Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Daily Digest January 2, 2007

Joe Hueglin wrote:


CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - Ominous signs of an Arctic thaw
What threatens the polar ice cap will inevitably threaten us all

HALIFAX HERALD - Save a life: Buckle up

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Time to get tough to make teens buckle up

TORONTO STAR - Campaign against poverty

NATIONAL POST - Opening up the justice system 

NATIONAL POST - The dictator In Our Backyard

TORONTO SUN - Promises to keep

LONDON FREE PRESS - Seatbelts simply save lives

K-W RECORD - Bush is not totally to blame for his country's problems

WINDSOR STAR - Fair game: The court and hunting

SUDBURY STAR - We got off easy; 2006 was a slow year for news, which means it was a good year
http://www.thesudburystar.com/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=341287&catname=Editorial&classif =

CALGARY SUN - Feds’ time to deliver

Bracing for more uncertainty in ’07

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Another case of a fee that’s not a fee

VANCOUVER SUN - It's time to account for drugs busts that are busts
Given ample time, police should be able to come up with proper reasons to search property

VANCOUVER SUN - Canadians could benefit from an international etiquette guide


Many oppose urban reserves

First World War veterans don't want state funeral

Latest offensive in southern Afghanistan disrupting Taliban: Canadian general

World of difference between front line and hospital for medics in Afghanistan

Take the time to tinker with your finances

Hopes, fears and bold predictions for 2007

Could world shrug off U.S.?
Recession Concerns. Economic might may be shifting to old stalwarts

High-flying Canada facing hard landing?
'Substantive Hangover' http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=25c87d21-5bf5-412d-b6cf-a024712d5de5

U.S. housing market still a threat, analysts say
Sector could drive economy into recession http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=6f579ded-79c3-4709-a4ed-e9c013d815c9

Vertigo - CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS in Baghdad , Iraq,

Germans going "ga-ga" over new baby subsidy

Superbug Gaining Force In Canada, Report Says
'Old Foe With New Fangs' http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/bodyandhealth/story.html?id=aa655e9e-cfde-4fec-b044-a17bf361934b

We're in it together

Choice of top judge fuels guessing game

Child care so costly immigrants sending babies back to China

Alberta Alliance poised to strike

PM sets up meetings amid talk of cabinet shuffle

Harper Poised For Cabinet Shuffle
Possibly This Week: Environment Minister expected To Be Bounced

New laws, Policies Kick In With New Year

Government orders psychological testing for trainers of armed border guards

Change in law proposed to allow final farewells
Divorce Act amendments considered by legislators

Tax jolt named Business Story of the Year

Terrorist 'dirty bomb' could trigger severe economic damage: CSIS

Commit to Canada If You Expect It To Commit To You

Fighting Taliban protects Canada

Discretion key in reporting from war zone

Watching the wilderness disappear

Redefining Canada's image on the international stage

Taking back the Net
A number of new websites put average people, rather than big companies, in charge online

Don't cut taxes

Do cut taxes

True Fakes: Scientists make simulated lunar soil


 Des rumeurs de remaniement ministériel circulent sur la colline parlementaire

Afghanistan 2007, une année cruciale



                          The intelligence service points to the notion terrorist thinking has shifted from the desire to inflict mass casualties to
                          "one of inflicting severe economic damage." http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/070102/national/csis_dirty_bomb

Duh! To my knowledge the sole terrorist act (and if there have been others please let me know) has had the effect of inflicting not only "severe economic
" but severe psychological damage as well.  Damage which the intelligence service is feeding with suggestions of the effects of nuclear blasts.

        A question to those who are learned in law.  Is there a time limit in Ontario on prosecutions for terrorist activity?  There has been nothing heard about our
        homegrown terrorist case coming to court as yet and it will soon be a year since arrests were made.


Ron Thornton

Subject: Re: Daily Digest December 30, 2006

Hi Joe:

I watched the Prime Minister's Christmas interview on CTV.  First time in years...decades...that I watched the program and did not feel like kicking my television set in.  It is so rare that I can watch the PM of this land and agree with most of what he says.

Mark Hendriks

Subject: The slow death of a planet


A sampling of global warming related events, worldwide:

Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island

Giant ice shelf snaps

Glaciers are dying

And yet, our "Man of the Year" Prime Minister continues to support tax
break for the tar sands.

Mark Hendriks

Bob Taubman
Subject: Re: The federal government as a force in Canadian policy.

