Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Daily Digest January 30, 2007

Joe Hueglin wrote:


HALIFAX HERALD - Playing with backfire

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Forget the ads and fix environment

TORONTO STAR - Opportunity for Dion

TORONTO SUN - CEO salaries a drain

K-W RECORD - Tory ads present desperate image

WINDSOR STAR - Health care: Quebec's private option

SUDBURY STAR - The satellite killer; China's decision to shoot down its own bird feeds fears of war in the U.S.
http://www.thesudburystar.com/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=381893&catname=Editorial&classif =

WINNIPEG SUN - Save us from ourselves ... again

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Nasty, endless campaigning becomes norm

CALGARY HERALD - The victory of common sense
Quebec extends consumer choice in public health care

CALGARY HERALD - Ads soil one's own hands 

CALGARY SUN - Minority report

Helmets would cut down on toboganning injuries

EDMONTON JOURNAL - Tories throw first mud

EDMONTON SUN - Making amends

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Road to equality not at its destination yet

Prince George Citizen -Who watches the watchmen?

VANCOUVER SUN - The devil is in the details of Tories' promised Green Plan 

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - The punishment of house arrest does not fit these crimes 


Document outlines Canada's military plans in Afghanistan

O'Connor denies plan to extend Afghan mission

Tories deny plan to extend mission in Afghanistan

Extended Afghan mission planned, critics say
Opposition cites plans as proof troops will stay until 2011

Canada to give $32M in Afghan aid

New JTF2 site part of military overhaul
Revamped commando units to fight terror by land, sea and air

Pakistan's Prime Minister Says Afghan Refugees Must Return Home

Washington Ups the Ante

Canadians buck global trend, warm to U.S. role in world

Warning issued for lumber tax increase

Tories' oil sands estimates exceed industry's
PM, ministers offer varying targets

C'mon, join the protest!

Everybody's jumping on biofuel bandwagon, but who's at the controls?

Labour blockage: A Bloc Quebecois bill would tell employers they must capitulate to unions --or close 

Shiites attack Shiites as swirling agendas converge in Iraq

Japanese Premier wants to overhaul pacifist constitution 

Doctors give impact of wait-times strategy a marginal grade

Reform key to fixing 'broken' medicare

Healthy seasonings: Besides enhancing the flavour of food, spices can help fight disease 

Experts testify in support of stiffer minimum sentences for gun crimes CP - Tue Jan 30, 7:25 PM

Immigrants no better off now than 1990s, despite more qualifications: report

Premiers back away from equalization fight

Quebec Liberals edge ahead of PQ: polls

Foreign workers likely needed at fish plants: Williams

Ombudsman defending his turf

Liberals launch by-election TV ads

Winning can be about just not losing
In federal politics, winning is almost always everything. But once in a while it can be about not losing.

Tories, Liberals continue enviro-battle

Who's more green?
Leaders battle over climate change as Parliament opens

Climate talk dominates Parliament
'Take real action': Dion presses PM to confirm support for environment

NDP, Tories may have deal on Clean Air Act

Harper: Kyoto critic or "climate change denier"

Questions swirl as Canada's environment commissioner replaced

Budget speculation buzzes with talk of income-splitting for the middle class

Harper letter dismissed Kyoto a money-sucking socialist scheme

Special deal for income trusts would imperil tax cuts for others: Flaherty

Dion: Flaherty won't co-operate on income trusts

Majority has cynical opinion of Tory environmental motivation: Decima poll

Attack ads risk blighting Tories' green strategy

Defining Dion

The Hard Sell | Special political edition
A three-member panel, assembled by marketing reporter Keith McArthur,
onsiders the new Conservative Party ad campaign and rates it out of four stars.

Tory attack ads viewed as `smart politics' – and a risky strategy
But questions are raised about copyright http://www.thestar.com/News/article/176145

Tory ads too negative
experts: Likened to style of U.S. Republicans.
'They must be scared to death of Dion to be attacking him now like this so vigorously'

NDP MP slams Oda on TV fund

Civility kicked out as Tories air attack ads
Super Bowl spots kick off next election campaign

Attack ads risk blighting Tories' green strategy

PM cancels Fraser Institute appearance
Think-tank charging delegates $11,000 each

'cut a deal' with NDP on climate

Quebec will benefit from Boeing contract, PM says
Harper rebuffs protests from Duceppe that province should get larger share

