Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Daily Digest December 6, 2006

Joe Hueglin wrote:


ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Take a closer look

HALIFAX NEWS - McEvoy inquiry gives feds clear direction

HALIFAX HERALD - Dallaire’s message

HALIFAX HERALD - Another shoe

NATIONAL POST - Free advice for Stephane Dion

LONDON FREE PRESS - Culture of violence deadly game

K-W RECORD - No more debates on gay marriage

SUDBURY STAR - Happy Harper; Dion's victory in Liberal leadership race was best result for prime minister

CALGARY HERALD - A wake-up call from down East

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Hot colour this fall is a deep shade of Green


Natives protest loss of funding

U.S. military hospital exceeds 'call of duty' with Canadians: Hillier

Abundance of youth populates troops serving in Afghanistan mission

Injured troops still awaiting their danger pay

Canucks hurt in suicide bombing
Walkom: Clock ticking on Kandahar role

Dion to push for Afghan Marshall Plan

U.S. rule spurs demand for passports

Canadian organization says U.S. fails to protect asylum-seekers

People in highly taxed countries better off: report

Outrage over labour bill  

Economy would be threatened by federal law banning strike-breakers: minister

Anti-scab laws don't work

Changing roles shape spending

Mugabe not on Ottawa radar screen

For a minority, Shi'ite Muslims exert a lot of influence today

Filling the female void in China

Could medication, schools have headed off tragedy?

New moms face high risk: Study
Eyes wide shut on hospital wait times


Youth justice system ripped

An e-date with drug cops
Devise new equalization formula 'as soon as possible,? Atlantic premiers say

Dull' Stelmach lacks spark of an idea

A Calgarian asks: Why do they hate us?

Decima survey suggests Liberal party has small lead over Tories

Arar saga sure to haunt RCMP despite Zaccardelli resignation

In Letters: The Zaccardelli resignation

Harper surprised own ministers by long resisting calls for Zaccardelli?s head

Former RCMP complaints commissioner calls Zaccardelli "incompetent"

IN DEPTH RCMP Commissioner

Canada set to keep gay marriage despite new debate

Tories under attack from right and left over same-sex marriage motion

Opposition MPs grill government on same-sex marriage

Dion allows free vote on marriage for MPs

Liberals get free vote on same-sex marriage motion: Dion

Tony Burman on election impact of Liberal convention

Dion out to woo more women for Commons

Dion dismisses call to give up French citizenship

Dion keeps French citizenship  

Dion takes credit where none's due

Liberal leader riding a green wave

Native son card no longer an ace

CBC NEWS INDEPTH: Canadian Wheat Board

Liberals say would reinstate wheat board

Dion reaches out to the GTA

Strahl says wheat board doomsayers are undermining market for ...

Funding changes mean more money for women

Ambrose expected to announce plan for curbing toxic chemicals

Ambrose faces lawsuit over wildlife habitat

Nobody was more surprised than everybody

Stephane, meet my dog

Wanted: a free vote on gay marriage  

Don't count out Quebec's native son 

Lone gunman: The Ecole Polytechnique massacre was a freak tragedy. So why is every man made to feel guilty for it?  

Unsustainable Dion  

Some Tory cuts should be reversed

Unveiling the hypocrisy  

Zaccardelli démissionne

Les libéraux optent pour le vote libre

Déjà l'effet Dion

Pas d'impact au provincial

Dion place ses pions

Dion équipé pour gruger le Bloc québécois

Le débat sur la définition du mariage reprend à Ottawa

Stéphane Dion : la clarté incarnée.

L'armée canadienne honore l'hôpital militaire de Landstuhl en Allemagne

Stéphane Dion devrait 50 000$ à Rod Bryden

Direction du PLC

Les conservateurs québécois ne sont pas inquiets

Le Bloc veut une zone cédée pour les pêcheurs madelinots

Ottawa dévoilerait un programme de contrôle jeudi

La lune de miel de Stéphane Dion se poursuit



        "That this house call on the government to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions,
        and while respecting existing same sex marriages."

A motion that should it pass would not be acceptable to either those accepting or rejecting the application of the term marriage to other than men<>women.
        That which I believe would “Give to worldly authorities the things that belong to them, and to God what belongs to God.” .  Rights and responsibilities in law
        would be entered into through the government.  Sanctification would be chosen by those entering into religion based union with each other.


