Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Daily Digest December 12, 2006

Joe Hueglin wrote:

ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - A tough stain to erase

CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - A duller bite for tobacco’s watchdogs
Smokes can no longer be sold as ‘light’ or ‘ mild’. Why are fines?

HALIFAX HERALD - Beirut standoff

HALIFAX HERALD - Pinochet closure

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Toward honest, open government

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Abetting dictators

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Let women run -- fairly

OTTAWA SUN - Orange alert

TORONTO STAR - Charity regulator would build trust

TORONTO STAR - Political gender gap

NATIONAL POST - Tough on crime

NATIONAL POST - The right to survive

TORONTO SUN - Pay our poisoned soldiers

HAMILTON SPECTATOR - Don't discount the message

K-W RECORD - Stéphane Dion: Canadian

SUDBURY STAR - Dion's loyalty is beyond reproach

CALGARY HERALD - Add a grain of fairness
EU, U.S. subsidies should be linked to demise of wheat board monopoly

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Rules, rules everywhere


Treaty never honoured
Natives seek 106 years' worth of fishing line

Toll for Afghan road paid in soldiers' lives

Canadian ambassador says Afghanistan peace plan is a 'key step'

Afghan president says Pakistan controls Taliban; 8 killed in suicide attack

'We want to change this country'

Dig in, stay alive - Sixty days between a rock and a hard place

Talks with Taliban key to peace, says U.K. minister

We'll go easy with audits, DND told Pearson centre brass
Reassurance came despite irregularities at peacekeeping centre

Controversial transport plane purchase set to fly

Airbus makes pitch for Defence Department to hear military aircraft proposal

Gov't consults with U.S. on drug strategy

How to really get along with the U.S.
Allan Gotlieb reveals his strategy for getting Washington to listen

Our manufacturing sector looks feeble

Banks must merge or lose, Dodge says

Pulp lone star in B.C. forest sector

B.C. firms set for spending spree

Dodge makes case for mergers 

Tories flex some muscle with CRTC 

Consumers should brace for telemarketing onslaught with phone competition

Bush `domino' theory on Iraq does not add up

No easy way out
Eventual U.S. withdrawal from Iraq appears certain, but what then?

The two 'Chinas'; Politics in Taiwan threatens to disturb an otherwise acceptable status quo

Study of nurses' health shows alarming stress levels

Heart risk linked to shrinkage in men
Height loss during aging could spell earlier death, study suggests

Canola crop battle hits Court of Appeal

Belonging to terror group not a right: judge

Time for Tory MPs to stand up for province, Calvert says 

Tories must revise their battle plan to stem retreat of supporters

Ex-premier Bernard Lord expected to step down as N.B. Tory leader

Liberals accuse Tories of "secretly" cutting $7.4B

Bloc issues ultimatum on Afghan mission
Duceppe says he'll try to topple Tories unless focus of troops shifts to rebuilding




all 87 news articles »

Harper accuses Bloc of political opportunism


Special report: Canada's mission in Afghanistan

Ambrose feels the heat as blunders pile up

Tories deny owing Kyoto money despite UN figures

Tory government slammed by activists for abandoning homeless

Flaherty to talk fees with banks
NDP's finance critic says ATM charges should be reviewed

Day rebuked for Mexican remarks

For a man of ideas, Dion's platform is decidedly old-school
He relies on Liberal standby solutions like 'government and business as partners'

'Get real' about terror, Dion told
British minister blasts Afghan withdrawal plan, says NATO needs to see it through

Dion's portrayal of Harper in same-sex debate less than honest
Liberal leader also dabbles in Constitutional revisionism when he implies notwithstanding clause is somehow separate from Charter

Accountability Act, centrepiece of Tory election platform, becomes law

Committee recommends beefing up security on Parliament Hill: report

Wheat Board in a mess over monopoly dispute

Women's groups protest closure
Status of Women office in Saskatoon affected by federal gov't cuts

Terror Law extensions Gathering Senate Support

Bernier makes the right call

Arar report calls for national security overhaul

Highlights of the second O'Connor report

Ottawa plans new probe in Arar's wake

Ottawa still hunts source of damaging Arar leaks

Crackdown on RCMP urged

Facing discipline, senior Mounties retired (Dec. 12)

Journalists should come clean on Arar smear

Media share blame in Arar case

Vos elected to Canadian Wheat Board

Gender equality sought
Too many Indo-Canadian men believe their wives are simply "property" and not "equals," a public forum was told Sunday.

Civil servant stands ground over Lebanon
Mandarin won't buckle over criticism about high cost of Canada's rescue mission

Defining a nation

A ton of Canadians will agree with this crackdown on toxic chemicals

C-130J: un achat controversé

Accueil réservé de l'ambassadeur afghan à l'idée de Stéphane Dion

Afghanistan: le Bloc menace le gouvernement Harper

Rona Ambrose cherche de l'aide du côté de Sheila Fraser

De Trudeau-Lévesque à Dion-Boisclair...

Quand la reconnaissance ne suffit plus

Day annonce une nouvelle enquête; O'Connor propose de mieux encadrer la GRC

Les avocats d'Arar aux USA en appellent contre les auteurs de sa déportation

La Loi sur la responsabilité, a reçu la sanction royale, et devient une loi

Harper accuse Duceppe d'opportunisme politique sur la question afghane

Huit morts dans un attentat-suicide en Afghanistan

David Dodge pourrait être favorable aux fusions bancaires

Ambrose veut «passer à autre chose»

En bref - Arar: Amnistie condamne libéraux et conservateurs


        Several articles are posted below without editorial comment on my part.  The one a translation in that no comparable English-language
        article came to my attention.  I may have overlooked due to the rapidity of putting thisday's Digest together.


Orwellian double-speak at its best! Costing only $300 million


December 12, 2006
Ottawa, Ontario

Canada’s New Government followed through on a key promise today by delivering on its top priority – passing the Federal Accountability Act – as Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, granted Royal Assent to the Act in the Senate today.

“We promised to stand up for accountability and to change the way government works,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “Canadians elected this government to deliver on that commitment and today the Federal Accountability Act has received Royal Assent. From this day on, accountability in government is the law and we can all be proud of that fact.”

The Federal Accountability Act was one of the Government’s top five priorities on taking office. The Act, which makes substantive changes to 45 statutes and amends over 100 others, delivers on the Government’s promise to put in place a five year lobbying ban, to eliminate corporate and union donations, and to protect whistleblowers, among other reforms. (See attached backgrounder entitled “Federal Accountability Act and Action Plan, Commitments and Actions” for more information).

“Getting this Act passed took nine long months of almost constant battle to ensure we came out of this process with an Act that has teeth,” said Treasury Board President John Baird. “The Federal Accountability Act is a significant and substantive step by Canada’s New Government to help restore Canadians’ trust in government and the democratic process.”

As promised, Canada’s New Government has also moved forward on the commitments included in the companion Federal Accountability Action Plan. (These initiatives are outlined in the attached backgrounder, “Progress on Federal Accountability Action Plan”).

Minister Baird also thanked parliamentarians and public servants for their dedication and persistence in getting this landmark piece of legislation passed into law.

Turning a New Leaf - Federal Accountability Act and Action Plan

Ottawa -- Denouncing on all the occasions the lack of effectiveness of liberal measurements to reach the targets of the protocol of Kyoto, the Minister for the Environment, Rona Ambrose, allied now tries to be to criticize the liberals while requiring of the general card verifier, Sheila Fraser, to throw an eye with the campaigns against the climatic changes.

The minister revealed his intentions at the time of an appearance before the parliamentary committee of the environment, yesterday. To justify this decision, it reiterated that it was necessary to evaluate exactly the effectiveness of the programs set up by the liberals to reduce the gas emissions for purpose of greenhouse.

However, these programs almost passed all in the moulinette of the conservatives during last months, which abolished for example the EnerGuide program and the Challenge a ton, to name only these.

Despite everything, the minister maintains that it would be adapted to check all the programs. “It y forever have detailed checking, and there are at least four implied ministries without there never being a strategic framework of responsibilisation”, put forward in point of press Mrs. Ambrose, which wishes more “coherence” in the fight against the climatic changes.

The request for checking will pass via the president of the Council of the treasure, John Baird. Monday, at the office of Sheila Fraser, one specified not not to have still received such a request.

If this request is made, the card verifier has all the latitude to accept it or not, partly or entirely.

Monday, the deputies of the parties of opposition quickly décrié the initiative of the minister, showing it to make more political one more debate where the partisan spirit often takes the top on the environment.

Women will benefit from funding changes
Bev Oda

Editorial - Tuesday, December 12, 2006 Updated @ 9:47:06 AM
http://www.thesudburystar.com/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=314870&catname=Editorial&classif =

It is important to be clear on the recent changes Canada's new government has made to Status of Women Canada (SWC) and the benefits this will bring to women across the country.

Canada's new government was elected because of its promise to deliver value for taxpayer dollars. This promise is being kept. Programs are being reviewed to ensure every taxpayer dollar is spent to achieve results that benefit Canadians. Government waste is being eliminated and reinvested in programs for people, programs that will deliver real results in the communities where people live.

With this new approach, and to achieve greater accountability, efficiency and effectiveness, Canada's new government has streamlined SWC by saving $5 million in administrative costs.