Harper roasted after friend handed plum appointment

Tories stick to guns on defence purchases
$3.4 billion in all Minister defends Afghan 'retribution

Farmers should consider all facts before voting in plebiscite

Barley producers need market choice to expand their business

Strahl orders wheat board to pay its new CEO

New CEO's pay latest dispute involving CWB
Board waiting to negotiate salary for Ottawa-appointed Arason

New Wheat Board battle


CWB says S&P analysis shows Ottawa on wrong track

Winnipeg exchange takes aim at CWB barley outlook

Ottawa moves to help Canadians regain citizenship

Watchdog still has no answers on environmental impact of oilsands

Tories won't regulate ABM fees

Arar smear remains a mystery

10 lessons Canada can learn from Arar affair

Future flood of 'climate refugees' ahead?
RCMP: Police report warns of a potentially overwhelming influx of people
if global warming forces millions to flee Bangladesh and other countries

Layton’s anti-bank campaign ridiculous

Welcome! Leave your customs at the door
Quebec town posts cultural code

Question Period, minute by thrilling minute

Policy by Stealth: The Harper Conservatives are bypassing Parliament and changing Canada

"In this column, I'd like to identify two especially notable reports. Taken together, they profile the courage and professionalism of U.S. soldiers operating in Iraq. But at the same time, they demonstrate how futile is their task of pacifying Iraq's hellish civil war." -  JONATHAN KAY

Trusts: Ottawa not victimizer

Milton Friedman: a great missionary

The new OPEC

Out of the blue: Why green became so cool

Pull up a chair. It's the parliamentary version of Let's Make a Deal
How far will Tories, NDP go to keep coalition alive?


La commissaire à l'environnement est congédiée pour ses prises de position

Dans une lettre, Harper a qualifié Kyoto de "complot socialiste"

Les premiers ministres du pays ont annulé une importante réunion

Les Canadiens doutent de l'authenticité des politiques environnementales

Les expert sont d'accord pour avoir plus d'outils

Rentrée parlementaire - Surenchère environnementale aux Communes

L'achat de quatre avions C-17 de Boeing - Harper refuse d'intervenir en faveur du Québec

Imposition des fiducies de revenu - De petits investisseurs veulent faire changer la décision d'Ottawa



The chief shame is that attack ads, whatever the political source and target, tend to lower public regard for all politicians. Winning or maintaining power by getting voters to stay home or vote against your enemy doesn't seem a very good way to boost voter enthusiasm for the democratic process. And it makes it very difficult to complain when the enemy takes the safeties off its own weapons of rhetorical destruction, and starts returning fire.


        The main reason you'll be reading this on January 31st not January 30th, unless of course your west of the EST zone and still on your computer,
        is that upon opening up my computer a Google Alert was read reporting a conversation between the Agricultural Ministers of Australian and the   United States of America.

        The American, whose picture is below if it comes through, was pressuring the Aussie about the Australian Wheat Board.

        Intrigued in that the Canadian Wheat Board is essentially the same, the sole marketing agent for wheat and barley I looked for more information         then crafted a Letter to the Editor and sent it out.

        At 7:54 this post was received:

                                            From: "Timothy W. Shire" <timothy@ftlcomm.com>
                                            Subject: Re: Marketing boards on the table when CWB single desk gone?
                                            To: Joe Hueglin <joe.hueglin@bellnet.ca>

                                            Posted, Joe this is remarkable I really appreciate this explanation.

        I visited the site and what Tim posted is below as well as two articles arguing the pro and con of the vote barley growers are taking that will
        either be a step toward what the American's want or the retention of Canada as a force in the international grain trade.

        You may be proponent of what I've come to call the "Personal Property Principle", and it may be best for you if you are wealthy or not only     cocksure but certain you can stand alone without working with others, but if you aren't think twice about the effect of its application in all aspects of       our society.



January 30, 2007
by : Joe Hueglin
Niagara Falls : All this time we thought it was ideology and now Joe has discovered that the campaign to destroy the Canadian Wheat Board is just the boys in Ottawa doing what the boy in Washington wants. http://ensign.ftlcomm.com/editorials/LTE/hueglin/hueglinList/100/hueglin102/CWB_chip.html

Mike Johanns, US Secretary of Agriculture

Marketing boards on the table when CWB single desk gone?
Niagara Falls, Ontario,
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
by: Joe Hueglin

The New Government of Canada is determined to give away a bargaining chip in the World Trade Organizations negotiations. Mike Johanns U.S. Secretary of Agriculture has stated "My view is that some point, in order for the Doha Round to be successful, everybody is going to have to figure out what they can give on, what they can put on the table, and I think single-desk monopolies are a part of that discussion." (1)

Australia is also in the midst of reviewing its "single desk" marketing though through a different approach. Unlike the Harper Tories who are intent on voluntarily doing what they Americans want, there are country wide hearings on the future of the AWB (2) and their Agricultural Minister "has hit back with criticisms of its (the U.S.) billions of dollars worth of domestic farm subsidies."(3)

What will it be that Canada "can put on the table" should the Canadian Wheat Board cease to be the "single desk" marketing agent for Western grain?

Will it be supply management of chicken, egg, dairy and turkey production? It will be, if the same principle Agriculture Minister Strahl argues is applied, that of producers being at liberty to sell their product.

The Harper Tories "Personal Property Principle", that all should be able to sell the product of their labour at whatever price they can get, falls short when the competition's production is subsidized.

1. Rowland, Michael, Australian wheat export arrangements holding up global free trade, ( pdf) January 30, 2007 ABC news


2. AAP, Wheat taskforce begins meetings, ( pdf) January 30, 2007, The Australian


Government of Australia, Wheat Export Marketing Consultation Committee Discussion Paper (pdf) January 2007


3. Herald Sun, US targets AWB monopoly, ( pdf) January 30, 2007, Herald Sun


Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0


Farmers should consider all facts before voting in plebiscite

Tue Jan 30 2007

Allan Dawson
THERE is a lot to consider before filling out your barley marketing ballot.

That's especially true if you grow malting barley. Many farmers have already made up their minds. But consider this. A recent study concludes the Canadian Wheat Board's (CWB) single desk allows it to, on average, extract an extra $35 and $40 a tonne for six- and two-row malting barley, respectively, over what would be available in an open market. The premiums narrow when feed barley is short and widen when malting barley is tight.

The reason for the large premium is simple -- market power. There are three major malting barley exporters in the world and Canada is one of them. The other two -- the European Union and Australian Wheat Board -- like the CWB can price discriminate because they also have single desks. Their disciplined selling means higher prices than would exist in a traditional open market.

If you grow feed barley you're likely feeding it to your animals or already selling off-board to the domestic feed market. In recent years southern Alberta's feedlot ally has been the highest feed barley market in the world.

Farmers have three options to choose from on the ballot, but only one maintains the CWB's single desk for barley. By selecting either of the other two you're voting for an open market and an end to the premiums the CWB gets.

You should also think about this: Who advocates the so-called "dual market" -- one where the CWB would exist, but in name only, in an open market? It's groups like the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association (WCWGA), whose leaders contend single desk selling confers no benefit, and in fact, costs farmers money. However, apparently in an effort to be magnanimous, they say a dual market should be an option so farmers who so desire can market collectively. You might see that as a thoughtful gesture, but a so-called dual market gets what the WCWGA really wants -- an open market. It also reassures those farmers who are perhaps less informed about what's at stake by misleading them into thinking the benefits of the CWB will be there in an open market.
        Click here to find out more!
If you believe an open market will serve you better, vote for it, but don't be fooled by an option that promises you can have it both ways.

As a friend recently remarked the definition of utopia is having your cake and eating it too.

The government's three-pronged plebiscite on barley is akin to Quebec having a referendum on separation and giving voters these choices: (1) remain a province within Canada; (2) become a sovereign country; (3) be a sovereign country and remain a part of Canada. It's no more possible than being dead and alive at the same time.

The CWB is the single desk. If there's no single desk the CWB, as we know it, no longer exists. As far as the WCWGA is concerned that's fine.

So why is a dual market a plebiscite option? Simple. It makes it more likely the government and WCWGA will get the result they want -- an open market. Any combination of the dual option and removing the CWB altogether totaling more than 50 per cent allows the government to claim a majority of farmers voted not to retain single desk selling.

It's unfortunate the government and the WCWGA lack the strength of their convictions to be honest about what they seek. The process has been skewed from the start. Clearly the government believes the end justifies the means. It also knows it's unlikely to win otherwise. If it does win, the government and WCWGA better hope they are right about the open market being better given the probability that many farmers didn't realize that's what they were voting for. Grain farmers were promised great things by giving up the Crow transportation subsidy, but most feel now it just reduced their income. Will it be the same for the CWB?

As for farmers voluntarily marketing grain collectively, there's nothing preventing that now. You don't need a plebiscite.

