Friday, October 05, 2007

Daily Digest October 5, 2007



ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Getting rid of the rats

CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - Making laws understandable and effective print this article
There's no point in having a law on the books if it can't be enforced and no one understands how it applies.

HALIFAX NEWS - A young offender is still an offender

HALIFAX CHRONICLE HERALD - Harper's new brinkmanship

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Tactics over truth

TORONTO STAR - Dion must outline a bold platform

NATIONAL POST - John Tory for Ontario premier
On health, crime, education and taxes, he has the better approach

HAMILTON SPECTATOR - Don't look now, voters, but . . .

WINDSOR STAR - Prentice delivers message

SUDBURY STAR - Will negligence chill out police?

         Optimism abounds; Canadian troops proud of their mission, Afghans see the bright side

        Canada should vigorously defend seal hunt

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - Hopeful disloyalty

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Calvert lawsuit on equalization election fodder

        Simply incredible

CALGARY HERALD - Defining rights of the unborn
Criminal Code should recognize fetus as separate victim in crimes

        Going green is good, but it's not inexpensive

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - War against identity theft falling short


         Asdklfja askdlfj jjadfk ad wekmz,e ezlempo! means everything

VANCOUVER SUN - Tories' 'new' strategy to fight drugs just pours more money into same old failed approaches

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - How not to inspire public confidence in judicial process

VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST - Harper holding the best cards


School survivors' money needs safeguarding

Residential school payments not a handout: Fontaine

Air force looks to fast-track new pilotless plane for use in Afghanistan

Dollar strong, but exports hurting

India holds the key in NATO's world view

Pakistan politics and our troops: Too few degrees of separation

Canada confirms to WTO it will be first to export cheap, generic AIDS drugs

Myanmar turns cameras on dissidents

Myanmar and the loss of legitimacy

One-tier health care? Not quite

Want to live longer? Beware the fatophiles

Eat more fatty fish, expectant mothers advised

Police liable for inadequate work, Supreme Court rules

Immigrants must obey the rules

Sask.-Equalization fight goes to court

Defence of French language urgent, Marois says

B.C.-Health Minister rejects demands to investigate chain of seniors' homes


GOOGLE all 101 news articles »

NATIONAL POST - John Tory for Ontario premier
On health, crime, education and taxes, he has the better approach

When will McGuinty's bubble burst?

Ontario's economic woes sidelined in election race

Tory steps up his attack on Liberal health record
Doctor Shortage?

Tory's schools position divisive, McGuinty says
The Liberal Leader also notes his party was 'in denial' about the state of the province's finances in 2003, forcing a broken promise

A few planks short of satisfaction

Would MMP enhance democracy?

A zombie election

McGuinty's answers never address the question

Conservative insiders lament leader's missteps in Ontario election campaign

Hampton cool under fire from one-time ally; Tory calls McGuinty 'cruel'

Parliament has reached a crossroads

Tories preparing for possible fall election: report

Tories told to prep for vote, ordered to begin canvassing

The bait can wait

Harper 'fantasy' assailed
Throne Speech; Liberals reject PM's ultimatum on calling election

Critic expects cold Afghan shoulder

MacKay calls Liberal's trip to Afghanistan a stunt

Liberals divided on plan for moving forward

Minimizing harm

Liberals duck election trap

PM hands Dion the gift of choice
Liberals can now pick election date that is best for them

Harper's unhidden agenda

Get ready for a rumble between Dion and Ignatieff camps
Carroll incident seems to have lit a fire under the dump Dion movement

As good as it gets: Harper's ready to roll the election dice

Harper upbeat but election success uncertain

Liberal Senate leader reminds Quebec Grits leadership contest is over.

Harper pledges money for northern research, improvements to port of Churchill

Feds chip in $40 million for Calgary sports paradise
Plan calls for four rinks and a village atmosphere for elite athletes

Healthy skepticism

Tories take harder line on illegal drug users
Anti-Drug Strategy
all 151 news articles »

Why a war on drugs just won't work
Basing policy on belief, not facts, dooms strategy to failure from the start

Group including former Vancouver mayor, judge pan Tory anti-drug strategy

Mismanagement alleged at Fisheries Department

Does affluence buy our apathy?

'A better life for my country'
Brian Mulroney, National Post

Free trade: the western view
Derek Burney on the FTA as a case study in leadership

Render not unto Caesar

Ottawa should bar companies from trading with Myanmar
Money spent in that country serves to only prop up the junta

Make the case for Afghanistan
Because public opinion has soured on our mission in Afghanistan, the opposition parties could waste the efforts of our soldiers. It's up to Harper now.

Innovation cheaper than oil

A revolution needed in R & D

Failure to collect royalties unforgivable
Don't make mistake of conflating auditor general's finding with review panel

Militarism, nuclear power also 'inconvenient truths'
Al Gore missed an opportunity to expand the scope of his warnings


Un voyage qui dérange

Ottawa annonce des investissements

Un pas de plus pour Montréal

Les conservateurs se préparent

La stratégie conservatrice décriée

Stéphane Dion annoncera la semaine prochaine un remaniement de son caucus

Ottawa appuie les services de santé des communautés de langue minoritaire

La porte d'entrée de l'Atlantique aurait un énorme potentiel pour le commerce

«Harper nous a coincés»

Bernier en Afghanistan, Coderre fulmine

Une lutte à l'américaine contre la drogue

L'entraînement des soldats afghans progresse

Les soldats blessés qui le veulent pourraient rester en uniforme

Mission canadienne en Afghanistan: le Québec divisé


It's sad to say, but worlds change in lots of ways, and we have to change with them, because it's always difficult to stuff a genie back into the confines of its bottle.

        The Genie out of the bottle is the thesis that voting confidence in a Speech from the Throne is henceforth to be viewed as voting confidence in the     measures stated therein.  Each and every Bill flowing from it as the agenda of the government is fleshed out is to be accepted or the Government of     the Day will take a negative vote as a want of confidence and request that the Governor General dissolve Parliament and issue election writs.
        In seeking partisan advantage by establishing new patterns of action a Pandora's box may well have been opened.  The strategy with which the    Opposition Party of the Day responds may be precedent setting as well.
        One of the aspects of my conservatism is contained within this statement "At my initiation I was taught to be cautious."  Stephen harper and his        mentor, as Josee Legault points out below, do not follow this admonition.

        It'll be most interesting to see whether the Liberals enable the setting up of Committee Rooms and the canvassing that is underweigh worthwhile.

PM hands Dion the gift of choice
Liberals can now pick election date that is best for them

Sometimes, even a brilliant tactician can be too clever by half. By daring opposition parties either to defeat him or pass every future piece of legislation, Stephen Harper has handed Stéphane Dion an interesting advantage.

With his unprecedented threat to turn any future vote he chooses into a confidence vote, the prime minister tries to have his cake and eat it, too. He's bullying the opposition into either forcing an election when they're vulnerable, or handing him a virtual majority government by approving the Throne Speech and the major laws to follow.

But in doing so, he has given the Liberal leader the ultimate power to decide when the election is called. With Harper's promise to add new confidence votes, Dion now has the chance to bring down the government at a time other than the Throne Speech or the budget.

According to British parliamentary tradition, confidence votes are reserved for budgets or matters of great importance. This limits the ability of opposition parties to bring down a minority government in between times. Even if the opposition sees some hope of winning an election, it's very difficult for it to provoke one at a time of its choosing.

In a minority, this means the prime minister has the real power to provoke an election when he thinks he could get a majority. But Harper is stuck with his bill on elections at fixed dates, set for the fall of 2009, making it hard for him to force an election at some other time.

So Harper chose to increase confidence votes to corner Dion: Either the Liberals go into a risky election, or they become doormats for the Tories.

Harper's problem is that his new gladiator-style strategy could turn into a double-edged sword. It could give Dion the luxury of avoiding a quick election by letting the Throne Speech be adopted. He could then work on making the Liberals more battle-ready before he brings down the government in a future confidence vote.

This approach would allow Dion to use Harper's strategy to his own advantage, instead of passively falling prey to it. This way, Harper's aggressive move would actually end up giving Dion the most precious of commodities: time.

And Dion needs time desperately to try to show leadership, clean up the mess in his party, bring back more competent and loyal advisers and organizers, raise money and recruit quality candidates.

