June 21, 2010

Pt 1: Fortress Toronto - With the G-20 Summit just days away, huge chunks of downtown Toronto are being put under varying degrees of security lock-down and for many residents, the city has a siege-like quality about it. We assess the state of the security efforts and the effect they are having on the city.  (Read More)

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Pt 2: Environment & G20 - We look at the bid to get climate change on the agenda at the G-20 summit and meet two people who have spent much of their lives trying to reconcile the environment and the economy. (Read More) 

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Pt 3: The Small Person Acquisition Project - The story of two men who began their lives as girls ... fell hopelessly in love and decided to have a baby together. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

It's Monday, June 21st.

The US has issued a travel alert for Americans, advising them not to visit Toronto during the G20.

Currently, too bad because the city's chain link fences are (JUST) beautiful this time of year.

This is The Current.

Fortress Toronto

Welcome to Toronto, the anxious. And it's not just the security perimeter that has the usually uber-confident city on edge. Downtown restaurants, theatres, art galleries and museums -- even the CN Tower -- will close for the weekend of the G-20. Drivers are bracing for commuter chaos. And people who work in the financial district are being told to punch the clock from home. The sense of siege is so pervasive that the U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory for Toronto ... citing the possibility of large-scale protests.

To explore what all of this is doing to Toronto's psyche and the relationship its residents have with their city, we were joined by Toronto Star columnist Christopher Hume. Deborah Cowen is an assistant professor of geography at the University of Toronto. And Lorie Goldstein is a senior associate editor for the Toronto Sun and columnist with Sun Media.


Environment & G20

Over the last several months powerful people have been pushing to get climate change put on the agenda of the G-20 meetings. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, former Prime Minister Paul Martin, the President of the European Union, the Mexican President Philippe Calderon as well as several Nobel laureates.

The Prime Minister's office was resisting, announcing a week ago that it will come up in both the G8 & G20 agendas. But it isn't clear how much importance the environment will get. Consider this e-mail sent to us from the Prime Minster's office. It reads:

The Prime Minister has been very clear that he sees the G-20 as primarily an economic forum and that the UN remains the appropriate forum for climate change discussions. And Canada is a supporter of the Copenhagen Accord. That said, we anticipate that climate change will be discussed at the G-20 meeting. We expect President Calderon will want to brief his colleagues on the preparations for COP16 in Mexico. (The COP16 is the Conferences of the Parties in Mexico).

Our next two guests have spent much of their careers trying to reconcile the environment and the economy. Maurice Strong is a former CEO of Petro-Canada. He was also the first Executive Director of the UN Environment Program and the Secretary-General of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. And Jim MacNeill is the former director of the environment for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). He was also the Secretary-General of the World Commission on Environment and Development ... the commission that coined the term "sustainable development." Maurice Strong and Jim MacNeill were both in Toronto. And Lorne Gunter is a senior columnist with the National Post and the Edmonton Journal. He was in Edmonton.

We did ask the prime minister's office for an interview with someone who could explain the government's position on this. They declined our request.


The Small Person Acquisition Project

This is a story about two men and a little baby ... Well, a big baby actually. And the two men ... they're not just any two men. Both of this baby's fathers began their lives as girls. Their journey through conception, pregnancy and childbirth is both exceptional and mundane. And it challenges the standard concepts of gender.

The Current's Kristin Nelson brings us a documentary called The Small Person Acquisition Project.


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