Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Daily Digest December 13, 2006

Joe Hueglin wrote:


HALIFAX NEWS - Jobs go begging - where are workers?

HALIFAX HERALD - Improving justice

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Competition key to bank policy

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Peace(keeping) in our time

OTTAWA SUN - The manipulator

TORONTO STAR - O'Connor's cure for the Arar mess

TORONTO STAR - Insult to 6 million dead


K-W RECORD - Our independence day

SUDBURY STAR - Canadians want more spent on health research =

SUDBURY STAR - In favour of conventions; Liberals were right not to switch to the all-member voting method =

WINNIPEG SUN - Arar report misses the mark

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - No surprise, nurses face daily stress, strain

VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST - U.S. shows us what not to do
America's hardline approach to battling drug abuse has been a costly disaster


The big question about treaties

Fontaine joins global lobby

The vultures are circling

Each transport convoy a gamble for Canadian troops in Afghanistan

Pakistan 'out to enslave Afghans'

Speaking Up Against Domestic Violence

C Company has seen its share of action

Controversial plane purchase set to fly

Silence broken

Trade winds with U.S. blow cold 
Surplus down: As exports south decline, gains made overseas

Bill C-45 raises fear of parallel charges
Easier to prosecute companies on health, safety issues

Hysteria not imaginary after all

Prison drug test Doesn't Count, Judge Rules; NIK tests widely Used By Police

Flaherty looks at opening chequebook for provinces

No excuse for Tories to drag their heels

Poll suggests Liberals gathering strength in Quebec, Tories flagging

PM to introduce Senate consultation bill

Tories look to consult public on Senate choices

Ottawa proposes electing senators

all 56 news articles »

Politics of gender always risky business

Tories' accountability act now law, Harper 'proud'

hid details of $7B cuts: Grits

Environment may be key to election win, Mulroney says

Dion's arrival adds intrigue

Liberal MPs to step aside in Montreal

PM accuses Bloc of `opportunism'
Harper, Duceppe trade shots in wake of threat by BQ leader to force vote over Afghanistan mission

Tories show how axe fell for $7B cuts to plans
Liberal proposals would have assisted research, students

Tangible farm policy by gov't absent

A pro-life stand is a pro-woman stand

The RCMP got it wrong with raids on massage parlours
Police forcing prostitutes onto the street, where they're truly at risk

Roots of drug use not tackled, says expert

Rifts deepened in CWB fight
With the future of the Canadian Wheat Board hanging in the balance, rifts were deepened between supporters of a single-desk system, and those calling for marketing choice in this past weekend’s farmer-director election – and both sides are claiming victory.

Harper could pay price for wheat board abuse

Ministerial Statement on Access to Information and the Canadian Wheat Board

Ottawa will probe files of 3 more detainees

Less CRTC means more competition

The CRTC at a crossroads

Competition and lower prices? Not necessarily

'Man of action' or just ignoring consumers? Maxime Bernier

The perils of premature adjudication

How to fix the RCMP
Neither Justice O'Connor's recommendations nor hiring a new commissioner will keep this unwieldy force from shooting itself in the foot again

Turning identity into a crisis

Moving ahead on sustainability


Bernard Lord confirme qu'il démissionne du poste de chef des conservateurs

Lapierre confirme son départ dans le château fort libéral d'Outremont

Vers un Sénat élu

Affaire Arar: ce n'est pas fini

4,9 milliards pour 17 appareils - O'Connor doit défendre le choix de l'exorbitant avion C-130J

Les libéraux de Stéphane Dion en remontée au Québec

La GRC doit être surveillée

Flaherty somme les provinces de s'entendre sur la péréquation

Des leaders autochtones rejettent un projet de loi

Ottawa dépensera 500 millions $ pour le successeur du CF-18

Un comité juge inacceptable la situation en matière de prostitution
        A committee considers unacceptable the situation as regards prostitution


Rifts deepened in CWB fight

        My intent was to not write anything in this space to-day but with the two weeks given to the CWB President to support the direction of the
        New Government of Canada or be replaced (as have other appointees not hewing the line) I decided to do so.

        What follows is a communication sent out and a response from a journalist.

        Not having business experience I have a question to pose: Is $70 million annually for marketing $4 billion of goods worldwide a reasonable or   unreasonable administrative cost compared with other enterprises?

From: Joe Hueglin <>
Subject: F.Y.I.: Control of CWB and international implications

Excerpts in ARTICLE I and ARTICLE II offer differing arithmetic on the balance of directors on the Canadian Wheat Board. Depending upon which is accurate the replacement of the current President becomes either a majority in support of New Government policy or a futile gesture. 

ARTICLE III raises a little discussed aspect, Canada "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." to the disadvantage of our producers.

___________________________________ARTICLE I
Vos elected to Canadian Wheat Board

by Chris Eakin
Tuesday December 12, 2006

______________________________ARTICLE II
Senate Committee on Agriculture
Prepared statement by Allen Oberg, elected director for District 5 and Adrian Measner, President and CEO, Canadian Wheat Board
December 12, 2006

____________________ARTICLE III
Add a grain of fairness
EU, U.S. subsidies should be linked to demise of wheat board monopoly

Mr. Hueglin,
Vos and the Calgary Herald are incorrect.
The CWB chairman is not the president and CEO. He is one of the government's five appointees. The board is chaired by an elected farmer director. Right now, this is Ken Ritter. Interestingly, Ritter was first elected on a dual-market platform, but like one other before him, became a solid convert to the single desk and now is one of its strongest advocates.
This means that after the Conservatives have finished their "stacking" of the five order-in-council appointments including the president and CEO, the board will be split seven-seven with the pro-monopoly Ritter casting the deciding vote.
Another item of interest that the Calgary Herald overlooks is that under the CWB Act, the government must consult with the board of directors on the appointment of a new president and CEO. And it is the board of directors who determines both the role and the salary of the successful candidate. One wag at the board says they are considering giving whoever Harper appoints a salary of $1 a year to water the plants at the CWB's head office.


Mark Garstin

Subject: Woman listed as world's oldest person dies at 116 in Memphis nursing home


When Lizzie was born there were no such things as light bulbs, airplanes,
automobiles, telephones, refrigerators or even an electrical outlet to plug
devices in.  Electricity was something that existed only in science labs and
dark and stormy nights.  One in every four babies born died within the first
year of life.  Your average life expectancy (I believe) was only around 50,
maybe slightly less (48 comes to mind).  If you went to a Dr. about an ache
or pain somewhere it wasn't uncommon for the good Dr. to take out a leech
and attach it to your body where the pain was so as to suck out the bad
blood that was there (not everyone had caught onto the idea that blood
circulated through your body).  Most psychics (and some Dr's) would feel
your head for bumps and would determine your personality based on where the
bumps were (that practice even had a scientific name, phrenology).  The
concept of an atom was unknown. Solid matter was thought to be, well, solid
through and though.  There were only 8 known planets in the solar system
(hmm, not much has changed there).  Venus was thought of as a wonderful
beautiful paradise populated with scantily clad women with hour-glass
waistlines.  The moon was made of cheese.  Only men could vote (and only the
right men could vote; if your skin was the wrong colour then you were out of
luck).  England was the world's superpower, Russia was a monarchy and the
USA was 5 metres closer to Africa and Europe than it is today.

And nobody but nobody alive today was even born then.

In other words, you haven't seen it all. None of us have. The only one who
can remotely say that they have seen it all is Lizzie, God rest her soul.


Mark Garstin

Norman Greenfield

Subject: RE: Daily Digest December 10, 2006

I must respond to Ron Thorton's comments.
Let's take Joe's idea of, 'a long-serving state official does not feel comfortable, or feels they are committing a sin, in marrying gay couples, then their status should be grandfathered in,' to it's logical conclusion. It means we also have to allow judges, crown prosecutors, police, environmental enforcement officers, fisheries officers, or even Armed Forces' personel to enforce or carry out only the laws they wish to, or agree with.
Is that not anarchy?
Canada is a country that believes and operates in the rule of law.
We as a country are, '... sensitive of the deeply held beliefs of those on the other side of the issue.'
They are free to choose to not take the jobs that are part of the legal system in Canada.
It is not the bureaucracy's job to decide what laws and regulations they enforce or administer, that is the job of the politicians.
The religious leaders are the last people to do that job.
The politicians have said that same sex marriage is legal, the courts have determined that all Canadian's should be treated under the law of the land, equally.
And Joe H., I am an official Edmontonian, but still have a piece of me in Calgary.

Thank you

Norman Greenfield
Edmonton/Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Suan H.Booiman

Subject: Afghanistan

December 11, 2006
Dealing with Afghanistan for Canada is a joke, we can not work together in this country
as we continue to live the Trudeau life style of division and multiculturalism, two
official languages, two founding nations, where is our right to speak. Daily we work
on to create uncosntitutual nations within Canada, because the politicians are so
pre-occupied with their own hide, the next election, that they can not hear or see reality.
This week went through the motions of voting on marriage without ever considering to
ask the people at large, as they are obsessed with their promises. To start cleaning
start at home. Many of your readers I read in the past can not agree and hang on yesterday,
Macdonald and associates died, time has changed, things have changed, address it.
All together is like dealing with cancer, some need radiation others just chemo but
a treatment is necessary no matter, after that the patient can face tomorrow again.
A good start would be to isolate Quebec, put the Bloc Quebecois in place, restricting
them to Quebec provincial matters as they are no National party, gave up trying to
buy their support it does work not now or ever, The next step might be clarifying
the meaning or "nation" and "self-government", neither of them are in the constitution.
Could write a book.

Peter Ineson

Subject: Happy Holidays

For All My Liberal Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my Best Wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious  or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Oh, I don't mean to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere.  Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee. 

By accepting these greetings, you are accepting the aforementioned terms as stated.  This greeting is not subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting.  It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself/himself/others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher or wishee.  This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

For My Conservative Friends: 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family.  May the true meaning of Christmas be first and foremost in your thoughts and actions this coming year.

Rosalie Piccioni

Joe:        Re:
Chris Schnurr
(Quote) To equate what goes on in the bedroom to state
recognition of matrimony between two persons is a
completely different affair.  The way in which some
people present gay marriage is akin to going to a
heterosexual wedding and immediately thinking about
what they do in the bedroom - is marriage then, a
celebration of sex, or that of love?
    A terrific question, answered by the celebration all the way back in history when family and friends celebrated the "consummation of marriage" and giving blessings to the pair for "fruitfulness".  But then it seems these days we ignore tradition and the fact that children and future grandchildren and on and on come from that consummation.   We can always play at being naive and ignore reality. 
    And, on the question of whether marriage is the celebration of sex or that of love, the question can be answered with another question - i.e.  has there ever been true love for a person without the desire to bear their child?  Of course, that eliminates SSM; nevertheless,  it's a part of the reality.

Joe:       Re:
  Ambrose feels the heat as blunders pile up  - The Globe and Mail...
    Ms Ambrose may be a rooky, but by golly she sure is holding her own and reaping admiration!  Now there's a woman using her ability and intelligence ~  makes me proud to be a woman!  If she's making blunders, they're  made up for by the constructive changes being made.  We're lucky to have her as part of the Cabinet and may she always hold up that fact in the face of the "critics".

Ian Berg

Subject: Re: CWB election of directors results and background articles.

I neither support nor oppose the Conservative government's policies on the CWB. My view is that there should be no obligation for Prairie wheat and barley farmers to use its services. Only farmers who want its services should pay for its administration. MPs and Senators on both sides of the aisle should be able to openly review its financial records and judge for themselves if it is a profitable enterprise for the federal treasury and report back to taxpayers about what they find. 
Ian Berg
Calgary, AB

Bill Neville

Hello Joe,

Though I am loath even to enter the same sex marriage debate and thereby dignify it, it strikes me that Mark Garstin is hoist on his own petard. He argues that same sex marriage will open the door to a variety of incestuous "marriages" being demanded by countless combinations of family members. He also thinks that "civil unions" would be - or would have been - a preferable alternative. On his own reasoning, this must surely mean that he would be more comfortable with incestuous "civil unions" for that, on his own argument, would be the sure and certain result. Believing that, indeed, this is a cause he may well wish to take up. It strikes me that these alarms - that siblings will want to marry, that people will want to marry their favourite pets or their farm animals - are complete red herrings and that those who advance them need to get on with their lives and focus on something useful and important.

Bill Neville

Cal MacKinnon

I just have to comment to you and the readers on the marriage equality comments of late. 
I am a man married to a man and a father of one.  I am a teacher, friend and activist. 
Any time you hear people talking about my marriage and its effects on the future TELL THEM TO ACTUALLY HELP A CHILD. A real child not a research subject.  Tutor for free, volunteer, donate to a food bank, put their talents to work for affordable housing, a cleaner environment, or making sure elders are protected. 
Cal MacKinnon
John Dowson

Joe: The Afghan war and reconstruction effort is heralded in the media and in parliament as Canadian soldiers fighting to free the Afghans. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lets call it what it is. It's not the Canadian Army that's fighting in Afghanistan it's  English Canada and Canadians from every province EXCEPT QUEBEC who fighting and dying in Afghanistan. Not one of the soldiers who have died, or were wounded in Afghanistan are from the Nation of Quebec. No soldiers from the Quebec army have joined the fight, and any Quebecois member of the Canadian Forces who happens to be in Afghanistan are officers who stay in camp behind the wire.
Ever since confederation Canadians from every province but one have always led the fight. Now that the beloved 22nd regiment (The Quebec army) is finally scheduled to rotate to Afghanistan their parliamentary friends from their nation of Quebec (the Bloq) are threatening to pull the plug on the government so that a Quebecois soldier will not have to endure what English Canadian soldiers have put up with in Afghanistan for more than two years. ( I refer to them English Canadian soldiers only because the nation of Quebec calls the rest of Canada "English Canada")  Why is the Canadian Armed Forces officer corp. comprised of Quebecois?, why is 90% of the DOD in Ottawa staffed by Quebecois?, talk about dual citizenship where does their loyalty lie?  I'm not the only person in Canada who is asking "where are the Quebecois in the fighting"?, there are plenty of people asking that question.
 The American Comedian Dennis Miller got it right when he said "the war in Afghanistan is like a banquet. The Americans come in, select the recipe, cook the meal and set the table. The French come in and arrange the chairs and lay out the serviettes" John Dowson

Brian Marlatt

Message from sender:
Issues: extension of US laws which violate Canadian principles of civil and human rights; dual citizenship.

BUSINESS / WORLD BUSINESS   | December 12, 2006
Strict U.S. Rules Disqualify Some Canadian Arms Workers
Arms makers who export to the U.S. are in a squeeze thanks to a complex set of State Department rules known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

Tommy Thomas

Subject: Canada Wheat Board

It was down on the Saskatchewan farm where I was born that my father explained the reason for the Canada Wheat Board. It was wartime and sacrifices had to be made to insure our wheat would go to Britain and not sold to some neutral country which could then sell it to Germany or Italy. Seemed like a good reason at the time. A lot of the boys were going into the services so we knew feeding them was important. The rationale then was perfect! To think that a wartime measure would still be in existence sixty-three years later is laughable if it was not so serious. Maybe not laughable – we still have the Income Tax Act in some strange metamorphosis of the original. I know that if I had stayed on the farm when my father retired I would be some pissed off having some bureaucrat tell me when and where I must sell my product and at what price. But I would be most hostile to the fact that the CWB does not apply to Ontario and Quebec. Do Prairie farmers lack the business skills for successful farming that Ontario farmers obviously have in abundance? Talk of two tier approaches to the same marketing problem.
My suggestion to the Harper government is simple; marketing a particular grain is not a Federal responsibility. Simply repeal the Canada Wheat Board Act and suggest to the governments of the three Prairie Provinces that they bring in their own marketing boards, commissions, agencies or whatever. They could do it independently or as a bloc together. Now that should be an entertaining process to follow with the NDP governments of Saskatchewan and Manitoba taking on Alberta to get an agreement. However, my other suggestion is that the Canada Wheat Board be renamed the Prairie Wheat Board.
Mark Hendriks


Gotta love translation software.  I'm not sure I understood the point of
the article "Rona Ambrose seeks of the assistance on the side of Sheila
Fraser," but at least I found it amusing.

Probably more amusing than I likely would have found it if I did
understand it, though.

Mark Hendriks

Rubie Britton

Subject: Fwd: [LAN] All I want for Christmas is my right to vote...

Globe and Mail
Wednesday, December 2006
Voter-ID law would go too far

Mark Abramowitz
Thornhill Ontario

Hey everyone
Here is an interesting article on how the IMF feels that Canada should be raising the GST not cutting it.

 IMF suggests Ottawa should raise GST
Mark Abramowitz
Thornhill Ontario

Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Jim Flaherty, Canada’s Minister of Gimmicks

The Conservative government’s annual budget update hit all the right notes.  Unveiled last month by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, it laid out a three-point plan.  Government debt will be eliminated by 2021.  Annual interest savings from a lower debt will be plowed back to taxpayers by cutting personal income taxes – he calls this the Tax-Back Guarantee.  And the government will “maintain a tight rein on spending.”

This is all music to taxpayers’ ears.  Yet none of it will happen.  The minister is instead proposing a series of gimmicks. 

Take the pledge to pay down “total government net debt.”  To most Canadians this means one thing – paying off Ottawa’s $481.5-billion federal debt, which incidentally costs taxpayers $34-billion in annual interest costs.  (That’s $93-million each day.)  National debt, as it is commonly understood, is the sum of annual deficits accumulated by the federal government since Confederation.   

But Mr. Flaherty isn’t proposing eliminating this debt.  He will eliminate “government net debt,” an altogether different proposal.  His net debt includes federal debt plus provincial, territorial and municipal government liabilities less the accumulated assets of the giant Quebec and Canada Pension Plans (Q/CPP).  By including the funds earmarked to pay future Q/CPP benefits to pensioners, Mr. Flaherty’s no “net debt” objective will easily be achieved.  Ottawa will only need to reduce its debt by $3-billion a year, for a total reduction of $48-billion over the next 16 years. 

Debt reduction is supported by many Canadians.  It is akin to paying off the national mortgage.  In fiscal 1996/97, Canada’s debt stood at $562.9-billion.  The federal budget was balanced nine years ago and debt repayment has since totaled $81.4-billion, which saves billions and billions of dollars in annual interest payments.  Mr. Flaherty’s scheme will pay down less debt than reductions made over the past nine years.  Redefining “debt” makes his meek 16-year “net debt” plan appear a great leap forward.

Mr. Flaherty calls this fable a “bold new plan.”  Liberal finance critic John McCallum accused the minister of using “an arcane statistic” to confuse people.  (And he’s right.)   Taxpayers call it phantom debt relief – a political gimmick. 

A last point on debt: the minister’s pledge to apply every surplus dollar to bring down the debt is nothing to celebrate either.  It is already federal law.  The Financial Administration Act wisely requires that 100% of any surplus be directed to debt repayment. 

As for Mr. Flaherty’s promises of tax relief, according to the November update, Ottawa’s surplus will total more than $50-billion over the next six years.  Yet Mr. Flaherty announced that the GST will not be cut again until 2011.  And his so-called Tax-Back Guarantee ties future personal income tax relief to his debt relief schedule.   

Under his plan, there will be no income tax relief without significant debt interest savings.  This is an excuse for Ottawa to keep taxes high.  The proposal to pay off $3-billion in debt each year will save taxpayers approximately 10 bucks annually – a trivial amount.

Last is the Conservative commitment to keep spending under control, a policy already in tatters.  In his update, Mr. Flaherty scolded the Liberal government for its awful spending record, “Over the past five years of the previous government, total program spending grew by an average of 8.2% each year.”  He added, “This growth was neither sustainable nor desirable.”

The Conservatives will be more disciplined.  Mr. Flaherty said, “The government is committed to keeping the growth of program expenses below the growth of the economy over the medium term.”  In Parliament he repeated “...our new economic plan proposes to keep the growth rate of program spending on average below the rate of growth in the economy.”

And why is this important?  “To the extent spending growth is kept below the growth in the economy, this will contribute to further reductions in public debt and in taxes given the commitment to dedicate interest savings to tax reductions,” said the minister.  His message is clear: tax and debt reductions are conditional on spending restraint.

But the ink on the update wasn’t even dry and the Conservatives already betrayed the commitment to keep spending “below the growth of nominal GDP.”  Mr. Flaherty’s May budget stated program spending will “rise 5.4% in 2006/07 ... below the growth of nominal GDP.”  His update reports “nominal GDP is projected to grow 5.0% this year and 4.6% in 2007.”   

So how does Mr. Flaherty explain this little ditty from the update: “Program expenses are expected to grow by 7.1% in 2006/07”?  This level is much higher than nominal economic growth.  Moreover, it is only a stone’s throw away from the Liberal’s 8.2% spending spree routinely disparaged by Conservatives.   

Meager tax relief, Liberal spending levels and less debt repayment all dressed up as a bold new plan.  Taxpayers had hoped for some straight talk from the Conservative government.  Instead Minister Flaherty is selling a false bill of goods.


John Williamson
Federal Director
Canadian Taxpayers Federation