We know Harper is now following the "brinksmanship" strategy outlined this August in the Globe and Mail by former Tory campaign manager Tom Flanagan.

"By using confidence measures more aggressively," Flanagan wrote, "the Conservatives can benefit politically." If the opposition backs down, Harper gets his laws passed. If not, Tories "get an election for which they are the best prepared."

Flanagan concluded: "'Fortune is a woman'," Machiavelli wrote in a now politically incorrect aphorism, 'and it is necessary, if you wish to master her, to conquer her by force.' It is time for the government to take advantage of its advantages."

But Machiavelli also said when your troops are weak, and face a well-prepared army with a strong general, it is best to retreat for a while and use the time wisely to build up your own army. "Courage is important," he wrote, "but more so is holding an advantageous position" - something Liberals don't have right now.

Sun Tzu also wrote "the art of commanding is to not confront an enemy that is in a better strategic position." "A general should not take a road, even if it is shorter," he added, "if he knows that it's dangerous and can lead to an ambush."

If Dion's Liberals vote against the Throne Speech, they'll be taking that shorter, more dangerous road.

It would be courageous, but not very smart.

© The Gazette (Montreal) 2007

From: "Thiele, Stephen"

Hi Joe:

For people interested in attending a municipal issues symposium, the following may be of interest:

Good Evening:

We are now less than two weeks away from our October 14, 2007 symposium which will take place at the Old Mill Inn from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(Remember, there is one hour registration period between 12 noon and 1:00 p.m.)

For those who are planning on attending the symposium, but who have not yet pre-registered, we ask that you do so soon by sending an e-mail to

This Friday, final preparations will take place with respect to the lay-out of the room at the Old Mill Inn and the seating arrangements.

Admission to the symposium is free and complimentary parking is available.

Furthermore, the Old Mill Inn is easily accessible by public transit since it is located behind the Old Mill subway station along the Bloor
St. subway line.

We have confirmed the following speakers at this event: Sue-Ann Levy (The Toronto Sun), David Nickle (Toronto Community News), Kevin Gaudet
(Canadian Taxpayers Federation), David Meslin (Who Runs This Town), Councillor Karen Stintz (Ward 16) and Member of Parliament, Borys
Wrzesnewskyj (Etobicoke-Centre).

Earlier e-mails had confirmed the attendance of Councillor Rob Ford (Ward 2). But due to a rescheduling of a prior commitment, he will be unable to attend.

We still have a few invitations out to other potential panelists, so please check the "Events" page of our website ( for updates.

On behalf of The Toronto Party Advisory Committee, and party co-founder
Brian Roussie,
Stephen Thiele
Co-founder, The Toronto Party

From: Rubie Britton

Subject: Click to read and sign the Petition.

As ever,


(Please distribute widely in Ontario)

Hello Friends and Colleagues:

I'm very disheartened to learn that some on the left are considering voting against MMP. Even people on the right – as right wingers Rick Anderson, Hugh Segal, Andrew Coyne agree – should vote for MMP.

In fact everyone who wants more democracy should vote for MMP. In the final analysis it's not a Left/Right issue.

Look first at evidence. I know opinions can vary based on the same evidence, but I'd rather start with evidence than opinions:

1. Mixed Member Proportional is a form of Proportional Representation (PR).

2. No population that has voted to do away with the first-past-the-post system for any form of PR has ever reversed that decision.

3. Countries adopting some form of PR have all found it results in a fairer proportion of women, and minorities, being elected than under first-past-the-post.

4. Voters in British Columbia came close to choosing a form of PR (57.69% to be exact), even when the threshold for approval was 60% as will be the case in Ontario next Wednesday. The B.C. electorate gets another chance to vote for PR in two years. I know good people in B.C. are preparing already to win the next round. They tell me a win for MMP in Ontario would boost the cause tremendously. It probably would become a national trend.

5. The new PR voting plan called MMP (Mixed Member Proportional) was chosen by 103 Ontario citizens, themselves chosen at random from each electoral district in the province.

6. Opponents of MMP that I have seen, heard and read have engaged in fear-mongering while no proponents of MMP that I have seen, heard and read have engaged in fear mongering (yes that is a fact, is evidence).

