Saturday, October 20, 2007

Daily Digest October 21, 2007



ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Someone is watching you

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Framework for success

         American myopia on Arar

TORONTO STAR - A liberal agenda for the Liberals

NATIONAL POST - A victory for workers

TORONTO SUN - No one's surprised, except CBC

HAMILTON SPECTATOR - Reverse onus needs scrutiny

LONDON FREE PRESS - No one's surprised, except CBC

SUDBURY STAR - Labour trade; Prospect of allowing Canadian, U.S. workers to cross borders under scrutiny

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Politicians need to take Afghans' wishes seriously

REGINA LEADER-POST - A rush to the middle
Having trouble spotting the "defining issue" in the Saskatchewan provincial election campaign?

CALGARY HERALD - Seeking middle royalty ground
Stelmach appears to be taking a slow but steady approach

        A backhanded apology

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - A different body count

PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN - Revenge of the nerds

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Give chronic crooks a choice: Clean up or stay locked up


Treading on thin ice

NATO displays confidence, doubts about Afghan role
Some top brass suggest military role is like riding two horses at once, others compare Taliban to virus

Kandahar conundrum
NATO source: Canucks are replaceable at front, but 'it might not be easy'

Top army general says Canada's role in Afghanistan long-term, military or not

Afghan poll positive
Results show they have confidence in NATO and in themselves, says MacKay

Alternative North Americas
In this excerpt from Uneasy Neighbo(u)rs: Canada, the USA and the Dynamics of State, Industry and Culture, authors David T. Jones and David Kilgour explain that, although Canada and the U.S. have similar histories, they have developed different approaches to the rest of the world

Cdn. couple to fight U.S. car discrimination case

Canada-U.S. panel promises faster Great Lakes study

Retailers cut prices to fight shopping in U.S.

Canada 'Behind' On Arctic Surveillance

Time to end the charade

Brains react differently in stressed-out types

'Do we have an epidemic or not?'
With a proliferation of horrific allegations in the headlines, Canadians can be forgiven for thinking that child molesters are everywhere. But what is the actual prevalence of the problem? In this, the first of a four-part series, the National Post explores the extent of the problem and the ways of dealing with it.

Public morality has long dictated that science stay away from pedophilia. That's beginning to change

Poll shows different attitudes toward immigrants

Cdns want illegal immigrants deported: poll

An alternative plan for Canada
The Liberal leader, talked out of voting against this week's Conservative throne speech, writes his own

PM's grip on power makes Parliament irrelevant,

Liberals use election reprieve to regroup, redefine Dion

Struggling Dion draws on Chrétien's debut
His performance panned, his party in disarray. But that was 1990. There are lessons for the current Liberal Leader

The great ambition of Stephen Harper - The Maple Leaf blue

Layton laces into Dion's Liberals for inaction,

Defending national unity and crusading for the environment, the former academic always seemed most comfortable lecturing us. But this week, as his party threatened to pull apart, the leader of the opposition may just have learned to listen

Dion does a high-wire act

Grit uses cartoon to make his point

PM challenging opposition with crime position

Manley's panel will visit Afghanistan, but plans no public hearings on mission

Protesters demand end to security certificates

Feds push Kyoto II
Protocol to be penalty free

Worldwide solutions are needed to deal with the effects of climate change
First of four parts

Economic well-being directly tied to literacy

Be patient. You're Canadian

A doomed mission
The panel looking into Canada's role in Afghanistan won't find the achievable objective we've been lacking

Harper gets tough on the Liberals

Prepare for a continental shift

Crime bill a no-brainer

Intentions good, but the results were not

Adding barriers borders on folly

Caviar emptor

Hey, cellphone addicts: Hang up and drive
Yakking motorists need to be saved from themselves

A requiem for Newfoundland's outports


Les libéraux profiteront du sursis avant des élections pour se regrouper

Des manifestants dénoncent de nouvelles mesures de sécurité attendues

Les Verts se mobilisent au Québec en vue des prochaines élections fédérales

Sondage: pas de majorité pour les conservateurs

Le Bloc a toujours sa raison d'être

La grande ambition de Stephen Harper - La feuille d'érable bleue

Le Canada ne se retire pas de Kyoto, dit Baird

Les libéraux dénoncent des nominations partisanes


The federal Conservatives have no more right to trade on details about your age, religion, personal sexual preferences or interests than anyone else does. Governments collect massive amounts of statistical information, and have a duty to keep that information private.
CIMS is blurring the line between the use and the abuse of personal, private information.
It's about time this tracking system was stopped in its tracks.