        "That this House calls on the government to introduce legislation establishing Registered Domestic Partnership as the legal mechanism
        through which individuals may choose to assume legal responsibilities for and to each other in relationship to the laws of Canada."     

        Just my opinion, based on personal interpretation of  Mark 12:13-17.


Eleanor Fraser
Nova Scotia


Were you Dion what issue would you raise other than the above?
I believe we should have one CANADA to include ALL special status ...this to include Quebec!!!!   A a Nova Scotian I regard so many (home grown)"natives" now residing in Quebec experiencing wonderful lives........WOULDN'T THIS BE big happy family   

Brent Cameron

In considering your points, I would have to say that Ken Dryden's points on waiting times for healthcare are the most important in terms of any "attack" on the government - probably because they represent less an "attack" and more a comlpetely valid question on an important issue. Dryden's query represents, I believe, the standard to which the Liberals should aim in this Parliament.
The rest involve plays for power between elites, name calling, and straw man argumentations that do nothing to advance political discourse.
Having said that, the most cogent of points you list will be the one that figures least in the minds of people. Waiting times for surgery does not seem to satiate the bloodlust of pundits, reporters, and politicos.
Dion has talked about his leadership being about two visions of Canada, his and the PM's "neo-con" vision. Ironically, I heard Gloria Steinem say on "Real Time with Bill Maher" that "there are two kinds of people in the world - ones that divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don't."
Ignatieff remarked that the SSM debate was a way of driving a wedge. I would argue that his comment contributes to that sense, and does little to diffuse it.
I can only shake my head.
Brent Cameron

North Vancouver

My comment on Dion would question why, if he sought the Liberal leadership and truly has aspirations to become the next PM - why has he not renounced his French citizenship as the GG was "pressured by Canadians" to do on her appointment?

And why did the press not give his dual citizenship more press before he became the leader of the Liberals?

Even if I had thoughts of voting Liberal (I'm frequently a swing voter), and no matter his policies, there is no way I would ever vote for Dion based on his dual citizenship alone.

North Vancouver

Mark Garstin

A and B show the hypocrisy/contradiction that one can expect from a Liberal (well, OK, from just about any politician but being a card carrying CPC I’ll just say Liberal for now) in that Dion is slamming the government for trying to open the same-sex marriage debate in A, arguing that it is a decision that has already been made and is in the past and then grousing in B about the motion that has been made and passed regarding the Québécois as a nation.  Stephane is trying to have it both ways.
But to answer your request, I would have to place my choice on C because the reasons behind why the Conservatives cut the budget to the Status of Women’s Issues department are far more complex and deep than what can be put into a 6:00pm news byte.  It is far easier to just throw in some emotional rhetoric as an attack on that decision than it is to defend it with sound logic and reason (ya, I’m implying that there is sound logic and reason behind the decision but I don’t know that for a fact… but regardless whether there is any or not, you will never hear it against the howl of a right-wing attack from the opposition).
What I did hear on the radio yesterday was an attack by Dion against Harper accusing him of copying all of the bad policies of George W. Bush.  Sheeze, I really did think (hope) that Dion was going to be different and that the tone of politics was going to change for the good.  Unfortunately, it sounds as if Dion is going to take up the old and tired tactic of slamming the Americans for political gain.  Why is it that the Liberals are so perpetually anti-American, it is almost racist how they hate our closest and best neighbour?  How would we feel about the Americans if their government continually attacked and slammed Canada as openly and as brazenly as do the Liberals.  Too bad Carolyn Parrish got herself elected to the Mississauga City council because she probably would have found a warm and comfortable home back in Dion’s camp.
Mark Garstin
Mississauga – Brampton South

Mark Whittle

How would you rank them in order of potential impact on voter attitudes?

_1 (A) Over 80% of Canadians practice a faith of one culture or another. Every single one of them condemns homosexuality. The issue should have been decided by the House, not an instrument of the house like the courts. Calling it a Charter issue is a red herring and everyone knows it. This is something that questions an individual’s morals, not lifestyle. To enshrine homosexuality in the covenant of ‘marriage’ is repugnant to a person of moral conviction. Harper wins either way and he kept an important promise.

_2 (B) Harper has set up a perfect storm with the fall-back position of confederation, the perfect answer to any province foolish enough to cry about not getting their fair share like Ontario. Best to leave Ontario to its own devices as confederation intended. The whole idea was the over-arching government would be small enough to do a few things well that where of a national inclination, the rest is better served to the people by the closest body of government, e devolution with very clear lines of responsibility. Five federal pillars of socioeconomic growth and unity.

