Letters: Asbestos, Gloria Steinem, Court TV

This is Thursday and that means mail day. We re-visit topics in the mail from Court TV to West Bank settlements from Asbestos to fundraising for schools.

Part Three of The Current


Well, it's Thursday and you know what that means. It's mail day here at The Current. And to help me read your letters, our Friday host Ian Hanomansing joined Anna Maria from Vancouver to help with the mail.

School Fundraising: It doesn't sound like an essential part of a child's education but fun fairs - and other fundraising events - are increasingly paying for everything from basic school supplies to computers and sports jerseys. But while some affluent schools launch highly successful fundraising campaigns, schools in poorer neighbourhoods have difficulty bringing in any money at all. And a new report shows the gap between these schools is increasing.

Among Toronto's secondary schools, the 20 richest schools raise nearly one thousand times more money than the poorest 20. That raised some questions: Should fundraising be banned? Or should the funds raised be shared? Last Thursday on the program, we talked to parents on either side of the gap. And then we heard from you.

Dan Meridor: Last Friday, Palestinians made their bid for statehood recognition. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, submitted an application for full member state status at the United Nations. The much-anticipated move won Abbas a standing ovation in the General Assembly - but also raised a lot of hackles around the globe. US President Barack Obama argued that although the US backs the Palestinian right to statehood, it must be achieved through direct negotiations with Israel.

And last Thursday on The Current, Dan Meridor agreed. Mr Meridor is Israel's Deputy Prime Minister and also the country's Intelligence Minister. After hearing that interview, our listeners shared their comments in our inbox.

Linda Sobeh: President Abbas's bid at the UN is still under discussion and it may take months before an actual vote takes place. But to get the Palestinian Authority's view of the situation, on Monday we talked to Linda Sobeh. She is the Charge D'Affaires for the Palestinian General Delegation to Canada in other words, the top Palestinian diplomat in Ottawa.

She is just one of several people we have spoken with in the last week who have a direct stake in the outcome of the Palestinaian bid for statehood recognition. And she ... like many of of our listeners ... brought up the issue of Israeli settlements. The people living in those settlements also have a stake in all of this. So we decided to reach out to one.

Dani Dayan is the Chairman of the Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements of Judea and Samaria and he was in the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Shomron.

Asbestos: The future of Quebec's asbestos industry is in limbo this week as investors scramble to meet a deadline to raise funds to reopen the Jeffrey mine. Baljit Chadha is head of the consortium heading that fundraising effort and this week, he launched a public relations campaign in an attempt to give asbestos a better name.

Tuesday on The Current, Baljit Chadha shared his thoughts about the ethics of mining a known carcinogen - and exporting it for use in developing countries. This interview prompted many listeners to write in with their own personal experience with a loved one affected by asbestos.

Gloria Steinem: American feminist, author and activist Gloria Steinem has worked for the advancement of women for over five decades. And yesterday on The Current she joined us, as part of our Game Changer project. Our mailbox was flooded after this interview.

TV Courtrooms: Judge Judith Sheindlin ... better known as Judge Judy doesn't mince words as she metes out justice for entertainment on American television. Last Friday we heard that a sitting Canadian judge also has taken to the airwaves. But Judge Harvey Brownstone is serving up a slightly tamer - you might say, more Canadian - version of Judge Judy. He hosts a show called Family Matters. It's a new television show about the Canadian legal issues. And we may have implied it's the closest thing Canada has to Judge Judy. A few of our listeners suggested we check out Judge Anne France Goldwater. So that's exactly what we did!

L'Arbitre is a new French television program which airs weekly on the "V" channel in Quebec. And the the arbitrator is Montreal attorney Anne France Goldwater. She's not a real judge, by the way but she plays one on the show. She was in Montreal this morning.

We love hearing from you! To comment on anything you hear on the program, contact us.

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