Joe Hueglin agrees. How about you?


From: Ernest Raymond

To John Kruithof, Ottawa South,
Thanks for clarifying that you are only "supporting the Conservative Party's direction of coming to terms with the multi-faceted aspects of Canadian thinking." .
I too voted for the Conservatives in the last election in large part because of their decision to cut in half the fee imposed on immigrants applying to Canada ($500 from the previous $1000) as a show of further encouraging the "multi-faceted aspects of Canadian thinking." which Harper had never personally shown at any previous point in time.
Since gaining power, however, I have seen Harper make one TACTICAL move after another, even to the point of actively politicizing Citizenship Ceremonies for partisan political advantage in pursuit of getting an unchecked majority.
And that is what I see all these PERCEIVED "coming to terms with the multi-faceted aspects of Canadian thinking." ---
Tactics to get voters that will be abandoned or supressed in much the same way he ignores his core constituencies, fiscal conservatives (see TEMPORARY tax and spend policies of the past 20 months), and social conservatives (see TEMPORARY abandonment of same sex marriage issue during the past 20 months).
Harper is paying LIP-SERVICE to "multi-faceted aspects of Canadian thinking." for vote-getting purposes.
The man's core value is, "Win at all costs to get unfettered power to implement THE STEPHEN HARPER vision of Canada". So the question becomes, "Is the Stephen Harper vision of Canada YOUR vision of Canada?"

From: fitz matheson

Joe, when you're right you're right.
It sound s like a battle the EDA will lose and
misinformation is never helpful.

. . . the EDA will submit or lose,
though whether the Bunker wins
much is debatable.


From: "Rosalie Piccioni"

Hi Joe:  
     Re:  The New Conservative Party's partisan slogan "Strong Leadership. A Better Canada" on Government web sites is an abuse of power. Or not?
As I see it, the answer to the question is "no" because the statement is not a logo, it is a promise.  And a promise is a lot more serious than a logo  :o)

The title of the Governor General's speech, "Strong Leadership. A Better Canada", is for the first time being placed on heavily trafficed
Government of Canada web sites. 

Should it remain the title of the Throne Speech it can be debated whether presenting the agenda
of the Government of the Day is proper or not. 

What it ought not to become is the slogan of the new Conservative Party of Canada for that would be wrong.

I hope you agree.

Michael Watkins, Vancouver Kingsway

John Kruithof wrote, speaking of the last PCPC leadership vote:
"After the deal was announced, Orchard seemingly left his delegates
to their own devices."

If that were so, why were Orchard organizers shadowing the poll
line-up reminding Orchard delegates, and I quote, "You know what to

It was clear on the floor that Orchard's people were influencing
delegates to vote for MacKay. Chandler played only a bit part in
this, although perhaps he was in part the spoiler, but any thinking
delegate ought to have seen the Brison-Prentice partnership as a
clear indication that Chandler could be wholly ignored.

John also wrote "It's ironic that a vote for either would eventually
wind up in unification."

That we'll never know. Although I was committed to supporting the
PCPC and dead set against any notion of merger with the CA/Reform, I
supported Prentice because he had the integrity to speak out plainly
on issues. Peter "I am not the merger candidate" MacKay, said
whatever his campaign manager told him to, true or not. I didn't
feel MacKay showed integrity during the race, and hasn't since.

I also supported Prentice because I perceived him as the
"anti-establishment" candidate, one who would not be beholden to the
ghosts of the central Canadian remnants of the party. MacKay clearly
wasn't that candidate - he had the ghosts of the past written all
over him. Brison I didn't think could mount a win on his own, nor
could Orchard. Prentice I felt could unify and rally the camps
around Orchard, Brison and his own of course.

Rightly or wrongly, despite my past endorsement of party-protecting
motions at national meetings, as well as here so long ago on Daily
Digest, I felt Prentice's honesty about his desire to find ways of
reconciling various conservatives across the country was far more
trustworthy than the obvious spin coming out of MacKay.

