Thursday, November 09, 2006

Daily Digest November 9, 2006

Joe Hueglin wrote:


ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Universal truths
Not everyone has access to the medical care they need

CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - Battle still on for literacy funding
Ottawa must restore funding to the province for its literacy projects.

HALIFAX NEWS - Winds of change sweep Washington

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Voters check Bush's power

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Toxic effects of research

TORONTO STAR - Republicans deserved their defeat

NATIONAL POST - Rumsfeld's legacy

NATIONAL POST - There's only one poppy

TORONTO SUN - Rumsfeld deserved to be fired

HAMILTON SPECTATOR - Canada's stock slips further

LONDON FREE PRESS - Rumsfeld's exit overdue

K-W RECORD - President given a strong rebuke

WINDSOR STAR - Tories and donations

WINNIPEG SUN - Get real with criminal youths

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Canada needs to become adept at tightrope walk

REGINA LEADER-POST - Bush facing a new reality

CALGARY HERALD - Protectionists rise again
U.S. mid-term shift to left poses threat to open doors

EDMONTON JOURNAL - A decisive rebuke, and Bush knows it

VANCOUVER SUN - Canadians watch closely as political power shifts in the U.S.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Rumsfeld's resignation masks deep divisions


Hard work, vision got treaty done

Fewer Canadians 'strongly approve' of military presence in Afghanistan: survey

59% want troops out of Afghanistan before 2009: poll

The Democrats ascendency to power may bring good news on border controls, say Pierre Martin and Richard Nadeau

China's trade surplus soars

Wave white flag, energy trusts told
Pump assets dry, pay unitholders, top manager says

Despite election, killing continues in Iraq

Mounties brace for bark from a new watchdog

Tories slighting vets says NDP MP

Opposition parties urge Harper government to shift gears on Kyoto

Conservatives muzzling environment commissioner, says Green party

Ignatieff may be bound for palliative care
Gaffe-plagued campaign seems to be dying a slow death

Meetings with leadership rival in aid of Liberal party unity, Kennedy says

Liberal peace talks bog down
Squabbling over Quebec-as-nation issue hinder bid to avert battle at convention

MacKay rapped for father's faxes on Schreiber's behalf

Co-operation key to avoid gridlock in Washington

Election changes face of U.S. politics
Bush calls Republican election defeat a 'thumpin' '

Federal accountability act passes Senate, bounces back to Commons

Budget update to forecast bigger surplus

Second crack at Gomery coming

MPs reject food labelling bill

Feds eye private border cash
Financing of new crossing could be joint venture, officials say

Lesson from the southland

Will Harper and Ignatieff finally abandon George Bush's philosophy, especially on Middle East and Afghanistan?

University not for everyone

Keeping up appearances
Tories trying to keep up the pretence Canada is still a Kyoto participant


Le ministre Claude Béchard part pour Nairobi en désaccord avec Ottawa

Mise à jour économique à Ottawa le 23 novembre

L'opposition invite Harper à modifier sa position sur Kyoto

Afghanistan · 59% des Canadiens favorables à un retrait des troupes

Charest évoque le protectionnisme démocrate

Bloquistes et libéraux s'allient sur l'environnement


        Now don't get me wrong, in my view Canada should speak with one voice in international affairs.

        Prime Minister Harper has another view.  At least in my understanding in his open federalism concept provinces are to act internationally in their
        fields of jurisdiction.

        Quebec and Canada's governments disagree on actions to be taken on climate change.  A question developing is will Quebec's views be
        presented in Nairobi, for if not, environment falling in part under provincial jurisdiction, the open federalism concept would appear to be words
         unaccompanied by actions.

        Sadly the The Canadian Press (CP) not infrequently does not carry articles from la Presse Canadienne (PC).  The following article suggests
        there will be problems in Nairobi at this point, though there may be a shift since the matter is political.
        Le ministre Claude Béchard part pour Nairobi en désaccord avec Ottawa
        QUEBEC (PC) - C'est avec de sérieuses divergences que le Québec et le Canada se présentent ensemble à la Conférence des Nations unies sur les
         changements climatiques qui s'ouvre lundi prochain à Nairobi, capitale du Kenya.

