Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Daily Digest January 24, 2007

Joe Hueglin wrote:


ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - You can’t buy your way out of everything

CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - Government must do what others can’t


MONTREAL GAZETTE - Justice unlikely for Arar in U.S.

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Galipeau's good sense

NATIONAL POST - Why they died

HAMILTON SPECTATOR - Canada owed an apology

WINDSOR STAR - Corn Cob Bob and the PM

WINNIPEG SUN - Our modest proposal for France

CALGARY HERALD - Arar case cools warming trend
Improved Canada, U.S. relations still tainted by lack of apology

CALGARY SUN - New ‘tone at top’

EDMONTON JOURNAL - Work camp health services need scrutiny

EDMONTON JOURNAL - Harper's strength

VANCOUVER SUN - Alternative treatments give addicts a chance
Maintenance programs for cocaine and heroin users isn't so different than giving meth to hyper-active children

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Victoria must probe drug perks of MLAs and civil servants
There's a privileged elite in this province indulging in the benefits of a two-tier health system


Six premiers, 700 others join businesses in bid to end First Nations poverty

Alberta First Nations challenge women's status change

Warlord urges Afghan youths to lay down arms

MPs face restrictions in Kandahar

Canadian MPs may get to leave Afghan base

Canada, U.S. friendlier after first year of Harper's reign

Back off on Arar, U.S. says
Ambassador tells Stockwell Day to lay off trying to get Canadian off U.S. security list

Wilkins says Canada should back off on Arar

No plans to follow Bush on oil consumption, says Harper

U.S. drug bill seen as threat
Ontario's top pharmacist says a U.S. bill that would legalize bulk imports of Canadian prescription drugs not only poses a health threat to Canadians but is a security risk to Americans.

Bush pushes greener agenda on Congress

Davos slides into irrelevance

Backtracking is tough with foot in mouth
French politician discovers Canadians can be touchy

Playing chess with the French

TB patient quarantined under court order

Forces' drug needs different, MD says
Members don't require all medications needed by politicians, bureaucrats

Does Ottawa change the balance in the selection of judges?

Premiers stand united
Feds may tinker with equalization,N.L. premier says

Doer urges Harper not to let ‘pork-barrel politics' hijack Boeing contract

Tories, Grits remain in virtual tie: poll

PM: 'Canada is back'
Pledges to cut taxes, curb crime, increase prominence on world stage

Harper toots own horn after year in office

Harper's in need of a new target
First-year agenda was easy -- be anti-Liberal

Liberals lift tactics from Tory playbook
Caucus told platform will be 'focused,' relying on key themes, pithy catchphrases

Dion may let disgraced Liberal back into party

Mystery meeting: officials won't say what O'Connor discussed on U.S. visit

Liberals paper over split, call for hearings to rebalance Afghan mission

Sinking NDP could be wild card in next federal election, pollster suggests

More than 75 per cent want Green party leader in election TV debate: poll

Dion says Afghan mission can be improved

Baril quits as boss of air security agency
Authorities deny rift with Transport Canada played a part

Ottawa's new energy program prased

Strahl's tactics have hurt farmers

Ottawa pays terrorism insurance for nuclear plants

Passport applicants find they're not Canadian

PM considering emission targets for industry

Ottawa urges older workers to stay on the job

No-fly strategy casts too wide a net, critics fear

The gassy elephant
Alberta's tar sands are fuelling an ecological disaster

Nuclear power not for oilsands
Despite federal minister's musings, too many costs and risks make nuclear reactors a poor choice for extracting northern Alberta's oil

Tories 'not afraid' of nuclear, Lunn says
'No greenhouse gases'

Energy wealth offers unique opportunity
Middle East crises will make resource-rich Alberta an increasingly important global player. Will we be ready for the challenge?

Trial highlights a need for safe sex-worker zones

Panic on the snowbanks

Where do the Liberals stand on defence procurement?

