Sunday, December 02, 2007

Daily Digest December 2, 2007



ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Book-banning always backfires


MONTREAL GAZETTE - Wider phone spectrum will benefit consumers

TORONTO STAR - Emissions target that fails to bind

        Books and bureaucrats

TORONTO SUN - Too many questions in RCMP death

SUDBURY STAR - Licensed to overkill

CALGARY HERALD - Time to expel the junk food

        House poor on the reserve
        Problems on Piikani Nation go deeper than housing crisis

EDMONTON JOURNAL - Treacle trickles from Karlheinz

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Virtual reality no longer a refuge from green zealots

         Taylor's decision not to run again a major blow to B.C. Liberals

VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST - Homeless solutions within our reach
A Times Colonist series highlights problems, but also shows that we can make a difference


Afghan chieftains get ultimatum
At a remarkable sitdown, three Canadian officers tell tribal elders to decide which side they're on

DND told to keep war costs down: Source

Canadian Forces hire controversial security firm in Afghanistan

The Afghan ministry of defence has announced plans to treble the size of its army.

Vlad he's their leader
Russians set to give Putin ringing endorsement

Keep doors wide open in Canada

Census numbers on foreign-born set stage for debate over immigration levels

Halt oilsands: water expert
Athabasca River at risk, says renowned U of A scientist

Minister billed economic agency for jet to riding

Stephane Dion fails to connect with Canadians, Sun Media poll says

Online Petition for a military withdrawal from Afghanistan

Is Dion a dumb cluck?
Chicken Party could be ready to trigger an election in which they'll likely get fried

New agreement must include big polluters: Baird

Harper to appoint Bernard Lord to review of government language policies

Key climate summit opens in Bali

Climate change critics fear Canada's influence
They're concerned input by Ottawa, despite loss of clout, will weaken final agreement at Bali

Foreign Affairs documents warned Harper on climate change

A look at carbon capture and storage

Greenhouse gas cuts won't hurt economy,23636,22859862-462,00.html

Tories bring popular biofuel plans back from the dead

Identifying new threats

With cracks and holes in the Greenland ice sheet, we may well have to 'geo-engineer' the climate

A vote that insults democracy

The Star's 106-year War on Poverty

Why beholdest the mote in thy brother's eye?

Germany's case against Karlheinz Schreiber

Cat and mouse game just started in Ottawa

Karlheinz Schreiber and the comedy hour

Not enough time for civil rights

We'll all pay a steep price for greed of bankers

In China, you have to multiply every problem by 1.4 billion
Beijing Games might bring some change, but don't count on too much

Christmas preparations

Do recent events represent Islam?
Sudan's 200-lash sentence of 19-year-old rape victim simply barbaric

Give without gospel lesson

What are the limits of free speech?

Golden Compass the kind of book children should read

Chinese put prosperity before democracy
The Western push for speedy reforms will fall mostly on deaf ears here


Une commission pour Bernard Lord

Prêt pour la guerre électorale

Dion amorce sa deuxième année comme chef le regard tourné vers des élections

La Défense devra payer de sa poche les coûts de la guerre en Afghanistan

Le rôle joué par le gouvernement conservateur à Bali dépendra du point de vue

Blackburn utilise des avions nolisés pour se rendre dans sa circonscription

Les données du recensement portant sur l'immigration seront rendues publiques

Les élections seront le vrai test

Dion multiplie les attaques contre Harper

Sondage: Stéphane Dion impressionne peu

Pétition en ligne pour un retrait militaire d'Afghanistan

Les libéraux ne resteront pas assis

Revue de presse - Le chaud et le froid

From: "Rebecca Gingrich"
Subject: testing

The latest study, from 2006, encompassed some 215,000 pupils in 45 countries and distinct political or cultural entities (such as various regions in Canada or Belgium).

Joe--this is an excerpt from the article--is this country so fragmented by 'cultural entities' that we are equated to Belgium now?  I could not find how Canada(regions aside) did on this test.


From: "Rosalie Piccioni"
Subject: Fw: the movie "the golden compass"

I'm forwarding the following to everyone I know, plus.  Some time ago, when
there was a lot of controversy re the Harry Potter series, there seemed
to be opposition to the criticism - not from the secular world (which would
have had little effect) but from parts of the "Christian" community.  It is no
surprise, therefore, that the film industry has gone one step further.  I'm
not sure how those of us who are concerned should progress at this time,
but this is my contribution.
Rosalie Piccioni
I feel the need to send out this e-mail regarding this movie, "The Golden Compass". I went to and am enclosing the link for you to check out. I pray that we will not let our kids go to this hate-monging movie. If you believe in God or think people should have their own choice in what they believe instead of having hate pushed down their throat don't take your kids to this movie. I can't even believe this guy has won awards for saying that his book is all about "killing God". This is just my opinion so please no hate mail lol.

From: "Suan H.Booiman"
Subject: Pagan Christ
Cc:, CBC Input <>

What do you think of the CBC bringing on Thursday
a documentary called "Pagan Christ" a documentary
based on a book.
The Controversial Broadcasting Corp using tax-dollars
to offend a large number of Canadian people.
Suan H.Booiman
204-1220 Fir Street
White Rock BC V4B 4B1

From: Charles Tupper
Subject: NAU Integration Admitted By Manitoba Government - Vid

NAU Integration Admitted By Manitoba Government - Vid
province of manitoba throne speech nov.20, 2007 and the SPP Conference
Added: November 30, 2007

From: Jay Mathers
Subject: A Fitting Remembrance

I don't do this often but this one seems appropriate.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps Canadian, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Dieppe on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in that Korean Land',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
Something red and, white, ... a Canadian flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a trench with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbour no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
PLEASE, would you do me the kind favour of sending this to as many
people as you can?
Christmas will be coming soon and at least some credit is due to our service men
and women for our being able to enjoy these festivities.
Let's try in this small way to repay a tiny bit of what we owe to these people.
Make others stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who
sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice themselves for us every day.
From: "Efstratios Psarianos"
Subject: RE: Subject:  taking back spent nuclear fuel
The Harper Cons have taken Canada into the US led Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, a profitable export agreement for Canada's uranium mines. As part of this club, members agree to store any waste from nuclear fuel they sell to other members. Canada -- the biggest exporter of uranium -- would be responsible for repatriating the waste from its exports.
I must add that the Saskatchewan NDP government apparently likes the expansion of uranium mining. And the new Saskatchewan Party government likes it even more, as does the Alberta government. I think that the Alberta Liberal Party leader expresses serious reservations, St phane Dion has expressed reservations as well, as has the Green Party leader.

And since the AlbertaLiberals, the federal Liberals, and the Green Party, are all in opposition, it's their duty to express reservations and to ensure that all points that can be covered are covered. No problem here.

However, Minister Gary Lunn says, "We have absolutely, explicitly stated that under no uncertain circumstances will Canada ever be taking back spent nuclear fuel at any time from any country."

If he did say that, then he is "en train de pelleter le probleme vers l'avant" (shoveling the problem on ahead, that is to the future). As a general rule, the word "never" should .. .uuuhhh ... never be said by a politician in a position of responsibility. Opposition politicians are held to a lower standard, of course ("circumstances have changed, Mr. Speaker"), but no matter what never-sayers almost always pay a price.
This is an obvious admission that every country in the Partnership is aware of the very dangerous reality of nuclear waste transportation and storage. All the agreement partners want to return uranium waste to the source countries like Canada, and the main source country (Canada) says it won't accept it back for storage. Excuse me, but why not accept it back if the partners including Canada think it can be stored safely. Will the uranium customer countries buy from Canada if Canada refuses to accept the waste back? They all know the dangers. There needs to be no discussion at all if storage is not a safety problem. A remarkable contradiction in a major agreement.

Assuming that the above is factually correct (i.e. nuclear fuel, properly stored, is harmless), then the problems lie in: transporting it somewhere to be stored; and who pays for the treatment, transformation, transportation, handling, and storage. The transportation part is primarily an engineering and operations one (how to: separate out the bad stuff from spent fuel; transform it into transportable/storable form; handle it so that it doesn't get released to environment) as well as a regulation one (no transporting it near urban areas; defining, monitoring, and enforcing security measures). The "who pays" part is a straightforward commercial thing: we'll take it, we'll transform it (maybe), and we'll handle it and bury it, but the fuel-user (or an intermediary if he passes the fuel on to a spent-fuel-management firm, for example) pays for it. The alternative is for a uranium-source country to charge an export tax, but the problem then becomes a worldwide one because as soon as one source-country chooses to supply fuel no-strings-attached, then it'll have a price-advantage that it can split between itself and its customers AND a regulatory one in the sense that it doesn't care (commercially) what the receiving country does with it after it uses it. The IAEA (the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency) comes into play, but the fundamental problem with charging export/"reclamation and storage" taxes remains.
So, to summarize, a pay-to-buy and pay-to-dispose-of system is easier to run and regulate than a "prepay-to-dispose-of" system. But the problem the issue of ensuring that there will be some suitable place to store spent fuel. Whether the fuel's country-of-origin takes it back isn't the big operational/regulatory issue (although it is the political one) ... whether or not there is a place to receive it is.

We can understand why private sector nuclear energy interests want to want to make money with nuclear power investment. After all, the corporate executives and board members apparently think about nothing except next three months profit.

Not so in this case. Investing in a nuclear plant means thinking and planning for the long term. By accounting definition, "long term" means the time it would take to start something from scratch right away and bring it to full fruition; by convention, this is considered to be five years and more. In the case of nuclear-plant investments, thinking and planning is based on 25-year (or so) forecasts, during which the plant has to be built and started, operated and maintained, and possibly dismantled after the period has elapsed. (For planning purposes, dismantlement and its costs are assumed). This planning has to take many variables into account: inflation; interest rates; exchange rates (if debt and/or equity are in currencies other than the one used by the owner's accounting), asset amortization; salaries; operation and maintenance costs, fuel costs, regulatory risk ("changing of the rules"), political risk ("ain't no nukes gonna run around here"), power prices, fuel-handling/temporary-storage/disposal costs, and I'm forgetting some.
Sure, short-term issues do come into play. But power-generators, transmitters (power-grid operators, "electricity pipelines"), and distributors (suppliers to individual consumers) are necessarily long-term thinkers.

However, it's hard to explain why an elected government of Canada, whose first obligation is the well-being and protection of millions of citizens, is willing to allow and even subsidize corporations and investors in uranium mining, transportation, processing, exporting, domestic power production, and waste storage. All this when it's more costly than other energy and more dangerous for the next thousand plus years.
Allowing and subsidizing comes at a cost. But NOT developing comes at what's called an "opportunity cost", that is the lost benefits of developing industry in this case. No need to discuss those right now, they're obvious. The issue thus becomes one of the cost of industry-creation and support to the government of Canada against the benefits arising from government AND PRIVATE investment in industry-creation and support.
As concerns nuclear energy being more costly: yes, and no. It's more costly in the sense that huge investments have to sunk into permitting, engineering, building, dismantling of individual plants (and disposal of materials once it's dismantled), and that those costs have to be recovered by profits over the next two decades or so. (Think of this as investors putting money into a 25-year multi-billion-dollar bond, with a higher return than a government bond but with the attendant higher risk. It's not quite like that but for regular folks like us, that's close enough to what it would work out to for us). The "no" part of the nuclear-energy-is-costly answer is that once everything's built and operating, actually generating nuclear power (i.e. buying fuel, fueling reactors, operating and maintaining the facilities) is VERY cheap. Because of this, nuclear plants are very much like hydro plants ... they're expensive to build and to dismantle, but they're very cheap to run. An analogy to this would be a fuel-efficient car costing more to buy but costing less to run.
For sixty-five years, all political parties in the House of Commons and in the Saskatchewan legislature have failed to protect us and the world against the dangers of uranium mining and in use in industry and war. Having nobody blameless, I call upon all Canadians to hold every party and every government accountable from now on with respect to the nuclear industry.
Agreed on that ...

Jacob Rempel, Vancouver