_3 (C) The Status of Woman has become bloated and ineffective, any true-blue feminist knows this. Their internecine war against the nuclear family has collapsed as more and more women are choosing to stay home and raise a family instead of having vacation property by the lake and three cars in the driveway. The trend is gathering steam under Harper family oriented policies, so 9income sharing for families with young children is very appealing and will provide a tipping point to Canada’s declining birthrate. We need another generation or two to keep prospering as we have since the depression era. People need time to make love, get it?

_4 ( Kyoto) This ridiculous red herring gets way more pulp and ink that any other ‘disaster’ Canada faces. Our problem is cars, planes, busses and trains and an energy sector that pollutes without abandon and every space shuttle hurtling through the sky does ten years worth of ozone damage in a millisecond in and out, twice the damage for what, pipe dreams of inter-stellar defense. A bomb shelter mindset I would rather avoid. Better to pour money into public transportation to make it cheap enough and convenient enough to get us numbskulls’ out of our trains, planes and especially automobiles.

Garry Holland

Hi Joe:
Can't have you talking to yourself !!

_1 ( )If ever there was an opposition opportunity (a real opportunity) it would be to link, health care - with -aboriginal peoples - with - climate change responsibilities. Any one of these three would trigger significant outcries from many parts of the country.

_2 ( )Issue C: ever Grit leader/hopeful is trying to make personal gains and these will probably be translated in order to play well in PQ, which could do us some small damage both immediately and for some time to come

_3 ( ) Issue B: there is some small aggravation to gained here by The Grits. The issue has been so poorly interpreted is has become a 'dog's breakfast' of hyperbole.

_4 ( ) Issue A: this is an opposition ploy, nothing more, to (try) and keep the pot bubbling
Best regards

Paul Merriam

Greenhouse gases and climate change will be raised as an issue, although Dion will have to be careful how he frames it.  Federally neither the Liberals nor the Neo-conservatives have acted responsibly to reduce the production of CO2 or to diversify Canada's energy sources.

Here's my guess as to how the public will rank these issues:

Greenhouse gases - #1
Same-sex marriage - #2
Waiting times guarantee - #3
Nation within a nation - #4 - as long as Harper and Dion agree and spin this that the motion meant "the Quebecois are a socio-cultural nation" then the issue will only matter to Quebec sovereigntists.  If somebody goofs (Layton?), this could still end up spun as "special status for the province of Quebec" and then I would rank it #1 and bump the others down.
Cutting funding to Status of Women - #5

Paul Merriam, Ottawa

Merle A. Jacobs.

Joe, I think Dion is using his knowledge of the world in which we live and is not that out of touch with people issues. Perhaps I am biasd as he is someone who thinks as a political scientist and a sociologist and I see it in his world view.
The ability to understand and recognize how things have an affect on us and others
allows for a choice of how we resolve to live our lives
. ~ Merle Jacobs.

Caspar Davis

So far, I think Dion's doing OK.

I'm going to wait a while before critiquing him. I am very hopeful that he will make the Liberal party a satisfactory home for Progressive Conservatives.


Deborah Meredith

Re issues

      is tiresome

      answer is good

      everyone sick of Status of Women

waiting times an issue – but one the Liberals will have a hard time with – it’s against Canadian values to complain about waiting or any solution to it.

      environment does concern Canadians and he will try to look like a champion – but of course there is baggage.  Income trust action is unpopular but a done deal.

 A big issue in Vancouver Quadra is crime.  Apparently Dion was on the radio yesterday expressing concern for the perpetrators and not for the victims.  Do you know if this was reported?


Deborah Meredith

(Not to my knowlwdge)
Peter Ineson

Joe - I salute your initiative in raising this item of "interest".
To me, personally, none of the items Dion feed to the media are of any real significance. Canada has a great many more real issues that must be addressed, some of which are being reviewed etc. by the current government. I would also note that changing the course of government programs is no easier than stopping an ocean liner traveling at full speed on a dime!
The items noted are of no real relevance and appear only raised to pander to the "liberals" and those further to the left of the political spectrum. In other words his opening shot was a "blank".
I offer the opinion that he has actually taken attention away from real issues such as illegal immigration, government accountability, violent crime, national security, taxation and health care. In so doing he has, to me, proven that the Liberal Party of Canada is without purpose or direction - then again, most of the current problems being faced by Canadians and our government today were caused by the inept and often corrupt policies and practices of the Liberal Party of Canada.
The cancellation of funding to special interest groups, in particular, is long overdue. I would like to see audits of all those organizations together with a cross reference of their executive membership lists. The question being - How many persons participating in various "charitable or special interest" groups receive funds from Canadian Taxpayers as the result of membership in more than one of these organizations?
Canada is one nation whose provinces all have equal status and there is always a need to recognize the differences within the social structure of our nation.
Again, your solicitation of views and opinions is appreciated. Peter Ineson

Roger Christianson

Subject: re: Your views on attack issues

The issues raised by the “new Liberals” are of course interesting but completely expected.

They are also really quite immaterial, since in this country it is not a matter of what is proposed by any political party, it is WHAT IS REPORTED BY THE MEDIA, AND HOW IT IS REPORTED.

We can be sure that no matter what is proposed by the liberals, it will be favorably reported on but more particularly if it is LIBERAL/SOCIALIST in nature.

Conversely, any proposal by the socred/reform/alliance/conservative side will be received and reported upon negatively. Thus it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever after!
The SCRAP party will learn this in due course and will have time to ponder the lesson during the next eight years in opposition or until they decide to form yet another party to go out tilting at windmills.
Roger Christianson

Zeb Landon

Subject: 'supply mnagement' of agricultural products newly threatened by CP?

*re.  Were you Dion what issue would you raise...?


Our local CP MP, Diane Finley, when she campaigned here in this farming riding of southern Ontario committed herself to support agricultural 'supply management'.
**Isn't there a contradiction between previous promises and present push of the CP that ought to be debated?**

I sense that what Harper and Chuck Strahl now want to do with the Canadian Wheat Board is castrate it, if not kill it outright.

Not being familiar with western wheat farming myself, I nevertheless sense that eliminating an effective CWB would 'divide and conquer' the producers of wheat, and mean that Cargill or General Foods, or whoever normally buys wheat, would be able to get farmers to play a bidding war amongst themselves, resulting in lower prices for the producer-sellers of the commodity.

So instead of helping the farmers, many of whom voted for CP, they will get shafted?

Zeb Landon
Haldimand Norfolk

Jeannette Fraser

 How would you rank them in order of potential impact on voter attitudes?

 _1 ( B )

_2 ( A )

_3 ( C )

_4 ( D ) The environment

John Halonen

How would you rank them in order of potential impact on voter attitudes?

_1 ( )  #1  FROM my perspective would be,  what is CANADA? Are we a nation that has values OR Do we believe it is the right of Government ( specifically              the Conservative Government ) to make decisions on the direction of Canada.

              From the days of Brian Mulroney, the Conservative Prime Minister, should we accept the direction that Canada should be part of a "North         American UNION" , or should we look at the direction of Brian Harper to pursue the requirement of being a "North American Continent" that has           shared values. One should be concerned that the Conservative Party received funds that influenced their decisions.

             Somehow, I still think of myself as being CANADIAN, even when many would say that it is better to protect corrupt political parties, I believe that it          is the right of "ALL" Canadians to make that decision.

_2 ( ) #2  It is again from my perspective, health.  Being retired it is of prime consideration as each day being here is one that I am able to converse with       others.

_3 ( ) #3  All Provinces have the right to protect their interests, as long as it is not a detriment to the Country as a whole.

_4 ( ) #4  Same Sex -  An issue, but not one that will change our Country, if the others are not viewed first.

        John Halonen

Svend Raun

How would you rank them in order of potential impact on voter attitudes?

_1 (   Concur with Dion, its a dead issue and waste of time to debate now. There are more important things to be concerned about )

_2 ( All provinces should enjoy equal status and not as Quebec at times interprets the equality question that it being equal to the aggregate of all the other provinces. That was the impression I gauged in 1973 when there and others have also reported getting the same impression. The current Bloc will undoubtedly use the new notion of being a "nation" as yet another stepping stone on the road to separation from Canada and to make a UDI analogous to Rhodesia of yore but they would be well advised to considered the state of affairs in the new Rhodesia aka Zimbabwe! is that what they really want???)