Urgent need for new CRTC leader

Klein, Tobin to draft continental energy policy

The shameful citizenship debacle


Harper: «Nous avons respecté notre parole»

Prochaines élections: les Canadiens encore indécis

# Harper n'imitera pas Bush au chapitre de la consommation de pétrole

# Les libéraux seraient prêts à revoir le bannissement de Marc-Yvan Côté

Le gouvernement refuse de faire la lumière sur la visite d'O'Connor aux E.-U.

Le Bloc fourbit ses armes sur l'environnement et le déséquilibre fiscal

Les libéraux veulent la tenue d'audiences sur la mission du Canada en Afghanistan

L'ambassadeur des Etats-Unis critique Ottawa au sujet de Maher Arar

Doer presse Harper de ne pas sombrer dans la politique électoraliste


        Ambassador Wilkins to-day heralded our improved relationships with the United States of America in one breath - then dumped on us for being
         presumptuous in seeking an apology for sending a Canadian citizen to Syria to be tortured and pressing to have his name removed from the US
        no fly list.
        Why is our relationship improved? In part because we have bought into the American paranoia resulting from the events of September 11, 2001
        in every way. No, that statement is inaccurate.  Canadian Forces did not go to Iraq, though some would have had them do so.
        The latest example of compliance is the development of screening mechanisms that will serve no functional purpose against well organized terrorists
         "Flying has to be an everyday right and need." is the stated opinion of Mary O'Donoghue, senior counsel for the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.
        I don't care who it is that says "Get used to it, government intruding into our lives must be stopped somewhere.

        I may be standing alone but I'm saying "Hold! Enough! Collecting the following information on everyone that boards an aeroplane is going too far!"
                 Libertarian # 1

One of the studies it has commissioned found that the proposed screening system could cost between $95 million and $270 million.

"The government will need to spend significant personnel resources to both clean up the data and clear passengers who have been falsely identified and allow them to continue travelling," reads the IBM Global Services study, recently released under Access to Information laws.

The 34 pieces of information that would be examined are:
  1. Surname, first name and initial or initials.
  2. Date of birth.
  3. Citizenship or nationality or, if not known, the country that issued the travel documents for the person's flight.
  4. Gender.
  5. Passport number and, if applicable, visa number or residency document number.
  6. The date on which passenger name was first recorded with airline.
  7. If applicable, a notation the person arrived at the departure gate with a ticket but without a reservation for the flight.
  8. If applicable, the names of the travel agency and travel agent who made the person's travel arrangements.
  9. Date airline ticket was issued.
  10. If applicable, a notation the person exchanged their ticket for another flight.
  11. The date, if any, by which a ticket for a flight had to be paid to avoid cancellation of the reservation; or the date, if any, on which the request for a reservation was activated by the air carrier or travel agency.
  12. Airline ticket number.
  13. Whether the flight is a one-way.
  14. If applicable, a notation the person's ticket for the flight is valid for one year and is issued for travel between specified points with no dates.
  15. The city or country where the flight begins.
  16. All points where a passenger will embark or disembark.
  17. The name of airline.
  18. The names of all airlines to be used on trip.
  19. The aircraft operator's code and flight ID number.
  20. The person's destination.
  21. The travel date for the person's flight.
  22. Any seat assignment on the person's flight selected for the person before departure.
  23. Number of pieces of baggage checked by the person.
  24. The baggage tag numbers
  25. Class of service (first class, business class, economy).
  26. Any specific seat request.
  27. The passenger name record number.
  28.  Phone numbers of the person and, if applicable, of the travel agency that made the arrangements.
  29. Passenger's address and, if applicable, that of the travel agency.
  30. How the passenger paid for the ticket.
  31. If applicable, a notation the ticket was paid for by another person
  32. If applicable, a notation when there are gaps in the passenger's itinerary that necessitate travel by an undetermined method.
  33. Departure and arrival points, codes of the aircraft operators, stops and surface segments.
  34. If applicable, a notation the ticket is in electronic form and stored in an aviation reservation system.

