Monday, February 05, 2007

Daily Digest February 5, 2007



CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - Encouraging words on Island literacy

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Crimes of denial

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Court sets useful limits on police

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Quick march, double time

NATIONAL POST - Stephane Dion's Kyoto problem

TORONTO SUN -  Bank fees? You don’t know Jack

HAMILTON SPECTATOR - On this, we're all in charge

LONDON FREE PRESS - Let's see the real bill

K-W RECORD - Perfecting recycling

WINNIPEG SUN - Internal split looks good on PQ


Prince George Citizen - Canadian heroes
It's no secret that Stephen Harper and Stephane Dion are a couple of Clark Kents without capes.

VANCOUVER SUN - With income trusts laid to rest, a fair tax system should be the next step

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - We must keep what little farmland we have in this province


Natives to hit Ottawa with rights complaint

Taliban too quick off the mark

Try conquering the cultural divide

Canada fights 'holistic war' in Afghanistan

Afghan troops 'huge asset'
Key to Canada's exit strategy

Refugee groups challenge U.S. status as safe third country for asylum seekers

Canada nears European trade treaty

Foreign Affairs probes Egypt's spy allegation

US accuses China of 'illegal subsidies'

Shots reduce risk of superbug

Panel orders Ontario to pay for hip surgery

New Canada Food Guide offers better customization

More immigrants than jobs

Feud threatens Ontario's energy supply

MPs to vote on motion that supports Kyoto

Opposition accuses Tories of more broken promises

NDP two-faced about Tories: Ignatieff

No promises on wait times, Clement says
Minister says no date was set for delivery of campaign pledge

Put aside politics to fix Liberals' mess
Baird: Environment

NDP calls on cabinet ministers to stop limo drivers from idling

Trust tax grab will fund the next Tory platform

Prime Minister won battle with Parliament Hill media: Sears

NDP denies it's making deals with Conservative government

Liberals holding election readiness conference calls

PM Harper's Conservatives face a 'problem' in budget's fiscal room,

Baird blames Liberals

Rae still intends to run in the next election

Gerard Kennedy to run for Liberals in Toronto

Bloc reinforce tough budget demand

Calgary Tory Deepak Obhrai singles out newspaper coverage of ethics probe

The brave new world of accountability in Ottawa
Bureaucrats have to take responsibility for their departments, but how much? Kathryn May reports.

Panel finds gaping holes in air security: CTV

More wait-time-priority surgeries done last year

Gun owners grow frustrated over federal government's take on national registry

Life after the fog of Kyoto accord must cut through China's smog

Time's a wastin' on environment

The coming green industrial revolution

Real road to Kyoto is paved with the bricks of carbon offsets
Becoming personally carbon-neutral good practice for the future

Climate shift fires public's green interest
Global Warming denier,
Threat of climate change more about politics than science

Ariz., other states balk at U.S. 'Real ID'

Australian Farmers back single desk approach to wheat marketing

A prospectus for big government

'Heavy-handed' government tactics: Farmers' Union

Loopholes in accountability system

More focus needed on benefits of information technology for SMEs

Federal policy on farm exports bad for Alberta
Catering to protected domestic market interests will cost us negotiating clout at world trade talks

Showy distractions
Bans merely mask our politicians' failures

AG against making environment commissioner independent


Le Canada verse16M$ de plus au programme de microcrédit de l’Afghanistan

Duceppe s'étonne de l'empressement du PLQ

Plaintes d’autochtones à propos d'enfants sur les réserves

Les talibans s'apprêtent à intensifier leur campagne d'attentats suicide en Afghanistan

        A change of pace and no comment from me>
        Several copies of  "Why Stephane Dion is unfit to lead this country" were received.
        Go to the link I suggested to Paul for a avariety of comments on it.
Subject: Re: Why Stephane Dion is unfit to lead this country

visit for a discussion in process on the subject.



The Hill Times, February 5th, 2007


Skeptical about Baird's leadership

When people are just props, what does that mean? Environment Minister Baird sat recently with native elders to announce funding to save the Pacific Spirit Bear. He talked of future and possible funding that had no current dollars attached in contrast to others who are already making significant contributions.

Upon leaving the conference, as captured on camera, Mr. Baird brushed aside the outstretched hand of a native elder on the stage in his rush to shake hands with the premier of B.C. The disrespect shown raises this question: does Mr. Baird consider the aboriginal community his personal political prop for photo-ops? This action tests his already questionable credibility.

As president of the Treasury Board, Mr. Baird sought to change to the Federal Accountability Act to make the new Conservative Party's faulty accounting (of the 'Convention-Donation-Gate' scandal) legal by making his party unaccountable through an act of Parliament.

Mr. Baird is the "New Government's" point man charged with convincing Canadians that the Harper Tories accept climate change and will act with possible legislation to ameliorate it.

However, he is seen on camera using people as props and brazenly attempted to change the law so he and his colleagues can be unaccountable for their actions. His behaviour must raise suspicion concerning the sincerity of both his own and his leader's conversion to being concerned environmentalists.

Eugene Parks
Victoria, B.C.

The Hill Times, February 5th, 2007


Without sweeping Ontario, no party wins a majority

Re: "Is it acceptable to break a promise to do what's needed?" (The Hill Times, Jan. 22, by James Travers.) Mr. Travers fails to realize that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is actually not doing what is needed to win a majority when he writes: "A neophyte Prime Minister is simply being shaped by the discipline of power. New realities, new information and new priorities–most of all urgent need to cement and build on Conservative Quebec gains–render null and void good-faith projections made in the campaign hurly-burly."

The biggest unanswered question of the 2006 election has been: Why, despite, Liberal sponsorship scandals, then-prime minister Paul Martin's most inept campaign, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's winning every seat in Alberta and making a breakthrough in Quebec, the Tories won such a weak minority? The answer may be that the majority of voters in the nation's most populous and urban province of Ontario were not convinced of Mr. Harper's neo-conservative ideology of tax cuts for the rich and cuts in social spending for the rest.

Urban voters in Ontario are more concerned about crumbling mass transit systems, a lack of affordable housing, the growing cost of post-secondary education and the growing disparities between rich and middle classes. Neo-conservatives seem to have little interest to address these issues. As a result, Tories failed to win a single seat in Canada's three biggest cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. In Ontario, they won only in Ottawa.

Mr. Harper seems to have forgotten that the Liberals, led by Jean Chrétien, won three back-to-back majorities by winning 100 of Ontario's 103 seats, even though the Reform/Alliance won almost all seats in Alberta.

Neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives are in a position to replicate the performance of prime minister Jean Chrétien who won all but a few of Ontario's seats and we might see only a succession of minority governments in the future.

Both the Liberals and Tories must learn how to manage a minority government through bi-partisan or multi-partisan coalition. Canada seems to have joined the ranks of European democracies where a multi-party coalition is the norm.

Mahmood Elahi

The Hill Times, February 5th, 2007


Dion's 'lousy' English, Harper's fluency
As a political junkie, I follow closely the goings on in Canadian politics and especially the performance of our elected representatives on the Hill in Ottawa.

At the risk of being labelled as a politically incorrect bigot, I wish to comment on Liberal Party Leader Stéphane Dion's very poor command of spoken English. I watched on TV with great interest Mr. Dion's performance during Question Period in the House of Commons over the last few days and in some subsequent interviews. While his questions were, for the most part, fair game, I had a very serious problem understanding him.

If I thought that Jean Chrétien's knowledge of English was lousy, listening to Dion does not even come close.

I would hope that most of my fellow Canadians will consider Dion's poor knowledge of spoken English as a very serious shortcoming for the "Prime-Minister-in-waiting."

As an immigrant from Europe, speaking five languages, I fully appreciate the challenge of learning other languages. Most of us, newcomers, therefore, wish for any possible PM to be able to communicate with us in a language that we have worked very hard to learn. Our current, and hopefully for the next four years or longer, Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets this requirement very well, and sets an example and a challenge for all future contenders for the top job in Canada to be able to communicate fluently in both official languages.

Edward G. Iskauskas
London, Ont.

(The letter-writer is a member of the Conservative Party of Canada.)

Peggy Merritt

Hi Joe:  even though this issue in not showing up on your radar I
must tell you about the situation in TO where gun crimes are still
happening several times a week. On Saturday in our quiet
neighbourhood in Scarborough a young teen was killed by gun fire and
two others wounded at a local birthday party for a 16 year old
woman.  I am outraged that the Liberals are holding up federal
legislation dealing with convictions on gun crime. I hope that the
city of Toronto voters will not be lulled into voting for the status
quo Liberals in the next election and realize that the Conservative
Party of Canada  are the only party in Ottawa taking action on this
very serious issue. Green may be the hot issue nationally but
taxpayers in my city our being highjaked by ineffective courts and
lenient sentencing. Peggy

John Halonen

North American Union / North American Integration / SPP

A very interesting article from North American Views indicates that the Frontrunners in the Presidential Race favour a North American Union.

Is there a similar response or indicator from our current Political parties in Canada?

Brad Thomson
    The Conservatives have reached a new height of hypocrisy with their latest round of attack ads. They are lambasting Stéphane Dion for doing nothing about a problem that they had always claimed, until Stephen Harper's recent conversion on the road to Damascus, never existed in the first place. This is quite astonishing. In effect, then, Harper has instigated an attack upon himself. It may well be true that the Liberals did little about the problem, but at least it was their position that the problem existed. So much cannot be said for the Conservatives.
    Harper's notion of a "made in Canada" solution is nonsensical. For even if Canada stopped absolutely all polluting immediately, the demise of mankind would only be delayed momentarily. It is clear that the world must stand together, and Kyoto is the only place to start.
    Jack Layton is the worst politician to come along in decades. His delusions exceed those of Dick Cheney. The NDP can only flex its muscles during Liberal minorities. So what does Layton do? And now he seems to think that he can bolster his fortunes by teaming up with Harper on the environment? It's time to wake up Jack.
    I would argue that Layton, Dion and Duceppe should bring down this disgrace of a government immediately. The fact that Harper has made an international liar out of Canada on Kyoto is sufficient grounds. And the fact that at long last humans are realizing that pollution is endangering our hopes for survival will ensure that Harper and his horrible Party are tossed out.
    But Layton seems to think he can replace the Liberals as Canada's alternative. And Duceppe wants to make Quebec into a country of its own. So they both play politics while humanity is dying.
    Bill Brienza makes an interesting and I think correct statement when he writes that mankind is more ignorant collectively than any single man. But I do not agree when he suggests we have only 50 years left. We will not survive the decade. A remnant may well continue, but civilization as we know it will be gone. Mankind, in his arrogance, does not seem to understand that Nature is an organism, and that we have made ourselves into a disease within it. Before we can completely destroy the planet, the planet will completely destroy us.
    It is, of course, possible that this impending calamity will be staved off. By a nuclear holocaust in the middle-east. And this too is inevitable.
    Come Lord Jesus.
Brad Thomson

Raymond Denson

Subject: Silence of the Press
Zbigniew Brzezinski was the national security adviser under the Carter administration and he is said to be in close touch with the military and the intelligence agencies. In his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 1st he gave extremely ominous warnings about the prospects for war with Iran.
While carefully avoiding specifics, Brzezinski came very close to saying that the White House was capable of manufacturing a terrorist attack within the USA that would be blamed on Iran and justify "defensive" action. His testimony has been ignored by the American and Canadian press, which has once again given a clear indication of its corruption and reactionary status. The complete report by Barry Grey is available under the headings "Middle East -- A political bombshell from Zbigniew Brzezinski" on the website.
If Brzezinski believes that the American government is capable of manufacturing a terrorist attack to justify war against Iran, what does this say about the 9/11 attacks, which were used to justify war against Afghanistan?
Raymond Denson

Brian Marlatt

This process is already underway in Ottawa as the neo Cons/CA/Reform seeks to reduce the size of government. Expect short-term cost reductions and long-term overall increases in cost to government and taxpayers and delays in delivery of services as bidding processes, cost overruns, and delays in service delivery begin to mirror military contracts.

WASHINGTON   | February 4, 2007
Contractors Take On Biggest Role Ever in Washington
Contracting has soared during the Bush presidency, fueled by a philosophy that encourages outsourcing almost all government work.