        You will find the full text at Actualités nationales Dernière mise à jour par la Presse Canadienne (PC) à 18:11, Le novembre 02, 2006és%20nationales&languageid=2

        Sadly you will not find it at
National News Last updated by The Canadian Press (CP) at 18:11 on November 02, 2006, EST.

        In order that you be aware of what may be a brouhaha developing a translation has been provided at the end of to-days Digest.


Rebecca Gingrich

Subject: CWB--DD

Dale Swirsky

To Ian Berg Re: Wheat Board.
Government owned?
  • It is run by grain producers who vote for 2/3 of board members.
 The 'producers' running the board are not necessarily producers--
  • It is neither run by nor subsidized a single penny by the government.
  • Not subsidized by government--but how much money went to the Liberal government--don't forget, the books are closed to scrutiny--so you cannot say anything with certainty. 
  • The Conservatives have gagged a democratic institution that’s supposed to be arms length from the govt.
  • How can you use the word 'democratic' in the same sentence as CWB?  They were not gagged, they were forbidden from using CWB funds for their self-promotion!
Jails people?
  • Not 100% inaccurate but hardly accurate either.
  • The farmer that sold and gave his grain away was hauled of in leg chains and his equipment was confiscated.  This is democracy?  He could have shot someone with an unregistered gun and the sentence and treatment would not have been as severe.
  • Penalty for violating its democratically instituted rules (as opposed to those of the non-democratic robber barons you erroneously compare it to) is a fine.
  • Again with the 'democratically instituted rules'.  Name another business that would allow this to happen.
  • Jail was for those few who refuse to pay the fine and refuse to do community service in lieu of fine.
  • Don't forget their equipment was also confiscated.  A fine for selling your own product?  How DEMOCRATIC
  • What do you usually recommend for those who break democratically instituted laws that have been upheld as constitutional?
  • Some people just want the Nanny State running their lives.  Where is the CWB when the money is not there to pay the farmers?  The farmer takes the hit.  They have grain piled in fields because they can only sell when the CWB is ready for it.  They lose money because the grain loses quality when piled in the field.  If the CWB is democratic and Constitutional, this country is in trouble.  Wait until you cannot sell your product--then there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Prohibits Farmers from Selling Own Wheat?
  • Nope.
  • Absolutely the CWB does that!
  • All a farmer has to do is show that they can sell their wheat at a higher price than what the CWB provides, and then they are free to sell it.
  • If you sell your own product do you have to do that? 
  • It does not prohibit a farmer from being entrepreneurial or seeking a better price.
  • Check out the farmers who wanted to start their own flour mill with their own product.  They first had to sell it to the CWB and then buy it back at a higher price.  That is 'entrepreneurial'?  It made the cost of the enterprise unworkable. 
  • It does prevent farmers from undercutting his/her neighbour by selling at a lower price b/c that results in the impoverishment of all farmers who would then be at the mercy of the small number of grain cartels.
  • How caring of the CWB!  Most farmers today can figure out for themselves how and where to sell their grain. They are educated and have the Internet.  The CWB is from the dark ages of colonial thinking.  How communistic of the CWB to make 'everyone equally poor'!  Shades of Communist Russia!  The word 'collective. comes to mind!
If the Harper govt really believes this is what grain produces want, then it should submit a fair question to a fair voting process. However, anyone in their right mind knows the govt would lose this and the only way they’d ever submit it to a referendum is if they contorted voters list, process, and question to virtually guarantee the outcome in their favour. Perhaps they’ll just gag and bully and demoralize the opposition.
It is sad that in Canada a certain group of entrepreneures(farmers) are forced by statute to bow to a government run monopoly.  You can deny this, but when the Liberals were in power they had a Minister responsible for the CWB.  Ralph Goodale was the first.  You can argue that it is an arms length institution, but that is a lie.  It was controlled with an iron fist from Ottawa under the Liberals.
There are only two questions that have to be answered--1) Why is the CWB afraid to allow a free(don't forget, this is a democratically run board) vote?
  2)When does the Eastern farmer have to bow down to this 'democracy'?  I have heard the argument that the East does not grow as much grain as the West--that is a moot point--the East grows corn and soy beans--put corn and beans under the CWB and lets see if the Eastern farmer would be so anxious to be under the thumb of the CWB. 