Joe:       Re:  A South American scientist from Argentina , after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity read their e-mail with their hand on the mouse.        Don't bother to take it off now it is too late

Try these:


Count every " F" in the following text:




WRONG, THERE ARE 6 -- no joke.
Really, go Back and Try to find the 6 F's before you scroll down.

The reasoning behind is further down.

The brain cannot process "OF".

Incredible or what? Go back and look again!!

Anyone who counts all 6 "F's" on the first go is a genius.

Three is normal, four is quite rare.

Send this to your friends
It will drive them crazy.!
And keep them occupied
For several minutes..!

More Brain Stuff . . From Cambridge University.

Olny srmat poelpe can raed tihs.

cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The
phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy,

it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs psas it on !!

John Halonen

In reply to comments by Phyllis Wagg:

RE:   North American Integration / North American Union / SPP

In simple words are you trying to indicate that there is an attempt by our business elites ( together with those that have been seduced to join them like the mainstream press and many government leaders )  to create a more higher rule in how they should be able to act within our country. 

Does this not seem like an act of treason by individuals that have sworn an oath of allegiance to
their countries.

John Halonen

Don Keir

Hi Joe:
This is a direct reply to James Carson But it should prove informative to some others as well.
My, my, James where have you been. Do you think that Bush, Martin smd Fox met down in Waco, Texas merely to practice their handwriting? The reports claimed they signed an agreement there re North American Union on march 23, 2005. Likewise for Bush, Harper and Fox on Cancun, Mexico on March 31, 2006. And what about that 100 or so "noble leaders" from business, government and the military of the three countries, the US, Canada and Mexico who got together in Banf, Alberta  for three days last September, were they just admiring the scenery. I f you go to vivalecanada website you can find the agenda for their meeting. You will even find the names of those who attended.
You know, you should keep in touch.
Don Keir

Robert Ede

Subject: if you cannot say anything nice

 The newbie, Ref/All?Con cabinet-government has proven itself to be just as good as the Liberals at:
1) fooling some of the people all of the time
2) fooling none of the people some of the time
3) usurping the Governor General's Executive powers
4) running to the head of the currently-trendy parade, at election time
5) BEING, just like the Liberal Party
EXCEPT it's done all this in MINORITY
what'll they be like with 50%+1

(What'll or what'd ?)
Rosalie Piccioni

    I haven't paid much attention to the write-ups on the NAFTA & SPP because I didn't think there was much to worry about.  However, yesterday I was at the website of the Canadian Action Party and read there some things that made me think.  For example, there is an item on a Trinational Call for the North American Economic and Security Community by 2010.  There is also a petition against the agreement which can be signed via their website.
    I signed the petition and also sent an e-mail to the Honourable David Emerson informing him that even as a Conservative I had done so.  My reasoning for saying anything is that I am a proud Canadian and that as long as we involve ourselves in an agreement, Canada is bound.  In other words, we will have given up our right to make any future decision affecting our own country.  Much as I feel good about our neighbours, nevertheless, I don't like the idea of their having the power to do anything further that would affect us, and we have nothing to say about it.
    There was just that thought, which was enough to make me do something as an individual.  To-day, I heard a commentary being given on CBC TV News.  In summary what they brought to the audience was a bright picture of how the borders in Europe are becoming freer to cross, while ours are becoming more complex.  I thought, "Yes, the countries involved belong to the EU with the euro money simplifying any such exchange.  All we have to do is add to the hold that the NAFTA already has on Canada."  What a sales pitch to attract attention with a vote for signing (anything and everything)!! To Canadians such an NAU Agreement, as being planned, might be "comforting": i.e. something can be done about making border-crossings safer and, soon, easier for us to make exchanges.  And, I might add, of course that would probably mean a common dollar -  something like an "ameri-dollar" for instance. 
    As I wrote to the Honourable Emerson, Canada is too great a country for us to endanger her future progress through the signing of a questionable agreement with any country, even though they are our neighbours and appreciated as such.  Our country Canada has a good worldwide reputation and we have a promising future, which shouldn't be jeaprodized.
    Just had to write this for consideration for the Daily Digest.  Thanks.
Tories 'frantically trying to imitate' Liberals: Dion

