April 07, 2010

Pt 1: Canadian Catholics Panel - As allegations of cover-ups of sexual abuse reaches the Vatican, a panel of Catholic Canadians explore how the controversy shakes or re-affirms their commitment to the Church. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Police Interviewing Techniques
- A time tested interrogation technique faces questions of it's own, as experts disagree on how police should grill a suspect. We investigate that case. (Read More)

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Pt 3: Public Servant Salaries - As Ontario tackles a record deficit, its public servants grapple with a wage freeze. Seems when times are tough, it's the civil service that gets the short straw. Our Work in Progress series puts a price on the life of a public servant. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

It's Wednesday, April 7th.

Pope Benedict says his faith in God has given him the courage to not be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion.

Currently... it also helps that his holiness now wears the official vatican earplugs.

This is The Current.

Canadian Catholics Panel

We started this segment with a clip of Pope Benedict giving an address on Palm Sunday, the beginning of Catholic Holy week. The pontiff explained how God gave him, the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion.

But in the past few weeks, this so-called petty gossip bears a pretty heavy accusation that lands squarely on the Vatican's doorstep. It accuses Pope Benedict of covering up the actions of abusive priests when he was a Vatican cardinal and earlier while he was the archbishop of Munich in his native Germany. The Vatican fired back again yesterday calling the concerns and accusations part of an anti-catholic hate campaign.

Which brings us to Easter Sunday. And as Catholics around the world headed to mass, they waited to hear how their priests would handle these accusations facing the church. And when the sermon ended at Marie Pittaway's church in Moncton she walked out, and she's not sure she can go back. Marie Pittaway is a lifelong Catholic and she was in our Moncton studio. Nat Gallo is a retired school principal from Ancaster, Ontario, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was in Hamilton. And Merv Michalyshen is a retired principal, a life long member of the Catholic church and the author of a book called Power Sex and Sexuality in the Catholic Church. Merv Michalyshen was in Winnipeg.


Police Questioning - Brent Snook

We started this segment with a dramatization of a real and classic interrogation technique called the Reid technique. Taught across North America, the sometimes in-your-face interrogation style is used by many police officers across Canada.

But an article in this month's Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice questions the usefulness and reliability of the Reid technique. Brent Snook is an associate professor of psychology at Memorial University, and one of the co-authors of the article. He was in our studio in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Police Questioning - Todd Barron

As an academic, Brent Snook can suggest changes to interrogation methods, but it's the police officers themselves who must make the change. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is training officers in the PEACE method. Constable Todd Barron is in charge of that training. He was also in our St. John's studio.

Police Questioning - Joseph Buckley

The Reid method was first described in the 1960s in a book called Criminal Interrogation and Confessions. For more than 20 years, Chicago based John E. Reid and Associates has trained thousands of Canadian police officers in the technique. We reached the president of the company, Joseph Buckley, in Chicago.


Public Servant Salaries

The last few weeks have been less than kind to Ontario's public servants. First, the provincial budget imposed a wage freeze on all non-unionized public sector employees. And unionized employees have been told that raises are off the table in any bargaining for the next two years. Tough news for the province's 1 million public servants.

Then last week, Ontario's so-called Sunshine List came out. The list tracks public sector employees earning more than 100,000 dollars, and its ranks are swelling ... up 10,000 to 63,000 employees. That's about five percent of the public sector employees in the province, ranging from judges, doctors, and university professors to police officers, bureaucrats and road crews.

It adds up to bad news, and bad PR, for public sector workers and the public appears to have little sympathy. Not surprisingly, The Current's Heba Aly got a very different response when she asked some public service workers about the public's perception of them.

As part of our ongoing series, Work in Progress, we wanted to ask what public sector workers are really worth. For that, we were joined by Catherine Swift, the president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Hugh Mackenzie, an economic consultant and research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. They were both in our Toronto studio.

*** You can watch this interview on our video edition of The Current. ***

Last Word - Law & Order

Earlier in the program we heard the case for and against the use of a form of police interrogation called the Reid Technique. But debate aside, watching cops play tough on a supect in a stark interrogation room makes for compelling television. And since Law & Order has been on the air for 20 years now, what else to leave you with but with a few of their examples of how good grilling makes good drama.



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