March 19, 2010

 

Pt 1: Contraceptives & the Conservatives - Currently, two million babies and mothers die each year in childbirth. In 2007, a report by the Disease Control Priorities Project said that women in developing countries -- where the majority of these deaths occur -- face a greater risk of death or disability because of the frequency of pregnancies and the age of mothers. By reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies, the number of maternal deaths could be reduced substantially in the developing world.

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Pt 2: Love You Forever - In the hours and days following the earthquake that ravaged Haiti in January, thoughts quickly turned to Haiti's children. Untold thousands were killed .. many more injured or orphaned. The government of Canada soon announced that children who were orphans before the earthquake - and who had already been matched with Canadian families - would have their adoptions fast-tracked.

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Pt 3: Black Hearts -Seven years ago today, former U.S. President George Bush announced that the war against Iraq had begun. A month and a half, later he stood under a banner reading "Mission Accomplished" and declared an end to major combat operations in the country.

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Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

It's Friday, March 19th.

Transport minister John Baird says he is considering criminal charges against Toyota for how it responded to problems with their cars.

Currently, if company executives want to outrun the police in their Toyotas, all they have to do is step on the brake.

This is the Current.

Contraceptives & the Conservatives - Katherine McDonald

Currently, two million babies and mothers die each year in childbirth. In 2007, a report by the Disease Control Priorities Project said that women in developing countries -- where the majority of these deaths occur -- face a greater risk of death or disability because of the frequency of pregnancies and the age of mothers. By reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies, the number of maternal deaths could be reduced substantially in the developing world.

Canada's Conservative government doesn't argue with the importance of preventing unplanned pregnancies and it has been widely applauded for making maternal health a priority during its tenure as president of the G8. But there has been significant confusion about the kinds of maternal health programs the government will champion at this year's G8 summit.

Earlier this week foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon said his government's efforts to bolster maternal health in developing cuntries would not include funding for contraceptives. But after widespread criticism Prime Minister Stephen Harper said contraception would be one option. The issue was hotly debated during yesterday's Question Period. We aired a clip.

The Current requested an interview with Bev Oda, the Minister of International Cooperation, to clarify the government's position on funding contraception in the developing world. That request was turned down.

Katherine McDonald joined us with her reaction to the government's apparent mixed messaging. She's the executive director of Action Canada for Population and Development, a human rights advocacy organization that focuses on reproductive and sexual rights and health. She was in our Ottawa studio.

Contraceptives & the Conservatives - Andrea Mrozek

Some people are pretty satisfied with the way the government's been handling the maternal health and contraception issue. Andrea Mrozek is the founder of Pro Woman Pro Life, a women's rights group opposing aborition. She is also the manager of research and comunications for the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. She was in Ottawa.

Contraceptives & the Conservatives - Heather MacIvor

To some analysts, the Conservatives appear to be walking a political tightrope on this issue ... wooing much-needed female voters, while playing to the party's political base. For her thoughts on the politics behind the government's position, we were joined by Heather MacIvor. She's an associate professor of political science at the University of Windsor, and she was in our Windsor, Ontario studio.



Love You Forever - Documentary

In the hours and days following the earthquake that ravaged Haiti in January, thoughts quickly turned to Haiti's children. Untold thousands were killed .. many more injured or orphaned. The government of Canada soon announced that children who were orphans before the earthquake - and who had already been matched with Canadian families - would have their adoptions fast-tracked.

Twelve days after the earthquake, 24 children landed in Canada amid much media attention, and Canadians breathed a sign of relief ... at least these children would be safe and cared for. More orphans would arrive in the weeks to come.

To date, 203 Haitian orphans have found permanent homes in Canada since the earthquake. They've been welcomed warmly by mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers ... indeed, the whole country ... offering them loving families, new opportunities and a new life.

But that doesn't mean the transition to a new life isn't a difficult one. And that's what The Current's producer Kathleen Goldhar set out to explore. We aired her documentary, Love You Forever.


Black Hearts - Jim Frederick

Seven years ago today, former U.S. President George Bush announced that the war against Iraq had begun. A month and a half, later he stood under a banner reading "Mission Accomplished" and declared an end to major combat operations in the country.

The declaration proved rather premature, much to Bush's lingering embarrassment ... particularly in an area south of Baghdad, that became known as the "Triangle of Death". More than two years after the war started, an American light infantry battalion of about 700 men was sent to the Triangle of Death to establish order and win the hearts and minds of the people who lived there.

But once they arrived, the degree of sectarian violence and insurgent attacks against the soldiers made their mandate seem delusional. It was against that backdrop that four soldiers - acting on their own - committed a horrible crime in the spring of 2006.

We aired a clip. **Please note: Some of the descriptions that follow are graphic and disturbing.

TIME Magazine assistant managing editor Jim Frederick spent several years investigating this crime, the events that led up to it and the fallout from it. He tells this story in a new book called Black Hearts: One Platoon's Descent Into Madness in Iraq's Triangle of Death. Jim Frederick was in New York.


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