_3 ( The Canada Health Act ought to be reviewed and brought into the current world. Being drawn up prior to so many new treatment that didn't exists when the act was debated & proclaimed the ideal of the time is not necessarily the same as now. Get over the constant war cry of "not for profit" as preached by the NDP and mix it with a dose of reality, no one - doctors or nurses - work for free, medicine is not produced for free but end the monopoly of the pharmaceutical companies by disallowing protracted term of patent rights. )

_4 ( If I were Dion I would raise the long waiting time for health treatment - so many patients go downhill while waiting to be treated that it seems as if governments are taking the cheap way out by natural attrition - if the patients die while waiting they can't complain about it and they are out of the political scope and can't bother us as long as they die before the next election. Cynical view to take I suppose, but it can be difficult at times to see it any other way, particularly in BC where endless tinkering with the health care delivery costs inordinate amount of money but never seems to improve the situation. Admittedly that is a provincial view but I think a lot of the burden should be placed on federal shoulders given the downloading of costs onto the provinces in order that the Liberal government of the day could look better with budget surpluses etc. Tackle that problem and use the federal surplus to ease the burden on the provinces would be a way out, however I wont hold my breath.)

Beverley Smith

Hi Joe,

I just noticed the next election will be Jack and Gilles, Steve and Steve.  Sounds like we Canadians aren't very creative.

Issue 3: It is not about funding or not funding Status of Women.  They were funded to do only a few things, and the real solution is to fund them to do more, and not be so biased.  They were suffering from a big bias in the end against unpaid work.  Cutting all their funding is ridiculous.  We need them, but we need them to address issues that matter.

Issue 4: Dion should become aware of the huge debate going on about income splitting, and if he wants votes, realize that the public is in favour.  We're going to the trouble of having a conference right on his doorstep January 30, 2007.  He would be wise to welcome us.

Beverley Smith

Derrall Bellaire

Joe it matters not to me the order of the attack items.  I,  for one,  am glad to see the current government being challenged.  We need to restore to power a government that first and foremost supports Confederation.   If  the opposition has to create opportunities by opening attacks on different fronts,  then more power to them.

It is interesting to note the NDP is continuing to support the current government with its own attacks on the Liberal party.  This is the same way the reform/alliance/conservative party behaved towards the former Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.  Thankfully the Liberal party has more confidence in itself that it will return to power and will not capitulate to the attacks of the other party.

Derrall Bellaire
Progressive Canadian


Good Afternoon Mr. Hueglin:

Being usually just a silent admirer (and very appreciative of your efforts) this is the first time I have responded to one of these things, but it is very annoying that the Grits (and their new leader) are reverting to their usual stupidity with such alacrity.

You asked:*

How would you rank them in order of potential impact on voter attitudes?
*(I presume you are referring to a positive voter impact for the Liberals, of course.)

_1 ("Gay" Marriage) The liberal position is a loser for them and will benefit the reform-conservatives. If it can be ordered at all, it would be in the negative range. I believe that this was the hidden issue in the last election and the reform-conservatives actually rode to power on alienation of the socially conservative ethnic vote which had previously resided with the Liberals. My view of this is very much out of the mainstream, but since you asked, I will inflict it on you.

Some years ago in B.C., the right wing "Liberals" swept the province with the cry, “Never again will special interest groups run this province!” Gordon Campbell never had to be asked exactly what he meant by that, and he never was, because everyone knew. In the last Federal election, a related pivotal issue was similarly below the radar, and, being politically incorrect, most voters never mentioned it. Nonetheless, it bubbled forth in any examination of that former Liberal-NDP stronghold, the "ethnic" vote. Also, it appeared that dissident old line Tories from the PC party merger, both red and blue, who, particularly in Atlantic Canada, had voted Liberal in the previous election, moved into the Reform-Conservative fold while holding their noses.

I believe that the “value” issue which sent these voters to the Dark Side was same-sex marriage. In B.C., Mr. Dosanj had delivered his own coup-de-grace in the 2000 provincial election when he called for recognition of same-sex marriage, losing even his own seat. In the 2004 U.S. election, this “value” issue similarly received very little attention during the campaign, but the pews emptied to renew the mandate of the most corrupt, incompetent, and ideologically extreme administration in the history of that benighted country.

The demographic context of this issue has been studiously avoided. It is well recognized that only about 6 % of men and 3 % of women in western industrial societies engage in any homosexual activity at all during their lifetime, and for many of them that experience is limited to a single, isolated occurrence. In keeping with this finding, the Battelle Human Affairs Research Center in Seattle published reports in the March-April, 1993 issue of the Alan Guttmacher Institute magazine "Family Planning Perspectives" on a study which revealed that only 2.3 % of American men reported homosexual activity during the preceeding 10 years, and just over 1% had been exclusively homosexual. Similarly, the National Health and Social Life Survey/ ("Sex in America: A Definitive Survey"; Robert T. Michael, John H.Gagnon, Edward O. Laumann, and Gina Kolata, (Little, Brown and Company, Boston:1994), p. 176), which remains today the most exhaustive and broadly accepted study of sexual practices in the United States, found that 2.8% of the male, and 1.4% of the female population identified themselves as “gay”, lesbian, or bisexual, and that only 0.9% of men and 0.4% of women reported having exclusively same-sex partners from age 18 onward. Many other studies in western countries have also consistently found the percentage of the population actively homosexual to be about 1 %.

As would be expected from these figures, it is not surprising that, according to U.S. Census (2000), only 0.42 % out of 106,741,426 American households were headed by unmarried same-sex couples. Similarly, it is then not surprising that the number of same-sex marriage or civil union arrangements registered in jurisdictions which recognize them in Europe and North America seems to run consistently about one half of 1 % (0.5 %) of the total number (both same and opposite sex) of all marriages or unions registered in any given year. Thus, same-sex marriage is an issue which concerns, at best, less than one-half of one percent (0.5 %) of the population of Canada, less than, for instance, the number of Canada’s ethnic Armenians.

In accommodating this tiny minority and its very vociferous advocates, the polls indicated that the Liberal-N.D.P. managed to collectively alienate about 10 % of their former supporters who viewed the party position as an attack on their fundamental values. And after all that trouble, too! Appointing gay-marriage-friendly judges. Those contrived court references. All that pompous self-righteous posturing to show how concerned they were about the suffering of that less than 0.5 % at the hands of several thousand years of perceived, ubiquitous cross-cultural religious “oppression”. And for what? Nearly all benefits of marriage (not that there really are that many any more) were already available to same-sex couples. What was left primarily, what this minority has demanded, and what the Liberals and NDP sacrificed, is simply the symbolism of marriage, that is, largely the religious aspect.

Unfortunately, of course, the Reform/Conservative ideologues did not limit their mandate to that issue, and a similar scenario to what happened in B.C. has begun to play itself out nationwide. The federal government is being gutted and an extreme right-wing economic agenda implemented. The health care system and other social benefits will be rolled back decades. Erosion of Canada’s sovereignty and integration with the U.S. will accelerate. Canada has been stuck into the front lines as cannon fodder in the American debacle in Afghanistan. If Harper was smart, he’d contrive to keep the same-sex marriage mess intact for the next election. No sense in killing the goose (or should I say “gander”) that lays the golden eggs. However, it appears now as if Mr. Dion is going to do all the work for him. All Harper has to do now is play the back court. If Ignatieff's problem was that he had been in New York too long, I'm afraid, at least on this one, Dion's head is stuck in Quebec attitudes still in a state of reaction against an increasingly distant theocractic past.

What is the answer to this issue?

There has been no effective leadership on this issue in any party, particularly the Liberal and the N.D.P., both of which have instead chosen to listen to the stale ideologues of sexual politics, and despite the fact that much of such rhetoric has been recognised as politically toxic.

The answer lies in the approach taken by Denmark, England and France, who chose, by extricating government from the business of marriage, to avoid the fool's errand of involving themselves in the bankrupt quest of a minority, not for equal rights, but for what is really ecclesiastical status. (Same-Sex Marriage advocates are actually using civil law to batter the religious beliefs of the society they are so resentful of.) That European answer: Civil Union, . . . But Not Just For Same-Sex Couples, FOR EVERYONE!

Perhaps the best articulation of this view may be found in the of a Vermont African-American "gay" author, Steve Swayne, who has done a series of articles on the topic for various New England newspapers. Swayne says, essentially, that the state should do for marriage what it did for birth and death: merely certify status, and leave the tasks of celebrating and solemnizing to communities and religions. The separation of church and state in this regard is long overdue. Religious ceremony, if any, and “tuxedos and taffeta, churches and clergy, organs and organdy" or other trappings, along with whatever accompanying restrictions (against same sex or whatever), which form part of the participants’ individual religious cultural milieu, would simply be an optional personalised accessory to civil union legal status, status which would be equally available to everyone, including, as is the case in Denmark at least, for instance, a man and a dependent grandfather, or any other relationship which effectively forms a family unit.

