December 15, 2008

Pt 1: Stimulus Wish List - The governing Conservatives are consulting widely over the coming weeks, asking industry representatives as well as provincial and municipal officials what they think the next federal budget should include and what kind of economic stimulus package should be in store. And they're inviting the opposition parites to chip in their thoughts. On Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. Today, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty meets with Liberals Scott Brison and John McCallum.

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Pt 2: China Sex Industry - For most countries, 9 per cent economic growth would be cause for celebration. But in China, it's a disappointment. In part, that's because China has simply become used to a never-ending parade of double-digit growth.

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Pt 3: Guantanamo- Six days after Barak Obama's is set to be inaguarated as President of US., Omar Khadr's trial is set to begin at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His defence team had it's last chance Friday to have the case against him dismissed.

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It's Monday December 15th.

David Letterman's sidekick Paul Shaffer is back on the job today after recieving the Order of Canada from the Governor General Michaelle Jean in an elaborate ceremony in Ottawa, Friday.

Currently, It's good to see the Governor-General back to carrying out the important work of the nation.

This is the Current.


Stimulus Wish List

The governing Conservatives are consulting widely over the coming weeks, asking industry representatives as well as provincial and municipal officials what they think the next federal budget should include and what kind of economic stimulus package should be in store. And they're inviting the opposition parites to chip in their thoughts. On Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. Today, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty meets with Liberals Scott Brison and John McCallum.

But as they talk, the problems they're trying to solve are getting bigger. The auto industry is in trouble. And news that GM is planning to temporarily close 20 North American factories and cut its vehicle production by a third in the New Year suggests the problem is getting worse.

As well, retail sales aren't keeping up with expectations. Housing and real estate markets continue to slow dramatically. And financial markets are in flux. This morning, we asked three people to consult with us on what they think should be in done.


Hugh Mackenzie is a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Arthur Heinmaa is a managing partner at Toron Investment Management. Finn Poschmann is the V.P. of research at the C.D. Howe Institute. They joined us in our Toronto studio.

 

Listen to Part One:

 

China Sex Industry

For most countries, 9 per cent economic growth would be cause for celebration. But in China, it's a disappointment. In part, that's because China has simply become used to a never-ending parade of double-digit growth.

But it's also because the Chinese Government believes that it needs at least 8 per cent growth just to generate enough jobs for all the people pouring out of the countryside and into its cities.

So for Beijing, anything below 8 per cent starts to look like a recipe for social unrest. And to add insult to injury, hundreds of Chinese toy exporters have gone out of business in the months leading up to Christmas.

But there's one kind of toy that is showing remarkable staying power. China produces and exports more than 70 per cent of the world's sex toys. And according to CBC Radio's China Correspondent, Anthony Germain, they just keep going and going and going.

This documentary was prepared by CBC Radio's China Correspondent, Anthony Germain.


China Economy

The fact that China has come to dominate an industry that was banned 30 years ago shows just how much the country has changed. Three decades ago -- under Deng Xiao Ping -- China changed gears radically and joined the world market.

Today, it's a manufacturing juggernaut and 40 per cent of the country's wealth comes from exports. But with the global economy tanking, many of China's best customers don't look like they'll be buying much in 2009. That suggests tough times ahead for China.

Wenran Jiang is the MacTaggart Research Chair at the University of Alberta's China Institute and he's got some thoughtson this implications of this. He was in Edmonton.

 

Listen to Part Two:

 

Guantanamo - Prosecutor

Six days after Barak Obama's is set to be inaguarated as President of US., Omar Khadr's trial is set to begin at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His defence team had it's last chance Friday to have the case against him dismissed.

The United States Military Commissions in Guantanamo Bay had been marred by ethical and legal problems from day one. Some have argued that it has been tainted by political interference. And among other things, the proceedings allow for the admission of secret evidence, hearsay and evidence obtained through torture. The Bush Administration has admitted that at least three detainees in its custody have been subjected to waterboarding.


This chapter in the history of the American justice system began with the attacks of September 11th, 2001. And the people who lost loved ones in those attacks have conflicting views of what's happening at Guantanamo.

We heard from Beverly Eckert. Her husband, Sean Rooney was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. And from Alice Hoagland. Her son Mark Bingham died on United flight 93 on September 11th, 2001.

Five military prosecutors have resigned from the proceedings at Guantanamo Bay. Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld is the most recent to do so. He was a prosecutor at the military commissions there until last September and today he was in Erie, Pennsylvania.


Guantanamo - Interrogator

Canadian Omar Khadr is the last Western detainee to be held in Guantanamo Bay. He was 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan and accused of killing a U.S. military medic while fighting with the Taliban.

Omar Khadr's interrogation began at the Bagram Air Force Base outside of Kabul ... long before he got to Guantanamo Bay. And one of the counter-intelligence agents in the room the day he arrived officer was Damien Corsetti. He joined us from Washington, DC.


Last Word - Al Franken

Later on The Point and host Aamer Haleem will tell you about new regulations that could bring Canadian content rules to the internet. That's The Point at 2 o'clock -- 2:30 in Newfoundland and Labrador. And tonight at 10 o'clock on CBC Television, The National will share stories about ordinary people doing extraordinarily kind things.

Before we go ... Minnesotans are holding their breath ... again. On Friday, the state decided to count about 1,500 spoiled absentee ballots as part of an on-going recount in the Senate race between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman. That's good news for Franken, who trails by 192 votes. The state canvassing board meets tomorrow to review several thousand ballots. Now this isn't Florida, there is no presidential win in the balance.

And while you're waiting, we'll leave you with something from Al Franken's previous life ... as a writer and actor on Saturday Night Live ... where he invented and starred as a character named Stuart Smalley. Our last word goes to him explaining the character and giving Michael Jordan a pep talk.

 

Listen to Part Three:

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