Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Daily Digest November 21, 2006

Joe Hueglin wrote:


HALIFAX NEWS - Annoyed in Hanoi

HALIFAX HERALD - Treat vets fairly

MONTREAL GAZETTE - No place for vigilantism in Canadian justice

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Invest more to protect services

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Consumption anxiety

TORONTO STAR - Harper's awkward position on China

TORONTO STAR - Dutch bungle diversity

NATIONAL POST - Going big in Iraq

NATIONAL POST - To Beijing, with backbone

TORONTO SUN - Globe sees the light at last!

K-W RECORD - Harper needs diplomatic skills

WINNIPEG SUN - Katimavik in the real world

Veteran grasps for the tiller
Ex-premier's endorsement aims to keep party in the centre

CALGARY SUN - Good time to cut tax

Canada, U.S. share responsibility for illegal gun trade

EDMONTON JOURNAL - Harper failing on communication

EDMONTON SUN - More than cheese

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - As the dust and smoke clears. . .


Implement Kelowna deal on native poverty: Fontaine

Splits appear in native group opposed to northern gas route
Two bands opt to accept their share of project, putting them at odds with Deh Cho chief

State funeral for last war vet wins approval

Canadian soldiers injured in Afghanistan

Canada's part-time soldiers ready for duty in Afghanistan: commander

Recruiting DVD offers a rare glimpse of Taliban

Afghan reconstruction a frustrating process

Security firms are stealing soldiers
Military sweetened pay packages to keep top Canucks in service

Minister dismisses security choices
Olympics or Afghanistan?

Why are we in Afghanistan?

US-Canada lumber deal: terminus or truce?

U.S. border security threatens visitors
Many travellers expect unfriendly reception from American customs agents, survey finds

Trust tax could jeopardize mergers
Companies want rules clarified

Government's announcement has cattle industry concerned about feed costs soaring

Business awaits word on federal tax cuts
Flaherty to deliver fiscal update on Thursday

Vast amounts of timber wasted
Only the best wood is being hauled to Interior sawmills

Majority of Canadians support public-private infrastructure

Alleged Russian spy believed to be 'elite' officer

Canada says suspected foreign spy is Russian

Don't point fingers, Chinese ambassador tells PM

Confusion over China's assurances on Celil

Beijing's ambassador to Canada says Harper is condescending toward China

PM test drives global voice
ANALYSIS: But was his 'frank, direct' talk heard at the APEC summit?

Medical wait-times guarantee
Tories unveil 'pilot' with aboriginal jurisdiction

Out from the shadows

Tapping skills of newcomers

Tory race down to the wire

Blogs wield online influence in campaign
Information first published in blogs carries impact, garners thousands of hits

Corruption icon
Canadian Wheat Board entrenches Liberal legacy

Attack on Wheat Board Exposes Authoritarian Predisposition of Harper Government

Ottawa merely paying lip service to new rules

Ignatieff touts unity

Bettors go big for three in Liberal race

Bizarre choice by Grit brass
Why invite an American to give keynote address at leadership convention?

Former justice minister to head committee on 'Quebec-nation' resolution

Let McGuinty serve as a warning

Harper's hatred of messenger hurts strategy

Ambrose accused of boosting Quebec sovereigntists

Delegations' days are over if plan passes
Proposal to have directly elected leaders has Liberals at party convention divided
http://www .theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061121.wxlibsconven21/BNStory/National/home
Ignatieff revs his sputtering engine in homestretch drive to convention

Greens to name two deputy leaders

Ambrose gets burned

Mastering the art of the political snub

PM accused of 'secretiveness' and 'manipulating media'

Tories take page from Liberals in fighting drug-impaired driving

Tories caught with briefs down

Tories eye tax cut for couples
Couples, families would be big winners under plan to allow pooling of salaries

MPs to revisit gay marriage

Anti-scab legislation dangerous

Ethics bill on track to be law Jan. 1

Creation of drug program imperative: Romanow

Vow broken on cancer wait times

Deconstructing Tory climate change policy

Clement takes aim at high cost of generic drugs

Clement laments data showing provinces failing to reduce medical wait times

Canada resource firms need foreign workers: minister

GST cut top priority for Conservatives

Windmills aren't the answer

Forgetting history and geography
Slashing social programs and cutting education funds have more to do with homelessness than politicians are willing to admit

The moral of Easter Island
The human species stands on the threshold of collapse, but we can avoid disaster if we're smart enough to act now

Warmongering for Remembrance Day ‘a new low’

Conservatives must get more “conservative”