Hi Joe,
Happy New Year to all;
I found a passage in a book I had read, "Dixie and the Dominion, Canada, the Confederacy, and the War for the Union", by Adam Mayers,  a senior editor at "thestar.com",  the Toronto Star's website. 
"For Brown [of the Globe and Mail], this states' rights was "a great evil" and so the Canadians should ensure that any "implied" power rested with the federal government.  The Civil War had proved this all too well.  In the Canadian model there could never be a civil war, because there would be no basis to secede:  the federal government would control the whole nation.  In MacDonald's view the Canadians must avoid what de Tocqueveille had called "a source of radical weakness" in the American constitution.  "It would ruin us in the eyes of the civilized world," MacDonald declared."
Mr Harper's strategy to strip the federal government of its inherent centralized powers would be contrary to what our founding fathers envisioned for Canada.  I hate to think what this country will look like should the Conservatives win a majority of seats in parliament.  The previous cries by the opposition parties of a secret agenda now appear not to be mere rhetoric. 
"Be afwaid;  be weally afwaid" as Porky Pig would say.
Bob Taubman
Ottawa, ON

(There is no "secret" agenda - it was stated 12 years ago.)
Rene Moreau

re; the great dismantler

    A possibility;
    Say the North American union was just a red herring to cover Harper's goal. That while the North Americans are fighting an amalgation of North America, the neo-cons are actually doing a take-over of Canada and it's resources.
1.  the usians are highly motivated  and already committed, as evidenced by their implant, (5th column), of their people into our government and businesses.
2. They're building a wall to keep Mexicans out of their space.
3. Things have been fixed so that no federal M.P.'s has to reveal dual citizenship to the public. This was confirmed  by citizenship and immigration in 2006. Citizens may well want to call, (again and again) to confirm, thereby sending a message to government about our concern re the conflict of interest aspects of holding 2 citizenships, Canadian and American, in particular, while in office.
4. When the Liberals held their last convention in Montreal they used  John  Dean, an american democrat as their key-note speaker. I called John Godfrey's office to see why, and whose idea it was. They called back and said it was the idea of the Quebec caucus. I called, Fabrice Rivault from Quebec, who was running for a leadership position, said it wasn't them. So, who? We don't know, yet.
5. Harpers use of the worst government people Ontario  has seen further illustrates that 'to show that government is useless and dumb, give the people useless and dumb government.' (e.g. government by Bush)
  There is much, much, more, but you get the idea, I imagine.
                   Rene Moreau (416-489-8347)

Matthew Clark

Dear Joe
      I find the fact that the government of Canada wants to make the Senate more accountable to the people refreshing. Also unlike some political observers I find the prospect of one party holding a majority in the House of Commons and another holding a majority in an elected (and therefore legitimate) Senate attractive. One problem with Parliament as it is is that the governing party (when it has a majority) is in a winner take all position. An elected Senate would likely put an end to the oppressive party discipline which now exists. As for returning the division of powers to the original constitution: I'm all for it. The federal government is stretched far to thin and loyalty to the country is dissipating as a result. In 8 out of 10 provinces the citizens identify with their province first, then the nation. At this point in time the federal conservatives are an agent for reform and change while the opposition argues for the status quo. If the conservative proposals are not good enough then the opposition should come up with proposals of their own. The status quo is not good enough and quite frankly will probably lead to the dissolution of the country within a decade if not sooner.I base this on not only observation but the feedback I get from friends and relations in Alberta and Quebec. They are judging Canada and are open to suggestions but are very sceptical on how the country has been run in the last 50 years. The conservative angst resonates with them much more than progressives arguments on a just society (which they don't see as all that just). I find your daily digest a wonderful idea and enjoy it immensely. You are to be complimented on it. Thanks again
Matthew Clark

Norm Greenfield
Edmonton, Alberta

Lying about reality has always been a trait only the USA could master.
Lying or hiding the truth has always been a trait only the USA could master.
Saddam Hussein is only another example.
Hussein's execution will be the best example as to why Canada needs to extricate itself from the one way, and disastrous relationship it has with the USA.
Do we really want to be an importer of the ability to lie as well as the USA, or do we want to be known as a nation that understands reality?
Eric Margolis is about the only realistic writer at the Sun, who does not see everything as the Americans do.
He should be required reading for all who study international relations, based in reality.
Thank you
Norm Greenfield
Edmonton, Alberta

