Sunday, February 25, 2007

Daily Digest February 25, 2007

Joe Hueglin wrote:


ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Coaches corner print this article
Doing the right thing isn’t always easy


MONTREAL GAZETTE - Homeless need local, not federal, solutions

OTTAWA SUN - Blurred line in Iraq’s sand

TORONTO STAR - Improve foreign aid by revitalizing CIDA

TORONTO STAR - EI cash rich, service poor

LONDON FREE PRESS - Centres need support

CALGARY HERALD - Single overlord not the answer
One regulatory body unlikely to be an effective enforcer

CALGARY HERALD - A win-win for both sides

CALGARY HERALD - When Harry Met Ali

EDMONTON JOURNAL - A referendum, by any other name



The myths of Caledonia
There's no legal basis to the Six Nations land claim; all they had was an occupancy permit

Good cod, it's cold!
Expedition nets Canuck troops one measly, frozen fish

Canada pours more into Afghan reconstruction, but how to spend it?

War in first person

Pakistan fed up with U.S. and allies on Afghanistan

No hard sell needed for military jobs, say recruiters

Joint Statement by Ministers Responsible for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America

Armed, not dangerous

Passport may not be enough
BORDER BIZ BLUES. Be sure to check your status in U.S.

Premiers to fight passport laws in Washington

Canadians want work too

Five mistakes to be avoided when looking for a new job

Don't ignore Putin's warning

A world of Maher Arars
Why won't the U.S. admit Maher Arar's innocence? It may be fear of precedent. Tales of other suspects seized and sent abroad to face torture are beginning to come to light in Europe. This week, those stories helped bring down the Italian government. And as Doug Saunders reports, this could be just the beginning.

Pirates hijack UN food aid ship

Iran in the gunsights
If the U.S. attacks, why, when and how will it happen?

Quebec settles in for great expectations

Option Canada report looms over Charest campaign

Conservatives nudge ahead in opinion poll

PM's 'House attack' aims to win over Sikhs

Dion calls Harper's agenda on judges 'sickening'

Bains 'baffled' by Harper's comments in House

Wheat board supporters hold strategy meeting, drawing support and criticism

Federal taxman's angst lets giant corporations off the hook: audit

Fisheries Act: Get the facts By LOYOLA HEARN

Exposing the real climate 'deniers'
They're pro-Kyoto, as long as they don't have to pay any price

Suzuki distances himself from comments
But says pursuing 'very polluting oil development' despite hot economy shows lack of leadership

Opinion: Too much licence for U.S.
Why would McGuinty want to hand over so much personal data after recent abuses?

No need for probe into possible leak of Air India witness name, reporter says

Internet dating tips

Suzuki takes eco-crisis to Treehouse fans

Let's all get fit with Steve
Our pudgy prime minister could be the poster boy for ParticipACTION

Courage -- and a passion for what's right

Our public schools should value diversity, not simply conformity

Charter rights and security concerns
Friday's Supreme Court security certificate ruling didn't 'quash' the system

How to survive until the big crunch comes

Left tilting media, judicial advisory committees, military spending
The political spectrum--from right to normal


La nouvelle Loi sur les pêches projetée pourrait ne pas voir le jour

L'argent injecté en Afghanistan suscite des interrogations
Les Canadiens ont, à ce jour, dépensé pour creuser plus de 1000 puits et rénover plusieurs écoles, ponts et routes en Afghanistan

Les pilotes insatisfaits des mesures

Une industrie inquiète



My son Erik WAS on the Berlin Wall the New Years Eve the Cold War entered its last stages. He is among the few I know who have climbed to the top of the Brandenburg Gate.

It was to be according to Francis Fukuyama "The End of History" . The3re was tto be a Peace Dividend.

The "New World Order" was to be upon us .

Seldom has the Digest dealt with international affairs, though Eric Margolis' articles are always posted. To-day his opening sentence "Vladimir Putin's harsh criticism of U.S. military and foreign policy on February 10 should have set off alarm bells in the West, but apparently did not." moved me to do so.

What came to mind in relationship to the U.S. Administration's directions (which are being taken I'm certain with the best of motives in their minds - are the words) of The Ayrshire Ploughman as cited below after Margolis' closing sentence.

Words unfortunately applicable to too many in positions of decision making.


"Many Western Europeans are starting to long for the Cold War days and old bi-polar world order.
No one loves Russia, but many Europeans say a strong Russia -- and China -- are necessary to restrain some of America's more overly assertive or unwise instincts."