"Separate State-Sanctioned Unions From Religious Marriages"

A directory of Swayne's articles may be found at:

It would be quite refreshing if the new PC party could manage to articulate a similar sensible position on this issue.
Whew! (Bet you wished you never asked!) Now, what's left?

_ 2 (The so-called Nationhood Issue) Well, I think Dion has this right: "Dion told Canada AM that he did not create the divisive debate and he wasn't entirely happy with the motion". I think this issue is simply neutral and has no impact, being simply Ignatieff's foolishness: "Michael Ignatieff strode back into Canada bearing gilt-edged promises that he had kept a close watch on our political evolution during his decades on foreign soil, and that he would be appropriately sensitive to our sociopolitical nuances. He then, by stating a position on Quebec as a nation, proceeded to break our single most important political taboo. It is as if a papal candidate had suddenly barged into a Catholic church and set the altar ablaze." from "The Dog Woke Up" by Gwynne Dyer
(Did you catch this one, or did I get it somewhere else?)

_3 a (the Status of Women's offices closing) Ditto for number one, just more or less substitute "Status of Women" for "gay marriage". The electorate is so put off by feminist rhetoric and resultant over-compensation for perceived injustices that any electoral benefit accrues to the reform-conservatives.
b (Health Care) THIS is an issue (really the only issue of those listed).

_4 (Others) I would put loss of economic and political sovereignty, the Afghan War, and environment with health care, for starters. I believe they all rate similarly.

David Fletcher

_1 ( )It is a red herring, will not be dealt with until after the next election

_2 ( ) was a political move that out manunivered the Bloc.

Not sure what is might mean in the future , but I hope it
means more independence for the provinces.

_3 ( ) No impact

_4 ( )Do not care what the liberals think they are still
in love with themselves and will only look at issues from a
whats in it for them. We are still paying interest on the
money they borrowed in the early 80"s to buy down off
shore oil.

R. Gagne

Subject: Three Questions


This is in response to your call for comments regarding the issues Dion has chosen to highlight in his debut as leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

My impression is that in choosing these particular issues Dion is simply shoring up the traditional sources of Liberal Party support: the special interest groups, the advocates and supporters of judicial activism, and the Quebec apologists, amongst others.  There should be no surprise regarding the importance he attaches to these issues, since that is where his support lies.

As for the same-sex marriage issue, Harper may be doing a little support shoring of his own.  I have read somewhere that by doing this he has set a policy trap for Dion.  In my view, that is no more than speculation, or if it works as the pundits have suggested, is simply a nice side benefit of keeping the promise he made to revisit the issue during the last federal election campaign.  In any event, I would be extremely surprised if anything concrete comes out of this, as the House of Commons is unlikely to approve of it.

On the issue of officially recognizing Quebec as a "nation," I believe that both Harper and Dion could get burned by this little caper.  Harper is likely to suffer because of a backlash in English Canada (or at least some parts of it) as well as when he comes to have to deal with a host of other "nations" (the six hundred plus native communities come to mind, as well as perhaps other provinces) clamouring for the same recognition.  Dion could get burned when he attempts to explain to sovereigntist Quebecers that the recent House of Commons resolution is no more than empty symbolism.

With respect to the government's closure of twelve of the existing sixteen Status of Women Canada offices, that particular special interest group is certain to squeal in indignation and this will be echoed and amplified by the Liberals, the NDP, and BLOC for their own partisan advantage, as well as by the vast majority of the country's chattering class.  On the other hand, I doubt very much that the matter resonates strongly with the vast majority of Canadian voters, who have other fish to fry with the federal government.

The score: two for Harper and one tie, where they both lose.


Greg Butler

In this order:

1. - C
2. - D the problem in Darfur and the number of people dying while the world looks on without conscience. This has to be the 4 biggest international concern.
3. - B
4. - A

Greg Butler

Bob Mann

Joe: Interesting idea to review Dion's so called attack issues. However, I don't think any of the issues you listed will have any affect on the voting public. The only issue that I can think of at this time that they might make a little hay on is to appose the elimination of the wheat board. Since there are some farmers that want to keep the wheat board the Liberals might pick up a little support from them. Keep up the good work Joe. Bob Mann

Barry Blackman,

How would you rank them in order of potential impact on voter attitudes?