By all means, make a valid case for a dual marketing board system, but factually inaccurate far-right hyperbole doesn’t build much credibility ---look what it’s done for the Republicans!!!
It would be best for those praising the monopoly of the CWB to walk in the farmers shoes.  Farmers are independant creatures who could not make a living if they were not.  Then to have the added burden of this monopoly is unbearable.  What is wrong with choice in marketing?  That is really the democratic way.  People use the words freedom and democracy as if it exists--those words are what our governments are using to subjugate us  They would not know the meaning of the words.  I for one applaud the CPC for bringing this to the fore--it is time we see what is really happening to our 'freedom' and 'democracy'!  This is just a start--and I have no hope that the return to freedom and democracy will happen in my life time--but it is a start!

Phyllis Wagg

We Cannot Wait for Politicians to Protect Our Interests
In the United States and Canada over the past few years the policy and law creating functions have been gradually moving towards private organizations.  It all goes back to the 1970s when right wing corporate ideology became so powerful within the business community.  One of the strategies that developed was to work to undermine everything associated with the public service to make government more “business friendly”.  Ever since, corporatists have built up a huge infrastructure of lobby groups and think tanks which act as pressure groups on government.  At times lobbyists and think tanks write bills, or at least parts of them, that are passed to legislators to enact into law.
The most recent example of the power of right wing pressure groups is the Harper Government’s appointment of Brian Lee Crowley as visiting economist advising the federal Finance Department.  As President of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies he has, for example, been a major proponent of Atlantica, an integration of the Atlantic Provinces and New England States, and privatized health care. He is probably one of the most ideologically extreme advocates for corporatism in Canada.
The current corporatist model is to use government power to help make the largest North American corporations so competitive that they become dominant in the global competition for wealth.  The first stages of the process were FTA and NAFTA which have helped consolidate corporate power in North America by consolidating capital in fewer and fewer hands.  The corporatists feel they need control over even more capital to become “competitive” in the global market.  For them to become competitive the vast majority of North Americans have to accept the same standards of living as places like China and India.
The election of a Democratic Congress may help curb some of the momentum that has been building under the right wing governments in control of Canada, Mexico, and the United States.  The building pressure in the United States has come from people like us drawing the attention of politicians to the issue and its potential negative consequences.  In the United States the consequences are illustrated by rapidly increasing wealth inequality and the declining middle class.
Few people understand the life of the politician once he becomes elected.  He or she is overwhelmed with issues, constituency problems, fund raising events, and so on.  There are all kinds of things that go on in secret and are sprung on them at the last minute.  Backbench MPs do not have the staff to adequately research issues.  In the U.S. the important committee system has almost totally broken down.
The movement towards integration is taking place on an incremental basis.  Bits and pieces of the program can be attached to omnibus bills with little oversight.
Anyone that thinks that we should simply ignore the issue and it will disappear does not understand how our system operates.    The corporate world has huge assets available to protect and promote their interests and they are using them.
It is OUR responsibility to make sure that OUR interests are protected.
Phyllis Wagg
To Ian Berg, I started a response to your post but I believe that Dale Swirsky addressed the issue much better than I could.  Thank you, Dale.

John Halonen

In regards to Stratos comments:

     Who cares is not a very responsible comment to a topic that has many people concerned.  There is more reality here than is expected. We
however in Canada seem to be left behind with what is happening.  Don't count on the Canadian Press informing us of what is occurring, as it
is the ownerships best interest not to inform us.

     When members of the US Congress submit bills to try and stop  North American Union talks then I believe that perhaps you don't have all
the facts.
     I certainly am not convinced by your statements!
     For attendees at  last meeting please review;

 PS:   There was an interesting article from the National Post on economically tying Canada & the US closer in the Digest where your reply was featured.  This is what the Press should do.  Information is required for all to make intelligent decisions.
John Halonen

Ron Thornton

*Hi Joe:

According to the latest Decima Research Poll, cited in the Nov. 8 Digest, the leaderless, ethically challenged lead everywhere but in Alberta.  Again,this is a reminder for Albertans to the need of electing a new premier who is not a noisy lap dog, but rather a watch dog. If these Liberals at present are even a viable option for the rest of Canada, then we truly have much less in common than ever.  Joe, you claim to be Canadian first, and an Ontarian second.  I am a husband and father first.  Nothing even registers in comparison.