During his speech, Dion stressed his ties to Quebec, which he called a "cradle of civilization" in Canada. "After a century and a half, the Liberal party finally has a leader who was born and grew up in Quebec City," he said.
The rest of Canada, take note! This isn't just some guy from Alberta, that barbarian wasteland. Nor is he from TO, the graveyard of cilization. Pfffttt!
Harper Tories seem a bit late in boarding the green bandwagon
A dreary election campaign of recounting Liberal failures versus exaggerated claims for Tory gimmicks lies ahead
Dang, our cover's blown! So much for Plan A ...
Canadians want Green Party leader in debates, poll shows
The other leaders will quake until the Green shoots. ("Green shoots". Geddit? Bad Pun 2007 Award for sure!)
MacKay most popular Tory, online poll finds
His tall, strapping build gets him the women's votes. Calling BS a dawg gets him the guys'. A winner all around!        
Harper's costly lust for Quebec votes
"But honey, I really DO love you!" "Oh, you MEN, you ..."

Phyllis Wagg

North American Integration verses North American Union
Here's a thoughtful piece. My comments below ...
In my opinion there is no real push toward a North American Union at this time.  It is the integration of the three countries that is the main concern.  The main stream media support integration and have a vested interest in not discussing the issue because they represent the interests of the economic elite.  Integration does not mean political union but is part of the incremental process designed to give more power to North American based multi-national corporations in order to increase their competitiveness in the global economy.

Debatable but not unfounded. Actually, the thing that disturbs people the most about "integration" is loss of national power and loss if identity. Loss of national power can be argued two ways: Canada would be influenced more strongly than it is now by outsiders (which isn't obvious to me), but Canada and its national partners could gain a lot by streamlining inter-partner procedures for movement of goods, capital, (workers?), etc.
On the streamlining side, I don't think any country intends to create a supra-national agency controlled by another country (or by anyone else) without governmental supervision... this agency being necessarily governmental, it would obviously be supervised by participating governments. Thus, separate, inter-coordinated, national agencies, possibly with a central "board of directors" named by participating governments, and possibly with a single name, would arise.
On the loss of national power side ... I feel that no power would be really lost except for that of regulatory competition in some fields (with "regulatory" competition meaning that based on tailoring one's regulations to one's own benefit in relation to others). The "integrated" institutions would still be under government control or supervision, hence my opinion that reducing economic costs by streamlining inter-partner procedures won't necessarily lead to loss of national power. Plus, never doing something because it may lead to a narrowing of policy options in the future is a paradox: the "never doing" creed itself reduces options because some things, no matter how beneficial, could not be envisaged. We can thus say that preserving ultimate freedom of action is itself a good thing; but it may come at a high price if it conflicts with beneficial measures that are based on voluntary co-operation. In my mind, the benefits of "integration" (which I prefer to call "streamlining") are by far greater than the costs. Plus, think of the benefits: companies involved in cross-border business (not just multinationals, but also those who sell/buy to/from "foreign" customers"suppliers) would benefit from having to deal with a single set of rules (no export papers for the country of origin and different papers for the country of destination; faster customs clearing, co-ordinated security) and governments could work on a single infrastructure as opposed to a separate for each partner.
As concerns loss of identity: it ain't gonna happen. The horse has either already left the barn or the door is already closed and he's staying inside. On the "left the barn" side, goods and services are now overwhelmingly merchandized, to the point where we buy stuff without really looking into where it's been made, etc. As long as safety and operational standards are met (and those are essentially identical in Canada and the US, with Mexico having to catch up), who cares where it comes from? If an electric shaver shaves well, all's well provided that it doesn't electrocute its users. In the latter case, electrocution is a safety thing leading to banning of sales within a country; it's not a "where does it come from" thing. Hence the "left the barn" argument: an item's being safe and suitable for use in Canada is all that matters.
On the "door is already closed" side, some inter-partner realities make it so that a given country's policy options are limited. For example, remember what happened when the federal Liberals (Sheilaaaaa!) looked to passing a regulation that would require the addition of MMT to gasoline? The stuff would have reduced vehicle emissions but North American vehicle manufacturers claimed that it would plug up their sensors in their vehicle motors. The result: malfunctioning cars, invalidated warranties, precipitous decline in sales of North American vehicles, etc. The federal Liberals (Sheilaaaaaa!), humiliated, back down ... and they did the right thing. In that case, Canada's options were limited by an unforeseen reality. And it wasn't lobbying by US multinationals that were principally behind it ... it was physical reality and economic reality.
 The concept of the NAU, in fact, may have been thrown out there as another red herring to make it easier to establish integration with little serious debate.  Hence, the anti-Americanism argument and the NAU argument are the two extremes placed on the table in order to have integration as the ?compromise? position.  [Joe ? here is your Hegelian dialectic].

