Sunday, March 04, 2007

Daily Digest March 4, 2007

Joe Hueglin wrote:


ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Complexities of a modern world

HALIFAX HERALD - A political soccer ball

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Supremes hand gays a well-deserved victory

OTTAWA SUN - Nortel hiccup stings

TORONTO STAR - Pakistan's stability imperilled by terror

TORONTO STAR - Double term for passports

TORONTO SUN - Here's 2 cents worth for David Miller

LONDON FREE PRESS - Rub out plague of graffiti

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - The Shanghai slide

CALGARY SUN - Dion’s strong-arm tactics on Anti-Terrorism Act leaves no room for opposing views
Vote of non-conscience

EDMONTON JOURNAL - Serve roast crow on federal jets

EDMONTON SUN - We need ‘Ed bucks’

VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST - EI surplus gouged from workers
A program planned as insurance for the jobless has been turned into a $51-billion cash grab


Reviving Afghan Children song after four decades

Pakistanis advise Ottawa to open backdoor channels with resistance

Tank power: Leopards cannot change spots
Deployment will only make Canadians more vulnerable and less popular

NATO tank destroyed in attack as fighting erupts in Helmand

Afghan foreign minister says Pakistan uses terror as foreign policy

Canadians helping fix illiteracy-plagued Afghan police system

US troops kill Afghan civilians
An incident described by US forces in Afghanistan as a "complex ambush" has left 16 civilians dead.

Troops tell of Taleban battles
British forces are clashing daily with Taleban fighters in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.

 'Mines Help Pakistani Claims on Disputed Border'
KABUL, Feb 28 (IPS) - Afghanistan's long and rugged frontier with Pakistan is being mined and fenced by Islamabad in response to mounting criticism from Kabul and its Western allies that Islamabad is not doing enough to stop the resurgent Taliban and al-Qaeda from crossing the porous border.

Afghanistan: US forces attack suspected al Qaeda hideout

Texans fear US sovereignty will disappear down superhighway

Welcome to the Internet home of, an organization of concerned Texans and public officials who question the wisdom of the Trans-Texas Corridor.

North America’s SuperCorridor Coalition, Inc., is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the world’s first international, integrated and secure, multi-modal transportation system along the International Mid-Continent Trade and Transportation Corridor to improve both the trade competitiveness and quality of life in North America.

Ready to take on the world
Looking for a new home in Iraq

Parents fight for tougher young offender laws

French kiss, but will love last?
In some ways, the last election means a return to the politics of the 1980s Chantal Hébert
In this excerpt from French Kiss, Hébert writes about the Tories' attempt to "smooth more hard-right corners" to woo Quebec voters, whom they need to form a majority government in the next election.

Harper surging, Dion fading

Harper's strategy to force Liberals' hand

Layton touts training

Sikh MP battles 'smear campaign'
Bains: 'I'm going to do my best not to sink' to Harper's level

Jack Layton Speaks Out Against North American Union

Who says who's who
Ottawa reviewing which professions can act as guarantor of your identity in passport applications

Feds pledge $4.2M for FIFA event upheld

The Greenland effect
The world's largest island is among the most remote places on Earth, but its heaving seas and screaming winds have a huge impact on the planet

The environment as a moral issue
Ingrid Leman Stefanovic hopes Al Gore's passion will inspire Canadians to enlist as `blue helmets' to fight climate change

More inconvenient truths
Planting trees won't save us, ethanol isn't cool, and rebuilding a city below sea level is insane

Biofuels bag bucks

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 2 (IPS) - Despite their diverse -- and sometimes sharply conflicting -- political and economic interests, the world's major powers seem to be getting closer to each other in their quest to develop clean alternative sources of energy.

Suzuki playing gutter politics

Just how nice to the terrorists do we have to be?

Canada: Haven for world's most wanted
Are international fugitives running from the law by hiding in our court system?

You don't have to pay for private school to get your children ahead

Why men win, women don't
Reformed one now earns living redressing balance

It's just so amazing how much we exaggerate
Words change their meaning over the years, but there's a point at which they become meaningless

What if Jesus had wife, kids?
His teachings would still remain compelling

Cherokee revoke tribal membership of freed slaves' descendants

Delight it up, Stephane!

Peace Scholars See Shrinking Space for Dissent
TORONTO, Mar 2 (IPS) - Can Canadians have a fair debate on their military mission in southern Afghanistan when so many of the sources quoted in the domestic press are bankrolled by the Department of National Defence (DND)?


La langue française · Impératif français s'inquiète du silence des chefs

Gaz à effet de serre · Les grands pollueurs canadiens réduisent leurs émissions

Immigration: le Bloc dénonce l'ingérence des conservateurs

Le remède de Jean-Pierre Kingsley

La coalition fait des victimes civiles



Next to nothing politically to-day so my comment for to-day is NO COMMENT to-day!   
Not that I couldn't mind you . . . but NO!  I decided I wasn't going to and I'm not gonna.


Garry Holland

The Must-Do List

Rebecca Gingrich
Subject: More Gore gore

How Gore's massive energy consumption saves the world,CST-EDT-STEYN04.article

March 4, 2007
BY MARK STEYN Sun-Times Columnist

Stop me if you've heard this before, but the other day the Rev. Al Gore declared that "climate change" was "the most important moral, ethical, spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced.'' Ever. I believe that was the same day it was revealed that George W. Bush's ranch in Texas is more environmentally friendly than the Gore mansion in Tennessee.

According to the Nashville Electric Service, the Eco-Messiah's house uses 20 times more electricity than the average American home. The average household consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours. In 2006, the Gores wolfed down nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours.Two hundred twenty-one thousand kilowatt-hours? What's he doing in there?  . . .

Mike Watkins, Vancouver-Kingsway

Bill Longworth wrote:
> Hello about signing our petition "I demand that Oshawa
> City Council retain the ward system of electing members of council
> to guarantee that my ward is represented by a politician
> specifically elected by and accountable to the residents of my
> ward"

I admire the sentiment but question whether the focus on wards / no wards really makes a difference. After all, look at Vancouver--Kingsway. We have David "Too Chicken to Run" Emerson. You know his story. Get elected, switch parties the day after, reverse policy stand and commitments made in two elections, and pretty much
completely ignore the riding (ward).

 The word "accountability" gets talked about often but its become meaningless. Being accountable at the polls doesn't even hold real meaning any more. Truth doesn't mean anything any more. Regardless of what side one is on, those of us who take the political process seriously see leaders - ours, there's - "lying" all the time. We see
the spin for what it is, even the masses frequently do not.

A ward system won't solve that issue, although granted it might make it easier to take a politician out to the cleaners in the next election. But shouldn't we be demanding better? Is giving the population one chance to have their say every few years or so good enough in this day and age, given how manufactured and plastic, or elastic and unwholesome, the message is?

> Founder & Chair of VOTES (Vote to Eliminate Self Serving Politicians)

Yes. Isn't it their actions and lack of principle the real issue, not whether the politician is elected to a ward or to an at large system? Certainly there are some arguments for ward/regional representation, but practice (see Emerson) shows that such a system doesn't actually guarantee representation.

Here's what you can do / might be doing - doggedly chase the scoundrels down and make them unelectable in any future election. This might take some time and effort, but the strategy will have a much higher probability of success than signing an internet petition. No politician runs for just one election. Hurt them where it hurts
the most - END their career.

Thanks to the work of a great many people who have continued to give their ideas and energy so willingly for over a year now, I have a high degree of confidence that Emerson couldn't win a seat on Parks Board.

Now that's a fitting outcome for Canada's poster boy example of some of the real democratic deficits baked into our largely unwritten system.

Having said that we are challenging Emerson to run, as he said he would. Lets see if Harper will be principled and endorse Emerson as a candidate, as he once implied he would.

Of course that won't happen.

Emerson is too chicken to run, and knowing Emerson hasn't a chance even if he did, Harper wouldn't bother throwing the resources away. Nearer writ day Emerson will announce that he is moving on to pursue other opportunities in the private sector or form an eyebrow-wax company, and Harper will sign the nomination papers for some relative unknown who will become the next sacrificial "conservative" lamb in Vancouver--Kingsway. Emerson, who once might well have become Premier of B.C., will have to find a job. Probably out of the country.

Sadly the person most at fault for the Emerson debacle, Stephen Harper, will get off without even a slap on the knuckles, largely because the membership of the party isn't holding him accountable. The lust for power has caused all those notions of improving democracy that many involved in the founding parties fought for over many years to be labelled "quaint" and "surplus material" and put outside in the trash bin for inconvenient moral ideas.

Despite being unable to hold Harper truly to account, pursing Emerson to the fullest has been far from a wasted effort. We hit him where it hurts a politician most. He'll be an ex politician soon enough.

There is absolutely nothing stopping citizens from taking a similar campaign on and hitting other politicians where it hurts most - their future electibility and future political careers. All you need is commitment, and it really helps to have a good group of people - from all walks of life and political ideologies - united together in common purpose to win one for real democracy.  Purity of purpose is important; with that, and with zero money, you can do a lot.

You won't get instant gratification but if enough citizens in enough jurisdictions take on such projects, then citizens can force change through the political process.

We conservatives are said to be against change for the mere sake of change, but also open be open to necessary change that improves situations for all.  Its time. Its not good enough to lean on our past history as a parliamentary democracy and say that the status quo does the job well enough to be left substantially alone. It does not.

There is nothing superficial or superfluous about the need for certain electoral and democratic reforms in our country, except that most of the current discussion on this topic is focused in all the wrong places. Take for example Harper's populist campaign against the senate, when instead his own House and actions require attention

Our system allows for political perversions that are the antithesis of real democracy in action. Politicians will never lead on this file, so citizens must be willing to shoulder the responsibility to lead.

Mahmood Elahi
To: <>

Subject: Quebec's separation will inescapably propel Canada towards union with the United States

Mr. David Watson
Deputy Editoral Page Editor
The Ottawa Citizen
Copy to: Mr. Reed Scowen, author of Time to Say Goodbye : Building a Better  Canada without Quebec.
Quebec's separation will inescapably propel Canada towards union with the United States
In his Argument piece: "Just go already," (March 1) Reed Scowen argues that Quebec's secession from Canada will resolve a lingering national crisis in Canada. According to him, Quebec is extracting concessions for staying in Canada and "fiscal imbalance" has become a newly discovered federal injustice that Ottawa must correct now (although it was Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty who raised the issue first).
Reed Scowen writes: "Both of Quebec's main provincial political parties constantly use the threat of separation to frighten Canadians into providing them with benefits that other provinces don't get. This is an established routine that works very well for Quebec and creates a sense of unfairness in the rest of the country. Dozens of efforts have been made by the rest of Canada over past three decades to try to satisfy Quebec, without success." As such, Mr. Scowen argues that Quebec's separation will be beneficial for Canada and that the fear Canada would break apart in the event of Quebec's separation is unfounded. "The future of Canada does not depend on Quebec," he argues fervently. "We can -- we will -- have a fine country here without Quebec."
But I think something totally different might happen in the event of Quebec's separation. Instead of breaking up, Quebec's departure might trigger a greater integrative force in North America and I will argue that Quebec's separation will inescapably propel English-speaking Canada towrrds union with its powerful English-speaking neighbour next-door.
Quebec's separation will bring into focus the great similarities that exist between the United States and Canada --- the English language they share, their common Anglo-Saxon roots (both were former British colonies of which one revolted and one stayed loyal), their common perceptions about democracy and freedom and their close economic relations.
If Quebec separates, the English-speaking parts of the continent would look like an organic whole with artificial boundries becoming increasingly irrelevant. In fact, many Americans and Canadians would start thinking of a union among them as a tempting prospect. Such a union would see the emergence of the most powerful country in the world, economically and politically. Although the United States is already the most powerful nation in the world, the inclusion of Canada, with its vast oil and natural resources, will add to the economic prowess of the world's only super power. The Americans are aversed to any union with Mexico because of the great disparities in incomes and most Americans are hostile to bilingualism and Spanish-speaking Mexicans are seen as a threat to Anglo-American culture. English-speaking Canadians, on the other hand, are seen as nearest cousins.
To this, Canada's own internal political dynamics will come into play. Quebec is not the only bone of contention in Canada. For long, Western provinces, especially Alberta and British Columbia, have been resentful about Ontario's dominance of the federation. Canada's population is lopsidedly concentrated in Ontario with its 15 million of Canada's small population of 32 million. Greater Toronto Area (GTA), with its 4.5 million, has larger population than the entire population of British Columbia with 4 million. Quebec, with its 7 million people, is a distant second in population but it provides some balance to Ontario.
With Quebec gone, Ontario's dominance will be even more pronounced so much so that it will revive the so-called Western alienation. Already some political thinkers in Alberta and British Columbia are talking about what the Vancouver Sun columnist Barbara Yaffe calls an independent Balberta - a federation of Alberta and  British Columbia. They think that these provinces are economically viable enough  to go on their own rather than being tied to a dominant Central Canada -- code word for Ontario. According to them,  an independent Balberta, with its vast oil, gas and forest resources will be able to provide better living standards and opportunities for its population.
But the advocates of "Balberta" tend to forget that although Alberta and British Columbia have immense natural resources, they lack enough manpower to exploit them. An indepnedent Balberta will have only 7 to 8 million people with a vast territory three times larger than France with 60 million people. Both of these provinces are already facing great manpower shortage and trying to bring  workers from other provinces. An independent Alberta and B.C. federation will face the manpower shortage even more accutely. Of course, they can expand their immigration and such over populated countries like China and India will be ready to send huge numbers of people to fill their labour shortage. But this will swamp their own populationa and will create a crisis of integration. As such, it is more likely that Alberta and B.C. will be obliged to join the United States with which it shares many things in common, leaving Ontario alone to hold the fort. And before long Ontario will find it impossible to hold the fort alone and might itself be obliged join the United States. As such, we might see the emergence of a giant English-speaking federation surrounding Quebec on three sides.
While the emergence of a giant English-speaking North American federation would not be a bad thing given so many things they share, it would be the end of a dream of generations of Canadians who wanted to prosper in a separate country. This would make a mockery of an otherwise successful Canadian history.
Future generations, who would call themselves Americans, would wonder at the naivete of earlier generations for trying to build a separate country. As such, more than health care is at stake for Canada.
Although Quebec, as a sovereign nation, could better protect its language and culture, its dependence on the giant federation would be so great that it will be extremely vulnerable. Quebec would feel crushed at being surrounded by the mightiest nation on the earth and it may be obliged to seek some kind of integration with the North American super state, just like small East European nations are trying to seek integration with the European Union. However, East European nations have strength in mumbers as most European nations are themselves small. Surely, Quebec is not leaving Canada to seek readmission to a far more powerful country where its voice will be further muted.
Finally, a word of history may be in order. It may be recalled that when on March 29, 1867, the British North America Act received royal assent and "one Dominion under the name of Canada" remained only to be proclaimed on July 1, it was not clear how the Americans would regard the forced marriage of the former colonies. Successive American governments believed it was their "destiny" to expand from pole to tropic in the Western Hemisphere. On the same day the British North America Act received royal assent, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia, thus defining its northern frontier. Was confederation merely a prelude to annexation? The question was germane in 1867 -- and it remains so today.

Charles Tupper

Subject: What about a Private Member's Bill...

2007 Montana Legislature


     WHEREAS, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America was launched in March of 2005 as a trilateral effort among the United States, Canada, and Mexico to share information and streamline traffic across shared borders; and

     WHEREAS, in meeting Security and Prosperity Partnership initiatives, the security and prosperity ministers are examining opportunities to open the borders between the United States, Canada, and Mexico; and

     WHEREAS, the gradual creation of such a North American Union from a merger of the United States, Mexico, and Canada would be a direct threat to the Constitution and national independence of the United States and imply an eventual end to national borders within North America; and

     WHEREAS, according to the Department of Commerce, United States trade deficits with Mexico and Canada have significantly widened since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); and

     WHEREAS, the economic and physical security of the United States is impaired by the potential loss of control of its borders attendant to the full operation of NAFTA; and

     WHEREAS, a NAFTA Superhighway System from the west coast of Mexico through the United States and into Canada has been suggested as part of a North American Union and the broader plan to advance the Security and Prosperity Partnership; and

     WHEREAS, it would be particularly difficult for Americans to collect insurance from Mexican companies that employ Mexican drivers involved in accidents in the United States, which would increase the insurance rates for American drivers; and

     WHEREAS, future unrestricted foreign trucking into the United States can pose a safety hazard due to inadequate maintenance and inspection and can act collaterally as a conduit for the entry into the United States of illegal drugs, illegal human smuggling, and terrorist activities; and

     WHEREAS, a NAFTA Superhighway System would be funded by foreign consortiums and controlled by foreign management, which threatens the sovereignty of the United States; and

     WHEREAS, the Security and Prosperity Partnership aims to integrate United States laws with Mexico and Canada on a broad range of issues such as e-commerce, transportation, environment, health, agriculture, financial services, and national security, which may lead to negative changes in United States administrative laws; and

     WHEREAS, state and local governments throughout the United States would be negatively impacted by the Security and Prosperity Partnership or a North American Union process, such as an open borders vision, eminent domain takings of private property along potential superhighways, and increased law enforcement problems along such superhighways; and

     WHEREAS, this trilateral partnership to develop a North American Union has never been presented to Congress as an agreement or treaty and has had virtually no congressional oversight; and

     WHEREAS, initiatives advancing the Security and Prosperity Partnership will lead to the erosion of United States sovereignty and could lead to integrated continental court systems and currency; and

     WHEREAS, United States policy, not foreign consortiums, should be used to control our national borders and to ensure that national security is not compromised.


     That the Montana Legislature urge the President and the Congress of the United States to withdraw the United States from any further participation in the Security and Prosperity Partnership, any efforts to implement a trinational political, governmental entity among the United States, Canada, and Mexico, or any other efforts used to accomplish any form of a North American Union.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Montana Legislature urge the President and the Congress of the United States not to engage in the construction of a North American Free Trade Agreement Superhighway System.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be sent by the Secretary of State to the Honorable George W. Bush, President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the United States Secretary of Commerce, and each member of the United States Congress.

- END -

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