August 10, 2010

Pt 1: War Resisters - According to a new government directive, Canadian immigration officers are now required to report anyone who tries to desert their country's armed forces and come to Canada as conscientious objector. Ottawa says it's the right thing to do since desertion is a crime in Canada too. But critics say it ignores Canada's long history of being a haven for conscientious objectors. (Read More)

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Pt 2: The End of the Third World? - How cell phones, open agricultural markets and tourism are changing African economies and just maybe spelling the end of The Third World. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

Today's guest host was Mike Finnerty.

It's Tuesday, August 10th.

The World Health Organization is expected to declare the H1N1 flu pandemic officially over sometime in the next week.

Currently, Next up ... scurvy.

This is The Current.

War Resisters - Andy Barrie

We started this segment with a clip from Phil McDowell. Four years ago, he deserted from the United States Army and came to Canada as a conscientious objector. Now, because of a new directive at Citizenship and Immigration Canada, he's worried about what might happen next.

The new directive that has Phil McDowell concerned says that Canadian Immigration officers must report anyone who comes to them claiming conscientious objector status. It also says that deserters may be criminally inadmissible because desertion is an offence in Canada ... one that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

There are now about 50 former American soldiers in Canada who could be affected by the new directive. It marks a significant change in how Canada has dealt with conscientious objectors in the past.

Andy Barrie came to Canada in 1969. Many of you will recognize his voice: he went on to become a radio host in Montreal, and then the long-time voice of Metro Morning, the CBC's Toronto morning show. He came to Canada as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. Andy Barrie was in Toronto.

War Resisters - Gerard Kennedy

Gerard Kennedy is a Liberal MP. He's put forward a private member's bill that would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act explicitly to allow American army deserters to apply for permanent resident status. He was in Toronto as well.

Articles: Federal directive toughens stand on U.S. deserters in Canada / Canadian immigration officials told to flag U.S. war resisters

War Resisters - Tim Powers

We requested an interview with Jason Kenney, Canada's Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. He was unavailable to speak to us.

So for more on the Conservative Government's perspective on this issue, we were joined by Tim Powers. He's a Conservative strategist and he was in Ottawa.


The End of the Third World?

We started this segment with a clip from World Bank President Robert Zoellick. And in case you missed it, he's making a pretty bold pronouncement about "the end of the Third World."

For half-a-century, the idea of "The Third World" has lingered ... an awkwardly enduring short-hand for poor countries in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, along with South and East Asia.

But these days, Robert Zoellick isn't the only one predicting the end of the Third World and the beginning of something better. Many economists now believe that Africa is on the verge of a breakthrough ... an economic transformation that could be the key to prosperity around the world. So, as part of our on-going series, Africa at 50, we wanted to put that idea to the test this morning.

We heard from vendors in Abidjan, the commercial capital of Ivory Coast in West Africa. They're calling out for people to make calls, transfer money or charge their mobile phones. There are now nearly 260 million mobile phone subscribers in Africa. Network coverage extends to more than 60 per cent of the population. And that is changing the continent. The emergence of cell phones has created jobs, boosted investment and driven innovation and entrepreneurship. In many African countries, the telecommunication technology sector is now one of the top three sources of government revenue. And according to Timite Amadou, the local government official, it's changing the way people think. We aired a clip.

In Rwanda, coffee is driving a different kind of economic success story. For years, farmers didn't make much money from their coffee. Then, the government liberalized the coffee sector and gave them incentives to produce higher quality beans.

Jean-Claude Kayisinga is a Rwandan who helped set up washing stations for coffee farmers to produce specialty coffee. We heard from him and other farmers in the town of Maraba in southern Rwanda. Maraba used to be a ghost town. But the increased revenue from the coffee sector has transformed it into a bustling city. Mukamugema Domithila is a coffee farmer there. We heard from him.

In other parts of Africa, tourism is driving economic expansion. On the of edge of the Senegalese Island of Gorée off Africa's West Coast, a boat waits to take passengers back to the mainland. The island has become a major tourist attraction. Between the 15th and 19th centuries, these shores were home to the largest slave-shipment point on African soil. And the house of slaves that once sat at the water's edge is now a museum.

Nearly a million tourists visit Senegal every year. That's helped create 100,000 jobs. And tourism now represents five per cent of Senegal's Gross Domestic Product.

So for a sense of the broader picture ... what the explosion of cell phone use, the liberalization of the agricultural sector and the growth of tourism mean for Africa's future, we were joined by Shanta Devarajan. He is the World Bank's Chief Economist for Africa and he was in Washington.

Click here to check out other stories in our Africa at 50 Series.

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