Anti-Americanism: if it's acted on, it amounts to cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. As for the NAU: Malice in Cuckooland. There's no demand for it anywhere in North America. As for "integration" .. think of it as a poor choice of word, given the connotation. Someone someday is bound to come up with a more soothing term like "streamlining", which is what integration is really all about.
I must admit that the dismay over integration/streamlining is an example of failure of leadership on this issue. No party these days seems to put much effort into exploring, formulating, and promoting policies covering this important subject, which means that the Canadian electorate repeatedly faces seemingly-stark choices without forewarning and with little time left for familirization, rumination, and deliberation. Hence, the somewhat-pervasive sense that government is run by and for self-interested "others": Canadians get the sense that no one ever asks them for their opinions and no one ever discusses with them what the future holds and what can and ought to be done to face it. This kind of thing can't be neglected for too long in a democratic setting: the "people" in time grow less and less co-operative and surprising things can happen (e.g. the cooling ardours of Europeans for anything hasving to do with the European Union, which is felt (justly) to be run by far-away bureaucrats).

I do not expect there will be any form of formal ?political? union because that is not what the integrationists are seeking.  What those interests pushing integration are seeking is a society in which their interests are placed above the overall interests of the countries involved through agreements that go beyond national borders.  It is evident that corporation based in the United States, with ten times the population of Canada and a much larger economy than Canada or Mexico, would dominate the integration politically.  But the concerns in the United States are just as serious as those here in Canada about the implications of deeper integration.

Right-o. Corporate arm-twisting is a reality in the US, but much less so in Canada (Mexico, I don't know). Given that it takes two/three to tango for integration/streamlining to come about, Canada does have a de facto veto over specific issues, if it has the guts to face the consequences (i.e. the US going alone, with Canada having to submit to US border regulations). But Canada's no slouch when it comes to these things: the idea is to identify what is suitable for integration/streamlining and then working out the details.
Those pushing integration, which includes political leades who are agents of the corporate elite, would be horrified at the idea of a full union.  That is because it would make for a much stronger centralized democratic government that could potentially control ?greed.?  Their objective is to create an agreement that is outside the normal democratic channels once it is in place.  International agreements function in much the same way as national constitutions.  They can be changed but once in place it can be difficult and costly to make any changes. 

True. For the democratic angle, see above. As for the "costly to makes changes / to back out" thing, see further above.

There is absolutely no doubt that Stephen Harper and his new Conservatives support the concept of integration just as did the Liberals under Jean Chretien and especially under Paul Martin who signed the SPP.  The Conservatives placed their support on the record in the 2004 Conservative Platform which sets out a plan to: ?Enhance our NAFTA relationship with the United States by moving towards harmonized tariffs, eliminating rules of origin, and moving beyond trade to pursue enhanced common labour, environmental, and security standards.? 

