Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Categories: Episodes
It's Thursday, November 27th.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will present an update on the federal government's finances this afternoon.
Currently, He will then pack his satchel and hop a westbound boxcar for a cross-country promotional tour.
This is The Current.
Mumbai Attacks - Kumar Ketkar
Well as you've been hearing in the news today, Mumbai and all of India is realing today after heavily armed gunmen launched a series of brazen, highly coordinated and ultimately deadly terrorist attacks. Ashok Patel is a British national, who was inside the Taj Mahal hotel when it began. He said the terrorists specifically targeted foreigners.
This morning residents in area woke up to the sound of chaos. We heard from one man describing what he was hearing.
Well it's estimated that as many as 300 people have been injured, more then 100 are dead, including 3 top level Indian police officers and that includes the Chief of the country's anti-terrorism sqaud.
A previously unknown group called Deccan Mujahideen have claimed responsibility for the attacks. Kalpana Sharma is a freelance journalist and a columnist with the Hindu newspaper. She was in Mumbai.
Mumbai Attacks: Analysis
So a series of co-ordinated attacks in the city and an intelligence service taken completely by surprise. To help us understand the implications of this, we were by M.J. Gohel and Ashley Tellis. M.J. Gohel is the executive director with the Asia-Pacific Foundation, an independent counter-terrorism think-tank in London, England. And Ashley Tellis is with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He's served with the US State Department, the National Security Council and the U.S. Foreign Service where he was posted at the US Embassy in India. He was in Vienna, Virginia.
Listen to Part One:
The Agony of Being Harper
From one day to the next, we've heard nothing but bleak news on the economic front. So as Finance Minister Jim Flaherty gets set to deliver an economic update today, PM Stephen Harper is facing some tough choices. He is, after all, a classically trained economist who went into politics to cut taxes, reign in spending and make government smaller.
And yet here he is, faced with a growing economic crisis and a growing consensus among economists and world leaders that government spending, deficit-financing and investments in public infrastructure are the best ways to govern. That has got to create some serious cognitive dissonance. So imagine the agony of Stephen Harper in these economic times.
Janice Stein has some thoughts on that. She's the Director of the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto. She's also a member of the International Society of Political Psychologists and she was in Toronto.
The Agony of Being Harper - Panel
So Stephen Harper is conflicted politically, the rest of us are restricted economically. For their thoughts on all of this, we were joined by Diane Francis. She's an Editor at Large with the National Post. She's also written several books about the Canadian economy. And Armine Yalnizyan is the Senior Economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. They were both in our Toronto studio.
Listen to Part Two:
Time now for our weekly dip into the mail and our Friday host, Indira Naidoo Harris joins me in studio.
On March 26th, 2003, a photo on the cover of USA Today showed US Army medic Joseph Dwyer carrying a wounded Iraqi boy to safety. The photo was taken by imbedded photographer Warren Zinn. It sent Private Dwyer to instant fame. But Monday on The Current, we heard what happened when the spotlight turned elsewhere.
Joseph Dwyer died in June 2008 in North Carolina, after suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. He was addicted to an aerosal chemical called DustOff and his death was ruled an accidental overdose. Joseph Dwyer's mother says the son she knew never came home from Iraq. We aired a clip of Maureen Dwyer, the mother of Private Joseph Dwyer. He was 29 years old at the time of his death. Joseph's story prompted mail from our listener.
We also heard from Dr. Jacques Gouws who wrote: Thank you for bringing this topic to the attention of the Canadian public. I am a psychologist with many years of miltitary service and when I saw this photo, I was actually lecturing on the topic of PTSD. I predicted that if this soldier did not get the necessary mental health care he would committ suicide, because his face already told the story. We reached Dr. Jacques Gouws in Hamilton this morning.
Moving on to other mail. For four years, the Alouette Correction Centre for Women in British Columbia supported a program which allowed inmates to keep their infant children with them. Earlier this year the facility cancelled the program. And now five former or current inmates are suing the province and the facility's warden. Yesterday on The Current, we heard from Brenda Tole. She is the former warden who was instrumental in the launch of the program. After this item aired our listeners shared their thoughts.
On to more mail. Last week it became very clear just how dangerous the waters off the coast of Somalia are ... as a massive Saudi oil tanker was hijacked by Somali pirates about 800 kilometres off the coast. More than a third of all pirate attacks occur off the coast of Somalia. Last Friday on the program, we heard from Muse, a Somali fisherman who hijacks ships in the area. After hearing from him, we heard from our listeners.
Well our next guest knows first hand what it is like to be at the mercy of pirates. Patrick Marchesseau is the captain of Le Ponant, a luxury yacht. In April, he and a crew of 30 were taken captive when pirates seized the yacht off the Somali coast.
They were held for eight days, at which point a ransom was paid - and the crew released. As of this week, Captain Marchesseau is back at the helm of the yacht. We reached him aboard Le Ponant this morning.
Moving on through the mail. Last June, five-year old Jessica handed her juicebox back to her mom, telling her it was "stinky". And when Jennifer DeGroot examined it, she noticed maggots on the bottom of the bloated box. What followed was a nightmare of tests, dead ends and frustration for the DeGroot family. Jessica and her seven year old brother, Johnny both became ill for four months, with diarrhea, loss of appetite, and fever. Jennifer DeGroot and her father worked tirelessly to try and find out what was making the children so ill. And they had to deal extensively with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency -- the CFIA. Her story prompted other similar stories in the mail.
On Friday, we heard from Lanny Davis, a former Special Counsel to President Bill Clinton and a long-time friend of Hilary Clinton. We asked him about the concerns that some people had raised about whether Bill Clinton's philanthropic and personal business dealings might affect the decision to make Hilary Clinton the next Secretary of State. But he took issue with how we had framed the issue.
In the introduction to Lanny Davis, we referred to deals that Bill Clinton had made with the Saudi Royal Family, the King of Morocco and the Governments of Kuwait and Qatar. And just to be clear, we were referring to arrangements for donations to Bill Clinton's charitable foundation, not personal business deals. The Clinton Foundation raises money to combat global climate change, HIV/AIDS in the developing world and childhood obesity. It also works to create economic opportunity in the United States and economic development in Africa and Latin America. We read some of your letters on this topic.
Listen to Part Three: