Tuesday, March 5, 2013

RCI Cybermagazine

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Episode date 4 March 2013
Interviews and reports
Empires of food. why societies rise and fall
(courtesy Feedingninebillion.com)
Throughout human history, vast empires have risen, and fallen. 

We usually think the great civilizations arise out of dynastic or political interest to extend power and influence.

Usually we think their eventual collapse is due to wars and invasions. Sometimes, these powerful societies are weakened and collapse due to epidemics, or internal revolt, which in turn may make them vulnerable to invasion and loss of the empire, and even in some cases, disappearance of the civilization itself.  

While that may the case, a recent Canadian book says that there may well be a main reason underlying both the rise of great civilizations and their fall. 

That reason is the supply, availability, and costs of food.
Too Many Canadians Hungry
CP Photo/Martin O'Hanlon
Food prices are rising steadily in Canada, and more people are visiting food banks to provide for families, as the cost of shelter must be covered first.

Olivier De Schutter, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food delivered his findings to UN Council on Human Rights in Geneva today, as hundreds of Canadians across the country watched on a live webinar.

De Schutter’s 10-day mission in Canada made headlines last year for his bad reviews of what he observed in this country.  Too many people are underfed and undernourished in a country that is one of the bread baskets of the world.  He said at the time, Canada could be doing more.  Feeding undernourished children and providing for our northern communities are among the major challenges.

New book suggests biggest problem facing government: the number of employees working on oversight and not services
"Whatever Happened to the Music Teacher: How Government Decides and Why" by Donald J. Savoie focusses on how governments, in particular Canada's governments, have adopted evaluation and oversight as a goal that pushes out capacity to give sufficient front line government services.

In the book, Professor Savoie outlines decades of attempts to centralize government decision-making power, and create mountains of evaluations of services that take up an increasing part of the energies of any given government department, concentrating more and more employees in Ottawa, as opposed to providing services across Canada.

Professor Savoie holds a Canada Research Chair in Public Administration and Governance at the Université de Moncton in the province of New Brunswick.

RCI's Wojtek Gwiazda spoke to Professor Savoie about his just released book and the challenges facing governments in Canada and around the world.
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Canadian Cardinal becoming a Household Name
AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca
Before Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, stepped down, most Canadians had no idea who the Cardinals were. [...]
Money to preserve the last Corvette
(Ian Urquhart- Canada's Naval Memorial)
When General Motors was looking for a name for their new sportscar back in the earlyĆ¢€™s, they were looking for a name that reflected speed, agility and toughness. [...]
Coalition launched to fight reform of employment insurance in province of Quebec
Photo CBC
Five labour federations and two community groups have launched a campaign in the province of Quebec against the federal government's reform of the employment insurance programme for unemployed workers. [...]
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