Saturday, October 06, 2007

Daily Digest October 6, 2007



ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Go ahead and vote

CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - Considering a buffer around Island schools print this article
The province should look into whether buffer zones around schools are needed, but it must be aware of the implications.

HALIFAX CHRONICLE HERALD - Certainty in greenery

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Parents want choice in school language

         Mental-health plan is not serious

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Bearing witness

TORONTO STAR - Tory budget plan is pure wizardry

        Give peaceniks a break

NATIONAL POST - The dawn of a new tort

TORONTO SUN - A most personal kind of theft

HAMILTON SPECTATOR - Grits deserve a second term

K-W RECORD - The wrong kind of electoral reform

Putting our community first

SUDBURY STAR - Let's teach more about mental health

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - To fish or cut bait

        Wrong drug war

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Dion not likely to meekly hand Harper victory


CALGARY HERALD - U.S. should heed warning

        A toss of the election dice
        Harper is not afraid to gamble on strength of his minority

GRANDE PRAIRIE DAILY HERALD TRIBUNE - Cities could use the extra cash
Debt repayment is fine - but urban growth needs help too

PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN - Resisting the temptation

VANCOUVER SUN - Thanksgiving unites family and friends to celebrate the earth's gifts

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


B.C. Legislature set to invite band chief to defence aboriginal treaty

A voice stilled; Native band can't explain why it decided to kill a newspaper

Residential school money set to flow

Canada's man about Panjwaii district
Captain fights influence of the Taliban with cash for projects, foot patrols, meetings with leaders

Canadian convoy in shootings
Afghan vehicles drove too close, military says

RCMP trying to bring order to a lawless land

Tory ministers arrive in Kandahar to spend Thanksgiving with the troops

Jammed by design?
Wouldn't a lot of U.S. voters be pleased with a situation – like clogged U.S.- Canadian borders – that might make investors less willing to set up in Canada

U.S. not eyeing Canadian water

Post-9/11 security fears threaten Canada's access to U.S. market: trade minister

Canada doing U.S. dirty work, say activists

Wait times skyrocket at border crossings

What parity?
The dollar may be at par, but Canadians still lag behind

Canada's rights of Arctic passage
Ottawa may be forced to give way on major interests

Burmese opposition leader dismisses Junta's offer as surrender demand

A reporter's rare look inside Burma

Easy solution to waiting-list crisis: money
Increasing health-care spending by 15 per cent would solve a lot of problems

Pedophiles to be relocated

Ottawa open to talks to ease migrant crisis

Message of pride draws support
Williams success in wringing money out of Ottawa helps - but not in rural areas

Williams's popularity defines N.L. campaign

Williams's strong popularity, weak opposition define N.L. election campaign

These are voters Stelmach needs

Alberta faces Calif.-style water problems

Royalty issue dominating all debate, just like it did in 1972


GOOGLE all 221 news articles »

Leaders step up campaign in last days before vote

Tory's cost-cutting plan lost in faith-based furor

Campaign quiet on lost jobs

Tory accuses McGuinty of cover-up
Conservative leader also calls for investigation of 'Bluewater-gate'

McGuinty keeps hammering school funding issue as Hampton questions role as leader

John Tory is a Tory in name only

The PM doesn't need an election

PM sees an opportunity for easy majority win

Bernier in Afghanistan, Coderre angered.

Bernier, Oda say life better for Afghans
Canadian government officials make unannounced trip to Afghanistan shortly after U.S. soldier, 4 civilians killed in suicide bomb attack

The foreign affairs minister said Canada will bring the Afghan police up to strength...

NDP threatens to play 'hardball' with Conservative agenda

Dion seeks safe way through Harper's minefield

True to form, Dion stands firm

Harper plays down talk of election

Green party support could alter election dynamic

Conservative Smoke and Mirrors
Does Stephen Harper really think he has anyone fooled?

Defence Department urged to cut off peacekeeping centre

Mandatory minimum sentences don't work, local criminal trial lawyers group says


Secrecy undermines federal torture inquiry: critics

Accountability Act draws ire of lobbyists

Mutated bird flu elevates risk of human infection

 Study finds chlorine kills bird flu in water

Aid programs miss their best targets
Increasing move to privatization misses those who need help most

Elections seldom ensure freedom

Energy efficiency test flawed, U.S. study finds

Former MP Wayne in car crash

Science and Sex: Some things just don't add up

Shrugging off Ayn Rand

Western standard closes after three years and 82 publications


Bernier en Afghanistan, Coderre fulmine

Le Canada en Afghanistan jusqu'en 2011, dit Bernier

Bernier et Oda vantent l'amélioration des conditions de vie en Afghanistan

Bernier trouve Coderre irresponsable

Un appui indéfectible

Un trop grand secret minerait une enquête sur des allégations de torture

McGuinty attaque le plan conservateur de financer les écoles confessionnelles

Hervieux-Payette rappelle aux libéraux du Québec qu'un chef a été élu

Commission de l'immigration: nouvelles allégations de corruption

Les libéraux veulent contrecarrer la stratégie des conservateurs

Un policier meurt en service

Dernier droit de la campagne


        We went to a Craft show at Ball's Falls to-day.  It rained from which the sourness and negativity below fkows.

