Checking-In: Flu Shot, War on Science, Senate Scandal, Dogs as Humans & Bangladesh garment factories up to code


A Manitoba fire expert has been chosen to oversee the fire and safety standards of notorious factories in Bangladesh. We hear from Brad Loewen as we update the stories we've been following such as the battle against the flu shot and what could be a larger war on science.

Our Friday host Rick MacInnes-Rae joined Anna Maria in studio to check in on your thoughts of the week.

duffy-thumbnail.jpgSenate Scandal: Things have been explosive in Ottawa this week! As you may have heard from our conversation with Senator LeBreton and CBC reporter Julie Van Dusen ... the showdown in Ottawa is showing no signs of slowing down.

Yesterday on the program we talked about the very public battle between Senator Mike Duffy and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Senator Duffy alleges Prime Minister's office orchestrated a "monstrous conspiracy" to make the Senate spending scandal go away.

Well, that got a lot of you talking...Beverley Burlock from Port Mouton, Nova Scotia writes:

"Duffy surely can wax eloquent now, but where was his backbone and strength of character back in the beginning? Whatever the prime minister and others may or may not have done, that is a separate serious issue. Duffy still is accountable for his own actions. He could have said No at any point along the way....Talk about an exalted sense of entitlement. Give us a break. Being a senator is not his right, but a privilege with great responsibilities. He can get a job like the rest of us."

Tracey Minaker of Headingley, Manitoba, sent an email reminding us about what Mike Duffy told the CBC last February where he said he would voluntarily pay back living expenses related to the house in Ottawa.

"My question is ... if this is now known to be untrue, how can we determine if his 'new' story is true??? Does it not seem that he is fabricating facts in order to point fingers and be completely blameless?"

canine-sentience-thumbnail.jpgDog Emotions: On Monday's show we heard about new research on the emotional lives of dogs. Neuroscientist Dr. Gregory Berns 'Dogs are people too'... since they have a level of awareness similar to that of a 4-year-old child.

After hearing that, Patrick Hulley tweeted:

"Dogs are far more human than politicians as they genuinely care about the people that took them in."

And Joanne Ross of Nanaimo, BC, wrote in to tell us about her family's four-legged member:

"We noticed that our dog would have unique but consistent reactions to situations in our household. One that was displayed every time she was left at home in the evening for more than 3 hours. She would position herself at the front door when we returned and bark the equivalent of 'Where were you?' 5 or 6 times until she was assured that we were suitably contrite. It was a behaviour that was never repeated in any other situation."

Barbara Williams of Holland, Manitoba, shared this story:

"I was seriously ill. During that night, every time I woke up, Thor, a husky-shepherd cross ... was standing there, staring intently at me. I woke up several times during the night and he was there every time. I remember thinking to myself, "I hope he's not one of those dogs that can sense when someone's dying." The next day, I was admitted to the hospital ... but neither of the other two dogs in the household showed the concern that Thor did."

war-on-science-thumbnail.jpgWar on Science: Earlier in the week we spoke with Calgary author Chris Turner about his new book -- The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Willful Blindness in Stephen Harper's Canada.

Andrew Park is an associate professor at the University of Winnipeg. He tells us he is organizing a Stand Up for Science Rally and emailed this:

"It may be true that the federal government is investing in science that it likes. But this government has systematically excised many of the scientists, science units, and legal protections that have to do with environmental protection. In other words, anything that could delay or interfere with unrestrained resource exploitation."

Carolyn Hudson tweeted out this:

"The Conservative party's attitude to science: bye bye data, hello "product"."

The Conservative party's attitude to science: bye bye data, hello "product".

Janet Pelley is a freelance science journalist in Toronto and she writes:

"Until about 5 years ago, Environment Canada scientists were prominent sources for my articles and all it required was one phone call to set up an interview. But now I hardly ever interview Environment Canada scientists because the government's media minder system grinds too slowly to meet my deadlines."

Nazma-Bangladesh-thumbnail2.jpgBangladesh Garment Factories: Last month we told you the story of Nazneen Akter Nazma. She and and her husband worked in factories in the Rana Plaza building that collapsed in Bangladesh six months ago. She survived. He did not.

More than 1100 factory workers died in that disaster. The tragedy brought global attention to the dangerous conditions in factories that often manufacture big name brands for consumers in the West. Public outrage sparked a promise from manufacturers - they would work to make these factories safer.

Now, a Winnipeg fire expert is preparing to move to Bangladesh in December to oversee the implementation of new building standards in these factories.

flu-shot-thumbnail.jpgMandatory Flu Vaccines: It's flu shot season and across the country, health authorities and employers encourage us to get a shot. In British Columbia, health care workers are told the flu shot is mandatory. Failure to comply could result in disciplinary action. Earlier this week we heard both sides of the debate.

After that we got this from Jennifer Smith of Duncan, British Columbia. She writes:

"I work for the Vancouver Island Health Authority. I did not get a vaccination last year nor do I plan to this year. Until they vaccinate every patient and visitor and take away everyone's free will about not getting vaccinated, I will wear a mask."

Here's another view from Marta Rode of Jasper, Alberta:

" I got sick from taking the H1N1 vaccine. I went from being fit and athletic, to fighting for my life. I had to retire on medical grounds and became a health care burden and a financial burden because of the flu shot.
You asked about tracking for vaccine side effects. A doctor has to fill out a four-page report. How many overworked doctors will take the time to do that? Tracking is designed to support vaccines."

Lynn Flatley tweeted out this:

"My family and I get the flu shot every year. We don't rely on the people around us to be inoculated, we choose to be proactive."

And Gord Campbell posted this view:

"I'm amazed that there's even a debate. Influenza is dangerous. Why would a health-care worker consider becoming a carrier?"

And here's one more note from Rachel Penner who tweeted this:

"Parents not inoculating children present a greater societal risk than healthcare workers not getting flu shot. And they're not penalized."

We have many ways for you to share your views. We love hearing from you.

Tweet us @thecurrentcbc. Follow us on Facebook. Or e-mail us through our website. Call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. And as always if you missed anything on The Current, grab a podcast.

* And remember, we are looking for your stories of things that go bump in the night.

This segment was produced by The Current's Josh Bloch, Lara O'Brien and Kristin Nelson.

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