March 31, 2010

Pt 1: Arctic Bloc - In the wake of a summit held by five of the members of the Arctic Ocean Coastal States, there is speculation that the five countries involved are trying to sideline the larger Arctic Council and create a bloc to make major decisions about the Arctic's future. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Steve Fonyo - Twenty-six years ago today, Steve Fonyo began a cross-Canada trek that would raise millions of dollars for cancer research and make him the youngest recipient of the Order of Canada. But his journey since then has taken him down a path of darkness filled with personal demons. We air a a documentary about the troubled life of Steve Fonyo.
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Pt 3: Converting to Islam - Terry Holdbrooks went to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as a 19-year-old soldier in the U.S. military. He came back as a convert to Islam and changed his name to Mustafa Abdullah. We talk about that transformation. (Read More)

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Today's guest host was Linden MacIntyre.

It's Wednesday March 31st.

The Canadian government is under fire for not inviting Iceland, Sweden and Finland to its summit on Arctic issues as the polar region melts.

Currently, the foreign affairs department says the criticisms are misplaced and it will remain committed to a fully cooperative international approach until the Arctic Ocean freezes over.

This is the Current.

Arctic Bloc - Iceland

Earlier this week, foreign ministers from Canada, the United States, Denmark, Norway and Russia got together in Chelsea, Quebec to talk about the future of the Arctic. Collectively, those five countries are known as the Arctic Ocean Coastal States. They have shared interests in the Arctic Ocean ... specifically the fact that its thick blanket of permanent sea ice is melting and opening up potential shipping routes not tomention potentially vast oil and gas resources.

Now on the face of it, talking makes a lot of sense at this stage. But there are more than five countries with territory and interests in the Arctic. Iceland, Sweden and Finland are all members of the larger Arctic Council. Plus there are Aboriginal people who've lived in the Arctic for millenia. But these players weren't invited to the Chelsea meeting and noow, they're worried that the body they thought was making decisions about the Arctic's future, the Arctic council is being sidelined. And some are accusing Canada of hosting secret meetings aimed at promoting an Arctic power-grab.

Greta Gunnarsdottir is Iceland's representative on the Arctic Council. She was in the capital, Reykjavik.

Arctic Bloc - Canada

To help us understand Canada's position on this issue, we were joined by Deepak Obhrai. He's the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and he was in Ottawa.

Arctic Bloc - Analyst

Only a handful of countries actually come into contact with the Arctic Ocean. But the whole world has a stake in what happens there. The Arctic Ocean is a global climate regulator. It promises vast resource wealth, as well as a transformation in global shipping routes.

Charles Emmerson has been keeping a close eye on the geopolitics of the Arctic region. He's the former Associate Director of the World Economic Forum. He's also the author of the new book, The Future History of the Arctic. He was in London, England.


Journey to Normal - Documentary

It was 26 years ago today that a one-legged teenager dipped his prosthetic limb into the Atlantic Ocean and began a cross-country marathon. Fourteen months later, Steve Fonyo completed his "Journey for Lives" ... a 7,924 kilometre trek across the country. Steve Fonyo raised millions for cancer research. He became the youngest recipient of the Order of Canada. And then, his life fell apart. Trouble with the law and his own personal demons plagued him. And last December he was stripped of his Order of Canada.

Freelance broadcaster Claude Adams brings us a documentary about the troubled life of Steve Fonyo and his attempts to live a quiet, regular existence. The documentary is called Journey to Normal.

* Please be aware, this piece features some very strong language.


Converting to Islam - Mustafa Abdullah

Terry Holdbrooks arrived in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in the summer of 2003 as a U.S. military guard assigned to the prison there. When he arrived, he was a tattooed 19-year-old with a fondness for hard liquor and loud music. By the time he left, he had converted to Islam and found an inspiration and a mentor amongst the detainees he was guarding. Terry Holdbrooks later changed his name to Mustafa Abdullah. He was also discharged from the U.S. military, which ruled that he had a "general personality disorder." Mustafa Abdullah was in Phoenix, Arizona.

Last Word - Steve Fonyo

We ended the program today with an interview that first aired on CBC Radio's Sunday morning in April of 1984 when Steve Fonyo was just three weeks into his cross-Canada journey and the troubles that we heard about earlier in the program had yet to begin.

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