Look at the man - can anyone seriously imagine Peter MacKay leading
the PCPC to a stronger electoral result? Unifying the party? I could
not; I did not detect real leadership quality in MacKay.

Prentice got my fairly early support, despite the spin from Peter "I
am not the merger candidate" MacKay because I felt I could rely on
any future moves to attract former Tories back to the party to be
based first on Prentice reinvigorating the Progressive Conservative
Party of Canada and building from a base of strength.

Prentice showed integrity during the leadership votes by not signing
deals with Orchard that he could not guarantee to keep. 

In stark contrast, MacKay signed anything that would put him in
power, knowing full well that his signature and word were utterly
worthless and unreliable.

We'll never know how things might have turned out, but I'm confident
that Prentice would never sign a deal on a napkin and then break it
within weeks.
From: "Wayne Smith"


As the Bill Casey and David Emerson affairs illustrate, MMP gets a bum rap when it is accused of giving more power to political parties and party bosses. Political parties already have ALL the power, and they have had it for a hundred years, ever since the modern political party evolved as a machine for electing people.

The people on the party list are candidates in the election. Of course the parties nominate the candidates on their list, just as they nominate their candidates in the ridings. The point is that, under MMP, you and I get to vote for or against that party and their list, with a vote that actually makes a difference.

If you vote for that party, the people on their list get elected. If you don't vote for that party, they don't get elected. Contrast this to the current system, where we have a single MPP in each riding. If you vote for that person, he gets elected. If you vote for somebody else, he gets elected anyway. If you don't vote at all, he still gets elected. Why do we bother?

Sure, under MMP, the top few spots on each party's list are pretty safe seats. So what? Under the current system, only about 20% of the seats are in play in each election. Most of us already live in safe seats. Most of us already know who will be elected in our riding before the votes are even cast. Why should our current MPs and MPPs not be considered "appointed party hacks"? The current system is not competitive. Most of us as voters have few real choices, or none at all.

What the referendum result showed is that we cherish the notion of our local MP or MPP as an independent free spirit who puts the wishes of his constituents above all other considerations, and to hell with what his party tells him to do. Surely we all understand that this is a fairy tale? Every member of Parliament votes with his party every single time. When they don't, it makes headlines. People who buck their party are putting themselves on a severely abbreviated career track. Besides, most MPs and MPPs are elected with fewer than 50% of the votes in their riding, so most of the people they are "representing" are people who voted against them!

MMP would GIVE VOTERS THE POWER to hold political parties accountable, by giving every voter a party vote that actually helps to elect someone, every time, in contrast to the current system where most of us vote for people who don't get elected, so we end up with a government that most of us voted against.

Wayne Smith

P.S. Why was the final report and recommendations of the Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform not distributed to every household in the province when it was released on May 15 (or at any time since then), so Ontarians could have had the chance to have a serious discussion and debate on these recommendations?

P.P.S. MMP is not dead. People are just now finding out about it, and discussion about voting reform is more lively now than it was during the referendum campaign. A million and a half people in Ontario now know that our voting system is broken and needs to be changed. Now that they know, they won't soon forget.

Faith-based plank not mine, Klees says
'T'aint mine, dammit, so don't make me walk it!"