# Deux soldats canadiens sont blessés par l'explosion d'une mine en Afghanistan

# Flaherty parlera déséquilibre fiscal avec ses homologues le 15 décembre

# L'espion arrêté mardi dernier à Montréal était un Russe, selon Ottawa

Ottawa veut durcir la loi actuelle

Paul Tellier, Don Mazankowski et Robert Lacroix conseilleront Harper

Le Bloc force un vote sur la nation québécoise

Federal Byelection

London North Centre no longer fits the stereotype of wealth and conservatism.
SPECIAL REPORT: No place for cliches

Haskett refuses group's queries

Haskett only choice in London byelection

Left, right support Green

CAW local plans to back Pearson

Campaign Notebook

Still chance to sway voters


        Somehow this doesn't seem to be accurate by my recollection.  But the I have "seniors moments" (one benefit of aging).

The second complaint, filed late last month, alleges that the Conservatives accepted an illegal, interest-free bank loan of almost $3.8 million.

Because no interest was charged for at least two years, MacKinnon argues that the loan effectively amounted to a corporate contribution. Corporate donations to political parties were banned in 2004.

The loan was negotiated as part of a debt reorganization plan in 2001 when the Tories' predecessor party, the Canadian Alliance, was formed out of the ashes of the Reform party.

In their annual financial statements in 2004 and 2005, the Tories openly acknowledge that the loan was interest free. However, the 2005 statement indicates that the debt was to begin bearing interest this year, at the rate of prime plus one per cent. http://www.macleans.ca/topstories/politics/news/shownews.jsp?content=n112159A

        Two articles are posted. The first a translation from French - no English posted yet I could find.  The second with a lot of internal links I found to be a first .



Caspar Davis

Subject: Time for action on the greater danger

Hi Joe,

I have sent this letter to Mr. Harper, Rona Ambrose and several other politicians:

Dear Sir:

I note that you have committed $254-million to public transit systems in Canadian cities - not to improve those systems so that they can get more riders out of their cars, but "to combat terrorism."

There is no doubt that terrorists would like to retaliate so long as "we" keep invading Islamic lands and killing Moslems, but there is considerable doubt about their ability to undertake terrorist attacks without being detected and thwarted by our security forces, especially now that those forces have been so fully alerted and beefed up by further hundreds of millions of dollars "to improve security and combat terrorism" at our borders and throughout Canada.

There is, however, a far more dangerous and implacable force that has already destroyed almost all the pine forests of BC and Alberta, and that threatens to destroy forests right across Canada. This same terrible force has melted arctic permafrost, threatening arctic species like the polar bear, and destroying the Inuit way of life. It has already razed a major American city, and leading experts say that it poses a credible threat to raise the sea level 20-40 feet, inundating coastal cities in Canada and around the globe. It poses a realistic threat to obliterate Bangladesh and other low-lying areas, destroying millions of hectares of agricultural land and causing tens of millions of people to become refugees.

Yet, while you spend hundreds of millions of extra dollars to ward off the possibility of a bomb on a bus or train - in case some terrorist should slip through our already fine-meshed net of security forces - you say that it would be too hard to do anything about the much greater danger danger until 2050.

What if you said it was too hard to do anything about terrorist threats until 2050? Yet who in their wildest nightmares can imagine terrorists doing one millionth the damage that global warming has already done, let alone its clear potential to disrupt human populations (and, perhaps more real to you, economies) around the globe?

Don't you think it's time to straighten out your priorities? I do.

Caspar Davis
Victoria, BC
Robert Ede

To: rick@rickmercer.com, "Pierre Bourque" <pierre@bourque.com>, "Joe Hueglin Daily Digest" <joe.hueglin@bellnet.ca>,
"ensign bulletin board" <timothy@ftlcomm.com>, "Jennifer O'Brien -Lfp" <jobrien@lfpress.com>

