Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet, and he is also a special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. We reached him in New York,
The Current put in several requests to the ministries of foreign affairs and international co-operation for someone to respond to Mr. Sachs' concerns but we were told no one was available.
So for some insight into the workings of Canada's foreign aid policy, we were joined from Victoria by Liberal MP Keith Martin, the Official Opposition Critic for International Cooperation and CIDA.
Listen to Part Two:
The scenes of devastation suggest a horror movie, or a sci-fi flick.
It's the biggest insect attack North America has ever seen, transforming forests of lush green pine to vast stands of dead, red trees. Loggers rev up their chainsaws and start clear-cutting hillsides, schoolyards, and even cemeteries. At night, smoke and flames rise from pyres lit to burn the debris. Left behind is a ghostly landscape of dry, rotting pine.
Unfortunately, these aren't scenes from a movie. They're scenes of everyday life in the British Columbia interior, the epicenter of a devastating mountain pine beetle infestation that will leave about 80% of the province's mature pine trees lifeless within five years.
Since 2001, CBC radio reporter Betsy Trumpener has been covering the pine beetle story from Prince George. She joined us to introduce us to some of the people who've been affected.
The 5 millimetre anthropod with the voracious appetite has already crossed the Rockies, so now Alberta is on the frontline in the battle against the pine beetle.
Alberta got a hand from a good, old-fashioned, bone-chilling winter, which is thought to have killed off a chunk of the pine beetle population, and the province planned to spend $55 million in 2008 to try to halt the beetle's advance.
To discuss the challenge Alberta and the Canadian forest industry faces from this threat, we were joined from Ottawa by Avrim Lazar, the CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada; and from Toronto by professor Sandy Smith, a forest entomologist at the University of Toronto; and from Hinton, Alberta by Dan Lux, the Pine Beetle Co-ordinator for the province of Alberta.
Last Word - Eurovision Song
Earlier in the show, we discussed Quebec's divided society. But that province is certainly not the only place to have its divisions in the spotlight.
Belgium's populations are often split, so the country is no stranger to language debates. But in May 2008, that debate spilled onto the Eurovision stage. The annual song contest is, of course, a mashup of cheesy tunes, bad dance routines, and unnecessary stage props.
So how did the Belgians manage with their Eurovision Song entry? Well, let's just call it their own version of reasonable accommodation. Their offering was called O Julissi with lyrics in an imaginary language, sung by Flemish group, Ishtar.
Listen to Part Three: