Thursday, December 14, 2006

Daily Digest December 14, 2006

Joe Hueglin wrote:
The DAILY DIGEST: INFORMATION and OPINION from ST. JOHN’S to VICTORIA.

EDITORIALs

ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - So much for goodwill
http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=706&sc=3

HALIFAX HERALD - Iran’s sad spectacle
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Editorial/547155.html

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Reining in the RCMP will be no easy task
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=92c70819-59ec-4de1-bacb-f9b5af1981d6

OTTAWA SUN - Red chamber rehab
http://www.ottawasun.com/Comment/Editorial/2006/12/14/2788110-sun.html

TORONTO STAR - Listen to Mulroney
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1166050210921&call_pageid=968256290204&col=968350116795

NATIONAL POST - Accountability isn't about gimmicks 
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=5015bbcb-7d64-414d-8214-90b874ca4648

NATIONAL POST - Canada needs the CRTC 
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=0506fac3-36d7-4b99-82a7-a50cb2d5fdd0

TORONTO SUN - It’s time to reform the Senate
http://www.torontosun.com/Comment/Commentary/2006/12/14/2787621.html

LONDON FREE PRESS - It's time for reform
http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/Opinion/Editorials/2006/12/14/2787909.html

SUDBURY STAR - Double identity; Fuss over Dion's French citizenship a rough introduction to federal politics    
http://www.thesudburystar.com/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=318180&catname=Editorial&classif =

WINNIPEG SUN - A better Senate than we have now
http://www.winnipegsun.com/Comment/Editorial/2006/12/14/2787546.html

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Mounties getting oversight needed to restore image  http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/forum/story.html?id=158371f0-c644-40ca-82e4-4edeea2fe880

REGINA LEADER-POST - Conference no joke 
http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/viewpoints/story.html?id=b023f35e-06cb-4df7-b756-3b6711a23657

CALGARY HERALD - New agenda still lacks detail
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/theeditorialpage/story.html?id=1a190fd2-65fe-4ea7-b704-6dde512862ad

CALGARY HERALD - Looser rules for phones could dial up a price break
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/theeditorialpage/story.html?id=0226535e-c508-48f2-87f1-c0324989ebb0

CALGARY SUN - Democratic step
http://www.calgarysun.com/cgi-bin/publish.cgi?p=165313&x=articles&s=comment

GRANDE PRAIRIE DAILY HERALD TRIBUNE - Crime the price of boom
Scary incidents remind us of the dangerous element
http://www.dailyheraldtribune.com/1editorial.lasso

EDMONTON SUN - Piecemeal reform
http://www.edmontonsun.com/Comment/Commentary/2006/12/14/2787898.html

EDMONTON JOURNAL - Battle stations in Ottawa 
http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/opinion/story.html?id=72b91bcb-b913-473c-b811-4d67fa7aa925

RED DEER ADVOCATE - Grainy democracy
http://www.hamiltonspectator.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=hamilton/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1166050212867&call_pageid=1020420665036&col=1112188062581

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Transparency’s the new name of Ed’s game
http://www.lethbridgeherald.com/article_5237.php

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Opposition should stop playing games over Afghanistan 
http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/editorial/story.html?id=45eb403c-c0d5-478d-beae-ca32feb28e94

VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST - Electing senators a useful first step 
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=ae81424c-e1c5-48e6-8f6e-e6ef7396a568


ISSUES

ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS
Tory legislation would open floodgate to native human rights complaints
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/061213/n1213127A.html

Ottawa, native chiefs square off
Bill that would allow reserve natives to file rights complaints angers some leaders
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061214.wxrights14/BNStory/National/home

Natives object to `rushed' rights bill
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1166050212164&call_pageid=968332188774&col=968350116467


CANADIAN FORCES
Canada commits up to $500 million to the development of CF-18 replacement
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/061213/n1213149A.html

Military's new Aircraft Gets Poor Reviews; Transport Plane
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=bb1e30aa-a89f-4f2c-b6d3-091ec89bb80b

DND upgrades irk NDP MP
http://www.ottawasun.com/News/National/2006/12/14/2788136-sun.html

Afghan president's former teacher killed by Canadian soldier
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=9f058e1a-1b15-4a21-9db1-f4343a7fe6ae&k=57933


CANUSA/USACAN
U.S. business groups assail new Canada border rule
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/061214/canada/canada_usa_trade_canada_col

Overtaken by NAFTA's Success - One of the key architects of the North American Free Trade Agreement, worried by "the Mexicanization of the Canadian border," says it's time for an EU-style North America. http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2006/december/13/gotlieb/

Driver's Licences Instead of Passports
Senate bill would open border options
http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2006/december/13/passport/


ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Fed boss says Lumber Agreement hurting BC foresters
http://www.cknw.com/news/news_local.cfm?cat=7428436912&rem=54209&red=80143623aPBIny&wids=410&gi=1&gm=news_local.cfm

IMF favours trimming income tax, raising GST
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20061214.RIMFF14/TPStory/Business

Economy shows signs of slowing 
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=6faa5ccd-857d-42c8-93b4-19850af42c9e


FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Non-Diplomats Abroad 'Not Just a Sideshow Anymore' -
As the government moves to delay foreign service deployments, other departments are sending more staff to Canadian missions abroad in an increasingly specialized world. http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2006/december/13/diplomats/


HEALTH CARE RELATED
Women suffering with ADHD
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/westview/story/3813310p-4410975c.html

B.C. hospitals to refund fees paid to jump waiting-list queue
Facilities breached Canada Health Act by accepting cash for tests, province rules
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061214.wxbchealth14/BNStory/National/home


JUSTICE SYSTEM
Thuggery worsens
http://www.winnipegsun.com/News/Columnists/Brodbeck_Tom/2006/12/14/2787551.html

Women caught in Mexican murder investigation call on Harper for help
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/061213/n121377A.html

Gagetown soldiers charged with drug trafficking
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2006/12/14/nb-soldierscharged.html


MIGRATION
Let them in: A new study says immigration is good for both global productivity and individual wealth
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=7e2781cc-5d34-4517-b906-5672d3cc326e

Canada needs to revamp its immigration policy, study says
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=38ad557a-a4d4-4985-b9d3-4c58b10138a7


POLITICS IN THE PROVINCES
IMF to Canada: cut internal trade barriers
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=96073401-e419-4766-9a35-cc8ae3914331

Provincial report on logs, lumber released
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=d80994e0-80bf-4022-b8aa-ede901a2bc0b&k=5341

Flaherty gives provinces one last chance to agree on equalization reform
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/061213/n1213153A.html

Fulfill fiscal promises, Ottawa warned
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061214.wxfiscal14/BNStory/National/home

Pacific Coast key to future, Premier says
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20061214.BCCAMPBELL14/TPStory/TPNational/Politics/

PQ leader has been a boon for Liberals
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=ea1a650e-643f-485e-91aa-409945e62a81

The viral Campaign Against Stephane Dion
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/issuesideas/story.html?id=aa434127-f05e-4686-b703-29eae504463d


POLITICS
Little sign of political momentum as Parliament breaks for Christmas
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/061213/n121397A.html

Choking Ottawa in more red tape
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1166050210833&call_pageid=968256290204&col=968350116795
         all 94 news articles »


Harper tones down rhetoric on Senate reform
http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct=ca/1-0&fp=4582c6bf7cb8801f&ei=wwGCRf2PIIKsoQKM7NyDDg&url=http%3A//www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20061214/harper_senate_061213/20061214%3Fhub%3DTopStories&cid=1111963234

PM delivers Senate news with election-style talk
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20061213/senate_elexn_061213/20061213?hub=Canada

Senate reform in play; PM vows elections
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=e2df12af-1978-4f78-9779-9f3040b0f546

Next step in fixing Senate unveiled
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1166050212159&call_pageid=968332188774&col=968350116467

An idea the PM might want to fail
Senate proposal so wonky it could trigger an election
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=5b9951a4-7088-47b1-b3a2-e66222436416

Mercury plan shows Conservatives serious about environment: Ambrose
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/061213/n1213115A.html

Harper has lost patience with Ambrose
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=cbab3909-16de-4392-8b1b-c798a89e062d

Cabinet shuffle rumoured in Ottawa
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061214.wxshuffle14/BNStory/National/home

PM's holiday shuffle
http://www.ottawasun.com/News/Columnists/Weston_Greg/2006/12/14/2788113-sun.html

Federal cabinet shuffle expected
New environment minister likely as Conservatives seek greener look
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1166050212147&call_pageid=968332188774&col=968350116467

PM leaves naughty reporters off his party list
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Canada/2006/12/14/2787756-sun.html

PM's party: Media bash or bashing?
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1166050211665&call_pageid=968332188774&col=968350116467

Don't let Afghanistan split party, Dion warned
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061214.wxtaber14/BNStory/National/home


PROGRAMMES
Major Senate reform bill another key piece of upcoming Tory campaign
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/061213/n1213157A.html

Under new law, voters would be consulted before new members appointed
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Canada/2006/12/14/2787757-sun.html

Tories move to protect rural mail delivery, magazine postal subsidies
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/061213/n1213139A.html

Pressure stepped up over hospital wait times
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Canada/2006/12/14/2787770-sun.html

Study calls for more study
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Columnists/Jacobs_Mindelle/2006/12/14/2787913.html

MPs 'vague' on aiding prostitutes
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Canada/2006/12/14/2787771-sun.html

Woman loses job over maternity leave
http://www.torontosun.com/News/Columnists/Mandel_Michele/2006/12/14/2787633.html

Ottawa hit over largesse
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=a553d50d-bbae-4501-9e2c-816330b3a508&k=55051

Flaherty unfazed by possible expansion of income trusts
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=a3673bb8-9e3f-46da-98cd-f0594a6f9e4e

Election could come at any time: Dion
http://www.politicswatch.com/dion-dec14-2006.htm

Duceppe says legislation would intrude on Quebec’s jurisdiction
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Metro/547103.html

Harper defends oil sands tax breaks
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/061215/canada/canada_liberals_energy_col

Election early next year now seen likely
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/061214/canada/canada_election_col

PM rejects call to change Afghan mission
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/061214/canada/canada_afghan_col


PRESSURE POINTS
Media's turn to do right by Arar
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1166050210825&call_pageid=968256290204&col=968350116795


OPINION AND INFORMATION
John Ibbitson on federal politics
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061212.wthehill_live1213/BNStory/specialComment/home

A Tax Story For Christmas
http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2006/december/13/durkan/

Iran's shameless hatred
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=87709018-6533-4cf9-b522-175f88620605

Holocaust conference a travesty of scholarship
http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/viewpoints/story.html?id=f7558e21-8f26-4619-816d-cec27e4da596

Fixing the RCMP
The Mounties are long overdue for a major overhaul
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/westview/story/3813312p-4410991c.html

The sex trade is not a legitimate profession
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/westview/story/3813311p-4410976c.html

Professor Worm answers his critics – gently
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Opinion/547160.html

Amid controversy, Premier says Christmas tree should stay at courthouse
http://torontosun.com/News/2006/12/14/2789273.html


INFOS

Les travaux parlementaires suspendus, les partis pensent à l'élection
http://mesnouvelles.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/061214/N1214122U.html

Harper prépare la table
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Politique/2006/12/14/006-harper-point-presse.shtml

Stéphane Dion revendique le centre
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Politique/2006/12/14/002-dion-stephane-canada.shtml

Un Sénat (presque) élu
http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/12/14/124898.html

O'Connor devra s'expliquer
http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/12/14/124896.html

Rencontre des ministres des Finances - Flaherty s'attend à une rencontre houleuse
http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/12/14/124872.html

Justin Trudeau pourrait succéder à Jean Lapierre dans Outremont
http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/12/14/124878.html

Rona Ambrose pourrait être sacrifiée
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20061214/CPACTUALITES/61214195/1019/CPACTUALITES

Premier pas vers un Sénat élu
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20061214/CPACTUALITES/612140831/1025/FRONTPAGE

Harper ne tiendra pas promesse, selon Dion
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20061214/CPACTUALITES/61214081/1025/FRONTPAGE


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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>POINTS OF CONFLICT<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
_______________________
Wheat board controversy
Strahl, others speak out

The Leader-Post
Published: Thursday, December 14, 2006
http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/letters/story.html?id=3349b04a-c420-4a97-9b3f-ca4baee039d6

http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/letters/story.html?id=90759a40-bae5-4b94-a86a-37b8f74f624d

http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/letters/story.html?id=96a6d210-2d8d-4cf2-8223-03a69c93e3d9


"Until Dion and Easter stand up in the House of Commons and demand the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly be extended to farmers in Quebec and Prince Edward Island, they should park their anti-individualist views at the door and let the Canadian government follow through on its campaign commitment to give us the marketing freedom that other Canadian farmers take for granted."

Ontario farmers voted it out.  Quebec farmers recently voted it in.

____________________________________
SENATE REFORM: SEE WORMS, CAN OF
by Simon Tudiver
December 14, 2006

On the last day of Parliament before the holidays, Prime Minister Stephen Harper brought out a surprise present for all Canadians. You guessed it: Senate reform. The issue will surely bring out the spirit of the season, as friends and family gather across the land to discuss traditional holiday topics like plebiscites, appointments and constitutional amendments. Okay, so maybe it doesn’t quite have the palpable and imminent importance of Afghanistan or the environment, but a fair and effective system of government is still important. Harper’s proposal, as unveiled yesterday, is to consult Canadians before choosing their senators. Votes would be cast, and the winners would then be appointed by the Prime Minister­“nudge, nudge, wink, wink,” hints the CBC’s Paul Hunter. The reason for maintaining the appointment scheme rather than opting for all-out Senate elections is that this proposal might be feasible without a constitutional amendment, something no one seems to be overly keen on undertaking.

The crucial question is whether Harper’s new system will actually bring democracy to the Senate, as he insists it will. The Post’s editorial board thinks it’s a good start; taken with Harper’s proposal to limit Senate terms to eight years, the plan could “encourage real reform to evolve over the next decade or two.” But the Post remains critical, arguing that as long as the prime minister retains veto power, the elections will not be truly democratic. Don Martin, writing in both the Post and the Citizen, is also skeptical about the proposed changes. Martin argues Harper’s plan doesn’t “address the fatal democratic flaw of the Senate, which is how the seats are proportioned to the provinces.” Alberta and British Columbia are each allotted six seats in the upper house, while Nova Scotia and New Brunswick each of have ten seats. The argument runs that this distribution is unfair both in terms of population and economic clout. Martin even questions the practicalities of actually holding Senate elections. Harper has suggested they could be paired with regular parliamentary elections, but Martin thinks they are unlikely to match up nicely and condemns the whole enterprise to failure. The best advice, however, comes from the Globe’s editorial board, which brushes aside the minutiae of senatorial politics to ask the question “when will Mr. Harper allow democracy to come to the House of Commons?” The article lambastes Harper’s “centralization of control” over the workings of parliamentary committees. But the question might just as well be asked about the entire electoral process. If Harper wants democratic reform, why not expand it to include proportional representation? The prime minister has opened a can of worms, and now it is up to the Big Seven to pull them out and pass them around.


Simon Tudiver is a Montreal-based MediaScout writer for Maisonneuve Magazine.

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Jacob Rempel

Subject:  Go Santa Go!!

Received from an email correspondenPass it along.
_________________________
Click on the url at the bottom
T hi s j u s t c r a c k s m e u p e v e r y t i m e I w a t c h i t
E n j o y ! !
http://badaboo.free.fr/merryxmas.swf

===================================
Andy Rutherford
To: <jwilliamson@taxpayer.com>, "Joe Hueglin" <joe.hueglin@bellnet.ca>
Subject: Public Debt

I read with interest your words of wisdom on Joe's below 30 of his DD Dec. 13
I have been trying to figure out just what should be done and I wonder about the suggestions that I found on the website COMER. Have you seen it and why is it not common sense. Just google COMER and see what you get
 
        Andy R.

===================================
Ron Thornton

*Hi Joe:

Norman Greenfield wonders if we allow serving public officials to not marry gay couples because it runs against their beliefs, then would it not also run true that others might be able to ignore laws they don't like?  Norman brought up such professions as judges, crown prosecutors, police, and even Armed Forces' personnel (to name a few) who could also do the same in ignoring a new law they dislike.

Yes, the same logic would apply, but only if firemen are ordered to start, and not put out, fires.  If doctors are ordered to kill people, rather than fight to save them.  If our Armed Forces are ordered to be for the defense of the government in power, rather than of the nation and its citizens.  If judges were to follow the direction of the government or the prosecution in a case, rather than to allow justice to prevail.  If the police were given the power to execute.  If environmental enforcement had everything to do with what was desired by industry, to hell with the planet.  However, such people have not been presented with such a fundamental change in the roles they have previously accepted.

Marriage has always been in this nation the union between one man and one woman, not one between those of the same sex.  This was not just a change in law, but a redefining of a cherished institution.  So, all this bleating about "rule of law" is fine and good, but in making such a fundamental change, one should also understand the logic that there are those whose rights and views we now trample if we don't also give them some consideration.  Grandfathering the rights of those already serving would seem fair and proper.

One day a law will be proposed, maybe even passed, in this country that will call on doctors to expedite the demise of their patients should such a request be made.  Now, living in a country that operates under the rule of law, what should we do with those doctors who would refuse to follow such a fundamental change in law that would force them to become executioners?

Different issues, but the same logic applies.

Ron.



===================================
Phyllis Hubeli

Subject: Canadian Choice in our Future

Hi Joe,
Through you to John Halonen in the Dec. 9th issue of the DD.
 
John, I too believe that if we truly lived in a democracy, Canadians would have a say in determining the direction our government takes.  Unfortunately, although I had hoped that the Conservatives would prove to be more democratically inclined than former Liberal governments have proven to be, this has not proven to be the case -- there is no difference, at least not yet!
 
Conservative MPs think that they, like their predecessors who decided to remove the death penalty as a judicial option in spite of the fact that a majority of Canadians, in some areas an overwhelming majority of Canadians, wished to retain it, know best.  Those MPs stood in their place and voted to remove this tool from the hands of judges.  How many Canadians do you think lost their lives because violent criminals were released into our midst to kill again?
 
On everything from SSM to Kyoto Conservative MPs have not even considered the option of allowing Canadians to express their own opinion on these matters via a referendum during the next federal election.  That is clear from the "We will decide" attitude expressed by our Prime Minister and many MPs when asked by reporters.  One would think that Harper, based on his Reform roots, would be more inclined to open up this avenue to a more democratic way of governing this country.  Instead, in a good number of news clips, we hear it is Conservative MPs under his direction who should make these decisions in the splendid isolation that is Parliament Hill -- without any organized input whatsoever from Canadians.
 
Like the Liberals before them, Conservatives feel that they know better than we do what is best for this country.  It is obvious from our decline as a world power and in world ranking that the Liberals did not do what is best for Canada and Canadians.  It would not be fair to judge Conservatives just yet as governing in a minority government situation does not allow the party the range of options they would have in a majority situation but every time I hear Stephen Harper and the Conservative MPs arrogantly say: "We will make the decision to ...." it indicates to me that they are no more democratically inclined the Liberals are.
 
The only reason I can think of to rationalize this is the fact that in our one and only referendum in which Canadians could express their opinion, the Charlottetown Accord, a majority of Canadians, to a greater or lesser degree, voted against all the political parties who were on the "Yes" side, choosing instead to side with Reform, the only recognized political party to oppose it.  Because a majority of us went against the intense pressure from politicians and their back-room friends, every party is wary about ever again giving Canadians the right to express their opinion where it counts -- at the ballot box.
 
There is an old saying: "He who pays the piper calls the tune."  We Canadians are paying a high price in salaries, benefits and the perks of office so MPs are our employees.  We have paid for the right to call the tune and it reflects poorly on us that we have not yet, in any numbers, demanded our right to do so.  We should be more forthright in telling our elected officials that we expect them to look after the day to day business of running government in our best interest but when things will affect us directly in a manner that can change our rights or directly affect our standard of living, be it SSM, gun control or new trade treaties with the U.S. and Mexico, Canadians, after hearing all the arguments both pro and con, have a right as well as a duty to fully understand the subject, decide what is best for both Canada and themselves and vote, giving MPs their direction to carry out the wishes of the majority of us in this matter.  That is what living in a democracy is all about.  It is not shirking one's duty and responsibility by allowing free reign to politicians to do as their party and/or big donors want them to do.  As we all know from past experience doing that may benefit the party and the donors but does little to improve the lot of Canadians as a whole.
 
Phyllis Hubeli
South Surrey - White Rock - Cloverdale


===================================
John Dowson

Joe you heard it first from me in October Harper will juggle his cabinet in January in preparation for the election and Peter MacKay will be given a back bench portfolio and Jason Kenny will be the Foreign minister. Ambrose will be dropped and Ablonsky will take over. John

===================================
Stephen Berg

Regarding Peter Ineson's Christmas wishes:

Thank you for the Christmas and New Years wishes!  I hope you and yours, as well as Joe and DD subscribers, have a great Christmas and Happy New Year as well!

However, I am no Conservative.  I am an environmentally-conscious Liberal with some conservative leanings who has had enough of this namby-pamby political correctness orthodoxy in this country.  (Is that a political contradiction or what?)

All the best!

Stephen Berg
Winnipeg, MB

=====
No contradiction. Makes you a progressive-conservative,
seeking to do the best possible - rather than imposing
ideology.


        Joe

=====
Joe, now that makes it sound great!

Thanks and Merry Christmas and all the best for the upcoming year to you and your family!

SB.

===================================
Ian Berg

I like what I've heard about the new Senate Reform bill. A formal consultative process to decide who should sit in the Senate is a compromise which leaves the Constitution alone. Perhaps the Liberals and NDP will reverse themselves and come around to support a Senate which is more representative of Canadians. More likely they will fight this issue in the next election and refuse to acknowledge the irony of that.
 
Ian Berg
Calgary AB

===================================
Michael Watkins, Vancouver-Kingsway

Stephen Harper's plan to tinker with the Senate would bypass constitutional
change and see in the Senate some elected members, some non-elected, some
with lifetime terms, and some with 8 year terms.

In short: Franken-Senate.

Of course Harper's plan is unimplementable and won't be accepted by the House
of Commons. Its all a smokescreen, a charade which he’ll employ in an
election in order to paint as ‘undemocratic’ anyone who defends the senate’s
construction and purpose, or seeks real clarity in any discussion of same.

(For the record this person prefers status quo over frankensenate any day)

===================================
Mark Hendriks

>From the Globe and Mail article "Environment may be key to election win,

Mulroney says":
"Mulroney said if the Stephen Harper government doesn't move more
quickly, other parties, such as the Liberals, are waiting to claim the
environment as their issue."

The Neo-Conservative government already has moved quickly on this issue.
One of the first things that they did, as a government, was to scrap all
20 of the programs initiated by the Liberals regarding climate change.
Then they announced that they would introduce new, "tough" legislation,
which turned out to be a joke (and a rather bad one.)  The performance
of the Minister of the Environment has been nothing but embarrassing.

I hope that the environment does become the major issue of the next
election.  While the Conservatives have certainly blundered on many
issues, the environment is the one area where their performance has been
so bad, there's no way that they (or Conservative party apologists,)
could make excuses.

Mark Hendriks

===================================Emacs!
STRATOS
===================================

Emacs! Emacs!HALIFAX NEWS - Jobs go begging - where are workers?     
http://www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?sid=10119&sc=7
I discussed just this thing with a head honcho at the New York Power Authority yesterday. He told me that the power industry laid off massively in the power industry and that industry-related specialists found their way to other opportunities. Now, there's a BIG (and growing) lack of power professionals in the US, fewer of them than before are being churned out by the US education system (not the case in Canada, I don't think), and power companies are more and more in their launching projects because of lack of available personnel. US power are bidding up salaries, etc., for engineers, technicians, etc. and stealing personnel from each other just to keep going.
 
All of this is partiocularly prevalent in the nuclear power-generation industry. One customer of mine is even holding off on launching a major power project in California (a nuclear power plant) because he can't find workers!
 
We're not as badly off here in Canada in the sense that our education systems are churning out ever-greater numbers of qualified personnel. But expect either a brain drain in coming years, combined with heaven-on-Earth for Canadian consultants.
 
So, in brief: the irony of modern society. "Structural" unemployment with simultaneous worker shortages, which arises when the unemployed, collectively, either don't have the qualifications needed for jobs on offer (education, training are needed fight this) or they live in the wrong places and aren't willing to move. In both cases, proper incentives are needed to prepare (and urge on!) the unemployed for return to the job market and for filling jobs where labour is in short supply. Such include:
 
1. incentives that "pull" in trainees
 
1a. increased access to education. This means: facilities, teaching staff, financial accessibility (loans, grants, low-cost lodging at teaching institutions, subsidies etc.).
 
1b. Extra funding for students from faraway areas.
 
1c. Job-hunt support and assistance. Information network for matching people to jobs.
 
1d. Making it easier to for people to move to new locations where there's work. This includes: funding moving expenses, assistance in finding rental appartments, etc.,
 
1e. Awareness campaigns.
 
1c. Others.
 
2. Incentives that "push" in trainees (more socially controversial)
 
2a. Reduced benefits meant to support people when they're out of work and CAN work. This includes: longer contribution periods for EI, short benefit periods for EI, etc.
 
2b. Cash payments to those who make the leap, to help cover initial expenses.
 
So, in brief: make people aware of prospects and what's needed and available to attain them. Open doors to enter the job market, especially for sought-after jobs. Gently but firmly push people in if they need more convincing. The last one's the psychologically (and politically) hard one ... On the one side, nothing relieves the mind more than knowing that nothing else can be done. On the other, unfortunately, it does nothing for anxiety.
 
VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST - U.S. shows us what not to do
America's hardline approach to battling drug abuse has been a costly disaster
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=b29daa37-eea3-4c49-bd59-2e3412209ead
Discussing this is long overdue. The fundamental argument: is drug use an ethical issue (social decadence, social morals and conventions) or is it a public-health on (people have a penchant for "artificial paradises" (nod to Beaudelaire), which an appreciable portion of the population will indulge in). Or does the issue contain elements of both?
 
My two cents: it certainly has a public-health angle to it. Apart from disease transmission and individuals getting messed up, no one's under the illusion that drug abuse has no other bad effects: crime; lives broken and disrupted; violence; great quantities of money winding up into the hands of deadly, unscrupulous criminals; etc.
 
As for the ethical issue of "managing" the issue. Mankind really HAS had a habit of looking for small pleasures wherever they may be. Drink and drugs have been with us for a long time and all societies have had to deal with them in some fashion or other. Thus, the issue isn't a "moral" one in the sense of it being a result of bad social values arising from modern society. Two examples come to my mind: classical Greece and 18th-century England.
 
Socrates was condemned to death on two charges: impiety for promoting the existence of new gods (he considered his "daemon", his guardian spirit that would advise what to do, as being of divine nature); and for corrupting the young, namely the son of Anystos (whose name escapes me). In the latter case, Socrates' discussion with the young man were based on philosophy, as opposed to labour and trade, being a noble calling. Anystos' son went on to philosophize, avoid work, and become a washed-up alcoholic.
 
Gin was the scourge of 18th-century England in that it became easy and cheap to make. It being suddenly available to the working classes, the "scourge" of alcoholism spread through England, to the point that people started to see it as a social blight. The upper classes, smug in their superiority, partook in this kind of thinking even though they had been the hearth of chronic drinking in the past.
 
So, on the moral side: the "good old days" have never been ... at least as long as mankind has known of ways to get itself drunk, stoned, hallucinating, etc. In my mind, the prime emphasis on fighting drug abuse shouldn't be a moral one, which recommends suppression as a goal and repression as an approach. It should be a on "managing" the inevitable, much like what's being done with gambling right now. The means and ways to do this have to be worked out and gain both popular support or acquiescence. But I feel that that's the only workable way to go.
 
Pakistan 'out to enslave Afghans'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6175885.stm
Hhhhmmmm. More precisely, it's out to make it back secure from meddling by India, Iran, and other local rivals. There's more to it than that, but the security question is the main one. After all, if economic exploitation is the name of the game, Pakistan is better able to do so within its borders on the wild frontier.
 
POLITICS
Poll suggests Liberals gathering strength in Quebec, Tories flagging
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/061213/n121359A.html
We'll see come election time. There's plenty issues to slam the Liberals with here (and I don't mean corruption scandals). And the Bloc are feeding us more every time (for example, it's threat to scupper the current government over Afghanistan ... but with no hard position on what should be done instead).
 
Promises to be one of the more interesting federal elections here ... And during the last election and thereafter, the Tories have shown considerable skill at framing issues and presenting them. I'm looking forward to more.
 
Environment may be key to election win, Mulroney says
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061213.wmulroney1213/BNStory/National/home
Yup. And all opposition parties are vulnerable, as is the government. But the Tories have the initiative in being able to act rather than just talk. Notice that environmental measures are being more talked about: for example, today's talk of recovering mercury from switches in old car engines.
 
PM accuses Bloc of `opportunism'
Harper, Duceppe trade shots in wake of threat by BQ leader to force vote over Afghanistan mission
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1165963812307&call_pageid=968332188774&col=968350116467
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=d97070ee-7b64-460f-bfdf-1caff8e20fd5
Y'know, "opportuinism", if well-used, is a good thing. It enables one to do what one wants to do went the right time comes. Unfortunately, it enables the unscrupulous (Liberals doling out feel-good, wasteful measures!) to pull fast ones on the public when they can best get away with it.

A pro-life stand is a pro-woman stand
http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/editorial/story.html?id=b14368c1-6b0d-4811-8245-d7438ca9e61b
Hogwash. It's an ethical issue, pure and simple (do foeti, once conceived, have a right to being born and living lives whatever their mother's wishes may be).
 
As concerns the issue from the mother's point of view, it can be argued the pro-life stance makes it easier for indecisive women to make their decision: not having any choice, there's need for neither debate nor reflection. However, it won't relieve feelings of doom (if the mother intends to keep the child) and guilt (if she decides to put it up for adoption), which may arise. So, in brief, a pro-life stance, from the mother's point of view, simplifies decision-making, in the ideal case (no thinking of back-alley abortions). But there's no relieving anxiety arising from a given mother not wanting her child or from her having to think of what she'll do once it's born.
 
Also from the mother's point of view, a pro-choice stance put more responsibility on the mother's shoulder: she's the one who will have to decide on the outcome of her pregnancy. She'll have to face having to make a (let's hope informed) decision, after which she'll pass on to the "what to do" phase describe in the previous paragraph.
 
So, summarily, the question revolves around whether the baby has a right to birth and life, or whether the mother has the ability to decide whether or not birth will take place. Take your pick. But don't say that one stance is pro-woman and the other not. There are "advantages" to women either way, but there are prices to pay, too.
 
For those inclined to think in public-health terms, here are the foreseeable consequences of adopting once stance or another.
 
On the pro-life side, you'll get: fewer unwanted pregnancies (women and men will be more careful about not conceiving children that they don't want to raise); higher birth rates; less incidence of sexual diseases (men and women will both rely more on partial-abstinence contraceptives (including condoms and other "physical" barriers); lower decision-anxiety in women having to decide whether or not to bring their pregnancies to term; more babies being born and put up for adoption; and higher incidences of back-alley abortions.
 
On the pro-choice side, when compared to the pro-life approach, you'll get: more unwanted pregnancies; higher birth rates; higher incidence of sexual diseases; higher decision-anxiety; fewer babies being born and put up for adoption; and lower incidences of back-alley abortions.
 
The RCMP got it wrong with raids on massage parlours
Police forcing prostitutes onto the street, where they're truly at risk
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=a812df8a-710d-4deb-8696-00fe1d37734f
Don't blame the police. If politicians decide that prostitution should be repressed, then the police have a duty to fight it wherever it's found. If politicians decide to "manage" it (that is discourage and control it) instead, then the police will have a duty to behave accordingly. Either way, the police, once they have their mission assigned, aren't the ones who should decide on whether or not to raid massage parlours.
 
Harper could pay price for wheat board abuse
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/subscriber/columnists/top3/v-full/story/3811281p-4408907c.html
Indeed. I'm uncommitted since I don't know enough about the economics involved. But this is too big a thing for a minority government to take on unless it raises enough popular support by explaining what it wants to do, and what benefits and costs will be involved. Majority governments can get away with forcing through big issues like this in a "prompt" manner but minority ones don't. Bad timing ...
 
'Man of action' or just ignoring consumers? Maxime Bernier
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=f8de3b02-76dd-4fea-b6eb-7b9553ec9538
Well, Bell Canada's service here in Quebec stinks. Competition would enable telecoms players to adopt "better service for higher prices" strategies, while others would take the low-price approach. Even better - if a competitor can come up with a better service and low-price approach (i.e. in that it wouldn't have to carry deadwood like some competitors do), I'm all for it.
 
And here I was hoping for deliverance from telecoms-oligipoly Hell. Hallelujah, salvation is at hand. Provided that the feds get it right, of course.

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
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=fc5578b5-092d-4694-90fb-3171652d952b
Want to help set the RCMP straight? Apply for an appointment to the RCMP External Review Committee. I'll provide details, if you're interested. Full-time and part-time appoitments as available, I understand.
 
 
Mark Garstin

Subject: Woman listed as world's oldest person dies at 116 in Memphis nursing home
http://www.cbc.ca/cp/Oddities/061211/K121106AU.html

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.
 
Well said. I'm always amazed to think that my nephew and my niece haven't lived in a world where man hadn't walked on the Moon, where pocket calculators hadn't been invented, where desktop computers didn't exist, when the Internet hadn't been a presence in our daily lives, when colour TVs weren't commerically available, and so on.
 
For Heaven's sake, I'm only 43 and I still remember when all of the above changed. I was at Cape Kennedy when the moon shot carrying Neil Armstrong et al lifted off. I remember the moment when I first saw a calculator - it was in grade seven, when my teacher brought one in to help the "slow" kids do math. I remember desktop computers that existed BEFORE the IBM PC first appeared in 1981 (Radio Shack TRS-80s, Commodore PETs, Altair 8800s, you name them). I remember my first exposure to e-mail in 1994 and to AOL Online in 1996. As for TVS, I still remember my family's old black-and-white thingy, with the rabbit-ears, VHF and UHF channel-selectors knobs (!), and the horizontal hold / vertical-hold / contrast controls. Boy, do I ever feel like I've witnessed history. (OK, OK, I missed Sputnik but hey, I've seen my share).

===================================
Suan H.Booiman

Subject: Afghanistan
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.
 
Always something to entertain from BC ...
 
1. "Putting" the Bloc in place. Hey, give us a chance to vote for them, at least.
 
2. Better watch out about wishing this upon us Quebecers. Some Albertan malcontents have made noises about setting up a firewall around their province. They might get jealous of Quebec having one set up around it instead.

===================================
Peter Ineson
Subject: Happy Holidays

Hahahaha. Brilliant. Not fair to every single Liberal but we get the idea. Bravo!
===================================
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.

Utter nonsense. Quebec soldiers have died in A-stan. Plus, since when are officers not soldiers? Note also that the most recent contingent sent to A-stan is based in Val-Cartier, QC, and that it includes Quebecer troops in it (and I don't mean troops who are "Quebecers" because they reside on a base that's located there).
 
Personally, I'd be inclined to believe that no troops from PEI have been killed to date, what with PEI's small population.
 
If one's to pull ideas out from the sky, one has to back them up. Hence my request: back up your statements. Tell us all where we can check on whether or not any Quebecers are among Canada's "soldiers" in A-stan and whether or not none have been killed there. Justify what you say!
 
P.S. Fair warning - I recall having some QC dead identified in the papers. And the "they're Quebecers if they reside on a base there" doesn't wash - no PEI-based contingent has been sent to A-stan (not to my knowledge, anyway) and you've explicitly mentioned "Canadians from every province except Quebec").
 
Tommy Thomas
Subject: Canada Wheat Board

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.

Indeed. Not every farmer will be confortable with doing his own business but private enterprise, co-ops, associations, and other groups could certainly take care of the marketing and sales aspect. As for the segregation function (keeping different types of wheat apart for different uses), that could be handled by a Western-based government (not necessarily federal) agency of some sort.
 
 
However, my other suggestion is that the Canada Wheat Board be renamed the Prairie Wheat Board.
 
Hhhhmmmm. Hadn't thought of that. On first impression, this seems like a good idea.
 
===================================
Mark Hendriks
Joe

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.
Hahahaha. Professional translators won't be out of work just yet. The original was probably something like "RA cherche de l'aide du cote de SF". This means "RA seeks SF's help", but literally translates to "RA seeks some help towards the side (her own side, that is) where Sheila Fraser is". So she's looking for help to come from the direction of Sheila Fraser.
And Anglos WONDER why we Frenchies are so long-winded ... our language forces us to. Plus, no matter what we say, we have to expend a lot more effort thinking while we speak. That makes for more thoughful repartee but it also leads to our getting lost in our own verbiage.
===================================
 IMF suggests Ottawa should raise GST
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=3faaa5a3-70ce-4764-848f-7ad5d449d5bf&k=38216
 
Mark Abramowitz
Thornhill Ontario
The basic idea being that the GST (and VATs in general) discourage consumption and thus encourage saving. Savings get invested, which promotes investment. Revenue-based taxes reduce money available for private savings, which reduces the funds available for private investment.
 
So the idea is for consumers and companies (that is, everyone except the government(s)) to consume less and invest more. This is useful if the need is felt to increase domestic (and overseas) investment by increasing domestic savings (among other factors) to fund it. Otherwise, funds needed for domestic investment will have to be found overseas. And "foreign" investment comes at a price ... profits and dividends belong to overseas investors, who can withdraw them elsewhere for investment or consumption.

===================================
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Jim Flaherty, Canada?s Minister of Gimmicks
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. 
No big deal here, since this means that unplanned increases in federal assets (not necessarily cash!) won't lead to the government's increasing its debt load. The OPPORTUNITY to increase debt will still be there, but the government will avoid exploiting it.

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