Saturday, January 05, 2008

Daily Digest January 5, 2008



ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - All eyes on the prez

CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - Perception of patronage still prevails
As long as governments appoint party faithful to Island agencies, there will be the perception that patronage prevails.



        The Pakistani powder keg
        Murder of Benazir Bhutto makes the nuclear-club country a frightening place where terrorists can strike at will

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Private matters

TORONTO STAR - Keep focus on economy

K-W RECORD - A matter of credibility

NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW - What's wrong with carbon tax?

WINDSOR STAR - Youth crime: Violent acts, serious time

SUDBURY STAR - The perfect storm of inaction

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - Draft of discontent

WINNIPEG SUN - Time to get violence out of Africa

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Dion anointing Beatty sends wrong message

CALGARY HERALD - Reasonable force difficult to judge

GRANDE PRAIRIE DAILY HERALD TRIBUNE - Look at us, we're really... average
Poll results reflect the understated Canadian way

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Health tax must go

VANCOUVER SUN - Retirement age change requires shifts in thinking by workers and employers


Residential school victims to get remainder of settlement

Legendary Gurkhas big help to Canadian mission
Since its arrival in September, its Rifles company has played a key role in Kandahar

Afghan clerics warn Karzai against missionaries

Blame speculators for climbing oil prices

U.S. crisis brings Canada's forest sector to its knees
Mill closures and layoffs are happening from B.C. to New Brunswick

Sweet news for diabetics

Study reveals a big problem in our prison system

Behind the feel-good fable about new Canadians

Immigrant visa class action gets go-ahead

One battle Nova Scotia can't lose

Ex-cabinet minister tackles barriers to trade between Quebec, Ontario
Some of the biggest remaining snags affect agricultural and food goods

Tories break promise on lobbying
Draft law fails to require ministers to register all communication

Harper invites the premiers to dinner at his place: Beefs expected to include trade, new Commons seats

Young Conservatives taunting students to buck mainstream
Tory club ads campaign for recruits; campaigners claim they see results

Dion accused of snubbing Orchard

Dion overlooks ally for Saskatchewan seat
Orchard denied byelection spot

Bernier prepares for first Middle East trip

Prime Minister, a little more warmth would help

Dion a minority man

Appointment exemplifies bad politics

Spy games

Maintenance contract for submarines 'defies common sense': Casey

Lobbying rules leave loopholes, critics say

Government stymying efforts to obtain info, commissioner failing to help: critic

Ottawa failing to support soldiers' families: military ombudsman

Victory goes to the environmentalists

Good news for a grim '08: the end of Bush/Cheney

When things fall apart, we need leadership

Family ties

Language requirement angers nurses, union

Borderless Europe opens up opportunities
From Poles in U.K. to Brits vacationing in Portugal, it's a continent in motion

The curious absence of class struggle
It's not so much the rich getting richer; it's the very, very rich

Consider the source

Let's all get real in 2008


Immigration Canada devra s'expliquer

Le gouvernement est accusé de contrer les demandes d'accès à l'information

Ottawa dévoile de nouvelles règles pour les lobbyistes, aussitôt critiquées

Les nouvelles règles pour les lobbyistes sont critiquées

Sous-marins: la polémique se poursuit


From: alan heisey
Subject: Re: BELOW (30) TO JANUARY 3rd, 2008

jacob  rempel does not catch the depth of my conviction on one person one vote. while i have no interest in joining any other party i will not support nor work for the conservative candidate in the next election if the party leadership persists in denying ontarions the approximate ten additional seats justified by our population. cz
On 2008 Jan4, at 3:15, Joe Hueglin wrote:

I really do believe in party loyalty, like Al apparently does in the new Conservative entity,


j, assure dear claudia that i regard almost everything that happens to dear canada with enthusiasm, including more cordial relations with the u.s. and mexico. sorry i cannot share her breathless certainty that we are down for the long count! cz

On 2008 Jan4, at 3:15, Joe Hueglin wrote:
I ask Al Heisey to realize what is happening to Canada and to do it NOW--there is so little time left to stand on guard
Claudia Hudson  

From: "R. Gagne"
Subject: Re: Daily Digest January 4, 2008


Do you suppose that the drift towards allowing the party brass the right to vet who gets to be the party's constituency candidate (enshrined in law, no less) may have something to do with the drop in interest in political activity at the constituency level, or indeed with the general apathy with politics?


From: Dorit Girash
Subject: David Orchard

Dear Mr. Dion:
Although I strongly support strategies which provide better opportunities for women, I believe your actions in the riding of Desnethé Missinippi-Churchill River are not only ineffective relative to that goal, but will be interpreted as choosing the protocols of dictatorship over true leadership. 
Those are strong words, but they are appropriate. 
It is my understanding that you invited David Orchard to seek election as an MP after he gave you his support and that of his followers (including myself) in your campaign to be chosen the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.  To now betray that invitation (and promise) and appoint an NDP woman over David is simply outrageously unethical.  It is as disgusting an action as Peter McKay's betrayal of his pledge not to merge the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada with the Canadian Alliance.
You and the Liberal Party will gain nothing but contempt for this action. Stephen Harper will have a field day attacking your tactics.
No woman will support this.  We do not want to be "given" positions, we want to "earn" them.  The opportunity to earn them is what we want - not to be excluded from the process or disadvantaged in the process.  We do not want to be handed anything on a silver platter for any reason.  It is a strategy that will put the woman in a horribly untenable position; will make her totally ineffective and the subject of endless ridicule.  Some may say that's your "real" strategy.
(Ms.)  Dorit M. Girash

From: "Peggy Merritt"
Subject: Re: Daily Digest January 4, 2008

Hi Joe:  Re Phyllis Wagg's comments in my opinion the article should
be called a subversion of facts!  Yes I am an activist and have
worked as a Conservative for many years as a volunteer in my
riding!  I was in Winnipeg when Joe Clark decided to many peoples
dismay to call a leadership convention after getting 67 plus%
support.  That was his decision and with other very important
decisions to do with his political career he certainly lacked
judgement.  As for the merger decision its really too bad more
people didn't witness the euphoria of the enthusiastic conservatives
at the Toronto Cenvention centre the day we voted to merge with the
CA. In my opinion David Orchard had his own agenda and it certainly
was not to build a viable opposition in the H. of C.  Peter McKay
was in touch with the reality that if we couldn't work out an
agreement with the CA party we were dead in the water. As for who
decides who will be the candidate this depends how active the
VOLUNTEERS are at the riding level.  In Rosedale the Liberal
candidate is Bob Rae and I my opinion this is write off for anyone
who contests the seat.  In my riding of Scar. SW Dion appointed the
Candidate and the incumbant has yet to resign????? Isn't politics
Fun.  Peggy

From: "John Halonen"
Subject: Re: Leadership-prinzip replacing democracy in Canadian politics

Canada in not the Canada of the Past
     We now have leaders that view themselves as rulers and constituents or citizens of Canada no longer have input as to how they wish to represented.

     Harper and now Dion have now gone to this next step and now place candidates into positions of election without the wishes of the respective ridings.

     The seriousness of such actions seems to have escaped Canadians in general and our
press continues to avoid the subject.  What we could have here is a government where individual rights no longer exist, as the leader has placed their henchmen into all positions that would normally be selected by the public at large.  This happens in NO DEMOCRATIC country today and therefore it could be stated that Canada is no longer a Democracy.

    There really is only one way today for citizens of Canada to escape such actions and that is to deny entry into our Political structure.
  ie:   DO NO VOTE for any Candidate placed into a riding Constituent by other than the ridings themselves.

John Halonen

From: John Nesling
Subject: David Orchard

Hi Joe

    I sent copies of this letter to Keith Martin (local MP), Stephane Dion and Rose-Marie Larson, who made me aware of this issue. Mr Dion's office has acknowledged it with the promise of a more elaborate future response.