If we were to consider Canada to be a standalone country, then tariff harmonization would make no sense. But if we think of Canada as being part of a greater whole (North America), then the context changes. The idea behind tariffs (apart from their being a source of federal revenue) is to benefit or protect domestic industries from competition by giving those industries a price advantage. However, different tariffs for items that come from outside two trading partners (Canada and the US, in this case), complicates things: if a good or service can enter the country that has the lowest corresponding tariff, from which it could then be passed on to the other country, then tariff differences become a way for outsiders to get around one country's tariff protection. This leads to "rules of origin" agreements between the two countries: to reduce the impact of tariff-bypassing, these rules limit the percentage of foreign goods and services that can go into a product manufactured in one country and sold into the other. For example, something like 50-60% of parts (by value?) for car manufactured in Canada have to be of North American origin. Beyond this percentage, the US sticks tariffs on cars made in Canada. The same applies to cloth for men's suits, etc. Thus, if we consider Canada to be a country that is not a stand-alone, then tariff harmonization makes sense of rules of origin agreements are abolished .. one country would no longer have to worry on its partner competing against it by lowering tariffs. Of course, the problem then becomes who decides what tariffs are to be imposed, which is where much more discussion needs to take place. Neither Canadians nor Americans will accept a foreign government's dictating tariff policy on the other. I'm curious to see if and how this all works out.
International trade agreements undermine democracy because they are designed to transfer power over society to whatever private institutions (corporations) are able to control the economy.  NAFTA was a deal that placed the wants of the large corporations above the needs of civil society in all three countries.  Canadian civil society has probably suffered the least under NAFTA because of our social safety net.  Canada has been able to use its commodities (natural resources) to replace the loss of value added production.  The result is that middle incomes are relatively stagnant while in the U.S., which does not have the commodity reserves, middle incomes are falling and in Mexico overall incomes are falling as manufacturers have found cheaper labour sources. 

The idea here is for national governments to keep an eye on and either disrupt or regulate monopolists and cartels, whether local or national in scope. On the other hand, costs that fall excessively on the shoulders of certain people in a given country should be compensated for by other means, hence Canada's safety net. I can't comment on the details here since I don't have the needed expertise but the generally speaking we should not always seek to adulterate trade agreements for "social" reasons: seeking the best agreements and adjusting our social arrangements accordingly is an approach that we should always consider.

Governments need to have room to operate and not have their hands tied by international agreements designed to protect the wants of capital from the needs of civil society.  However, agreements such as NAFTA and agreements to standardize laws and regulations create major problems for the functioning of a vibrant democracy.  By placing enormous financial penalties on any government that seeks to legislate on behalf of civil society the power of liberal democracy is undermined.
On the other hand, governments should have the freedom to agree to beneficial arrangements even if they limit future maneuverability. You can't have your cake in the future if you eat it now, and vice versa (assuming that you don't want to sell it or otherwise get rid of it). But that doesn't mean that you should never eat your cake for lack of future options thereafter: in that case, what's the point of having a cake? C'est l'ironie mais c'est la vie. Half-baked (pun!) non-committal doesn't cut it (pun again!) these days.
Right wing and left wing ideology are both anti-democratic because they are based on set concepts.  The left wing ideology believes in the absolute right of government to dictate what society needs; the right wing believes in the absolute right of the private sector to enforce their wants on society.  On both ends of the spectrum civil society, those of us in the ?mushy? middle, are the losers and we must never permit that outcome.
Ye God..Gosh almighty Prime Minister Stephen Harper is becoming a PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE. Wonders will never cease. John Dowson a ( Progressive)
Well, after all, he wouldn't want to be labeled a Regressive Conservative. I mean "Retro-Conservative" just sounds too Paleolithic and all.