Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Daily Digest September 25, 2007


The DAILY DIGEST: INFORMATION and OPINION from ST. JOHN'S to VICTORIA.

EDITORIALs

ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Alberta revisits royalty regime
http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=65262&sc=80

HALIFAX NEWS - Running in neutral
http://www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?sid=65251&sc=90

HALIFAX CHRONICLE HERALD - Mattel's red face
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Editorial/898657.html

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Courageous monks deserve support 
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=0e7cf06a-0558-41a7-9504-36811b7ea585

        Make the oil barons pay their share
        All Canadians - not just Albertans - have every right to benefit from our natural wealth to the fullest extent.
         http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=0756934a-9044-41b5-8dfa-3ba37727cdd0

TORONTO STAR - Get message out on referendum
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/260083

        Dion sets stage for vital debate
         http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/259264

NATIONAL POST - Dalton McGuinty, Taxaholic 
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/editorialsletters/story.html?id=3c7d2fef-cdba-4433-bcb8-30ae9715033a

         Lessons from the Little Rock 9
         http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/editorialsletters/story.html?id=4f767f09-a3f2-4d52-8395-8e9b66d4ebae


TORONTO SUN - Who needs or wants an election?
http://www.torontosun.com/Comment/Commentary/

HAMILTON SPECTATOR - Keep Catholic school funding
http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/article/254098

WINDSOR STAR - Refugee status
Mexico in the equation
http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/editorial/story.html?id=ed7f686d-6231-4a89-bf9f-efbb58e58c8c

SUDBURY STAR - Will the boss be the same?
http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=707125

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - Tipping point
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/editorial/story/4045015p-4652939c.html

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Public agency openness needs to start at top
http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/forum/story.html?id=d0ac1121-ec1e-424d-adc9-2b7855246c47

REGINA LEADER-POST - The Scourge of Gang Violence
http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/viewpoints/story.html?id=3159301f-b1aa-4a35-aa3e-6a6e6da86368

CALGARY HERALD - Leave the gadgets behind
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/theeditorialpage/story.html?id=d41e6706-6c44-4cbb-84f9-3cdf78bc39af

EDMONTON JOURNAL - PC secrecy all-pervasive
http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/opinion/story.html?id=c95296f8-4397-4fd4-938f-efbea1c4bd93

VANCOUVER SUN - Rebut controversial views, but censoring them is wrong
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=f65fb260-ecf4-4bd3-8c7c-489df5071fc5


ISSUES

CANADIAN FORCES
Canadian soldier killed, 5 wounded in clashes with Taliban in Afghanistan
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/070925/n0925195A.html

Canada gets tanked
http://www.torontosun.com/News/Canada/2007/09/25/4523976-sun.html

Talk of pullout draws scorn from Afghans
'If they leave, we all know the Taliban will come back'
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=2202f92e-1001-4f0f-b0fa-08671c172e51


CANUSA/USACAN
Congress debate begins on North America Union
Resolution calls for end of NAFTA superhighway, abandonment of integration with Canada, Mexico
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=57817


ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Playing safe: how to guard against fraud
Top tips to stop your identity being stolen
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=efb23d78-a1b4-43e8-a422-3d78368f4d87

Central bank weighs impact of U.S. dollar's fall
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070925/boc_impact_070925/20070925?hub=Canada

Flaherty presses for stock exchange merger
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070925.FLAHERTY25/TPStory/TPNational/Politics/


FOREIGN AFFAIRS
British bid for Falklands-area seabed infuriates Argentina 
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=500f4fde-c0cb-4eeb-ad88-7f684e15f98f

Canada should lead by example, not lectures: PM
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070925/harper_UN_070925/20070925?hub=Canada

Harper At Odds With UN Over Climate
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/canada/story.html?id=cda460eb-1257-40f4-8ace-7cef13d676e9

Ottawa signs on to rival emissions pact
After addressing a United Nations session aimed at reviving Kyoto, Harper says Canada will join the Asia-Pacific Partnership
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070925.wharper25/BNStory/National/home

Myanmar bans gatherings, imposes curfew
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070925.wmyanmarnew0925/BNStory/International/home

Military brains plot Pakistan's downfall
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/II26Df02.html


HEALTH CARE RELATED
Canadian doctors back HPV vaccine for young girls 
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/canada/story.html?id=b1a226d9-2898-44af-a27a-e01ce732e486


JUSTICE SYSTEM
Canada's laws lag in the digital age
Police have to operate in the rotary phone era while cellphones, BlackBerrys and the Internet are reality
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=6fee64d3-4aee-45f6-85c8-cbeef28a4152


MIGRATION
New rules speed foreign workers to Alberta
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/edmonton/story/2007/09/25/foreign-guidelines.html

Most want limits on accommodating immigrants: poll 
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/canada/story.html?id=df7c0b01-3881-4de7-9ec7-dcbaf0fe1f00


POLITICS IN THE PROVINCES
Big Oil sure took its time
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Columnists/Waugh_Neil/2007/09/25/4523832.html

Scare tactics too predictable
If royalty review headlines seem hauntingly familiar, it's because they are
http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/opinion/story.html?id=d2216b9e-b8fb-48e2-b55c-68761a038f9f

Newfoundland premier on defensive over spending scandal
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070925.wnldebate0925/BNStory/National/home

Faith-based school controversy continues to follow Tory leader
http://www.guelphmercury.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=mercury/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1190720731310&call_pageid=1050067726115&col=1050421501473

Laurie Scott is never too far from her roots
http://www.mykawartha.com/article/18821

Any way you slice it, things are lookin' up for Hampton
http://www.torontosun.com/News/Columnists/Blizzard_Christina/2007/09/25/4523808.php

Liberals will accept a minority, McGuinty says
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070925.wontelectionmain0925/BNStory/ontarioelection2007/home

McGuinty promises voters 'best of both worlds'
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070925.ONTLIBS25/TPStory/TPNational/Politics/


POLITICS
Opposition leaders gear up for confidence vote
As parties lay out conditions for lending support to Harper government,
PM dismisses political posturing as 'Parliamentary games'
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070925.wthrone25/BNStory/National/home

Harper's team gears up for election
http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/260168

Mr. Dion misses target
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/business/story.html?id=5bfd38d7-b25d-428a-ba43-c7e3ee7f3caa

Another Canadian minority likely, Harper tells U.S. foreign policy group
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/070925/n0925199A.html

NDP says Canadian military wrote Afghan president's speech
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/070925/n0925154A.html

Baird vows to fund priority programs, blames Liberals for shortfall
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/09/25/environment-baird.html

Crusade hits NYC
http://www.ottawasun.com/News/Columnists/Weston_Greg/2007/09/25/4523821.html

Conservatives' survival in hands of Liberals: NDP House leader 
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/canada/story.html?id=d9ef95ac-f833-41fb-a299-753e064c3374

Honour Atlantic Accord, Casey tells Tories
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070925.wcasey0925/BNStory/National/home

Canada back in middle on world stage, Harper says
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070925.wharpersp0925/BNStory/International/home

Liberals growing impatient
Outremont defeat sparks calls for naming candidates sooner
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=471131a4-e7ee-4852-9900-2fb9fcab2e0a

Chips off the old Bloc
Duceppe seems to want an election before his party loses even more support
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=9a7c2cf5-76bb-4d82-9e5d-bec0b61cc266

Bloc demands too 'unrealistic' to unseat Tories
Duceppe's list unlikely to garner required three-party support, MPs say
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=15e415b7-6af8-4ccd-9d4a-51e4fb9bf01a


PROGRAMMES
Border guards failing weapons training
http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/260186


PRESSURE POINTS
Tories' environment plans remain foggy 
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/canada/story.html?id=9570b826-f00a-418f-b147-ab8813a511ce


OPINION AND INFORMATION
Despotic leaders
The independence of MPs from their leaders has been whittled away over the years. Rejecting MMP is only the first step in bringing it back
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/comment/story.html?id=420203aa-d881-4488-a697-955161691994

Whatever happened to respect for diversity?
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/editorialsletters/story.html?id=59bc623a-8f24-42cc-8aa5-a4aad170e9b6

Does Stockwell Day want to read your e-mail?
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/issuesideas/story.html?id=bab23124-618a-437f-9d20-1d2872b9e4f2

Politicians, nations, spin their brands
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/comment/story.html?id=e833c4a7-5f7c-4503-86a1-326cdeb1e5f9

Harper still off-base on environment
http://www.thestar.com/columnists/article/260167

Afghan mission needs clear goal
http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/forum/story.html?id=97bdb893-8832-4c85-98b1-14928320526b

Factory farming cruel for animals and hard on the planet, too
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=9b4d78ca-3f3a-4dd3-932f-c705eb6f9fac

History dominates all issues in Israel
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Opinion/898662.html

The beautiful duckling
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070924.wducks0924/BNStory/Science/?cid=al_gam_nletter_newsUp


INFOS

Le discours du président afghan était dicté par Ottawa, selon le NPD
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/070925/N0925244U.html

L'élection d'un autre gouvernement minoritaire est probable, dit Harper
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/070925/N0925236U.html

Le député Casey ne reviendra au PC que si Ottawa honore l'Accord atlantique
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/070925/N0925242U.html

Le junte militaire durcit le ton
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/International/2007/09/25/001-myanmar-manif-mardi.shtml

Un mort et cinq blessés canadiens
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/National/2007/09/25/001-afghanistan_hornburg.shtml

Harper critique le protectionnisme
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/National/2007/09/25/004-Harper-USA-discours.shtml

Harper privé de 17 députés ?
http://www.ledevoir.com/2007/09/25/158185.html

MacKay reste sur ses positions
http://www.ledevoir.com/2007/09/25/158174.html

L'armée afghane ne pourra prendre la relève avant 2009
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20070924/CPACTUALITES/70924189/5846/CPACTUALITES

Le Canada s'aligne sur l'Arabie Saoudite
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20070925/CPACTUALITES/709250530/1025/FRONTPAGE

Environnement: Harper s'aligne avec l'APEC
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20070924/CPACTUALITES/70924122/1025/FRONTPAGE


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DEMOCRATIC or DESPOTIC ?

        Democratic is where there is an upward flow of decision making power from the electorate. Despotic government by a single authority, either
        an individual or tightly knit group, which rules with absolute political power.
        
        Stand for nomination was once having members of the riding association move and second you. Now depending upon the party, Central decides       who can stand for nomination (and sometimes only one is approved) or no one can stand because a candidate is named.
        
        Under the system proposed for Ontario 39 of 129 M.P.P.s, roughly a third by my calculations would be appointed by the leaders.  At the federal
         level  there would be about 100 Members of Parliament responsible to no one but the Leader, Le Chef.
        
        I hope you find the article tracing the ebb and flow of centralized power of decision making interesting.
        
                  Joe
        
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Despotic leaders
The independence of MPs from their leaders has been whittled away over the years. Rejecting MMP is only the first step in bringing it back
Philip Green, Financial Post
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2007
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/comment/story.html?id=420203aa-d881-4488-a697-955161691994

Many Canadians now believe that political candidates are their leaders' representatives, and mere mouthpieces for official or unofficial party policy, rather then their own representatives. The media reinforce this by hounding candidates who speak their minds, and leaders who let them.

Mixed Member Proportional voting -- a system that Ontario voters are considering in an upcoming referendum---institutionalizes this view. Parties place some candidates on a list. List members will not face nominations or knock on doors. They will undoubtedly owe their position on the list to their standing with their leaders. Voters will merely chose how many members each leader can appoint to the House.

We got to this point because, in the last 40 years, the executive power of the Prime Minister, and to an extent all party leaders, has grown so strong it exerts a controlling influence over the House of Commons, individual MPs and even the riding associations that select candidates. The executive power of provincial premiers followed closely.

One subtle instrument of this power is the party leaders' signature on candidates'nomination papers. It cultivates sycophants rather than thinking, responsive representatives of the citizenry who hold their leaders to account.

In 1265, Simon de Montfort, one of Henry III's advisors, summoned what Winston Churchill called the Mother of Parliaments to Westminster. He had led an armed rebellion against Henry. The representatives, elected from boroughs across England for the first time, passed a bill forcing Henry III to respect the Magna Carta, then only 50 years old, because he was flouting it. They set the precedent that the common man's elected representatives control the executive power of the Crown. Henry had no say in who stood for election.

As the legitimacy of Parliament grew over the centuries, the Prime Minister and Cabinet gradually usurped the Crown's executive powers, absorbing them into the legislative branch. Parliament separated the branches with many conventions that, over centuries, grew like a splendid old-growth forest. This nurtured unrivalled liberty and economic prosperity.

Canadian Prime Ministers, under the inattentive eyes of the electorate, turned their attention to progressively razing the conventions that held them in check.

In the 1926 King-Byng affair, Conservative Prime Minister Arthur Meighen's short-lived minority government collapsed because of a now-defunct parliamentary convention that served to draw the line between executive and legislative powers. When the Prime Minister appointed an MP to Cabinet, he had to resign and run in a by-election, as did the PM himself. Constituents voted to sanction the granting of executive power to the MP. This requirement weakened Meighen's precarious minority and he promptly lost a non-confidence motion by a single vote, precipitating an election. That line is now erased.

In 1970, Parliament made an apparently minor change to the ballot, showing party affiliation under each candidate's name. This made voting easier, but it also gave party leaders a new power over their MPs and candidates. They now had to present a letter of endorsement, commonly known as nomination papers, from their leader to election officials stating that they were the party's choice. Before that, riding members picked their candidates, and the leaders were stuck with them, like Henry III.

It did not take long for leaders to put this new power to use. In the 1974 election, Progressive Conservative candidate Leonard Jones, the former mayor of Moncton, a bilingual city, was a vocal opponent of official bilingualism, which PC party leader Robert Stanfield supported. Stanfield refused to sign Jones' nomination papers. Leaders now do this commonly.

Aware of this inexorably growing power, every nomination contestant knows that failure to toe the party line could result in the same fate as Jones'. Party appartchiks state this quite bluntly to freshly nominated candidates. A potential member of Parliament has thus to agree to party solidarity, previously required only of Cabinet members, and, worse, submissiveness, even if the leader openly violates his campaign promises. The power of leaders to boot MPs out of caucus for dissent, where they face oblivion as independent MPs or opprobrium for floor-crossing, further subdues the legislative branch.

Senate reform Bill C-43, another, possibly noble, attempt at democratic reform, would also require candidates for election to the Senate to file nomination papers signed by their party leaders. If it passes, they would owe their right to stand for nomination to their leader. What is better for Canada? An unelected chamber of sober second thought, constrained by its illegitimacy, or an elected chamber of prescribed thought, filled with toadies drunken on power?

How the Mother of Parliaments would cry for her Canadian children today if she could see them. Tacitus, a Roman senator, wrote in the year AD 117 that when you strengthen the executive, you weaken the law. What do Canadians want? To live under the rule of law, or under the rule of a strongman Prime Minister?

The first steps towards a fix are simple. Return to riding associations the power to select and endorse their candidates in fair, open, and democratic nominations with no interference from leaders. Second, as in many Parliaments, give each caucus the power to oust its leader. This, more than anything else, would improve "accountability." Finally, Ontario voters should nix Mixed Member Proportional voting on Oct. 10.

It will fall to a brave, modern, and unarmed Montfort to achieve reforms such as these, or Prime Ministers -- and Premiers -- will soon roam freely through the charred stumps of the old-growth forest that once sheltered some of our fundamental political freedoms.

--- - Philip Green is president of Greenbridge Management Inc.


© National Post 2007


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