Sunday, February 04, 2007

Daily Digest February 4, 2007



ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - It’s time to walk the walk

HALIFAX HERALD - The danger of Chavismo

TORONTO STAR - Senate poverty probe time for bold thinking

TORONTO STAR - Cheney delusional on Iraq policy

WINNIPEG SUN - Liberals invited Tory attacks

CALGARY SUN - Political football

EDMONTON SUN - A matter of trust


New chief for Nato Afghan force
UK General David Richards has handed over control of the Nato-led force in Afghanistan to US General Dan McNeill at a ceremony in the capital, Kabul.

U.S. in Afghanistan May Mean Harder Line
U.S. Leadership in Afghanistan Could Signal Harder Line; Airstrike Kills Taliban Leader

Afghan forces vow to retake town
Afghan government and Nato forces say they are preparing to retake the southern town of Musa Qala which was overrun by the Taleban two days ago.

Canadian troops in Afghanistan targeted in suicide bombing

Taliban leader killed by NATO air strike on town

Taliban campaign targets girls' schools;jsessionid=H3VZTKCKGU43BQFIQMGSFFOAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2007/02/04/wpak04.xml

Atlantic troops relieve battle-scarred Ontario regiment in Afghanistan

Increasing number of soldiers in need of help for traumatic stress disorder

Ships of the air
New generation of dirigibles can revolutionize cargo industry

Fight against Iran too familiar

'Are the Children to Receive the Arms Race from Us as a Necessary Inheritance?'

EU unleashes a paper tiger        

Top secret army cell breaks terrorists;jsessionid=H3VZTKCKGU43BQFIQMGSFFOAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2007/02/04/nspooks04.xml

‘Green’ attack

McGuinty says premiers will try to ease restrictions on Canadians

Tory hopes byelection voters send Libs a message

Green Party would get 10% of Ontario vote: Poll

Words just get in the way
Can the love affair between the Tories and New Democrats overcome their differences on Kyoto?

Dion not always hot on global warming, says former minister Anderson

Day not looking to cut prison guards levels

Sinking the navy
Flawed defence plan ignores critical needs

The rush to judgment on income trusts

Controlled access

Why Canadians are right on Kyoto accord

Bird flu kills turkeys in Britain

Expect more bird flu outbreaks, UN chief warns

Canadian climate, size no longer excuses for not going green: experts

A matter of prejudice
Quebec shouldn't accommodate.
Quebec should acculturate

Humiliation in the name of public safety

Concept of federal sharing is fatally flawed

The view from Guantanamo Bay

Plenty of support for bilingualism: poll

Create an independent environmental officer

I know, it's terrible. But with things getting so stupid on Parliament Hill, how can anyone help it?

New book argues Canada's freeloading and anti-Americanism threatens our future


Les blessures subies sur le champ de bataille ne sont pas toutes visibles

Dion n'a pas toujours été un grand partisan de la question environnementale

L'idée fait son chemin

Stockwell Day nie que 300 postes de gardiens de prison seront supprimés

Dion annonce les principaux points de son programme

Un Imam estime que le «code de vie» d'Hérouxville est un «code de répression»

Duceppe critique la position de Charest

We can't take this affront sitting down
'You guys are being feminized, and you don't even know it.'


        Link Byfield, Senator-elect from Alberta states " It isn't why we confederated " as he continues his suggestion of a "peoples parliament" he
        initiated in What are the important questions for Canada? last week

        Why ever did we I wonder?

Concept of federal sharing is fatally flawed
Sun Feb 4 2007

Link Byfield

READERS were asked last week what question we should put to a national online citizens assembly we're organizing -- a "people's parliament."

The prospect of calling into existence a special national Internet assembly has created real excitement.

Picture it. The whole country could watch good solid Canadian citizens speaking and voting freely, uncensored by national parties and unfiltered by national media.

We could see first-hand the honest beliefs of ordinary citizens in the Atlantic region, Quebec, southern Ontario, northern Ontario, the Prairies, the Pacific. In fact, we could watch on-screen the reaction in each region as the assembly tackles real issues with real information.

Technology has made it possible to create a genuinely national political assembly without politicians. The significance of this is immense.

Unlike the House of Commons, where debate typically consists of a lonely MP droning party platitudes to an almost empty chamber, this people's parliament could get strong participation and media coverage.

For one thing, it would be brand new. For another, the topic would matter to everyone, and the outcome, though totally unpredictable, could be very influential.

So what exactly should this grand national jury of randomly invited citizens be asked to consider? On the one hand, it must be down-to-earth. On the other it must be important.

Almost all replies you sent in last week bespoke a dual desire -- that Canadians take more responsibility for themselves, and get a stronger democratic grip on governments. This was expressed in four ways.

1. Governing should be more localized; Ottawa is beyond control.

2. Roles and responsibilities should be the same for all provinces; no more special deals for Quebec.

3. Voter power should be increased, cabinet and judicial power reduced.

4. Canada needs a new constitution.

The first three of these easily fit together. The fourth I'm not sure of.

Here is a suggestion. One question that connects all these concerns -- even possibly the fourth -- would be to challenge federal "sharing" between regions.

Most of what we've heard to justify this inter-regional "sharing" by Ottawa is nonsense. It isn't why we confederated -- it started in the 1950s. It weakens rather than strengthens us politically, economically and morally. It fosters big governments and poisonous attitudes. And the frequent warnings of numerous economic organizations against continuing it have been ignored by Parliament and legislatures.

This subject in fact terrifies politicians, because it threatens to divide the country, along with their own parties. But it goes to the heart of what Canada has become. Maybe the risk of honest division would be better than holding everyone back with a comfortable but fatally flawed unity.

And who knows -- unbound by electoral ambitions, ordinary Canadians might actually agree on new federal principles good for all regions.

A people's parliament of citizens is more likely to trigger genuine debate and reform than the Parliament we've got in Ottawa.

What we're contemplating here could do more for freedom and democracy than anything we've seen in our lifetime.

But the early bird gets the worm. If we don't do this, and do it now, count on the other side -- those who believe in more government control and less democracy -- to seize the initiative and continue to steer the national agenda.

It's time to act. Keep sending me your thoughts. I read them all.

Link Byfield is an Alberta senator-elect and chairman of the Citizens Centre, which promotes the principles of personal freedom and responsible government.