Stratos Psarianos

How to really get along with the U.S.
Allan Gotlieb reveals his strategy for getting Washington to listen
This article is a MUST-READ for anyone interested in Canada-US (and foreign affairs) issues. Based on it, I'm buying the book.
From the article: "When we do something different, Americans feel betrayed. They don't see us as foreigners but as perverse Americans."
Precious! ... I'll have to remember that line. That being said, American officials are used to intra-US perversity.
From the article: "I would never have dreamed of how important journalists are in Washington," he writes. "My views were shaped by 20 years in Ottawa dealing with the semi-educated press corps there."
Yow, pull no punches. This is actually my main complaint about Canadian journalism: its overemphasis on "he said this, she said that", and many journalists' total inability to make sense of anything. Which doesn't prevent said journalists (often "columnists") from commenting at length, of course. Some of this arises from partisanship and stick-it-to-them bad faith but a surprisingly-high portion comes from ignorance and ignorance of one's ignorance.
From the article: "Gotlieb observes that diplomatic disputes frequently arise not out of White House decisions, but from the rulings of faceless bureaucrats at federal agencies that Canadians neglect at their peril: "Crises caused not by the foreign policy of the United States but by the actions of assholes occupying obscure positions in obscure agencies.""
Ain't THAT the truth. The thing to understand about thje US is that its government is DESIGNED to prevent anyone from being able to impose his decisions on others. The will (almost?) always be someone that one has to negociate with to get anything done. THe main actors are: the US Presidency (the "White House", "Executive", "administration"); the federal Senate; the federal House of Representatives; the individual States; and the federal departments and agencies. It's a wonder that anything ever gets done in that country.

Jacob Rempel

Subject: on the Kingsley resignation

Below my remarks, I paste in a few Globe&Mail follow-up comments on the Kingsley resignation.
My remarks:
Kingsley may not have wanted to serve any longer while Harper is PM, but he was not forced to resign.
Harper did not tell him to resign. He could not. Kingsley answers only to the House of Commons.
Actually, Kingsley did Harper and Mackay a favour at the time of the two-party "merger" when he improperly accepted their request to approve the merger on Sunday night before David Orchard and other Progressive Conservative Party members could file legal objections on Monday morning office hours. This resulted in a
Midnight Black Sunday coup d'etat takeover of the PC Party by Harper's Alliance Party.
....Jacob Rempel
(formerly president of the Vancouver Kingsway Progressive Conservative Party Association)

Comments in the Globe and Mail
BJ Homes from Ontario, Canada writes:
The position of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) was created in 1920 by the Dominion Elections Act. The Chief Electoral Officer is appointed by a resolution of the House of Commons. He or she reports directly to Parliament and is thus completely independent of the government of the day and all political parties. The CEO serves until retirement at age 65 or resignation. He or she can be removed from office only for cause, by the Governor General after a joint request following a majority vote by the House of Commons and Senate._________________________________

 Harold Uhlman from Lunenburg, NS, writes: Probably another coincidence that Mr. Kingsley resigned just after the Tories had to admit they lied about their convention accounting practices. However, get your facts straight. Mr. Kingsley was not a Liberal appointment. "The Conservatives were in power when Kingsley became chief electoral officer through a unanimous vote in Parliament in 1990. "
Probably just a coincidence that Mr. Harper brought in 40 patronage appointments in the quiet of the Christmas recess and in doing so beat the implementation of the appointments commission under the accountibilty act on January 1. Probably just a coincidence that some of Gomery's major recommendations dealing with reducing the power of the PM's office were rejected. Probably just a coincidence that the Tories tried and failed to ammend the Canada Elections Act to insure convention fees do not count as donations. That is, change the act so their illegal actions were no longer illegal. Well, no matter, they can blame all of those coincidences on the Liberals.

Robert G. Gauthier

"Chief electoral officer quits," by Tim Naumetz, Page 1, The Ottawa

 Dear Joe,
Perhaps there are some of your readers who share my concerns.
All the best in 2007 and beyond,
Robert G. Gauthier, Proprietor
The National Capital News Canada, est. 1982
December 29, 2006

The Editor,
The Ottawa Citizen

RE: "Chief electoral officer quits," by Tim Naumetz, Page 1, The Ottawa Citizen.

Kingsley, et al, should have been fired!

Unfortunately, along with all the media in Canada, the most important story of 2006 was missed.

I refer to the most undemocratic Federal election ever held in the history of Canada and that resulted in the invalid current Parliament and its unrepresentative "elected representatives" of Canadians.

The Canadian Constitution protects the fundamental right to participate in federal elections without any limitations on information. This means being provided full information about 3 essential aspects of the election: 1. Information about the more than 10 registered political parties and their platforms; 2. Information about the individual  registered candidates in the 308 constituencies, and 3. Information about the leaders of the registered parties and the opportunity to evaluate their performance in debating situations, when such debates occur.