Subject: Independent Candidate - London By-election

Dear Mr Mercer,
Bourque.com alerted me to your tongue in cheek endorsement of D Haskett (for a lot of good reasons)
I am running an independent campaign and am earnestly attempting to place 11 foundational points about Canada and her governance systems onto the national agenda.
My primary mission is to inform Canadians (thru the coverage of the By-election) of the fact that the Dominion government is NOT following the as-written provisions of the BNA/Constitution and that this flaw is the root of all our problems.
see Blog on this point
my recommended solution is to elect the Governor General and to reverse Order in Council P.C.1940-1121 that merged the Offices of Clerk of the Privy Council with the now-named Secretary of the Cabinet post.
Here's the parallel
Imagine a extremely wealthy extended Family
at the top of the Family tree is Great-GrandMa A - 85, matriarch of the family fortune that she and her hubby built from nothing
next 2 sets of Grand Parents - GrandMa & GrandPa A   plus   GrandMa & GrandPa B in their 60's and 70's
then 5 Sons & Daughters (and their spouses) A       plus   5 Sons & Daughters (and their spouses) B -all in their 40's & 50's
then 10 grandkids from the A's  in their teens & 20's        and      another 10 grandkids from the B's in their teens & 20's
and they all work as part of the family business, deriving their living and building the legacy for the future
In this Canadian family Great Grandma (the Governor General) has been put aside as a frill, a throwback to ancient times
the two sets of Grandparents (Privy Council) have been replaced in the operation of the family
by some of the older grandkids
the 10 sets of Parents (Senate) are thought as a nuisance and impediments to the objectives of the grandkids
 and are rarely consulted nor their recommendations heeded
The Grandkids (the Commons) are controlled by the most fearsome & strongest brother who has managed to grapple or bribe his way to the head of this gaggle of nouveau-riche, spoiled brats.
The grandkids are having a whale of a time, spending money on new equipment and studies on management, they've run up a huge debt that is three times the size of their annual gross revenue and the interest-only payments between 17%& 20% of that annual revenue.
They fudge the books, because Great-GrandMa still has the ultimate final say in what happens and can negate anything they propose, but since she's been nudged out of day-to-day operations is reluctant to stick her nose back in even when she sees the terrible state of the balance sheet.
What would a management consultant, with no axe to grind, recommend for this business .... more of the same?

Robert Ede
Independent Candidate,
London North Centre By-election  - Nov 27/06.

Stephen Thiele
Co-founder, The Toronto Party

Hi Joe:

The nascent The Toronto Party is gaining traction in Toronto and we are now hearing from people across Ontario who believe that it is about time that Ontario joined the modern democratic world by permitting purely municipal parties to form.

If you missed it in the National Post, a feature article concluded that it is abnormal in a western democracy to not have formal parties at the municipal level. Indeed, research shows that the greatest periods of economic growth for a city is when civic parties actively organized a slate of candidates. Professor Lightbody’s book on City Parties in Canada is worth the read.

Anyway, people across Ontario can help us change democracy for the better by writing to their local MPP and asking that the Municipal Elections Act be changed so that civic parties can naturally form at the municipal level. Links to MPPs are provided on the Toronto Party website at www.thetorontoparty.com.

For those who are interested in joining this new party, we also you encourage to sent us an e-mail at torparty@yahoo.ca


Co-founder, The Toronto Party

R. Gagne

Subject: Quotation


I'm not positive but I believe that the quotation you used about knowing only what I read in the newspapers is from Will Rogers.


Correct! Thanks, and many to use in he future, heh?



 John Halonen

Sent the following to the London Free Press today, and still no reply. 

For the subject content one would think that there may be interest.

 Letters to the Editor was sent from http://lfpress.ca/cgi-bin/comments.cgi?c=letters_editor
THIS IS ONLY A CONFIRMATION of your letter to the editor sent to the London Free Press:  Date: 2006-11-21 11:19:21Confirmation #:  1164125350


Subject:  Federal Politics


Brian Mulroney was our Prime Minister when a Canadian Company first created illegal tax records for individuals that had work assignments in the United States.These illegal tax records caused over taxation to Canadian citizens as well as tax revenues being deposited in Canada vs. the US.

Non-Reporting has occurred because after all Canada benefited financially and it would be rather difficult to indicate that Canadian Federal politicians were corrupt.

Trouble is, that US authorities were part of this from the start.  It was just an elaborate scheme to send untraceable funds north of the border, to influence decisions being made by our elected MP's.
Next step a  "North American Union".

Reminder:  We do not answer directly to all letters sent to the editors nor do we publish all letters submitted.

Suppose the reminder is for items they wish not to persue.

John Halonen
@ http://cdntaxscam.blogspot.com


The Block forces a vote on the Québécois nation

Canadian press (PC) Isabelle Rodrigue
21/11/2006 18h57  []

Gilles Duceppe 
© PhotoPC/Ian Barrett

Already extremely empêtrés in their debate on the recognition of Quebec like nation, the federal liberals had the surprise to note that, without awaiting invitation, the Québécois Block for submission to putting at it its salt grain or, rather, its sand grain.

At a few days of opening of the congress to the liberal leadership, the Québécois Block decided to benefit from its day of opposition to present one of its traditional.

Thursday, the chief Gilles Duceppe will present following motion at the Communes: “That this Room recognizes that the Québécois ones and the Québécois form a nation”; forcing blow a debate on the question and, especially, the behaviour of a vote.