As for a North American economic union, as touched upon by Don Keir and John Halonen's response, I hope you do know that while 87% of Americans and 83% of Canadians have at least some senior high school education, Mexico is at 13%*.  Unless that changes, they will never provide a skilled workforce nor be able to build a strong economic engine.  What they will be able to provide will be an economic drain. *According to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development***

*As for the Canadian Wheat Board, I think it a fine institution which should be extended to cover all  Canadian (not just western Canadian) producers.  If you disagree, then maybe there is something wrong with the CWB.

As for how the American mid-term election results might affect Canada, I do not think it will affect things all that much.  I think Canadians from most provinces of this country will be able to prove in enough numbers that we don't need the politics of another nation to prevent or promote us becoming counted among the world's clueless wonders.  Kyoto accomplishes nothing positive, yet many embrace it.  Why?  Because we are clueless.  The Liberals prove themselves to be corrupt, but do we long care?  No.  Because we are clueless.
One final comment.  If we wish to move away from our current use of fossil fuels, has anyone established sometime similar to the Manhattan Project to produce affordable, sustainable, and an environmentally friendly alternative?  If not, why not?  Maybe we are not all that serious about this.  I mean, it did not take long to produce an atomic bomb once they had the incentive to do so, why not produce an alternative form of energy?  What about carburation systems that allow us to get a hundred miles to the gallon, to use less fuel?  By the way, has anyone considered the impact of Kyoto socially and economically? How will Kyoto affect our ability to keep our homes warm, to travel, to transport food and other supplies, to maintain health care, to grow food, to protect our borders, and on and on.  I mean, a nice clean world would be nice, but not if in providing one we end up going broke, homeless, and killing off our children in the process.  I am a husband and father first.

Ron Thornton

Ian Berg

Dale Swirsky said the CWB "
is run by grain producers who vote for 2/3 of board members" but anyone who obtains a permit book is able to participate in these votes, not just actual farmers.   Dale can not prove the CWB "is neither run by nor subsidized a single penny by the government" because its ledgers are a tightly guarded state secret under the federal CWB Act.  But we do know that past federal ministers responsible for the CWB have efforts to open up its books to parliamentary scrutiny.  While Dale claims "Conservatives have gagged a democratic institution" it is actually the Conservatives who push for the CWB to be accountable to their clients (farmers).  The CWB pushes back claiming its accounting practices must remain secret in order for the CWB to compete in the global market. 
Dale denies the past government jailed Western Canadian wheat farmers for refusing to do business with the CWB.  We have seen the extent to which the CWB and a previous federal cabinet minister will go in order to intimidate farmers to market their wheat and barley through it: pay the fine or go to jail.  It's a government protected monopoly.   
Dale asks "What do you usually recommend for those who break democratically instituted laws that have been upheld as constitutional?"  My answer is to amend those laws so that wheat and barley farmers may market their own product themselves or choose to market it through the CWB.  And in the meantime to lend my support to farmers willing to defy the present system.  They are on the right side of history alongside all those who have broken monopolies in the past. 
Dale claims "All a farmer has to do is show that they can sell their wheat at a higher price than what the CWB provides, and then they are free to sell it" when in fact a farmer has to buy back his grain from the CWB before he can sell it.  The CWB sets the buy-back price and rarely if ever it's at a price which benefits the farmer.  This is how the monopoly does business.  Dale believes "It does not prohibit a farmer from being entrepreneurial or seeking a better price" when the facts show otherwise. 
I agree with Dale that "It does prevent farmers from undercutting his/her neighbour by selling at a lower price" but that's because it bids for a poor price and if you do not accept it but negotiate your own sale elsewhere, the CWB can charge you with a fine or imprisonment.  This is the "democratic" and "constitutional" CWB which Phyllis and Dale support.  Dale is opposed to a "small number of grain cartels" in favour of one big grain cartel which fines and jails farmers!