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion:
What airs in dress an gait wad lea'es us,
An ev'n devotion!



Thanks to Mark for the following input from the Trilateral Business Council who to this point have been the primary source of opinion presented to the Ministers Responsible for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

The Joint Statement issued by the Ministers includes this paragraph:

For the next Report to Leaders, we have tasked SPP working groups and coordinators with revitalizing and streamlining their work plans to ensure that initiatives are more focussed and results-oriented. We discussed the importance of transparency and communication with stakeholders and the public, and directed officials to expand their efforts in this regard. We also asked officials to pursue greater coordination amongst various working groups and initiatives in recognition that many issues cut across security and prosperity.

The marching orders have been given.

The task of those concerned is to communicate - and to catalogue the responsiveness of those officials directed "to expand their efforts in this regard. "

From: "Mark Whittle"
To: "Joe Hueglin"
Subject: News Release-Trilateral Business Council Charts Course for Enhanced North American Competitiveness

Trilateral Business Council Charts Course for Enhanced North American Competitiveness

A trilateral Council of business leaders from Canada, Mexico, and the United States today put forward more than 50 concrete recommendations designed to strengthen North American competitiveness in global markets while improving public safety and security.

The recommendations are contained in a report titled Enhancing Competitiveness in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, copies of which were presented this morning in Ottawa to nine senior cabinet ministers and secretaries from the three countries. The report is the product of nine months of consultations and deliberations by members of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC).

The NACC was established by the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States at their 2006 Summit in Cancún. Its mandate is to provide high-level business advice on how to make all three countries safer and better places to live and to do business.

Copies of both the NACC report and a related news release are available on the website of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE). The CCCE is the Secretariat to Canadian members of the NACC.

To access the CCCE website, please click here.

News release:

Trilateral Business Council Charts Course for Enhanced North American Competitiveness: Private Sector Priorities for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America

NACC report:

Enhancing Competitiveness in Canada, Mexico, and the United States

For more information, please contact Ross Laver at (613) 238-3727.

Eugene Parks

Here are several energy sources that combined would eliminate the need for burning fossil fuels.
  1. geothermic
  2. hydro power
  3. wind power
  4. solar power
  5. tidal power
  6. agriculture (off grade products only)
We can also convert the above to fuels for mobility – such as hydrogen – that can power an entire economy.

Those who say replacement solutions for fossil fuels don’t exist are simply ignorant of the possibilities.

Eugene Parks

From: Foo SL
Subject: Stephane Dion: "We either act, using our Kyoto commitment ..
To:Editor DAILY DIGEST, DavidOrchard, StephaneDionMP, PM

May I be so bold as to suggest that political parties, instead of trying to score points over the climate issue, concentrate on 'free' clean alternative energies.

Much has been made promoting the use of Hydrogen as an aternative. But as this article will show, the Hydrogen alternative is a hoax. Please read a piece from Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer, president of Pioneer Astronautics, a research and development firm, at

If Mr. Dion, Mr. Harper or Mr. Layton will be so bold as to provide a vision, with a clear, firm and impassioned call for research into all forms of alternative clean energy, with special emphasis on 'free' energy, the next premiership will be his.


2475 West 3rd Ave,
Vancouver V6K 1L9

The problem, however, is not simply economic but political, and the reality check on politicians is not always so swift or so reliable. The longer we buy into the hydrogen hoax, the longer we will avoid developing an energy policy that truly serves America’s interests­economic, environmental, and geopolitical. Fortunately, on this front, there is good news, if only we have the will to be serious. Ethanol and methanol are practical liquid fuels that can be handled by the existing fuel distribution infrastructure and produced at prices roughly competitive with gasoline. During 2006, for example, methanol was selling at unsubsidized prices as low as $0.80 per gallon, equivalent on an energy basis to gasoline at $1.50 per gallon. As a path toward energy security, methanol is also extremely attractive, since it can be made from any kind of biomass, coal, natural gas, or municipal waste­resources plentiful in the United States and many other non-OPEC nations. Unfortunately, however, the vast majority of cars on the road cannot use it. . . .

To: "You Need To Know": ;
From: Charles Tupper
Subject: Global warmers getting desperate

Global warmers getting desperate
Thursday, February 22, 2007 9:00 AM EST

The perpetration of a hoax follows a fairly well-established pattern.

First, the initial propaganda stage. As skepticism increases to the point the hoax may be foiled, desperation sets in. The second stage begins by attacking the skeptics. America is entering the second stage, and it’s not very pretty.

A review of the most recent hoaxes is important.

The “Ice Age” hoax of the late 1970s took advantage of the general population’s unfamiliarity with climate. . . .

Tracy Parsons


Our position on SPP is that we are in favour of Security and Prosperity and
very willing to discuss these at any point in Canada and with our partners.
But often these terms are just "spin" which is used to describe another

Our fear is that the current talks are nothing more than a way for us to get
drawn deeper and deeper into the quagmire that U.S. foreign policy is
following or that it will be used to further cave in to U.S. protectionist
forces under the guise of "free trade". Both of these constituencies have
shown that they are very capable of wrapping their particular agendas in the
latest "flag of convenience" -- security.

Our party has some real and concrete ideas about how to:

- get us out of Afghanistan with honour and turn that mission into a way to
aid the Afghan people and build a stable peace
- to use our Commonwealth and Francophonie ties to provide some alternatives
to our dependence on U.S. trade as our soul tie to prosperity.
- fund education and research & development into 21st century industries and
areas of our future prosperity. We can do this at the same time as helping
to make some much needed infrastructure investments. We've proposed a Green
Infrastructure for Cities program which would create a strong demand for
local products.

These are not pipe dreams, they could be done.

I hope this answers your question thoroughly.



-----Original Message-----
From: John Halonen Sent: February 24, 2007 6:51 PM
To: Tracy Parsons
Subject: Website questions or comments

Full Name = John Halonen
Address = 401 Wentworth St. W., Unit 54
City = Oshawa
Province = Ontario
Postal Code= L1J 6J1

Comments = Need the Parties stand on SPP.

John Morand

Joe, good to see some debate on Global warming. It is not as simple as your writer states. First, the biggest single green house gas (GHG) is water vapour and that is the only by-product of hydrogen fuel. Has anyone calculated the additional cloud load if we converted to hydrogen and the impact on global warming of a huge increase in water vapour clouds- oh gee that is what clouds are!.
Secondly, new science at the Max Planc Institute in Heidleburg clearly demonstrates that trees are not the answer because they produce huge amounts of methane as part of the photosynthesis process and methane is a green house gas which is more detrimental than CO2 as it produces smog.

Go to for part of the answer to the GHG problem. It is available today at sustainable prices, its Canadian Technology as Dion says and it works.

John Anderson
There are two points I want to make.
First, every now and then someone whispers, "But human activity is NOT the dominant cause of global warming. Rather the sun's output is increasing, and THAT is the major cause of global warming. Human activity may be contributing to the problem in some (small) way, but the increase in the sun's output is (by far) the largest contributor."
I would like someone, preferably someone in a position to know what is going on, to stand up and tell me/us to what extent the above statements are true.
If this is, in fact true, I can understand the reluctance to introduce this aspect into the public debate because it could conceivably result in a "the sky is falling; its the end of the world" syndrome.
I must say that I'm pleased with what I've been seeing in the public sphere over the past few months. The end-of-the-worlders have been having a field day over the past 2-3 years, with little counter argument surfacing in the media. Over the past few months, the whoooa-Nellys have gained prominence and begun to strike a skeptical note. AT LAST' public debate ...
As for the human activity vs. natural effect argument: no one knows to what degree human activity affects global (as opposed to local) climate. Also, no one knows what forces are at work and what feedback mechanisms come into play. Simply put: NO ONE ANYWHERE knows how global climate works and what drives it. We're only beginning to get proper and sufficient data, to mobilize comprehensive research efforts, and to propose hypotheses to be debated. Anyone who says either that we're the cause of impending global catastrophe or that we have nothing to do with it is blowing bubbles in the bathtub (as in speaking through his ...), period.
John: as for reluctance ... by all means, I urge you to express your thoughts and feelings. There's no better way to invite a (cordial!!!) counter argument leading to a "Eureka; how about that; I'd never thought of that" moment. Personally, I've benefited enormously from some others' observations at key moments, which completely turned around my way of seeing things, much to my benefit. (My gratitude to my Mom who, in 1990, when I was 27 and despondent, told me at the right moment that I couldn't please everyone. Plus, to Peter Van Loan, now MP for York-Simcoe, who at a right moment in 1999 told me that we're all driven by our fears). John: at the very least, you'll be contributing to readers getting a sense of what the collective mood is.

My second point is that, assuming that we can put the above arguments to rest, i.e. human activity is indeed the major contributor to global warming, then WE NEED TO GET ON WITH IT!!
We can't assume that but we can decide whether or not we should take reasonable precautions, which is a political thing. We can also bundle it all up with getting our pollution-act together to knock out non-GHG pollution, too. We have to keep in mind that all of this comes at a cost ... we'll have to discuss what we're willing to concede to precaution and what the benefits may be. If such "benefits" include saddling Third-World countries with costs and responsibilities that they can't achieve and reducing aid transfers to those countries, those have to be discussed.

There seems to be agreement that the major cause of global warming is increasing levels of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere. There also seems to be agreement that this is caused by the increased burning of hydrocarbon fuels, coupled with large-scale deforestation, i.e. the ability of the environment to soak up the excess carbon-dioxide is being compromised.

Agreement there is (in some quarters), but it's not based on anything near scientific-grade analysis and research (i.e. the agreement is scientifically baseless). As for deforestation, the ability of forests, jungle,etc., to absorb atmospheric carbon is highly over-rated. When a forest's biomass is increasing, (let' call that "when a forest grows"), it absorbs carbon dioxide from the air and converts it into carbon compounds in its biomass (i.e. into solid substances). When it ceases to grow, it effectively stops absorbing carbon ... dead biomass decays and to a large degree re-releases the carbon to atmosphere (directly or indirectly), which counterbalances carbon dioxide being absorbed by growing biomass. So the "forests are the lungs of the Earth" is to a large degree fantasy. Deforestation may bring about a host of problems if it's not done properly but reduced absorption of carbon dioxide is but one among many.


No way, because not possible right now. Plus, there are ways to have our cake and eat it too. Right now, I'm marketing a pair of industrial-sized systems that recover waste heat to generate electricity (e.g. heat shot up smokestacks gets transformed into electricity with no fuels being burned ... a fuel-free source of "new" electricity) and use electro-chemical processes to destroy pollutants, including carbon dioxide (85%+ proven removal!), which get turned into stable, harmless powders that can be buried, landfilled, or used industrially (in the case of carbon dioxide, it can be converted to sodium carbonate, which is used to make glass and paper).

Let's use wind power, solar power and hydro-electric power to the maximum extent possible.

Each source of electricity necessarily has its limitations. Wind intensity varies quickly and can (in a spread-out area) go from 100% to zero in a few minutes. For this reason, transmission systems operators are always on hair-trigger alert when they've got wind as an energy source since they have to crank up generators (natural-gas turbines, for example) to compensate for lack of wind. Generally speaking, systems operators believe that no more than 20% or so of power can be reliably derived from wind.
Same thing for solar: cloudy days make for variable performance that has to be backed up by other generators. As for night-time, it's predictable, so storage systems (e.g. batteries) can serve to set aside energy generated during daytime for use at night.
As for hydro-electric power, for economic reasons it's useful only as "baseload power", that is in supplying the electricity demand that exists at all times of day. In other words, it's economically viable if it runs all day, with few, minor exceptions.
Plus, there's the cost aspect to the whole thing. Are the above necessarily the best way to generate power? What about demand-side management (aka "conservation"), which often proves cheaper than other alternatives? A NEGA-watt saved is a MEGA-watt earned.

Let's implement a Canada-wide electrical grid so that our nation's electrical generating capacity is used as efficiently as possible -- including the use of wind power and solar power.

The present system is mainly lumped up in two-three sections. The "Quebec" section, which covers Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces is a single, autonomous pool. It has "bridges" that can feed power into / draw power from Ontario and the New England States zones. But those bridges can be cut off if there's a system disruption in the neighbouring zones, meaning that a major failure in Ontario or the NE States won't spread to Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces. The opposite isn't true because Ontario and the NE States are big importers of electrical power, so a sudden cutting off of the Quebec zones exports at the wrong time could lead to prolonged blackouts if "contagion" isn't quarantined fast enough.
The other zone is the Ontario zone, which may include a part of the Prairies. Ontario imports large quantities of electricity from Quebec and the surrounding States, and it has the disadvantage of having its grid integrated directly into the surrounding States' grid. If something goes wrong somewhere in that very large grid, "contagion" could spread by domino effect and if grid operators don't react fast enough (they often can't see things coming soon enough), big blackouts can result. For example, in 2003, a single tree-branch falling and knocking out a single transmission line brought down most of southern Ontario and the Northern Midwest States, with repercussions felt for at least a week or two as the grid was being repowered step by step. Quebec's (and the Atlantic Province's) grid protects itself from this by cutting off its bridges to neighbouring zones, whereas Ontario has only limited capability (it has some isolating-bridges but not enough, plus it imports rather than exports electricity).
As for the Prairies and BC, I don't remember what the system there is like but the reasoning above applies.

And to the extent that wind, solar and water power cannot meet the demand, let's use nuclear power. (Yeah, I know; the alarm bells and sirens just went off, but we have to make up our minds what we want.)
Nuclear power is viable but only as baseload power, like hydro.

Then, we have to stop using gasoline, or ethanol for that matter as a transportable source of energy for cars, trucks, aeroplanes, etc. We have to start using hydrogen.

Not necessarily so. There's a company in Vancouver (Dynamotive) that's invented a way to turn biomass into "bio-oil", which is says can be burned in diesel engines.

(We keep talking about using hydrocarbon fuel "more efficiently". But to my mind that is the oil industry trying to delay the inevitable.)

Nope. Nega-watts vs mega-watts again. Or generate more power but with fewer (if any) GHG emissions.

And here is where I run out of time ...

I realize that I just tried to puncture the tires on the oil industry's gravy train. But I think the oil industry is currently making absolutely unconscionable profits. To my mind, we need to tax away those profits and use the revenue thus provided to fund some of these initiatives.

The industry is highly profitable right now but it's been a poor performer over time. Typical returns on investment have been in the order of 4-5% annually, which is nothing to write home about. The thing with the oil industry is that its products are subject to high competition (many suppliers, many buyers, each with little influence on the world markets) and that its "huge" profits are derived from the "very huge" investments that it needs to make to get those profits. What really matters isn't profit, but rather Return on Investment, Net Present Value, or similar measure.
The above is a VERY important thing to understand. Absolute profits don't matter, how much profit one gets from his investments is what really matters. For example, a billion-dollar yearly profit is "big". And it's a decent profit if all that it takes to get it is (say) a $10 billion investment (thus giving a 1/10 = 10% yearly return on investment). But the "big" billion-dollar profit becomes a piddling one if $100 billion needs to be invested to get it (in this case, we get 1/100 = 1% return on investment). Same profit, different return (aka "profitability"). And overall, oil firms have been mediocre investments over the past 2-3 decades.

But it is going to take a lot of political will, i.e voter resolve, to make this happen.
Best Regards, John A.
(Not a rant but a realizable vision . . . given the "political will"!)

Well, sure. But Heaven forfend! When the Bolsheviks exercised their political will in this manner USSR during the late 20s and early 30s, ten to thirty million Ukrainians and others starved to death (estimates vary). Same thing when China's Commies exercised theirs during the late 50s, when 10 to 30 million peasants starved to death as a result of the Great Leap Forward (And Flat On Our Faces, they should have called it).
Commie methods of capital-extortion and industrial investment (to the detriment of consumer interests; "We need giant steel mills, not ovens, radios, and washing machines, dammit!") have ... ahem ... undesirable consequences.
(Joe - so you ARE a Niagara Bolshevik, as I suspected all along. And John, more dangerously, is an Ottawa one (?). Hahahahaha .. Revealed! Expect a knock on your doors at midnight, fellas ... The Political Sanitation Department has been alerted. With luck, you'll get off easy and be locked up in a nice padded room at your local Institute for the Politically Insane. Hahahahahaha. All in good humour, of course).

BiLL Brienza
Subject: Fortress America = Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)

For what it's worth, I'm all for the SPP as a publicity stunt.
Stratos Psarianos
President - Lead Consultant
SPP Consultants (<--- REALLY!!!!! All resemblance to ... coincidental ... etc.., etc.)
Montreal, QC
P.S. To put things in context, the "SP" in SPP is ... uuhhh ... moi. One of the advantages of creating your own firm isthat you get to name it. One of the disadvantages is that you can get personally stuck with unexpected connotations.
P.P.S. And why do these things happen always happen to ME, dangit! Bad enough that I'm burdened with being the Greek Elvis (my initials ... Efstratios Angelon Psarianos = EAP = Elvis Aaron Presley). I'm a continent-wide target, doubly so!
P.P.P.S. And it gets worse! As a Greco-French-Canadian mutt, I'm branded as Greef and Freek. Is there no end to these calamities?
Hahahahaha ... I'm turning into a whine-o in my old age.