This vote could extremely well take place next Tuesday besides, the opening day before of the liberal congress in Montreal where the militants will have to precisely discuss in workshop of a resolution on the Québécois nation.

Presented by militants of the Québécois wing of the liberal Party of Canada (PLC) a little more than one month ago now, the resolution caused to divide and annoy the liberals. Candidates with the leadership, alone Michael Ignatieff said themselves in favour, the others benefitting from the occasion to attack that which is regarded as the favourite of the race.

To try to calm the play, several tenors of the party work now in slides to suggest a formula of compromise which could make it possible the PLC to save the face at the time of its congress.

It was without counting on the tactics of the Block.

It is not the first time that the party presents at the Communes a motion aiming at recognizing Quebec like nation. In October 2003, whereas Jean Chrétien was always with the orders of the country and the PLC, a motion of the Block (confirming Quebec like nation and confirming a right of withdrawal with full financial compensation for any federal initiative making intrusion in the Québécois jurisdictions) had been beaten by 168 votes against 38.

At the time, the deputies alliancists (of which several currently sit as preserving) had decided against motion, except for one only (Rob Anders).


What are we fighting for?

Stephen Harper rarely opened his mouth to the media at the APEC Summit, but that didn't stop his critics from jumping down his throat.

Chris Selley, Macleans.ca | Updated Tuesday, November 21, 2006, at 13:45 EST

Stephen Harper finally got his man. Or Chinese President Hu Jintao got his. It depends who you believe. All Canadian and Chinese officials could agree on last week was there had been some talk of a meeting between the Chinese president and the Canadian prime minister at the APEC Summit in Vietnam. All they can agree on now is that the meeting did in fact take place, that it happened on Saturday and that it lasted about 15 minutes.

The Harper camp described the discussions variously as "frank" and "very frank," emphasizing the human rights angle. The PM pleaded the case of Huseyin Celil, a Canadian citizen imprisoned in China, and said he received "a distinct impression… that the Chinese aren't used to that from a Canadian government." Chinese spokespeople continued to provide alternative versions of events, with Liu Jianchao saying he didn't think human rights were raised at all. Harper shot back that it "depends on the definition of human rights." On Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay told reporters that China had agreed not to pursue the death penalty for Celil.

Back at home, the debate continued to rage over the state of Sino-Canadian relations, and of Harper's diplomacy in general. MacKay insisted all was well, citing recent meetings between Canadian industry, natural resources and agriculture ministers and their Chinese counterparts. "We have good relations with China," he told CTV. "We value that country as we do other countries."

Critics of China applauded the new tone. Vancouver's Asian Pacific Post welcomed "a refreshing change from the impotent ambiguity displayed by the Liberals, who caught a cold when China sneezed." Writing in Monday's Calgary Sun, Ezra Levant called Harper's performance "a proud moment." "Harper is making Canada relevant again in foreign affairs," he wrote.

But the media were generally less enthused. On Sunday, The Province's editorial board took the Prime Minister to task for his "China fumble." The original uncertainty over the meeting with Hu Jintao was, the Vancouver newspaper said, "an inevitable outcome of months of dithering in Ottawa over its relations with Beijing." It blamed the "chill" in relations between the two countries on "naiveté on the part of Foreign Minister Peter MacKay, compounded by Harper's deep distrust of senior foreign policy mandarins in the capital."

In fact, the Province traced it all back to the first days of the Conservative government, during which it said "the proper courtesies" were not extended.

"Months ago, MacKay should have crossed the road to visit the Chinese ambassador in Ottawa," its editorialists wrote. "His parliamentary secretary, Jason Kenney, should have soft-pedalled his anti-China rhetoric. And the awarding of honorary Canadian citizenship to the Dalai Lama could have been better timed."

(The Dalai Lama was awarded honorary Canadian citizenship on June 9 and received it on September 9. Upon his arrival in Canada, The Globe and Mail reported, Chinese embassy officials complained that their ambassador still had not officially met with MacKay and hinted at future trouble. "The Dalai Lama is not a religious leader," Zhang Weidong said. "He's a political activist and also a secessionist. We hope that any country that is friendly to China should not provide him with a venue or podium for his political activities.")

On Sunday, Harper attempted to recast such criticisms as yet more evidence of his plain dealing, mentioning his contrarian insistence at September's Francophonie Summit that any statement on the Israel-Lebanon war recognize Israeli victims of Hezbollah rockets. At the very least, he seemed to suggest, his approach was worth a try. "Presently, we run a massive trade deficit with China," he said. "The fact of the matter is that neglecting human rights hasn't opened a lot of doors either, so obviously, we don't think you get anywhere by shortchanging your values."