Past and current federal governments did not need a referendum to eliminate the income trust tax loophole nor ratify the Kyoto Treaty and free trade agreements.  Therefore I believe that the CWB Act can be amended to create a dual marketing system with farmers free to work with it without a referendum as well.  It only requires a federal government with courage to stand up for economic freedom. 

Ian Berg

Calgary, Alberta 

Michael Watkins

Subject: Ibbitson, Thursday page A4

John Ibbitson (We have our politics; they have theirs - Thursday November 9,
2006) goes to great pains to paint Stephen Harper as the antithesis of George
W. Bush, without illustrating the similarities so inconvenient to his thesis.

Some cry foul when Harper's past comes back to haunt him, but any observer of
the man knows full well his ideas on policy have long been cast, if not in
stone, then at least in brick -- firewall red in fact. He may be something of
a political pragmatist in order to gain power, but his stated goal has always
been to make Canada unrecognizable, an objective quite far removed from
pragmatic change.

Illustrating this, Mr. Bush originally campaigned on a pragmatic,
"compassionate conservative" platform but his rule has been anything but. The
similarities between the two extend to many policy areas.

On health care, Harper has been quoted numerous times as favoring the
American model, including suggesting Canada "should scrap the Canada Health
Act" (1997).

On the environment, Harper, and his former parties the Canadian Alliance and
Reform Party, have for years fought against any Canadian effort to join the
global fight against climate change including voting against the Kyoto
Accord. Bush and his party likewise never endorsed Kyoto, nor even the
concept of climate change until only recently.

On public education: Commenting on a Harris policy proposal to offer tax
credits to parents whose children attended private schools, Stephen Harper
said in 2001 "pulling their children from 'union-run' schools should be a
viable option for all parents." Bush, driven by a similar ideology, in 2001
made such tax credits into law, stating that the vouchers would merely
innocently free "parents to make different choices for their children". Can
either be trusted to avoid the temptation to design funding schemes which
create failing public institutions as a self-fulfilling prophecy?

On Iraq, in early 2003 Bush, capitalizing on an under-informed and
over-politicized Congress, sent the country marching on to a foolhardy and
unnecessary war in Iraq. At that same time Harper demonstrated his
unconditional support for Bush's imperial ambitions repeatedly in the House
of Commons and for any Canadian and U.S. media that would record him.

No, Harper isn't a clone of Bush, but he is shaped in a substantially similar
image, and he has openly expressed his desire to mould all of Canada more
like the United States including radical reforms to our system of government
that would see an elected senate (making our upper chamber just as
politicized as the U.S. senate), leading to the day when the Prime Minister's
office and a wholly or largely unelected cabinet (Emerson, Fortier precedents
made or reinforced) rule by governor in council decrees, rather than gain the
approval of Parliament.

Canadians are not naive and understand from past experience that many
politicians are willing to say almost anything when campaigning, even if they
plan on doing exactly the opposite in the future.

We need only look at Mr. Harper's many campaign promises that he wouldn't tax
income trusts for the latest example of "say one thing to get their votes, in
power do the opposite".

Michael Watkins
Vancouver, BC

The writer is a Westerner and a card-carrying member of the Conservative
Party of Canada who, like many former Progressive Conservatives, opposes an
elected senate, among other of Mr. Harper's recycled Reform policies.

Translated from

Le ministre Claude Béchard part pour Nairobi en désaccord avec Ottawa

The minister Claude Béchard leaves for Nairobi in dissension with Ottawa


The Québécois Minister for the durable Development Claude Béchard. (CPimages)


QUEBEC (PC) - It is with serious divergences that Quebec and Canada present themselves together at the Conference of the United Nations on the climatic changes which opens next Monday in Nairobi, capital of Kenya.

Incompetent to get along with the federal government, the Québécois Minister for the durable Development Claude Béchard leaves for the Conference Nairobi with the intention to defend the point of view of Quebec there.

“It is a pity but the piece will not be released. It is not true that Canada will speak with one voice if this voice does not represent Quebec. It will be needed that they includes/understands that”, declared Thursday the minister Béchard, a few hours before flying away for the capital of Kenya where the Conference will be taken place of the United Nations on the climatic changes.