    Your insertion of Kipling's "If" seemed seemed appropriate advice, but a man would have to be a saint.
Dear Dr Martin,

    I joined the liberal party solely at the behest of David Orchard in order to vote for the nomination of Stephane Dion as leader, as did many others of Mr Orchard's supporters. I understood that, with Mr Dion's blessing, Mr Orchard  was running as
the Party's candidate in the riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River in the upcoming federal by-election.

    However, I have just been made aware of the following:  (quote) OTTAWA - Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion today announced that Joan Beatty, former Saskatchewan NDP cabinet minister and Aboriginal activist, will be the Party's candidate in the riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River in the upcoming federal by-election.

    I would like Mr Dion to know that Mr Orchard should not be betrayed again out of any political expediency or for any reason whatever. People of David Orchard's integrity and ability must not be shut out. Such people must have a voice. Indeed I would like Mr Dion to properly reciprocate the support he received from Orchard's people at the time of the leadership convention.

   Sincerely, John Nesling

From: Jacob Rempel
Subject: In 1979

Tell me more about these events, and about the
conventions where Joe Clark was deep-sixed.
and about your time in the H of C
In those days I was in my CCF/NDP/Liberal
metamorphosing process, even as my thinking
seems to have been in line with my professor's
(Charles Lightbody's) red tory orientation !!!!
What goes around comes around !
...Jacob R
Read your note to Orchard

From: Caspar Davis
Subject: Re: Leadership-prinzip replacing democracy in Canadian politics

Joe, I think your concerns are very well founded. In the US, Bush stole two elections without any negative consequences for him. He has also asserted a hitherto unknown right to veto any part of a law with which he disagrees. He clearly regards Congress as a troublesome speedbump rather than as the embodiment if the people of the nation, and Congress has let him get away with it.

In Canada, the PMO has also been asserting more and more power. The PM can no longer be considered a primus inter pares, but is clearly an elected dictator. To the extent that the PM or party leader appoints docile factotums as candidates, the last vestige of democratic control over our parties and government is lost.

Your allusion to the outrage expressed in Pakistan and Kenya when their political processes were interfered with, by assassination and vote-rigging, is most apt. We in North America regard ourselves as democratic paragons, but we sit idle as sheep while power is concentrated in the hands of politicians who head parties that are hardly distinguishable from each other, and who are elected by the good grace of the elites who control the corporate economy and the media. People who deviate too far from the establishment script (like Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and David Orchard), and parties with actual ideas (like the Green Party) are excluded from the debate or laughed off the stage like Howard Dean.

As a result we are hurtling toward environmental and economic disaster (having been bound inseparably to the imploding US economy) and no one with power is willing to do anything to change our course.

Caspar Davis

From: Alan Blanes
Subject: Re: Leadership-prinzip replacing democracy in Canadian politics

Hi Joe and Orchardistas -

Thank you very much for raising this awkward subject.
It is a topic that transcends partisanship and must be
confronted OR the road that Canada is on leads to
consequences that are more than frightening.

I urge every reader to consider participating in an
off-list discussion group on how we may be able to
assert citizens' rights to enforcing the principles of
common law contract as paramount over this autocratic
concept of leadership that seems to be de rigueur in
the minds of the leading circles in Canadian politics.

I would suggest reading the posts of Professor Francis
Boyle [and references to Professor Shadia Drury
Canadian Research Chair in Social Justice University
of  Regina] who are extremely concerned about the
influence of the school of Machiavellian thought
perpetrated throughout North American academia by the
followers of Leo Strauss. I read Prof. Boyle's posts

I have really noticed this antidemocratic ideology in
the behavior of policing in Alberta in the case of the
Edmonton Police Service invasions of meetings of the
Handicapped Housing Society of Alberta in 1997 - and
the Law Enforcement Review Board [LERB]refusing to
allow evidence to be presented in this case that
demonstrated violation of constitutional rights of the
membership of this agency. The LERB then ruled that
this was a "trivial" matter and dismissed the
complaint. This has resulted in fear and
disempowerment on a monumental scale in this

Most organizations and groups that I have raised this
case with since it happened have no capacity to
respond effectively to the harsh facts that this
represents. Most groups have been willing to knuckle
under to the presumption that "some people have rights
and others don't" which is the desired conclusion that
these elitist Strauss inspired anti-democrats hope
will become the resigned attitude of the masses.

I am hopeful that we will be able to formalize some
kind of strategic group to address this deliberate
undermining of the egalitarian principles that our
ancestors gave their lives to establish for future
generations to live in a culture of mutual acceptance
and respect.

Best regards,

Alan Blanes

From: Ron Thornton
Subject: Re: Leadership-prinzip replacing democracy in Canadian politics

Hi Joe:

I have always felt that appointing a nominee thwarted the democratic process.  It is either an indication that the party in question has little regard for the people such a nominee is supposed to represent (when in fact he is nothing but a representative of the party, not the people) or little faith in the nomination process.  Considering how nominations are held today, which come down to glorified raffles where the nod goes to whomever can sell the most tickets (memberships), I don't have a heck of a lot of faith in the process, either.
Either one is a member of a party, taking an active role, or they should not take part in a process they have no investment in.  Hell, that is why we don't let anyone but a citizen vote in a federal election.  You either have a stake in the process, or you don't.  If you are not a member for at least 3 months (which is a pretty damn low level of investment in anything) you should not be able to vote in the process. 
An "instant" member is usually there only for the nomination vote, usually tied to a candidate by personal loyalty or a bottle of not so expensive wine, and then they are gone.  So much for commitment and involvement.  Such recruits end up being about as useless as the candidate they support.

If a person wants to seek a nomination, they should set the ground work early, bring people in to the party who might want to stick around for a while, and actually demonstrate that they have a clue as to how to build not just their own team but that of their constituency association. Isn't that what leadership is all about?  If a "star" candidate needs to be floated in, then just how has such a candidate demonstrated their commitment and leadership to the local association?  I am from the old school where I expect my nominee, and my MP, to represent me and those in my community, not just be a useless party delegate good only for spreading his ass on the backbench.

Then again, that is just me.


From: "Jean  Pycock"
Subject: Re: Leadership-prinzip replacing democracy in Canadian politics

Joe, I am furious about Party leaders usurping the democratic right of the local party members to choose their candidates.  Jean Pycock

From: "John Halonen"
Subject: Ontario Premier to meet with Prime Minister Harper - Economic Summit

The following has been forwarded to Ontario riding Members of the Ontario Legislature. Please use your influence when conversing with the Prime Minister, as the economics of this item are very beneficial for Ontario and its future.
use your influence to contact our Premier of Ontario and include for discussion with the Prime Minister of Canada during the Minister`s Economic meeting this month.

North American Super Corridor

: Manitoba`s Premier has mentioned in his address to the legislature that Manitoba has been in discussion for five years on this subject, as to building a pathway to Hudson Bay to facilitate the movement of goods delivered via Ocean vessels to the mid-west US marketplace and Mexico.

Saskatchewan has addressed a possibility of building the pathway thru their province.

Ontario should be thought of as an alternative to the proposed route, via linkage to James Bay.

James Bay currently has rail traffic, and there is a highway sytem currently in place that could be upgraded to accomModate major movement of shipping goods.

James Bay is also much closer to population centres across North America and would allow for greater Ocean traffic to a port that would allow easy entry to most of our population in North America. Linkage is still available to mid west US marketplaces via current highway systems in place today. Even the distance to Winnipeg, Manitoba from James Bay is not that much greater than Churchill, Manitoba.

Least Cost and with current access.
John P. Halonen
Oshawa, Ontario


Prison reform an easy move for Tories
Their case bolstered by review panel report suggesting an end to statutory release

Fine by me. Something's obviously wrong when guys like Conrad Black have to serve a minimum of 85% of their sentences in the clink when they're convicted of a non-violent crime in the US and only 15-odd percent in Canada if they behave themselves and if it's a first-time offense. Seems to me that a judge should have the power to determine and dictate how long a sentence really should be, based on the circumstances of a given crime. This may mean giving the judges more leeway in their sentencing, as well as decent guidelines on what's expected of said judges. But at present, we have to endure cases where:
   - serious, first-time, non-violent crime + good behaviour = 15% time served;
   - less-serious, first-time, non-violent crime + bad attitude = more than 15% served, possibly longer than for the first case.
Bad attitude, anti-social, and mental problems should be dealt with through suitable governmental and NGO programs, not in prison.
Plus, imagine the frustration everyone feels when some bozo gets recruited to become a throw-away importer of illegal drugs for a good amount of $$$. This one fellow here in Quebec was to be paid $400,000 (or something like that) to import some large quantity of cocaine. The police forced his plane down into Quebec bush country, and they got the guy. He got 24 years, but he was out in four because of statutory release (first-time offenders for non-violent crimes get their time reduced to 1/6 of the original sentence if they behave in prison). Throughout the trial (he pled guilty), he had a big smile on his face, he snickered, etc. Same thing when he got out. And you can bet that he got his $400,000 (or whatever) when he got out.
The fellow above will have to serve a higher percentage of his sentence if he gets sentenced for a future offense. But he's unlikely to ... his career in crime is likely over. And his sponsors just have to try again by dangling enough money in front of some other guy who's willing to risk a few years in prison for some high-enough sum.
Time to close this thing down ...

Opposition says GST ads amount to Conservative advertising

As a way to attract attention, this would be more effective if the Liberals weren't offended ... uuuhhh ... non-virgins.

From: "Phyllis Wagg"

Subject: The subversion of democracy

Democracy is being subverted by the establishment parties ... selected examples can illustrate this point going back as far as the 1983 Progressive Conservative Winnipeg convention.
... or as far back as Paleolithic Age.
Pressure from the party establishment forced Joe Clark to put his leadership on the line at the 1983 party conference at Winnipeg.  Clark was poised to win a clear mandate from the delegates.  The power brokers at the top of the party, including the President Frank Moores, decided that Clark would not be as easy to manipulate in the interests of corporate cronies as Brian Mulroney.  Moores and other high level party operatives engaged in a conspiracy, using foreign money, to deprive Clark of the level of support he felt he required.  Through the use of foreign money they manufactured support for a ?dump Clark movement? by buying delegates in Quebec and flying them to Winnipeg for the conference.  The result is history.

Publicly-known evidence of foreign money is lacking (as in non-existent) right now, so we'll have to reserve judgement on that.
As for what happened in Winnipeg ... a lot of folks at all levels, including the membership, decided that JC wasn't the Messiah that they'd been looking for, and that his staying on as Leader would mean more years of Trudeau Forever. (And rightly so ... from the fairly extensive reading I've done on various subjects, JC was unsuited for leadership).
Tempers were hot, a lot was at stake that night when JC got only his insufficient 66% support.
And the rest is history.
(Might as well face it ... How many people do YOU know who would have turned up their nose at 66%?)
While we have no evidence to support the contention that a similar strategy was used to win the leadership for Mulroney, there is also nothing to indicate that it was not used.  With a tired and discredited Liberal Party, Mulroney was in a perfect position to gain the office of Prime Minister and use it to further the interests of specific corporate interests at the expense of Canadian taxpayers and voters.

Or rather "general" corporate interests. BM campaigned on an ANTI-free-trade platform, which is what Corporate Canada wanted at the time. Protection was what CC thought to be best for itself at the time and that's what he proposed to them.

After the fall of the Conservatives and the election of the Liberals, Jean Chretien adopted the practice of constantly using his power as party leader to undermine the ability of local party members to decide who would be nominated to represent them.  He parachuted ?star? candidates into what were considered ?safe? Liberal ridings time after time.  Stephane Dion entered politics through that means.  Martin continued that custom gifting a nomination to corporate CEO, David Emerson.  As soon as the Martin government was defeated Emerson eagerly embraced an agenda that days before, during the campaign, he had rejected.  His objective was apparently designed to further the interests of the corporate client he represented.

And here we have an interesting point. The fact that parliamentary systems require that a PM choose Ministers from elected MPs forces party Leaders to place selected "men and women of quality" in ridings in which they're likely to win. Given the relatively large number of Ministers that must be drawn from a somewhat limited pool AND that Ministers have to represent a broad cross-section of Canada AND that the Cabinet be made up of men and women from all across Canada, party Leaders pretty much have to place "quality" candidates where they're sure to win and be available for Cabinet duty. This is much less of an issue for back-of-the-bus parties like the NDP and the Greens (and to a lesser degree the Bloc) since Cabinet hopes are dim (although, to be fair, the NDP COULD get some Ministries if it forms a coalition government with the Liberals).
An example of the above: for a given region that has say 30 ridings (kind of like Atlantic Canada), say that the party that "wins" the election gets eight seats or so. If the region is to contribute say two Ministers to Cabinet, then each MP from there would have a 25% chance of being one of the two Celestially Elevated. Now, what happens if none of the eight is ... uuuhhhh .. Cabinet material. Putting well-meaning but not-ready-for-prime-time (and perhaps never-to-be-ready) MPs in Cabinet leads to grief for everyone. And despite all that, lumpenproletariat folks STILL make it to Cabinet, though this is more of a problem at the provincial level than at the federal (more MPs in Ottawa than MNAs, MPPS, MLAs, MHAs, etc. in any given province).

 The methods Peter MacKay and a small clique at the top of the Progressive Conservative Party used to achieve the merger of the PC and CA Parties by working outside the decision making process set out in the constitution of the party is another example.  By pushing the merger through rapidly, quashing adequate debate and, with the collusion of the bureaucratic establishment, circumventing the law, they were able to undermine internal party democracy.

And tah-daaaaahhhh ... Tories calling the shots two years later in Ottawa. Everything worked out pretty well, practicality-wise. (Though I must admit that I'd never feel so woebegone and disgusted as when Peter MacKay became Leader. And the CA-PC merger was a bitter pill to swallow at the time, too. All's well for me now, though.)

Those of us who are democratic activists are clearly not getting the message out that this is unacceptable behaviour and that it is undermining our entire political system.  Eventually this kind of manipulation, if allowed to go on, may have the same results as we have seen in other parts of the world.

The thing to be understood is that parliamentary democracy, in countries where a majority party is unlikely to get a great-enough number of MPs elected and suitable for Cabinet, pretty much REQUIRES that Leaders of potentially-majority parties be able to place "candidates of quality". (Some parliamentary democracies can get away with avoiding this, provided that there be a great number of MPs elected to Parliament. For example, the UK has 646 ridings (or something like that), so a majority party or a coalition of two would have at least 323 or so to draw from for Cabinet. This is pretty manageable for a Cabinet of say 20 Ministers out of 320+ MPs. In Canada, where say 18 Ministers would have to be drawn from as few as 155 MPs whose ridings have to be spread out across Canada becomes unmanageable without party Leaders "imposing" candidates.)
One practical alternative to the "imposition" problem described above is to devise a presidential system a l'Americaine. In an American-style system, the President chooses who he puts in his Cabinet, period. The Presidency is (constitutionally) fully autonomous of Congress, whose role becomes that of law-maker, President-blocker, and President-supervisor. Mind you, US-style presidential systems have their problems too (chaos reigns), but that's another story.
Cheers all! And a Happy New Year to One and All.