The Prairie wheat pools were founded on the ideal of collective marketing. They went broke early in their history because of voluntary pooling. The government stepped in and what evolved is what we have today -- single desk marketing for and by Prairie farmers for barley, durum and wheat.
The pools bounced back as co-operative grain companies, although they are gone now, too. Did they pay more for grain than the competition? Not usually. That's because in a competitive market the law of one price exists. The pools might have wanted to pay farmers more for their grain, but couldn't because they couldn't get end-users to pay more.

End-users didn't pay more because the pools' competitors were willing to sell for less. It's called competition and when it's working it drives prices down.

That's not to say farmers didn't benefit by being pool members. If the co-op made money farmers earned patronage dividends. They also had a say in the business, which farmer-members controlled democratically.

But on a day-to-day business they operated like other grain companies.

So ask yourself this: What possible advantage will the CWB provide to farmers with its single desk in an open market, with no elevators, no terminals, no capital and probably without its best staff because they've been cherrypicked by the competition?

You have three options on paper, but only two in reality. Consider which approach -- the single desk or open market -- is likely to make you the most money or best meet your needs and vote accordingly.

Barley producers need market choice to expand their business
Tue Jan 30 2007

Jeff Nielsen
STARTING tomorrow, the federal government will begin mailing out ballots that ask all barley producers in western Canada how they want to sell their barley. Farmers will have five weeks to mail in their ballots.

The leadup to this vote has reopened a long running debate on the Canadian Wheat Board's future. By doing so, it has shifted the focus away from the real issue at hand: giving barley farmers more control of their businesses.

Since the Second World War, western Canadian barley farmers have had to sell barley destined for export or human consumption to one customer -- the CWB. East of Manitoba, farmers have had the option of selling to the customer of their choosing.

As a third-generation western Canadian farmer, I've often wondered why. I've seen, heard about and lived through good years and lean years and thought there has to be a better way for farmers to manage both. As a barley producer, I believe market choice offers solutions, many new opportunities and parity with our eastern counterparts.

I also believe the federal government sees market choice as a way for western Canadian barley farmers -- who produce the overwhelming majority of all Canada barley -- to sustain their farms in an increasingly competitive global market. For the record, the government's plebiscite questions give voters three solid choices:

* The Canadian Wheat Board should retain the single desk for the marketing of barley into domestic human consumption and export markets.
        Click here to find out more!
* I would like the option to market my barley to the Canadian Wheat Board or any other domestic or foreign buyer.

* The Canadian Wheat Board should not have a role in the marketing of barley.

Any and all changes in Canadian agriculture -- in particular the CWB -- involve politics and emotion. This plebiscite is no different. We're seeing scare tactics and fear mongering about an arm's-length government agency, which is supposed to operate outside of the political forum, and in a way that serves both farmers and grain buyers.

Although the plebiscite question has three distinct answers, many people seem to think there will an either/or outcome -- the CWB will remain exactly the same or it will be dismantled. The fact is, the CWB could -- and should -- be one of the market choices and it must adapt to changing times.

I am a businessman as much as a farmer. I want my business and my farm to grow and prosper with market choice. I do not want to rely on subsidies, ad hoc programs or the inflexibility and the take-it-or-leave-it prices of a monopoly.

I'm not alone. Many farmers across western Canada want the freedom to sell their crop to who we want, when we want and at the best price we can negotiate. We want to operate in the same environment that farmers in eastern Canada and every other free enterprise business in Canada operates.

Those farmers who don't want to operate in this environment won't be forced into anything; the CWB can still be there for them. We do not have to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Those of us opting for choice will benefit in several ways: We'll have clarity in marketing signals, which will lead to the ability to make forward financial plans. In turn, this would likely include pricing and production contracts giving producers leverage with financial institutions.
Furthermore, market choice will give me and like-minded farmers the ability to explore export markets which may mean better farm gate returns. I also expect we'll build stronger relations with maltsters and other barley users and achieve more consistent quality and attributes. Who can argue with better beer?

Changing the way barley is marketed in Canada shouldn't be something that's feared and reviled. All change creates opportunity. I've embraced change in the past and I embrace it now. I see opportunities literally knocking at my door. And yet the current restraints of the CWB monopoly keep me from answering.

I plan on using my vote to open the door and create more opportunities for my farm business. I encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Nielsen of Olds, Alta., is president of the Western Barley Growers Association.