February 24, 2010

 

Pt 1: Iacobucci Inquiry - We started this segment with a clip of Ahmad El Maati speaking at a news conference yesterday. He is a Canadian citizen. In 2001, he was detained while in Syria for his wedding. He was then jailed, interrogated and tortured in prisons in Syria and Egypt. He has never been charged with anything in any country.

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Pt 2: Youth For Christ - There's a patch of rundown, unused space at the northwest corner of Main Street and Higgins Avenue in downtown Winnipeg. It's about 50,000 square feet -- just a little bit smaller than a football field.

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Pt 3: Arctic Re-imagined - The Olympics in Vancouver have proven to be a bit of a disconnect for a country such as Canada. Until yesterday, we failed to deliver a suitably wintery setting for the games. Rain, fog, spring-like temperatures. None of that is out of the ordinary for Vancouver.

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It's Wednesday, February 24th.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who is Vancouver for the Olympics, says there's too much emphasis placed on being number one and that Canada doesn't need to win the most medals to be a success.

Currently, wasn't he the second man on the moon?

This is the Current.

Iacobucci Inquiry - Laskin

We started this segment with a clip of Ahmad El Maati speaking at a news conference yesterday. He is a Canadian citizen. In 2001, he was detained while in Syria for his wedding. He was then jailed, interrogated and tortured in prisons in Syria and Egypt. He has never been charged with anything in any country.

But before leaving for the Middle East, he was questioned in Canada. And since he returned to Canada more than five years ago, he has wanted to know if Canadian security officials played any role in his ordeal. A government inquiry was struck to provide some answers. And yesterday, Justice Frank Iacobucci released a supplement to his original report that had until now been kept a secret.

John Laskin was the lead counsel for the Iacobucci inquiry. He is a senior partner with Torys LLP, a law firm in Toronto.

Iacobucci Inquiry - El Matti

Ahmad El Maati has been listening in. He's in Ottawa this morning, along with his lawyer, Hadayt Nazami.

Iacobucci Inquiry - Wark

Justice Iacobucci says he wanted to release the information in this report a year-and-a-half ago, but the Federal Government prevented him from doing that because of national security concerns.

For his thoughts on what those security concerns might have been, we were joined by Wesley Wark. He's with the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto. And he was in Ottawa this morning.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews' office didn't respond to our request for an interview about Justice Iacobucci's report.


Listen to Part One:


Youth For Christ - Vandal

There's a patch of rundown, unused space at the northwest corner of Main Street and Higgins Avenue in downtown Winnipeg. It's about 50,000 square feet -- just a little bit smaller than a football field.

And a local group wants to turn it into a brand new youth centre for the city's disenfranchised. The group in question is Youth For Christ, an evangelical Christian organization. The federal government has promised to contribute a little over three million dollars if the project is approved by Winnipeg's City Council later today.

But critics argue that a secular government has no business using taxpayer money to support a proselytizing religious group. Pat Martin, the NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre, has been among the most vocal critics. He has said that "offering much-needed sports opportunities is just their way of luring in young prospects."

But John Courtney, the Executive Director of Youth for Christ in Winnipeg, says he can't understand what all the fuss is about. We heard from him speaking to a local CBC show earlier this week. He declined our request for an interview this morning.

Dan Vandal has a lot of concerns about the project. He is a Winnipeg City Councilor and he was in Winnipeg.

Youth for Christ - Nordman

Across the council table is a man who says he supports the "project without reservation". Grant Nordman is a Winnipeg city councillor and deputy speaker. He was also in our Winnipeg studio.

Youth for Christ - Leo

Public funding to religious social services is part of a growing trend, according to our next guest. Christopher Leo teaches city politics at the University of Winnipeg and he was also in our Winnipeg studio.


Listen to Part Two:



Arctic Re-imagined

We started this segment with a clip from Glen Gould's The Idea of North for CBC Radio.

The Olympics in Vancouver have proven to be a bit of a disconnect for a country such as Canada. Until yesterday, we failed to deliver a suitably wintery setting for the games. Rain, fog, spring-like temperatures. None of that is out of the ordinary for Vancouver.

But it hardly befits a country that proudly calls itself The Great White North. And consider the omnipresent Inukshuk ... Inuit iconography being used to illustrate our connection to the north at a celebration of ice and snow in one of Canada's balmiest microclimates.

But then, the Canadian Arctic is getting balmier too. All those contradictions got The Current's Chris Wodskou wondering what it means to be an Arctic nation in a time of climate change. We aired his documentary, Arctic Re-Imagined.


Listen to Part Three:

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