But it's important for Canadians to realize that every penny of that $5 million will be spent on funding initiatives that will directly benefit women in their communities.
We did not streamline SWC to return $5 million to government coffers. We streamlined SWC to deliver $5 million more in programming for women in Canada.

In the past, SWC has not delivered that money as efficiently as possible. An independent evaluation of the Women's Program run by SWC discovered that it took 31 cents in administration and overhead to deliver one program dollar. This was unfair to both the women who require services and Canadian taxpayers. That is why our government is reducing overhead, closing some offices and re-dedicating the savings to better assist Canadian women.

With these changes, we can now deliver the program for 17 cents for each dollar. Redirecting every cent of those saving to initiatives for women is a better use of government dollars, both for the general taxpayer and for women across the country.

As I stated above, all of the savings are being set aside for re-investment in delivering support directly to Canadian women. And annual funding for the $10.8 million Women's Program is entirely maintained now and moving forward in the future. Adding the $5 million in administrative savings means almost 50 per cent more money to support women directly in the community.

Achieving these administrative savings involved closing 12 regional SWC offices across the country. There has been much criticism of that decision because, the critics say, it cuts off access for women to the Women's Program.

Well, an office in a central city in any given province is probably not doing much to give access to women who don't live in that city.

We have actually made SWC services more accessible. For the first time funding applications will be available online to organizations who undertake projects to benefit women directly.

With this change, SWC services are now as accessible as the nearest computer with Internet access.

This modernization will assist the government in meeting its twin goals of better managing its expenditures while delivering more services in a modern and efficient way.

The beneficiaries of this change will be Canadian women, so they will be able to meet challenges and more fully participate in the social and economic life of Canada.

Bev Oda is MP for the riding of Durham

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women


Add a grain of fairness
EU, U.S. subsidies should be linked to demise of wheat board monopoly
Calgary Herald
Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It is unclear whether those in charge of the Canadian Wheat Board are ready to acknowledge it yet, but its days as a monopoly marketer of Canadian grains are about to end at the hands of a determined Conservative government.

But, while this anachronism's demise may be overdue, it is unfortunate indeed the federal government has shown no such resolve to address the distorted international playing field in farm subsidies that put hard-working farmers at a cruel disadvantage.

Eliminating the board's control over 20 per cent of the international market for wheat is a victory for free enterprise and, in particular, for Alberta's enterprising producers, some of whom have gone to jail to fight for their right to sell wheat and barley as they see fit. The board's imminent dismantling also removes a protective buffer for many of the more vulnerable producers in marginal farming operations.

Exposing those farmers to such a Darwinian fate is justifiable under the principles of free enterprise -- after all, if they can't stand on their own, then they should be allowed to fail. Still, it is infuriating to think that Canada is once again being the good Boy Scout, adhering to higher principles, while other parts of the world continue to flout those same rules with apparent impunity.

Consider: Even though the Wheat Board has been forced repeatedly to answer to international accusations of acting like a de facto subsidy to Canadian farmers, the level of subsidies in competing countries is much, much higher.

Between 1999 and 2003, for example, Canadian wheat growers received support equal to an average of $28 per tonne. Meanwhile, farmers in the highly protectionist United States received subsidies of $112 per tonne, and their peers in the European Union merrily rolled along with props of $149 a tonne -- more than five times the assistance to Canadian farmers.

Thus, removing one of the few buffers our farmers have against such international roguery, will almost certainly accelerate the financial crisis for the more marginal of the 75,000 grain farmers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

While there remains an appearance that the board's future is still open to debate, the wheels of change are irretrievably in motion.

Two factors are bringing sea change to the board: a decision by the federal Conservatives to replace five Liberal-appointed members of the board with directors who are more sympathetic to ending the long disputed "single-desk" monopoly.

Meanwhile, when results of balloting earlier this month are revealed, the deeply divided farm community is expected to have chosen at least some reform-minded directors -- tipping the balance in the 15-member board in the government's favour.

None of this is intended to suggest it is not time to bid adieu to CWB's single-marketing monopoly, a decidedly communalist co-operative with roots reaching back to the food supply challenges of the Second World War.

The most progressive, innovative and risk-taking farmers should not be forced to see their financial rewards "averaged" in a pricing pool that treats the overachievers no better than the basket cases.

Rather, such change must be accompanied by renewed intense international lobbying to level the playing field.

At the same time, failing prairie grain growers should be assisted in the transition to more potentially profitable ventures, such as the emerging prairie-grass fed biofuel industry.

Monopolies offend the Alberta maverick spirit. Good riddance. Now, let's push the world's protectionists to play fair, too.

© The Calgary Herald 2006