Monday, February 12, 2007

Daily Digest February 12, 2007

Joe Hueglin wrote:


HALIFAX NEWS - Tories appear aloof on racism

HALIFAX HERALD - Garth’s turn

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Not just Mexico's tourism at stake

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Identity avalanche

OTTAWA SUN - Province lowers bar

TORONTO STAR - Legacy of slavery a stain on Canada

TORONTO STAR - Boost Palestinian aid

NATIONAL POST - The ethics of the single file

TORONTO SUN - Let’s clear the air on wages

LONDON FREE PRESS - Let's clear the air on wages

WINNIPEG SUN - Now, what about those wait times?

CALGARY SUN - Unhealthy obsession
It’s always fascinating to watch the bandwagon effect.

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Law can't make folks be sensible


Senate report blasts mission
Urges Ottawa to boost number of police, military trainers, castigates NATO allies for doing more `saluting' than `marching'

Afghan soldier wounded in Canadian firefight

US defence chief in Taleban talks
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has held talks with President Pervez Musharraf on ways to deal with a resurgent Taleban.

Militants put squeeze on Musharraf

Senate report blasts mission

U.S. lawyers argue O'Connor report 'irrelevant' to Arar's U.S. lawsuit

Ottawa expands program to make travelling to U.S. easier

Good planning helps save CPP's massive fund
$109-billion holding

A pot of a familiar colour

Canadian-led scientists make diabetes find

Tackling medicare costs

BC. is busy helping skilled immigrants find right jobs

Province's equalization fight gets support

Federal green fund boosts Quebec Liberals ahead of expected election at 21:27 on February 12, 2007, EST.

Tories, Grits fight over Senate reform and proclamation of FAA
Liberal-dominated Upper Chamber accused of stalling Senate reform bill, and Grit Senators want to know why major parts of FAA aren't in force.

Environment politics to help Conservatives in urban ridings, says pollster Lyle

Harper announces $1.5-billion clean air fund to be used by provinces

One-day trip cost taxpayers $35,000

Tories knew of 'huge' head tax problems
Memo warned Chinese redress might raise issue of polygamy

Liberals set to help kill 'draconian' measures
'These laws are not necessary to protect Canada from terrorist threat': Anti-terror legislation

Partisans filling judge nomination committees

Tories slam Liberal 'hypocrisy' in Celil case

Gore distances himself from Tory claim
Former U.S. vice-president says comments he made were not in praise of Ottawa, but to encourage government to stick to Koyoto Protocol

Kyoto: Targets, not talk


Justice minister defends graphic artists, fire fighters nominating judges

Auditors' report slams Defence over vehicle maintenance
Sole-source contracts are not 'good value' as review estimates $8-million a year in possible savings

Day says Transport Canada moving 'aggressively' on security recommendations

Tories shake up justice department
Say new director of public prosecutions will play `politically independent' role

Not such a capital idea

Ottawa reportedly eyes tanks from Germany

Liberals misquoted on oilsands policy
Cutting greenhouse-gas emissions will make us richer

Where's the Tory action plan on climate?

Plug-in hybrids: the way to reduce emissions and foster energy independence

The evolution of warming

Deniers earn media play

If pollution-free power exists, why are we still gassing up?
Canadian company built home hydrogen-making appliances in 2001

Investing in climate security

Bernier's troubling stand on net neutrality

Canada West report endorses controversial 50% resource sharing plan

Shooting through loopholes
Canada hasn't banned a new weapon in more than a decade, allowing cheap knock-offs of assault rifles to flood the market; Some models available to anyone with basic licence

Picking sides on a risky labour bill

History will vindicate Afghanistan mission

All we are saying is give choice a chance
It's not just about the money

Open Market or Single Desk? Lessons from the 1920s…

Another green battle looms for oilpatch
Impact of new environmental costs on stock prices is murky

Scientists stir up gas-in-water debate
Microscopic methane bugs detected in freshwater supplies tested in central Alberta

Day-care changes ignite protest
Operators say Ottawa's decision to change funding will result in increased rates

Cuts put referral program in jeopardy
Resource centres in B.C. face funding axe

Think tank recommends privatizing Canada Post


La politique de bilinguisme de la Défense est un aveu d'échec, dit Fraser

# Québec touche l'argent tant attendu d'Ottawa pour son plan vert

# Le Parti québécois estime que l'annonce Harper-Charest manque de sérieux

# Jean Charest plaide en faveur d'un marché du carbone au Canada

Duceppe veut tourner la page sur les déboires connus dans Québec

Le ministère des Transports réagit avec vigueur au rapport de l'OACI

Gore dit que les conservateurs ont dénaturé ses propos

Justice: les conservateurs accusés de partisanerie



The usual relationship in our sayings is "You cant see the forest for the trees". Yesterday the 9 trees were missed for the forest in Diane Francis' article.

Any reactions to these concrete suggestions she makes?

Lorimer Rutty / Denis Simard

Subject: Reality checks on hysteria/The "Truth about Kyoto"

I believe that Canada can clean up its act, and here are some ways this can be accomplished dramatically without ruining the economy:

1. All coal-fired plants generating power in Canada should be retrofitted with emissions-free technology or replaced with nuclear plants. Nuclear should also replace natural gas power plants so that gas can be preserved for home-heating markets across the continent as well as petrochemical production.

2. Nuclear plants should be built in Alberta's oilsands to replace the use of natural gas to extract the oil.

3. The Mackenzie Valley pipeline must be built to bring cleaner natural gas down to North America's markets in order to cut back operations involving coal or oil.

4. Canadians should be given a grant to replace a gas guzzler for a hybrid vehicle.

5. Government buildings and vehicles should all be as green as can be.

6. Cities should dramatically increase zoning densities along existing subway or LRT lines in order to monetize the benefits of building public transportation and get people out of cars. There should be greenbelts imposed around cities to stop suburban sprawl.

7. Legislation should encourage energy users to clean up and use existing technologies. Unless mandated, companies must responsibly deploy capital in other, faster payback ways.

8. Ottawa must convince, then help, the maximization of Canada's huge hydro-electric potential. This is vastly underexploited in Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia. There's no excuse for this.

9. Ottawa must inform the world that unless all countries sign a revised Kyoto, the treaty is pointless, then push for a new one.

This is what Canada can do. Kyoto, as negotiated, is ruinous for Canada.


Brad Thomson


We are now seeing and hearing plenty of debate with respect to climate change, global warming and whether or not human activity, pollution, is the cause. Some say yes and that we had therefore better do something about it, and some say no and that we should therefore stop worrying about it. It happens to be my personal opinion that the problem is radically advanced, but this is not the point.

The point is this. Humans had better assume that the problem is very serious, just in case it actually is. We had better stop polluting our environment, just in case we are jeopardizing mankind. If it turns out in the end that the problem was real, then we will have staved off our extinction. And if it turns out that we were worrying about nothing, then we will have cleaned up our act sooner than necessary. But clearly, if we choose to do nothing and the problem turns out to be real, we are doomed.

Again, arguments as to whether or not pollution is adversely affecting our planet are irrelevant. We simply must assume the worst case scenario, just in case it is the true scenario. If the deniers are wrong and we do nothing it is game over. If the advocates are wrong and we do something anyway, so what?

Assuming the worst is the only chance we have to arrive at the best. Assuming the best may well lead to the worst. It is time to stop arguing over whether the problem exists or not. It is time to assume that it exists just in case it does.

Better safe than sorry.

Brad Thomson

Chris Schnurr

At a luncheon speech yesterday, MacKay said the underwear incident proves the federal Conservative Party is still progressive, even if its name isn’t.

“In what other party could the Foreign Affairs minister give his boss a sexy pair of Stanfield underwear, and not have anyone say a thing about it? That’s progressive.”
Fundraising comes so easily to Tory bagman Stewart McInnes, he can make a deposit in the party’s coffers during a trip to men’s room.

Yes, giving a gift of underwear proves beyond a
reasonable doubt that the Conservatives are

One can only imagine then, for argument's sake of what
Monica Lewinsky's gift to Bill Clinton proves of the
Democratic Party in the U.S.

If only politics were that simple. What dictates, Mr.
MacKay, whether or not a party is 'progressive' are its
policies in action. Period. Underwear denotes a
sense of humour. Two very separate and distinct
things, I say.

I couldn't have read a more amusing statement and
simply reaffirms my long held belief that people only
say things publicaly to affirm for themselves that
which they want to be, as opposed to what they are.

Brian Clark

Subject: Re: Managing climate change

Hi Joe,

About 99 times out of 100, I can resist throwing my ideas into the fray. This is that 1 time in a 100.

I really resonate with your words about not taking extreme positions. Today I heard Diane Francis say almost the same words as part of her interview on Charles Adler's show about her article in Saturday's National Post "Kyoto is economic suicide as is".

The environment is one of my top three political issues. Here's how I see it:

Issue: Burning carbon harms the atmosphere.

Impact: Media has inflicted mass confusion and rhetoric about the 'science of climate change'.

Action: We must reduce amounts of carbon being burnt.

The amount of political rhetoric around the impact of this issue has gotten in the way of useful action.

I'm not sure if spewing never-ending amounts of carbon byproducts into the atmosphere will cause global warming. It may be true but no one can be sure. Other arguments could claim global cooling (refer to articles about nuclear bombs causing an ice age becuase of filth in the atmosphere). I'm most worried about the health of human and animal life breathing this filth.

Yet there is no doubt dire consequences of some kind loom. Despite confusion around the impact, the issue and action are clear.

Sadly, confusion has delayed action.

The fatally flawed Kyoto has contributed to these delays. Imagine telling Canadians we will spend $billions in Kyoto payola instead of investing in programs to improve the environment.

Worse, China generates more pollution each day than Canada does in a year. Worse still, China is on a path to use its (world's largest) reserves of coal to build coal-fired electric generating stations at the fatal rate of one new plant opening each week for the next 15 years!!!!!! Yet China is exempt from Kyoto.

As is often the case, a voice of reason in the media is Diane Francis. I suggest you post her article.

As a final comment, imagine a scientist showing up at a PhD defense of his doctoral dissertation. The candidate arrives with a 12 page 'executive summary' making all kinds of claims. He says he has a 1600 page document that scientifically defends his claims. He further says his 1600 page document won't be available for the committee for a least 2 months because he has to 'review' the science to ensure the data validates his claims. He insists his claims will not change, but allows the 1600 pages may change.

No credible scientific university would award a doctorate based on this defense. Yet that is what the IPCC calls 'irrefutable scientific evidence'.

There Joe, that's off my chest.

Thanks, Brian Clark

Charles Tupper

At 09:01 PM 2/11/2007 Sunday -0500, John Halonen wrote in the Daily Digest:
John Halonen
North American Union / North American Integration / SPP
Re: Charles Tupper, Vancouver Subject: Help stop NAFTA before it abolishes the USA
Your concerns regarding the NAU are shared by many, yet it is almost an impossible task to stop this integration.
In Canada most news concerns would be addressed in our National media, yet we have allowed the control of the media to be in the hands of so few, and
these elite have signed on to this integration. Therefore with almost no media coverage, it will continue to progress and flourish.
Now for the Political process, I have personally forwarded over 1000 emails, with at least a response from Stockwell Day.
"Best for Canada" was not the response I was looking for. Have they sold us out or have other influences that Canadian citizens are not aware of, made politicians follow this path of no return? Very difficult to know, but it is all current political parties and Canadian citizens have been left out of the equation.
Only way to have any possibility of success has been thru the Internet, but then you are labelled as a "Conspiracy Theorist".
Look at the Title "
Conspiracy theorists given a free run at continental pact" from a column written by Barbara Jaffe of the Vancouver Sun.
After a review requested by many of the "Conspiracy Theorists" another column from B Jaffe
Integration negotiations require public scrutiny".
Quite the change, yet her latest column is restricted to Vancouver Sun readership, and was NOT picked up by our National Media.

Dear John Halonen & Fellow Digest Readers:

Try asking ten people at random what they know about the NAU and there's a very good chance that you'll get a blank look in response. They've never heard or read a peep about it in their choices of media.

You wrote: Your concerns regarding the NAU are shared by many, yet it is almost an impossible task to stop this integration.

How about... "Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - Francis of Assisi

Given that the mainstream media is complicit in a variety of event coverages & cover-ups, especially with respect to the United States, as evidenced in countless articles more readily available in respectable blogs than in the print media or on TV over the last six years, it's time to recommend that people turn off their TV and cancel their subscriptions to newspapers and magazines. And, at the same time, make concerted effort to engage in dialogue with family, friends, and colleagues on issues that have an impact on our future as a country.

The likes of Barbara Jaffe are obeying their master's voice... in order to pull in a pay cheque. Journalistic integrity has all but evaporated. Her labelling anyone a "Conspiracy Theorist" who has the effrontery to bring up such fears that an NAU might put upon us in the long term, is just an easy way out to obfuscate the issue. And, most people reading that tripe will swallow her missives hook-line-and-sinker... because that's exactly the way they've been conditioned to respond/think - by the very same vehicle she and like-minded columnists write for. It's high time we smash out of that heavy mold... and end a long hibernation.

The $64,000 question is: Are we really willing to do it. It would appear that some are... yourself included. Are there enough of us that are willing? No! Not yet. (Unless there are more willing citizens than I imagine, at this juncture). It's a very difficult task to stop the perpetual drip of anaesthetic that is 'injected' into us on a daily basis. Only when we stop that insidious flow will we really be able to make the necessary and important difference. I can only acknowledge you for taking the first steps. Keep it up... Don't give up, and encourage others to do the same. It ain't over until the fat lady sings.
"The human mind naturally adapts itself to the position it occupies. The most gigantic intellect may be dwarfed
by being cabin'd, cribbed and confined. It requires a great country and great circumstances to develop great men."
~~Sir Charles Tupper - shortly after becoming Premier of Nova Scotia in 1864

Charles Tupper

Charles Tupper

Subject: Experiment that hints we're wrong on climate change
"BURN THE HERETIC! BURN THE HERETIC!" -- The cult of the hot Earth
It may have been reckless for the cultists to try to link denial of man-made global warming with denial of the holocaust. ~ Michael Rivero

An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change
Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, says the orthodoxy must be challenged

When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months? time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases. . . .

