Friday, September 28, 2007

Daily Digest September 29, 2007


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

EDITORIALs

ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Don't cut our taxes
http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=66342&sc=80

CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - Addressing the issue of nitrates
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/index.cfm?sid=66177&sc=103

HALIFAX NEWS - Apathetic democracy
http://www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?sid=66152&sc=90

HALIFAX CHRONICLE HERALD - Burma's pain, China's shame
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Editorial/914585.html

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Neither reasonable nor accommodating
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=7c56b803-6be6-43ff-98df-0795004d189b

OTTAWA CITIZEN - $14.2-billion surprise 
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/editorials/story.html?id=924d5802-c87d-45a2-9bcb-96a2f9c02010

        Too much information
         http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/editorials/story.html?id=d3869755-3358-4d73-86b2-c6f8c944a7ca

TORONTO STAR - Failing grade for Tories on schools
http://www.thestar.com/OntarioElection/article/261352

         Burma's saffron courage
         http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/261350

NATIONAL POST - Complicit in Burma's misery
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/editorialsletters/story.html?id=188a0563-736a-4156-8ef9-7cd0bd0757b1

TORONTO SUN - Big surpluses not happy surprises
http://www.torontosun.com/Comment/Commentary/2007/09/28/4532649.html

HAMILTON SPECTATOR - Car buyers just want the truth
http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/article/255927

LONDON FREE PRESS -
http://www.canoe.ca/LondonOpinions/home.html

REGINA LEADER-POST - Who to Believe?
People are understandably confused by the torrent of sometimes-conflicting health advice.
http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/viewpoints/story.html?id=3dd797fb-d8f8-4f05-ac54-5be24b386dbd

CALGARY HERALD - Surplus a sign taxes too high 
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/theeditorialpage/story.html?id=a2b00f01-6aed-4d68-83a1-883ee0ac1a6e

GRANDE PRAIRIE DAILY HERALD TRIBUNE - Job fair ban of army wrong
http://www.dailyheraldtribune.com/Editorial/342270.html

EDMONTON JOURNAL - Brief public on secret oil talks
http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/opinion/story.html?id=fe530ce8-822b-4071-815f-1592c8961934

VANCOUVER SUN - Witnesses hiding in RCMP protection programs encounter double jeopardy
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=0e6c4207-a21f-4cae-8e6d-72c951ce2d15

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Harper now should reduce business and income taxes 
http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/editorial/story.html?id=3d0739cb-d2fa-4aa1-b048-e6c747f09960

VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST - Protect your right to know 
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=54fbcfe3-a07e-49cb-b6be-783774f1ae59


ISSUES

CANADIAN FORCES
Ottawa looks at protecting jobs of reservists on active duty or training
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/070928/n092885A.html

Canadians won't pay Afghan cleric 'bribe'
http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/261371

Van Doos take steps to counter anti-Canada talk
Troops caught between factions amid rumour of deadly home raid
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=38a612dd-7550-451e-b9c5-7283563b09cd

Rising number of soldiers treated for addictions
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/28092007/3/canada-rising-number-soldiers-treated-addictions.html

Bomb on Afghan army bus kills at least 27
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/070929/n_top_news/news_afghan_violence_col

UK's Afghan gains 'could be lost'
British troops in Afghanistan may have to take ground gained this summer again next year, the Nato chief has warned.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7017450.stm

An elusive quest for justice in Afghanistan
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/II28Df01.html


CANUSA/USACAN
War of 1812, revisited
Some American historians seem to think their side won the conflict
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=900d840b-5f36-4dca-a875-b4cce5df2e62

Terrorists crossing borders
Canada worse than Mexico for U.S. border security
http://www.canadafreepress.com/2007/cover092807.htm


ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Japan stops imports of Canadian poultry
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070928/japan_poultry_070928/20070928?hub=Canada

The truth on wireless
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/comment/story.html?id=a9480c6c-a462-4d14-80f1-65c3f7ea8161


FOREIGN AFFAIRS
U.N. envoy heads into Myanmar maelstrom
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/070929/n_top_news/news_myanmar_col

A massive wrench in Putin's works
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/II29Ag01.html

NAFO bans bottom trawling on Grand Banks for five years
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070928.wnafo0928/BNStory/National/home

Europeans scorn Canada and U.S. over climate change
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=ae5a9241-b6b8-44fe-b4f7-9d04796a382e


JUSTICE SYSTEM
Landmark ruling ties politicians' hands, expert says
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070928.legal29/BNStory/National/home


MIGRATION
Mayor of Windsor told to expect more Mexican refugees
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070928.wwindsor20928/BNStory/National/home

Day promises 'consequences' for illegal refugees
http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct=ca/8-0&fp=46fdb85877ee3ea9&ei=9Ob9RvmOKprGowK83-2AAg&url=http%3A//www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070928/windsor_refugees_070928/20070928%3Fhub%3DCTVNewsAt11&cid=1121437708

U.S. refugee worker arrested for helping Haitians enter Canada
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2007/09/27/qc-refugee0927.html

Ontario lawyers' group opposes charge laid against human rights worker
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/070928/n092898A.html


POLITICS IN THE PROVINCES
PQ's solution: an independent Quebec
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=6843f13a-e86a-42ec-9bda-169984cac3bb

http://www.thestar.com/ontarioelection

Tory vows to put ankle bracelets on violent crime parolees
http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct=ca/0-0&fp=46fdb85877ee3ea9&ei=9Ob9RvmOKprGowK83-2AAg&url=http%3A//www.680news.com/news/local/article.jsp%3Fcontent%3D20070928_155406_3964&cid=1121317570

Liberals, NDP sneer at Tory's plan to monitor violent bad guys in Ontario
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/070928/n092851A.htm

Tory facing tighter-than-expected race for seat
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070928.ont-don29/BNStory/ontarioelection2007/home

Tory offers mea culpa on schools issue
Misunderstanding of his position on faith-based funding is due to incomplete explanation, the PC Leader says
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070928.ONTTORY28/TPStory/TPNational/Politics/


POLITICS
Grits should avoid triggering fall election: MP
http://www.canada.com/globaltv/national/story.html?id=54a6850b-c7b8-455c-ad89-2d6a7d9d7f2c&k=60728

Stephane Dion backs aide under fire for alleged remarks about Quebec
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/070928/n092863A.html

Dion backs senior party official
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070928.wliberlas29/BNStory/National/home

Two unpalatable choices for Dion
http://www.ottawasun.com/News/Columnists/Harris_Michael/2007/09/28/4532672.html

Confidence in Dion reaches crisis level
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/261488

Ignatieff urges Libs to come together, says 'united we win, divided we lose'
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/Na
tional/070928/n092817A.html

Calls for tax cuts intensify as government posts second large surplus in two days
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/070928/n092883A.html

The Harper feds have a $14.2-billion surplus and you, the taxpayer, are going to get a whopping 15 bucks of it
http://www.torontosun.com/News/Columnists/Warmington_Joe/2007/09/28/4532669.php

Give us our surplus back
Take the hint, Flaherty, we are overtaxed
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=b4460807-b168-46e2-94a4-ede879ce4eab

Flush Ottawa spurns Toronto
With election looming, PM pledges tax cuts as government racks up $13.8 billion surplus
http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/261487

Harper pledges $725-million in tax cuts
Rebate would put about $35 in each Canadian's pocket as federal surplus swells to $13.8-billion amid rampant election speculation
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070928.HARPER28/TPStory/TPNational/Politics/

Liberals ready for election, adviser says
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070928.ELECTION28/TPStory/TPNational/Politics/

NDP looks to build on Quebec win
Outremont MP named deputy leader as party tries to present itself as national choice
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070928.NDP28/TPStory/TPNational/Politics/

Little talk, even less action
http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/editorial/story.html?id=cb92840c-663f-48c2-a43f-f7f9ebfbc859


PROGRAMMES
Recent grads losing millions in post-secondary tax credits: group
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/09/27/students-tax.html

Federal surplus already $7.8 billion in new fiscal year
http://www.canada.com/globaltv/national/story.html?id=8f5f1e96-c469-44e5-8b72-885f93aa6e70&k=26219

Federal government accused of stifling access to information
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=a3689171-27c9-4c1b-871e-3bc5483baa1e

Red-Flagging'
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/canada/story.html?id=58357cd5-433a-4f71-b5d7-a5b289034d4e


PRESSURE POINTS
Bush: Environmental progress must be measurable
http://www.canada.com/globaltv/national/story.html?id=f340c75e-e8db-4ced-b534-e61e8765b85e&k=78772

Say it once, say it forever, privacy experts warn
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=49bb0f07-8c41-4500-bda7-38b8ae6e9306


OPINION AND INFORMATION
Why I'm voting against MMP
http://www.thestar.com/OntarioElection/article/261461

MMP helps voters feel like their ballots count
http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/editorial/story.html?id=28c5f49a-d7a4-4c1c-b3a9-bcf9a502515f

In defence of going slow
'As conservatives, we need to develop a mature view of our relationship with the Conservative party. We tried supporting ideologically pure parties. It felt great when we read the platforms, but it didn't feel so great when the votes were counted' Tom Flanagan, National Post
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/issuesideas/story.html?id=66549de4-f6ad-43c1-a6ad-cb20ff6d00f5

Collective change
Europeans have the right not to join a union. Why not us?
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/comment/story.html?id=9aae72e0-32de-46ad-b412-e0731c12e6de

Learning from Greenspan
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/comment/story.html?id=e078c517-a495-4be0-9045-e06bf08f98dc

'Immense hurdles' seen for faith-based schools
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070928.faith28/BNStory/National/home

Spending power: truth and spin
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Opinion/914588.html

The economic fallacy of 'eat local, buy local'
Following the principle of comparative advantage is what keeps us from the penury of subsistence farming
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=c311cf50-efac-405f-a612-58b80fee4b56

Limits to hypocrisy
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=213d663c-90ad-40e1-b36f-fdaf92ed361a

The mathematics of a majority government
Historical evidence shows that 11.2% is the magic number
http://www.rbcinvest.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/PEstory/LAC/20070928/COFLANAGAN28/Headlines/headdex/headdexComment/1/1/7/


INFOS

Stéphane Dion n'a pas l'intention de démettre le dg du PLC, Jamie Carroll
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/070928/N0928133U.html

Grippe aviaire: le Japon cesse d'importer des volailles canadiennes
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/070928/N092866U.html

Le NPD et les libéraux rejettent un plan conservateur contre la criminalité
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/070928/N0928141U.html

Ottawa veut protéger les emplois des réservistes
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20070928/CPACTUALITES/70928242/5846/CPACTUALITES

Layton et Mulcair à l'assaut du Québec
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20070928/CPACTUALITES/709280710/1025/FRONTPAGE

L'aile québécoise libérale ne peut plus acquitter ses factures
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20070928/CPACTUALITES/709280708/1025/FRONTPAGE




BELOW(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)

        Hi Joe,

        Can you remove me from your email list?

        Thanks,

        George
==========
        . . . address removed as requested.

        May I inquire for why?

            Best regards,

                 Joe

==========
        Hi Joe,

        I just have not had time to read your emails. I have found that I 
        have gotten into a routine of letting them build up and then dragging 
        them into a folder with the idea I will read them later, the problem 
        is there never seems to be a later.

        I am not sure what I could suggest. Maybe a monthly update could be 
        useful.

        Thanks,

        George

==========
        visit Canadian Daily Digest - http://cdndailydigest.blogspot.com/
         when you have time or something develops of intense interest. The
        Digests are posted there every day one is sent out and encourage
        others to do the same.

        My e-mail address is on it with an invitation to comment should you
        be so moved.

                 Thanks,

                      Joe.

(May i use you response to my query without your last name to
pass the thoughts on to those in like circumstances. J)

===========
thanks Joe,

I will look at your blog as well.

Yes, you may use my response.

George

«¤»¥«¤»«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»
From: fitz matheson
Subject: The John Tory All Candidates Debate is This Sunday 1:30 pm


IT'S TIME TO RALLY THE TROOPS!

The All Candidates Debate for John Tory is this Sunday
afternoon - be there at 1:30 pm!!!!!

Sunday, September 30, 2007 2 - 4 pm

It is time for supporters to step up and cheer John
on, ask the probing questions, and show the strength
that only Conservatives can. Bring along Conservative
friends and family.

If you can attend please plan to be there at 1:30 pm
when the doors open and claim the seats.
Leaside High School is located in the Eglinton and
Bayview area, off of Hanna Rd, south of Eglinton, 1
block east of Bayview. See You There!

Cheers,
Fitz Matheson

===================================
Ron Thornton

*Hi Joe:

*It is interesting to discover an article ("*The Cost of Kyot*o") in the National Post, a publication I have little use for as we can still afford rather easy on the behind toilet tissue, that explains that to embrace Kyoto and its deadlines would mean to destroy our economy.  Not only is Kyoto a nonsensical proposal, as I attempted to point out yesterday, but it is also a dangerous one.  That is, unless sharing the lot of the homeless is your view of social progress.
The Hamilton Spectator, in its article "*Seeking Truth In Free Speech*", asks if allowing Iranian prez *Mahmoud Ahmedinejad* to speak at Columbia University was a good idea?  Well, the introduction given him by Columbia's president observed that the visitor showed all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator.  Not much sugar coating there.  Then Ahmedinejad spoke, and showed to the world that he is indeed an idiot. 
It is always nice to know the truth about someone, but what we do with that truth, if anything, is another matter.
Good to see *Jack Layton* once again giving credence to my concerns about the  NDP, as illustrated in the Brockville Recorder article "*NDP Warns Government Of Election After 'Undemocratic' Surplus Announcement*."  It would seem that fiscal responsibility once again is something the NDP would rather take a pass on.  Personally, I believe that when you are $14,000 in debt (which represents the share each of us has in our national debt), you really should pay the $420 (our per capita share of the surplus) we find jingling in our collective pockets toward paying that debt down.  At least, that is what my daddy taught me.

Now, should Layton and his party can come up with ways of spending every dime they stumble upon on something more than programs that solve little while perpetuating the social ills they profess to combat, then I'm willing to listen.  Unfortunately, much of our debt has been caused by those who have proven to be fiscally and, I believe, socially irresponsible.  To put it in every day terms, if a man insists on going into the deep end of the pool, would it not be better to take that man and teach him to swim rather than toss him a deflating flotation device that will eventually leave him in as bad a shape as you found him? 
Unfortunately, the NDP and others who should know better insist on such temporary "solutions" at great cost and wind up solving nothing.

Meanwhile, *Keith Coghlan* wrote in to offer his support for the *Mixed Member Proportional  electoral system* in Ontario's present referendum. 
Rather than an imperfect system that allows a single individual responsible to the electors to be elected, as we have now, Keith believes we should add to the mix a list of party selected individuals who are responsible only to the party in order to keep their position in the pecking order.  How is this more democratic?  The present system presents candidates who, in the end, must stand on his own against the electorate, even one that often consists of bleating sheep who vote based on God knows what, but at least has that power to use or abuse in electing their representatives. _Their_ representatives, not the representative of a party.

The fact that the Afghan parliament is made up of a dog's breakfast of parties, with its members taken from party lists, is not an argument for adopting such a system here.  We have a long tradition of democracy, while in Afghanistan any system that involves ballots instead of bullets is a step forward for them, but such a system would be horribly backward for us.
Now, should MMP allow the people, the voters, to select the order in which those off the party list would be deemed elected, then at least the system would leave the actual decision in the hands of the people, nor entirely with any political party.  To me, that would be a test that any system would have to pass to be deemed democratic and worthy of embrace.  The current MMP proposal in Ontario fails the test and, in my opinion, should be rejected.

As always, Joe, thanks for the stump.

Ron.

===================================
From: "Robert Ede"
Subject: Canada -Annual Financial Report 2006-07

This just released Ann Fin Report ( not Public Accts
-reason "big debt reduction" announcement was made
 
http://www.fin.gc.ca/afr/2007/afr2007e.pdf

And always super-interesting

Fiscal Ref Tables - goes back to 1961-2 in each category

http://www.fin.gc.ca/frt/2007/frt07_3e.html#14

Check the "new" total for Interest Bearing Debt on extreme right column of Table #14

-irrespective of what the Treasurer (min)  & PM(min) Harper said
 
Robert Ede,

===================================
From: Jacob Rempel
To: "Editor DAILY DIGEST"

Subject: reading the constitution :
Real Gagne
Subject: For The Digest
Joe:
Regarding Jacob Rempel's comments about Section 36 of the 1982 Constitution as
the authority for federal government intrusion into areas of provincial jurisdiction, my
reading of that section, and particularly its opening clause in subsection (1), is that it
does not confer on the federal government the authority to pursue such intrusion, as
Rempel claims.  Indeed, Section 36's opening clause specifically guarantees the
rights of provincial governments accorded them under sections 92 and 92(A)
of the Constitution.
Real
_____________
 
Dear Editor:
I respond to Real Gagne's reference to Sections 92 and 92A
 
I'm glad Real Gagne raised this argument. It is often presented,
and I appreciate how the 1867 BNA outlines the jurisdictions.
 
However, after reading the first four lines of Subsection (1) of
the 1982 Act,  we need to continue reading the next three lines
and (1)a ,b, and c ;  then read Subsection(2) which commits the
Government of Canada, the government of each province, the
Parliament of Canada and the parliament  of each province to
promote equal opportunities for the well-being of Canadians,
further economic development to reduce disparity in opportunities;
and provide essential services of reasonable quality to all Canadians.
 
Certainly not the  prime minister and no provincial premier in 1980
declared that what his province was at that time providing was not
reasonable. I conclude therefore that anything of lesser quality
delivered after that would breach the constitutional commitment.
 
And I cannot conceive how a federal government and parliament could
possibly fulfil these constitutional commitments without entering into the
jurisdictional areas referred to in BNA Sections 92 and 92A, which they
had already been doing since the 30s with the eager cooperation of the
provincial governments other than the Parti Quebecois in Quebec, and
even they accepted the monies and perforce the federal conditions.
Nor can I conceive of a federal government trying to fulfil all these
commitments without financially and administratively entering into
the jurisdictions identified as provincial in the 1867 BNA.
 
As well, both Liberal and Progressive Conservative MPs from
Quebec supported the Canada Health Act and federal Regional
Diversification programs and road building and housing and many
joint programs. Only separatists and the Stephen Harper/Preston
Manning cabal call these programs intrusions on provincial
jurisdictions. Others consider these to be obvious federal
and provincial mutual and joint responsibilities financially
and administratively to ensure good government.
 
(They quarrel mainly about who deserves political credit.)
 
In the 1982 Constitution Act, all provinces and all parties except
the separatists joined in a great consensus to constitutionalize all
these mutually accepted public services as necessary for good
government in Canada. It was what all parties had already been
doing for several decades to provide modern public services
never dreamed of in the 1867 BNA.
.... Q.E.D.
P.S.
Do read the article in the Dalhousie Law
Journal to which I referred in my posting.
 
Check it out in Section 36 and in the article "Providing
Essential Services: Canada's Constitutional Commitment
Under Section 36" in the DALHOUSIE LAW JOURNAL,
Vol.19, No.2, Fall 1996
 
The article analyses how Section 36 provides constitutional
authority for national programs of public services administered
provincially, jointly, or federally using constitutionally mandated
federal spending power.

_________________
REFERENCE:
CONSTITUTION ACT, 1982
PART III: EQUALIZATION AND REGIONAL DISPARITIES
Commitment to promote equal  opportunities            
Section 36.
(1)Without altering the legislative authority
    of Parliament or the provincial legislatures,
    or the exercise rights of any of them with
    respect to of their legislative authority,
    Parliament and the legislatures, together
    with the government of Canada and the
    provincial governments are committed to
          (a) promoting equal opportunities
               for the well-being of Canadians;
          (b) furthering economic development
               to reduce disparity in opportunities; and
          (c) providing essential public services
               of reasonable quality to all Canadians.
 
Commitment  respecting public services                      
(2)Parliament and the government of Canada
    are committed to the principle of making
    equalization payments to ensure that provincial
    governments have sufficient revenues to provide
    reasonably comparable levels of public services at
    reasonably comparable levels of taxation.

===================================
A SURPLUS OF TAX-CUT FEVER
by Jordan Himelfarb
September 28, 2007

For most people, the accumulation of $4.6 billion in unforeseen funds would be unambiguously good news. Not so for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who came under attack from all sides yesterday after it was announced that his Conservative government amassed a surplus of nearly $14 billion in the last fiscal year­a full 50 percent higher than the amount predicted. At a press conference yesterday, Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty described the surplus as an indication of a thriving Canadian economy and, in particular, the minority government's prudent fiscal management. Unfortunately for Harper, neither The National nor the Star has forgotten the PM's outspoken criticism of the previous Liberal government's large surpluses, about which he repeatedly stated that grossly undershot budget estimates constitute a sign of poor fiscal management at best, and dishonest and misleading accounting at worst. Against claims of his hypocrisy, Harper offered only this unsubstantiated distinction: "We were very critical of the budget estimations that we thought were flagrantly untrue and deliberately underestimated. That has not been the case with this government."

Though The National reported last night that Harper announced the surplus in a "jubilant" mood, one might wonder why, since the air of hypocrisy was the least of the political fallout from the announcement. In particular, critics of all stripes are dissatisfied with the way in which the surplus has already been spent­in full, toward the national debt. According to Flaherty, by reducing the size of the debt by the size of the surplus the government will save $750 million in interest, allowing for ever-popular tax reductions. However, those cuts will only amount to savings of about $30 a year for the average Canadian, and throughout today's Big Seven sources, pundits and editorialists call for the surplus to be converted into massive personal tax cuts. Lorne Gunter's unabashedly libertarian piece in the Post is titled "Give us our surplus back," while this editorial in the Globe (subscription required) argues for the urgency of both significant corporate and personal tax cuts if Canada wishes to maintain its strong economy. Almost every source on the story quotes John Williamson, of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, describing the proposed tax relief as so measly as to be "gouging Canadians for no reason." As pro-tax cut fever besets the Big Seven, one wonders if Harper's jubilance might not have something to do with the possibility, allowed for by the announcement of the surplus, that he could offer tax relief in the lead up to an election ( rumoured to be imminent throughout today's sources). If so, MediaScout would caution the Big Seven that they might get more than they're bargaining for: The prime minister has shown strong anti-government leanings in his past politics­leanings that, without the restraints of a minority government, may translate into not only tax relief, but a rearranging of the role of the federal government in Canada, of which massive tax cuts are just a part.

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