7. Sheila Copps has written in the Sun newspapers that MMP is "crazy." That is name-calling. Name-calling is not evidence or argument. It is a substitute for evidence or argument.

8. Opponents of MMP are, by and large, mainstream media outlets and representatives of the major political parties (Tories and Grits).

While it could be argued the next points are also evidence, I'll put them forward, nevertheless, as opinion:

1. Tories and Grits have benefited, by and large, by the first-past-the-post scheme. One of those parties always loses, but over time they alternate in power. At the same time that alternation under first-past-the-post tends to keep out smaller parties, old and new. More importantly it sidelines the ideas and policies of smaller parties old and new. Even supporters of the old-line parties lose there.

2. If PR spreads into a national movement a small party (the Canadian Action Party comes to mind) could earn enough votes to place one or more Members in the House of Commons. That Member, or those Members, could gain notice in the media and elsewhere. First-past-the-post stills such voices.

3. The new system proposed is "not perfect." Duh. Yet this fact has been put forth, irrationally, as an argument against MMP.

4. The new system is an improvement over the current one in terms of fairness and representativeness.

5. The new system, once in place, could be improved upon later.

6. This issue is incredibly important. Each person who believes "democracy" is more than a worn-out word, a mindless cliché, a high abstraction, but is a living evolving process, should be doing all in his or her power to pass MMP in Ontario.

7. Regrettably, it's far from a sure thing. A 60 per cent (so-called "super majority") has been set in Ontario for MMP to become the new electoral norm.

8. The challenge is being used obtusely by opponents in a nasty propaganda technique. They are predicting the MMP – pro-democracy – forces "cannot" or "won't" or "will never" win. This is an attempt at a self-fulfilling prophesy. It's an attempt to invoke reverse bandwagon psychology.

9. You see this powerful negative psychological warfare trick south of the border where the establishment declares a particular candidate "unelectable."

10. All the more reason for pro-MMP individuals and organizations to stress that it can pass.

11. The regressiveness of first-past-the-post is seen more clearly south of the border There the Republicans and Democrats alternate in office, so far thwarting all newcomers while essentially co-operating in "old think" policies. The worst current example is the war in Iraq.

12. The anti-MPP forces are trotting out the old "elected" vs "appointed" argument. The fact is that the lists of outstanding individuals drawn up by parties will be done – as now – by and large in entirely democratic nomination and runoff procedures. Their names and backgrounds will be published before elections. The MMP system will be, as much as at present, as far as I can see, as transparent as the present system, and probably more so.

13. Opponents are saying the Members-at-Large will be "unaccountable." Balderdash! They will have limited mandates. Their records will decide whether they will be selected (again, in a democratic process) to run again. In other countries with PR it's found that Members-at-Large can:

(a) Specialize in a particular issue, and have the time to spend on it, that a regular constituency representative cannot do, because he or she must spend huge amounts of time on "pothole" and workmen's compensation issues and such.

(b) Pitch in, in one or more particular constituencies, where the regular Member needs help. In countries with PR it has not been found that the Members-at-Large are aloof or unaccountable.

14. The PR system for which Ontarians can vote on Wednesday comes close to being the best of both worlds. It maintains first-past-the-post for most Members (90). The other 39 will be elected by voters who get a chance to choose a party to vote for as well as continuing as at present to vote for a local candidate (on whatever basis).

Honestly, I find it hard to believe anyone could be opposed to taking this progressive step. It really will be a tragedy if it does not pass.

(If you do not live in Ontario, I apologize for misdirecting this email. But in that event, will you pass it on to any relatives, friends or colleagues you know in Ontario?)


Activist, Author, Media Critic

From: "Christopher Eyton"

Subject: FW: 10/4 - Vote for MMP Update - MORE JANES, FEWER DICKS

Interesting headline from MMP. "More Jane, Fewer Dicks."
There is an inherent contradiction in the Yes campaign arguments. The biggest problem with MMP is the party lists for the 39. The Yes campaign claims these party lists will be determined democratically. Yes, if they want to achieve of their stated goal of "more women and visible minorities" then parties would need to discriminate in their party lists to make this happen. Hardly democratic. Also, watching from afar I think the NO campaign should emphasize to people that it is certain the "elected members" of each party would take two kicks at the can by putting themselves at the top of the party lists and by running in a riding. Rejected by voters but elected anyway?
All the best,
Chris Eyton

From: Mary-Sue Haliburton
Subject: Is MMP real Proportional representation?

