Highlights

'Unlikely Radicals' - the story of how garbage and determination turned citizens into activists

In 2000, musician and author Charlie Angus along with fellow citizens in a northern Canadian community stood shoulder to shoulder on a blockade, they wanted to stop their community from having a garbage dump for southern urban communities. The citizens refused to be a "sacrifice zone".

The battle had started in the late 1980s and was only resolved last year. It involved a large cross-section of the population, and brought together many different communities, First Nation indigenous people, farmers, miners, and Anglophones and Francophones.

Four years after that blockade, the musician and author became a Member of Parliament, and is now part of Canada's Official Opposition NDP party.

He's now come out with a book Unlikely Radicals: The Story of the Adams Mine Dump War.

RCI's Wojtek Gwiazda talked to Charlie Angus about the book and about the challenges facing citizens then, and now.

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Canadians furious over temporary foreign worker cases

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Employers say they face limited supplies of some hard-to-find skills so must turn to temporary foreign workers. (iStock)

News reports about the use of foreign workers by the Royal Bank of Canada have infuriated some Canadians. While there are questions about whether the bank is in fact using foreign workers to replace 45 Canadian employees, the two cases have prompted bitter criticism of the lawgoverning the use of temporary foreign workers.

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University of Alberta researcher helps discover that two-legged dinosaurs could swim

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DINO swims- Leaving evidence in its wake: Artist's rendering of a carnivorous two-legged dinosaur swimming in a river, making claw marks as it touches bottom with its tiptoes. (Illustration: Nathan E. Rogers)

Dinosaurs ruled the earth for 160 million years. In comparison, man’s presence on earth is only the equivalent to a tiny fraction of that time, a mere 200-thousand years. Our fascination with dinosaurs is never ending however, and with good reason. Their presence has helped to shape many of the things which surround us today.

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Five top public servants to be honoured

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Five Clerks of the Privy Council to be honoured by Canada's Public Policy Forum.

Not many Canadians know about this position. Fewer know what these public servants do. But the Clerk of the Privy Council, who advises prime ministers and the cabinet, is the most senior non-political official in the government of Canada.

Five former Clerks of the Privy Council will be honoured by Canada's Public Policy Forum at its 26th Annual Testimonial Dinner & Awards in Toronto on Thursday (April 11). The Forum is an independent not-for-profit organization  which promotes the quality of government and the public service.

The five former Clerks to be honoured are Kevin Lynch (2006-2009), Alex Himelfarb (2002-2006), Mel Cappe (1999-2002), Jocelyne Bourgon (1994-1999),
and Paul Tellier (1985-1992).

RCI's Wojtek Gwiazda spoke to David Mitchell, the President and CEO of the Public Policy Forum.

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Ungava Gin a winner at recent World Spirits Competition

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Image courtesy of Domaine Pinnacle
Ungava Canadian Premium Gin

Ungava Canadian Premium Gin was honoured with “Best in Show” at the recent World Spirits Competition held in Austria. Last summer it took home two “Excellent” scores from New York City at the Ultimate Cocktail Challenge. 

The stand-out yellow liquid, in the bottle with the Inuktitut writing on it, is growing in popularity and developing a new generation of gin drinkers around the world. 

The idea began in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, with the proprietors of Domaine Pinnacle.  The ice-cider producers had moved into beverages using local maple syrup, and then they began thinking about gin.



Carmel Kilkenny spoke with Charles Crawford, president of Domaine Pinnacle to find out more about the origin and response to Ungava Canadian Premium Gin:
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One-third of fish is mislabelled

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(AP photo)
DNA analysis shows 41 per cent of fish in Canadian seafood outlets is mislabelled.

Consumers often don’t get what they pay for when they buy fish in the United States, Canada and other countries. Canadian technology has helped researchers determine that 33 per cent of fish sold in the U.S. is mislabelled. This is one result of a large market study on mislabelled seafood. Another study indicates a similar situation in Canada where between 30 and 40 per cent of fish are mislabelled.

