May 19, 2010

Pt 1: Bank Tax - The Canadian Government is ramping up its opposition to the proposed international bank tax. The idea has the support of several European Governments and the U.S. Government. They say it's a key element in the efforts to prevent another global economic meltdown. But Prime Minister Harper says it would unfairly penalize well-regulated Canadian banks which were never part of the problem. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Singing a New Song - The Mi'kmaq of Newfoundland and Labrador have spent decades fighting for official status under the Indian Act. They were supposed to get it this spring. But now the whole project is in jeopardy. (Read More) 

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Pt 3: Awesome Jobs - Last week, we asked you to tell us your stories about the worst jobs you've ever had. We've got your stories plus some really good advice about how to escape your worst job and land a truly awesome one. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

It's Wednesday, May 19th.

A Somali man in New York City has pleaded guilty to charges related to a pirate attack.

Currently, he'll serve 200 hours of community service at Goldman Sachs.

This is The Current.

Bangkok Update - Protests

As you've been hearing on the news downtown Bangkok became a raging battleground today as the Thai army stormed the barricades of the Red Shirts protest camp.

Though key members of the Red Shirt leadership have surrendered other partisans who were part of that months-long demonstration fled and there are now reporters of fires and smaller standoffs in other parts of the city.

CBC Asia correspondent Michel Cormier was there when the soldiers broke through the barricades.

International Bank Tax - Paul Martin

We started this segment with a clip from Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement. He and four of his cabinet colleagues -- including Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon -- fanned out across the globe yesterday to spread the gospel about the perils of a proposed international bank tax.

The idea of a tax is supported by several European governments as well as the Obama Administration in the U.S. They argue it's necessary in order to build up a cash reserve that would be available for future emergency bank bailouts.

But Prime Minister Steven Harper says the world's banks would be better-served by stricter regulation, not more taxes. The issue could come to a head at next month's G8 and G20 Summits in Canada. And since we're talking about efforts to safeguard the global banking system, there's a lot at stake.

Paul Martin knows a thing or two about the global financial system. In fact, he helped design some of the regulations that Prime Minister Harper is now crediting with helping keep Canadian banks afloat. Paul Martin was Canada's 21st Prime Minister and one of the country's longest-serving finance ministers. He was in Montreal.

International Bank Tax - Mark Fried

International development groups such as Oxfam have been arguing for a bank tax for a long time. But the one they have in mind is quite a bit different. They're calling for a Financial Transaction Tax, or "Robin Hood" tax as it's sometimes known.

And to make its point, Oxfam Canada is staging a Day of Action in several Canadian cities today. Mark Fried is Oxfam Canada's Policy Coordinator and he was in Ottawa.


Singing a New Song - Documentary

For decades, thousands of Mi'kmaq in Newfoundland have been fighting for official status under the Indian Act. For many, that was supposed to happen this spring, with the formation of the new Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation band. It would be the largest landless band in Canada. No territory, but all band members would have full status under the Indian Act.

However, things haven't turned out that way. With more than 20,000 applications from people who want to be part of the band, the process of assessing them is bogged down. By the end of last November -- the cut-off date for the submission and acceptance of applications -- there were still more than 13,000 applications that hadn't been reviewed.

And officials refused to extend the deadline. Finally in February, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians announced a new, accelerated process.

But for one Mi'kmaq elder, it was all too much. Calvin White was one of the thousands whose application wasn't reviewed. And he launched a court action to stop the formation of the band until all applications are reviewed.

So for now, the formation of the new Qalipu band is on hold. But for many people, including a group of singers and drummers with the Sple'tk Band in Grand Falls-Windsor being Mi'kmaq is about much more than having status or being part of a new band.

We aired Gail Collin's documentary Singing a New Song.


Awesome Jobs

Last week, as part of our on-going series Work In Progress, we asked you to tell us your stories about the worst jobs you've ever had. And boy did you deliver. We shared some of your stories.

Now if you're still trying to escape a job, we have some potentially good news. Spring has sprung on the job market. April brought a surprising 108,000 new jobs in Canada. And that cut the unemployment rate to 8.1 per cent. That's hardly a historic low.

But it's better than how things looked last year. So all the new grads as well as those who have found themselves out of a job over the last couple of years may have a better chance at finding a job maybe even the increasing elusive awesome job.

So this morning, we asked where the awesome jobs are if they are ... Sean Aiken lives in Vancouver and he knows a few things about more than a few jobs. He spent a year working one new job every week. He chronicled his experience in a documentary and a book called The One-Week Job Project. Sean Aiken was in Los Angeles.

Kevin Fanning is a Human Resources recruiter for a video game company. And he has seen his share of awesome-job-seekers. So he decided to self-publish an e-book called Let's All Get Awesome Jobs. It's a short, how-to guide to nailing an interview and not stumbling on your quest for the perfect gig. Kevin Fanning was in Boston this morning.

And Barbara Byers is the Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress and she was in Ottawa.

Last Word - Robin Hood

We gave the last word this morning to the many incarnations of Robin Hood ... something that came up earlier in our discussion about the idea of an international tax on banks. The Legend of Robin Hood is being recycled on the big screen this summer with Australian actor Russell Crowe. We began with him.

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