Quebec for submission to making known “high and strong” its green Plan intended to reduce the gas emissions for purpose of greenhouse. “One will speak about our plan. If the federal government speaks in the name of Canada, the government of Quebec will speak in the name of Quebec”, continued Mr. Béchard.

“One is not ensured at all of all that will be said by Mrs. Ambrose at this time, it is clear that our voice will be heard. It does not seem y to have much opening of Ottawa but one will not release. The voice of Quebec will be made hear. I will benefit from all the platforms”, declared the Béchard minister.

Quebec and Canada do not get along on the application of the Protocol of Kyoto, which aims at decreasing the gas emissions for purpose of greenhouse. Quebec intends to conform scrupulously to the Protocol and to even exceed the standards of them. But the preserving government Stephen Harper does not intend to honour the objectives with the Protocol which it finds “unrealistic”.

As the two governments do not get along, Quebec insisted to be able to officially speak with this international forum, but Ottawa refused the application, estimating that Canada “should speak only with one voice”.

It is thus in the corridors and elsewhere than with the principal lectern that Mr. Béchard will have to make known his points of view.

Quebec tried well to convince Ottawa to let it speak, while quoting of many precedents where the voice of Quebec could be made hear on the international scene. But in vain.

“I will not say that it is a failure, but one will prove that it is to better let people speak”, continued Mr. Béchard. The minister insisted on the fact that the Québécois position is “coherent” with the Protocol that Ottawa signed.

Mr. Béchard known as to work for the future: “The next time, the government (federal) will prefer to open the door immediately to us rather than to hear us in the corridors during five days. They are a little nervous”.

For its part, in Ottawa, the Minister Canadian for the Environment, Rona Ambrose, did not have the air too concerned about the situation.

“We got along (Mr. Béchard and me) so that Canada speaks with one voice in Nairobi. We have many joint objectives and for that, we will speak with one voice in Nairobi”, it declared at its exit of the Communes, Thursday.

The parties of opposition in addition tried to convince the preserving government to change position towards the respect of the Protocol of Kyoto.

The chiefs of the Québécois Block Gilles Ducepe and the liberal Party of Canada Bill Graham invited the Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put the political partisan spirit on side and to modify its point of view.

Sat with the same table the time of a joint press conference, Misters Duceppe and Graham tightened a pole with their opposite conservative so that Canada adopts a policy pro-Kyoto at the time of the Conference of the United Nations on the climatic changes. The request finds also echo among néo-democrats, who preferred to make band with share rather than to divide the same lectern as the liberals.

The Ambrose minister must arrive to Nairobi during the weekend, to take share with the event. Since the arrival of the conservatives to the capacity, the position of Canada changed, passing from a burning defender of the Protocol to that of a country which considers “unrealistic” the targets of the treaty international.

According to parties' of opposition, the preserving minority government must cease disavowing the Protocol of Kyoto and “showing the example while being formally committed honouring the objective” with reduction of the emissions with gas for purpose of greenhouse.

Mr. Duceppe admits that is to require of the Harper Prime Minister and of his government “to go up a very abrupt coast”, but it estimates that it is of his duty to do it.

“Mr. Harper changed opinion on other questions, that it does it (on this one), indicated the chief of the Block. It is its responsibility, it goes from there more than from the interest in favour of each party, it goes from there more than from the customers of each party, it goes from there more than of the interest of the oil ones.”

The liberal chief pointed out that the position of the minority government does not reflect that of the majority to the Communes, nor that of the majority of the population.

“The Canadians want that our government acts as leader, as a world leader on this question”, asserted Mr. Graham.

The call of the parties of opposition did not make bend the minister federal who continues to maintain that the plan of the conservatives is adequate. “The plan of the Block does not exist and that of the liberals does not function”, retorted Mrs. Ambrose.

In addition, the spokesman of the Québécois Party, Stephan Bergeron, deputy of Verchères, estimates that what occurred between the governments from Quebec and Ottawa is “a new demonstration of failure”.

“The platforms offered to Quebec will be limited and only one person, Mrs. Ambrose, will speak in the name of Canada”, said the Bergeron deputy.