In the Federal Election 2006, the exclusion of the Leader of the Green Party of Canada, among the others, Mr. Jim Harris, from participation in the nationally televised debates over publicly administered airwaves, denied the 308 registered Green Party candidates, among others, in the 10 Provinces and 3 Territories across Canada from being heard on the same terms as the Leaders of the New Democratic Party, the Bloc Quebecois (represented by only 75 registered candidates and all these in the one Province, Quebec), the Liberal Party of Canada and the Conservative Party of Canada.

More than 22,000,000 registered voters were denied the right to consider the qualifications of a potential next prime minister.

The fact that Canada, in 2006, has been and will continue, in 2007 and until the next Federal election, to be administered (governed) by an invalid Parliament is the most serious undemocratic event in the history of Canada.

To paraphrase the comments sent to me by the publisher of a newspaper in Uganda:

Whereas we strive to have democracy and a free press world over it's unfortunate that a democratic nation in its adulthood can do such a thing."

While there is nothing that can be done to remedy this invalid Parliament, it can only be hoped that this violation of the political rights of Canadians will not be repeated in future Federal elections.

The departure of Jean-Pierre Kingsley is a great step towards a fair next election since by whatever fortuitous turn of events, the Chief Electoral Officer who failed to enforce the Elections Act, has left and hopefully his successor will be more diligent in protecting the political rights of all Canadian politicians and voters equally.

It is not an earned and just victory for the Harpers, Duceppes, Martins and Laytons and all the other parliamentarians in this Parliament, when equally legitimate and registered competing parties, their registered candidates and Leaders are illegally excluded from fair participation in the election.

These public Officials and members of the media who limited the participation of all Party Leaders in the televised debates, on whatever unacceptable pretext, have dishonoured not only Canadians but the fundamental democratic political values fought for and for which people all over the world are still dreaming to enjoy and are dying to obtain.

The officials, Speaker of the House of Commons, Peter Milliken, former Chief Electoral Officer, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, the CRTC, the journalists and their employers in the "Broadcast Consortium" who were responsible for this anti-democratic procedure have brought disgrace upon the fundamental right of freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the right to participate in the politiclt process without limitations on information and upon the rule of law.

It is impossible, in my opinion, to find a more important news event in 2006 when billions less fortunate people are valiantly struggling to reach the freedoms, too often taken for granted, enjoyed in Canada.

Robert G. Gauthier

Mahmood Elahi

Subject: Democracy cannot be imposed by force

The Editor
The Ottawa Citizen
Democracy cannot be imposed by force:
Cultural determinism of oligarchs and cultural imperialism of neo-cons are wreacking havoc
Re "After Saddam," (Editorial, Jan. 2).
Although Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who committed genocide against his own people, the way he was executed by the U.S.-backed Mailiki government left many questions unanswered. Saddam was tried and exceuted under the shadow of U.S. military occupation at a time when U.S. President George W. Bush's approval ratings are at a record low. To many skeptics, it might look like an attempt to spike up Mr. Bush's sagging popularity at home.
In his attempts to bring democracy through armed intervention in Iraq, Mr. Bush seems to have forgotten that democracy cannot be imposed by force. It must grow within through a long process. Neo-conservatives often refer to democratization of Germany and Japan after the Second World War. But they tend to forget that both Germany and Japan had democratic interludes before the war and Hitler himself was elected by the German people. And Japan was going through a process of democratization before the generals hijacked it in the name of the emperor.
The oligarchs in the Middle East are following what may be called cultural determinism while neo-cons in America are following what may be termed as cultural imperalism. Cultural determinism stems from a  belief among the oligarchs that a ruler must be feared and not loved. They tend to believe in Roman tyrant Caligula's dictum: "Let them hate as long as they fear."
Saddam Hussein followed this to a fault and  fear his people did. He brutalized the Shiite majority and the Kurdish minority and as long as he kept his brutal acts at home, no one cared. But once he crossed the line and brutalized Kuwait -- an American ally -- and threaten Saudi Arabia, another U.S. ally, he infuriated the world's only super power and his fate was sealed.
Mr. Bush and his neo-conservative advisers seem to be following cultural imperialism in the name of spreading democracy. They used America's enormous military power to oust the dictator, hoping to bring democracy in Iraq. But instead of bringing democracy, the U.S. military intervention has widened the sectarian divide and  Saddam's hanging will only add to a conflict which has already cost countless Iraqi  and 3,000 American lives. Neo-cons must realize that they have failed because democracy cannot be imposed on a people by the marines and their high-tech weapons. Only an orderly withdrawal of American troops may allow the Sunnis and the Shiites to find a common ground to live together. The U.S. military presence is only adding to the conflict.