Robert Ede

Subject: The Democractic Element of our Constitutional Monarchy (s/r Bureaucracy)

I only have one thing to add to the discussion of Parliamentary Reform in Canada and I'm prompted to mention it again after reading Mr Hize's most recent 'Earthworm' wherein he beseeches us to become aware of the inequity in our per-citizen, vote-values that arise from the province-based method for distribution of seats in the lower chamber of the tertiary (ie Legislative Power) order of government in the Dominion government hierarchy - the House of Commons.
Fiddling with the urban/rural, big province/little province, previously favoured/ now favoured province, seat distribution for the lowest element (ie the democratic element) of the political-power, chain-of-command is all well and good, but until the notable observers and commentators of Canadian society (never mind our ignorance is bliss general public) start observing and commenting on the Executive Power order of Canadian governance (ss.9-16) we'll never get anywhere as "a people", "a country", "a nation" nor as citizen/shareholders.
Canada is NOT a democracy, because the source of all legislative & executive powers is NOT the citizens.
It is not a republic, because the Head of State is the Crown of Canada/Commonwealth/U.K.
It is not self-governing because every Bill or Act of the House & Senate requires the Crown's representative's approval. (s 55, s57 withholding of assent & reservation power too)
It is not self-governing because every Bill or Act of the House, Senate and Governor General can be Disallowed by the Crown of Canada/Commonwealth/U.K (s.56)
Since 1982 Canada is governed under provisionally-distributed, local government power system (established in colonial times) that still is wholly and only legally accountable to the Crown-in-person (prior to 1982 the U.K.'s Crown in Council was in charge, but they removed themselves from influence over Canada with their Canada Act 1982 , (U.K.) 1982, c. 11).
In 1867 (and continuing until today) the caprices of the mob (ie the notions of the democratic element, the Commons) were to be checked by:
1) an appointed by the Crown, Upper House of Taxpayer/Landowners (members had to possess property & a net wealth of ~$250,000 in 2007 dollars, and were subject to removal if they lost that wealth);
2) an appointed by the Crown Governor General, who represented the Crown's Constitutional Executive AND Legislative interests and who was advised on how to represent the Crown's interests by his/her own set of independent counsellors, the Privy Council (set out in BNA s.11 of Part 3 -Executive Powers);
3) the powers of Disallowance and Reservation. Any Canadian Bill could/can be cancelled anytime within 2 years by the Monarch (previously in Council) and any Bill reserved for the Monarch's approval BY the Governor General, could/can be ignored and if two years pass the reserved Bill expires.
Until the notables raise a hew and cry to correct the abuse (by the leaders of the lower element of the third-class, Legislative Power) of this hierarchy of Constitutionally-established Executive power we will indeed never get anywhere.
My 3 suggestions:
-Elect the Governor General to legitimize that office's mandate to exercise its powers;
-Reverse the Order in Council (PC 1940-1121) that allowed (and allows) the (Legislative Power) Prime Minister to usurp control of the (Executive Power) Privy Council ;
-Declare a "deemed disposition" of the Assets, Treasury, Authority, Power and Sovereignty of the Crown from the Office of Monarch to the Citizen's of Canada collectively.
This will clarify for modern times exactly who/what owns the country, exactly who/what the stewards of the Crown (government) are accountable to and who/what has lead the country astray fiscally, morally and constitutionally.
Robert Ede
As for Mr Hize's campaign:
More equal, per-citizen representation will indeed flow from a new distribution system that allows for only a 1% or 5% variation in population/riding (vs current +/- 20 or 25% set up), but the root of the "citizens per seat" problem comes from the primary basis of the seat allocation formula 
  s 51 of BNA/Constitution Act (as amended see corresponding footnote 27)
(1) The number of members of the House of Commons and the representation of the provinces therein shall, on the coming into force of this subsection and thereafter on the completion of each decennial census, be readjusted by such authority, in such manner, and from such time as the Parliament of Canada from time to time provides, subject and according to the following rules:
1. There shall be assigned to each of the provinces a number of members equal to the number obtained by dividing the total population of the provinces by two hundred and seventy-nine and by dividing the population of each province by the quotient so obtained, counting any remainder in excess of 0.50 as one after the said process of division.
2. If the total number of members that would be assigned to a province by the application of rule 1 is less than the total number assigned to that province on the date of coming into force of this subsection, there shall be added to the number of members so assigned such number of members as will result in the province having the same number of members as were assigned on that date. (27)

John Williamson
Federal Director
Canadian Taxpayers Federation

February 5, 2007

Where Are Tory Tax Promises?

Wasn’t Ottawa budgeting supposed to change for the better under Conservative rule?  This was the pledge Stephen Harper made to Canadians, but it hasn’t come to pass.  During last winter’s election campaign, his candidates vowed to end wasteful programs and control government spending, which increased dramatically under the old Liberal regime.  Opposition Conservatives told Canadians that if elected they would prioritize spending and govern responsibly.  Certainly, no scandals have erupted under Prime Minister Harper, but that does not mean all is well in Ottawa.  The federal government is growing as fast as ever and this puts the prospect of meaningful tax relief in jeopardy.

Prime Minister Harper was applauded last year for limiting the size of his cabinet to 26 members.  His streamlined executive was down significantly from 37 under former Prime Minister Paul Martin.  Taxpayers were told this smaller cabinet would save them $48-million.

Yet just last month, Mr. Harper decided bigger is better by adding six secretaries of state to his team.  These junior ministers are paid an additional $53,000 on top of an already generous MP pay package of $147,700.  When a government spokesman was asked what additional expenses might crop up, he responded there wouldn’t be any, “They do in fact get a car and driver, but there’s no added cost to the taxpayer because the costs are being absorbed within the departments through reallocation.”  Oh boy, if the Conservatives believe their own spin, taxpayers are in big trouble.

Additional limos, chauffeurs, and pay are the tip of the iceberg.  Junior ministers do not attend Cabinet meetings, but each is nonetheless entitled to additional political staff.  And what is Ottawa’s starting salary for a “senior” twenty-something staffer fresh out of school, who reports to a junior minister, who in turn reports to a minister, who reports to the Prime Minister?  Try $85,000, up to a maximum of $110,700.  Throw in benefits, travel and suddenly taxpayers are shelling out real money.  It might not be $48-million, but it’s closer to that figure than zero – notwithstanding the government’s absurd denial.

Forget cutting the size of the state; the Conservative government is unwilling to even abide by its own commitment to hold the line on spending or change the pork-barrel culture.  The party’s 2006 election manifesto stated spending had grown to an unacceptable level: “Far too much taxpayers’ money is absorbed by the Ottawa bureaucracy or spent on ineffective or inefficient programs.”  To fix this problem Mr. Harper’s team said it would begin by limiting future growth of government to the inflation plus population growth rate.

But it hasn’t happened.  Instead Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay tells voters in Atlantic Canada that electing a provincial Tory candidate will open regional development taps, “He’s going to come knocking and we’re going to deliver,” he said.  In Quebec, Public Works Minister Michael Fortier demands military contracts be directed to his province.  In December, Senator Fortier announces industrial giant Pratt & Whitney will receive a $350-million subsidy.  Bombardier has also been informed it will receive a similar sized corporate welfare handout – courtesy of taxpayers – should the aerospace firm build a new regional jet.  On top of this, the government recently resurrected goofy environment programs it cancelled after assuming office last year.  What’s next, Rick Mercer plugging the Two-Tonne Challenge?

Remember the days when opposition Tory MPs lampooned the government for boosting annual government spending by an average 8.2% each year during the Liberals’ final five years in office?  This expansion meant the state was increasingly interfering in the lives of Canadians, at work and at home. 

The federal government continues to meddle by imposing regulations on businesses, over-taxing families and adopting the vote-buying policies perfected by the Grits.  According to the finance department, Ottawa will grow by another $12.4-billion this fiscal year.  That increase works out to 7.1% – well above inflation and population growth.  Spending is budgeted to grow by another 4.5% in 2007/08.  Taxpayers have no reason to believe this lower figure any more than the previous commitment to reduce spending. 

When a government uses a fire hose for spending, they are left with only an eyedropper for tax relief.  The Conservatives obviously find it easier to spend the rising surplus rather than control expenditures and cut taxes – just as the Liberals did.  But can they really believe re-election efforts will be any easier when taxpayers cannot see a significant difference between Conservative and Liberal spending levels or their records on lowering taxes?


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