A rare international voice in the debate ­ and a loud one at that ­ came from always-controversial British MP George Galloway. In Canada on a speaking tour, he offered a characteristically blunt assessment of the prospects for Harper's approach. "The idea of Canada threatening China is absurd," he said. "The whole point of politics is to talk to each other, even if you hate each other."

But Jeremy Kinsman, former Canadian ambassador to the European Union, suggested at CBC.ca that Harper's human rights focus is both well-founded and compatible with good relations. "Human rights should be at the centre of a Canadian government's agenda," he wrote.

He also believes western leaders need to recognize the progress that has been made in recent years on that front.

"Chinese authority is now more benign towards its citizens than, arguably, at any time in China's long history," he said. "[The challenge] is for the world to engage China in a renewed effort to share the burdens and responsibilities of international leadership."

In its Tuesday editorial, the Toronto Star proposed a similar combination of human rights advocacy and active engagement. The Conservatives, they say, "need to repackage their message, without abandoning their principles, so that it is heard."

At least publicly, the government is showing no signs of bending towards such nuance. Harper was not in the House of Commons on Monday, but his parliamentary secretary, Jason Kenney, defended his performance and traded partisan blows with the Opposition. Liberal leader Bill Graham called the Prime Minister a "laughingstock" for botching the meeting with the Chinese president. Kenney responded that his government was "honest" and had "principles when it comes to international policy." Graham demanded to know when those principles would see Huseyin Celil returned to Canada.

The APEC Summit also opened a new front in Harper's cold war with the media, with the Prime Minister offering little information to reporters in Hanoi. In his APEC post-mortem, the Globe's Brian Laghi claimed journalists were getting key information from Chinese and South Korean officials long before Harper's team coughed it up.

The Canadian Press' Jennifer Ditchburn lodged a similar complaint and described a particularly tense encounter between a Radio-Canada reporter and Harper's press secretary. Laghi suggested it was hypocritical for Harper to be so intransigent with the Canadian media while preaching openness in Vietnam and China.

"Canada's press freedoms and those of a communist regime are worlds apart," he wrote, "but it does raise questions about Mr. Harper's commitment to the public's right to know."

In Tuesday's National Post, Don Martin criticized Harper's media policy in Vietnam as "a needless disaster and missed opportunity that did little to showcase Harper favourably on the world stage." According to Martin, "the average Canadian" supports Harper's tougher stance on human rights, but "his hatred for the messenger is thwarting the message and hurting his electoral chances."

The Post's editorial board, however, believes the important message - "that our commitment to human rights will not be turned on and off according to the preferences of Beijing's Communist government" - has already been conveyed by Harper's tough talk.

Other notable developments during the APEC Summit included the announcement that Marius Grinius, Canada's ambassador to South Korea, was travelling to Pyongyang "to deliver a frank message to the North Koreans to ask them to cease and to give up their nuclear weapons program and return to the six-party talks."

Asked if the move came at Washington's behest, MacKay went on the defensive. "We're an independent country, this is an independent foreign policy decision and we feel this is the most direct and most engaged way that we can convey these concerns to the North Koreans," he told CTV's Question Period.

CanWest's Allan Woods was somewhat skeptical in his analysis of Harper's APEC performance, pointing out that it's unlikely the North Koreans would listen to the Canadian envoy.

"Is [Harper] seeking favourable headlines at home in preparation for an election that is likely six months away? Is he playing bad cop with North Korea for the good cop U.S.A?," Woods wrote. "Or was Canada's prime minister so unfamiliar with the lay-of-the-land on this continent not to realize that if you wrestle with the world's economic tiger, you run the risk of getting mauled?"

On the social front, Harper and Australian Prime Minister John Howard dined together on Friday night with their wives. Harper was tight-lipped, as ever, about any discussions that took place, but they are likely to have touched on the mission in Afghanistan and the two leaders' shared skepticism of the Kyoto Accord. Harper obviously was not taking PR advice ­ Howard was singled out by Jennifer Ditchburn for his openness to the media.

Perhaps Harper was simply sticking to the APEC Summit agenda, which contained little of the Canadian intrigue. The 21 assembled APEC leaders signed off on the Ha Noi Declaration, a document that mentions neither the nuclear situation in North Korea nor human rights in China. Instead, the signatories committed to such uncontroversial goals as "advancing free trade and investment," "enhancing human security" and "building stronger societies and a more dynamic and harmonious community."