        Maybe I'll take a day off since nothin' much is happening that's positive.and Thanksgiving Dinner is tomorrow.

Calling an election must appeal to Harper's political machismo but, ultimately, working with Dion is better for Canada. And,
at the end of the day, that's what Canadians deserve: a halfway effective government after seven years of infantile bickering.


The Canadian minister also claimed that the Canadian military contingent would remain in Afghan soil until 2011.
Their combat mission, however, must come to an end in February 2009.


Mutated bird flu elevates risk of human infection

 Study finds chlorine kills bird flu in water


Merging two separate federal and provincial employment programs into one probably makes sense. But in B.C. merging them into a     
stream that has been flowing toward privatization for years and will continue in that direction has a lot of people in the field concerned.

From: Rubie Britton

Subject: Where have all the Leaders Gone??

As ever,

From: "Andy Rutherford" <>

In answer to Barry Blackman's Querie he might Google" COMER "the Comittee On Monetary and Economic Reform and read the suggestions that are made therein.

From: "Rory J. Koopmans"

The Harper press conference was pure evil genius, screwing the opposition 1 more time, I love it.

. . . there's an old expression "Hoist by his own petard"
that yet may appertain, for 'tis but ACT I, Scene I

From: "Glenn Harewood" <>
To: "Joe Hueglin" <>
Subject: Re: Would Harper stoop that low?

The answer to you question is an unqualified YES.

 From what I recall in dealing with Van Loan, the present House Leader of the Harper government in the House of Commons,  he is very good at manipulating  and re-interpreting the rules of the political game, so that they appear democratic, when , in essence, they are NOT. I recall how Van Loan, then President of the PCPC, when he wanted Leader Joe Clark ousted, had one of the riding presidents of a Northern Ontario riding, circulate an e-mail letter  on the internet to all PCPC presidents, calling for Joe  Clark's ouster. I would not put it beyond Van Loan to say to Harper:

 " Look, we need to do anything to get a majority government. Since we have now set a four-year date for elections, if we get a majority, we are free to do what ever we want for the next four years. There is nothing but tradition  itself, that says that we have to follow tradition, in terms of presenting the Throne Speech.  Let us put pressure on the Opposition parties by 'holding their feet to the fire:' let's say that if they vote for the over-view-content of the Throne Speech, then we, a minority government, can then say that they have given us 'cart blanche' to go ahead and do anything that was merely mentioned in the Speech. If they vote against the future details not found in the Throne Speech, then we can say that it is The Opposition parties which have or will have caused the government to fall. The electorate is not smart enough to think this through. In fact most of the electorate DO NOT CARE about politics or politicians."

"We can also break with tradition and NOT give the Opposition parties adequate time to respond to any proposals that we make in the Throne Speech. There is no valid reason why we can't break with tradition, and have the GG read the Speech at 1900 HRS rather than 1500 HRS. We will stoop as low as we can in order to "win" an election and a majority government."
And the electorate will not recognize our manipulations until it is too late. Then Canada, as we know it traditionally, will BE NO MORE!!

(And you and all reading the Digest to-day)
From: "Rosalie Piccioni"

Subject: Fw: Fw: I love it. True or not.]

Could be any of our countries' young men....

   A young Canadian soldier was attending some college courses between assignments .  He had also completed missions in Afghanistan.  One of the courses had a professor who was a vowed atheist.

    One day the professor shocked the class when he came in.  He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, "God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform.  I'll give you exactly 15 minutes."  The lecture room fell silent.  You could hear a pin drop.

   Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am, God.  I'm still waiting."

   It got down to the last couple of minutes when the young soldier got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him. knocking him off the platform.  The professor was out cold.

   The young man went back to his seat and sat there, silently.  The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat there looking on in silence.

   The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the soldier and asked, "What the h... is the matter with you?  Why did you do that?"

   Came the reply, "God was too busy today protecting our soldiers who are protecting your right to talk stupid and act like a jackass.  So, He sent me."

From: "Suan H.Booiman"
Subject: Goldy Hyder

In response to your question:

         Would someone please explain the nature
of the "strong federalist option" that Goldy sees
as one of the "real vote-movers"?
Goldy may be or has been a voice for western Canadian within the company
he worked for, his political comment is the power of Ontario and Quebec
within this divided country, causing the real vote mover as the other votes
have no meaning, as we always see the elation decided before the WEST
votes. May corruption continue.
... except that waving the "strong federalist option" flag in Quebec might arouse some apathetic Liberal-voting anglo voters who's otherwise stay home, while annoying just about everyone else. So much for "the voice of central Canada".
And so much for the attraction of the "strong federal option" in Quebec. To the great majority of Quebecers, unlike what I've seen in southern Ontario, the "real" government here is the provincial one (i.e. when people use the term "the government", they usually mean the one in Quebec City; the federal governnemt is more of an abstraction "somewhere out there"). While living in Toronto and area, I got a strong sense that "the government" there is the federal one, with the provincial one is there (to a large degree) to "run social programs and keep the environment clean". In brief: southern Ontarians (and many others, I suspect; but I think that there are notable exceptions, e.g. Newfoundlanders .. .not sure though) relate to the idea of Canada over that of Ontario (i.e. they think of themselves more as Canadians rather than Ontarians), where Quebecers relate to idea of Quebec over that of Canada. The emphasis in Quebec is the opposite of that in Ontario.
P.S. And a Parthian shot ... As concerns corruption: VanderZalm, Harcourt (poor guy, got stuck holding the bag for something he didn't do .. still, his party stinks), and Campbell (<-- grossly impenitent!). No shooting quail in a cellophane house, please ...
(Right on. And Canada's New Government would have all provinces be viewed as Quebecois view theirs: ALL POWERS POSSIBLE TO THE PARTS!)
From: alan heisey <>

MORT MAIN!!!! this is the dead hand of the past determining what the present can do.
our parties are all full of well intentioned idiots who are certain that they know best, not just for now, but for the future which is why they like constitutions which require 2/3rds votes to make any change.
That damned main again. One moment it's patting you on the back, and right after that it's squeezing your windpipe. And the worst is that it's hard to tell what it's doing at a given time.
i was in a meeting of the don valley west tories once some years ago and saw a motion to amend the constitution in some particular  get only 64% of the hall and thus fail.
On the positive side, the 36% who really DO know best are a significant political force, which could be built on. (<-- Yes, irony.)
From: Mary-Sue Haliburton
PROLOGUE; A question asked and answered.

. . . wonder if propylene on an okay or not pkay list somewhere in Canada?
Hi. Joe. It's not on Canada's "not OK" list (of which there are two: the Priority Substances Lists #1 and #2 (PSL1, PSL2)).
However, PO is on Canada's (federal) National Pollutant Release Inventory, which is a year-by-year compilation of environmental releases by Canadian industrial companies. The only facility that released any PO to the environment is the Dow Chemical Plant in Sarnia, ON, which released 40 kg of the stuff in 2005.
Hint: it's used to KILL bacteria;
Yeah, so? So are medicinal antibiotics. For that matter, so is honey, nature's most potent bug-killer. Should we stay away from that, too? i.e. it's a poison. When taken in quantity beyond the toxicity threshold (assuming that it works by poisoning rather than physical destruction (e.g. drying out bacteria), which would make it a chemical hazard, or by asphyxiating the bacteria, making it an asphyxiant; I'd say that is ios a poison, though). Other substances that poison all sorts of vertebrates include ethyl (drinking) alcohol, which acts as a neuropoison (it messes up our nervous systems, hence the wooo-woooo effect), which we're not about to give up on anytime soon.
I wouldn't care if it was "approved" or not.
No, I suppose that that would be to much to ask of a tendentious American lobbyist (note: all of this is obviously drawn from a US lobby group of some sort).

Health Canada approves all kinds of stuff based on industrial needs and not on whether it's either safe or beneficial for human or animal health.
Indeed? All of Health Canada's staff are well known (by those who matter) to be History's Greatest Monsters. Quite convenient, that, when Canadian industry seeks to make a few bucks by squirting its chemicals on foreign nuts. (<-- Mind you, the tobacco industry is a case of where long-term lethal substances were marketed ... but the difference there is that it's so lucrative and so many people demand tobacco products that it's an evil society has to manage. That's not the case with tonnes of almonds, which can be more easily be dispensed with). Plus, who's to say that none of History's Greatest Monsters are really subversives out to delegitimize Canadian government and industry by leaking damning proof of PO = death? It'd take only one to do so and bring both down, so it's fairly safe to assume that no company would KNOWINGLY seek to make $$$ in a very small (almond) market when there would be such a huge risk of being found out. Company boardmembers and administrators would go to prison, for Heaven's sake! Not to mention that those in the know would have to ensure their kids and families would never eat almonds ... and without telling them why, either!
Here's the definition from
"Propylene oxide is a highly toxic flammable chemical compound. It was once used as a racing fuel, but that usage is now prohibited under the US NHRA rules for safety reasons ... because it has high explosive potential when exposed to air.
(From Wikipedia): Propylene oxide degrades into propylene glycol in the presence of water, a process which is accelerated by the presence of acid or base. Propylene oxide is often confused with ethylene oxide due to their similar structures, however ethylene oxide is a known carcinogen while propylene oxide has not been shown to be so. (Note: "Not shown to be so" in the sense that it's believed to be a "probable" carcinogen, not a "known" one.)

Nasty stuff. And I don't want to have any gratuitous traces of it on foods
fair enough ... but who ARE you anyway? Plus, gratuitous means "thrown in as a freebie, given away without care"); bad grammar as a rhetorical tool, using a contextually out-of-place word to emphasize the carefree abandon with which PO is used (after all, "gratuitous traces" connotates much larger traces thrown around all over the place; except that larger traces means  that they're not just traces any more, see?). Bad to grade school for whoever wrote this. And with a new thesaurus, to boot!

 -- especially when we've had a safe supply of almonds for years without any need for this! Except for that recent salmonella thing (see below). I'm suspicious of any additive with the "propyl" prefix in it. Since finding out what it actually was, I have not used isoproply alcohol either.

(From Wikipedia): The United States Food & Drug Administration has approved its use to pasteurize raw almonds beginning on September 1, 2007 in response to several incidences of contamination by salmonella in commercial orchards.
OK, maybe there's a better way to keep our nuts clean (uuuhhhh ...). But slagging PO for no good reason (because none is given) won't do.
Here's the definition of that:

"Isopropyl alcohol is oxidized by the liver into acetone . Symptoms of isopropyl alcohol poisoning include flushing , headache , dizziness , CNS depression, nausea , vomiting , anesthesia , and coma . Use in well-ventilated areas and use protective gloves while using. Poisoning can occur from ingestion, inhalation, or absorption.
(From my tired late-evening brain, so forgive minor errors, if any): Again, only if isopropyl alcohol is absorbed in quantities beyond a certain threshold. Now, I don't recall having gone comatose when Maman would rub my scraped knees with the stuff (then again, how WOULD I remember?), so that threshold is probably pretty high. (Note: I haven't read anything in the papers about IA-poisoning deaths in Canada either, so it's probably no big thing. Once we learn as kids not to drink bleach while eating laundry detergent, we're pretty safe from all sorts of things).
Aaaaah, but things suddenly go awry. You see, acetone is actually widely used in the food industry, notably when it comes to flavourings. You see, there are two types of flavours that can be used in processed foods: "natural" ones and artificial/synthetic ones. Artificial flavourings are straightforward to identify: they're made of of molecules that are synthesized through controlled chemical reactions and then separated and concentrated. "Natural" ones, despite people thinking that they come from things like orange juice and such, are made up of molecules that come from natural sources (such as orange peels/gratings) ... that are steeped in acetone (and "cooked" in it?), which extracts the flavour molecules from the natural source. The flavour-acetone mixture is then distilled so as to separate the flavour concentrate from the acetone. which gets re-used. Ta-daaaahhh ... "natural" flavour! And indeed it is; just don't look too close at how naturally it's extracted, though.
Now, I have yet to hear of Little Johnny coming down with acute acetone-poisoning from eating Granny's vanilla ice cream, so I (ahem) "suspect" (to put it mildly) that acetone WHEN SAFELY USED isn't much of a worry. Same goes for isopropyl alcohol.
That being said, the author claims that (s)he doesn't use isopropyl alcohol because propylene oxide is bad and ... uuuhhhh ... isopropyl alcohol has "propyl" in its name and the "bad" part of PO is the "propyl(ene)" part. Uh huh. Pretty weak logic.
"Long term application to the skin can cause defatting ."
Given the instructions to use protective gloves while handling it, ... in its concentrated form ... it's truly astonishing that drugstores are allowed to sell this stuff as something to apply to the skin!
The point is that you don't apply it to a given patch of skin on a long-term basis. If you do so, you've got more serious problems than defatting, meseems. Plus, the same applies to alcohols in general, so obsessively slathering drinking-hootch all over yourself in the long term will do the same thing (ask the worm in the tequila bottle!). And yet, winesops don't seem to suffer from defatted oesophagi, stomachs, and intestines, as far as I know (but don't take my word for it). So let's say that for the 99.9999% of us who aren't obsessed with getting that skin-freshening effect, isopropyl alcohol is safe.

You are free to draw your own conclusions ... Thanks for your consideration. I'm warming to you in a vague, fuzzy way ... hey, wait a minute! ... but mine is that we ... mais non! (sorry, couldn't repress the pun) ... should not consume this propylene oxide ... is there ever any left on those damned, salmonellous almonds anyway? ... any more than we should be rubbing isopropyl alcohol on our skin -- which will result in some absorption of it.
So why fumigants and heat treatments suddenly needed? There haven't been hordes of people dropping like flies from eating raw almonds. Or that was the case for as long as the growers were taking care not to contaminate them. But this could change. The USDA is bringing in a new rule designed to increase the profit margin for big-scale producers by allowing unsanitary but cheaper handling methods.

As long as the big companies make profits, it seems not to matter whether their methods get rid of a healthy food as well squeezing out independent growers -- who have supplied the same foods with higher sanitation standards and no need for chemicals.
Whatever is passed in the U.S. often ends up becoming Canadian rules as well. As far as I know almonds are not grown in Canada, making us dependent on foreign producers and therefore subject to whatever rules they implement. So forget about working on our politicians, let us Canadians lobby the US to protect our own food safety. Uh huh ...

It's my strong feeling that it's far better to require good sanitation before and during harvesting in order to protect the quality of the foods we eat, than to apply chemicals on the foods in this way. If you agree, I hope you'll let the regulatory officials in question know of your objection.

I hope that you who are candidates to run for public office will examine this question as part of the broader issue of sustainable agriculture and food quality, and consider what agricultural policies are best for the health of our citizens. 
And here, everything becomes clear:
1. enemy = big agro-industry; (i.e. small guys are good guys);
2. threat = we're dependent on foreign producers and their iniquitous ways; (i.e. force them to adopt virtuous farming (i.e. small-scale farming, see item 1) or block their stuff at the US border; no cheating by fumigating almonds with PO, either!);
3. solution = "... candidates ... public office ... sustainable (<-- key word! connotates "small scale, grown with love and care (as if Farmer Jones fussed over each and every tree with nothing more than pruning shears), not industrial") agricultural and food quality.
So there you have it, the classic US-style lobbying. Stick tariffs on it, or raise regulatory blocks to prevent foreign competition from selling its stuff unless it's made in a prescribed way (note: NOT that the final result be sufficiently good .. it's the "how it's made" part that serves as a block; other alternatives: "unfair labour practices" (i.e. cheap labouir) in foreign countries). Sounds like the "no Canadian beef" proscription at the US border when that mad cow was discovered in Alberta, no?
All of this is an interesting example of what politicians face as political pressure. Canadian politicians, as individuals, are relatively immune to this kind of stuff because they're bound by their party (i.e party discipline) and by parliamentary-style political practice. (In the worst case, they can use the Flip Wilson defence: "The (fill in demonic Canadian region or interests) made me do it!"). US politicians, however, being much more like free agents (i.e. much less bound by party discipline) promoting the interests of their constituents with much less consideration for "the greater good". And if a US politican has a lot of small-scale almond-farmers in his district (if he's a Congressman) or State (if he's a Senator), the likelier that he'll tend a sympathetic ear to the call of whoever's pushing for "clean almonds" as a cover for regulatory protection of small-scale "natural" (?!?) almond-farming in the US.
Phew! Pretty heavy reading, I know. But I hope that those who made it through this all feel that they've benefitted. In the worst case, they'll know that I'm a puffed-up doofus who doesn't know what he's talking about. Feel free to comment, I always welcome that.

Sincerely yours,
Will Fantle, Co-Director, The Cornucopia Institute
Sally Fallon, President, The Weston A. Price Foundation
Our postal address is
PMB #106-380
4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20016
United States

A-ha! It IS an American lobby group that came up with this. I read the "postal address" thing after having written all my comments. I tell ya, the way those guys do things is SO transparent.
P.S. Note that "... almonds are not grown in Canada, making US dependent ...". Ah, so our fine politickers in Washington are really Canadians. Suuuuure, they are ...
P.P.S. I'd never have thought that fumigating almonds could inspire so much commenting on my part. The wonder of it all!