June 2, 2010

Pt 1: Assisted Human Reproduction Canada - It is a federal agency tasked with issues of motherhood. Assisted Human Reproduction Canada was created to protect and enforce regulations for those Canadians who use or are born of reproductive technologies. Yet, fertility companies operate in a regulatory void, the agency is shrouded in secrecy, and board members are quitting. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Kandahar - The summer fighting season has begun in Afghanistan and a major US-led offensive into the southern part of the country is imminent. The objective is to secure Kandahar - the birthplace of the Taliban and a place of historic, political and strategic importance. In many ways, the fate of Kandahar will determine the fate of the Afghan War. (Read More)

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Pt 3: Military Sex Lives - A Canadian Brigadier-General is in a heap of trouble over allegations that he had an affair with another soldier. Canadian soldiers are forbidden from having sex while they're on mission. But sometimes, what happens on mission, stays on mission. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

It's Wednesday, June 2nd.

The U.S. Attorney General has launched a criminal investigation into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Currently, I got this one: BP, in the Gulf, with the lead pipe.

This is The Current.

Assisted Human Reproduction Canada - Joceyln Downie

We started this segment with a clip from Francoise Baylis. She's a Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy at Dalhousie University, and now a former board member of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada. That's the Federal Agency responsible for overseeing Canada's fertility clinics and enforcing the laws around assisted reproduction.

It was created four years ago. It has an annual budget of 10-million-dollars. But it hasn't actually begun its enforcement work yet. In the last three months, three of the agency's board members have resigned. As Doctor Baylis said, she feels she is prohibited from talking at length about why she resigned. We aired another clip, where she explained more.

Francoise Baylis is one of three people to have resigned from the board of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada -- or AHRC -- in the last three months. In 2006, Jocelyn Downie helped short-list candidates for the AHRC's board. She's a bio-ethicist and a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at Dalhousie University. She was in Halifax.

We put in a request for Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's minister of Health, to get her thoughts on these resignations.  Her office turned us down.

Assisted Human Reproduction Canada - John Hamm

Dr. John Hamm is the Chair of the board of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada. He's also the former Conservative Premier of Nova Scotia and he was in Stellarton, Nova Scotia.

Articles of Interest: Two Board Members Resign.


Kandahar - John Burns

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was presiding over the start of a special consultative peace gathering today - a Jirga - when the Taliban fired rockets toward the meeting and three suicide bombers struck elsewhere in Kabul. President Karzai is making his own attempt to win hearts and minds, but increasingly the Taliban is making gains there, too.

All this as the summer fighting season is underway in Afghanistan. A major U.S.-led offensive into the southern part of the country is imminent. The objective is to secure Kandahar. The city is nominally under the Afghan government's control. But over the last few months, it has fallen under the influence of the Taliban.

Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban - a place of historic, political and strategic importance. Canadian troops have been stationed there since the winter of 2006. And in many ways, the fate of Kandahar will determine the fate of the Afghan War, now in it's ninth year.

John Burns has been thinking a lot about the past, the present and the future of Kandahar. He is the London Bureau Chief and the chief foreign correspondent for the New York Times and the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. He has been in and out of Afghanistan for the last two decades. He was in Cambridge, England.

Articles of interest: Soviet Missteps, Brigadier-General Vance.


Military Sex Lives - Kishara and Richard Busbridge

We started this segment with clips from Afghanada, the fictional radio drama on CBC Radio. These clips touched on an issue that's all too real for the Canadian military right now.

Earlier this week, Brigadier-General Daniel Menard was relieved of his duties as the Commander of the Joint Task Force in Afghanistan after it was alleged he had an affair with another soldier. For Canadian soldiers, the rules are pretty simple. If you're in uniform and in public, there's no kissing, no hugging and no hand-holding. If you're on tour, there's no hanky panky at all, period.

The rules were put in place twenty years ago, as women started to enter the military's ranks in greater numbers. And the rules apply even to married couples, such as Kishara and Richard Busbridge. Kishara worked as a civilian in Afghanistan, while Richard was serving as an officer on the same base. We heard from them.

Military Sex Lives - Panel

We asked the Canadian Forces to come on the program to talk about the rules governing soldiers and sex. They declined. They did send us a written summary, noting that the rules are similar to those adopted by our allies, and that they are necessary in order to maintain order and morale and to keep soldiers focussed on the mission.

For a sense of whether the rules do what they're intended to do, and to what degree they are followed, we spoke to Scott Taylor. He's a former Canadian soldier. He's now the publisher of Esprit de Corps Magazine. And he was in Ottawa. We also spoke with Matthew LaPlante. For the last five years, he has covered military affairs and national security for the Salt Lake City Tribune. He has been to Iraq twice. And during a trip in 2005, he wrote a story about sex among U.S. soldiers on the bases there. He was in Salt Lake City.

Last Word - Afghanada

We left you with another scene from CBC Radio's fictional drama, "Afghanada" - a series that looks at the current conflict in Afghanistan through the eyes of the Canadian soldiers fighting it. Season four of Afghanada will begin airing again next Thursday at 11:30 am and 11pm -- half-an-hour later in Newfoundland and parts of Labrador. And all new episodes will begin again on Thursday, September 9th, when Afghanada returns for Season Five.

We played a scene from Episode 51, "Having Unauthorized Sex in all the Wrong Places." We warned listeners that the program contains subject matter and themes intended for a mature audience, as well as language that some may find offensive. So it might not be appropriate for younger listeners.

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