Add a fourth should you be of a mind.   or fifth or sixth or....
(Rant engaged)

Dion charged into the same-sex marriage debate during his first session in question period as Liberal Leader, accusing the Tories of undermining charter rights in the pursuit of a right-wing agenda.

"We are beyond that now. The decision has been made. It's a matter of -- do we want to say that the judges, the judicial system, the Charter of Rights are wrong? And this is something that is so against what the Liberal party thinks."
( A ) completely agree with this position... makes the point in a non aggrandizing and socially acceptable manner. One mans vision of heaven is another's hell,  it's just politics, and politicians should be upholding our constitution no matter the cost, or one party's moral compass... there's no morals in politics, just what's right and what's wrong and the Governing Neo-Cons (like most of there platform) are dead wrong on this issue.

Dion also responded to a warning from Alberta's premier-designate that his oil-rich province wants to be treated equally with all provinces, including Quebec.

"I'm going to fight for the same rights and privileges being assigned to this 'nation within a nation,' Ed Stelmach said, referring to the federal government's recent motion that "the Québécois" are a nation within a united Canada.

Dion told Canada AM that he did not create the divisive debate and he wasn't entirely happy with the motion.

"I was not happy with that. I think when we start to try to say who is a nation and who is not a nation -- in any country in the world -- then you have difficulties because the word 'nation' has many meanings," he said.

"And there is one meaning that says Canada is one nation with a seat at the United Nations. This is that we are one country," he said.

On the other hand, recognizing the Quebecois as a nation is a sociological definition that "doesn't give the sense that Quebecers will have more rights than Albertans," he added.
( B ) very discouraged over this motion and how our experts in government decided to handle it. (the nerve, the stupidity)
We cannot identify a confederated member of Canada recognition as a nation... Its absurd, but we can and should classify Quebec as a distinct and endangered culture, and if we must classify the Quecbois we should recognize them with "cultural heritage status" and as a "distinct and unique society"
We can and should affirm our aboriginal peoples as 1st Nations, Francophone as 2nd Nation and Anglophones as our 3rd founding Nation within Confederation. We are in danger of loosing significant cultural heritage if its not properly recognized and protected... especially WRT aboriginal peoples.

During question period later in the day, many of Dion's leadership rivals joined him in asking questions.

Michael Ignatieff, for example, raised questions about the closing of a number of offices operated by Status of Women Canada while Ken Dryden charged that the broke its promise for a health-care guarantee on waiting times
 ( C ) this is a non issue... the neo-cons are just pruning the federal shrub, but "where there's a need, there's always a way" as the squeaky wheel always gets the grease... we should focus on where we as a nation stand now, and where we want to be 10, 25 and 50 years from now... make a point by focusing on the future... invest our resolve by pointing out the possibilities... Dion does this well by adopting a green skin with prosperity in mind, we need to do the same.
The liberal style of providing service should be studied in depth... this is their strength politically, and is (by design) the Neo-Cons greatest weakness
As a Progressive Canadian, I see value in reviewing this.

Were you Dion what issue would you raise other than the above?
(D ) (i) Fight crime & terrorism by directly combating the Black Market here at home, we have to be loud enough that the whole world hears us and hears why we are taking this approach... tobacco/drugs/guns...  legalizing and taxing hemp alone would be huge in the global war on terror... both here at home and abroad by reducing the purchasing power of criminal groups and terrorists worldwide. Bankrupt the gangs by taking away there ability to raise capital.
(ii) Gun registry is a total failure and definitely is a boondoggle, and should be reviewed completely... the law as it stands completely violates provincial authority and responsibility... a national registry can and would work but only through registration at point of sale... rifles are in a lot of ways like cars... sale and transfer of firearms can be regulated in the same way we register cars. If we must... mandate liability insurance to ensure records are up to date, We must ensure law abiding people from remote area's are not affected by what's happening in highly congested urban centers... firearms like cars are not a privilege but a right.
(iii) Si vis pacem, para bellum
(iv) Throw a curveball to the voters... publicly investigate Jamaica's entry into Canadian Confederation... this is DOA but it would definitely send a signal out that the progressives are alive, and that the Conservatives may have abandoned us but we refuse to abandon anyone.

well I finally unloaded that monkey off my back, (rant off)...
thank you for the opportunity
Barry Blackman, CD
Peace River Regional District
Tumbler Ridge, BC
 Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes