April 1, 2009

Pt 1: Newfoundland's 60th Anniversary - We started this segment with some tape from sixty years ago today -- April 1st, 1949 -- as Newfoundland and Labrador was officially welcomed into the federal fold as Canada's tenth province. It almost didn't happen, only 51percent voted to join Canada back then.

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Pt 2: On the Lam - We aired a sampling of some of the high-profile corporate titans who have had to answer for their actions over the last year-and-a-half. And it's a remarkable thing when you think about how it used to be.

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Pt 3: Radical Thrift - The economic downturn has left a lot of people looking for ways to cut corners. Even seemingly trivial things, such as trading in your morning latte for a home-brewed coffee or re-using your milk bags instead of buying garbage liners. They all add up. And on top of that, every one of those actions has a positive environmental impact. So you can feel good about them for two reasons.

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It's Wednesday, April 1st.

Canada's Auditor General says there are people with links to organized crime working in secure areas of Canadian airports ... including one person who was under investigation for a drug-related murder at an airport.

Currently, Even worse ... some of them may be carrying tasers.

This is The Current.

Newfoundland 60th Anniversary

We started this segment with some tape from sixty years ago today -- April 1st, 1949 -- as Newfoundland and Labrador was officially welcomed into the federal fold as Canada's tenth province. It almost didn't happen, only 51percent voted to join Canada back then.

And not all Newfoundlanders are feeling all warm and fuzzy about confederation today. The province has no official events planned to mark the event. Now that also continues to reflect the fact that many continue to mourn those killed in the offshore helicopter crash last month. But a number of very vocal Newfoundlanders say the terms of their union with Canada need to be redefined.

That sentiment came through loud and clear last week, as John Crosbie -- the province's Lieutenant Governor -- delivered the Speech from the Throne, speaking of course for the government of Premier Danny Williams. We aired a clip.

The cut to which Lieutenant Governor Crosbie referred has sparked discontent across Newfoundland and Labrador. And it has led Liberal Senator George Baker -- a longtime federal politician from Gander -- to suggest that Newfoundlanders could learn something from Quebec sovereignists. George Baker was in Ottawa today. And Brian Peckford was the Conservative premier of Newfoundland and Labrador from 1979 to 1989. He joined us from his home on Vancouver Island. And Brian Tobin was the Liberal premier from 1996 to 2000. He was in Toronto.

 

On the Lam - Fugitives

We aired a sampling of some of the high-profile corporate titans who have had to answer for their actions over the last year-and-a-half. And it's a remarkable thing when you think about how it used to be.

A generation ago, more than a few white-collar criminals weighed their legal options and came up with something much more appealing. They took their ill-gotten gains and jetted off someplace with plenty of sun and a distinct lack of enforceable extradition laws. Back in the 1970s for example, multi-millionaire fraud-artist Robert Vesco fled to Costa Rica and then to Cuba to live out his days.

But according to Victor O'Boyski, going on the lam is a lot more difficult than it used to be. He's a retired Supervisory Deputy US Marshal who has tracked a lot of fugitives over the years. He's also the past President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and he was in Washington, Maine.

On The Lam - Former RCMP

There may be fewer white collar criminals on the lam now, but according to some, the ones who are still out there tend to see Canada as an attractive destination. We aired a clip of John Leiberman from America's Most Wanted.

Back In 2003 when the RCMP set-up the Integrated Market Enforcement Teams or IMETs, our next guest became the head of the elite investigative teams whose job it was to break the back of "white collar" crime in this country. His work was key to bringing charges against Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb as well as two other former Livent executives. Craig Hannaford is now a private consultant based in Toronto but he was in Washington, DC this morning.

On the Lam Factboard

As you heard earlier Thomas Qualls joins a list of other well-heeled fugitives calling Canada home. Here are some other names of current or one-time millionaires on foreign wanted lists.

Rakesh Saxena, a Thai-financier, is accused by Thailand of embezzling $88 million from the Bangkok Bank of Commerce. He has been fighting extradition in BC for 12 years.

Then there is Lai Changxing, China's most wanted man. Beijing accuses Lai Changxing of being behind a 10-billion dollar international smuggling ring. He has been in Canada since 1999.

Also coming to Canada that year was Karlheinz Schreiber, wanted in Germany on fraud and bribery charges. He is currently in Ottawa, awaiting extradition after the federal inquiry into former prime minister Brian Mulroney's business dealings with the German-Canadian arms dealer wraps up.

 

Radical Thrift

The economic downturn has left a lot of people looking for ways to cut corners. Even seemingly trivial things, such as trading in your morning latte for a home-brewed coffee or re-using your milk bags instead of buying garbage liners. They all add up. And on top of that, every one of those actions has a positive environmental impact. So you can feel good about them for two reasons.

This morning, we wanted to talk about the many ways that people are pinching pennies from the simplest and most obvious, to ones that require a bit more dedication. Some are calling it "Radical Thrift." And Judith Levine is going to help us make sense of it. She's a journalist and the author of Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping. And she was in New York City.

Last Word - Ricky Gervais Podcast  

As you just heard, our April Fool's Day joke was looking at some rather suspect ways to survive and even thrive during this recession. We were, of course, just kidding about all of it ... including the communal, "block toilet." But we're not alone in finding some humour in how to cope with an economic downturn. Today we ended the program with an excerpt from a podcast by British comics Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington.

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