Inferior farmed fish are often substituted for more expensive types. Researchers at the University of Guelph in the province of Ontario developed the method for identifying fish samples using DNA and took part in this study for Oceana, an ocean conservation group.

Dirk Steinke, director of education and outreach at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph spoke with RCI's Lynn Desjardins.
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Double Take: Portraits of Intriguing Canadians

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'Double Take: Portraits of Intriguing Canadians' Right Honourable Kim Campbell, Photo © Barbara Woodley, Library and Archives Canada, e010933905

Put together by Canada's national library, Library and Archives Canada (LAC), 'Double Take' features 59 contemporary and historical Canadian personalities.

The exhibition of more than 100 paintings, photographs and drawings, also includes artifacts and was curated by LAC's Portrait Program Curator Madeleine Trudeau.

The exhibition is now on show at the Canadian Museum of Civilization after two previous showings in Canada. It continues until October 14, 2013.

RCI's Wojtek Gwiazda spoke to Madeleine Trudeau about the goals of the exhibition and the challenge of choosing which Canadian personalities to feature.

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Eye on the Arctic – North Pole trek to raise awareness about Arctic climate

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Kiera-Dawn Kolson, an outreach campaigner for Greenpeace Canada, during North Pole Expedition training in Norway.
(Christian Åslund / Greenpeace)

Each week, Eye on the Arctic features stories and newsmakers from across Canada’s northern regions
 
Today we take you from the Canadian North all the way to the Norwegian Arctic where Canadian  spoken-word artist and songwriter Kiera-Dawn Kolson is about to trek to the North Pole.

Kolson, an Arctic outreach campaigner for Greenpeace, will cross-country ski to the pole along with sixteen others from the around the world, to raise awareness about climate change as part of the Save the Arctic campaign.

 

To find out more, Eye on the Arctic’s Eilís Quinn reached Kiera Kolson earlier this week in Longyearbyen, a settlement in the Norwegian Arctic.
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Fish deformities linked to oilsands

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(David Schindler/University of Alberta)
A Walleye with an enlarged eye caught near Ft. McKay, Alberta, on the Athabasca River in 2010.

Renowned Canadian scientist David Schindler says there are stunning similarities between deformities in fish near oilsand developments in Canada and those near major oil spills like the Exxon Valdez in Alaska and Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico.  He has photos of fish from the Athabasca region in western Canada with two tails, bulging eyes and huge tumours.

The same kinds of deformities were reported in a study Schindler received last week from the Gulf of Mexico. The variety of abnormalities leads him to believe they are caused by disruptions of the fish’s immune systems.

David Schindler, professor of ecology at the University of Alberta spoke with RCI's Lynn Desjardins.
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African parasitic disease tackled by Alberta researcher

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(P Hanington, University of Alberta)
Two species of snails, one from Brazil (L), and another from Africa- about 10mm diameter (R), are key hosts for the distribution fo the parasite

 Its called schistosomiosis, and it affects more than 200 million people worlwide. Its common in Asia and South America, but most cases are in sub-Saharan Africa. 

It’s a chronic disease, in which a small parasite enters the skin and develops into a worm that ultimately infects the blood vessels near the intestine or bladder.

The parasite uses a species of small snail as its mid-stage host for its larval development. The parasites grow in the snail which becomes a factory releasing them into the surrounding water.

Once they contact human skin, the tiny parasites enter the blood stream and grow into worms, eventually causing chronic health issues particularly in the liver, bladder and urogenital tract. Eggs are passed from the human, hatching into a different free-swimming stage that seeks out and infects the snails, and the cycle is repeated.

At the University of Alberta, assistant professor Patrick Hanington, who specializes in infectious diseases,  is one of a relatively limited number of researchers working on ways to break the cycle.

RCI's Marc Montgomery spoke with Dr Hanington at his office in the School of Public Health at the University
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