October 23, 2008

Pt 1: Interview with Monique Lepine - It's been nearly 19 years since Marc Lepine walked into the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal sat down on a bench for a couple of hours and then went on a killing rampage. And it's taken nearly 19 years for his mother, Monique Lepine, to come close to coming to terms with what he did that day. Now, Monique Lepine has documented her attempts to do just that in a book about her life. In it, she writes about the mixed emotions she still feels for her son and says she still has "no pity for his unspeakable fate." Monique Lepine was in our Montreal studio.

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Pt 2: Afghanistan - Investigation and Alleged Rape - For the last four months, there have been reports of Canadian soldiers coming back from Afghanistan with horrifying stories. They say they witnessed Afghan soldiers and interpreters raping young boys near Canadian military bases outside of Kandahar. Some of the Canadian soldiers have filed formal complaints. Some have sought counseling for what they say they saw. Some say their warnings were largely ignored by the Canadian military.

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Pt 3: Springhill Mining Disaster - Documentary - Fifty years ago today, a series of shockwaves ripped through the Number Two colliery mine in Springhill, Nova Scotia, one of deepest coal mines in the world. Those shockwaves have since become known as the "Bump of 1958." But to the 174 men who were working underground at the time, it felt more like a small earthquake.

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It's Thursday, October 23rd.

A protester tried to slap handcuffs on former Presidential Advisor Karl Rove this week, calling it a citizen's arrest for treason.

Currently, Silly protester. Only the federal government can arrest American citizens without a warrant.

This is The Current.


Interview with Monique Lepine


It's been nearly 19 years since Marc Lepine walked into the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal sat down on a bench for a couple of hours and then went on a killing rampage. And it's taken nearly 19 years for his mother, Monique Lepine, to come close to coming to terms with what he did that day. Now, Monique Lepine has documented her attempts to do just that in a book about her life. In it, she writes about the mixed emotions she still feels for her son and says she still has "no pity for his unspeakable fate." Monique Lepine was in our Montreal studio.


Music

Elliott 6
Artist: Elliott Kirk
CD: Fiddler on the Rocks
Cut: CD 6, Moon in Broad Daylight
Label: Custom/Elliott Kirk
Spine: FOTR 05
http://www.kirkelliott.net/

 

 

Afghanistan - Investigation and Alleged Rape

For the last four months, there have been reports of Canadian soldiers coming back from Afghanistan with horrifying stories. They say they witnessed Afghan soldiers and interpreters raping young boys near Canadian military bases outside of Kandahar. Some of the Canadian soldiers have filed formal complaints. Some have sought counseling for what they say they saw. Some say their warnings were largely ignored by the Canadian military.

There are many things we don't know - How many Canadian soldiers say they have witnessed the rapes, who they complained to, when the alleged rapes began taking place or how many boys are alleged to have been raped.

What we do know if that the Canadian military's National Investigation Service is looking in to the claims of several soldiers and that the NIS told some of those soldiers it could take two years for the investigation to be concluded. But Byron Wilfert says that's not good enough. He's the Liberal critic for National Defence and the Vice Chair of the Special Standing Committee on Afghanistan and he was in Toronto.

The Situation

The fact that Canadian soldiers say they witnessed young Afghan boys being sexually abused by Afghan soldiers and interpreters actually puts the Canadian military in a difficult position.

To explain why -- and to tell us how he thinks the situation should be handled -- Anna Maria was joined by Retired Canadian Colonel, Michel Drapeau. He's now an attorney specializing in military law and he was in Ottawa.


Afghan Children - UN Special Representative


What makes this story even more complicated is that there is a history in Afghanistan of using young boys as sexual objects, a practice that was illustrated dramatically by Afghan author Khaled Hosseini in his novel, The Kite Runner.

Now for people working to protect children in war zones, cultural practices like that can present a real challenge. But according to Radhika Coomaraswamy, the fact that something has a long and well-established history doesn't make it okay. She's the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and she was in New York City.


 

Springhill Mining Disaster - Documentary

Fifty years ago today, a series of shockwaves ripped through the Number Two colliery mine in Springhill, Nova Scotia, one of deepest coal mines in the world. Those shockwaves have since become known as the "Bump of 1958." But to the 174 men who were working underground at the time, it felt more like a small earthquake.

As live radio and television coverage drew the world's attention, almost all of the miners who survived the shock were able to make their way to the surface. But two groups of miners remained trapped, without food or water. They were left for dead by the mine's owners. But their fellow miners refused to stop digging. Six days later, twelve men were rescued from a blackened tomb, four kilometres underground. Six more were found alive three days after that. Lucky to be alive. Unlike 75 of their colleagues.

They called it The Miracle of Springhill. Of those 18 survivors, only three are still alive today. 76-year-old Harold Brine is one of them. We shared his story as told to our Halifax Producer, Mary Lynk.


Letters

David Frum - Guest Host for The Friday Edition of The Current


David Frum is this week's Friday host of The Current. He is an author, former speech writer for President George Bush and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and he joined Anna Maria in studio to read some of your mail.


The Mail

While the election in the United States enters the homestretch, the Canadian election wrapped up last week. And when our votes were tallied, only 59 percent of Canadians voted -- the lowest voter turnout on record.

Last Thursday on The Current we heard from one non-voter. Pete Beaulieu made a very deliberate decision not to vote, but not because he's apathetic. He is actively involved in anti-homophobia, anti-war and anti-poverty issues. His views prompted a wave of opinion on both sides of the fence.

And on the subject of high school and voter turnout, former Nova Scotia premier Dr. John Hamm has been dismayed by what he's been finding out about the low turnout of young people in his current role as co-chair of Democracy 250, an organization celebrating the 250th anniversary of parliamentary democracy in Nova Scotia. He told us that the roots of the problem, and part of the solution, lie in high school. We aired a clip.

Then we moved on through the mail.

In a Hamilton, Ontario courtroom this week, Johnson Aziga is facing two counts of first degree murder. He is alleged to have had sex with thirteen women without telling them that he had HIV. Two of the women have died of complications allegedly linked to AIDS. Tuesday on The Current, we heard the pros and cons of criminalizing the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Alison Symington is Senior Policy Analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and she explained their concerns. Listeners heard her concerns and wrote in.

And yesterday, The Current aired an interview with Calgary-based journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, the author of Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, an incisive critique of the breakneck pace and environmental destructiveness of the Alberta tar sands. And many of our listeners chimed in with their responses.

 

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