Tories split on Tory
"After we hang'im, should we draw and quarter him, too?" ...
N.S. Tory MP's riding to consider options after party orders new candidate
Option 1: find another suitable candidate. Option 2: see Option 1. Simple.
Not that The Rules for party solidarity are anything new. I mean who hasn't heard Little Stevie sing "It's my Party and I'll Do What I Want To?"
(Note: I'm joking re. Stephen Harper. In this case, ejecting a non-solidarious MP was the right thing to do. Party = solidarity, hopefully for the greater good of Canada. Breaking solidarity means party-apostasy in a parlimentary democracy .. and that means putting on a hair shirt and leaving to preach in the desert).
Flaherty Says Canada Still `Looking at' Capital-Gains Tax Cut
And a damn good it'll be if it gets through. Right now, investments gains, whether dividends or capital gains, are taxed too much, which discourages investment itself. The result: Canadians don't save enough (i.e. they consume all that get as income or borrow to invest), which mortgages their retirement. So: lower taxing of investment (dividends, capital gains, taxation of capital itself (<-- they do this at the corporate level in QC ... conceptually, it's the same thing as taxing your car, your bank account, etc.!) means more incentive to invest, thus more savings to be able to invest. Plus, investments made will return more than they do now, other factors being the same, since proceeds arising from investment will be greater.
Plus, see it another way: if Canadians save more and invest in Canadian companies, then Canadian companies will be owned more by Canadians and less by foreigners. Now let be clear: in truth, given that Canada is an economically-advanced country, there's nothing to worry about as concerns what percentage of investment in Canada comes from abroad. But for those to whom "Canadian ownership" of "Canadian companies" is psychologically comforting, lowering taxes on investment will help Canadians to keep Canadian companies Canadian-owned.
Liberals care about power and success
Dion and his merry band will sit on their hands rather than risk losing an election
"Power and success" .. no, REALLY? Hhhmmm .. that would explain why Jean Chretien's biography contains a passage stating that politics is all about gaining, using, and preserving power. If only we Tories had realized sooner what the Liberals were all about ...
Throne speech fails to mention city concerns: Miller
Mayor calls some aspects of Conservative government's plans "worrying"
Good thing, too. Let the provinces look after them ...
 Garneau candidacy buoys sagging Liberals
Coming soon, in next month's National Enquirer (Canadian edition): "Liberal Spaceman Shoots for the Stars". On page 23, we'll read a small column titled: "Crewmembers stuff Mission Leader into air lock, leave him orbiting Pluto". (It's funny cuz it's allegorically true!)
Premier plans to stay away from Casey's riding
Must be that local movie that just came out last week out there: "They Shoot Provincial Liberals, Don't They?"
Dion's learning curve
A descending one!
Tories stacking the courts with their political friends, opponents charge
Well, they ARE seeking to balance out those Liberals that have been piling up in there over the past decade.
Federal Tories cut off dissident MPs from private constituency case files
And rightly so! Note that the "dissident" MPs are expelled ones whoa re no longer members if the CPC.

                                     Stratos M.P.s represent their constituents and work to solve their problems with government

                                   What was done was unconscionable - the CPC took the files and the names for the CMIS data
                                   base.  Whatever private information was being shared to solve a problem was purloined.
Liberals waiting for a miracle
Christians have their Christmas, and now the federal Liberals want Canadians to have Trudeaumas every October 18th. That way, Canada's new political-patron saint (note the hyphen!) will surely shower miracles on his federal apostles. Mind you, this open up a whole new can of worms: for example, Montreal-Trudeau airport would likely have to be renamed. I mean, as things stand right now, can you imagine having  an airport Jesus Christ-Montreal? And don't even get me started on Quebec's OWN little JC, "John Christian"!
Tories face critical task of finding new CRTC leaders
OK, I'LL do it!
Tories say harmonized tax good for productivity
... of the bureaucracy that manages it.
PM's blueprint fails to captivate nation
Poor Stevie wanted AAAaaaa's and all he got were ZZZzzzz's. What's a PM to do?
Canada joins WTO fight to protect aircraft support
Make the title a tough-twister by adding: "... by supporting aircraft protection". Warning: may lead to brain cramps.

Pathways to Environmental Solutions

In the global energy debate over supply, demand and emissions trends, there are no easy solutions. Rather, the pathways to improvements require simultaneous actions and behavior changes on many fronts, argues Jorma Ollila, chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, in this first installment of a two-part series.
(Part I)

(Part II)

Perfectly sensible. Give the man a job. Oh, he has one ...

From: Jacob Rempel
Subject: From: Michael Watkins     Subject: Re: Pre-Budget Quickie

Put more simply, permanently tying the hands of the federal
government will more or less assure that no significant, certainly
no even mildly controversial, program is ever proposed nationally
again. Who will willingly take on the provinces when it becomes
necessary, if stripped of such a key tool?
..... Michael Watkins
My response:
Michael Watkins is right about this. Harper wants to proceed with his decentralizing Alberta firewall agenda.
Michael's examples to show that  both the feds and the provinces have been accepting the federal spending power for public services ever since the Equalization principles were legislated 65 years ago, and later as health and social transfers were introduce the support  universal social programs in every province. All this even before the 1982 Constitution Act made the practice obligatory.
I have written about this before. Below is part of what I wrote about  this as part of policy discussions when I was in the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. The Harper neocons now want  to breach their constitutional obligation to ensure the peace. order,  and good government for all of Canada and for all Canadians

...Jacob Rempel, Vancouver
You may want to read what I wrote then.

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.
No constitutional change is necessary, and transfer
of federal taxing powers to the provinces is fatal to
federal leadership for unity, peace, and good government.
On the contrary, the constitution actually confirms and
obligates the federal government to use federal spending
power to ensure the well-being of all Canadians, and in
the same way, constitution obligates the provincial
governments to work in partnership with the federal
government in joint and separate programs.
The correct legal application of Section 36 of the Constitution Act of 1982
is the right and legal reply to the claim of fiscal deficit by any province,
whether Quebec, Ontario, Alberta or Prince Edward Island, or in any
Territory or First Nation.
Fair equalizaton plus  appropriately calculated transfers as a constitutionally
mandated obligation can adjust every fiscal imbalance in every jurisdiction....
All parties in parliament and in the provinces (except separatists)
supported the 1982 constitution, including Section 36, which was
negotiated and constitutonalized to commit and obligate the federal
government to cover each province's "fiscal deficit" annually, adjusting
the equalization formula and transfer payments as to account for the
annual regional diversity in economic activity and government revenue.
Section 36 was then seen and it remains as the way to ensure fiscal
security in every jurisdiction in Canada. There is no fiscal deficit in
any province, territory or First Nation when these equalizers are
properly calculated and administered annually.

One may ask for a legal constitutional interpretation of Section 36,
since it has never been tested in court. But we can read a history
of the long Sec 36 negotiations, how long and how many parties
and provinces and civil society groups had detailed input into Section 36.
Importantly, a careful analysis of its implications shows Section 36
to be a constitutional barrier to Preston Manning and Stephen Harper's
plans to decentralize Canada's federation. Every retreat from that
constitutional obligation is in fact a breach of the constitution.
I commend to your serious attention such an
analysis in the DALHOUSIE LAW JOURNAL,
Vol.19, No.2, Fall 1996, in the article "Providing
Essential Services: Canada's Constitutional
Commitment Under Section 36," authored by
Aymen Nader and vetted before publication by
senior constitutional lawyers Leon Trakman
and Vincent Calderhead.
After reading that 66 page analysis, I became confident that provinces could successfully sue the federal government for breach of constitutional commitment and obligation to help them maintain reasonable levels and quality of public services when they cut transfer payments in years 1983 to 2005.
As well, social assistance recipients in a class action could successfully sue both levels of government for damages as a result of not receiving a reasonable level and quality of services.
Federal failure to perform constitutional obligations would not protect provincial governments either from liability for their failure to perform. Each level of government breached constitutional obligations whenever necessary public services were reduced and inadequately delivered.
The phrase "(c) providing essential public services of reasonable quality to all Canadians" sets a standard for obligatory public services. They were to be of "reasonable quality",  which in 1982 meant the level and quality the feds and provinces were at that time providing. Any service quality reduction below that standard would be a breach of constitutional commitment and obligation.
I see Section 36 as a great opportunity to restore federal legitimacy, political authority
and good government to enrich and strengthen national unity and national commercial
and cultural life.
Clear and transparent equally shared responsibility for the well-being of all Canadians in all
provinces, all territories and all First Nations can restore respect and appreciation for the
Government of Canada and of course the governments of provinces and First Nations. 
The equalization formula and various transfer payments for medicare, education and research,
culture support should be calculated annually so as to make the federal government provide
a 50% share of all such programs in every jurisdiction, provincial, First Nations, and the
Territories, transparently monitored to ensure accountability and reasonably equal high
 standards of such public services.
In fact all governments from the fifties to the seventies often used 50/50 cost share
as a principle for shared programs, and it can be argued that such a practice
was envisaged when negotiations were concluded for the wording of Section 36.
Section 36 provides constitutional authority for such national programs administered
provincially, jointly, or federally using constitutional federal spending power.
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
...Jacob Rempel, Vancouver Kings way