`Great Dismantler' puts ideology into action
From the article: "Instead of using deficits as a reason to slash taxes, as Harris did, Harper and the Conservatives act just as George W. Bush did, using hard-earned federal surpluses as an excuse to cut taxes, which are, in essence, service cuts. In Harper's logic, having deficits or surpluses are a reason to cut taxes - it doesn't matter since the only goal is to cut taxes".
And: "The question for Canadians is whether or not Harper has a mandate to dismantle the federal government's capacity forever, or whether they are willing to grant him such a mandate in the next election."
Hhhhhhmmmmm. So, when things are running well, don't ever cut taxes (or, more precisely, tax rates). I presume that the author means that we should undertake a combination of spend more, transfer more to the provinces , or pay down the federal debt. But no tax rate-cuts, ever. Justification: none, except that it would destroy the federal government's (tax) capacity "forever" (???) and that Canada's provinces would then dominate it. Mighty weak, pardon the oxymoron. And here I thought that university professors had a "duty of reserve", as we say in  French (as in "as a university professor, don't just say any stupid thing"). Maybe that doesn't apply to Trent University's History department ...
P.S. It embarasses me that Mr. Anastakis bears a Greek name, like mine. Greco-Canadians strongly tend to voting Liberal in Quebec and in Ontario. But must some state their case so stupidly? For shame!
New Year, New Leader, Last Chance?
Dion might be able to keep Canada alive and in the game.

And now, from no less an intellectual than Rafe Meir: "Though he's not there yet, St phane Dion will be the last prime minister Canada has with a chance to save the country".
Uh-huh. Is it just me or do most Canadians expect "journalists" to come up with better arguments than: "Vote Liberal or (your country will) die!". Vancouverites, tune in to WDUM(B) 666 when Mr. Meir comes on air from now on. You'll likely learn more.
Exactly what is 'physical activity'?
Uuuuhhh ... sitting on my office chair all day and having my brain burn glucose? (Don't laugh! Strictly speaking, it's an aerobic activity! Hahahahaha). Oh, and on the couch watching TV ...
World faces hottest year ever, as El Ni o combines with global warming
Hey, I'M not complaining. I've just had my first-ever green Christmas here in Montreal. Mind you, it DID snow on the 26th but most of that's all gone. And the days are ALREADY getting longer. Does it get any better? ... Sunnyyyy dayyysssss ....
"Global Prevalence" map at www.consang.net .
Hhhhmmm. Is it just me or does making Christ look like a six-armed stick man with a ... uuuuhhhh .. tail seem kind of like blasphemous. 'Tain't nothing new, blasphemy, it seems.
Plus, who are my relatives in the legs and tail ... my dark-side seventh-cousins from Edom and Amalek?

        Stratos' statement "Conservatives don't so much believe in smaller government as they do in appropriately-sized government and no more;
        in terms of federal-provincial jurisdictions, Conservatives favour more the "original deal" struck in the British North American Act, as opposed to     political practices that followed it;
" is true for Conservatives supporting increased provincial autonomy - it does not speak for all Conservatives.
Mea maxima culpa. But repeating "on average, Canada's Conservatives tend to ... moderately more than the Liberals" makes for long-windedness. (<-- I'm the one saying that. Savour the irony!). Think of those overlapping bell curves that I mentioned in my response ...
This actually reminds me of a The Simpsons episode, the one where two aliens posing as Dole and Clinton on the 1996 campaign trail say:
Clinton: "Abortion for everybody". (Loud boos from half the crowd).
Dole: "Abortion for nobody." (Loud boos from the other half).
Dole: (Shrugs shoulders).
Clinton: "Abortion for some, none for others". (Loud cheers from all the crowd).
When you think about it, that sort of illustrates the Canadian Conservative-Liberal divide.

This: "
in terms of federal-provincial jurisdictions, Conservatives favour
more the "original deal" struck in the British North American Act,
as opposed to political practices that followed it;
" is a primary point
of disagreement I have with Harper's directions for Canada.
Two questions at this point:

(1) what do you believe was the original deal;

(2) what competencies/powers/jurisdictions ought to be transferred
to the provincial governments and limitations placed on the federal?