Hi Joe:

I'm still mulling over the MMP, and looking at pro and con arguments.

On the one hand, I'd like to see a change to the situation of having 
a majority government elected by a minority of the popular vote. 
There's also the issue of women as candidates. Perhaps having the 
option of placing good candidates who don't have a "safe" riding open 
onto the "at-large" list would prevent the parachuting of star 
candidates into "safe" seats especially where female candidates are 
displaced. This happened in Toronto Centre earlier this year when Bob 
Rae was sent into Bill Graham's riding, bumping out the well- respected and capable Meredith Cartwright. Due to family situations, 
women are often not as free to switch ridings.

This list of candidates at large who don't have ridings but who would 
obtain seats if there is sufficient popular vote should be voted on 
by the party membership for rankings, so that who gets in reflects 
more than the opinions of the leaders, but has a basis in the broader 
movement they represent. I wonder having to win the confidence of 
their party might help weed out representatives who cross the floor 
as soon as they get into parliament....

On the other hand, because ridings are to be bigger, this system 
would make it more expensive and difficult for the smaller parties to 
field candidates.  As we saw when Ottawa amalgamated several other 
municipalities, suddenly there was a huge area in which signs had to 
be placed and people contacted. This takes much bigger resources and 
pretty much means that anyone able to mount a campaign that reaches 
an entire region must have deep pockets and therefore probably 
represents the big-money interests. So this alone would favour the 
hard-line right wingers almost by definition.

So the election result would be proportional, and would work out 
pretty much the way it does now. It doesn't seem that much is to be 
gained by making this change.

I hope I don't end up tossing a coin inside the voting booth...

Mary-Sue Haliburton
Ottawa West  Nepean

From: Barry Blackman
Subject: National Debt and dollar parity... a question that needs answers...

Hi Joe...

National debt is a serious issue that sucks tax dollars out of social programs and infrastructure that we should now be able to afford, but still can't afford because of what I see as currency manipulation and speculation.

As I read today's news I see that the Loonie is trading at 1.02 [] also a report showing that the Canadian National debtat 481 Billion Dollars in 2006

Back in the day when Trudeau was Prime Minister and the national debt was 150-200 billion [due to Canada's version of Reaganomics] we saw our dollar loose ground to the US greenback and our national Debt climb to 500-600 billion mainly due because of the depressing Canadian Dollar.

At the time [I remember it well] the argument was that our debt increased due to the falling Loonie. Brian Mulroney did inherit a huge mess from Trudeau and tried to address the problem by bringing in special tax measures to deal with it which we still have today...[and CAFTA of course] ...It was explained that it WASN'T government spending that increased our debt but was the falling value of the Canadian dollar BECAUSE of our debt... with all our debt being financed using the international currency
standard of the time [US$]

Now with the Canadian dollar at par with the greenback will we see our national debt reduced by 40-50% as well? The Canadian dollar is as strong today as it was when
the debt first became a thorn in our side... this national nightmare should be paid in full! 30 years is to long, and it must end sometime! Even mortgages have time limits.

The way I see our debt right now it should be 40-50% of what it was in 2002 [500b$]less the capitol we paid down on it [30b$] equals 470b$ subtract 40% for dollar parity from that total and our debt should be 280b$ and not the 467b$ that I've seen floating around in news reports lately.

I think we need some one to clarify our National debt in relation to our strengthened Canadian Dollar and the percentage of collected taxes going to service this debt in today's terms.

We also need a national strategy and discussion on eliminating this thorn once and for all as well... Eliminating this can be sold easily to the public... just imagine a 30-40% reduction in taxes...

Does any of this make sense?

Or am I missing a big point in federal financial matters?

It seems to me that speculation is still costing Canadian taxpayers 30-40% of all tax revenue by way of interest on the debt alone.

My question is why? And how do we deal with this 30 year old Trudeau nightmare.


(The debt is actually 518 (467 + 51 owed to the Employment Insurance Fund)