Right-o. I'd add (many) scientists to politicians and journalists. But though published opinion (including scientific opinion) leans towards the "impending crisis" view, more and more contestation is in the air ... and rightly so! Few things annoy me more than scientists "finding scientific religion" (as it were) while their science isn't concrete or reasonably-enough developed. But thank Heaven that science, being what it is, breeds contestation.
As concerns the global warming scare, the thing is that zillion-dollar solutions are being proposed for "problems" that may actually not exist. First, some basics:
1. The world is INDEED warming. This goes pretty much uncontested.
2. There's been a sudden, much more rapid than before, rise in temperature since 1998 (so for the past 8-9 years).
3. No one really knows what's behind it, no matter WHAT anyone says.
People have latched on to the idea that increased concentrations of greenhouses gases tend to warm Earth's atmosphere. This is probably correct. The catch is that we're nowhere near understanding other factors, some of which we may not have thought of. And computers models that calculate possible Earth-warming scenarios have given widely-varying results and have been based on assumptions that may be either false, inaccurate, or incomplete (for example, most haven't taken into account deep-ocean temperatures, which may be a big deal, and have broken ocean surfaces into 250 km by 250 km chunks that may be too big to serve for modeling. Plus, temperatures have been rising since 17500ish or 1850-ish (I don't remember which) ... is this timeframe too short for us to make draw accurate conclusions? What about other factors like solar activity, or (I'm pulling this out of the air) the warming of the Earth's crust caused by subterranean heating?
Also, we know nowhere near enough about what the effects of global warming will be. Will it be worthwhile attacking them head on? How can this be done? At what cost? Will the Earth be just "different" than now or will it be "worse off" (or will this vary from place to place)? And the ultimate question: is there something better that we could do with Earth's resources (including human ones) (eradicating some tropical diseases that millions suffer from, for example)?
In brief: we're nowhere near being confident in knowing what's behind global warming, let alone how to deal with it or even whether it should be dealt with at all. And TRILLIONS of dollars of expenses are at stake to deal with an issue that may turn out not to be one. So, what's to be done? First, since we're dealing with something long-term in nature, we should invest heavily in climate research. When we'll have a decent idea of what's going on (which will take some time but we'll get to it), take appropriate measures if they're warranted. In the meantime, the political choice amounts to "do we wait until we know more" versus "do we take some precautions now, which may also have other benefits (less air pollution that otherwise)" versus "stop everything, let's clean up before we go any further". The last scenario, no one will accept the consequences. So the "wait" and "precautions" scenarios are the ones to be considered.
Lorimer Rutty / Denis Simard

Subject: Reality checks on hysteria/The "Truth about Kyoto"
Kyoto is economic suicide as is
Liberal adherence makes no sense unless all countries are signed on
I think that Kyoto observance would fall short of economic suicide, and that apart from the fact that any democratic government would bail out waaaay before Canada gets to that stage. However, a lot of wealth and effort could be expended for something that may turn out to not be worthwhile.
But one of the main issues that bothers me is to what degree can other countries be trusted to meet their obligations, even if not all of them sign up? One country that bothers me in particular is Russia: it's got lots of surplus polluting capacity available, which could be sold to offset pollution increases in other Kyoto signatories. (This arose from the fact that Russia's pollution quota was based on "official" figures from a time before Russia's industry went down the toilet after the USSR broke up. Plus, note my quotes around "official" ... how reliable are figures coming from the USSR or early-post-Soviet Russia, anyway? I remember that Commies were being painted as inveterate liar-obfuscators until not long ago ...). So what happens when Russia's industry, etc., picks up to the point where it hits Russia's pollution quota? Will Russia still respect its Kyoto commitment? Or will it in effect say "Get stuffed, we won't hobble our industry because of some stupid treaty (but thanks for the money given to us when we sold you our pollution permits)"? Alternatively, would Russia (and other countries) start fiddling around with pollution figures if it had incentive to do so? For that matter, will underdeveloped countries even have the ability to consistently and accurately measure their pollution generation? You get the basic idea ...
Personally, I don't believe in the Kyoto pollution-permit approach because of the built-in incentives to cheat ... and to make a fast buck doing it of you've got pollution permits to sell.